Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Cocaine on Turnpike

Mules are known to be stubborn and Isac Rosalio, 60, of Chicago and Joseph Ramos, 22, of Brooklyn, are evidence of the fact. These two drug mules have stubbornly refused to learn motor vehicle laws well enough not to get pulled over by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for minor infractions. Both men are now in jail charged with trafficking in drugs, drug abuse, and possession of criminal tools. They were caught with two kilos of cocaine, worth about $200,000, in hidden compartments in their vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike.

Dummies! I'm aware that this type of apprehension occurs frequently so it's not big news, however, I do derive some sort of perverse enjoyment documenting the abject stupidity of criminals.
Copyright Question

The New York Daily News website has the following disclaimer:
All materials contained in this Website are protected by copyright laws, and may not be reproduced, republished, distributed, transmitted, displayed, broadcast or otherwise exploited in any manner without the express prior written permission of the Daily News. You may download material (one copy per page) from this Website for your personal and non-commercial use only, without altering or removing any trademark, copyright or other notice from such material.
It says I may download for personal use but it also says that the material cannot be republished or displayed without permission. My question is: May I download a picture and display it on my blog without specific written permission?

The disclaimer is not clear and generally the same for journalistic websites throughout the Internet. Any guidance on this subject would be appreciated.
Congressman Abruptly Quits

Two-term Congressman Ed Schrock, 63, of Virginia abruptly announced yesterday that he would not seek a third term due to "allegations" which would impede his ability to serve. Schrock, first elected in 2000, is a retired career Navy officer and Vietnam veteran who represents the 2nd Congressional District encompassing Virginia's Eastern Shore.

According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, a website called Blogactive.com posted allegations that Schrock is a homosexual.

With only three days until the filing deadline, the Republicans are having to scramble to designate a candidate to oppose Democrat David Ashe on the November ballot.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Bill Clinton Invokes Commandment of God

Yesterday morning, before assembled worshippers at Riverside Church, Bill Clinton criticized President Bush and the Republicans for distorting John Kerry's war record in Vietnam. He stated, "It is wrong to bear false witness."

Also yesterday morning, speaking on NBC's Meet The Press, Hillary Clinton accused the Republicans of attempting to orchestrate a "bait and switch" convention which masks their right-wing beliefs.

In addition to both assertions being wrong, they show the ease with which the Democrat leadership continually insults the American public. They think that voters are too stupid to remember that Bill Clinton lied under oath and should be the last person to call anybody a liar. Voters are also too stupid to remember the totally fictional portrayal of Democratic Party pro-military values at last month's convention.

The Clintons' statements are insulting because Americans know what "is" is and Americans know that John Kerry's definition of "reporting for duty" includes the duty to accuse the United States military of war crimes. However, Americans are not stupid and they can recognize hypocrisy. There's also an abundance of photos, transcripts, and videotapes available to keep memories fresh.

Mention should also be made that the Republicans will undoubtedly try to portray themselves as being more right-wing (not less) than they have been governing. There are no "true right-wing leanings" (HRC's words) that need masking. In fact, the leftists should applaud President Bush's national prescription drug plan, his abdication of responsibility for immigration control, his approval of McCain-Feingold and its attack on free speech, and his absolutely feeble attempts to fill vacancies in the federal court system. No, President Bush and his administration will not try to hide their right-wing beliefs, they'll try to convince conservatives that they have some.
Homeland Security Institute

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has selected the University of Nevada - Las Vegas (UNLV) as the location for the Homeland Security Institute. An allotment of $1.5 million is earmarked for the institute which is the first in the nation to offer a specialized program in homeland security.
'Safe In The Sack' Campaign

I'm somewhat confused about this announcement by Australian FPA Health (also known as Family Planning Association NSW). Apparently, surveys indicate that many of the 180,000 backpackers that visit New South Wales yearly are not practicing safe sex and, therefore, are risking infection from a sexually transmitted disease. To help protect the backpackers, a campaign called 'Safe In The Sack' is being inaugurated this week to provide information along with free condoms and drink coasters at hotels and bars.

This is all fine, but I am lost as to what backpacking consists of. I've always thought that backpacking meant that a person loads up his/her pack with camping gear and then heads into the wilderness to traipse around, get eaten by bugs, cook over a campfire, and sleep under the stars or in a tent on the hard ground. In Australia, it seems that backpacking is defined as checking into a hotel, grabbing some free condoms, cruising the bars and nightclubs, and hooking up with a stranger to have sex.

Am I the only person confused about the subject of backpacking?
Jerry Brown Wants Attorney General Job

(Oakland, California) Jerry Brown has been described as a serial political candidate who, along the way, acquired the nickname "Governor Moonbeam." He's been a "college trustee, a secretary of state, a governor, a Senate candidate, a presidential hopeful, a spiritual scholar, a Democratic party official, a populist radio host and an urban mayor." All the while, he is considered to have mastered the art of flip-flopping on major issues, long before John Kerry made it commonplace.

A full resume for most people, but not Jerry Brown, now he wants to become the Attorney General of California. The current AG, Bill Lockyer, can't run for reelection because of term limits so Brown is starting his preparations for a campaign in 2006. He's raised over $1 million already.

Personally, I'd never support Jerry Brown for any public office since he leans way, way too left for my liking, but I do find him immensely entertaining as a candidate.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

NY Speeding Fines

Municipalities are upset because the State of New York is now going to confiscate money collected locally from speeding ticket fines. In a gesture of compromise, the state has provided the localities with the option of jacking up the fines. How nice.
Armored Truck Dumps Money in Road

Concurrent with protesters organizing for the Republican National Convention, an armored truck was dumping money into the road today. Is this another example of Heinz Kerry loot being distributed to the unwashed leftists or is it a coincidence? You make the call.
Jimmy Smits Joining 'West Wing'

Producers for the West Wing are going to shake up the show by having Jimmy Smits play a Texas congressman with presidential aspirations.
Wife Divorced While Sleeping

Shahzad Alam, 30, uttered 'talaq' (I divorce you) three times to his wife Firdause, 14, while she slept. He was heard by family members so it apparently meets all the requirements of a Muslim divorce.
Greyhound Lines Downsizes

The residents of states throughout the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest are still reverberating from the elimination of Greyhound Lines service to over 250 locations. Although the cutbacks have been announced in the media, they have not been emphasized and the people and towns affected are experiencing significant hardship. Deemed unprofitable, routes in California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming were eliminated as of August 18.

Greyhound states the reason for the changes are that the company has seen a dramatic decrease in revenue over the past several years which placed it in a financial crisis and costs had to be cut. The number of travelers decreased while expenditures increased, most notably after Sept. 11, 2001, when security and insurance costs ballooned. Aggressive management action in response has included increasing long-distance fares, delaying or canceling capital spending, and slicing total management personnel by 20%. In that 75% of Greyhound's customers travel less than 450 miles, a network of short and medium length routes has been developed as the company's primary focus.

Literally left without a ride are thousands of passengers in small towns throughout a large portion of the United States. Fortunately, in some places regional and local bus lines and AMTRAK are stepping in to help fill the void in service. But regional and local lines offer only partial help since their pricing tends to be higher than Greyhound. And, many locations will still be left without any service. What this means to the small town customer is that they'll have to find a way to get to a location that is served. In many cases, the closest regular bus stop is situated 50 to 100 miles away.

The changes made can also be considered to mark the end of an era in America. For most of the 20th Century, the familiar Greyhound bus visiting every little community in the rural heartland has been a traditional, legendary, and romantic part of America, from sea to shining sea.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Militants Make Demands for Two French Hostages

The two French reporters kidnapped over a week ago are now being bartered by an Iraqi terrorist group. The Islamic Army of Iraq have demanded that the French government cease the Muslim headscarf ban in France within 48 hours. It's not clear what they will do if the ban is not lifted, but it's assumed they intend to execute the hostages, George Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale.

I'm going to make a wild guess that when the Islamic Army kidnapped the Frenchmen, they didn't know they were French and they ended up in a quandary as to what to demand for their return. They couldn't demand that France remove their forces or other support for the war because there isn't any. So, I assume they've been spending the past week scratching their heads trying to figure out what to demand. Probably out of sheer luck, one of the murdering scum knew somebody who had read a newspaper who told them that France had banned headscarves in schools.

It's just a guess.
Voyeur Charged

(Louisville, Kentucky) Roy Duane Adams set up two video cameras in his bathroom and then secretly taped his relatives, friends, and little girls in the tub, including his ex-wife and her friends on the toilet. According to Commonwealth of Kentucky Attorney Anne Haynie,
"It was a sexual turn on to him."
Roy Duane Adams is one sick pervert and I am incensed. Just the thought of the ex-wife on the hopper is enough to give me nightmares and I hope they never let him out of prison. When I wake up screaming at night, I'm blaming Roy Duane Adams.
Political Bravery or Political Suicide?

Someone once said that when a labor union Democrat dies and goes to heaven, what he would see would look a lot like rust-belt Youngstown, Ohio. The city is populated with blue-collar union workers who always vote for Democrats. That is, until last Monday when Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey endorsed George W. Bush for President.

Boy, talk about a floater in the punchbowl! McKelvey's announcement sent a lightning bolt through the Mahoning Valley Democratic Party.
Lisa Antonini, chairwoman of the Mahoning Democratic Party, said, "While George McKelvey claims to be a Democrat member of our party, it's important to note that he's simply a Democrat of convenience. Now he's turning to the Republicans out of convenience again."

"He can no longer run as a Democrat in this community and in this city, so now he's uniting with the Republican Party to be appointed to a position in their lame administration."

Meeting in front of a boarded up, abandoned house on Bruce Street on the city's East Side [Odd place to meet - ed.], the group of labor leaders, party faithful and elected officials voiced their support for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and attacked McKelvey's record as mayor. They questioned what McKelvey or Bush has done to help Youngstown, which has the highest unemployment rate of any Ohio city.

Pete Starks, former 2nd Ward councilman, said, "I said (Pat) Ungaro was the worst mayor we ever had. This is the worster."
That means really, really bad.
Inmates Join Boy Scouts

(La Grange, Kentucky) In a rehabilitation program at the Kentucky State Reformatory, inmates who have a mental or emotional age of 18 or younger are allowed to join the Boy Scouts. A good idea? Well, some people think so.
William Hiemstra, a tattooed 32-year-old serving 10 years for attempted murder, said the program is teaching him to work better with other people.

"That was always a problem I had," Hiemstra said.

[ ... ]

For others, like former paramedic Paul Hurt, who is serving three life sentences for sodomy, or Marion Butler, who is serving a 95-year sentence for murder and burglary in Johnson County, the Boy Scouts is a way to occupy some time that might otherwise not be well spent.

"It kind of tames the beast," Hurt said. "I want to see the other guys succeed."

The Kentucky prison scout program, which started in 1989 as a way for prisoners to raise money and to keep inmates occupied, is part of what corrections officials call a national move toward preparing inmates for their eventual release from prison.
Teaching inmates solid core values is surely beneficial, but expecting a convicted murderer to complete a 95 year sentence and return to society as a Boy Scout might be unreasonably optimistic.
Marrying the Dead

(Johannesburg, South Africa) David Masenta shot his fiancee, 25-year-old Mgwanini Molomo, after a quarrel and then turned the gun on himself. Nonetheless, their wedding plans will be posthumously carried out by their families.
The groom's corpse would be dressed in a cream suit and his bride's in a gown for the ceremony, at which a priest in the rural village of Ceres in Limpopo will bless the union before the two are buried.
According to cultural expert Mathole Motshekga,
"This does not mean the relationship has irretrievably broken down."
No Shows for RNC

Here's a story about who's attending and who's not attending the Republican National Convention. No shows include Bruce Willis, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and many others. Three primary excuses are offered: school-age kids to take care of, prior commitments, and vacation. Those expected to attend don't include many major marquis attractions which, in a way, reflects the Republicans general complaint toward celebrity involvement in politics. Media and entertainment industry celebs overwhelmingly lean to the left.
Under The Weather

Our friend Puggs at Random Nuclear Strikes is laid up pretty good from a work injury. So, readers, it's time to exercise some of those under-utilized compassion and encouragement neurons and help lift his spirits. Send him some wishes here.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Kerry Wants Debates

John Kerry challenged President Bush to weekly debates yesterday and the Bush-Cheney campaign responded:
"There will be a time for debates after the convention, and during the next few weeks, John Kerry should take the time to finish the debates with himself."

"This election presents a clear choice to the American people between a president who is moving America forward and a senator who has taken every side of almost every issue."
By making the Vietnam War the centerpiece of his campaign and it turning out less than desired, it now appears that Kerry wants to change the focus of the election dialogue. Bully for the President for rebuffing the challenge.

However, the wording of the Bush response could have been more descriptive and detailed. In the true spirit of American volunteerism, DaGoddess provides this alternative:
"Looky here, Senator. Now you might have all the time in the world to sit around and say things a million different ways in order to appeal to a million different people. And you might actually believe 1/10 of what you say. But the thing is, I'm the President of this here United States of America. I have a country to run. I can't be taking time off to sit around and palaver just because some pissant pussy with pretty hair deems it necessary to try out a new theory. I know what I believe in. I know where I stand. I don't need to reformulate my campaign at the top of each hour. You run off and play with your friends and I'll be here when you're clear about what you think and what you believe in. We'll have one debate. And you'll be prepared, concise, and leave the maple syrup at home. Until then, no debates."
Fine political prose.
Russian Plane Crashes - Update

According to this report from Moscow, flight recorders for the Tu-134 and Tu-154 have been recovered and indicate that "something happened very fast" which caused the planes to go down. Kremlin representative Vladimir Yakovlev stated the crashes are increasingly looking like a terrorist attack.

Brooke Hogan

Brooke Hogan

Brooke Hogan

The well-protected daughter of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, Brooke Hogan is 16 and has embarked on a pop singing career. There's a rumor that she has also been asked by Playboy to do a nude pictorial. (Photo Credit: WrestlingObserver.com)
Michael Moore - Columnist

With the credentials of a legitimate journalist, director Michael Moore, hired by USA Today, will write four opinion columns during the Republican Convention next week. It's not clear why since there's not been much secrecy about his opinion. Pick any issue and just about everyone can tell you exactly what his opinion will be.
Explosive Residue Found at Tu-154 Crash Site

Updating a previous report,
- Russian Federal Security Service personnel have found traces of an explosive called 'hexogen' at the Tu-154 crash site in southern Russia.

- Although the specific causes for the crashes are still under investigation, a group called the Islambouli Brigades has claimed credit via a website known for militant Islamic content.

- Of special interest to investigators is the location of two listed female passengers with Chechen surnames who are reportedly the only passengers about whom relatives have not inquired. Chechen rebels have been blamed for past suicide bombings.
Since the debris fields from the crashes encompass wide swaths of land area, it's expected that the searches will require considerably more time. (via Wizbang)
Italian Hostage Murdered

(Dubai) Reuters reports that Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni was murdered by a group called the Islamic Army in Iraq because Italy did not remove their contingent of troops from the Coalition Forces. A spokesman for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirmed the killing.
Hand Dryer Humor

Believe it or not, it's clean and too funny not to pass on. Take a look.
Olympian Diet

John Ray reports on the training diet of Ryan Bayley, an Olympic gold medal winner in cycling. Bayley's diet of deep fried chicken and Coke so worried his coach, Martin Barras, that he ordered an evaluation by a nutritionist.
"The nutritionist came back, she said 'well you know, there's not much variety in there but essentially he's got all his bases covered'," Barras said. "Once in 2000 I tried to force him to eat a salad and that got him violently sick so now if you leave him to his own devices he takes care of himself," he said."
And, taking care of himself with fried chicken and Coke, he avoids violent salad sickness and wins an Olympic gold medal.

It can be safely assumed that the vegetarian Gestapo would rather that the story of Ryan Bayley not become common knowledge. So, readers, pass it on. And, remember, once you get over the "variety" problem, fried chicken and Coke can lead to a gold medal.

Twin Towers Toy

Twin Towers Toy

(Orlando, Florida) This is outrageous!

Twin Towers Toy

A boy gets some toys from the local grocery store and one is a model of a plane flying into twin towers. Not only that, but imprinted on each toy is the number 9011. The toys are distributed by the Lisy Corporation, based in Miami, who bought them, sight unseen, from L & M Import/Export, also based in Miami. L & M stated that "they have no problem at all with the toy and don't consider it offensive at all."

Fortunately, storekeepers are pulling the toys from their shelves.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

130 Guns Stolen

(San Francisco, California) A week after 130 guns were stolen from a storage facility, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was notified. Great! So now the authorities will try to gather evidence to find out where the haul of rifles, shotguns, revolvers and pistols ended up. In related disturbing news,
The gun heist last week is the second case in six weeks involving the theft of dangerous weapons in San Mateo County. In July, 200 pounds of explosives were stolen from a supposedly secure bunker with a broken alarm system.
These two events indicate a serious breakdown in control of firearms and explosives and some sort of corrective measures need to be taken.
Driving In The Fast Lane

Not being part of the fast crowd, I have to rely on periodic traffic reports from Spoons. In the realm of fast trackers and stellar numbers, one dollar per page view is being contemplated. Getting there is the challenge.
Iraqi Police Abduct Journalists

(Najaf, Iraq) Last night just after 9PM, Iraqi Police rounded up about 60 journalists from the Sea of Najaf Hotel and took them to the police station. Included were representatives from Arab and other international media, encompassing the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Times and Daily Telegraph. At the station, Police Chief Ghalib al-Jazae'ri commenced giving the journalists a good old-fashioned dressing-down. The Chief said,
[H]e was incensed by media reports in which Grand Ayatollah Sistani had allegedly urged his followers to descend on Najaf.

He said: "You are not under arrest but you will listen to us to see what disasters you have caused."

The police chief, whose father has been kidnapped by supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, said the police base had been repeatedly mortared and many of his officers killed. After half an hour, he allowed journalists to leave.
The journalists were then driven back to their hotel. End of story.

Watch, though, as the media tries to make this event to be a much bigger deal.

John Kerry Book

John Kerry - The New Soldier

Pictured below is the cover of The New Soldier by John Kerry. It is a symbolic re-creation of United States Marines planting the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima in 1945. Over 6,800 American men were killed in the battle for Iwo Jima. John Kerry felt comfortable in mocking a proud and honorable event in American history for purposes of political opportunism.

John Kerry Book

The New Soldier is out of print and John Kerry has refused to allow the publisher to reprint it. It is, however, available online free at http://johnkerrythenewsoldier.blogspot.com/.
Judge Charged For Stupid Comments

(Orlando, Florida) The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has charged Orange County Judge Alan C. Todd with breaking judicial rules by making a series of "rude, intemperate and demeaning comments." Specifically, he chastised a deputy sheriff who had a child out of wedlock, saying she was a "disgrace to society," "had no morals," and her child was "a bastard."

He didn't stop there. Judge Todd also said Deputy Mindy Hood's family "obviously had no morals" and that "it is acceptable for a male to have sex before marriage, but if a female does so, she is not respected and considered a tramp." And, to top things off, the notice of rulebreaking alleges that the judge said: Baptists "think there is no sin in the world and have no morals"; Pastors and priests shouldn't marry a woman that has children out of wedlock or couple that has been living together, because those actions are morally wrong and sinful; and children raised in single-family homes normally go to jail as adults.

Without any prompting, Judge Todd attacked just about all segments of society at some time. It kind of makes one suspicious about the fairness of his rulings.
Israel To Deport Journalist

(Tel Aviv, Israel) According to this report, British journalist Ewa Jasiewicz has been denied entry into Israel by a Tel Aviv District Court. The reason given was that she is naive and may be misused by Palestinian extremists. She is a member of the International Solidarity Movement which engages in hostile anti-Israel activity. She may appeal the court's ruling.

Interestingly, she's been described as a journalist and a human rights activist, two vocations that are diametrically opposed to each other. If a person is a single-minded activist, it's impossible to be an objective journalist.
Canadian Legislator Calls U.S. "Idiots"

(Ottawa, Ontario) Contrary to Prime Minister Paul Martin's pledge to improve the demeanor of dialogue between Canada and the U.S., Canadian Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish has decided to call the U.S. a "coalition of idiots." Last year, she stated that she hated "damned Americans" and called them all bastards. She later apologized.

This time around she begged the reporters not to mention her "idiots" remark. Apparently, they didn't listen.
Islamic Militants Behead Alleged "CIA Spy"

This report from Reuters states that an Islamic militant group, the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, posted still pictures on its website showing the apparent beheading of a man it called a CIA spy.
The group said in an accompanying statement that Jamal Tewefic Salman, who became an U.S. citizen in 1980, confessed to be masquerading as a journalist in Iraq to spy on Islamic fighters for the CIA.

"A group of mujahideen were able to kidnap a spy called Jamal Tewefic Salman, who got U.S. citizenship in 1980. He changed his name to Khaled Abdul Messih," it said.
Rusty Shackleford has photos. Ogrish has video. Authenticity has as yet not been verified.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


In the effort to eliminate guns in the United States, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has become a prominent crusader. Lynch is leading a campaign to smash toy guns throughout the state using a machine built by students at the New England Institute of Technology. It's called the Bash-O-Matic and it's used to pulverize the toys during Toy Gun Bash events.
The program offers $5 and $10 replacement toys to children and parents who are willing to forfeit their toy guns to a specially-designed "Bash-O-Matic" device.

[ ... ]

To date, the "Bash-O-Matic" has destroyed upwards of 1,000 toy guns, everything from water guns to gun replicas, according to Michael Healey, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.
So far, bashes have been held in Providence and Newport and more are planned.

While "sweeping the city's streets of toy guns," Attorney General Lynch disseminates his gun-control platform to educate the general public. He's stated that "children and adults alike find it hard to distinguish a toy gun from a real gun." Funny, I've never been confused about what's a toy and what's real. When I was a boy, I had a pair of Roy Rogers six-shooters and, when I was a teenager, I had a rifle and a shotgun. Never once did I have a problem distinguishing which was which.

Nevertheless, there should be no confusion about Patrick Lynch's message. All guns are bad and they should be removed from society and destroyed. In the meantime, we can all rest comfortably knowing that some streets have been swept clean of toy guns.
Kerry and the Swift Boat Vets

The ongoing controversy on John Kerry's Vietnam experience seems to grow new and different legs each day and, frankly, it's hard to keep up with who is saying what. One of the better sources for an all-around synopsis of the enduring discussion is Les Jones with his series of Kerry Grill posts. It's providing me with a quick way to keep abreast of the issues. Go visit.
No Child Support After Lesbians Separate

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that if two lesbians decide to have a child through artificial insemination and then they split up, no child support can be ordered since their agreement to have a child together is not an enforceable contract.

Imagine the love a child will experience growing up in household filled with lesbian anger and the knowledge that the father was donated sperm. Some people call this situation an unconventional family. I'd call it a tragedy. And, just think, society is trending toward having many more "unconventional families."
National Punctuation Day

I missed it - didn't even know it existed until I saw this report. Last Sunday, August 22, was National Punctuation Day, the brainchild of Jeff Rubin, 54, who believes that people don't emphasize correct punctuation sufficiently.

I agree!
Home Parking Fee

It appears that residents in Sacramento, California, will be required to pay $5 annually to park in front of their domiciles. Each resident will get a sticker and a bothersome, yet reasonable, expectation that the city will raise the fee in the future. Once politicians get a mechanism to extract money from the public, they'll push to have it continually increased, and they'll be successful. If politicians thought they could get away with putting toll plazas on sidewalks, they would do it.
Two Russian Airliners Crash

From the Moscow Times comes this report:
Russian airliners, a Tu-134 and Tu-154, which took off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, disappeared from radar screens almost simultaneously, at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Tu-134, owned by Volga-Aviaexpress carrier, flew out to Volgograd at 10:15 p.m. and the Tu-154, owned by Siberia Airlines, to Sochi at 9:35 p.m.

The Tu-134 disappeared from radar screens at 10:56 p.m.. The place where the plane crashed was later spotted near the village of Buchalki in the Tula region's Kimovsky district. The regional emergency situations authorities reported, citing witnesses' accounts, that the plane exploded before it crashed.

The tail of the plane and part of the fuselage were discovered at the scene of the crash. The search for other wreckage and flight recorders is underway.

The Tu-154 disappeared at 10:59 p.m. on Tuesday, when it was at a distance of 138 kilometers from the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. The regional authorities have already marked the approximate area where the plane might have crashed.

Controllers of the Southern Regional Civil Aviation Department told Interfax that this area is near the towns of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky and Millerovo in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border. The search operation involves rescue workers, border guards and Interior Ministry forces.
According to the Interstate Aviation Committee, the Tu-134 had 34 passengers and eight crew members. Exact number on board the Tu-154 is currently not known but believed to be about 44 total passengers and crew. Both wreckage sites have been located and 20 bodies have been found at the Tu-154 crash site.

President Putin has ordered an investigation by the Emergency Situations Ministry, the FSB, and other law enforcement agencies.

Of note is that airport security was tightened earlier in the day due to an explosion on a Moscow bus that injured three people.

With regard to reports by people on the ground that they heard an explosion in the air, authorities stated:
"It would have been impossible to see an explosion, since the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters, above the clouds. Perhaps witnesses heard a loud bang which always goes with any breakage."
The Russian Interior Ministry has instituted elevated security measures ". . . at transportation facilities, such as airports, sea and river ports, and railway stations," involving increased police and dog-sniffer patrols. Also, the highest level flight security measures were implemented at the Pulkovo 1 and Pulkovo 2 airports in St. Petersburg.

Jeff Quinton has much more on the situation and Michelle Malkin posts on the seemingly obvious terrorism angle. While maintaining that Russian airlines don't deserve the bad reputation they have for frequently crashing, the Russian Dilettante weighs in from Moscow and readily admits that two aircraft perishing on the same night is "naturally suspicious."

Latest update from about 2PM Moscow time - A total of 89 people were traveling on the two airplanes.
A Volga-Aviaexpress company Tu-134 airliner traveling from Moscow to Volgograd was carrying 43 people, including 35 passengers and 8 crew members.

A Siberia Airlines Tu-154 flying from Moscow to Sochi carried 46 people, including 38 passengers and 8 crew members.
Also, according to Federal Security Service spokesman Nikolai Zakharov, there is no evidence so far that terrorism is behind the crashes.

Of note is that terrorists frequently take credit for their malicious deeds by making an announcement. It hasn't happened as yet in these crashes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Ohio Turnpike Speed Limit Raised

According to Gary Suhadolnik, Director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, the speed limit for trucks on the turnpike will be raised to 65MPH on Sept. 8.
Oprah Recommends

Got yourself an itchy caboose? Try Boudreaux's Butt Paste. It's a featured product at Oprah's Booty Club.
Teresa Heinz Kerry Panders for Votes

(Columbus, Ohio) Before the Ohio Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Heinz Kerry promised "youth hostel-style child-care facilities where couples could leave their children while they go out on dates." This sounds like government-run national baby-sitting services. Interestingly, she also promised a free college education to all high school graduates who are willing to perform two years of community service. One has to wonder if the community service will include baby-sitting while couples go out on dates. And what about all the people who will lose their baby-sitting jobs when the government takes over?
North Korea Endorses John Kerry

Chalk up Kim Jong-Il as supporting John Kerry for president.
"The North Koreans made it very clear, politely, that they want Mr. Kerry to win the election," said Kenneth Quinones, a former U.S. diplomat who was in Pyongyang this month for a Korean studies conference.
Coupled with the recent report that the Palestinian Authority is also supporting Kerry, it seems that foreign enemies and supporters of terrorism have found the Kerry/Edwards ticket to be a path to achieving their goals. And then there's the recent buzz about the communists and the anarchists being on the Kerry bandwagon. Next we'll probably see endorsements from Castro and Chavez. Of course, we can't forget Kerry has the support of Hollywood, the elite liberal media, the environmental extremists, the animal rights/vegetarian Gestapo, the homosexual advocacy, the feminist/abortion cabal, and the anti-gun gang. Did I leave anybody out?
Iraqi Air Force

Within the past week, a milestone was attained in the rebuilding of the Iraqi Air Force as it commenced flight operations to provide security and protection for infrastructure facilities and Iraq's borders.
"We are rebuilding the air force, and it is giving us a different responsibility," Iraqi air force Col. Abed (surname withheld for security reasons) said. "These flights are meant to protect the oil installations, power lines and protect our borders from our enemies."

"This is the first move of our air force that will provide security," Abed said. "And this is very essential given the nature of our problems right now inside our country. And we can use them for peaceful missions as well."
The two Australian-built SB7L-360 SEEKER Reconnaissance Aircraft being used are the start of an eventual force of ten light reconnaissance planes to be ordered. And, the reconstituted force has a different mission than previously.
"Before our mission was very combative to other countries and threatening to other countries," he said. "Now our mission is to serve our country."

"We want to prove that the coalition is not an invading force, but a force that gave us our independence," Abed said.

"And we want to protect that," he added. "This is a new mission for us."
My take is that this is a small but noteworthy step towards the Iraqis achieving complete autonomy in defending their country. It should be loudly heralded by the media. Unfortunately, it won't be. It's inconsistent with their agenda to promote a picture of doom and gloom in Iraq. (via AnalogKid)

Monday, August 23, 2004

Effort-Based Grading at Benedict College

(Columbia, South Carolina) A new policy has been instituted at Benedict College which specifies that 60% of the grades for new students shall be based on effort and only 40% shall be based on academic achievement. This means that a passing grade can be awarded to someone who learned essentially nothing but tried real hard. Some faculty members have objected and two professors have been fired over the new policy.

Since it is already commonplace to teach remedial high school courses to entering freshman and now there will be no academic progress required of college students, it's unclear how Benedict College can maintain their accreditation. The school is trending toward being nothing more than an expensive diploma mill. Jeff Quinton has more at the Backcountry Conservative.
Alice Cooper Rants At Rockers

(Winnipeg, Manitoba) Responding to the fact that Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, and other musical acts are making a rock & roll campaign tour for John Kerry, Alice Cooper accused them of treason.
"To me, that's treason. I call it treason against rock 'n' roll because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics," says the 56-year-old Cooper,

[ ... ]

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."
It probably couldn't be said much better. But, unfortunately, every year there's over a million new 18-year-old potential voters whose knowledge of economics, history, and politics was gleaned from MTV. (via Aaron's Rantblog)
Protected Rats

It's reported that, in Germany, if you have a rat infestation, your options for getting rid of the rats are limited by animal protection laws. One must first determine the type of rat. If one has black rats, an endangered species protected under German law, the only option is to carefully trap and relocate the rats to another, more rat-friendly, place. [Insert cheap joke here.]

However, if one has brown rats in the home, they can be eliminated, but they "may only be killed under anesthesia. If the killing is done without anesthesia as part of licit pest control, the killing may only be carried out if it doesn't cause more than the inevitable pain." This means traps and guns are prohibited because they cause pain. Consequently, the only method permissible is a slow, presumably painless (I don't know how anyone would know if a rat was in pain) poisoning with a blood-clotting substance. This process takes several days. While waiting for them to die, I assume a person just learns to live with the rats.

It's obvious that the Germans have become unreasonable in legislating protection for animals. Rats are disease-carrying vermin and they should be eradicated. They have and will continue to be ubiquitous on the planet Earth despite any effort to save or destroy them. The idea of protecting rats is the most ludicrous concept I've heard.

Of course, I probably shouldn't be so quick in forming an opinion. When the animal rights extremists get a foothold in the political realm, protecting rats easily becomes law. Next, I'll probably find that the Germans are protecting cockroaches also.
U.S. Broadcasting Television to Cuba

In addition to Radio Marti, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting is now sending television signals to Cuba via a circling C-130 Hercules aircraft.
"Television Marti at this moment is transmitting for the first time from an airplane in the United States of America," read the Saturday evening announcement. "It is already in flight, sending the signal from Television Marti to Channel 13, fulfilling the initiative adopted by President George W. Bush to speed up a democratic transition in Cuba."
It's not known what programs will be on Television Marti, but if it turns out to be PBS, Castro will probably require all Cubans to watch and learn more about socialism and anti-Americanism.
Paula Zahn's Technical Glitches

This report cracked me up.
Paula Zahn's ratings were higher for the 15 minutes when her show suffered technical glitches than for the next 15 minutes when she was back on the air.
If people leave the party when you show up, it's not only an embarrassment and an insult, it's an indication you probably stink. (via The Owner's Manual)

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Website Hacked!

Rusty Shackleford of My Pet Jawa has the exclusive report about hackers penetrating the murderer al-Zarqawi's website. He's the psychotic criminal responsible for the beheadings of Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-Il. Go visit.

On a different note, Rusty mentions that he's been receiving oogats of ugly emails from leftist wacko nutjobs who think they're writing to Michelle Malkin. All because she linked to him.
Bloggers Who Served

Jeff Quinton is compiling a list of bloggers who have served or are serving in the military. I'm one: U.S. Navy, 1967-1973, IC Electrician. Although Jeff just started a few days ago, the list is already pretty long. Take a look.
Time For Tolerance

(Cleveland, Ohio) According to this report, over 500 rapists, child molesters and other sexual offenders have been released from prison and taken up residence in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County within the past year. And, they are all over the place, every community has seen a surge.

In a related report, statistics indicate that about 40% of the sex offenders will be back in prison within three years, most new sex offenses will occur within 12 months of release, and about 80% of the sex offenders target children 13 years-old and younger.

Using the scientific methodology of 2 plus 2 equals 4, it's easy to predict that there will be an increase in sex crimes and missing children.

Isn't this just ducky?
Fired For Incompetence Then Hired To Teach

(Cleveland, Ohio) Fired for incompetence and "scientific fraud" that resulted in sending an innocent man to prison for 13 years, forensic technician Joseph Serowik has been hired to head the forensic science program at Youngstown State University, a position that carries the possibility of lifetime employment through tenure.

Maybe he'll teach what not to do.
The Deadly Oops

Yesterday, a British base jumper at Staldenfluh in Switzerland abruptly retired from the sport. A police spokesman said this was not the first retirement at Staldenfluh.
Al-Qaida in Latin America

(Monterrey, Mexico) According to this report, an Al-Qaida cell is believed to be operating in Mexico to funnel people into the United States and to recruit terrorists to attack locations in Central America. The Panama Canal is considered to be a likely target. Authorities throughout the region have been alerted to increase security measures.
Ethics in Journalism

Last week at the 7th Annual President Quezon Symposium on Ethics, Rep. Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. of the Philippine Congress gave a speech that fundamentally attacks journalists for not honoring their profession. His remarks are incisive and insightful. As an example,
Indeed, many people look on the mass media today as composed of poltroons for the most part, and idiots for the rest: quick with the cutting word but slow with the careful thought that should have prompted the word; more adept at entertaining than enlightening; and just a few degrees less corrupt than the politician and the policeman - but only for lack of equal opportunity.

[ ... ]

I think the best solution lies in each journalist being the best he can with utter fidelity to his profession, and to steer clear of those who will not try to improve themselves.

I think the greatest crime is committed by those journalists who tolerate the company, and defend the right to write, of unworthy colleagues who bring shame on their honored profession. I think the crime is compounded when the worst practitioners of the journalistic craft are honored for the success that has rewarded their perversion of its ends and their debasement of its methods.

I think the public must educate itself to tell good from bad journalism, and educate itself further to appreciate that good journalism will not always entertain while bad journalism will never inform. [Emphasis mine]
There's more at the link and, despite the fact that Locsin is speaking specifically of Filipino journalism, his words ring true for any country that purports to have a free press, competent journalists, and objective media. (via A Sassy Lawyer)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

French Journalists Vanish in Iraq

Missing and strongly feared to have been kidnapped are two French reporters on assignment in Iraq. George Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale, described as "seasoned Iraq specialists," have been missing without a trace since Thursday.

Since previous kidnappings and threatened executions have been for purposes of extorting concessions from coalition forces and their supporters, it's unclear what the purpose is of taking Frenchmen. With the possible only exception of supplying ground and air forces, France seems to be totally supportive of the militant Islamic murderers. But, then again, murdering thugs usually aren't very bright nor are their supporters.
Blind Man Gets License To Drive

(Orland Park, Illinois) Walking with a white cane, Bob Zukas entered the driver's license facility and successfully renewed his license even though he told the examiner that he was legally blind since suffering a stroke. The examiner said OK and then filled out the renewal forms and issued him a new license.

Kind of makes me wonder just how many disqualifiers a person might need to be rejected. For example, what are the chances of a quadriplegic, blind, deaf, illegal alien getting a license? In Illinois, I'd say 50-50.
Court Strikes Pledge From Schools

According to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it is unconstitutional for Pennsylvania schools to require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the National Anthem. The appeals court upheld the decision last year by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Robert F. Kelly in Philadelphia.

The state law in contention allowed students to opt out of the pledge and anthem, but required written notification to be sent to the parents of instances where it occurred. The notification provision is the reason that the ACLU filed the initial lawsuit. They considered it to have a 'chilling' effect on students exercising their rights.

I personally don't see any harm in requiring the pledge and anthem in schools, but I do see harm in the courts legislating policies based on the gripes of a handful of socialists, or anarchists, or nazis, or cultists, or just plain-old contrarian jerks.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Free Airfare to Bahamas For Military

(Columbus, Ohio) Laker Airways, flying from Columbus Rickenbacker International Airport, has announced:
Any service person who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan since January 2003 will have free roundtrip airfare. The service person would only be responsible for applicable taxes.
Efforts are also in progress to obtain reduced rate hotel accommodations in Nassau. Reduced airfare will be available to other military personnel and their dependents.

Alcohol Inhaler

This new product will undoubtedly spark enormous controversy, but for the person that needs an alcohol pick-me-up, it doesn't get any speedier. No more bothersome cans, bottles, nor glasses, just grab a hose.

Alcohol Inhaler

The Alcohol Without Liquid vapor machine combines pressurized oxygen with alcohol, costs about $3,000, and is distributed by North Carolina-based Spirit Partners. It's been mentioned that it was invented for people with chronic elbow problems.

Personally, I'd make extra sure no one tried to enjoy a cigarette while imbibing. Alcohol vapor and pure oxygen comes close to being rocket fuel.

Sans Adult Supervision

Sans Adult Supervision

In compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, a coalition of blind engineers and contractors has completed its first residential project.

Sans Adult Supervision

Thanks to Kurt who illuminates The Shallow End Of The Gene Pool.
Weekend Brain Force Multiplier
Assuming the earth is a perfect globe, from how many starting points on earth can a person travel one mile south, then one mile west, and then one mile north to end at the starting point?
All answers will receive no prize.
Caveman Chris Matthews

It would be irresponsible of me not to link to Michelle Malkin's post describing her experience yesterday as a guest on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews show. Uninformed bias, rudeness, and unprofessionalism should be regularly used words to describe the person and the journalist that is Chris Matthews. He's a political hack as Michelle Malkin's behind-the-scenes report demonstrates.

I encourage my readers to follow the link. It's an opportunity to vicariously see what it's like to be in the same room with Chris Matthews, who schedules and starts a discussion on a subject about which he has no knowledge nor any desire to become informed. All that Matthews brings to the table is hatred, spittle, and the closed mind of a cultist.

Ms. Malkin calls Matthews a caveman and I'd agree. However, I'd add that he's a caveman that embarrasses other cavemen.
Kellogg Corn Flakes Banned

Frankly, I was astonished when I saw this report from last week which announces that Denmark has banned 18 Kellogg products, including Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Special K. Holy moly! People have been eating these products for generations and, if there were any problem with them, one would expect to have already heard of specific health concerns. But, no! Out of the clear blue comes the prohibition by authorities in Denmark.

As best that I can discern (I've been searching for information for several days) is that the basis for the ban is that:
". . . a government laboratory conducted a scientific examination of the ingredient lists . . . ."
So, they looked at the label. Great!

The reading-the-label method of scientific justification seems rather weak when the products in question have been bought and consumed for ages and, to my knowledge, nobody has died from corn flake poisoning so far.

To be fair, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration through their representative, Paolo Drotsby, stated the ban was instituted due to potential harm from enrichment with vitamins and minerals. No scientific basis, however, has been disclosed to support their assertion so there is no way to evaluate its validity.

In a way, I really sympathize with the folks at the Kellogg Company for having to walk a tightrope. They get criticized if they don't fortify their products with vitamins and minerals and they get banned when they do. That said, I need to mention that I have no love for Kellogg nor any other cereal company. Any company that can take a $4 bushel of corn and turn it into $500 worth of corn flakes I figure is scamming somebody.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Norwegian Stage Stunt

Fines Imposed For Norwegian Stage Stunt

Norwegian Stage Stunt

Tommy Hol Ellingsen and Leona Johansson, environmental activists who have sex on stage to protect the rain forests, are refusing to pay the fine of NOK 50,000 ($7,400) for public indecent behavior last month at the Quart Festival in Norway.

Sex saves the rain forest! Eureka! I'm an environmentalist!
How To Spot A Psychopath

Professor Robert Hare at the University of British Columbia figures that people numbering approximately 1 percent of the population of North America are psychopaths. Based upon a total of about 400 million North Americans, that equates to about 4 million being psychopaths. Interestingly, Robert Hare has devised a method to identify who the psychopaths are. It's also interesting that Hare appears to be a psychologist who works with other psychologists who, collectively, make more money when they can convince people that they are psychotic.

My take is that the research data obviously includes the population of psychologists in North America. If the psychologists were removed from the survey, the total number of psychopaths would be substantially reduced.
Pete Rose Owes IRS

If I didn't think he caused most of his problems, I'd think a black cloud followed Pete Rose around. He's now being assessed almost $1 million in back taxes.

School For Sale

Elementary School For Sale

(Buffalo, Oklahoma) Almost in the Oklahoma panhandle in Harper County, Buffalo doesn't expect a population boom and has more classrooms than it currently needs. Consequently, the city leaders are selling an elementary school, including more than three acres of land, for the reasonable price of $121,000 (reserve value) on eBay.

School For Sale

So, for those that were outcasts in school, be it geek, dork, loser, nerd, worm, or whatever else, this is your chance to be big man (woman) on campus.
Judge Thompson Avoids Sex Charges

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) Facing a trial next month on charges of sexual misconduct while court was in session, Sapulpa District Judge Donald Thompson has resigned effective September 1. As reported earlier,
Thompson used a penis pump, a device billed as providing sexual pleasure and promising better erections and larger penis size, during trials and exposed himself to a court reporter several times while masturbating on the bench.
Judge Thompson will not be missed in the courthouse. Most people have stated he was a real jerkoff. Also, this incident supports my previously stated contention that "there should be more vigorous policing of judges throughout the United States. Many are incompetent and hurt society more than they help." (via Dustbury)
American Children Abandoned in Africa

A visiting missionary, Warren Beemer, from a Texas church overheard children speaking English in a squalid orphanage in Ibadan, Nigeria. There were three boys and four girls ranging in age from 8 to 16. All were covered with insect bites, were underfed, and three had malaria. They told Beemer that they were American and their adoptive mother had left them in Nigeria months before. They tried to convince the missionary that they were Americans and, as a last resort, they stood shoulder to shoulder and sang the "Star-Spangled Banner." Convinced, Beemer alerted his church which notified authorities and, with the help of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the children were returned to the United States last Friday.

The mother, 47-year-old Mercury Liggins, is in Iraq employed as a contract food service worker and is expected back in the U.S. on August 26. She is under investigation by Texas state authorities for fraud and child abuse.
Olympics Making Money

(Athens, Greece) Olympic organizers are happily announcing that, as of yesterday, ticket sales have exceeded the financial target. Even so, 40% of the tickets still haven't been sold. Although there have been rumors that tickets would ultimately be given away just to fill seats, they're false. Officials have firmly ruled out the prospect of anyone receiving free tickets.
World Class Jerk

(Athens, Greece) Canadian sludgebrain, Ron Bensimhon, interrupted the Olympic synchronized diving contest by leaping into the swimming pool dressed in clown's shoes and a tutu. He was sentenced yesterday to five months in jail and fined 300 euros. Bensimhon apparently is a serial rude interrupter who sometimes publicizes for an Internet casino outfit. He also halted competition during the World Skating Championships in Germany last March.
Ralph Nader Delivers Ballot Petition

Ralph Nader is expected to meet today's deadline for submittal of required signatures to place his name on the Ohio ballot as an independent candidate for President.

Also today, Michael Badnarik, a computer consultant from Indiana, is expected to submit his petition to be placed on the Ohio ballot as the Libertarian candidate for President.

Each candidate will have about ten thousand signatures, double the number required. The Secretary of State's office will next verify that the signatures represent registered Ohio voters.

From Jefferson City, Missouri, comes the news that Nader failed to submit a sufficient number of valid signatures and probably won't be on the Missouri ballot.
Nader's supporters submitted 12,893 signatures by the July deadline, but Secretary of State Matt Blunt said Wednesday local election officials verified only 9,006 -- 994 short of the number required.
The Nader campaign team may appeal.
Greek Athletes Quit

(Athens, Greece) Sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, two of Greece's best known athletes, have withdrawn from Olympic competition amid scandal. After missing random drug testing last week and dropping out of the games this week, it is presumed that something is fishy.

My take is that if the officials performed comprehensive testing of all athletes, the level of competitiveness would decrease dramatically.
Kerry Ex-Lover Speaks

The Boston Herald reports on a woman named Lee Whitnum who claims to be John Kerry's ex-lover and who has written a fictional account of their relationship. Whitnum, described as a novelist, says she had a "steamy secret 20-month fling" with Kerry who she says is "intoxicating" and "very romantic."

Curiously, several Internet searches for 'Whitnum' and 'Lee Roystone' (her pseudonym) found no results other than a paid advertisement for her bookselling website. Also curious is that her supposed tell-all book doesn't seem to tell anything other than how Kerry cooked lobster and spoke French while she warmed his kielbasa.

All-in-all, it doesn't seem like Whitnum has much to offer and, as a writer and novelist, nobody seems to have heard of her. Consequently, a skeptical and suspicious person might think that the timing and subject matter of this latest "revealing" news is nothing more than a political ploy to angle some randy Clintonesque panache onto the cold porridge personality of John Kerry.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Man Jailed For Not Cleaning

(Manchester, New Hampshire) District Court Judge John Emery sentenced Matthew Skwozinski, 53, to six months in jail for not cleaning his yard. It's not clear how the yard is to be cleaned.
Driver's License Suspended On Doctor's Report

(Lebanon, Pennsylvania) Keith Emerich had his driver's license suspended after his doctor notified the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that he admitted to drinking 6 to 12 beers daily. County Judge Bradford Charles has upheld the decision and ordered Emerich to install an expensive ignition interlock device on his car to prevent him from driving while drinking. Otherwise, he has lost his privileges to drive.

I guess there is no longer anything like doctor-patient privilege. It also appears that Emerich is being punished without having committed a crime. There is no law (yet) prohibiting beer drinking and there is no evidence that Emerich drove while drinking. "Innocent until proven guilty" has been replaced with "punished for talking to your doctor."

If the liberals get their national health care program, we'll see more extensive Gestapo-like rules and just think of the amount of liberty that will disappear. My advice would be to keep one's mouth shut when around government informants, like doctors.
Tax-Free School Supplies

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) Philadelphia Democratic State Representative Mike McGeehan has announced that he will propose legislation to institute two week-long holidays from sales tax on school supplies, in August and in January. During those periods, the state's 6 percent sales tax would not be levied on pencils, notebooks, calculators, lunch boxes, and other school items.

This idea is great! Any time taxes are cut, it's great! And, if computers are included in the list of school supplies, I'm sure retailers will see a boon in sales.

That said, it needs to be pointed out that a Democrat has proposed the idea and timed it just before the November election. Democrats generally don't believe in tax relief so it appears that McGeehan is only trolling for votes.
Online Drugs

According to Illinois Governor Blagojevich, within a month, the state will have an online clearinghouse in operation to help citizens order drugs from foreign countries. The online service will be established despite the fact that it's contrary to federal law. So far, other states have initiated similar programs and, as yet, the Food and Drug Administration has taken no legal action to stop the practice. I'm sure that drug importation will continue to be a contentious issue. However, the way things are currently trending, it doesn't look like the federal government is going to do anything.

Mark my words, soon we'll be hearing offbeat stories of idiots trying to order illegal narcotics via the online clearinghouse.
Supreme Court May Disbar Judge

(Columbus, Ohio) For allegedly engaging in a pattern of improper and unprofessional conduct, Court of Common Pleas Judge Deborah O'Neill may be disbarred by the Ohio Supreme Court. Judge O'Neill faces five charges of judicial misconduct and the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline recommended her law license be suspended for two years. Eight judges who work with her filed an official complaint describing rude behavior, arriving to court two hours late, and violations of law.
In one case, the judge allegedly expressed her opinion of guilt for a crime for which the defendant was not convicted.

O'Neill also allegedly pressured both sides to reach a plea agreement because she was going away. She allegedly told the lawyers, "No plea, no bail, and he'll sit in jail until I'm back from vacation."
In her defense, O'Neill has said that the other judges are just as guilty and that they are politically allied against her. Also in her defense, she told reporters that:
"I think I forgot I had a robe on. I made independent decisions and instead of sticking by them, I did things and that was a result of human behavior."
Um ... okay, whatever that's supposed to mean.

My general impression is that Judge O'Neill sounds like she could use a vacation. I also think that there should be more vigorous policing of judges throughout the United States. Many are incompetent and hurt society more than they help.
Vagrant Kills Tavern Owner

(Tulsa, Oklahoma) A homeless man, Terry Badgewell, used a length of pipe to kill Shawn Howard, owner of the Deadtown Tavern. Tulsa residents are angered and some fear vigilante justice may erupt against the homeless. People downtown have been seen wearing "F*** the homeless" T-shirts handed out by bar owners.

The prosecutor believes it is a case of self-defense so Badgewell has been released from custody. However, family and friends of Howard believe otherwise and are collecting signatures on a petition to have a grand jury hear the case. In the meantime, Interested-Participant recommends that vagrants vamoose from Tulsa and go to San Francisco or Key West, two of the best cities for the homeless where attractive benefits are provided. (via Dummocrats.com)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Kerry and Waxman

In this story from the Jerusalem Post, it's reported that John Kerry has selected Democratic former Congressman Mel Levine from West Los Angeles to be his top Mideast advisor. I presently have no comment concerning this appointment other than the fact that I really have a hard time understanding why any Jew would ever vote for or become a Democrat.

It's been reported that the Palestinians are secretly supporting Kerry. In unofficial meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and other Palestinian leaders, the potential new administration's Middle East plans were discussed along with the possible appointment of Sandy "Hot Pockets" Berger as Secretary of State. Since the Palestinians are generally known to raise their children to hate all Jews and the Palestinians support John Kerry, it's unfathomable to me how the Jews can also support Kerry. It's not in their best interest.

What I also found interesting about the article is a quote by Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman in which he praises John Kerry for his ability to "translate his views into public policy." Well, excuse me for not paying enough attention. I thought I kept pretty current on the political landscape, but somewhere I missed the expression of anything definite from John Kerry. In fact, every time I've felt comfortable about where he stands on an issue, he reverses himself. It seems to me that the only thing a person can be sure of is that John Kerry is solidly founded in liberalism. With regard to Kerry's "views" on individual issues, hell, I honestly don't know. Nevertheless, whatever they are, Henry Waxman seems to know and also knows they're well translated into public policy. Maybe it's a secret.
Bug Gamblers Arrested

(Hong Kong) Facing charges of illegal gambling on cricket fights are 115 bug lovers. Approximately 300 crickets and more than $1,000 were confiscated during the raid by Hong Kong police. Each gambler may receive penalties of three months in jail and a $1,280 fine.

Sheesh! I didn't know you could get crickets to fight each other. One has to wonder if an army of fighting crickets could be trained to attack something. If not, just the idea could be used in a new Godzilla movie.
Oprah Selected For Jury Duty

(Chicago, Illinois) Even though she said she couldn't be impartial to a defendant who did not testify, Oprah Winfrey was chosen to sit in judgment in the trial of Dion Coleman, 27, charged with first-degree murder. Last night, Winfrey sat quietly taking notes while opening statements were presented in the courtroom of Judge James B. Linn in the Cook County Criminal Courts building. Duration of the trial is expected to be three days.
Australians Most Dopey

According to this report from News.com.au, a team of international experts has found that Australians use more cannabis than the citizens of the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. Research indicates that 60 per cent of Australian adults have tried cannabis and 2 per cent are believed to be dependent on the drug. The research also indicates there is a link between cannabis use and mental illness.

One can assume that the marijuana advocacy will adamantly refute the findings of the experts.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Bobby Fischer To Renounce U.S. Citizenship

(Tokyo, Japan) Former chess champion Bobby Fischer wants to renounce his American citizenship, but the U.S. Embassy wants him deported to face charges that he violated international sanctions on the former Yugoslavia. Fischer also wants to get married, but Japanese officials require a valid passport and proof of citizenship, neither of which he has. He's been checked in his effort to be mated. The story continues to develop.
Slowly Recovering

Almost back to Olympic form is Joe Kelley of The Sake Of Argument who is recovering from a bout with meningitis and hopefully will be back blogging soon. Go visit and lend some encouragement.
On Stage With President Bush

Last Wednesday, Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended appeared on stage with the President during a campaign event at the Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Phoenix. His report on the event is a pleasure to read, fairly concise yet informative to the point where one gets the feeling of actually having been there. Take a look.
Legal Prostitution in Bay Area?

(Berkeley, California) Although it would be contrary to California state law, a group called the Sex Workers Outreach Project has collected enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot which aims to essentially legalize prostitution in Berkeley.

Wait a minute! Didn't the State Supreme Court rule just last week that a community cannot intentionally violate California state law? There are many, many people upset because their marriages have been voided since Mayor Gavin Newsom's actions were illegal when he married them. It would seem that election officials would take the hint and prohibit ballot measures that don't comply with state law. Of course, this is California where rules and laws are all relative. Also, it's Berkeley where I understand that years ago they passed a city ordinance making it illegal to detonate nuclear bombs within the city limits. There have been no violations as yet.

It's not surprising that support for the measure comes from two primary groups, the hookers, who are tired of being shuffled in and out of jail, and the adjacent communities, who want their prostitutes to go to Berkeley so that they can clean up the blighted hooker stroll areas. We'll hear more about this story as election day approaches.
Wild Animals Cause Wilderness Damage

The pristine government wilderness areas around San Francisco Bay are experiencing some significant challenges since they've become populated with wild animals. In particular, wild hogs and foxes are damaging the happy wilderness. The hogs tear up entire hillsides allowing erosion and the foxes are killing other species. As a result, wildlife management authorities are aggressively implementing a modified wilderness program where some species are more equal than others. According to District Wildlife Program Manager Joe DiDonato,
"If certain animals expand at the expense of endangered species or the general environment, we must take remedial measures."
The problems associated with wilderness areas are blamed on 200 years of human influence and, therefore, additional human intervention is necessary to assure that wilderness areas are true wilderness areas. As DiDonato says,
"We can't just let things slide and expect nature to work it out. In these lands, nature needs an active helping hand."
It would seem that these areas shouldn't be referred to as wilderness areas. More appropriate would be wildlife management areas or preserves. Also, no surprise nor frustration should be expressed by the authorities when wild animals show up and proliferate in areas that appear to be a wild. After all, how are the wild animals to know that they are entering the equivalent of a gated community?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Banned Drug Producer

New Law Bans Popular Drug

(Turkmenistan) Due to health concerns, the President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan has banned the chewing of a drug called nas or naswai which is a mixture of chicken excrement, tobacco, and lime. As the drug is chewed, it acts as a narcotic and stimulant. Violators of the law will face fines. A typical production facility is pictured below.

Banned Drug Producer

Apparently, use of the drug results in a high incidence of throat cancer, reportedly blamed for 80 percent of Central Asians afflicted with the disease. Although not mentioned in the report, it's suspected that the drug causes 100 percent of the halitosis in Turkmenistan. (Via The Owner's Manual)

Gustatory Art

Gustatory Art

Gustatory Art

Some people like modern art or renaissance art or impressionism, I'm particularly fond of gustatory art. Pictured is a masterpiece. Italian meatballs slathered in red marinara sauce, and then rolled in shredded asiago cheese. Thanks to Brent at Coptalk who also has a pic of chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick.
Competing With Wal-Mart

(Middlefield, Ohio) With a Wal-Mart Supercenter scheduled to open in this NE Ohio community next spring, the Middlefield Chamber of Commerce has hired a consultant to aid merchants in competing. Kenneth Stone, a professor emeritus of economics at Iowa State University, has years of experience researching the impact of chain stores.
"Unless you change the way you do business," Stone warned, "you risk losing your business."
In a three-hour presentation, Stone outlined necessary techniques and tactics for small businesses to compete and survive. Adapting their products, services, and methodologies to work around the influence of Wal-Mart is required.

In addition to Middlefield, within the next year Wal-Mart plans to open Supercenters in Chardon in Geauga County, North Madison in Lake County, Oberlin in Lorain County, and Wadsworth in Medina County.
Journalism As Thuggery

Via Les Jones, I was pointed to a new blog called Varifrank by Frank Martin who has written an excellent post on the current state of the journalism profession. Frankly (no pun intended), I wish I had written it.

The question Frank puts on the table is:
What if the power of the press itself has become corrupt?
In convincing detail, the question is answered and I agree with Frank's logic and conclusions.

It's worthwhile to spend a few minutes looking over Varifrank. He's also posted an engaging entry which explains the chaotic political situation in Venezuela. It appears that, sooner or later, the mess in Caracas is going to grow into a significant international problem. Like it or not, everybody will be affected.
Radio Quiz

Yesterday, as I was puttering around the house, I had the radio on, half listening to the WTAM Cleveland station. Two guys were hosting a sports-talk program where they asked questions to callers and gave out prizes for correct answers. The subject was based on the fact that virtually all NFL teams have at least one player named Johnson and they were trying to identify which player weighed the most. Callers were asked to answer the question of which of two teams had the bigger Johnson. Funny.

It turned out that a player on the Lions weighed more than all others named Johnson. So, Detroit, you've got the biggest Johnson.
Dalai Lama Teams With PETA

It seems that corporate officials for YUM Brands, parent company for KFC, received notification from the Dalai Lama in a letter, dated June 22nd, stating:
"On behalf of my friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), I am writing to ask that KFC abandon its plan to open restaurants in Tibet, because your corporation's support for cruelty and mass slaughter violate Tibetan value." The Buddhist holy man cited the death of a chicken for his becoming a vegetarian. He also stressed that eating chicken was not a Tibetan cultural tradition.
YUM brands studied the feasibility of selling chicken in Tibet but halted all plans when they realized it wouldn't be a receptive marketplace.

I personally don't make much of the tie-in of PETA with the Buddhist leader. They would surely be equally successful in coaxing a Muslim cleric into writing a letter pleading that Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage not be sold in Islamabad.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Ohio Economy

It is so depressing to listen to the elite media and the Democrats constantly vilify the business and jobs climate in Ohio. It's described as an abysmal pit of poverty and desperation, a picture of pitch blackness. John Kerry and his campaign operatives, which includes the major media in Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Akron, and other cities, constantly rail at the Republicans for making Ohio a dismal stinkhole.

It's understandable that John Kerry would preach gloom. He's a politician with an agenda, an agenda to convince everyone that Ohio is a sewer and it's the Republicans' fault. Consequently, if everyone votes for the Democrats, Ohio will no longer be a sewer.

What's not understandable is the elite Ohio media becoming a de facto extension to the Kerry campaign team, echoing the message of misery. One would imagine that at least one major news and opinion outlet would come to the defense of the people and the businesses in Ohio. Unfortunately, that's all one can do, dream about it. It's like a football player on the field being shouted at by his teammates on the bench, "Hey! You suck!" It takes real character to keep one's mind on the game.

In addition to a previous post citing examples of business growth, other simple facts about life in Ohio do not support the absolute black characterizations from the Democrats. First of all, the Department of Labor reports that the Ohio unemployment rate hovers at somewhat less then 6 percent. Almost everybody desires to have this number lower and works towards that end. Nonetheless, John Kerry, the ersatz Frenchman, portrays Ohio unemployment as a disaster, yet the country of France, Kerry's touchstone for political philosophy, has gotten comfortable with unemployment cuddling 10 percent. If Ohio is dismally black at 6 percent unemployment, how would the Democrats portray France at 10 percent?

Another simple fact is that the downturn in the economy in Ohio and nationally has little to do with the Republicans. Several major events put the brakes on business and it's futile to try and place specific blame. The aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 2001 put airlines and airports into financial distress due to increased security measures. The massive sell off of ridiculously overpriced Internet stocks in the dotcom bust caused the markets to tumble and wealth to evaporate. The criminal accounting practices of Enron, Worldcom, and others made pension funds disappear. Plus, let us not forget that the United States is at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Needless to say, each of these events had a rippling effect on the entire economy.

Not insignificant and bound to continue is the impact of global free trade. Many countries, most notably China, have become vigorous competitors in the American marketplace, forcing staid and traditional U.S. companies to rethink their business methodologies. They're losing sales because there are lower-priced equivalents in the market. The changes occurring are similar to what happened in the early 1970s when low-priced cars from Japan took over the American market and Detroit automakers were forced into changing the way they conducted business.

The economy in Ohio and the U.S. has been dramatically affected by all these, and other, events and no one administration can be faulted for causing them. An administration can be asked to do something to help mitigate the negatives in the economy and, in this regard, the Bush administration is doing a notably effective job. The economy is recovering fast, so much so that the Federal Reserve just increased the discount rate to allay inflationary pressures and, although there was a stumble last month, the trend in job creation has been positive and substantial. Any rational assessment of the state of the economy would have to conclude that America should continue doing what it is doing.

On the other hand, the Democrats would like everyone to believe the economy is in the toilet and we need to increase taxes on the rich. They highlight the lack of jobs in Ohio, portraying the state as a wasteland. And the Ohio media surreptitiously heralds the Democratic Party message. Pick up any major newspaper in Ohio to learn how much Ohioans suck. The media make great cheerleaders. Unfortunately, they're on the wrong side.

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