Friday, December 31, 2004

Beslan Donates To Tsunami Relief

The Courier-Mail reports that the North Ossetian town of Beslan in Russia, still mourning 344 deaths - half of them children - by terrorists, has contributed $37,500 to the tsunami relief effort.
"Our council decided to transfer a million rubles to help those suffering from the disaster in Asia," said Maerbek Tuayev, who is in charge of municipal council efforts to raise funds for families of the victims of the September hostage taking.

"The residents of Beslan have not forgotten how the whole world mobilised for them. We will always mobilise for people suffering from disasters or terrorism around the world."
Memories of the massacre in Beslan are ugly. The residents' resilience and generosity warm the heart.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
All Banda Aceh Newspaper Staff Missing

(Jakarta, Indonesia) The entire Serambi newspaper staff, the lone daily in Banda Aceh, is missing. A search for any of the 230 employees, including 80 journalists, found nothing but devastation.
Russia May Preemptively Attack Terrorists

Here's a somewhat ominous report from Xinhua:
Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov says the country may launch a preemptive attack against terrorist bases.

Sergey Ivanov was speaking at a Russian government press conference, Thursday. He didn't disclose a specific target for the attack and only said the target had always existed.
It's not news that Russia would preemptively attack terrorists, but it is news that a specific target has been identified and it has "always existed." It's also curious that the announcement seems to carry a veiled sense of imminence.

Not revealing the target is logical. Seldom is it a good idea to tell your enemies where the next attack will be. Nevertheless, it would be nice to know how the Russians classify, categorize, and define "terrorist base."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

AARP and Marijuana

It appears that some members of the editorial staff at AARP The Magazine (formerly Modern Maturity) are veteran drug users who are now surreptitiously promoting a drug legalization agenda to seniors in America. The ploy is to study the "health" benefits of marijuana to soften opposition to the legalization of pot. Accuracy in Media has the details.

Personally, I'm looking forward to watching the inevitable conflict between the anti-tobacco smoking activists and the pro-marijuana smoking enthusiasts. They may not be able to compromise.
Senior Zarqawi Aide Captured

The Iraqi government announced that Fadil Hussain Ahmed al-Kurdi, 26, a senior member of the Al Qaeda-linked network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was captured in a raid in Baghdad along with two other terrorists. Kurdi, AKA Ridha, is the brother of Umar Baziyani, a Zarqawi lieutenant captured last May.
"Ridha was responsible for facilitating communications between Al Qaeda and the Zarqawi terror networks as well as coordinating the movement of terrorists in and out of Iraq," a Government statement said.

"Both Ridha and Umar Baziyani remain in detention and are being question [sic] by Iraqi and coalition forces."
It's also being reported that a Yemeni close to Osama bin Laden was one of seven militants killed in Wednesday's shootout with Saudi security forces in Riyadh. According to a security source,
"Ibrahim Ahmad Abdel Majeed al-Reemy, a Yemeni national, was among the seven militants killed on Wednesday evening," the source said.

Reemy, who does not figure on the Saudi kingdom's most-wanted list, is a "big shot in Al-Qaeda and is believed to be the link between the organisation in Saudi Arabia and bin Laden himself," the source said.
New Iraq Signs First Oil Contract

According to this Sydney Morning Herald report, the Iraqi Oil Ministry has awarded a contract, the first since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, to develop the Kormale Dome oil field in the northern province of Irbil. Oil Ministry spokesman Assim Jihad said the contract was a $136 million joint venture agreement among three companies, the Kar Company of Iraq, Turkey's Avrasya, and Britain-based Dynamic Processing Solutions. Kormale Dome is expected to produce 100,000 barrels of oil and 100 million cubic meters of gas per day.

To address the frequent terrorist attacks on pipelines and other facilities, spokesman Jihad said the Ministry would soon open bidding for contracts to provide security services. Naturally, these developments are good news and it's interesting that security is going to be contracted out. Rather than have the government provide security, the Ministry appears to prefer a rental guard force. The relative effectiveness of a private security force will surely be scrutinized.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Marshal Tito Statue Blown Up

According to the Croatian Information Center website [link won't last long], a monument to former Yugoslav communist dictator Josip Broz Tito was blown up. The life-size statue was built in 1948 in Kumrovec, Tito's hometown.
The blast inflicted serious damage to the statue; the adjacent Tito Museum also sustained damage, as well as an inn and the administrative building of the Kumrovec Ethno-Village.
It's unclear who did the damage, but Goranka Horjan of the Culture Ministry said the bronze statue would be restored. People may remember Marshal Tito as the leader of Yugoslavia whose proudest achievement was an economy that produced the Yugo. Tito died in 1980.
PETA Files Charges

(Waukon, Iowa) The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) accuses the Agri-Processors slaughterhouse in Postville of animal cruelty. The animal rights group says it "has videotapes showing cattle flailing after having their throats cut."

I give up. What else, pray tell, should they be doing in a slaughterhouse?
American Fighting Spirit

(Columbia, South Carolina) It's got to make you feel proud as an American to know that 50-year-old veteran Jimmy Cofield just reenlisted to go and fight in Iraq. He's been physically preparing himself for a year and leaves Sunday for Camp Pendleton.

Semper fi, Jimmy. (via Backcountry Conservative)
Laser Directed at Airliner Cockpit

(Cleveland, Ohio) Using a sophisticated laser system, someone targeted the cockpit of an airplane on approach to Cleveland-Hopkins Airport. The flight originated Monday in Washington, D.C., and was traveling at 300MPH at 8,500 to 10,000 feet when the beam of green light invaded the cockpit. The laser is believed to have come from suburban Warrensville Heights. The FBI and the FAA are investigating. At present, it's unknown whether the incident was a prank or something more sinister.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Christmas Morn Porn

(Kenmore, Ohio) It appears that a local public access television station has redefined the maids a' milking theme.
"I turn it to Channel 15 and there's this naked lady on the screen -- I mean full-frontal, get-the-hell-out-of-here pornography," said David Umana. "When I tell about Christmas 2004, I'm betting this will be one of my best stories."

Umana's 15- and 17-year-old sons had left the room about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, but he and his wife, Karen, saw the porn and called Time Warner Cable to complain.

Chris Thomas, the cable company's director of government affairs, believes the wrong tape was put in a machine set to play that morning. A church program was scheduled, he said.

"I don't think the church group submitted that," Thomas said.
And, rumpa-bump-bum.
Bombs Rock Riyadh

From an Associated Press report:
A suicide attacker tried to drive his bomb-laden car into the Interior Ministry complex, and militants set off another bomb and exchanged fire with police late Wednesday in Riyadh, capital of a kingdom at war with Muslim extremists.

The first explosion at about 8:35 p.m. shattered windows and sent smoke and flames rising into the nighttime sky near the ministry in central Riyadh. Police officials said a suicide car bomber had tried to storm the ministry, but failed and instead exploded his car just outside.
It's unclear how many casualties resulted from the bombings, but it's believed that a number of policemen were injured. Subsequently, according to this report, Saudi Security Forces became engaged in a shoot-out with terrorists involved with the bombings and killed seven of them. And earlier today, Saudi police killed one and captured two terrorists in the city of Jeddah.
Ramsey Clark Defends Saddam Hussein

According to this report, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has been added to the team of lawyers defending Saddam Hussein. This action is not surprising and quite consistent with Clark's history as an anti-American extremist. Interestingly, even the liberal BBC refers to him as a "left-wing activist."

Clark questioned the legality of the Iraq Special Tribunal, stating that protecting Saddam's rights is his principle concern. He also said the United States "must be tried for the November assault on Falluja, destruction of houses, torture in prisons and its role in the deaths of thousands of Iraqis in the war." For some reason, he didn't slip in any references to SUVs or global warming. Maybe he forgot.

Here's a few graphic details from Channel NewsAsia:
With 80,763 dead, rotting corpses, smashed sewers, contaminated water and a lack of food and shelter, along with mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and malaria, could wipe out weakened survivors in their tens of thousands, UN and other experts warned.

[ ... ]

By the hour the confirmed tolls ticked up relentlessly in other hard-hit countries, including Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, where the stench of death and mass burials combined with traumatic grief and looting to create an apocalyptic vision for overwhelmed relief workers.

[ ... ]

Half of the confirmed dead -- more than 45,000 -- were in the Indonesian province of Aceh, close to the epicentre of the biggest earthquake in 40 years which sparked the tsunami waves that devastated coastal villages and resorts across the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka has 22,493 dead, India more than 10,800, but the tragedy struck not only the poor eking out a living on Asia's coasts.

The rich holidaying on tropical islands once considered paradise also fell victim to the waves, with western tourists accounting for most of Thailand's 1,829 dead, officials said, with a further 5,000 missing.

A total of 99 Europeans were reported dead and another 2,811 were missing from: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

[ ... ]

In Indonesia's Aceh province, fast emerging as the quake's ground zero, survivors scrabbled for food among mud and corpses. Great tracts of land remain under surging waters and there has been no word from many isolated communities.

The first shipments of international aid were arriving in the city of Banda Aceh, 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) northwest of Jakarta Wednesday, but with no trucks or fuel to distribute it, starvation loomed for thousands.
According to this report, cargo planes carrying food and water purification equipment arrived in Banda Aceh today while Indonesian military teams reached the coastal areas of western Sumatra and found little more than devastation. Thousands of decaying bodies were seen in town after town with homes flattened or torn apart. In Banda Aceh, the capital of Sumatra's Aceh province, bulldozers were rushing to push more than a thousand unidentified rotting corpses into a mass grave.

Relief and emergency supplies have arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but authorities are experiencing problems in distribution due to an ongoing civil conflict between Sinhalese and Tamil groups. Widespread looting has been reported in the vacation resorts of Phuket and Phi Phi in Thailand. A navy flotilla is underway to western Sumatra carrying food and medical aid, including 100 doctors. Tens of thousands of people remain missing.

This is just an ugly snapshot of a horribly ugly big picture.
U.S. Blamed

Well, it didn't take the leftists very long to come up with their predictable assertions (see here and here) that the United States, in general, and President Bush, in particular, are responsible for the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami deaths. Their logic is twofold. First there's U.S.-produced global warming which caused the sea level to rise and make coastal areas less capable of withstanding a tsunami. Secondly, from seismic monitors, the U.S. knew about the earthquake and the potential tsunami threat but didn't tell anyone. Consequently, the tens of thousands of deaths can be blamed on the U.S.

In my opinion, the global warming slant is a pile of feces. With regard to warning people on the beaches of the Indian Ocean of an impending tsunami, rightfully it's the responsibility of the countries bordering the ocean which, by the way, doesn't include the U.S. And, contrary to what was reported, the U.S. was timely in issuing a bulletin warning of a possible tsunami.

Paul at Wizbang looks at the blame-the-U.S. spin in more detail along with relaying some goofy thoughts of lefty bloggers.

[Update] This makes me wonder just how goofy the leftists will get to be. Now they're claiming that earthquakes are man-made and thousands of dead bodies don't pose a health risk. Sheesh!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Beheading Video Shown at Rock Concert

(Urayasu, Japan) For more than ten minutes, a rock band named Klack showed a video of the terrorist beheading of 24-year-old backpacker Shosei Koda at a concert Sunday. It's not clear how many people expressed outrage, however, the sponsoring Tokyo Broadcasting System angrily stated it had no foreknowledge of the stunt and voiced apologies to all who were offended.

If the members of the group Klack believes that a beheading video enhances their concerts, just how bad is their music. Obviously, they're shamelessly inconsiderate of the sensibilities of the public and the family and friends of Shosei Koda.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Diego Garcia Unaffected by Tsunamis

Home to a U.S. military base about 1,000 miles south of India and about 2,000 miles from the epicenter of the undersea earthquake, the island of Diego Garcia suffered no damage from tsunamis. Spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Bigelow, said the base is "apparently safe." According to Carolyn Bell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey, it's believed that the numerous coral reefs dissipated the impact on the British-owned island, resulting in only a slightly higher tide than usual. Bell also noted that coastal areas of Australia saw sea levels rise several feet but suffered no ill effects.

Companion post at Our Life.
Tsunami Death Toll Exceeds 55,000

Channel AsiaNews reports confirmed deaths at 27,174 in Indonesia, 17,640 in Sri Lanka, 8,523 in India, 4,000 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 1,439 in Thailand, 65 in Malaysia, 90 in Myanmar, 55 in The Maldives, 100 in Somalia, 10 in Tanzania, 2 in Bangladesh for a total greater than 55,000. Xinhua reports similar numbers.

Officials warn that the figures are expected to rise steeply.

Companion posts at Our Life, The Jawa Report.
UN Criticizes U.S. For Stinginess

After the Bush administration pledged $15 million in immediate relief aid for tsunami victims and directed the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to send a 21-member disaster-relief team to the region, the Norwegian-born UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland said the U.S. is stingy and should raise taxes to give more.

Thanks for the suggestion, Mr. Egeland. In return I'd like to suggest you have your entire paycheck donated to relief efforts. It's also worth mentioning that if you're attempting to rekindle an American fondness for the UN, you are going at it all wrong. Let the American people decide what our taxes should be. The next time you want to weigh in on U.S. tax policy, with all due respect, put a sock in it.

[Update] If anyone is interested in relaying some pleasantries to Mr. Jan Egeland, his phone and fax numbers are displayed here.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Dumb Criminal

(Troy, New York) Dumar Jackson, 17, had to go to court on a charge of giving a false identity to Troy Housing Authority. The young genius decided to drive there in a stolen car and park it by the police station. He was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property.
Colorado Left-Lane Law

Starting next week, travelers in Colorado need to be aware of a new law that forbids driving in the left lane of a multi-lane highway except when passing. If ticketed (I've a feeling the troopers are rubbing their palms together in anticipation), one can expect a $35 fine, $6.20 surcharge, and three points against the driving record.

Ostensibly, the law will prevent congestion and reduce road rage. Also, according to State Patrol Trooper Sara Shipley, Colorado has citizens that intentionally drive slow in the fast lane to prevent others from speeding. Frankly, of all the stupid things people do, being a vigilante traffic cop is a new one on me.

Lastly, could someone tell me why a traffic fine has a surcharge?
Japanese Ballistic Missile Warning System

The Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency announced plans to develop a community siren warning system to alert citizens of a ballistic missile attack. Funds have been budgeted for research on the siren network.

Oddly, when I read of these plans, I experienced flashbacks to every Godzilla movie I've ever seen.
Public School Enrollment Sinks

(Cleveland, Ohio) Since 2000, enrollment in the Cleveland Public School System has dropped 10%. Charter schools and families escaping to the suburbs are being blamed for taking away students. As the odds of graduating from a Cleveland high school continue trending toward the odds of winning the lottery, it's understandable that people are opting to enroll their children in different school systems.
Indonesian Earthquake Update

Reports indicate that tsunamis from the earthquake has caused the deaths of about 23,000 people thus far. Thousands more have been injured and more than one million people have lost their homes. Current death estimates are: 5,000 in Indonesia; 11,000 in Sri Lanka; 7,000 in Southern India; and 1,000 in Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Maldives. Also, an unconfirmed number of casualties in Eastern Africa have been reported.

[Update 0825 EST] The Jakarta Post reports that more than 5,700 people have been killed in Indonesia, primarily in the far western Aceh province of the island of Sumatra.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Reggie White Dies

Leaving a wife, son, and daughter, Reggie White died at his home in Huntersville, North Carolina, at the age of 43. It's being reported that death was due to a massive heart attack. Considered one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the NFL, White played eight years with the Philadelphia Eagles and six years with the Green Bay Packers.

From a personal perspective, Reggie White was an enjoyable player to watch on the field. You could almost see the flames of competitiveness burning inside him and, although fierce, he was a man of character and kindness. It's sad that he dies at such a young age. (via Backcountry Conservative)
Grisly Stabbings at Christmas Party

(Akron, Ohio) A large Christmas gathering of people of Vietnamese heritage turned bloody as a knife fight erupted, sending six people to the hospital. Both males and females suffered knife wounds and some are life threatening. Police escorted three handcuffed individuals from the home. The cause of the fight is under investigation.
Massive Earthquake in Indonesia

Indonesian Earthquake
Indonesian Earthquake 12/26/04

Initial report from the Jakarta Post:
A major earthquake rocked the northern part of Sumatra island on Sunday at about 7:58 a.m. reaching 6.8 on the Richter scale.

"The quake, whose epicenter was located 149 kilometers south of Meulaboh in West Aceh regency [2 degrees, 9 minutes] north latitude and [95 degrees, 6 minutes] east longitude some 20 kilometers under the sea," spokesman of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), Edison Gurning, in a fax transmission to The Jakarta Post.

[ ... ]

... DPA reported that the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado registered the quake at 8.1 on Richter scale, the most powerful so far in Indonesia.
Current death estimates (0700 EST) are:
Sri Lanka: 1,500 dead
India: 1,000 dead
Thailand: 156 dead
Indonesia: 400 dead
Malaysia: 17 dead
Casualty figures are rising as confirmed deaths and injuries become known. Channel NewsAsia reports that more than 2,200 have been killed from 30 ft. tsunamis and flash flooding. FoxNEWS is reporting that deaths exceed 3,000 as of 0730 EST.

[Update 0830 EST] The European Union has committed 3 million euros in relief aid to be distributed by the Red Cross, Red Crescent, and non-governmental organizations. It's now estimated that 3,400 people in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

A UN sponsored meeting is scheduled for today to discuss international response to the disaster. Russia announced it is prepared to send help.

Sri Lanka has declared a "state of disaster" and, according to Lalith Weeratunga, the top civil servant in Premier Mahina Rajapakse's office, 1,651 are confirmed dead. Medical facilities are overwhelmed by the number of dead bodies. Police also report that at least 300 prisoners in Matara fled from a high-security jail.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Homosexual Penguins Found

Because of difficulty of finding partners of the opposite sex while in captivity, penguins in Japan have been found to pair up with the same sex.

Village Penguins
Village Penguins
(AFP/Toru Yamanuka)

No statements from the penguins were obtained, but it's assumed they are all trying to break out of the joint and go where it's easier to hook up.
Christmas Computer Infections

Here's something that may temper the joy of receiving a brand new computer for Christmas.
Hackers, spammers and spies go into overdrive in December and January, when unsuspecting neophytes unwrap new computers, connect to the Internet, and, too often, get hit with viruses, spyware and other nefarious programs.
Experts recommend no easy method of preventing infection other than updating security patches feverishly and being timid in opening unexpected emails. Of note is that new computers given at Christmas are usually vulnerable because they customarily are shipped weeks before ultimately being connected to the Internet, a time period when dozens or more security patches have been issued. Hackers rely on the fact that most Christmas computers won't have the most recent security protection.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Yankee or Dixie?

Here's an interesting little quiz for figuring out if one is from the North or the South based upon pronunciation of various words. I scored a 62% Dixie even though I've lived in Ohio for many years. However, as a youngster, I spent many years in Texas.

One criticism I have is that the quiz doesn't include the word "greasy" which is pronounced dramatically different in the South than in the North. (via PoliBlog)
Instructions For Walking Through Door

(London, England) In compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has issued instructions to its staff on how to walk through a door. An email with stick diagrams was sent to 800 staff members. (via Ace Of Spades)
Kids' Gifts Auctioned On EBay

(Pasadena, Texas) At the end of his rope with his boys misbehaving, Dad auctions their gifts on the Internet. Name withheld by request.
Health Care Reform Collapses Drug Sales

Previously, if someone covered by the German socialized health care system got the sniffles, that individual could go to the drug store, stock up on all conceivable Over-The-Counter (OTC) medicine, and the government would pay the bill. That's all changed. On January 1, 2004, German health care reform stipulated that non-prescription drugs would no longer be covered by Germany's health system. Now those individuals buying non-prescription medicine have to pay out-of-pocket.

Well, guess what? Non-prescription drug sales have collapsed. According to Jurgen Petersen, OTC drug expert at IMS Health, OTC sales slumped by 13% this year and 80% of the drug producers have seen a decrease in sales. One can only assume that customers are much more prudent in their purchasing when it's their own money they are spending.

It can easily be concluded that the need for health care is a direct function of who pays for it. Therefore, any intelligent health care system or, more appropriately, any common-sense health care system would incorporate measures to assure that the recipients of care have a personal stake in the cost of the care. Of course, as long as a significant segment of the U.S. population continues to believe in the ludicrous concept of the "free lunch," there will be no common-sense health care.
Murky Tariq Aziz

About a week ago, MSNBC reported that former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is "ready to name names" and implicate Saddam Hussein in murder. Also reported was that he appeared "frail in orange prison garb and plastic handcuffs."

Today, a report from Xinhua states that Aziz "is unwilling to testify against Saddam Hussein at a future war crimes trial." And, according to his lawyer, Badi Aref Izzat, Aziz is in "good heath [sic] and spirits."

Any questions?
Honduras Bus Attackers Kill 23

(Tegucigalpa, Honduras) Members of a revolutionary group against the death penalty attacked a bus carrying mostly women and children, killing 23. The attack occurred last evening in northern Atlantic city of Chamelecon, 125 miles north of Tegucigalpa. According to this report, police spokesman Deputy Commissioner Wilmer Torres stated.:
The assailants left a large piece of paper taped to the front windshield of the bus with a message saying they represented a revolutionary group that opposes the death penalty. The message contained "vulgar words" against congressional President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and Security Minister Oscar Alvarez, Torres said.
Violent criminal gangs and drug traffickers continuously battle the government and repeatedly make threats against authorities and the general public. Just a few days ago, they threatened to assassinate Honduran President Ricardo Maduro and his family. However, despite claims that al-Qaida is trying to recruit terrorists from gangs, the U.S. and other Central American governments have said there is no supporting evidence.
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) Dress Code

Words need to be mentioned and passed along regarding the controversy over the dress code imposed on Federal Air Marshals. The dress code mandated by Tom Quinn, ex-Secret Service agent and director of FAMS, is given more emphasis than the purported mission of the service, protection of the traveling public. On missions, Air Marshals are directed to wear "an appropriate sport coat (conservative in nature/style, color and fabric)" and it's not acceptable to carry a sport coat. Also,
Appropriate dress also may include collared sport or Polo type shirts or banded type necks (turtle or crew neck).

Pants and or slacks must be clean and pressed and may not include denim of any color, nylon or other similar material, or cargo style pants. Appropriate footwear and socks shall be worn. Athletic shoes, sneakers, sandals or hiker/training boots are not allowed. Likewise, athletic sock will not be worn with dress shoes.

On a case-by-case basis, the Special Agent in Charge or their designee may grant exceptions to the directive and this policy. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action and could be deemed as insubordination to follow directives and orders.
Certainly the dress code helps project a professional image, however, it also most certainly assures that Air Marshals won't blend in with the general flying public. In the eyes of a terrorist, the dress code overlays crosshairs onto the marshals. Try being inconspicuous with a bulls eye painted on your forehead.

In response to legitimate concerns about the dress code, Quinn sent his chief storyteller, David "Baghdad Bob" Adams, to the cable networks to call everybody liars, stating that no dress code exists. Michelle Malkin, who is all over this issue, documents on a line-by-line basis, the falsity of the assertions of both Quinn and Adams (see here and here). Bloggers need to step up the level of discussion on this issue. Visit Michelle's site.

It's unfortunate that the Air Marshals Service is led by Quinn, an incompetent manager and tyrant, who is now directing attacks at Malkin and also reporter Audrey Hudson for shining light on the dress code issue. Director Thomas Quinn needs to be encouraged out the door to pursue his true calling - hall monitor.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Lymphogranuloma Venereum

Consistent with its leading position in the category of most sexually transmitted disease warnings per capita, San Francisco has announced the presence of a rare and potentially serious form of chlamydia in the city's homosexual population. Rarely seen outside of poor, tropical nations, lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), produces scarring of the genitals and colon and can cause lymph glands near the groin to swell and burst.

All individuals experiencing unexplained bursts or explosions in their trousers are advised to see a doctor immediately. (via Country Store)
Lone Ranger's 'Kemosabe' Called Racist

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear arguments on whether the word "kemosabe" is racist to native people. The case came from a complaint by Dorothy Kateri Moore, a native Mi'kmaq, that her boss, Trevor Miller, referred to her and other workers as "kemosabe" and that it was a racial slur used repeatedly, poisoning the work environment. Interestingly, there isn't a consensus among the Mi'kmaq regarding the word "kemosabe." Some are offended, some are not.

My take is that it would be difficult to consider the term racist since it was Tonto that used the term of friendship in speaking to the Lone Ranger. Using "kemosabe" repeatedly could be considered rude, annoying, and aggravating, but it hardly seems racist. It does appear, however, that Trevor Miller is a mini-tyrant but having a boss that's an arrogant, rude, and aggravating bastard is not unique and, in my opinion, shouldn't be made into a Supreme Court case.

Companion post at Our Life.
Deserters In Canada

Listening to the elite media, one might get the impression that the number of people deserting the U.S. Armed Forces and going to Canada will soon exceed the number of conservatives in the country. As indicated by this report, that's not what's happening. In fact, based upon best available information, deserters arriving in Canada total no more than a few handfuls. Nonetheless, desertion to a foreign country has international political implications so the media clamps on the story like a lamprey. This is not to say that a stay-at-home deserter who wants headlines can't get them. The media will always oblige steaming piles of news.

The Canadian authorities are currently in the process of reviewing the applications for refugee status of a few deserters with a determination expected in the next few months. Those requesting to be classified as something other than criminals and cowards include Brandon Hughey, David Sanders, and Jeremy Hinzman. Deserter Daniel Felushko has dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship so he gets a pass.

Although there's no mass exodus of deserters, the exact number is unknown. According to a spokesman for the Immigration and Refugee Board, Serge Arsenault, privacy laws prevent release of that type of information. This seems odd. Whose privacy is being protected? The Canadian government?

All in all, the handfuls of deserters going to Canada seeking refugee status will have to prove that they have "a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion." It's sure that they have fears, but not of persecution. It's fear of incarceration for violating the contractual obligations they have with the United States of America. Interestingly, based on a recent report, the deserters may have been able to avoid the entire bureaucratic process by greasing a few palms. Apparently, permanent residency status has been marketed for a mere $4,000.

In closing, it's probably prudent for people to remember the names of the deserters so that, if they apply for employment, they are not hired into positions requiring trustworthiness and strength of character.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Irish Bank Heist

(Belfast, Northern Ireland) The thieves dressed as policemen, took the wife of banker Kevin McMullan and the family of employee Chrissie Ward as hostages, and ultimately got away with $53 million. According to Det. Supt. Andy Sproule, the robbery was "carefully planned by professional criminals" and evidence indicates that more than 10 people were involved. Due to the complexity of the crime, a paramilitary organization, such as the Irish Republican Army or the Ulster Defense Association, is considered culpable.

Excuse me if I seem overly suspicious, but this caper sure smells like an inside job.
Christmas Update

Breaking news! Santa photographed making a list.

Santa Making A List
Santa Making A List
(Photo - Hardyandtiny)

It's time to be nice.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Terrorist Haven in New Zealand

From CNN comes the report that terrorists have found sympathetic supporters in New Zealand. In a statement by Security Intelligence Service Director Richard Woods,
"From the service's own investigations we assess that there are individuals in, or from, New Zealand who support Islamic extremist causes," Woods wrote.

The developments "indicate attempts to use New Zealand as a safe haven from which activities of security concern elsewhere can be facilitated and/or the involvement of people from New Zealand in such activities."
This news should not be surprising to anyone even remotely familiar with the politics of New Zealand. The socialist mentality of the populace presents itself in widespread anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism which just happen to be benchmark beliefs of the terrorists. So, it's not hard for me to believe that terrorist sympathizers are in the country.

However, from a practical standpoint, as a staging point for world terrorism, New Zealand is geographically less then ideal. It's not like a terrorist using a mosque as a haven where he can jump out, fire off a weapon, and then duck back into the mosque. New Zealand is thousands of miles from anything worth terrorizing other than in the country itself or on air/sea transports. The country ranks just ahead of Antarctica in remoteness. In fact, if you're traveling to Antarctica, it's the stop after New Zealand.

In summary, terrorists in New Zealand are a concern, but their ability to project terrorism worldwide is limited by geography. As a result, they should be fairly easy to monitor and contain.(via In The Bullpen)

Also blogging: The Jawa Report
Rewards To The Uneducated

Analysis of test results and grade promotions indicates that the Cleveland Public School System is continuing its policy of pushing students through school despite whether they learned anything. The practice of "social promotion" allowed 95% of fourth- and sixth-graders to be elevated to a higher grade last year while less the 50% successfully completed required state reading and math exams.

Supporters of the practice of social promotion contend that making students repeat a grade harms their self esteem. Opponents believe that social promotion thrusts students into classes unprepared and unable to learn more difficult material. Assuming that the purpose of school is to have students learn a minimum standard of knowledge, social promotion make no sense. School is a waste of every person's time if students can go from grade to grade without learning anything.

Unfortunately, not everyone believes it's important for students to acquire knowledge. Eschewing test results and leading the No-Child-Left-Informed policy is Cleveland Public School System CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who has stated, "It's better to move them along and figure out . . . what resources to give to them."

More than any other indicator, Barbara Byrd-Bennett's statement demonstrates what is sorely lacking in the Cleveland Public School System, a visionary and goal-oriented leader.
Target Pulls Down Chastity Panties

The reports that Target has received "a lot of complaints" about its hot-selling novelty chastity panties and decided to pull them down from its website. Coming in cream and black, the panties depict a chain and lock with the words "safe and secure" printed on them. Because of concerns that the panties would lure teens into having sex, Target changed its mind about selling them. The product is manufactured in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, by a company called Blue Q.

If pictures and words on underwear lure people into having sex, I need to edit my bait.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Al-Manar TV Dubbed 'Terrorist' Station

From comes the report (Free reg.) that the Lebanese al-Manar satellite television channel and broadcast station has been placed on the list of terrorist organizations by the U.S. Produced by Hezbullah, the station regularly broadcasts anti-Israel and anti-Semitic programs filled with hate propaganda. As an example, the station recently accused Israel of spreading AIDS to Arab populations throughout Africa.

The French-based media group, Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders), has condemned the U.S. actions by stating that al-Manar doesn't broadcast terrorist propaganda all the time, sometimes they do news reporting. Understandably, the U.S. doesn't buy the 'part-time terrorist' argument and cut al-Manar's satellite feed to America and said that anyone with links to the station would be expelled from or refused a visa to enter the country.

My take is that it's about time. The terrorist organizations use the willful media as strategic weapons to incite hatred, recruit fanatics, and sway public opinion. Any prudent war planning would consider the terrorist media as targets. Al-Manar should be happy that it's only had the plug pulled.
Community Service For Burying Baby

(Euclid, Ohio) For burying her baby in the back yard, a 14-year-old girl was charged with gross abuse of a corpse and sentenced to 25 hours of community service, counseling, and probation. The Euclid High School 9th-grader kept her pregnancy secret, even from the father. It's unknown whether her baby was alive when she gave birth.

Maybe it's just me, but the remedy to the situation sure seems like a handwashing.
Wal-Mart Blamed For Suicide

(Denton, Texas) Shayla Stewart was a manic-depressive and schizophrenic who purchased her prescribed anti-psychotic medication from Wal-Mart. She also purchased a shotgun from Wal-Mart which she used to kill herself. Consequently, Shayla's mother, Lavern Bracy, is suing Wal-Mart, claiming the company knew she was mentally ill and, therefore, shouldn't have sold her a shotgun. A judgment of $25 million is being sought.

On the surface, the lawsuit appears quite weak since mental health records are confidential by law so the gun department was restricted from seeing any of the data from the pharmacy. Additionally, two different Wal-Mart stores were involved so there's an apparent underlying assumption in the lawsuit that all company data is available to all stores on a timely basis. That's an erroneous expectation.

As a result, I don't see how Wal-Mart can be judged liable in the suicide of Shayla Stewart. Nonetheless, the lawsuit does raise the significant issue of the effectiveness of background checks that do not include mental health records. I'm sure that law enforcement groups grimace at their inability to complete comprehensive background investigations without accessing confidential medical records.

Ultimately, lawmakers and the judiciary will have to address the dilemma. In the meantime, there's no assurance that crazy people are prevented from buying guns. And, on the other side of the controversy, evidence is lacking to contend that all people with mental problems are irresponsible with guns.

Lastly, one other aspect of the Wal-Mart case is worthy of mention. If someone wants to commit suicide, it will occur despite the ease or difficulty of the means to do so. A gun is quick and easy, but Wal-Mart also sells knives, rope, and rat poison. This means there's a likelihood that the company would have been sued even if Shayla was unable to buy the shotgun.
Queensland Brothel Industry

(Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) Earlier today, results from a probing three-year study of Queensland's brothel industry by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) were presented to the state parliament. Among the findings were that businesses were being stifled by restrictions on the number of hookers allowed and by the requirement that no brothel can operate within 200 meters of a residential street. In order to promote growth in the prostitution business, the Commission recommended that the number of whores working per shift in each five-room brothel be increased from five to eight and changing the law to reduce the minimum distance for a whorehouse from a residential street to 100 meters.

It seems quite progressive of the Australians to not only legalize prostitution and brothels, but to also have the government actively foster expansion of the business. There also appears to be a streak of laziness within the customer base if they have trouble walking 200 meters to purchase the services of a hooker. And, one other thing, I'm having trouble calculating how eight hookers in a five-room brothel adds up. The only thing I can figure is that maybe they have relievers in the bullpen or a practice squad.
U.S. To Post Military Officers To Taiwan

(Taipei, Taiwan) According to American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokeswoman Dana Smith, the United States will station active duty military officers to its de facto embassy in Taiwan for the first time since 1979 in a reversal of a long-standing policy. Historically, the AIT has employed retired military personnel to coordinate diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The announcement of closer military cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan is expected to anger China which has vowed to invade the island if independence is declared. However, according to Jane's Defense Weekly, a protest from Beijing is not as worrisome to Washington as the "growing unease over China's military ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region."

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Monday, December 20, 2004

CEO of EBay Subsidiary Arrested

(New Delhi, India) Last Friday, police arrested Avnish Bajaj, chief executive officer of EBay's subsidiary in India, on charges of listing a sex video purportedly shot at a prominent New Delhi high school and making no attempt to remove the listing until prodded. In a statement issued Monday, EBay called the arrest "unexpected, completely unwarranted and the result of misdirected energies by the New Delhi police."

Bajaj, a Harvard-educated U.S. citizen is currently in jail with bail denied. The Delhi Public School student who videotaped the explicit scenes and tried to sell copies under the title DPS Girl Having Fun was arrested Sunday night.
Giant Atmospheric Brown Cloud

From a NASA press release last week:
NASA scientists announced a giant, smoggy atmospheric brown cloud, which forms over South Asia and the Indian Ocean, has intercontinental reach. The scientists presented their findings today during the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting in San Francisco.

Giant Brown Cloud
Giant Brown Cloud
Particles from airborne pollution, such as the "Giant Brown Cloud," can travel all around the globe. In April of 2001, NASA satellites saw a massive dust storm appear over China. The densest portion of the aerosol pollution traveled east over Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and, within a week, the United States. (NASA Photo)
Frankly, this is all new to me. Can anyone tell me why the mainstream media and the environmentalists haven't been telling the public about the Giant Brown Cloud? Maybe it's because they haven't figured out how to blame it on the United States yet.
Humane Society Following Animal Rights Agenda

It appears that the Humane Society of the United States has metamorphosed into an extremist animal rights group with similar philosophical underpinnings as PETA and the Animal Liberation Front. According to this report,
"They clearly have targeted hunting and trapping as part of their agenda. ... They are very much in the animal extremist movement," said Jeff Crane, policy director of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. The foundation is the lobbying arm of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, which -- with 325 members -- is the largest congressional caucus.

David Martosko, research director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Consumer Freedom, contends that the Humane Society "is out to transform America into a strict vegetarian utopia whether we like it or not.

"They are a $50 million-$60 million lobby machine, lobbying for things that most Americans don't want. The only mainstream thing about them is that they wear a suit and tie while doing it," Martosko added.

Critics such as Martosko expect the Humane Society to become "more extremist" with the elevation of Pacelle to the organization's top spot. Pacelle, 39, is a well-spoken, highly-polished advocate whose beliefs and approach has made him a lightning rod for Humane Society opponents.

"He wants to abolish meat, outlaw hunting, and get rid of circuses, zoos and rodeos," Martosko said. "It's animal rights lunacy, and Wayne is king of it."
Undoubtedly, Pacelle and the Humane Society, like Ingrid Newkirk and PETA, will be approaching well-intentioned Americans to give money to save puppies and kittens when, in reality, the dollars go to funding political campaigns to shut down the meat, dairy, egg, and seafood industries.
Dimebag Shooting Video Released

From a Cincinnati woman who went to the Damageplan concert, here's a link to the video of the chaos during the shootings of Dimebag Darrell and others at Alrosa Villa nightclub.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Kills Rats

(Shanghai, China) Ye Wenhu, a member of the Genetics Society of China and a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, has been awarded a patent for using a traditional Chinese medicine as a rat poison. Considered fragrant and attractive to rats, the main ingredient of the traditional Chinese medicine, tripterygium wilfordii, limits lactic dehydrogenase in the testicles, producing sterility.

It's not clear what human ailments are treated by the use of tripterygium wilfordii, but it seems that it should be stocked in many homes. Having one product that treats human maladies and kills rats has to be a money saver. The only problem would be where to store the medicine/rat killer. The medicine cabinet or the garage?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Danvers High School Cheerleaders

(Danvers, Massachusetts) Boy, the cheerleaders at Danvers High School sure know how to make news. Not too long ago, half the squad was suspended from school for being hammered when they arrived at the big game. Now it appears that members have been thrown off the squad for making and distributing a video featuring some semi-nude, girl-on-girl action.
Principal Eileen Erwin booted two girls from the cheerleading squad last week after rumors about the racy footage ran rampant at the high school. Erwin hasn't seen the homemade flick, but one student who has said the topless teens engage in a range of risque behavior, including one girl allegedly kissing the other's bare breasts.
Obviously, the video has become the primary subject of discussion at the school and the two girls' popularity has warped into another dimension. To my knowledge, the video hasn't been posted on the Internet. Yet.

Hat tip: Wizbang
Saddam Hussein Warns Iraqi People

According to this report:
Saddam Hussein has urged the Iraqi people to be united from his prison cell and told them to be wary of elections slated for January 30.

His Jordan-based legal team today said the jailed former president made his "recommendations" during his first meeting with one of his Iraqi lawyers last Thursday.

Spokesman Ziad Khassawneh detailed the remarks at a press conference in Amman.

He and several members of the legal team, including a Lebanese-French lawyer and a Libyan advocate, had earlier been briefed on the meeting Saddam had with Khalil al-Duleimi.
Three simple questions. What the hell is going on? Since when does a murderous, evil thug get to send messages to the media for distribution throughout the world? If we get bin Laden alive, is he going to be allowed press conferences to tell his underlings what to do? I'm at a loss to understand what's going on.
Jail Time For Phony Lawsuit

(Cleveland, Ohio) John Gregg tried to scam McDonalds by claiming he slipped on soap in the men's room. When Judge Timothy J. McGinty found out, he threw Gregg in jail for 30 days. Interestingly, McDonalds had previously agreed to pay $30,000, but Gregg wanted to pursue a jury trial.

My guess is that most times these types of chicken chip scams are successful.
Cleveland Sustainability Czar

(Cleveland, Ohio) Mayor Jane Campbell's liberal environmental leanings are undoubtedly the basis by which she decided to create a "sustainability programs manager" to educate city government employees on the concept of sustainability. At a press conference this week, the mayor announced her intention of being "kind to the environment and gentle on the pocketbook."
"This is an opportunity to experiment on a very large scale," she said.
So, the mayor has inaugurated a very large scale environmental experiment in a city that within the past year has been gasping from significant budget shortfalls. In addition to troubling layoffs in fire and police protection and a disastrously poor public school system, the mayor even cut back on the city's recycling program. Mayor Campbell is obviously much smarter than I am because, in my opinion, the last thing Cleveland needs is a very large scale environmental experiment.
Car Bombs Kill Dozens

In breaking news, at least 30 people were killed and 65 wounded in a car bombing during a funeral procession in the Shiite Holy City of Najaf. The blast rocked an area where people were gathered for the funeral of a tribal sheik. Najaf Police Chief Ghalib al-Jazaari said that he and Najaf Provincial Governor Adnan al-Zurufi were targeted, but were about 100 meters away from the explosion.

Earlier, in the city of Karbala northwest of Najaf, a car bomb exploded near the main bus station, killing 13 and wounding at least 30.

Australian Shark Alert

Shark sightings and attacks along the beach areas of South Australia have prompted a shark alert to all holiday beachgoers. The alert follows the attack on 18-year-old Nick Peterson who was killed by a great white shark while being towed behind a boat on a surfboard just off Adelaide's popular West Beach. Officials have ordered the hunting and destruction of the shark (pictured below) responsible for Peterson's death.

Great White Shark
Great White Shark
(Picture: Tait Schmaal)

No remains have been found for Nick Peterson and, although they are believed to be inside the shark, Phillip Peterson, Nick's father, has pleaded with hunters not to destroy the shark. The father must love animals more than his offspring which I think is absolutely macabre. Besides ignoring the fact that the shark is a proven man-eater that should be eliminated, the father is neglecting to even attempt to recover his son's remains.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Kwanzaa Explained

Randall McElroy at Catallarchy has put together an informative background piece on Kwanzaa with his primary point being that it shouldn't be shoved down any person's throat. Kwanzaa has no theological foundation, being created by some guy in 1966 as a mish-mash of loosely related cultural characteristics from various groups in Africa. None of this was really news to me, however, I wasn't aware that the guy, Ron Karenga, who started it all is a convicted violent felon who did hard time in the big house.

My take is similar to McElroy's. All people should be able to freely celebrate whatever they desire, but no one should be forced to celebrate something they don't believe in. Follow the link.
Miss Plastic Surgery

(Beijing, China) The winner was announced today in the Miss Plastic Surgery (or Miss Artificial Beauty) Pageant. Topping twenty contestants aged 17 to 62 was 22-year-old Feng Qian.

Feng Qian
Feng Qian - Miss Plastic Surgery
(AP Photo)

Congratulations to the sawbones who sliced and diced Feng Qian to the winners circle and $6,000. Probably of more interest were two other candidates in the competition, a wax-faced 62-year-old and a bobbitized transsexual, who shared the Best Media Image award.

Liu Yulan - Age 62  Liu Xiaojing - Transsexual
Contestants Liu Yulan, 62, and Liu Xiaojing, former male

Obviously, the pageant is newsworthy as a frivolous novelty and that's about it. Nobody is ever going to convince me that it's a legitimate competition when you've got de-withered grandmothers and lopped sex changers comparing scars and skin with girls as young as 17.
Canadian Immigration Scam

(Ottawa, Canada) According to this report, Immigration Canada has been charging $4,000 to $25,000 from Arabs and Muslims to obtain permanent residency status. Implicated among others in the scam is Diane Serre, 34, Immigration Operations Manager in Ottawa. The charge is considered serious since there are people who obtained residency illegally, however, no evidence has surfaced that anyone is a security threat.

Of course, there's also no assurance that there is not a security threat. Riad Saloojee, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada, said the situation will only increase Arabs' feelings of persecution.

One has to wonder why someone would immigrate to a country where they felt persecuted. Maybe they don't mind being persecuted because they have a much larger purpose.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Streisand's Colon Polyp

A colonoscopy earlier this year resulted in the finding of a polyp in Barbra Streisand's colon. This month, the polyp was removed and confirmed to be benign.

Rumor has it that the doctors made appropriate annotations on her body prior to the surgery to assure that they didn't mistakenly operate on the wrong end. (via Say Anything)
San Francisco Wants To Ban Guns

Looking at the statistics, Washington, D.C., is the only major city in the U.S. that bans guns and the result is a homicide rate of 9.4 incidents per 100,000 people. San Francisco doesn't ban guns and has a homicide rate of 5.2 incidents per 100,000 people. However, San Francisco now is trying to ban guns by placing a proposed law on the ballot for next fall. A simple majority is all that's required to pass.

So, one has to conclude that there is a desire in San Francisco for a higher homicide rate.

All kidding aside, the city fathers are confronted with the impediment of a state law which specifies that citizens don't need to get permits or licenses for handguns in their homes and, also, they have the practical problem of enforcing a no-handgun law.

It remains to be seen how this issue will play out, but one thing is sure. San Francisco has a history of taking actions which are contrary to state law. Evidently, some communities are more equal than others.

As a Second Amendment issue, the volume of dialogue and commentary is sure to explode. Sharply opining thus far are Diggers Realm, Say Anything, and MuD & PHuD.
Wal-Mart Sued For Foul Word

(Hagerstown, Maryland) Because one song, on one CD, without a parental-guidance warning sticker, contained the f-word, Wal-Mart is being sued by Trevin Skeens. Sought are damages of $74,500 for each person who bought the CD.

I've got probably a dozen questions about this but I'll just ask one. Why the figure of $74,500 for each purchaser? The amount seems arbitrary and there's an assumption that each purchaser was damaged.

I don't get it.
Casino Camera Peeping

(Atlantic City, New Jersey) A Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino surveillance supervisor tipped off state regulators about funny business occurring in the casino.
Authorities in Atlantic City, N.J., charged that "eye in the sky" surveillance cameras were used to look down women's low-cut blouses.

New Jersey casino regulators have fined Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino $80,000 for incidents that happened in 2000 and 2001. Authorities say the cameras were used to zoom in on selected parts of the female anatomy.
Shocking! Absolutely shocking!
Fatal Shooting

(Cleveland, Ohio) The incident took place at George's Market, located on Detroit Avenue on the city's west side.
Witnesses said Jesse Buchanan, 19, kept walking in and out of the store before the shooting happened. Buchanan reportedly showed his gun, fired one shot, demanded money and threatened the five people inside the store.

That's when Nadim Shalamy, 71, shot the Buchanan in the head, killing him. Shalamy has owned the store for 14 years.
That's a shame.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta

From an article by Oliver North:
On the morning of November 15, 2004, the men of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines awoke before sunrise and continued what they had been doing for seven days previously - cleansing the city of Fallujah of terrorists house by house.

At the fourth house they encountered that morning the Marines kicked in the door and "cleared" the front rooms, but then noticed a locked door off to the side that required inspection. Sgt. Rafael Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head and chest with multiple shots at close range.

Peralta's fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged on, a "yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade," as Lance Corporal Travis Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they were all standing and came to a stop near Peralta's body.

But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn't dead - yet. This young immigrant of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his green card, who volunteered for the front line duty in Fallujah, had one last act of heroism in him.

Sgt. Rafael Peralta was the polar opposite of Pablo Paredes, the Petty Officer who turned his back on his shipmates and mocked his commander in chief. Peralta was proud to serve his adopted country. In his parent's home, on his bedroom walls hung only three items - a copy of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. Before he set out for Fallujah, he wrote to his 14-year old brother, "be proud of me, bro...and be proud of being an American."

Not only can Rafael's family be proud of him, but his fellow Marines are alive because of him. As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked it under his abdomen where it exploded.

"Most of the Marines in the house were in the immediate area of the grenade," Cpl. Kaemmerer said. "We will never forget the second chance at life that Sgt. Peralta gave us."
The heroism of Sgt. Peralta is being largely ignored by the MSM in favor of giving publicity to "California's Coward Du Jour," deserter Pablo Paredes.

I'd like to suggest that as many bloggers as possible herald the valor of Sgt. Rafael Peralta to counter the idiotic, leftist bias of the MSM. Sgt. Peralta sacrificed his life for the United States of America.

Hat tip: In The Bullpen
Iraq War Movie

Harrison Ford has been selected to star in a Hollywood feature film about the Battle of Fallujah. From Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan, Ford's new character will be a step up on the testosterone scale. He'll play a General in the U.S. Marine Corps. (via Backcountry Conservative)
Psychology Professor Found Mentally Ill

Last March, Kerri Dunn, 40, a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College, spray painted her car with racist and anti-Semitic slurs and then called police and said she was the target of a hate crime.

This week, it was announced that, according to psychological testing, Dunn has a severe mental illness. Nonetheless, she was sentenced to a year in prison on convictions for filing a false police report and attempted insurance fraud.

Since Dunn was a member of academia teaching psychology at a liberal arts college on the left coast, it was probably not necessary to test for mental illness. (via John Ray)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Doane College Recruiting Suggests Easy Campus Sex

The availability of steaming pulchritude has always been a magnetic feature of college life but I never thought that it would be emphasized in recruiting literature. Mike Meckler has the details.
Filipino Christmas Truce

From a Channel NewsAsia report:
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo on Thursday declared a unilateral three-week Christmas ceasefire with communist guerrillas and urged them to stop attacks.

This came just after the insurgents raided a police station in the northern town of Caranglan late Wednesday and carted off five M16 rifles and police cellphones, a military report said. [Emphasis mine - ed.]
After learning that the Australian Health System just closed their doors for the holidays, I didn't think that my gut could achieve a more acidic level of disapproval. I was wrong. The Filipino government has taken the pH of my stomach down to zero with the decision to not defend the country during the holidays. And, although it's dumb to do it, it's even dumber to announce to your enemies that you're doing it.

To be fair, they have politely asked their enemy, the communists, to observe the Christmas holiday period also. I'm sure that everything will be just ducky because we know how much the communists respect religion. In fact, didn't President Johnson pull the same stunt in 1968? That worked out just ducky, for the commies.
Happy Christmas, You Maggot

According to the results of a VH-1 poll, the British have selected their favorite Christmas song and it's not a traditional classic like White Christmas by Bing Crosby. Collecting one-fourth of all online votes, Fairytale Of New York, by The Pogues and late British singer Kirsty MacColl, was preferred to all others.
Rather than lyrics about snowmen and sledging [sic], MacColl and Pogues singer and songwriter Shane MacGowan sing alternate lines as a warring pair of lovers serenaded by drunks and policemen as they walk through New York on Christmas night.

"You scumbag, you maggot," begins one verse, ending with a couplet that might well have shocked Crosby: "Happy Christmas your arse/I pray god its our last."
Their poll obviously was flawed. It is, however, instructive. Evidence now has been gathered to suggest that Brits who listen to VH-1 and participate in polls are likely to be heartless and disrespectful idiots.

Trackback to OTB Traffic Jam, Wizbang.
Illegals To Boycott California Gas Stations

Since the attempt to get illegal aliens driver's licenses in the state of California has been stalled by Gov. Schwarzenegger, the illegal alien advocacy has called for a boycott of California gas stations. Illegals have been told to avoid buying gas on Mondays for a year or until they can get licenses.

I'm flummoxed. Does this action make a lick of sense to anybody? It would seem that if they wanted to really get attention, they would have all the illegals go on strike.

Hat tip: Diggers Realm
Iraqi Communications Minister Killed

While on the way to work, terrorist gunmen pulled alongside the car carrying Iraqi Communications Director-General Kassim Imhawi and opened fire. Eight bodyguards were wounded.

Call me suspicious, but isn't it odd that Imhawi dies and all of his eight bodyguards live?
New Bin Laden Tape Surfaces

From a report in The Austalian:
An audio recording purportedly by Osama bin Laden, in which he mentions a December 6 attack in Saudi Arabia, was posted on the Internet today.

The recording, in which bin Laden blesses a group of Saudi militants who stormed the US consulate in Jeddah, suggests the al-Qaeda leader is alive.

The voice and the style of the speaker was similar to bin Laden but the authenticity of the tape could not be verified.
One has to wonder why an audio tape as opposed to video. He's proven not to be camera shy.

Nonetheless, the speaker on the tape accuses the Saudi royal family of being insufficiently Islamic and too close to the infidels. In fact, besides a hallelujah to the terrorists who stormed the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah, criticism of the Saudi rulers appears to be the essential gist of the message.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Nathan Gale's Mother Bought Him The Gun

According to this report, Nathan Gale killed Dimebag Darrell with a gun that his mother, Mary Clark, bought for him.
"When he came home for Christmas the year he was in the service, I was so proud of that man for cleaning up his life the way he did," Clark said. "And I bought him that gun. I'll never, never be able to live that part down."
Sometime after she gave him the gun, Gale was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. At that point, Mary Clark must have had a mental lapse because she obviously wasn't thinking things through. The minute Gale was determined to be mentally ill, she should have taken action to retrieve the gun.

One other thing, now that Mary Clark has been identified in the press, some despondent Dimebag fan may threaten her life.
Publishers Discover Bloggers

According to this New York Times article, publishing houses have started to regard the blogosphere as a potential source for promising, marketable writers. The piece has a few interesting snippets. Here's one:
In June a former Senate aide, Jessica Cutler, whose blog documenting her sexual exploits with politicos dominated Capitol gossip in the spring, sold a Washington-focused novel to Hyperion for an advance well into six figures, said Kelly Notaras of Hyperion.
Surely everyone remembers Jessica Cutler and her graphic sex blogging. Her site, Washingtonienne, is history but she apparently is doing well-into-six-figures fine. And here's another six-figure snippet:
In October Ana Marie Cox, editor of, a racy, often wry Washington-based blog, sold her first novel, "Dog Days," a comic tale with a political context, to Riverhead Books. She said she received a $275,000 advance.
So, in summary, publishers are trolling the blogosphere looking for writers they can market and, in at least two instances, deals were made involving six figures.

Mention needs to be made that Interested-Participant maintains an equal troll opportunity policy and is prepared to deal for less than six figures. However, nothing less than a two-figure deal will be considered. I have my standards.
School Cancels Rock Concert Because Band Is Christian

The Toledo Blade reports:
Rossford High School officials were considering letting a Christian rock band play during an anti-drug assembly next week, but decided yesterday to cancel the performance because of concerns over having religious music played in a public school.

"We are just shutting the whole thing down," Rossford Superintendent Luci Gernot said. "There is some controversy, and I'd rather err on this side."

The school district's law firm, Whalen & Compton of Akron told school officials yesterday that it "wasn't appropriate" to let the band Pawn perform at the school, Ms. Gernot said.
Attendance at the assembly was not going to be mandatory since students had the option of going to study hall or view an anti-drug movie. Therefore, it wasn't a case of the school shoving religion down the students' throats.

Nonetheless, at least one parent, Donna Chiarelott, complained.
"I think there is a place for Christian bands, and schools aren't where they belong," Ms. Chiarelott said.
Please forgive me for having some un-Christian thoughts regarding the complainer.
HIV Rate Soars In Portugal

Based upon recent data, Portugal has been found to have the highest rate of HIV infection in the European Union and part of the reason is a surge in the number of HIV-infected individuals in the over-50 demographic. Between 1999 and 2003, the number of Portuguese that were HIV positive and over 50 increased by 71% which contrasts sharply with the rest of the EU where the largest increases are in people under 30.

The reason? Viagra.

Yes, Viagra and other anti-impotence drugs are at the root of a dramatic increase in personal fluid-transfer recreation by the over-50 crowd causing the virus to spread widely and quickly. And, other factors are blamed for contributing to the situation. These include; a lack of safe sex campaigns aimed at the older generation who eschew condom use, a mistaken general belief that the primary behavioral risk is intravenous drug use, and a fuddy-duddy reluctance to discuss sex with and among older people. As a result, the older demographic is quite uninformed about the risks of unsafe sex. In response to the concerns, the Ministry of Health plans to develop an ad campaign to educate the over-50 crowd.

In summary, no longer does leisure-time enjoyment for the older crowd end with the final hand of pinochle or the last bingo card. Thanks to Viagra and similar drugs, grandmas and grandpas are staying up past their usual bedtimes and engaging in frisky, risky behavior.

Annotate your tour book of Portugal accordingly.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Another Female Teacher Molests Student

(Dudley, Massachusetts) Amber S. Jennings, a 31-year-old former English teacher at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley, is charged with engaging a minor in sexual intercourse and distribution of pornography to a minor. Amber was apparently involved with intimately tutoring a 16-year-old male student for almost a year before being caught.

Amber Jennings
Amber Jennings

Jennings was released on $1,000 bail and has a court date next month to face the charges. In the meantime, she was ordered not to have contact with the alleged victim.

Okay, let's look at the tote board. Pamela Smart, Debra Lafave, Mary Kay Letourneau, Lisa Suitter, Amber Jennings, and I'm sure I'm missing some names. Even so, we have enough for a basketball team.
Threats Made In Connection With Dimebag Killing

The Marysville Journal-Tribune reports that a woman having the same last name as Dimebag Darrell's killer, Nathan Gale, has received threats on her life. According to the Marysville Police Department, she began receiving phone calls from an unidentified man early this morning.
It is not clear how the caller obtained her telephone number or from where he was calling. The caller allegedly believed the woman was a family member of Gale's and threatened to shoot her in retaliation for the murder of heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot Wednesday night.

Reports indicate the resident attempted to convince the caller that she is no relation to Gale, but to no avail. The caller's last few messages - left at approximately 6 a.m. - were captured on an answering machine. Local police officers are reviewing the tape as part of their investigation.
One thing is sure. Dimebag Darrell was very popular and his fans are having difficulty coping with his death. Threatening to shoot a presumed relative of Gale's in retaliation for Dimebag's demise is beyond extreme.
Big Brother Director Big Child Molester

(Newark, Ohio) The former director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Licking and Perry Counties, James Russell, pled guilty to 25 felony sex abuse charges and no contest to four rape counts.
The 29 counts against Russell -- four rape, eight gross sexual imposition, 11 sexual battery and six corruption of a minor -- carry a maximum prison sentence of 144 years, although prosecutors are expected to only ask for 10 years in prison.

"We're doing this because of this defendant's age," Licking County Prosecutor Robert Becker said. "This man is 66 years old."
This begs the question as to what age would a felon have to be for the prosecutor to ask for no prison time.

Interestingly, another mentor from the central Ohio organization, Scott Wagner, was sentenced last year to 89 years in prison for sexually abusing 11 boys. This kind of makes me wonder if recently defrocked clergy aren't finding a new home in Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Prince Edward Island Nudist Campground

Gary and Linda Lowther have won approval to open a nudist campground in Cavendish, a popular tourist destination and the home of the fictional Anne of Green Gables. Oddly, the idea of running around the woods in Canada without clothes has never crossed my mind. In fact, the last time I was in the woods in the Great White North, I almost had to have a blood transfusion after serving as a refueling depot for the huge Northwoods mosquitos, AKA the Canadian Air Force. I'd consider armor before I'd give those bloodsuckers additional landing zones.
Indian Train Collision Kills Dozens
NEW DELHI, India -- Indian railway officials say at least 27 people are dead and another 50 injured after a head-on collision between two passenger trains.

Indian media reports say an express train and a local train collided at around noon [1:30am EST] on Tuesday along a stretch of rural track in the northern state of Punjab.

Railway sources have told the Press Trust of India that 27 bodies have been pulled out from badly-damaged coaches.
The Times of India indicates an eyewitness reported at least 50 people died and four cars on both trains were completely destroyed. Fog may have contributed to the accident which occurred between the cities of Jalandhar and Pathankot, northwest of New Delhi. However, an Indian Railways spokesman blames a communication failure.

According to Reuters, train travel in India is high risk, with about 300 accidents occurring yearly.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Welcome To Moe's - God

(Orlando, Florida) A large billboard indicates that God endorses Moe's Southwest Grill adjacent to Interstate 4.

Eat at Moe's

Needless to say, the sign is quite controversial and a few local believers have whispered some unbiblical remarks. My take is that the sign will probably insult both Christian followers and anti-religious activists. Consequently, it's a really dumb idea.
Pablo Paredes - U.S. Navy Deserter

In a previous post, I discussed the actions of Petty Officer Pablo Paredes who decided he was against the war only upon receipt of orders to a ship bound for duty in the Indian Ocean. As the situation currently stands, Paredes has not been apprehended nor has he turned himself in to face the charges against him.

I contributed a companion post to Our Life blog and, interestingly, a comment thread has developed in which Pablo Paredes has joined in. Pablo is attempting to defend his actions. Honestly, he's doing a poor job providing justification for disobeying a lawful order. And not surprisingly, Paredes' argument sounds like it's based entirely on the socialist and communist rhetoric regularly spewed by International A.N.S.W.E.R.

Chris Short is keeping the discussion civil at Our Life. See the comment thread here.

Also blogging:
Citizen Smash,
Cry Freedom,
Speed Of Thought.

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