Friday, March 11, 2005

Big Bloggin' Bucks!

How to Blog Good:
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C.R., Arvada, CO

"If you don't... buy...Bloggonetrix™... right now, I will call the police"
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More hilarity by following the link.

Pepperoni and sausage pizza

Eschew the odious ham and pineapple!

Vanguard of the Proletariat - Harvard in Lather Over Campus Maid Service:
A Harvard University student's fledgling dorm-cleaning business faced the threat of a campus boycott on Thursday after the school's daily newspaper slammed it for dividing students along economic lines.

The Harvard Crimson newspaper urged students to shun Dormaid, a business launched by Harvard sophomore Michael Kopko that cleans up for messy students.

"By creating yet another differential between the haves and have-nots on campus, Dormaid threatens our student unity," the Crimson said in an editorial.
Student unity?

More Ivy League Angst - Reclaiming Christianity from the Christian right
On the train ride back to Yale from Boston in the morning hours of Nov. 3, 2004, my best friend looked at me through eyes tearing with frustration and said, "Your people did this." She turned her head to the aisle and spent our trip upset and without words.

I am a Christian. I also grew up in the American South. "My people" -- both Christians and Southerners, according to my friend and many Yale students -- are changing our nation with a conservative agenda. That agenda is not mine.
I guess that declaration makes her still date bait at Yale and they clearly have no shortage of geniuses. Gee, I wonder what the tykes were doing in Boston on November 2? I wonder if they got to meet Chris Heinz? Or Ted Kennedy?

Target rich environment - Florida Lawmaker Seeks Toilet Paper Tax:
Florida's Legislature is flush with good ideas. Sen. Al Lawson's involves a 2 cent-per-roll tax on toilet paper to pay for wastewater treatment and help small towns upgrade their sewer systems.
In a Republican-dominated Legislature that doesn't like new taxes, the idea is likely to pretty quickly end up in the tank.

Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said he didn't think it would get too far, but didn't rule it out.

"We'll be getting to the bottom of it real soon," Lee said.

The House is skeptical as well.

"We're not wild about tax increases," said House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City. "But we'll certainly let it go through the system."
It would also need approval from Gov. Jeb Bush. He said that if toilet paper is taxed, people might use less of it.

"That's not necessarily a good thing," noted the governor.

And what about consumers? Wouldn't they be squeezed by a tax on the Charmin?

No, says Lawson.

"Two cents is not going to hurt families at all," he said. "This is one thing people don't mind paying for."
Ooops, the last one was just Donk humor.

A former chief U.N. weapons inspector revealed yesterday that he was offered millions of dollars in bribes from Tariq Aziz, Iraq's ex-deputy prime minister — to give a favorable report on Saddam Hussein's weapons programs.
"I told the Volcker people that Tariq said a couple of million dollars was there if we report right," Ekeus told Reuters. "My answer was, 'That is not the way we do business in Sweden.' "
No word on Scott Ritter's Burger King Whopper.

Biscuits and Gravy - March 11, 2005

Stop, you're killing me - MP Apologizes for Anti-US Comment:
A Canadian member of Parliament charged with improving ties with the United States apologized on Thursday for saying "let's embarrass the hell out of the Americans in front of other countries".
Jennings, who is herself half-American, accused the United States on Tuesday of refusing to adhere to trade treaties it had signed with Canada.
Half-assed too.

Sheesh, more whining - U.N. Aide Chides Bush on Democracy Campaign:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's top aide said on Thursday that he slightly resented the suggestion that "somehow democracy is President Bush's invention."
Who suggested it, crapweasel?
The comments came during a daylong conference on "the state of democracy in the world," organized by the Community of Democracies, a fledgling group of about 100 nations founded in June 2000 in Warsaw to promote democratic government.
Carl Gershman, president of the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, said the community needed an official definition of its preferred form of government so authoritarian regimes could not gain entry to the club just by holding an election, for example.
I guess they are snootier than the big club on the East River.

Moonbats turn survivalist - DUmmie FUnnies 03-10-05 ("Last gasp of the internet ...") :
DUmmie Paranoia is both a hilarious and fascinating thing to behold. In this case the DUmmie Paranoia takes form in the belief that the Internet can somehow be switched off because the DUmmies are getting “too close to the truth on the Bu$h Regime,” as you can see in this DUmmie THREAD titled, "Last gasp of the internet ..." Yeah, the MILLIONS of Websites including eBay, Free Republic, and MILF sites are ALL going to be shut down because of the “discoveries” in DUmmieland.
Hallburton will take over Google, Enron gets Yahoo....and so on and so on. All the stuff we find now will be purged, leaving only nice, fluffy, warm stories on the chimp regime. Then we will get 24/7 on cable news how this is a WONDERFUL thing to have happen.
I worry about it. ..I've actually purchased a Grundig crank power shortwave just in case the information is shut down here in Occupied America.
Lowe's Building Supply...They run about $40 or so. It's a Grundig FR200 AM/FM/SW with a light, dual power from batteries or hand crank. I've also got a Coleman Freeplay AM/FM radio with a solar panel. An SKS, AK, AR-15, or other rifle should be part of the plan too.
Is there a pharmacist in the house?

And speaking of moonbats - Setting a Date:
Liberal action group Progressive Democrats of America is urging activists to voice their opposition to the latest appropriation request for Iraq, saying there should be no more funding until the administration sets a firm date for withdrawal. The PDA, which calls itself a "counterbalance" to the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, has designated "National Call In Day" — asking members to phone congress to demand "public hearings, debate and amendments linking the funds to a strict timetable for military withdrawal and support for Iraqi sovereignty."
You ever get the idea that car salesmen salivate when they see these moon calves coming? Wait, I have a suggestion - how about the day after US forces leave Kosovo?
The PDA says it hopes to surpass the success of their earlier e-mail campaign, which called for an investigation into election fraud in Ohio.

Divine Retribution Alert! - Alton attorney accidentally sues himself. The article is rather opaque since it seems to be a rendition of the legal documents in the case, but here's the nut:
Alton attorney Emert Wyss thought he could make money in a Madison County class action lawsuit, but he accidentally sued himself instead. Now he has four law firms after his money - and he hired all four.
There is a God!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Fun Across the Pond

"Barry Beelzebub" opines on UK popular culture:

...I found it curious to read about the case of Shabina Begum, who this week won the right to go the other way and cover herself from head to toe with an Islamic jilbab. A victory for religious freedom indeed. (Feel free to send your kids off dressed as the Archbishop of Canterbury in future. And God only knows what the Scotch will turn up in.)

Now given that her school in Luton already had a uniform policy which was more than adequate for Muslim requirements, and given that even Muslim states like Turkey don’t permit the wearing of the jilbab in schools, I wonder somewhat about Shabina’s motives. Certainly her speech on the steps of the court sounded more like an Islamic rant than the words of a 16-year-old schoolgirl.

Could it be that the High Court ruling was less a victory for freedom and more a victory for the hard-line fundamentalists who want to impose their will on their own womenfolk while using peer pressure to bully others into line?

Surely what this country needs is more integration, not more separation and isolation. There should be no ghettoes, either physical or cultural. And haven’t I heard the Prime Minister argue that in the past? Seems odd then that Shabina’s lawyer was the famous Cherie Booth, aka Mrs “Zippy” Blah.
Too bad Cherie doesn't adopt the jilbab herself.

And how about some Dr. Who fun?
Still on matters Islamic, it appears that Captain Hook, the loveable “radical cleric” Abu Hamza, has been roughed up in the nick. It does seem a little unfair that he can’t defend himself because he’s had his hooks confiscated, so I have a solution.

Why not give him a couple of sink plungers instead? He could then glide around like a little stripey Dalek with a beard while learning a useful trade at the same time. Marvellous rehabilitation.
You had to see the show, I guess.

And speaking of TV shows there's the BBC TV tax, the UK mechanism to fund the BBC by taxing each television set, currently at the rate of £121 per annum:
But wait, I hear you say. Despite this blatant disregard for financial prudence, despite this contempt for the public’s hard-earned cash, the Beeb is still the Beeb, isn’t it? A provider of high-quality public service broadcasting?

Well, up to a point. If we set aside ratings-chasers like Strictly Celebrity Nude Ballroom Wrestling Academy, and ignore the 1950s dreadfulness that is regional television news (a couple of old duffers in cardigans reading out stories from two-day-old local newspapers), there is still much to admire.

Why only the other morning I turned over from Trisha (Is The Home Secretary The Father Of My Baby?) to find a screenful of gay porn stars playing Twister. Yes, I’ll say that again, a screenful of gay porn stars playing Twister.

It was one of those time-slip moments. Had I nodded off at the desk and woken 12 hours later? Was it really 9.45 pm and not a quarter to ten in the morning? Where’s Andy Pandy and why is Looby Loo now an overweight 59-year-old woman wearing PVC bondage gear?

As it turns out, I had come across a series called Britain’s Streets of Vice, a graphic look at the sex industry, made specifically for daytime television and transmitted at 9.15 am for three days last week.

The woman (wouldn’t you know it) in charge of this aberration, BBC daytime controller Alison Sharman, was almost gleeful in her management-speak posturing: “Challenging the perceptions of daytime television has been one of my most important focuses.”

I would suggest that if she’d been watching television with a child who’d been kept home from school because of the snow, explaining away why a naked man was wearing a gimp mask and a dog lead might suddenly have become one of her most important focuses.
I'd certainly fork out a couple of hundred bucks a year for that, but it would be even better if Alison had been playing Twister with them.

And for those of you who think taxing TV ownership to pay for "public broadcasting" is a tad onerous, not to worry! They're plannning a tax on personal computer ownership instead.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Buh Bye, Captain Dan!

And how about a musical trip down Memory Lane - The Day Dan Rather Lied.

Speaking of Memory Lane, the Media Research Center has a collection of Captain Dan's Greatest Hits and Howie Carr has a poll as to which (of a smaller list) is your favorite. I always liked the phony story about Dallas kids cheering after the JFK assassination myself, but there's so much material it's hard to choose.

Music to my ears

That's the whining from all the usual suspects with their knickers in a twist over John Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador:
The Europeans aren't comfortable with John Bolton. China and North Korea don't like him. The United Nations can't bear him. Splendid credentials all. Sounds like Bolton is the ideal guy to become Washington's next ambassador to Turtle Bay.
--- NY Daily News Editorial
The Asia Times' Jim Lobe gets into the spirit with a rendition of some of the more endearing whines:
In a breathtaking victory for right-wing hawks, US President George W Bush has nominated Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton to become his next ambassador to the United Nations.
"This is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," said Heather Hamilton, vice president of programs for Citizens for Global Solutions, formerly the World Federalist Association (WFA), who called Bolton the "Armageddon nominee".

The Armageddon allusion was to Bolton's long-time loyalty to former ultra-right Senator Jesse Helms who, on retiring from public life, described Bolton as "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in this world".
Hot damn! No wonder they're all atwitter!
"His nomination sends exactly the wrong message to the world about the Bush administration's willingness to work with other countries and in multilateral institutions. There's no one who has a greater track record of offending other countries, including our closest allies," Hamilton said.
I don't know about you, but I go whole weeks at a time without worrying about what's troubling the World Federalists. And when was the last time any of these handwringers get flustered about someone offending the United States?
He also advocated withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty [er, we did. - ed.] and railed against "nation-building", international arms-control agreements and threats supposedly posed to US sovereignty by the UN and its Secretary General Kofi Annan. At one point, Bolton suggested the US simply halt payments to the world body.
Be still, my heart!
Bolton is also a long-time activist in the Federalist Society, an association of right-wing, nationalistic lawyers who have been particularly opposed to the application of international or foreign law in their decisions, a practice that they say threatens US sovereignty.
I guess American nationalism is a no-no in the Brave New World. They want us to be sensitive to the latest "legal" fads among Third World thugocracies and the Euroweenies. Hey, Bobby Mugabe, any advice?
The society is also strongly opposed to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that seek the adoption of international law and standards in the US. Along with the AEI, the society sponsors "NGOWatch", which seeks to expose such efforts, as well as the funding sources of NGOs that take such positions.
More like a fox among the Toyota Taliban, I guess. NGOWatch is here.
In the summer of 2001, he shocked foreign delegations and NGOs at the a UN conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons when he announced that Washington would oppose any attempt to regulate the trade in firearms or non-military rifles, or any other effort that would "abrogat[e] the constitutional right to bear arms".
As should any representative of the USA.
Within the State Department, Bolton led the drive to renounce the US signature on the 1998 Rome Statute that created the new International Criminal Court, the first permanent tribunal with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

When Bush decided to withdraw the US signature to the treaty, Bolton prevailed on Powell to permit him to sign the formal notification to Annan, an act he later described to the Wall Street Journal as "the happiest moment of my government service".
I'm so jealous!
In a speech in Seoul that same month, for example, just as Pyongyang agreed to enter multilateral talks on its nuclear program as the administration had demanded, Bolton described life in North Korea as a "hellish nightmare", and accused its leader, Kim Jong-il, of being a "dictator" or "tyrant" running a "dictatorship" or "tyranny" no less than a dozen times.
It's not? He's not?

More hilarity by following the link, but you can see why the handwringers are nervous. Someone had the effrontery to observe that Emperor Kofi was stark naked!

Some other notable whines:

The Australian's David Nason:
THE shock appointment of hardline neo-conservative John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN stunned the diplomatic community yesterday and raised questions about George W. Bush's commitment to work constructively for reform of the world body in its 60th anniversary year.

Known as a "hawk's hawk", Mr Bolton, the tough-on-terrorism undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, has been an architect of US policy in Iraq and is a notorious UN-basher.

The Yale-educated lawyer has urged starving the UN of funds, led the fight against a UN-mandated international criminal court and once said "it wouldn't make a bit of difference" if the UN secretariat building in New York "lost" 10 of its 38 storeys.
Sounds like "reform of the world body" to me.

The Brookings Institution's Susan Rice in The Washington Post:
The job of U.N. ambassador is always important and delicate, but arguably never more so than now. The United Nations is facing unprecedented, justified criticism for its role in the oil-for-food scandal and its failure to prevent peacekeepers from sexually exploiting civilians in Congo. Several Republican members of Congress are gunning for Secretary General Kofi Annan's head. In response, Annan is shaking up his management team and reminding the United States how badly it needs the United Nations.
Those are a couple of laughers! Maybe we need them to see if the federal government's check book still works? As for reform, the hints are that the big reform is to pad the Security Council with more folks to be bribed before anything can be done. Zzzzzz.
Indeed, the United States is relying on the United Nations to carry out a massive tsunami recovery effort and 17 peacekeeping missions, to support the democratization processes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear program.
I guess Susan hasn't been keeping up with current events.

Beth Gardiner at the AP:
"Talk about reopening old wounds," said Francois Heisbourg, director of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research think-tank. "This sends entirely the wrong message."

In Europe, Heisbourg said, "this is really going to reopen all of the worst suspicions about the Bush administration's refusal to engage in effective multilateralism."
"Effective multilaterism" is a euphemism for the peanut gallery telling us what to do and us footing the bill. Sorry, Francois.
"This is an extremely bad message that Bush has submitted to the neo-conservatives," said Imad Shoueibi, a Syrian political analyst in Damascus. "They should have a more moderate figure representing them at the United Nations, but instead they have one of the most radical."
A "Syrian political analyst in Damscus" - my, my. Yet another foreign "legal" system that we don't need any advice from.

And don't forget Global Test Boy, John Kerry:
"If the president is serious about reaching out to the world, why would he choose someone who has expressed such disdain for working with our allies?
We're not talking allies, Lurch. We're talking the UN. And from the same source:
I think any nomination, any designation, is to send a message. I don't know what is the message." - Argentina's U.N. Ambassador Cesar Mayoral.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Increasing irrelevance alert!

African Union wants permanent Security Council seats:
Foreign ministers from the African Union met Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and resolved to demand five permanent seats on the United Nations' Security Council, two of them with veto power.
All the better to whine for cash for their ruling thugocracies. Yeah, that'll help.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Reed’s Rules: The nuclear option, 19th-century style:
As Tuchman records the scene, "pandemonium broke loose" in the House chamber. It was the beginning of five days of parliamentary tumult. A few Democrats attempted to maintain decorum, demanding formally, "I appeal the decision of the Chair!" Most others, however, were less gracious. They shouted, swore, threatened, and pounded their fists on tables and desks. Nevertheless, Reed went on reading the list of names in a calm, assured voice. When he reached the name of Rep. James McCreary of Kentucky, the latter exclaimed "I deny your right, Mr. Speaker, to count me as present!"
Haven't gotten any smarter, either.
A Republican member — probably one of those 19th-century RINOs — then moved for a debate on the rule change. Reed decided to allow it. For four days the debate raged. There were points of order, appeals, and endless quorum calls. Reed would repeat the same procedure as on the first day, reading the names of the silent Democrats into the journal as "present." Tempers reached such a fevered pitch that, at one point, a knot of Democratic members advanced menacingly down the center aisle toward the speaker's chair, giving the impression that Reed would be physically assaulted. Even the galleries joined in, with spectators and reporters shouting and screaming abuse at the speaker.
At least they weren't wearing pink.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

If they wanted her dead, she would be dead

Praying for her 15 minutes of fame

Ratbag Communist Giuliana Sgrena is stroking it for all she's worth:
"At that point a rain of fire and bullets came at us, forever silencing the happy voices from a few minutes earlier."
The only problem is that her story is full of holes, including the missing holes in her head. Of, course she has a full complement of naturally occurring ones.

Bad news for ecoweenies!

Hydro's Dirty Secret Revealed
The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Eric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "Everyone thinks hydro is very clean, but this is not the case," he says.
Gasp, is there any sort of power generation that is acceptable to these tykes? It's looking better for throwing the virgins in the volcano every day.

But wait, there's more - Cooking Linked to Possible Climate Changes! Not to mention the problems if what you are cooking is beans.

Photoshopping fun with the Guardian!

Fake North Korean snowmen:
In a column about faked photographs, Guardian ombudsman Ian Mayes suggests that a North Korean picture run on Monday may have been faked:
... the Guardian receives about 5,500 digital images a day. Between 120 and 150 images are chosen for publication from those and from other sources. Readers are quick to query pictures that they feel show signs of manipulation. On Monday this week (February 28) we published a picture headed: “Cold war — North Korean children take aim at America.” It showed children apparently throwing snowballs at a snowman representing the United States. A reader wrote: “A fairly casual inspection of this rather feeble bit of North Korean propaganda makes it obvious that the snowman was never in the original photo, but merely inserted afterward.”
Gosh, I don't see any problem!

North Korean children take aim at wingnut Dictator Kim Jong Il
Looks good to me!
(although he would look better as a Jack-o-Lantern)