Saturday, June 15, 2002

Internet Plagiarism: Reuters reports that
A Canadian teacher has been suspended after shocking a small northern Manitoba school by distributing a math exam that included questions about pimps, prostitutes, machine guns, cocaine trafficking and getting "knocked up."

The math proficiency test included questions such as: "Rufus is a pimp for three girls. If the price is $65 per trick, how many tricks per day must each girl turn to support Rufus' $800 per day crack habit?"

And then there was the trouble with Hector.

"Hector knocked up three girls in his gang. There are 27 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of the girls in the gang that Hector knocked up?"
While mildly amusing, the best part is that the exam appears to have been cribbed from a "City of Los Angeles High School Math Proficiency Exam" that has been floating around the Internet for years.
New Golf Strokes: KABC reports that
Riverside County sheriff's deputies raided a golf tournament Friday where participants were allegedly offered prostitutes, authorities said. "They were having a private golf tournament," said Deputy Lisa McConnell said. "Illegal acts of sex for money was offered during the tournament." Numerous women could be seen detained on the grounds of Hidden Valley Golf Club and there were small tents placed on several of the greens, ABC7 reported from its helicopter over the course. About 50 men were detained also.
Once again, I have to wonder about the thought processes involved here. Did they think no one was going to notice the duffers sneaking off the tee for a quickie?
Sin Taxes Redux. Two weeks ago I vented about a Sin Tax in Seattle, but now the Democrats in the California legislature have come down wholeheartedly behind the concept. The concise table in the Orange County Register shows how well they have learned the lesson. Luckily, most of the proposals seem to be moribund.
He's in the money. Bubba received $9.2M last year from giving his standard speech. Two thirds of the cash came from overseas. While it's swell the way Bubba can sucker the foreign rubes with his sideshow act, one can't help but wonder if all these foreigners now regard the USA as the home of El Hoppo, the Living Frog Boy. Just wait 'til the symptoms of tertiary syphilis kick in.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Pond Scum: Watergate weasel John Dean apparently has a last minute problem with his latest book. He promised to identify "Deep Throat" yet again, but problems have arisen and the "e-book" is being re-edited. Johnny Boy has always been a complete waste of oxygen, but he seems to be able to find suckers to pay for his eructations of sanctimonious bull. He ended up at Salon this time, which must mean he is coming to the bottom of the barrel. I wonder if he asked Maureen whether she was Deep Throat?

Speaking of Mo, she should be cherished as the inspiration for Christopher Buckley to pen the immortal lines:
After her first book, "Mo: A Woman's View of Watergate," was published, Maureen Dean went on the record and boasted that she had not only not written it, but also not even read it. If Esquire had given her a Dubious Achievement Award, it would have been: Say What You Will About Her Husband, You Have to Admire Her Literary Taste. In the acknowledgements section of this, her first novel, Mrs. Dean thanks "the ghost who . . . lives in my bedroom." That would be John, whose own Blind Ambition was in fact written by Taylor Branch. It is therefore hard to know whom precisely to blame for "Washington Wives."
There's a warm place down below for both John and Mo.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Dog bites man. The BBC surprises us with Food summit 'waste of time'. I'm shocked, truly shocked. At least the tinpot dictators, their wives, and assorted hangers-on got in some primo shopping with their foreign aid checks.
She earned her kneepads the hard way. Democratic National Committee spokesdroid, Jennifer Palmieri, tells us:"The greatest thing about my job is that, like, I say, like, ridiculous things that are mean about Bush and Cheney." She was formerly Assistant to the Chief of Staff, and Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary in the Clinton White House.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Mark Steyn' s bewitching tale of Mohammed Atta and his federal loan officer is exquisite. The gist is that Johnelle Bryant, Agriculture Department bureaucrat, had some wierd and threatening visits from Mo and one of his hijacker pals who were trying to get a government loan to buy a REALLY BIG crop duster.
But Ms. Bryant didn't think Mr. Atta was sick. The safe-breaking, the throat-slitting, the fake specs ... why, he was just being charmingly multicultural! "I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from," she says. "I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could." Unfortunately, his imaginative business plan for a crop-duster capable of crop-dusting Texas was frustrated by the unduly onerous restrictions and bureaucratic torpor of the USDA program. By late summer, Mr. Atta and his chums had concluded the government was never going to buy them their own twin-props and they'd have to make do with the aircraft that were already up there. So they switched their flight training courses from small planes to large jet simulators, and told their instructors to skip all that takeoff and landing stuff.
Ms. Bryant, not the sharpest tool in the drawer, has come forward now to help other people so that
"If they watch this interview and they see the type of questions that Atta asked me," Ms. Bryant told ABC News, "then perhaps they will recognize a terrorist, and make the call that I didn't make."
She apparently didn't think being threatened with having her throat slit and the safe robbed might constitute a reason to drop a dime. Steyn concludes
They weren't in "deep cover," they were barely covered at all. Atta was the brains of the operation, and he did a marginally better job of it than Leslie Nielsen would have. His one great insight into Western culture was his assumption that he could get a government grant to take out the Pentagon. Yet no matter how dumb he was, officialdom was always dumber...

There'll be more of these stories, tales of men virtually screaming their intentions but up against a culture sensitivity-trained into a coma...

The good news is we're up against idiots. The bad news is we're also up against the suppler idiocies of current Western orthodoxy. Thus, the U.S. government's new plans to photograph and fingerprint visitors from countries "believed to harbour terrorists" have already been attacked by Mary Robinson, the UN Human Rights honcho who's never met an Arab dictator she didn't like. Islamists want to kill us in the name of Islam. Regrettable, but there it is. If we pretend otherwise, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Canadian Islamic Congress and the Islamic Society of Britain might be nice to us. But, speaking personally, I can't say I care. If Islamic lobby groups throughout the Western world really want to hitch their star to a bunch of psychopathic morons, good luck to them. It's a free country. Hey, we'll even give you a government grant to tell us how racist we are.
As I mentioned when this story broke, I'm surprised he didn't get the loan!

Where's the girl with the hammer? Ian Fried at CNET reports that "In its largest marketing effort since the "Think Different" campaign, Apple Computer is planning a series of TV and print ads featuring people who tell why they switched from a PC to a Mac." Apple also has the ads online for your surfing pleasure.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

OxyMorons: Grant Reid lets us know in the Calgary Herald that "American anarchists say they're forced to move their protest against the G-8 summit in Kananaskis to Ottawa because activists in Calgary are too disorganized". More good laughs and a photo of a lout from Salinas, KS who enlightens us with: "Calgary has been badly planned, so everyone is pulling out and going to Ottawa. You need strong organization for a protest and . . . (Calgary activists) haven't updated their Web sites in months."

Ugly and stupid is a hell of a way to go through life, kid.
"Vegetarians are cool. All I eat are vegetarians." That plus more in Salon of all places, where Amy Benfer has a lengthy interview with Ted Nugent, titled "Hunting the American dream". If you took away Ted's guitar, he would resemble a lot of the folks around here. That's fine by me. No latte on tap or tofu in the cooler here at the Country Store.
The "Right Man, Right Place" Tim Evans tells us in The Australian, is PM John Howard who is addressing the US Congress tonight and is also the newly elected head of the International Democratic Union - the international club for Center Right political parties which are right now tearing up the pea patch in Europe, the USA, and Australia.
More UN laughs as Richard Owen reports in the Times that hunger talks start with lobster and foie gras.
The opening day of the UN World Food Summit, dedicated to combating global hunger, was marked yesterday by a sumptuous lunch for the 3,000 delegates served by 170 Italian waiters.

The summit leaders were offered foie gras, lobster, and goose stuffed with olives. followed by fruit compote.

The Rome lunch was a symbol, for Western leaders at least, of the extravagant and bloated bureaucracies that the aid business has created, and went some way towards explaining why so few of them were in attendance yesterday.
Don't be bitchy fellas, the bureaucrats have to keep their strength up. Meanwhile, Clare Short, Britain's International Development Secretary dropped the big one: "I'm not sending a minister because I don't expect it to be an effective summit. It's an old-fashioned U.N. organization and it needs improvement." Actually Clare, it mostly needs to be put out of its misery.

Finally the summit produced a new contender for the Mugabe award for two faced verbiage. Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque piped up,
saying hunger would never end as long as wealthy countries controlled an economic system that he alleged deprives 800 million people of their daily bread. "The root causes of such genocide is the global imposition by an opulent and privileged majority of a system of international economic relations that proves increasingly unjust and marginalizing, and which in fact is unsustainable."
Since the party line in Havana is that they absolutely must be allowed to trade with the opulent USA, this must be Rocky's way of telling us he wants a handout.
Tinpot Dictator Alert. Robert Mugabe lived down to his advance billing in his address at the opening day of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's World Food Summit in Rome. According to the Mugger, "his government had 'responded to the people's cry for land' by embarking on a 'fast-track acquisition and resettlement programme'. This 'now enables people to fight poverty by directly working on their own land. Their own, I say with emphasis, because land, being the most important natural resource of any country, must belong to, and be owned by, the indigenous people.' " The only fly in the ointment is that the "indigenous people" are Mugabe's cronies and the 90% of the productive white-owned farmland that they have stolen is now lying fallow. The planting of wheat on 100 additional white-owned farms had been delayed indefinitely because it cannot be done without the permission of the agricultural minister who is off in Rome with his thug boss. "Mr Mugabe and his delegation have been staying at the five-star, £500 a night Excelsior hotel since Saturday, police sources said. All day yesterday, silver Mercedes limousines glided in and out of its entrance carrying delegation members, while wives returned with their designer shopping. "

So here's the net: Nero is off in Rome, while Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, has got its tin cup out. The solution for Zimbabwe is obvious, but frankly that's not our problem. Our problem is that the US taxpayers will undoubtedly be tapped to pay for famine relief either directly or indirectly through the UN. In the name of cost effectiveness, why not try "early retirement" for Mugabe?

Monday, June 10, 2002

Going round Robin Hood's barn is an expression from my youth meaning needlessly going out of your way. An antipodean example is revealed in tomorrow's Independent:
Australia is considering the drastic step of changing the legal status of Tasmania, the island state south of the mainland, to prevent boat people from landing there and claiming asylum.

Last weekend, with the stroke of a pen, the government excised thousands of tiny islands off Australia's north coast from the country's migration zone. The move, which means people who reach the islands can no longer claim refugee status, was taken after ministers received intelligence about boatloads of asylum-seekers heading to Australia from Indonesia.

None has tried to reach Australia in the past six months, and the government is signalling it will take whatever measures are necessary – including lopping off bits of the country ad hoc – to keep out illegal immigrants.

And Australia has taken a "strong" position against illegal immigrants. When I first read Camp of the Saints in the early '70s I thought it was powerful, but rather unrealistic. Now it seems that truth follows fiction.

Page 2. For a view of a stronger age, please stop by the New Hampshire State Library online and view their collection of 61 posters from World War II.

Extracurricular Activities: Powder-puff girls football game turns into riot in Santa Rosa, CA. More details:
The game started about 5 p.m. Friday and within a half-hour had grown into a melee involving hundreds of young people and 35 police officers.

"If it was just kids playing a friendly game, it would be no problem," said Cmdr. Steve Thomas of the Santa Rosa Police Department. "But what we had was a riot. It started when girls on the field were fighting. It escalated to the point that about 300 people were fighting."

I think I'll stick to Ultima Online. And while we're talking bad behavior, 'Orgy' cop is suspended tells the tawdry tale of good cops gone bad:
A Chief Superintendent has been suspended from duty after he and nine colleagues were accused of turning a charity ball into a “drunken orgy”. Graham Cawley, four male colleagues and five women officers, were invited to the swanky £45-a-head anti-drugs bash to pick up awards. But the other 150 guests at the black tie event, including local magistrates and church leaders, were left open-mouthed as the group groped, snogged ... and even appeared to have sex.
I'll skip the rest of the lurid details, but one has to wonder: what are these people thinking of? Do they sit around brainstorming this stuff or are they masters of improvisation?
Make Love, Not War by Brad King in Wired reveals that peace freaks are infiltrating the online shooter world, although one of them, Anne-Marie Schleiner, apparently has issues: She didn't try to make friends with her enemies until after she laid waste to eight other players, a fact she pointed out was very impressive since she's a relatively new player. Lots of good laughs, but my favorite is:
Online protests are becoming more frequent these days, but they have a relatively simple history, dating to Ultima Online, a world created by Richard Garriott and Starr Long. During the beta testing, Garriott's Lord British, a supposedly invincible character, was killed by a player during a town meeting. Garriott forgot to click on his "immortality" switch, which led to his untimely death when he stepped into a fireball.

What really irked the players was that Long, seeing his friend's character fall, called in a gaggle of demons who whomped the innocent bystanders.
Now that sounds like a good time!
Smile when you say that! Clint Eastwood has been sworn in as a California State Parks Commissioner. Aside from an obligatory joke about his new commissioner's badge, Eastwood told the crowd
"You're paying for it. Your tax dollars are paying for it," he said. "So I want you to come and enjoy it. They're the best bargain you'll ever have."
A simple truism that is too often forgotten or obscured by self-serving politicians : "You're paying for it".
Gallic Shrug. While turnout hit an all time low, those French voters who went to the polls seem to have given an overwhelming mandate to Jacques Chirac and his conservative alliance. But under the wacky French electoral system, it won't be over until the runoff elections next week and the left will undoubtedly try to get the stay-at-homes out of bed and the cafes. As for Le Pen and the National Front, the bogeyman of the effete elite did not fare overly well in the Chirac sweep. Perhaps because, as the AP reports,

The right has successfully tapped into a groundswell of discontent over burgeoning immigration and soaring crime. Chirac's new government, led by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, is winning high approval ratings with proposals to increase the nation's law enforcement budget and a harder attitude toward illegal immigrants.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy took a somewhat bold step by visiting the controversial Sangatte refugee center, a magnet for illegal immigrants, and then announcing that France wanted to shut it down.
It seems to me that Chirac has cleverly done very well out of this whole deal and when all the fuss is over, it will have turned out to be merely the discarding of an increasingly addled Socialist regime that had lost touch with the nation. Hopefully, Chirac will also remember the issues that made the voters put the Socialists in the hydroflush and pulled the handle.