Saturday, July 13, 2002

EU is pronounced Ewwww
The Norwegian Blogger tells us about "The EU, a Union of Prosperity and Innovation!". There's much good hilarity including the European standard condom, but my fave is:
Not only that, but the Rapid Response Force will soon be able to make the European Union a military match for the United States. The problem is that the army is to be fully integrated and each soldier only to receive orders in his own language, so far we've only been able to find two eight language polyglots that are willing to be drill sergeants so it's slow going. Furthermore each soldier must carry a copy of the committee written "Soldiers Handbook", unfortunately the soldiers handbook dictate a maximum weight that the soldiers can carry, and the book itself exceeds that weight. But SOON it will work PERFECTLY!

The idea is a team of ferocious German soldiers egged on by British drill sergeants and fed by French cooks, all moving forward in perfect order while trying to kill the enemy. Some people claim that instead you got French soldiers egged on by Italian drill sergeants, and fed by British cooks, moving forward in total disarray while trying to surrender. Such claims are in clear violation of directive 9801/404, and repeated behaviour will force us to consider proposing a motion for a hearing about disciplinary reactions!
The poor EU bureaucrats don't get any respect for anything. Even their aspirations for 160 mm units.
It's Time for the Daschles to Come Clean!
I'm sure that Sinkmeister Clinton wasn't the first to figure out that a perfect way to profit from public office is through a spouse, but when he did it, "he done good". While Bubba the Arkansas "public servant" kept his hands clean (or at least out of sight), Hillary hauled in the dough via commodity "trading tips" from Tyson (HQ: Arkansas) and a seat on the board of directors of Wal-Mart (HQ: Arkansas).

But that Arkansas stuff is peanuts compared to what a boy and girl can do in the big city. Just look at little Tommy Daschle and his wife, Linda. As we all know, Tommy is the Senate majority leader and has a more than trivial effect on what legislation gets passed and which bureaucracies get funded. His wife, Linda, a former high level FAA bureaucrat now hauls down even bigger bucks as an industrial lobbyist in Washington for
American Airlines
American Assn of Airport Executives
American Trucking Assn
Boeing Co
City of Cleveland - Hopkins Intl Airport
L-3 Communications
Loral Spacecom
Northwest Airlines
Schering-Plough Corp
United Technologies
Notice the specialization in the transportation industry.

As Deborah Orrin reveals in the NY Post, Tommy and Linda refuse to divulge her income as a lobbyist (other than it is above $1000). Tommy also claims that his wife only lobbies in the House of Representatives which does not present a conflict because Tommy just runs the Senate. However, if you can stand the bogon radiation streaming off the Golden Couple, there are some interesting hints as to what exactly is going on. As Orrin reports:
L-3 hired Linda Daschle and her firm when airlines balked at buying L-3 bomb-detecting devices to screen airline baggage because they were inferior to a competitor, The Washington Post reported last fall.

But after Linda Daschle got on the case, Congress inserted an "unusually explicit directive" ordering the FAA to buy one device from L-3 for every rival model from InVision.

"The connections apparently paid off . . . but [last October] the Transportation Department's inspector general agreed with industry critics that L-3's machines were not performing," the newspaper reported.

The Washington Post reported back in 1997 that, unlike ordinary citizens who have to view Mt. Rushmore from below, "Big contributors to Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) are personally escorted to the top of George Washington's head by the park superintendent himself". This was a minor scandal while Linda was still at the FAA. It's funny how many of the big contributors had FAA business at the time and are now Linda's clients in her lobbying career. For that matter, it's funny how many of Linda's clients are currently big contributors to Tommy's campaign funds. The most notable is Northwest Airlines, Tommy's top sponsor.

Then there is the scandal about the rattletrap air service run by a Daschle family friend which managed to avoid FAA sanctions until they killed some people, and Linda's current clients who are lobbying for airline bailouts and lessened safety regulations and more. Read all the details in the Washington Monthly article, "Tom Daschle's Hillary" which offers the following summary:
So here's a case where a senator's wife gets a high-ranking government job, which in turn boosts her earning power as a lobbyist. She then represents clients who have business with and give money to her husband. Those clients pay her big bucks to help fight safety regulations and to win government money---money which helps pay the senator's mortgage. Yet so far, the press and congressional ethics hawks have largely given the Daschles a pass. So why isn't this a bigger story?

Mostly because no one in Congress has the slightest interest in raising it. Democrats certainly don't want to attack one of their own, and as they point out in defending the Daschles, Republicans are married to lobbyists, too. In addition, both Republicans and Democrats are beneficiaries of Linda Daschle's clients. "This town is so bizarre that Linda Daschle may even deliver campaign contributions to Trent Lott," says the Heritage Foundation's Ron Utt. Indeed, she freely admits to giving campaign contributions to Republicans.

So who's left to scrutinize the relationship? The answer is the press. But Daschle has them covered too. Unlike Hillary a decade ago, Linda Daschle is a Beltway insider who understands the rules of the game. The main rule is that the effects of your actions, no matter how dubious---say, weakening airline safety---are never grounds for a scandal so long as you first, disclose your actions, and then, don't violate the ethics rules in the process. If Tom or Linda Daschle had secretly taken a free pair of Superbowl tickets from Northwest Airlines and then pushed the airline bailout plan, that would be a big story. But the fact that Tom Daschle takes thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Northwest and his wife's firm collects $200,000 a year to lobby for them is no problem at all.

Congress has no rules prohibiting members' spouses from lobbying. Notoriously porous, congressional ethics rules were written on the not so unreasonable theory that it's impossible to forbid each and every potential conflict of interest, and that in the end, the voters are the ultimate arbiters of congressional behavior.

Since we are the ultimate arbiters, it's time for Tommy and Linda to publish every detail of their financial activities so we can decide. Okay Tommy, where's the data?
Hot Time in Mexico
The AP is reporting that outside Mexico City,
Protesting farmers threatened to tie a dozen hostages to gasoline trucks and light them on fire unless police freed detained demonstrators in an escalation of their fight to block a Mexico City airport project.

As the standoff 15 miles northeast of Mexico City entered its third day Friday, protesters armed themselves with gasoline bombs and set off fireworks, fearing a raid by federal and state police. Others among the roughly 1,000 farmers fought off boredom by standing around huge bonfires and chatting.

"How far will we go?" farm leader David Pajaro asked protesters, many of whom wore ski masks and carried machetes. They shouted back: "To the death!"

The hostages in the town of San Salvador Atenco included a deputy state prosecutor, city officials and police officers. A line of more than 200 police officers in riot gear stood at the ready on the outskirts of town, and authorities said more than 400 more officers were on standby on nearby highways.
Looks like Sr. Pajaro is well on the way to getting his wish.
Dress Code for Crooks
The Boston Globe shares the plans of some Massachusetts banks to post signs requesting customers not to wear certain articles of clothing in order to cope with a surge of bank robberiies.
Dark sunglasses. Hat. Hooded sweatshirt. When police get calls reporting a bank robbery, invariably the suspect is described wearing one of those accessories. Sometimes, they've donned all three.

The wares are, as an FBI spokeswoman said in an interview, ''the uniform of choice'' of bank robbers, for the obvious reason that it helps shield their identity.

Now some Massachusetts banks - trying to thwart a dramatic increase in robberies - are hoping to strip would-be robbers of their preferred get-ups by posting signs asking customers to please lose the shades and hats.


Customers at the Milford bank now face these words when they walk through the front door: ''To preserve safety and security, we respectfully request all customers to remove hats, hoods, and sunglasses while in the bank. Thank you.''

Despite the sign, most bank patrons were unaware of the changes this week. Some went into the bank wearing baseball hats and sunglasses and were not asked by employees, including security guards, to remove them. But others were asked, and, although surprised, took them off without protest. A few who knew the rules took off hats and sunglasses before entering, tucking them into purses or under their arms.
"When hats are outlawed, only outlaws will have hats?" I suppose this might deter some solitary bank robbers, but if it is a group of robbers, all it is going to do is start the action early.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Let Georgia Put You in the Driver's Seat (of a Police Interceptor)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on "state car hijinks" in the Georgia state government:
Georgia has about 23,000 state vehicles, but don't ask where they all are. The state doesn't know.

In fact, the government can't even say for sure how many vehicles the state owns. State workers authorized to take cars home are required to keep track of the miles they drive, but noncompliance is widespread.

Gov. Roy Barnes gave Georgia's nearly 100 agency directors a month to account for the state's vehicles, but, 41 had not complied by this week's deadline.
Of course there's the usual petty larceny
Auditors say the state is way too loose on who gets cars and what they can bill taxpayers for.


All over Georgia, taxpayers are subsidizing state workers for their commutes to work, at a cost of more than $6 million a year.
But the best item is:
The push to account for state cars and for who's using them started when Rep. Paul Smith (D-Rome) inquired about vehicles assigned to nearly three dozen technical schools scattered across the state. He was especially interested in school administrators being assigned police interceptor versions of a full-sized Ford, which cost $24,000 even when ordered in bulk.

"I was told the only vehicles they had were these old cars that people gave them that they had reworked," Smith said. "But most technical school officials had police special Crown Victorias. And I don't know who they were chasing at 140 mph."

Officials at the state Department of Technical and Adult Education said they don't know how many cars they have or what kind they are. Laura Gammage, assistant commissioner for administrative services, said her agency missed the governor's deadline because it couldn't figure out if the state wants to get reports from each school separately, or if one report with 34 entries would suffice.
I bet a dog ate Laura's homework too! I know this is chump change compared to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development "misplacing" $59 billion, but I want a Police Interceptor!

Thursday, July 11, 2002

More Ice Cream Violence!
First it was Mr. Softee with a baseball bat, now it's Mr. Ice Cream with a sandal. From the North Jersey News:
An ice cream vendor took a beating Monday when a competitor thought she was trespassing on his turf, police said.

Shiam Daoud, 52, of Paterson was taken to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood with bruises on her head, face, arm, and hip, police said.

They charged Rashed Awaadeh, 50, of Getty Avenue, Paterson, with aggravated assault.

Police were called to Finch Park on Island Avenue at 4:09 p.m. by witnesses who said they saw Awaadeh leave his Mister Ice Cream truck and attack Daoud inside her Good Humor truck. He first began to punch her in the face with his fists, and then used his footwear as weapons, they said.

"He had heavy sandals on and began hitting her on the head with the sandals," said Ramsey Police Director Joseph Delaney. "He claimed he only pushed her, but the witnesses observed him hitting her about the face.''
Hmm, times have apparently changed.

The Scotsman reports that 47 of 48 Nigerians who entered the UK to take part in the British Open have disappeared.
Organisers of the Open Championship have launched an investigation after 47 out of 48 Nigerians granted visas to enter Britain to take part in the competition failed to turn up for their games.

There are suspicions that some of the would-be golfers had no intention of taking part in the tournament but used the event as an excuse to get past immigration controls.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which organises the tournament, has expressed surprise at the size of the entry from a country not normally associated with top-class golf, and concern about the failure of the golfers to show up.

The mystery deepened yesterday when both the Nigerian Golf Union and the Nigerian High Commission denied any knowledge of such a large entry.

Top-class golf courses are few and far between in the West African country and the annals of golfing history are not overburdened with the names of Nigerian greats.
I suggest the Royal and Ancient stand by for a Nigerian email.
Another Mark Steyn Gem
In the Spectator: Mark Steyn says that it’s a win–win situation for the President in Palestine, but not for the poor old Europeans.
Tough Times on the Axis of Evil
Dave Trowbridge at Redwood Dragon covers the State Department dummying up on the situation in Iran. I'd love to believe it's because of a super secret payback plan for the mullahs, but I suspect Dave has it right.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Dear Editor
Contrary to my intent to feature letters to the editor from around the USA, I'm afraid I nipped across the border for a letter to the Ottawa Citizen:
Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Re: An all-American bash, July 4.

It is befitting to wish your American neighbours the best on Independence Day. Denigrating our other allies, such as the Europeans, in your editorial was mean and betrays the dislikes of your newspaper's chain for the more balanced policies advocated by the European Union on the Palestinian-Israel dispute.

The simplistic approach of the American president is smiled at in European capitals. It is too easy to blame it on their envy of the United States.


But when it comes to international politics, culture and history, they do smile at the immaturity of our North American politicians and institutions. Understandably so. History is the best guide to the future. You cannot acquire centuries of it in a few decades.

The U.S. has produced a few great leaders: Ben Franklin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. The others have been good for the politics of small-town U.S.A. but have failed miserably on the international front.


President George W. Bush has demonstrated his incapacity to take a rational and consistent international stands: free trade and huge tariffs on steel; complaints of subsidies abroad and billions to the farm bill; peace moderator in the Middle East and subservience to the Jewish lobbies at home. The constant reminder of potential terrorist attacks provides a perfect smokescreen for his total ineptitude.

Sept. 11 was a shock to most Europeans but one could feel the "they got it coming" attitude. This was not caused by envy but was born out of the realization that the American Middle East policy is biased, twisted and unintelligible. The Wild West mentality longs for a Texan shootout with bin Laden and the Mullah Omar on the theory that killing them will solve the long-term problem: just another sign of not having learned from history.

Georges Clermont,

Bruxelles, Belgium
Once upon a time, the Belgian 1st ParaCommando made a combat jump at Stanleyville to rescue hostages from the terrorist savages of that time. Georges' center of interest is more likely who goosed who amongst his pals at the local cafe. I wonder what kind of cheese he likes with his whine?
Do Big Media Journalists Do Research Anymore?
(Or do they just follow the DNC talking points?)
In all the whining about President Bush and Harken Energy, apparently only Byron York at NRO has bothered to dig into the public records from the SEC investigation the last time Democrats complained. Follow the link to read the detailed analysis, but my favorite part concerns Enron consultant, DNC water carrier, and would-be NYT columnist, Paul Krugman:
In addition to the questions that have been raised about Bush's decision to sell his stock, there are also questions about when he informed federal regulators of the sale. Last week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, "Oddly, though the law requires prompt disclosure of insider sales, [Bush] neglected to inform the SEC about this transaction until 34 weeks had passed. An internal SEC memorandum concluded that he had broken the law, but no charges were filed. This, everyone insists, had nothing to do with the fact that his father was president."

The documents tell a somewhat different story. Although Krugman did not mention it, Bush was required to file two disclosure forms with the SEC. One, which was known as a Form 4, was due the month after Bush made the sale. The other, known as a Form 144, was due at the time of the sale. Bush filed the Form 4 several months late, but he filed the Form 144 on time. In the view of some experts, the Form 144 was the more important of the two.

Bush filed the Form 144, officially known as a "Notice of Proposed Sale of Securities," on June 22, 1990, the day of the sale. In the form, he listed, among other things, how many shares he intended to sell, when he had originally acquired them, how much they were worth, and which broker would handle the transaction. "The 144 is probably the more market-informative form," says Edward Fleischman, who was an SEC commissioner between 1986 and 1992. "It gives market-watchers an indication of what is coming." In contrast, Fleischman says, "The Form 4 is totally retrospective and was originated for a very different purpose, to keep track of dates and prices." If the purpose of disclosure was to make regulators and investors aware of Bush's insider sale, then the Form 144 was the more important document.
I'm sure the Times will tell us all about it.
Another Class Act
Thanks to FreeRepublic for pointing out this instance of our education system at work.
Magic Mushroom Time
The NY Post reveals that the "Widow of LAX Killer Says He's the Victim":
July 9, 2002 -- CAIRO, Egypt - The wife of an Egyptian man who killed two people at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4th said yesterday that he's innocent - and is being accused only because he's a "victim" of anti-Arab bias.

"My husband didn't do such a thing. This is nonsense," 41-year-old Hala Mohammed Sadeq El-Awadly said in Cairo.


El-Awadly said she did not believe her husband was responsible for the LAX shooting and was being blamed because he was Arab and Muslim.

"He is a victim of injustice," she said three times. "In America, they hate Islam and Arabs after Sept. 11.
Aye Captain, the bogon flux has pegged the meter! Ms. El-Awadly, here's a suggestion.
Pet Guardians?
And not having enough to do in California, local governments from Los Angeles to the Bay Area are being urged to change all laws concerning "pet owners" to the new term (with significant legal consequences apparently) of "pet guardians".
They're back!
Daniel Altman reports in the NY Times that
A small, secretive group that used television advertisements to attack George W. Bush during his campaign for president has re-emerged to point to links between oil companies with questionable accounting practices and the Bush administration.

The group, American Family Voices, paid for a 30-second commercial that will be shown until Thursday on cable news programs here and in New York. The commercial calls President Bush "sly like a fox" for talking down his dealings with Harken Energy, an oil company on whose board he once sat.


Mr. Lux, a consultant who works for American Family Voices under contract, would not say who donated the money for the television time. But the group and its advertising agency, the Glover Park Group, have significant links to the Clinton administration. Mr. Lux was an aide to President Bill Clinton, and the partners at Glover Park include Joe Lockhart, who was once Mr. Clinton's press secretary, and Carter Eskew and Michael Feldman, two advisers to Al Gore's unsuccessful campaign for president in 2000.

Mr. Lux said 12 donors responded to a request for money, and he hinted that the contributors included a trial lawyer, an executive in high technology and a prominent person in Hollywood.


Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said the committee had nothing to do with the commercial. But Ms. Palmieri said that James Carville, once a top campaigner for Mr. Clinton, was involved with American Family Voices.

In the last year, from a sea-green brick building in Washington, American Family Voices has criticized Mr. Bush's tax breaks for corporations and has sponsored a Web site called The Daily Enron, which chronicles corporate accounting scandals.

The group was formed in 2000 with money from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. It has four employees, led by Mr. Lux. It has Section 501(c)4 tax status, which means it cannot run advertisements mentioning specific candidates within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. The status also lets the group keep the identities of its backers a secret.
It's Animal White House reunion week! Union thugs, trial lawyers, and Hollywood fat cats funding Eskew, Feldman, and Carville with Joe Lockhart thrown in for comic relief.
I'm Shocked!
Ellen Sorokin reports in the Washington Times that
Two House members have asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the National Education Association's political campaign expenditures.

Republican Reps. Charlie Norwood of Georgia and John Culberson of Texas sent a letter last week to the IRS's commissioners demanding they look into whether the nation's largest teacher's union uses its general treasury funds — instead of its political action committee (PAC) fund — to support political campaigns.

Furthermore, the NEA's tax returns related to its general fund do not report the money used for political purposes, the congressmen say.

Spending general treasury funds, which includes tax-exempt dues and fees from teachers, on political activities, and not reporting such expenditures on tax returns, violates the Internal Revenue Code, the congressmen contend.

"As this matter involves the allocation of millions of dollars of tax-exempt membership dues and agency fees for the purpose of influencing the electoral process, we would have thought the IRS would have taken some effective action by now," the two congressmen wrote in the July 1 letter.


According to the congressmen's letter to the IRS, NEA general counsel Robert Chanin acknowledged at a June 20 congressional hearing that evidence of political expenditures given to the subcommittee by the Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative public-interest law firm, were made from the union's general treasury funds, not from its PAC.


The letter came two weeks after Mr. Norwood, who also is the chairman of the House Education Committee subcommittee on workforce protection, held the June 20 hearing to determine whether labor unions like the NEA violated the Internal Revenue Code by spending general treasury money on political activities and failing to report those expenditures on tax returns.

The subcommittee on workforce protection heard testimony from officials with the NEA and representatives from Landmark, which has filed at least five complaints against the union with several government agencies since 1994.

In its complaints, the foundation said the NEA did not report on its filings with the Labor Department tax-exempt revenue it spent to recruit and support candidates running for local, state and federal elective office since at least 1994.

Most of the expenditures were coordinated with the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party campaign organizations, the AFL-CIO and Emily's List, the nationwide network of political donors helping to elect Democratic pro-choice women, the complaint said.
The NEA continues its ascent into the pantheon of organized labor. I wonder how long it will be before they start hiring goons so they can really fit in? Hey, it's "for the children".
Burning Issues
The NY Times tells us about "Standing Up to Mr. Softee (Don't Laugh)"
HARTFORD — Wilbur Troutman, a civic watchdog, might never have been known outside his neighborhood in southwest Hartford except that he took on Mister Softee. And Mister Softee, he says, was wielding a bat.
Mr. Troutman was videotaping a Mister Softee truck 10 days ago to document its incessant jingle as a violation of noise laws, when, he said, the driver jumped out of the truck and hit him with a baseball bat.

The driver, who denies hitting Mr. Troutman, has been charged with assault. Mr. Troutman, his left arm still scabbed, has become fodder for radio talk shows in Baltimore, San Antonio, Indianapolis and even Australia. His telephone rings with calls from longsuffering "Pop Goes the Weasel" critics.


Besides, he hates the jingle. "Hell, we're not talking about Beethoven's `Pastoral,' " he said. "We're talking about nine notes in some kind of arrangement."


Mr. Troutman, who has a wife and a 12-year-old daughter, knows he might sound like an old fogy. He served in the Marines and studied at the University of California at Berkeley and at San Francisco State during the 1960's, where he joined his share of free speech, anti-authority protests.

Now he's coming down hard on Mister Softee. "I have become the enemy I protested against in the 60's," he said.

In short, he's a homeowner.

He's surprised — even a little amused — that this is the role that has brought him attention. "I'm well known, almost notorious, for being the anti-Softee man," he said. "Hey, we all have our 15 minutes. I was hoping it would be for something nobler."
The Mr. Softee web site has the jingle online for aficionados, even the sheet music.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Mark Steyn Rules!
A teaser from his latest column in the National Post:
Whatever you do, don't call it a hate crime

I'm a dead white male, as you can tell from the above picture. Suppose on Martin Luther King Day I went to the offices of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and shot the receptionists. How many nano-seconds do you think it would take before the attack was being characterized as racially motivated? Your top Olympic hotshot could ingest every steroid on the planet and he couldn't beat that time.

Suppose it was Judy Garland's birthday and I went to my local gay bathhouse and opened fire on the fetching young men handing out the towels. How many minutes would tick by before the word "homophobia" was heard?

Or suppose it was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and me and my semi-automatic swung by the abortion clinic ...

Well, you get the idea. On the Fourth of July (hint) a guy went to the airport in Los Angeles, sauntered up to the ticket counter of El Al (hint) and fatally shot two people and wounded three. How many folks hearing the news on a quickie radio update honestly expected it to be anyone other than a Muslim male of Middle Eastern origin? Obviously, Underperformin' Norman Mineta, the scrupulously sensitivity-trained U.S. Transportation Secretary, would have been wary of jumping to conclusions. Were he running the LAPD, he'd have pulled in a couple of elderly nuns and Kelli-Sue, a trainee hairdresser from Des Moines.

But, fortunately for the final death toll, El Al has its own security and so the suspect, after firing 10 rounds, was himself killed. And whaddaya know? He wasn't an elderly nun but a 41-year-old Egyptian male! His name wasn't Kellie-Sue, it was Hesham Mohamed Hadayet!

This stunning development seems to have completely disoriented the FBI. I quote from The New York Times headline: "Officials Puzzled About Motive Of Airport Gunman."
Welfare Pimp Convention
All the usual suspects have shown up at the NAACP Convention "Freedom under Fire" to play the race card. Julian Bond blamed it all on a right wing conspiracy. Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson offered her analysis that ""If we're not careful, we will be back beyond the '60s" and cautioned the crowd to "be careful who you vote for when you go to the ballot (sic)." Jesse Jackson made his contribution by claiming President Bush is "unliterate".

Hidden amongst all the bluster about "diminished civil rights" was the awful possibility of restrictions in the cash flow to them and their chattels. Causing real consternation was school vouchers:
Addressing the issue of school vouchers, Bond also took Bush to task. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled school voucher programs are constitutional if they provide parents a choice among a range of religious and secular schools. The court endorsed a pilot program in Cleveland that provides parents a tax-supported education stipend.

Bond recalled a speech Bush made in Cleveland recently supporting vouchers. Bush said the school voucher ruling was as historic as the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which integrated the nation's schools.

"The difference, Mr. President, is that freedom loving people and the NAACP fought for Brown," Bond said. "Today, freedom loving people and the NAACP are fighting against transferring tax dollars to private schools."
Cry me a river Julian. It must really kill you that black parents were some of the strongest advocates of vouchers in Cleveland.
Nippon Crude!
Japan Today is raising a stink with a story about the press and a member of the Royal Family:
It seems that Prince Takamado, son of Prince Hitachi and the emperor's first cousin, made a three-day visit to South Korea last month to represent Japan at the World Cup, accompanied by his wife. The royal couple spent the final night of their journey at the Lotte Hotel in Pusan.

That evening, his highness took the elevator to the lounge at the hotel's top floor and met the contingent of Japanese reporters who had accompanied his tour for an informal, off-the-record gathering.

The meeting progressed until around 2 a.m., during which time the reporters and their host continued to imbibe alcoholic beverages, one result of which was that the questions posed to his highness became increasingly off the cuff.

One newsman reportedly asked Takamado, "Your highness, what would you say was your most unpleasant encounter with a journalist?"

"Once," the prince replied, "a reporter who had come to interview me broke wind in my presence. Wouldn't you say that was pretty rude?"

Shortly afterwards, Takamado decided to call it a night, and, as is customary in such situations, lined up with the reporters for a commemorative photograph.

At the moment the cameraman said "cheese," there was the unmistakable sound of a loud zephyr emitted from the immediate vicinity.

Considering that the rude blast served as a reminder of the prince's earlier complaint, the photo turned out remarkably well, with everyone in the picture shown giggling and laughing — except Takamado.
It seems the Prince left in a huff and the reportorial sleuths determined that a "Mr. A" was the guilty party.
According to Shukan Shincho, a furious debate ensued among reporters attached to the Imperial Household Agency, between those who defend A's action as "dashing" and "heroic" and others upset over his having "given offense to his majesty."
Mr. A shouldn't worry. He has most of Helen Thomas' act down pat. If he can learn to pen a few pro-terrorist screeds, he can replace her in the White House press corps when she retires.

Monday, July 08, 2002

Pond Scum
I have a vague recollection of Sarah Jessica Parker as a geeky kid that starred in an early 80's TV series called Square Pegs. Apparently she painted up nice (or at least tartier) and now appears in something called "Sex and the City". (Note to self: maybe she knows about "climaxometers".)

In any case, Sarah has been putting out high pitched political whines in recent years, the latest of which appeared in an incredibly poorly written article in the Scotsman that starts off: "Sarah Jessica Parker, the star of the television hit Sex and the City, is to hang up her trademark Manolo high-heels and embrace a career on the political stage by running for the US Senate".

Sarah further shares with us that
...she was inspired to enter politics out of concern for the impact of spending cuts by the Bush administration.

Parker said: "I’d like to represent either California or New York.

"I see it as the only effective way to change things. I work hard for charitable and political organisations because I think it’s really important to try to leave the world a better place than you found it.

"I’m very, very concerned about the Bush presidency, she added. "I’m worried about the kind of cuts he might make in programmes that mean something to a lot of people, including my family."
Hard as it is to believe that a millionaire actress's family needs a lot of government programs, she trumps it with the news that
The actress began taking an interest in politics during her relationship with the late John F Kennedy Jr.

The couple, who dated in 1992, shared the same political views, and she kept up her affinity with the Democrats long after she split with Kennedy, who was killed in a plane crash in 1999.

Since the mid-1990s, she has campaigned hard, turning up at rallies and gala fundraisers.

Such is the actress’s political pull, she was asked by the team running Al Gore’s campaign to record a "personal" phone message urging Americans to vote for him in the presidential race.

Her endorsement was then relayed by telephone to thousands of potential voters, with young, female voters - most likely to be fans of Sex and the City - heavily targeted.
Lucy June, there's a Sarah on the phone for you!
The programme, which charts the lives and loves of four young women, has always celebrated New York and Parker became a guiding light through the trauma of 11 September, refusing to leave the city after the attacks.

She inspired many Americans with her words at the time: "New Yorkers have always been into their accessories, and this year they are courage and resilience."
Thanks Sarah. I'm sure that made everyone feel so much better.

On the other hand, my dog could do a better job than any or all of Schumer, Clinton, Boxer, and Feinstein, so maybe a brainless cluck like ... naah, it won't fly. Back to the greasepaint, girl. And use lots.
You can't make this stuff up!
James Clench is reporting in the Sun (UK) that:
The king of an Aids-ridden African country is spending £31million of taxpayers’ cash on a private jet — DOUBLE his nation’s health budget.

A third of adults in Swaziland are HIV positive and two thirds live below the poverty line — but that has not stopped King Mswati III.

Elected MPs in the southern Africa kingdom — which gets £3.9million a year in aid from Britain — have not even been told of the absolute monarch’s shopping spree.

But a down-payment of £3million has already been made to Canadian manufacturers Bombardier for the 18-seater Global Express.
The NY Post shares with us the startling news that radical vegetarians
... are now buzzing about the evils of honey.

They claim its production uses the labor of oppressed worker bees, according to a Time magazine report on the growing numbers of American vegetarians.
Meanwhile, Little Green Footballs is trying to clear up the Arafat baby wipe mystery. I would say that maybe he needs them to soothe his skin after a really close shave, but we're talking Yassir Arafat here.

Finally, Reuters astounds with a report that a "Online Safe Sex Game Attracts 125,000"
An online safe sex game featuring saucy sound effects and street slang has introduced more than tens of thousands of young people to safe sex facts that they might otherwise be unaware of, a British charity said on Monday.

In, a parody of Nintendo's hit Super Mario Brothers, an intrepid man or woman chases the boy or girl of their dreams, gaining points for each condom they gather and losing points for drinking alcohol or bumping into monks, nuns or dogs.

Reaching the end of the game before the climaxometer falls from Sting to Boris Becker entitles players to a cartoon moment of passion before offering them a chance to browse facts about safe sex.
We don't hear about too many "climaxometers" around the store, but I'm guessing that Boris Becker should be ticked off.
How are the mullahs going to keep them down on the farm?
The AP reports from Shahkoon, Iran:
At first glance, this could be any sleepy Iranian hamlet. Women weave carpets on traditional looms. Tea brews over open fires. Donkeys outnumber cars.

But listen closely: That clacking is fingers on keyboards and that crackling is modems connecting to the Internet.

Welcome to the mountain village that lacks an elementary school, possesses just one central outhouse -- but has gone global.


"Dr. Jalali has told us that people who don't know how to operate computers are gradually being considered illiterates," said the farmer, Ali Akbar Malek. "I want to be Internet literate before I die."
Check it out at
Where's Osama?
James S. Robbins asks the question at NRO. Two of my favorite sections:
Controlling the money must be another important concern. This is an organization composed of criminals with vast amounts of untraceable funds, and no accountability. A multimillion-dollar enterprise like this would have a natural propensity to loot itself. The Wall Street Journal's recent revelations of infighting in al Qaeda number-two man Ayman al-Zawahri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad is illustrative. He chastised an underling for buying a $470 fax machine, and the junior terrorist basically responded, "Take this jihad and shove it." My guess is the fax machine went with him. It is reasonable to suspect that some intermediaries in the al Qaeda network who have access to much larger sums of money would abscond with them the moment they knew the CEO had been forced into early retirement.
It would be helpful if bin Laden made his presence among the living unambiguous — for example made a videotape holding a recent newspaper front page, or said something time-dependent like, "I am most gladdened that Allah willed that Germany shut out the United States in the World Cup quarterfinal." Better yet, he could hold a live press conference in a predetermined open-air location surrounded by his closest advisers. That would be a video worth watching, especially the feed from Predator-cam.
He shoots! He scores!
The Tom Tomorrow cartoons at the financially and morally bankrupt Salon have always been something that I was aware of, but avoided, like poison ivy and restaurants with signs that say "Eat, Get Gas". They apparently appear in newspapers as well, but I have never encountered one so hard up for content. However "Tom's" latest screed has been wonderfully skewered at Protein Wisdom. Thanks to Cold Fury for the link.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

More ICC: Stephen Den Beste at USS Clueless provides a detailed rundown on the "specific" "crimes" that the International Criminal Court (sic) will handle. Read his analysis for full details, but my faves are the ones related to "personal dignity":

Article 8 (2) (b) (xxi)
War crime of outrages upon personal dignity


1. The perpetrator humiliated, degraded or otherwise violated the dignity of one or more persons.

2. The severity of the humiliation, degradation or other violation was of such degree as to be generally recognized as an outrage upon personal dignity.

3. The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with an international armed conflict.

4. The perpetrator was aware of factual circumstances that established the existence of an armed conflict.

Footnote: For this crime, "persons" can include dead persons. It is understood that the victim need not personally be aware of the existence of the humiliation or degradation or other violation. This element takes into account relevant aspects of the cultural background of the victim.

Sorry, ICC fans! No more "Yo Mama Osama" or "Osama and the 72 Virgin Pigs" jokes even if he is a grease spot in the mountains of Afghanistan. On the other hand, most of the ICC fans probably think the proper way to deal with Osama and his pals is to bend over and bleat like a goat, so they wouldn't know any good Osama jokes anyway.
Euro Hijinks! The AP reports that the European Union crowd has their knickers in a twist because Euro currency opponents in the UK are running a commercial featuring an actor dressed up as Hitler spouting "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Euro!".

Hey, how about a similar one with "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Court!" for International Criminal Court (sic) fans?
It's so hard to choose! The AP fills us in on the nasty vibes between Michael Jackson, Al Sharpton, and recording industry executives, particularly Sony Music chairman Tommy Mottola who Jacko claimed was mean, racist, and "very, very, very devilish." The article is filled with much bizarre humor including:
Jackson mentioned several black artists as victims of the industry, including James Brown, Mariah Carey and Sammy Davis Jr. Jackson alleged that Davis died penniless, although Davis' attorney said in 1990 that the "Rat Pack" member left an estate worth more than $6 million when he died.

"If you fight for me, you're fighting for all black people, dead and alive," Jackson said, adding: "We have to put a stop to this incredible injustice."


Jackson arrived at the Midtown building on a double-decker city tour bus that twice circled the block. He stood in the open top deck and, raising his fists, joined the crowd in chanting "Down with Tommy Mottola!"
Let's see. A child molesting vampire pixie impersonator and a race baiter versus the recording industry suits in a Steel Cage Death Match. Instead of choosing sides, can I hope for an asteroid to hit the ring?
Federal Data Quality Act! A contributor at FreeRepublic caught a Wall Street Journal item (that was only in the print edition) about the Federal Data Quality Act which will take effect on October 1 and
... will require government agencies to ensure the quality of the data they use when issuing new rules, regulations and studies. For the first time, anyone – businesses are likely to be the most eager – will be able to challenge the data used in formulating government regulations, instead of just challenging the rules themselves.

Many companies, believing some costly federal regulations are based on worthless data, are cheering. Liberal activists, who think the act strikes a blow to public access to information, are jeering.


Indeed, business groups already are lining up to fire off their guns at the rules they plan to challenge under the newly enacted law. Top on the list are some associated with clean-air regulations and climate change.


Groups could always challenge federal regulations, but prior to the Data Quality Act, they couldn’t challenge information or data that might be used to make them.

Agencies do sometimes use flawed data. In the spring, a study used by the Environmental Protection Agency to set Clean Air Act standards and regulate industries was found to have a software glitch that altered its results, exaggerating the reported effects of air pollution on human health. The Health Effects Institute of Boston, a nonprofit group supported jointly by the EPA and industry, tipped off the EPA to the study’s faults, saying its figures might be off by as much as 23%. The EPA had used the flawed study to set air-pollution regulations governing industries and cities, affecting hundreds of businesses. The study was two years old when the glitch was detected.
I'd say that was just the tip of the iceberg - what about all the politically motivated "assumptions" that permeate "environmental studies"? Of course, the usual whiners have their panties in a wad:
But “If human health is potentially at risk, you can’t wait for all the facts to come in,” says Sean Moulton, senior policy analyst for OMB Watch, a liberal political watchdog group.
Lynx fur, anyone? And don't forget Chicken Little! It's got to be the fault of the US taxpayer, since it's no use blaming anyone without money to grab.
The usual suspects: Cut on the Bias has a thoughtful piece on "How the media and activists are going after the death penalty" and just about everything else they dislike.
More on the ICC: Cold Fury reports "Frodo Baggins Charged with War Crimes!"
Frodo Baggins of Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire, Middle Earth, has been called before the International Criminal Court to answer charges of war crimes brought by Sauron the Dark Lord and Saruman the White in a joint filing.


The charges brought by Sauron and Saruman are serious and were commented on at length by the Dark Lord himself at a press conference held after he delivered the formal papers to the Court. As a full signatory to the Court's original charter, Sauron is legally entitled to bring charges before the Court, and the Court's decision will be binding on Mr. Baggins, per the charter establishing the authority of the Court over the entire world, whether the particular defendant lives in a member country or not. The Shire has repeatedly refused to ratify a proposal to join the Court; the proposal has languished in the legislature, bogged down by stalling tactics employed by right-wing and unilateralist legislators intent on blocking it. Gondor and Rohan have likewise not joined the ICC, for similar obstructionist reasons.
More at the link above. No word yet from Maria G. Rouphail about "Stupid Hobbits".