Saturday, August 10, 2002

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?
Reuters points out the difficulties in Taiwan Pop Culture Invades China:
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Lu Jing, a 21-year-old stowaway from China, paid 20,000 yuan (US$2,400) and hid for three days in a flimsy Taiwan-bound fishing boat before being caught by the island's coast guard in March.

Reuters Photo

But Lu, from the southeastern city of Fuzhou, was no defector from communist rule to freewheeling democratic Taiwan.

She told astonished Taiwan interrogators that she wanted to steal into the island to get a glimpse of F4 (Flower Four), a Taiwan boy band that has swept fans in China -- and indeed much of the rest of the Chinese-speaking world -- off their feet.

China's cultural Czars had pulled "Meteor Garden," a hit soap opera featuring the band's four tall and handsome heart throbs, off the air, fearing that the decadent lifestyle portrayed in the drama would corrupt the minds of the masses.

Taiwan pop culture has permeated China since the world's most populous nation opened up in the late 1970s. But China's cultural mandarins remain on guard against what they call "peaceful evolution" -- the gradual undermining of communism by Western cultural, commercial and ideological values.

"Orthodox Communist Party leaders see pop culture as a kind of threat," said Hou Dejian, a Taiwan composer-singer who was welcomed by China with open arms when he defected in 1983.

"Pop culture is their number one enemy," said Hou, whom China deported for taking part in a hunger strike days before the Chinese army crushed the 1989 student-led demonstrations for democracy centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

"They are convinced there was a direct relationship between pop culture and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe," Hou, now 45, added.

Despite the ban, millions in China have seen "Meteor Garden," adapted from the Japanese comic book "Hana Yori Dango" -- meaning Boys Prettier than Flowers -- about friendship and love.
And I thought pop culture was just responsible for the impending collapse of Western Civilization. Official Meteor Garden web site:

Sic 'em
Since we have to put up with trial lawyers, we might as well point them in a useful direction. The Staten Island Advance reports that 1,000 kin of Island WTC dead could join lawsuit, lawyer says :
The news that lawyers for survivors of Sept. 11 victims are poised to sue the alleged Saudi financiers of Osama bin Laden has sparked renewed interest in the case among potential Staten Island plaintiffs, according to a member of the legal team.

"The phones haven't stopped ringing here all day," said West Brighton attorney John D'Amato yesterday.

Headed by a partner from the South Carolina firm Ness Motley, the legal team has announced that within the next few weeks it will file a federal suit seeking billions of dollars in reparations for Sept. 11 victims' relatives from wealthy Saudi citizens, banks, corporations and charities with ties to bin Laden.
Forget the daisycutters, we're talking the ultimate weapon here!

Hey, Why Not?
The leftist Inter Press Service lets us know what's roiling the waters with: Group Faults Libya's Nomination to Head U.N. Commission:
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 8 (IPS) - A leading human rights organization has appealed to African nations to reverse their decision to nominate Libya as the next chairman of the Geneva-based U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

"Countries with dreadful rights records should never be in charge of chairing the Commission on Human Rights," Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director for New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), said Thursday.

"Libya's long record of human rights abuses clearly does not merit such a reward," he added.

But a spokesman for the Libyan Mission to the United Nations refuted the charges made by HRW. "They are entitled to their opinion," he told IPS.

"Ours is an open society. We have nothing to hide and we are not in violation of human rights," he added.

Moreover, he said, Libya's nomination had been endorsed at the highest levels of government - at a summit meeting of more than 50 African leaders in Durban, South Africa last month.
Wow! What an endorsement! Actually, if the UN had strict standards, not many of the members could be on any committee.

Hugo's Knickers Are in a Twist (Again)
The reason is U.S. Launches Office in Venezuela
What's in a name? Everything, it turns out, when the U.S. government launches an "Office of Transition Initiatives" in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government fears "transition" means ousting their president.

U.S. diplomats say the two-year program, to begin this fall, will promote democracy and stability in Venezuela, a top U.S. oil supplier shaken by an April coup, which briefly removed leftist President Hugo Chavez from power.

But Chavez, his top ministers, ruling party lawmakers and the press seized upon the name. "Transition" is a "code word" for those openly looking to topple Chavez, Foreign Minister Roy Chaderton complained this week.
Wait 'til Hugo finds out about "early retirement".

Friday, August 09, 2002

Poor Baby
South Africa's News24 amuses with 'Arafat is living in squalor' :
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, who visited Israel and Palestine this week and met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, has expressed horror at the condition in which he found Arafat living in his compound.

Holomisa went to Israel to study agricultural projects aimed at helping poor and rural communities.

He told City Press the conditions in which he found Arafat at his bombed-out compound are horrific .

"Arafat is basically living in squalor. It is pathetic that a leader of his calibre is forced to sleep on the floor in his office," said Holomisa. "I was surprised that a leader of a nation could find himself living under such conditions."
He's lucky he found himself living.
That Sounds Effective
The United Nations warms hearts with Deploring upsurge in Middle East violence, UNESCO chief urges dialogue among youth
Deploring the heavy civilian toll caused by the recent upsurge of violence in the Middle East, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has urged dialogue among young people in order to foster reconciliation.
Got a match? I want to light my sneakers.

Makes Sense ... If You Live In Wonderland
The AP let us know that Mexico unveils new council for Mexicans living in the United States:
President Vicente Fox inaugurated a new outreach council Tuesday that will represent the 20 million Mexicans living in the United States and replace a popular presidential office for migrant affairs that his government dissolved last month.

In a ceremony at the presidential residence Los Pines, Fox said the new Council for Mexicans Abroad will allow "more facets of the federal government to devote more attention" to the needs of Mexicans living and working in America.

"We are reinforcing our close relationship with our co-nationals outside the country," Fox said. "We are taking a strong step forward in our efforts to meet their demands and defend their human rights."
No mention of bus tickets.
Religion of Peace Alert
AFP is reporting: Four dead after grenade attack on Pakistan Christian hospital
A grenade attack on a hospital chapel near the Pakistani capital left at least four dead and 26 wounded, the second time within days a Christian target has been hit.

Two Pakistani nurses and a paramedic were among the dead, while one of the attackers was found dead at the scene, hospital workers and witnesses said on Friday.

The assailants hurled grenades as staff were emerging from a church service around 7:45 am (0145 GMT) at the Christian Hospital in Taxila, an ancient Buddhist town 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Islamabad.

"They were coming out of a church service when they were attacked," Marwad Shah, police chief in the nearby city of Rawalpindi, told AFP.
It takes a really cowardly thug to throw grenades at people coming out of a worship service. It takes a really stupid one to get blown up doing it.
Country Living
Bill Croke has a cautionary tale for city slickers considering moving to the country. Some of it is rather specific to the West where you don't ever buy land without finding out about the water and mineral rights. But most of the rest can be applied anywhere in rural America. With just a little bit of greening of the city folks.
University of North Carolina Summer Reading Update
On Thursday night, the News and Observer web site came up with: Book author, Muslim group, react to committee's vote on Quran textbook as all the usual suspects weighed in. First the author, Michael Sells:
Islam is mischaracterized as a religion of violence in contrast to peaceful Christianity by opponents who cite verses in the Quran that demand slaying the unfaithful, Sells said. Most Muslims interpret those verses in the context of early war between Muhammad's followers and their opponents.

Muslims "no more expect to apply them to their contemporary non-Muslim friends and neighbors than most Christians and Jews consider themselves commanded by God, like the Biblical Joshua, to exterminate the infidels," said Sells, a professor of comparative religions at Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia.
I guess the prof hasn't been keeping up with current events. Then the whiners at CAIR had a shot:
Meanwhile, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations pointed to the North Carolina dispute as evidence of "the rising level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in America."

"The level of anti-Muslim rhetoric from commentators, religious leaders, and now elected officials, is getting out of hand and is poisoning the minds of many ordinary Americans," the group said in a prepared statement. "Only a strong statement from President Bush will put these people on notice that anti-Muslim bigotry will not be accepted in our society."
It must be bigotry to notice that violent Islamic thugs want to kill you and your fellow citizens.

Then today's News and Observer finally came up with some of the legislative details plus an amplified whine in Study limit may risk certification :
The House Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly approved a measure Wednesday barring the university from spending public funds for the Quran reading program "unless all other known religions are offered in an equal or incremental way." The measure, sponsored by Rep. Larry Justus, a Henderson County Republican, said it was "not intended to interfere with academic freedom, but to ensure that all religions are taught in a non-discriminatory fashion."

"The point is, you shouldn't be confronted with this as a mandate of government," Rep. Martin Nesbitt Jr., a Buncombe County Democrat, said Thursday. "What if I forced all of the children in the state to read the Bible?"
Real legislative genius! Hit 'em with one of their own favorite whines. Speaking of which, some new moans were registered:
"I don't think the state can question the right of scholars to make those pedagogical decisions," said Warren A. Nord, a UNC-CH scholar who studies how religion is taught in U.S. schools. Nord, director of the UNC-CH Program in the Humanities and Human Values, said he doubted the measure could withstand constitutional scrutiny.


Retired UNC president William C. Friday compared the House measure to the Speaker Ban Law, enacted by the legislature in 1963 to bar communists from speaking on state campuses. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools criticized that measure as a threat to academic freedom, and it considered revoking the accreditation of North Carolina's state-supported universities.

Friday and others persuaded SACS in 1965 to renew the accreditations, but the ban lingered as a divisive issue in Chapel Hill and across the state. In 1968, ruling on a challenge filed by Chapel Hill student leaders, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Speaker Ban Law unconstitutional.

"I understand the depth of feelings in the current debate," Friday said Thursday. But he said he hoped the legislature would remove the House reading ban before adopting the budget, "because the university would suffer greatly from another lengthy, costly battle over accreditation that would surely ensue."
Sorry gents, but you've been foxed. The NC legislature merely ensured that state funds would not be used to favor one religion over another when UNC management forgot their responsiblities (politely put). No one was told what to teach. No point of view was banned. Bzzzt - game over.

Euroweenie Alert! I Really Mean It!
The Guardian tickles its readers with Monthly Viagra ration perks up Eurocrats :
The long list of perks enjoyed by Eurocrats is already the stuff of legend: outrageously low tax rates, chauffeur-driven BMWs, three-hour lunch breaks and, for MEPs, their own in-office showers.

But to the undoubted horror and bemusement of Eurosceptics, the officials in Brussels everyone loves to hate have just been given another "fringe benefit" to perk them up: a cut-price monthly ration of Viagra.

"We can claim for Viagra but only for so much," a spokesman from the European commission conceded yesterday. "However, I haven't felt the need to claim any myself."

But for those officials from the commission, the EU's council of ministers and the European parliament who do suffer from erectile dysfunction, financial help is at hand.
Too bad there isn't a pill for stiffening backbones too.

Bobby Mugabe at the Gaddafi Pawn Shop
The Times (UK) reports that Bobby Mugabe has hocked a variety of Zimbabwe's assets to Libya's Col. Gaddafi for oil. The list includes
  • Much of the prime land seized from white farmers

  • Jewel Bank, formerly the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe

  • The state travel company, Rainbow Tourist Group

  • Noczim, Zimbabwe's state-owned energy company

  • The oil pipeline that runs to Zimbabwe from Beira in Mozambique

  • Two of the Zimbabwe's biggest oil refineries
The downside of this asset grabbing for the Colonel is that Tamoil, the Libyan national oil company, has developed severe cash flow problems, since they aren't getting any from Zimbabwe. For Bobby, there is the occasional oil cutoff until he comes up with more loot, plus the general feeling that Zimbabwe has become a Libyan colony.

I've got a clever plan. How about a revolution in Zimbabwe? Not only can they get rid of Bobby, but the new government can nationalize all the Libyan assets! I'm sure the Colonel remembers how that works.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

A Convenient Accident
Bob Novak reports a doozy (link via Right Wing News):
The Commerce Department's painful report last week that the national economy is worse than anticipated obscured the document's startling revelation. Hidden in the morass of statistics, there is proof that the Clinton administration grossly overestimated the strength of the economy leading up to the 2000 election. Did the federal government join Enron and WorldCom in cooking the books?

Through all of President Bill Clinton's last two years in office, the announced level of before-tax profits was at least 10 percent too high--a discrepancy rising close to 30 percent during the last presidential campaign. Most startling, the Commerce Department in 2000 showed the economy on an upswing through most of the election year, while in fact it was declining.

Although a political motive for Democratic cooking of the government's books is there, nobody--including Bush administration officials--alleges specific wrongdoing. Nor is there any evidence. Estimation in 2000 was conducted by career public servants who are doing the same jobs today (working under a highly political Democrat in the Commerce Department). Nevertheless, such discrepancy in earnings statements by corporate executives today would warrant a congressional subpoena.
Bubba handed off an economy already in decline from its excesses, but somehow the numbers showed a rosy picture. Funny how that works.

Spin Krugman, spin.
Someone Gets It
Bruce Anderson in the Spectator (UK) describes the "new special relationship" between the US and Russia and the self chosen irrelevance of Europe. The punchline:
This relationship is still in its infancy. But the Americans have already come to two conclusions. They have realised that it is possible to fly from Washington to Moscow without landing in Paris or Berlin. They have also decided that Europe is no longer the centre of the world. The anti-Americanism of contemporary Continental European politicians has ensured that Western Europe will be relegated to international diplomacy's second division.
The Clue Phone Is Ringing at the University of North Carolina
The Raleigh, NC News and Observer seems disgruntled that Lawmakers oppose UNC reading plan:
In the middle of putting together a new state budget Wednesday, state House members attacked UNC-Chapel Hill officials over their plan to teach new students about a book on the Quran, Islam's holy scriptures.

The attack came during the second day of a marathon meeting of the House Appropriations Committee as members debated about 50 amendments to a proposed $14.3 billion budget plan.
Attack? Not very PC - how about chastise? In any case, someone cleverer than most of the legislators who commented for the article, arranged that:
By a vote of 64-10, the committee voted to add to the budget a measure barring UNC-CH from using public funds for its plan to teach new students about a book on the Quran unless it gives equal time to "all known religions."

The book, "Approaching the Qur'án: The Early Revelations" by Michael Sells, is required reading for about 4,200 incoming freshmen and transfer students this month. Alternatively, new students at UNC-CH may decline to read the book and write essays explaining their decision. Students are scheduled to discuss the book Aug. 19 in 180 small-group discussions.
Proving that he is not the sharpest tool in the drawer,
UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser said the committee action "would cut at the very core of academic freedom and the First Amendment" and was rooted in a misunderstanding.
Let's see - all new students at a state run university are required to read a specific book about a specific religion or write an essay explaining why not and then explain themselves at a group grope. Doesn't sound like cutting off state funding for this bun fight imperils the 1st Amendment at all. Of course, they could always cover "all known religions".

While they were at it, the legislators also took a look at some other pork in the NC university system.
Another change the House committee made was to delete the state's $500,000 contribution to the Center for International Understanding. The money was transferred to a line item to fund vocational education supplies.

The center, which receives state and federal funds and private contributions, organizes trips for teachers, education policy leaders and elected leaders, including legislators, to countries such as Mexico.
Uh oh! Someone found the junket fund!

UPDATE - See the latest from August 9.

The West is Losing the West
Anthony Browne has a thoughtful piece in the Times (UK) on Britain is losing Britain.
A well-known commentator once told me: "It is almost a case of the empire strikes back." But it's not just the former empire, it is pretty much the entire Third World and Eastern Europe.

About a quarter of a million people are coming to Britain from the Third World each year: a city the size of Cambridge every six months, an unprecedented and sustained wave of immigration to one of the world's most densely crowded islands, utterly transforming the society in which we live against the wishes of the majority of the population, damaging quality of life and social cohesion, exacerbating the housing crisis and congestion, and with questionable economic benefits.

I know knee-jerk accusations of racism and xenophobia will be fired at me by those who make careers out of suppressing legitimate debate, but I am hardly anti-immigrant or anti-immigration. I am the son of an immigrant, living with an immigrant, from such a family of émigrés that I have virtually no relatives in this country. I have had three serious relationships with British Indians, to the extent of visiting relatives in India. Most immigrants - including my mother and partner - make a great contribution to society. Immigration, allowing people to better their lives where they see the best opportunity, is a great force for good in the world

The only political party of which I have been a member is Labour, and the danger of giving encouragement to the racist British National Party is a strong reason to stay silent. But what is happening now is so extreme and so damaging, and the determination of pro-immigrationists to suppress debate and smear critics so fearsome, that silence is no longer an option.


But what is happening now is the result of sustained migration pressure the likes of which the world has never seen before. For the first time, the world has huge disparities of wealth, widespread knowledge in the poor world of how the rich world lives and how to get there through TV and global telecommunications, and cheap, quick worldwide transport. It is easier for them to get here, and far more difficult to make them leave: the revolution in "human rights" means that as soon as anyone gets past passport control they are pretty much guaranteed to stay. More than 47,000 illegal immigrants were detected in 2000, but just 6,000 were sent home.


Economics is clearly the ultimate motivation, because it is from the poor world that all the record net immigration to the UK is coming. With the rest of the developed world, Britain has pretty much zero net immigration - almost as many people move from the rest of the developed world to Britain as vice versa each year. We should not delude ourselves: it is sustained, one-way, large-scale, economically-driven mass immigration, with no end in sight.


The boom in immigration has been matched only by the determination of immigration celebrationists to brainwash the British public into thinking that it is all for their own good. But almost every reason given to support this immigration is bogus.


It is certainly changing Britain. A Middle Eastern immigrant, who is now passionately British, told me: "This is not the country I came to in 1958. Britain is losing Britain in a fit of absent-mindedness. It is utter madness what is going on, and even many immigrants feel this." A Lebanese family friend who lives in Nigeria says she cannot believe that Britain is just letting itself go. A hard-Left friend says in frustration: "If we went to their country and did what they are doing here, it would be totally unacceptable."

But we are too polite to say anything about it, too worried about being called racist, just too embarrassed about being British or English or whatever it is, just wallowing too much in post-colonial white guilt.
And the punchline:
If there are more people wanting to live in Britain than we can feasibly accept, then Britain has to tell people they cannot move here. We have to accept that people just do not have the right to live where they want in the world, and that the people of Britain have a right to decide who can move here.
To paraphrase Pim Fortuyn: The Western World is full.
Your Tax Dollars at Work
The United Nations wants YOU to support the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). So, to pump up the crowd:
New York, 5 August - Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai today commenced a tour of America's heartland aimed at building US support for the Summit, which will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September.

The four-city tour, from 5-8 August, will take Desai to Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Houston where he will meet with a wide range of city officials, business leaders, environmentalists, and the press.

"There has been a huge amount of work at the city and local levels in many cities across the United States," Desai said, and it's time we teamed up with these partners to make the Johannesburg Summit, and the future of sustainable development, a success."
It's nice that the UN spends the US taxpayers' money to propagandize them. And I'm sure that Summit Secretary-General Desai isn't spending too much time at Motel 6.

Don't worry Nitin, we'll keep the lights on for ya!
News the UN Can Use
On July 25th, the Independent (South Africa) stunned with: Tourist dies after 'hookers use rape drug'
It was sex, drugs and serious trouble for three foreign tourists who decided to engage the services of sex workers.

Two of the tourists ended up unconscious in an emergency room.

A third tourist, an unidentified man from Europe, was found dead in his hotel.

The three tourists were apparently slipped a version of Rohypnol, the date-rape drug, and then robbed of all their cash and valuables.

The Sandton Medi-Clinic on Thursday issued a warning after two of the tourists were admitted to their emergency room unconscious.

All three men were believed to have been with prostitutes before they were slipped the drug.

When the two who survived were brought to consciousness, they found that their valuables, money and credit cards had been stolen and they could not remember details of the incident.

Vicky Nash, the public relations and client services manager at Sandton Medi-Clinic, said she wanted to alert the public to the danger, because large numbers of foreigners will be visiting Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) next month.

"We just want to make the public aware of this especially before the World Summit," Nash said.
Other "sex workers" are merely counting on the law of supply and demand:
Sex workers have already adapted their tariffs in the run-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) that starts towards the end of August.


"We are already charging clients R400 a session instead of the normal R200," said a sex worker from Sandton. She earns about R3 000 a night and hopes to double her nightly income during the summit.

Owners and managers of escort agencies in Sandton and Hillbrow say they are ready for the summit. They believe it will see a big influx of cash into the country.

"My ladies are ready. I have been making preparations and they are on a balanced diet. They (the delegates) will not be eligible for the local tariff," said a nighclub owner, who has 40 sex workers in his service.

The manager of a well-known nightclub in Hillbrow says they are in the "final stages" of their preparations for the summit.

Club owner Chris Charinda said: "We are telling our ladies what they can expect and how to make people feel at ease in different languages. We are also teaching them about different currencies."


"We hope there are gays who will use our services, as well. I hope to make more money than I am at present," said a male sex worker from Sandton.

He and his colleagues will not be raising their tariffs.
I guess all the hijinks won't be in the conference hall.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Racism in the Great White North!
The National Post (Canada) has a shocker involving our pals at the United Nations:
UNITED NATIONS - Canada yesterday appeared before a United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination to defend itself against allegations that racial injustices persist against black, Chinese and aboriginal Canadians, and that immigrants do not earn as much as people born in the country.

At the same hearing in Geneva, committee members told Canadian officials Ottawa was wrong to resist giving the UN the power to rule on individual complaints of racism in Canada.

Forty-one countries, including Australia, France and Germany, have handed the committee jurisdiction over individual complaints. But the United States and the United Kingdom are among countries that, like Canada, prefer domestic courts to deal with allegations of racism.


Canadian officials noted, however, that committee rulings on cases brought by individuals from other countries have leaned farther toward suppressing free speech than Canada is ready to tolerate, even though Canada itself is moving in that direction with progressively tougher anti-racism laws.


The committee meets twice a year to review the anti-racism record of up to a dozen of the 162 countries that have adopted the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, enacted in 1969.

It grilled Canada, which ratified the treaty in 1970, after receiving 200 pages of government reports about Ottawa's performance, and numerous other submissions from human rights and community activist groups.

Canada has some of the toughest anti-racism laws in the world, but submits to such grillings because it "believes that the world community will be gradually moved along if we and other countries support the processes," Mr. Moyer said.


Regis de Goutte, a French magistrate who serves on the committee, said Canada's recent laws limiting expression on the Internet showed it is ready to limit free speech. "That shows they have accepted there are exceptions to freedom of speech and so should allow individual complaints to be heard by the committee," he said.
If I recall the NYC expression accurately: Regis, I got your complaint right here!

The bad news is that in 1994 (before the election) the US Senate ratified this full employment program for annoying bureaucratic twits and global whiners. The good news is that they inserted substantial caveats. The real question is why any country would allow a collection of bozos who can't find their butts with both hands to have even whining rights over them. Mr. Moyer offers an explanation that merely shows the depth of his cluelessness.
Life Must Be Good
FOXNews reports: From the Baltic to Nags Head ... Teens From Eastern Europe Flock to U.S. Jobs
COROLLA, N.C. - Go shopping for barbecue fixings at the Food Lion in the Outer Banks and you'll notice the cashiers' Eastern European accents.

Walk across the street to the local Dairy Queen and order from fresh-faced workers who are standing at attention and eager to serve. Go for dinner at Turf's Up restaurant and hear the day's specials from waitress Indre Babiliute, a 21-year-old student from Lithuania.

She is among the 1,600 foreign students working this summer on North Carolina's Outer Banks, a major beach destination for Washingtonians.

"The coastal areas really depend on this group of workers because there is no labor force," said Michele Walker, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Employment Security Commission (ESC). "College students in the South are not working at the beaches anymore."

It appears American teens aren't applying for jobs at seasonal locations across the country.

Last summer, only 56.9 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds worked or looked for a job -- the lowest percentage since 1964, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Statistics. The rate has been declining since 1978, when it peaked at 69.1 percent.

The Game is Afoot
Well maybe. Hurriyet (translation by a_Turk on FreeRepublic) is reporting:
The countdown is on for the US attack on Iraq. Turkey has taken position in Northern Iraq in a blitz.

As concerns of an imminent US attack on Iraq grow day by day, Turkey has secured the Critical Bamerni airport in Northern Iraq.

Turkey has sent heavy machinery and electronic support equipment to the airport along with military and civil personnel who have made the airport available for military use in short order. Ankara, thereby, made it impossible for any other to strategically control the oil rich regions of Mosul and Kirkuk. Turkey has, additionally, established a umber of security checkpoints in northern Iraq.

This surprise development was reported by PUK leader Celal Talabani, who had been in Ankara on 8/7.

The security apparatus inside Iraq was expanded to include a number of forward bases. According to unofficial sources, Turkey has about 5000 soldiers in the region.

Another unofficial report suggests that there are a few Americans who come and go to the Airport.
See the article for a map. I have no idea as to the credibility of the Turkish newspapers.

I Feel So Much Better!
The AP tells a heartwarming tale of "the children" at work:
Lawmakers in a Long Island county approved a ban on the mass release of balloons after schoolchildren expressed concern for wildlife.

The bill, which passed 15-1 Tuesday, applies to releases of more than 24 balloons and sets fines starting at $500. The Suffolk County executive said he would decided whether to sign it after a public hearing later this month.

"I think the biggest lesson they learned is that they can make a difference," said teacher Robyn Siegelman, whose third-graders lobbied for the ban as an Earth Day project. "They made a law. That's an amazing thing."
Those pesky ballons are wiping out ... er, something by the thousands! The balloon thugs are everywhere. You see them on the roads with their SUVs filled with balloons and their stereos blasting anti-Captain Planet heavy metal tunes. Sometime they rub the balloons and do weird things (not to mention the noises). Other times they coldly make animals out of the balloons or even wear them! Way to go kids!

By the way Robyn, how are their 3 R's?

Point 'em to the clue phone
The Minneapolis Star Tribune breathlessly informs us that:
The influx of Hispanics into the Midwest and South is creating a language barrier in many communities, forcing changes in how governments provide services and the way businesses attract workers and customers.

In Georgia, advocates say some Latino immigrants get substandard health care because they cannot speak English well and few hospitals have Spanish translators.

In Tennessee, manufacturing and retail employers say they would hire more Hispanic immigrants but cannot adequately train or relay job safety requirements to non-English speakers.

``You have to speak English on the job, so nobody has to be around you to tell you what the boss wants'' or translate out of an instruction manual, said Jose Adame of Horn Lake, Miss. He came from Mexico nine years ago for work, but said he was not able to find a steady job as a machine operator until he improved his English.

The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers discrimination based on foreign language, though it is an aspect of the law that has not been consistently enforced, said Marcela Urrutia, a policy analyst with the Hispanic advocacy group, National Council of La Raza.

An executive order issued in 2000 by the Clinton administration sought to clarify that, ordering federal agencies and organizations receiving federal funds to ensure they have a system that provide services for limited English proficiency residents so they ``can have meaningful access to them.''

Most agencies are still trying to comply with the order, Urrutia said. In Michigan and elsewhere, some government agencies now are providing documents in Spanish and crash courses for employees who deal with the public.

"With the growing emergence of Latinos and other immigrants, there has been a growing demand of compliance with the law,'' she said.
Not one "illegal" in the whole story. Not even an "undocumented".

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Time for the Saddam Card - Mr. Grecian Formula is Getting Desperate
The BBC reveals:
German newspapers have doubts about Gerhard Schroeder's chances of winning a second term as chancellor in September's elections following his early campaign launch on Monday.

There is a general perception that Mr Schroeder's speech to the Hanover rally was very much an attempt to shore up his Social Democratic Party's core support, rather than a bid to attract floating voters.


This cautious approach also extends to Mr Schroeder's attempt to bring Iraq into the election campaign with a rejection of German involvement in any military "adventures", the paper adds.

The playing of the "Saddam card" itself prompts considerable comment.

Schroeder and Bush are far apart on Iraq

The right-of-centre Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes that while Washington could have discounted a certain amount of anti-US rhetoric from a man who has "his back to the wall", Mr Schroeder went too far in advocating a distinctive "German path".

Without certainty that Saddam can be contained diplomatically, it says, the chancellor's refusal even to help to finance military action "does not increase the pressure on Baghdad but increases our distance from America".

The SPD's "German path... would lead to isolation and lack of influence", it concludes.

Also on the right, Die Welt accuses Mr Schroeder of "reaching for Saddam Hussein as a drowning person reaches for a life-jacket".

It shares the view that the chancellor is shoring up his core support by "shaking into action the depressively phlegmatic election campaigners in his own ranks and gathering the aged representatives of the peace movement behind him".


But the Frankfurter Rundschau, a left-of-centre daily with links to Mr Schroeder's party, doubts the chancellor's motives.

There was nothing essentially new in what Mr Schroeder said about Iraq yesterday, so why lay so much stress on it now, it wonders.

It notes his declaration at the start of his speech that the SPD "wants to win" and, given opinion polls showing that most Germans oppose military action, it concludes that "previous explanations are wholly inadequate and lead us to suspect that this is the main reason".
With any luck, this loser will be gone in September in the continuing parade of victories by right of center parties in Europe since 9/11. Could it be the end of Euroweenies? Nah, but one can always hope.

That's the Biz, Sweetheart!
Ken Ringle tells us how he really feels: Anna Nicole Smith, your 15 minutes are up
There are those who compare the present state of American popular culture to the Caligula era in ancient Rome. In that context, "The Anna Nicole Show" on cable television's E! channel is like a trip to the vomitorium. Why would anyone choose to spend time watching an overweight, underbrained woman discourse on puppy flatulence and masturbation while being shown a succession of forgettable houses in Los Angeles and attending a party with tattooed models in thongs?

Only two reasons suggest themselves: to feel superior (and if "The Anna Nicole Show" makes you feel good, get help immediately), or for a depressing peek at the future. Friedrich Nietzsche once declared that if we stare at a monster long enough, we become the monster. The 30-minute length of "The Anna Nicole Show," starring Anna Nicole Smith, amounts to almost legally actionable monstervision. Tune in only if you long to develop the psyche of a Pop-Tart.
More goodness by following the link. But justice may be delayed according to Fox:
But the week's ratings coup took place on cable Sunday night, with the premiere on E! Entertainment of The Anna Nicole Show -- an episodic documentary of Anna Nicole Smith, the zaftig former Playboy playmate and Guess? jeans model now best known for her legal fight over her 90-year-old late husband's multimillion-dollar estate.

The first show took the week's top spot on basic cable, with a household rating of 4.1, and was the highest-rated program in the E! channel's history.
My guess is that the attraction is much like that which draws people to freak shows. That and the "models" in thongs.
You can't make this stuff up!
The Telegraph (UK) intrigues with Archbishop in waiting becomes druid:

The next Archbishop of Canterbury was inducted as an honorary white druid yesterday at an open-air ceremony in Wales reminiscent of a scene from a Monty Python sketch.

Dr Rowan Williams, dismissing suggestions that he was dabbling in paganism, joined blue-hooded druids ranked behind a golden harp to be admitted into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards.

A trumpet fanfare and a 6ft sword being sheathed and unsheathed launched the ceremony at the National Eisteddfod in St David's, Pembrokeshire. Dr Williams, standing in a circle of stones, wore a long white cloak and headdress.
Stand back when Rowan dances around the mistletoe.

And nice duds, Dude! They also go real well with your pro-Islamic terrorist point of view.
United Nations Demands Staff Commit Unnatural Acts!
The BBC reveals the UN ban on feasts during famine:
Senior United Nations managers have been warned not to engage in lavish entertaining during the forthcoming environment summit in Johannesburg.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff S. Iqbal Riza urged his senior staff to remember that the conference was being held as famine threatened southern Africa.


Some 20 UN bodies will be attending, each with their own delegation, and the UN is clearly keen to pre-empt any criticism that might come their way from any of the 6,000 journalists expected to cover the event.

In the memo, a copy of which was secured by BBC News Online, there was also a warning to managers not to allow an unecessarily large number of UN staff to attend the summit "which could be perceived as an obvious waste of personnel and financial resources".

"We must keep in mind that this conference is taking place in the midst of a major food crisis in southern Africa, affecting 13 million people," Mr Iqbal Riza said further down the memo.

"It would be wise to refrain from excessive levels of hospitality, and any event sponsored by the United Nations should be of modest, even frugal, dimensions," he said.

The recent UN World Food Summit held in Rome was criticised for the lavish food and hospitality available at the event.
The foie gras, lobster, and goose stuffed with olives at the "Food Summit" were a hoot. Once burned, twice shy, eh Iqbal?

Well there goes a primo expense account event right down the hydroflush. Being a UN bureaucrat isn't all it's cracked up to be, I guess.
Your Government at Work! Sorta...
Apparently someone at the Social Security Administration figured out how to program a computer. They have just started broadsiding notices to employers whose employees have Social Security numbers that don't exist or don't match their names. Needless to to say, the usual suspects have their knickers in a twist:
Thousands of immigrants have been forced to leave their jobs in the last few months, the result of a little-publicized operation by the U.S. government to clean up Social Security records, immigration experts say.

Since early this year, the Social Security Administration has sent letters to more than 800,000 businesses -- about one in eight U.S. employers -- asking them to clear up cases in which their workers' names or Social Security numbers do not match the agency's files. The letters cover about 7 million employees.


But the crackdown has highlighted an open secret: A huge number of illegal immigrants work "on the books," providing stolen or made-up Social Security numbers to employers and having U.S. taxes deducted from their paychecks. Now, with those employers being confronted by Social Security, many in turn are confronting their workers, insisting that they clear up the problem.
7 million!!! Even subtracting some for clerical errors leaves an incredible number of illegal aliens in "on the books" jobs.

The impact is enormous," said Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza, which represents Hispanics. "We're hearing about it from all over the country."


"It's devastating," said Laura Reiff, an immigration lawyer in Tysons Corner. One of her clients, a New York bakery, recently lost 200 employees, nearly half its staff, after getting a letter about their Social Security numbers. "You've got people fleeing. You've got people who have to be terminated," Reiff said.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has had so many complaints from members receiving the letters that it has formed a task force. "It's a big enough issue that we're throwing significant resources at it, to figure a way out," said Randy Johnson, the chamber's vice president of labor policy.

Lyndsay Lowell, an immigration expert at the Pew Hispanic Center, estimated in a recent report that unauthorized workers account for less than 4 percent of the U.S. labor force but are concentrated in a few industries, including construction, hospitality, textiles, meatpacking and agriculture.

Employers in such industries, as well as immigrant advocates, argue that the government should find ways to give legal status to workers needed by U.S. firms.
Hot dang! The SSA, awakened by 9/11, is doing its part to enforce the law and help remove illegal aliens by simply cleaning up its records. Well, not quite.
Agency officials say that they are simply trying to tackle a bookkeeping problem and that the action is not related to the new get-tough approach on immigration stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


The Social Security Administration has emphasized that its crackdown is not aimed at immigrants. In fact, the agency refuses to share its information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service because of privacy considerations.

"We were not out targeting anybody, any group. It was strictly to improve wage reporting," said Carolyn Cheezum, a Social Security spokeswoman.
Yee haw, that's really in-your-face aggression! And the tiger has no teeth.
Unlike the INS, the Social Security Administration has no enforcement powers. Knowing that, some businesses that have received no-match letters have ignored them. Still, they could eventually be penalized by the Internal Revenue Service for providing incorrect information on wage forms.
Stand by for the lawsuits from "immigrant advocates" for even sending out the letters in the first place.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Tin Foil Beanies II says Investigation Casts Light on the Mysterious Flying Black Triangle:
They are big, black, and triangular. In UFO folklore they are proof-positive that planet Earth is a rest stop for joyriding, but road-weary, extraterrestrials.

A just released study by the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), based in Las Vegas, Nevada, sheds new light on the dark and mysterious craft. They offer a more down-to-earth hypothesis.

NIDS researchers contend that these type vehicles are lighter-than-air, blimp-style craft of the U.S. military's making. Likely powered by "electrokinetic" drive, the lifting body-shaped airships have been skirting the skies from perhaps the early to mid 1980s.
I want one!
The new assessment focuses on what four police officers, and more than a dozen others observed on January 5, 2000: A large, silent, low-flying black triangular shaped object. It flew on a southwesterly direction between Highland, Illinois and Dupo, located less than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from St. Louis, Missouri.

Part of the flight path took the enormous object near the perimeter of Scott Air Force Base.

NIDS does not come up with definite conclusion regarding the origin of the object sighted in Illinois.

However, the reports jibe with over 150 separate reports of sightings of large triangular or deltoid shaped objects. Those eyewitness accounts, accumulated by NIDS, have mainly come from the United States. A small number of the sightings they have on file come from Canada and Europe.


NIDS makes the case that Big Black Deltas, or BBDs, are U.S. Defense Department airships. They are so large they can carry massive payloads at low altitudes, cruising at speeds three to five times as fast as surface ships.

Among a range of NIDS observations, the group believes the BBDs are powered by electrokinetic/field drives, or airborne nuclear power units. These craft also fly at extreme altitudes, high above conventional aircraft and the pulsing of ground-based traffic control radar.

Elecrokinetic propulsion means that no propellers or jets are used. A hybrid lighter-than-air craft would rely on aerostatic, lift gas, like a balloon. No helicopter-like downwash would be produced. Except for a slight humming from high-voltage control equipment -- and in older BBD versions an occasional coronal discharge -- a Big Black Delta makes no noise.

Given a slew of BBD capabilities -- from silent running, diminished drag, elimination of sonic shockwaves, to operation from ground level to full vacuum -- NIDS calls for pushing this black world technology out into daylight for commercial benefit.
Let's see: giant, slow-moving airships that fly really, really low or really, really high but are completely quiet. They carry huge amounts of men and material, but no one has ever reported seeing one on the ground. And they all waddle out of sight before daybreak.

Must not be much news in space this week. Anyway, I like the ET theory better.
Ooops, I missed PC-CON!
The (St. Paul, MN) Pioneer Press' Angela Macias makes the senses reel with Sci-fi fans seek diversity:
Forget images of science-fiction conventions filled with fans in outlandish costumes debating their favorite "X-Files" episode - this past weekend's Diversicon conference in St. Paul took on a more serious tone.

For 10 years, Diversicon has been gathering panelists and participants in the Twin Cities to talk about the way race, gender and sexual preference are represented in science fiction books.


Among the panel discussions offered at this year's conference were some devoted to how gay and lesbian characters are portrayed in science fiction and others on the treatment of women, African-Americans, the elderly, the environment, teen-age girls, Hispanics and Muslims.

What organizers struggle with is attracting people of color to the event, Heideman said. Most of the estimated 125 people in attendance this past weekend were white.

Author Steven Barnes, who was honored at the convention along with his wife, Tananarive Due, said the lack of authors of color discourages interest among minority readers.


But Due, author of "The Black Rose" and a daughter of civil-rights activists, said the culture is shifting.

"The world I live in is very different from the one my parents lived in," she said. "As long as people remain aware, the future is brighter for everyone."


Anna Waltz, author of "Swedish Lutheran Vampires of Brainerd," said her interest in Japanese animation has brought her a deeper appreciation for Eastern culture, even encouraging her to learn Japanese.


Anime movies and cartoons, especially the "shoujo" genre, consistently show women taking on men and beating them without losing sight of their gender, she said.

One of the best examples of this is the popular cartoon heroine "Sailor Moon," she said.

"Her femininity is the source of her power," Waltz said. "She doesn't defeat the bad guy by being like a guy."
When the writing gets encumbered by PC claptrap, the readers start snoozing. Sounds like a real Z fest. Of course, Stephen Barnes could explain it as the lack of authors of one's own race. I had hopes for Swedish Lutheran Vampires of Brainerd, but 14 pages is too long for me. I'll just have to stick with Six Nuns and a Shotgun.
Time to Break Out The Beanies!
The Sunday Times (OZ) has a scary snippet: 'UFO' in jet crash:
KIEV: A previously unidentified flying object may have caused the deadly crash of a Ukrainian fighter into an air show crowd a week ago, the Russian NTV television company reported yesterday.

Slow-motion videotape of the July 27 accident show a dark object rising in an arc from a wood near the Lviv airfield close the flight path of the Su-27, which went on to crash into the crowd.

It was not clear what exactly the object was, or whether it struck the aircraft. The crash killed 84 and left 199 hospitalised.
Paging Pierre Salinger!
Fashion Trendoid Alert!
Being a regular fashion plate, I dove right into Retailers market low-rise pants, as part of a broader strategy to capitalize on young men's growing appetite for fashion, but was sorely disappointed:
A guy shopping for a pair of basic jeans this fall might think he's stumbled into the women's department.

Retailers and clothing manufacturers including Levi Strauss & Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. are focusing on a trendier look for young men, including low-rise jeans that hug the hips - similar to the pants that a year ago became a must-have style for teen girls and young women.

At Limited Inc.'s Express men's division, 25 percent of its men's pants for the back-to-school season will be low-rise styles.

Merchants are hoping that low-rise pants, along with tighter-fitting sweaters, tinted jeans and other looks, will help fuel sales in the young men's category, which targets the 18-to-34 age group. The segment has just started to rebound after slumping for more than a year.

One of the interesting twists about these new fashions is that they look more like women's clothes than traditional men's apparel.

"Stores are recognizing that today's guy may choose to dress a lot like today's girl," said Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer at Euro RSCG Worldwide, a New York-based marketing company. "There is a lot more blurring of what is female and what is male."
We don't see many of those in these parts.
"In general, it has always been a cliche that men were not interested in fashion. But younger men are shopping now with more confidence because they have all these fashion icons to look up to in sports and music," said Mark Minsky, senior vice president of merchandising at Doneger Group, an apparel buying company, citing baseball player Derek Jeter and rap artist Sean "Puffy" Combs, lately known as P. Diddy.


Some trend trackers like consultant Irma Zandl believe the time is right for body-tight clothes, given that a new wave of rock bands, such as Phantom Planet, The Hives and The Stroke are sporting low-slung pants, the uniform of the rock rebel.
Bridget Russo, spokeswoman for Diesel USA, said, "Guys are becoming more and more daring, and open to trying more fashion-forward products."
I bought some Dayglo Orange suspenders once - still haven't lived it down.
Eddie Bencosme, 21, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, found shopping at cheap chic retailer Hennes & Mauritz on a recent Tuesday, said he is "interested in clothes", and is a fan of Prada, Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers, but is leery about buying low-rise pants.

"They don't seem that comfortable," he said.
And likely to lead to a terminal case of Plumber's Butt.
"We're using low-rise jeans to recreate what it means to be a hero again," said Anna Brockway of Levi's.
You shouldn't talk to reporters while drunk, ma'am.
9/11 Vultures
The NY Sun has a tawdry trial lawyer story:
Senator Schumer is drafting legislation that would let attorneys collect between 8 and 12% of a family's payout from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, a victims' advocate said.

The Schumer plan is a compromise between Senator Nickles, who did not want lawyers to take any money from the fund, and the trial lawyers themselves, who want no limit on their contingency fees.

When families raised concerns that some shyster lawyers were trying to horn in on excessive amounts of their September 11th Victim Compensation Fund money in return for helping them prepare claims, Mr. Nickles, a Republican from Oklahoma and the Senate minority whip, proposed a straightforward solution: No attorneys could get a cut of the cash.

He had not expected much opposition. The Association of Trial Lawyers of America had sent a letter to congressional leaders last September saying "100% of the compensation from the fund should go directly to families."

But now, the association - which has launched a pro bono foundation that it says has provided millions of dollars in free legal advice - is also saying that Congress should not limit the percentages paid to lawyers that help victims' families get compensated from the fund.


Some Republicans, speaking under conditions of anonymity, said they see the influence of the trial lawyers association at work. The trial lawyers are a huge source of campaign cash to Senate Democrats. Mr. Schumer has received $390,385 from lawyers and law firms in the 2002 election cycle, good enough to make him their 8th favorite member of Congress.
Why aren't the lawyers just getting an hourly rate? Why is a lawyer needed in the first place?
Johannesburg Prostitutes Worried!
The AP reports that Organizers short on cash for Earth Summit:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Organizers of an upcoming world summit on the environment said Thursday they still need to raise about 130 million rand (dlrs 13 million) to host the event and about 65,000 delegates planning to attend.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, due to take place from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 in Johannesburg, is a follow up to the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has been billed as the biggest United Nations convention ever held.


The event is expected to cost at least 550 million rand (dlrs 55 million), but only 420 million rand (dlrs 42 million) has been raised thus far.
Only the United Nations would have 65,000 delegates for a meeting.

Snooze Alert!
The United Nations wants you to know that UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow heads to Angola to spotlight challenges:
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today announced that actress Mia Farrow, a Goodwill Ambassador for the agency, will begin a one-week tour of Angola on Monday to spotlight the dramatic challenges and opportunities facing the country as it emerges from nearly three decades of war.
Does anybody in Angola have the faintest idea who Mia Farrow is? Does anybody anywhere care what she thinks about world affairs?
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy stressed that the international community must not avert its attention from Angola. "Mia's visit is a way to help show the world that Angola is at peace, Angola has new hope, and that Angola not only needs but deserves our support."
Translation: send cash. Unmarked small bills are preferred.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Brainiac Alert!
According to the Telegraph, "Tom Paulin, the poet and lecturer, has complained that the controversy over his remarks that American-born settlers in Israel should be shot dead have left him feeling 'like a leper'."
I'm Shocked!
Brian Carnell's Corruption/Famine chart is worth a look. Third World Mercedes dealers will be chagrined. (Link via InstaPundit).
Tin Foil Cynthia Alert
Jim Wooten in an opinion piece from the AJC, tells how Republicans can help boot McKinney, by voting against her in the Democratic primary:
Republicans in DeKalb County's 4th Congressional District do not matter. They don't count. They're there, but as filler.

In congressional races, their perdition for the next 10 years is to be represented by a liberal Democrat. They can vent, write letters, pout or drop out, but in redistricting Democrats guaranteed that the 4th District of Georgia will send a Democrat, certainly a liberal and most likely a black, to Congress. Get used to marginalization.

That said, they don't really have to put up with a liberal Democrat who's also contemptuous of them, who concocts fantasies about the president starting wars to enrich his friends.

While they don't matter in November, they can matter in August.


They could matter in the 4th Congressional District race in the Democratic primary, where incumbent U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney is being challenged by Judge Denise Majette. A poll last week by an Internet political news service, Marketing Workshop, reveals a race far closer than pundits suspected. The two are neck-and-neck -- a sure indication that serious race-baiting is in the cards, irrespective of the fact that both are black and philosophically compatible. McKinney will go incendiary, a tactic that usually works.

That was a factor in keeping the more moderate former DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan from challenging, fearing that a race would deteriorate into anti-Semitism and harm black-Jewish relations, as in the 1996 campaign against John Mitnick, whom McKinney's father called a "racist Jew."


Republicans in November have no chance of electing a conservative in the 4th District race. Democrats in the General Assembly have stacked the deck. But they can choose the more moderate of the liberal Democrats.
A consumation devoutly to be wished.
When Leftists Fall Out
Amazingly, the LA Times provides a detailed slapdown of Doris Kearns Goodwin and her plagiarism addiction. Her whine:
In her own mind, Goodwin was not--is not--a plagiarist. She takes pains to avoid the very word, referring to the McTaggart business as "that mistake" or "this thing I have done" or simply "it." In an interview, the only time she uttered the word "plagiarism" was to deny committing it in the Kennedy book: "You know, at the time the book was written, it absolutely required intent to deceive in order to be plagiarism. And no one is claiming that. No one is claiming that there was any intent."

Her defense has been that she was guilty only of a "mechanical breakdown," a misdemeanor of sloppy footnoting and subpar paraphrasing in what was her first attempt at a major history. She also maintains that after the Kennedy book, her methodology was cleaned up, so that when it came to "No Ordinary Time," her Pulitzer-winning history of Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt in wartime, "things got checked. We knew. We'd been through this."

Nonetheless, an examination of that book against a handful of the hundreds of texts listed in the bibliography did turn up instances of what appear to be parallel language usage and similarly constructed sentences.
She's a legend in her own mind. There's also an interesting profile of plagiarists as a group:
Cases where plagiarism is alleged--whether they eventually prove out or not--tend to unfold along uncannily similar lines. Accused plagiarists, for example, as Thomas Mallon and others have noted, often are writers who have not been shy about accusing others of the offense. And when caught, they almost always fall back first on a defense of sloppy notetaking.

"Plagiarists," Mallon observed in his 1989 book, "take refuge in their notebooks with roughly the same frequency that scoundrels wrap themselves in the flag."

Should the notebook gambit fail, the accused will duck behind his or her footnotes, protesting that it would be ludicrous to credit a book and then crib from it; that would be giving the game away.

"As it develops," the late Peter Shaw, an English professor at Stony Brook University, wrote in a 1982 paper for the academic journal American Scholar, "giving the game away proves to be the rule rather than the exception among plagiarists. Both in the commission of the original act and in the fantastic excuses that follow it, plagiarism is often calculated above all to result in detection."

Shaw found similarities between plagiarists and kleptomaniacs. The pattern, he wrote, "begins with the plagiarist's act of stealing material of the sort that his talent and intelligence would appear to make unnecessary for him. There follows his strewing of clues to bring about detection. After detection, the plagiarist offers excuses that testify to the unconscious motivation of his original act, though ordinarily without acknowledging either its breach of ethics or its obvious self-destructiveness."

Recidivism also appears to be part of the package. Plagiarism, Mallon found, "is something people may do for a variety of reasons but almost always something they do more than once."
Doris fits the profile perfectly. Bzzzzt, game over.
Union Fatcat Alert
The NY Post editorializes:
What's more important: the nation's security - or union privileges?

If you said "security," then you are obviously not a Senate Democrat.

President Bush drew a line in the sand recently when he all but threatened to veto his own Department of Homeland Security (DHS) legislation because the Senate padded it with union payoffs.

Good for him.
Still waiting for the NY Times to express the opposite point of view via a "news" story. Actually they probably have. I don't spend much time checking out Howell Raines in Wonderland.
Caution! Euroweenies at Work!
The Observer weighs in with Driver fury over Euro cycle laws:
A furious row is set to erupt between Britain and Europe over proposed legislation to make car drivers responsible for all accidents involving cyclists - even when the bike rider has broken the law and is in the wrong.

To the delight of cyclists and the dismay of drivers, a European law is being planned to force motorists to pay compensation and damages in all accidents with cyclists. The measure will put car insurance premiums up by an average £50.
The Eurocrats must stay up late at night thinking of this stuff.
Bubba Alert!
Just Make the Check Out to the Clinton Library:
Former president Bill Clinton has his vices, but he's not known as a gambler. So what's he doing hanging around the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut?

When Clinton was president, he signed legislation declaring the Mohegans of Connecticut a federally recognized American Indian tribe. That qualified them to run a gambling casino.

In June he popped over to the casino to receive an award. Clinton insisted he received no appearance fee, although he usually doesn't go anywhere these days until the check is in the mail.

Turns out that before Clinton accepted the invitation, the casino smoothed the way by donating $250,000 to Clinton's cash-strapped library in Little Rock.
Ah, Bubba! Still the sly fox. I guess it depends on what the definition of "appearance fee" is.
Can't Tell the Players Without a Scorecard
From Anchorage:
The municipal Health and Human Services Department is teaming up with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council to get help for the city's chronic inebriates.

It is called the "Pathways to Sobriety" project.

The program was announced today at the Ernie Turner Alcohol Treatment center in midtown.

The plan is to hire two treatment councilors that will work out of the transfer station where the city takes inebriates to sober up.
Are inebriates like drunks?
Skating results may be tossed:
There could be even more changes in figure skating results from the Salt Lake City Olympics. They might even be thrown out.

Two top IOC officials on Friday left open the possibility of changing final scores in pairs and ice dancing from the Games, depending on the investigation into an alleged vote-swapping deal orchestrated by a reputed Russian mobster.
If it involves costumes or background music, it isn't a sport.