Saturday, September 21, 2002

Dog Bites Man!
The San Jose Mercury News has yet another "human interest" story on the travails of illegal immigrants: Caught in Crackdown: Some Return to Mexico; Others Scrape By:
The paychecks Brjida Muñoz brought home helped with rent on a San Jose duplex for her family of seven, and the job provided health insurance, including treatment for her diabetes. Her work was stable after nearly five years, and enjoyable, too.

Then she hastily quit after admitting to her employer that she was using a false Social Security number. Muñoz is one of tens of thousands of immigrants nationwide, most of them here illegally, who have lost jobs because of a government campaign to crack down on employees using Social Security numbers that don't belong to them.
More tear jerking tales by following the link.

Actually it's a pretty tepid "crackdown". The employer merely gets a letter once a year listing employees who are using invalid Social Security numbers. They're supposed to ask the employee to clear it up.
The crackdown is heavily denounced by labor unions and immigrant advocates.
Ah! The usual suspects. And it's clear that they aren't "immigrant advocates", they're illegal alien apologists.
``Whether it's the Social Security Administration's purpose or not, the reality is that this is having an unintended consequence that's affecting primarily a majority of undocumented workers,'' said Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center in Oakland.
And the problem with that is exactly what, Marielena?
(Via Best of the Web) Leef Smith in the Washington Post reports on Finding It in Their Hearts:
Mantaine Minis, 6, was living in a hut in a remote village in Kenya, in need of lifesaving heart surgery, when the improbable happened one day in June. A group of students and parents from the Langley School in McLean was on safari at the Masai Mara National Reserve, where Mantaine's father is a game warden.

That's when someone from the village told a Langley teacher about Mantaine's heart problem. From there, things seemed to unfold quickly.

The teacher, Joseph Lekuton, knew that one of the parents was a Fairfax County heart surgeon. He also knew that people of the Masai village, who didn't own much, had sold 14 cows last year to raise money to donate to relief efforts in the United States after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

So he helped launch a campfire discussion about the Masai gift and about what a group of people from an American suburb could do to return a kindness.

"It wasn't a lot of money, but they gave those cows to say, 'Here, we feel your loss,' " Lekuton said he told the group before telling them Mantaine's story. "So, I asked the children, 'What can we do to help them?' . . . Really, it was magical. In just a short moment everyone agreed 'We can help her.' "
Mantaine is doing well after surgery in the USA.
Lower The Barrel A Little
Yasser needs a new shipment of baby wipes:
Explosions rocked Yasser Arafat's compound Saturday, including one that showered him with debris, as the Israeli army systematically blew up or bulldozed nearly every building around him in the Palestinian Authority's headquarters.
Well, ole Fish Face has made his billion. Now he can retire.
Lots More Teachers' Dirty Looks
Rodger Schultz discovers some truly scary stuff:
What "new values" are educators trying to instill? Here is a seven-point list, given to educators in North Carolina at an in-service workshop:
There is no right or wrong, only conditioned responses.
The collective good is more important than the individual.
Consensus is more important than principle.
Flexibility is more important than accomplishment.
Nothing is permanent except change. All ethics are situational; there are no moral absolutes.
There are no perpetrators, only victims.
Notice that all of the items on this list involve no particular issue; rather, they reflect ethical "outcomes" that a child is supposed to "internalize."


Take The Cry of the Marsh, an environmentalist film shown in many seventh-grade science classes. It opens with an idyllic, rustic landscape -- birds singing in the trees, mother ducks leading their young on a pleasant excursion down a creek, rabbits scampering over the ground. The scene oozes fresh air, sunshine, and peace.

Suddenly, a tractor-bulldozer appears. The camera zooms in on the word "AMERICAN" on the side of the yellow vehicle...
It gets worse. More by following the link.

At what point did the US teaching profession get taken over by the buttheads?
Mr. Moneybags Again
He actually gave some back!
Under pressure from his political opponent and critics who call his fund- raising tactics inappropriate, Gov. Gray Davis Friday abruptly canceled a $50, 000 fund-raiser scheduled with high-speed-rail executives the day after he signed a $9.95 billion bond measure approving the first bullet train system for California.

Davis campaign officials, acknowledging that the solicitation for the event "crossed the line" of impropriety, canceled the gathering just hours before it was to begin at the Santa Clara home of Rod Diridon, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority. Davis aides said all campaign contributions from the event would be returned to donors.


Davis, who has raised a record $55 million for his re-election effort, has been criticized repeatedly for his aggressive fund-raising tactics. Opponents charge that there is a pay-to-play atmosphere in which those who do business with the state believe they must contribute to the governor's campaign to compete for the work.


Diridon, in the days leading up to Thursday's bill-signing ceremony, which he attended with Davis at the California Railway Museum in Sacramento, sent an e-mail addressed to "high speed ground transportation advocates," offering "a special opportunity to communicate with and help Gov. Gray Davis."


"If these people (at the fund-raiser) are potential vendors who will be getting contracts with the administration, it is unseemly -- and exactly fits the pay-for-play problem," said UC Berkeley political science Professor Bruce Cain.
Joseph Graham Davis Jr. (Grayout to his pals) is even more compulsive than Bubba when it comes to milking the donors. And he doesn't bother with the small venues like sleepovers and coffees.
It's Quite a Puzzle
Charles Krauthammer expresses his puzzlement (and mine) in The Iraq Debate:
When the case for war is made purely in terms of American national interest--in terms of the safety, security and very lives of American citizens--chins are pulled as the Democrats think it over. But when the case is the abstraction of being the good international citizen and strengthening the House of Kofi, the Democrats are ready to parachute into Baghdad.

This hierarchy of values is bizarre, but not new. Liberal internationalism--the foreign policy school of the modern Democratic Party (and of American liberalism more generally)--is deeply suspicious of actions taken for reasons of naked national interest. After all, this is the party that in the last decade voted overwhelmingly against the Gulf War, where vital American interests were at stake (among them, keeping the world's largest reservoir of oil out of the hands of a hostile dictator), while supporting humanitarian military interventions in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, places with only the remotest connection to American security interests.
Well, they could also be evil partisan hacks too.
And what is the moral logic underlying the Democrats' demand for U.N. sanction? The country's top Democrat, Sen. Tom Daschle, said that U.N. support ``will be a central factor in how quickly the Congress acts. If the international community supports it, if we can get the information we've been seeking, then I think we can move to a (Senate) resolution.''

Daschle's insistence on the centrality of a U.N. stamp of approval is puzzling. How does this work? In what way does the approval of the Security Council confer moral legitimacy on this enterprise? Perhaps Daschle can explain how the blessing of the butchers of Tiananmen Square, who hold the Chinese seat on the Security Council, lends moral authority to an invasion of Iraq. Or the support of the Kremlin, whose central interest in Iraq is the $8 billion that it owes Russia.

Or the French. There can be no Security Council approval without them. Does Daschle imagine that their approval will hinge on humanitarian calculations? If the French come on board it will be because they see an Anglo-American train headed for Baghdad, and they don't want to be left at the station. The last time the Middle East was carved up was 1916, when a couple of British and French civil servants, a Mr. Sykes and a Mr. Picot, drew lines on a map of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. Among other goodies, France got Syria and Lebanon. Britain got Iraq. The French might not relish being shut out of Iraq a second time.

My point is not to blame France or China or Russia for acting in their national interests. That's what nations do. That's what nations' leaders are supposed to do. My point is to express wonder at Americans who find it unseemly to act in the name of their own national interests and who cannot see the logical absurdity of granting moral legitimacy to American action only if it earns the approval of the Security Council--approval granted or withheld on the most cynical grounds of self-interest.
Maybe it's in the genes. I hear "international community" and reach for my holster. Liberals hear "international community" and cream their jeans.

Friday, September 20, 2002

I'm so surprised
The Times (UK) reveals that Saddam defends palaces against arms inspectors:
IRAQ and America were locked in confrontation last night as Saddam Hussein rejected US attempts to give weapons inspectors access to his presidential palaces.

The Iraqi President told the UN he would accept inspectors on condition that they did not violate Iraq's "rights, sovereignty, security". The demand was immediately rejected by the US, which accused him of trying to "lure the world down the same dead-end road" it has travelled before.
Watch the weasel boy dance.
Earlier, it had emerged that Washington wants the inspectors to be given new powers to search Saddam?s eight presidential palaces. Under current rules of engagement, they have restricted access to the sprawling complexes.
Only eight? Saddam seems to have "palaces" everywhere. Most estimates are around 50 - see 1, and 2. And what palaces they are. Tharthar covers 2.5 square miles with a 1 square mile presidential compound with 45 structures.

This is all crap. Saddam is a bazaar huckster who cons the gullible. He's fortunate that they don't seem to be in short supply.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Short Arm of the Law Alert!
I mentioned this previously, but now the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled:
Photographing or videotaping up a woman's skirt in a public place doesn't violate a voyeurism law, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The unanimous ruling found that the law only protects people in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The court rejected prosecutors' arguments that people reasonably expect privacy under their clothing.

The ruling overturned the convictions of Sean Glas and Richard Sorrells.

"Although Glas' and Sorrells' actions are reprehensible, we agree that the voyeurism statute, as written, does not prohibit upskirt photography in a public location," wrote Justice Bobbe Bridge, one of four women on the nine-member court.

Prosecutors said Glas apparently planned to sell to an Internet site photographs he took at a mall in Union Gap. He was arrested in 1999 when women he photographed spotted him crouching near them.

Sorrels was arrested at a Seattle food festival after witnesses told police they saw him videotaping underneath little girls' dresses. Police found images taken up girls' and women's skirts on his camera.
Maybe they'll meet up with a guy in kilts.
Dumb Crook News
The Herald Sun (Australia) reports Poo on shoe convicts thief:
A CLUMP of dog poo on a shoe has tripped up an armed robber who didn't watch his step on his way to hold up a Gold Coast TAB.

While 26-year-old Jacob Michael Smith hid his face during the armed robbery by wrapping a sheet around his head, he neglected to wipe a piece of dog poo off his shoe which formed an unfortunate pattern that would lead to his arrest.

The poo shape was noticed on a photo taken by a security camera and was enhanced by police scientific officer Sergeant Alan Piper.

"It's not rocket science. It's as plain as poo on your shoe," Sgt Piper said today.
No poo, Sherlock.

And then there is the cat lover in Kansas:
WICHITA, Kan. -- A Kansas fisherman believes he has reeled in a Peeping Tom.

The Wichita man was convinced someone was watching his daughters as they showered at night. A backyard chair kept getting moved under a bathroom window.

So he rigged a simple trap using clear fishing line. He tied fishing line to the chair, ran the line into the house and put the spool on a kitchen counter.

Last night, the unwinding spool fell.

The father grabbed a piece of pipe, went outside and found a man pulling the chair up to the window.

He ordered the intruder onto the ground while his wife called police.

The man turned out to be a neighbor, who claimed he was looking for a cat.
Global Something
The New Scientist reveals Africa's deserts are in "spectacular" retreat:
The southern Saharan desert is in retreat, making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa.

Burkina Faso, one of the West African countries devastated by drought and advancing deserts 20 years ago, is growing so much greener than families who fled to wetter coastal regions are starting to go home.

New research confirming this remarkable environmental turnaround is to be presented to Burkina Faso's ministers and international aid agencies in November. And it is not just Burkina Faso.

New Scientist has learned that a separate analysis of satellite images completed this summer reveals that dunes are retreating right across the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. Vegetation is ousting sand across a swathe of land stretching from Mauritania on the shores of the Atlantic to Eritrea 6000 kilometres away on the Red Sea coast.

Nor is it just a short-term trend. Analysts say the gradual greening has been happening since the mid-1980s, though has gone largely unnoticed. Only now is the evidence being pieced together.
Ever wonder how much Ecoweenie angst is due to the fact that the weather is changeable? In the Stone Age, if there were floods or drought or lots of snow, it was Og, the weather God, who was angry. Now it is the Americans who are causing it. What a snoozer.
Down on the Farm
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports College's use of meat for tuition draws fire:
Instead of writing a check for tuition, parents of some Lindenwood University students hand over bacon and sausage and ham.

For several years, the school in St. Charles has accepted pigs in lieu of cash, then served the meat in the school cafeteria. Lindenwood President Dennis Spellmann started the practice to help family farmers send their children to college.

On Wednesday, an animal rights group asked Spellmann to halt the policy.

Bruce G. Friedrich, director of vegan outreach for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sent a letter to Spellmann suggesting that Jesus had been an ethical vegetarian and that the university's Christian roots should cause it to reconsider the program.

Spellmann said he has no intention of doing so.


One of the students who benefited from such barter was Sally Miller, 24, who graduated in 2000. Miller grew up on a farm near Silex, where her father, Kurt Bruns, 61, still raises cattle, corn, wheat, soybeans and hay with her two older brothers.

Miller said her father heard about Lindenwood's tuition program when she was a junior and hog prices were low. The family took some hogs to a processor in Silex and gave the meat to Lindenwood, where it wound up on students' plates. Miller said the program saved her a bundle on student loans.
This used to be a more common practice some years ago when more people lived on farms. It works because of the large differential between retail and farm prices for most agricultural products. As for PETA, why don't they stick Colonel Corn where the sun doesn't shine?

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Don't let the garage door hit you on the butt, Rosie!
Apparently maddened by unrequited love, Roger Friedman gushes over Rosie's departure:
A little after noon Wednesday Rosie O'Donnell put her magazine out of its misery. She folded Rosie which used to be called McCall's, telling publisher Gruner + Jahr in effect that they didn't have the right to publish under their co-venture agreement unless she had editorial control.


Rosie looked unusually glamorous today. Her short hair cut was done beautifully, her makeup was very becoming, and she wore a tailored suit. It's obvious that she's been on a successful diet of some kind. She held her head high through the whole proceeding, with former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, now O'Donnell's lawyer, sitting beside her.
Here's Roger's idea of unusually glamorous. As for Mary Jo White, I wondered where Janet Reno's MiniMe had scampered off to.
In closing Rosie, O'Donnell has not left the magazine's staff high and dry. Unlike many magazine publishers who've closed their doors, Rosie wrote to every staff member individually. She also sent them checks -- some as high as $10,000 -- to compensate them until they find new work.

O'Donnell did not take reporters' questions, but she did confirm a report from this column several weeks ago that she's producing Boy George's musical on Broadway. She also said she'd seen Hairspray five times, that she's happy spending time with her family, and that she and her partner are expecting their fourth child in December.

She did not refute tabloid reports of a sex change, but I don't think that was necessary.
Is Roger funning with us?
One Worlders at Work!
There's nothing more useless than an online petition unless it is Amnesty International:
Amnesty International today launched a worldwide petition in response to US attacks against the new system of international justice.
New system of justice? I kinda liked the old system. Ah, "international justice". It's an oxymoron contest!
In recent months, the US has been approaching governments requesting them to enter into unlawful agreements that they will not surrender US nationals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to the new International Criminal Court.
Unlawful? I must have missed the section of the Constitution where they mentioned the International Criminal Court. Hmmm, it must the "law" of the UN bureaucrats and tin pot dictators. No thanks, donkeydips.
Amnesty International's petition -- -- calls on all states to refuse to sign such impunity agreements with the US.

The petition will be open for signature for one month and will be sent to governments worldwide. Signatures received by 27 September will also be sent to EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs in advance of their meet on 30 September to consider their position on the issue.
Don't you like the way the trendoids refer to immunity agreements as "impunity agreements"? Anyhow, don't forget to sign early and often. And catch the sob inducing picture of the US's empty chair at an ICC hoedown.

Q: What if they held a kangaroo court and no one came?
A: The bureaucrats would still collect their paychecks.
Give it to Kofi. He'll eat anything!
Today's Wall Street Journal sums it up with Disarming Saddam: Want "weapons inspectors"? Try the 82nd Airborne:
It sure is fascinating how the prospect of being defanged concentrates Saddam Hussein's mind. Having rejected United Nations inspections for years and again only last week, he's now responded to President Bush's determination to disarm him by inviting the U.N. back in. And the world is supposed to take him seriously.

Some people, to be sure, will believe anything--for example, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who hailed the offer as a great victory. And the Russians, who say Saddam's word means the Security Council needn't draw up a new resolution after all. And naturally the French, who want not just one new U.N. resolution but two, drawing things out long enough to let Saddam delay any action past the best invasion time of winter. Sophisticates call all of this a "chess game."

The White House had another, more accurate name for it--"rope-a-dope with the world," spokesman Ari Fleischer put it yesterday. And Mr. Bush urged that "you can't be fooled again." Saddam, he added, "is a man who has delayed, denied, deceived the world. For the sake of liberty and justice for all, the United Nations Security Council must act."

The inspections gambit is an old Saddam reliable, one played to a fare-thee-well in the 1990s (when he also played Mr. Annan like a Stradivarius). That's precisely why Mr. Bush made it clear in his speech last week that the U.N.'s obligation was to enforce all 16 of its resolutions toward Iraq, and within weeks, not months.
Ole Kofi loves to spend months "negotiating" with Saddam on inspections, as he proved throughout the 90's. It must be the excitement of the "give and take" of diplomacy. Or the excitement of a steady UN paycheck.
Those resolutions have from the first demanded not merely inspections but disarmament. That implies the use of force not just to help inspectors knock on doors in Baghdad but to ensure that Iraq's weapons capability is destroyed. Compliance also means a cessation of support for terrorism and an end to the persecution of Iraqi minorities. All of this is what any U.N. resolution has to include if that body wants to be taken seriously by anyone, much less by Saddam.

Anyone who thinks "inspections" by themselves are worth anything should read last week's chilling testimony to the House Armed Services Committee by former U.N. bioweapons inspector Richard Spertzel. He recounted how inspectors "experienced obstructions in Iraq from the beginning" until they were finally ousted in 1998. "Iraq gradually gave up only what Unscom could prove Iraq still retained," he said.

"It appears that most of the proposals for getting inspectors back into Iraq are based on the premise that 'any inspectors are better than none,' " he told Congress. "To be blunt, that is pure rubbish, just an illusion of inspections. Even while Unscom inspectors were still operable, Iraq was constantly trying to restrict monitoring inspectors' activities, curb their access," and so on.
I'm so surprised!

The Journal goes on about Saddam's extensive biowarfare/bioterrorism program including importation of the West Nile virus. The closer:
All of which suggests that there is only one kind of inspection regime that can truly disarm Saddam--the 82nd Airborne, aided by armor and air power. This is the action that Mr. Bush said last week would be "unavoidable" if the U.N. didn't meet its responsibility to enforce the resolutions that Saddam has violated for a decade.

Saddam's latest inspections gambit isn't an attempt to oblige the U.N. It's a ploy to use the U.N. to play for time and blunt the effort by Mr. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to rid the world of his terror-weapon menace. We're glad to see that Mr. Bush is insisting that the U.N. not blink again.
Yep. And for the whiners who think a billet doux from Saddam is worth something, I guess it depends on whether you're short of toilet paper.

Legal Eagle Alert!
Alex Roth in the San Diego Union-Tribune weighs in with Defense attorneys draw public's ire:
People in San Diego and around the country reacted with outrage yesterday to the notion that a defense lawyer who knows his client committed a horrible crime could tell a jury the client couldn't be guilty.

Their anger was incited by a report in The San Diego Union-Tribune, quoting unnamed sources, that David Westerfield's lawyers offered early in the case to have their client tell police where to find the body of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam if prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

"David Westerfield's defense attorney knew he was guilty ... but he tried to mislead the jury anyway!" announced the Web site of "The O'Reilly Factor," the Fox News Channel national talk show. "Can anyone defend this kind of behavior?"
I guess I'm jaded. I thought all defense lawyers did that.
The newspaper's sources said prosecutors were on the verge of accepting the offer of Westerfield's defense team – a life-without-parole sentence in exchange for information about where to find the body – when volunteers discovered Danielle's remains off Dehesa Road east of El Cajon on Feb. 27.

Prosecutors no longer had any incentive to make a deal and the potential plea bargain collapsed, the sources said. Such negotiations cannot be used as evidence in a trial.

Legal experts said Westerfield's defense team was acting ethically on behalf of their client in an attempt to spare him the death penalty a jury eventually recommended.


There are ethical limits to what a criminal defense lawyer can do on behalf of a client. California State Bar guidelines forbid lawyers from knowingly letting a client lie on the witness stand.

If the client insists on testifying anyway, the defense lawyer has an obligation to tell the judge in private that the client will be testifying over the objection of his counsel, according to San Diego defense attorney Gerald Blank.
I'm sure that happens a whole lot.
But preventing a client from lying on the witness stand is entirely different from telling a jury the client is not guilty of the crime, Blank said.

In the opinion of Blank and other defense attorneys, asserting that the client is not guilty is different from asserting innocence.

"Innocent" means the client didn't do it. "Not guilty" means the state doesn't have the evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Blank said. Jurors return guilty or not-guilty verdicts. In rare cases a judge will make a finding that a defendant is innocent.
Interesting distinction. Where's Bubba to tell us what the meaning of "is" is?
Don't Miss It
Interview with Scott Ridder, Restaurant Inspector.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Those Wacky Italians
Via Reuters, Funeral home gets a rise out of death:
Rome - Death is hardly something to look forward to, but one Italian funeral home is trying to make the afterlife a tad more tempting by using bikini-clad women to sell its coffins.

On its site, the Rome-based funeral home and coffin factory Cisa features its hand-crafted caskets alongside models sipping champagne or reclining seductively on the lids.

"We wanted to make the whole idea of picking your coffin less serious, maybe even make people laugh a bit," Giuseppe Tenara, one of the partners, said.

Near-naked women are used to sell everything in Italy from computers to chocolate bars, but Cisa has taken the advertising ploy to new limits.

The page featuring the firm's "Madonna" coffin shows a pouting woman in zebra shorts and high-heel boots kneeling next to the casket, while in "Empire Style", a blonde donning a black G-string leans on a coffin and turns her backside to the camera.

"Unfortunately the site hasn't helped sales much, because we mostly get calls from far away places like Greece and Spain instead of Rome," Tenara told Reuters.

That hasn't stopped Cisa from creating an online "sexy calendar" with yet more temptresses frolicking among the coffins.

Still, not all clients have been charmed.

"Some people are scandalised, but we just explain that we're trying to make people laugh," Tenara said.
One of the tamer samples.
Ignoring the clue phone when it rings
Mark Steyn has some words for our pal, Canadian PM Jean Cretin, Chrétien caught in a web of confusion:
The Islamists have no rational demands, and no conceivable changes to U.S. policy will deflect them. M. Chrétien says he formulated his theory --American arrogance plus Osama's poverty equals global terrorism -- on the evening of September 11th. And what's heartening is that in the last 12 months nothing in the torrent of evidence has stirred our grand buffoon from his complacency. Indeed, we should give our Prime Minister credit for sticking to his hand-me-down clichés. For the more inventively you try to "explain" the Islamist psychosis as a rational phenomenon to be accommodated the more you risk sounding just as nutty as Mohammed Atta and the other genital depilators.
More by following the link.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Daschle Dawdle Watch!
Be there or be square.
The Problem Is Africa
Alan Wood in the Australian suggests we Pity poor McDonald-less Africa:
HOW many McDonald's are there in Africa? The Big Mac's US website lists 170, mostly in South Africa and Egypt, with a few in Morocco. Not many for a continent of nearly 800 million people. Australia, with a population of a little less than 20 million, has 712 McDonald's and counting.

There is a serious point to this comparison. McDonald's has become a potent symbol of what is wrong with globalisation for groups such as Greenpeace and the anti-globalisation non-government organisations. It represents US cultural and economic imperialism, an evil US multinational corporation.

On this logic, Africa is the lucky continent and Australia the unlucky one. Who believes that? The truth is the number of McDonald's outlets is a pretty good global index of economic prosperity and cultural diversity. Australia has hardly become a culinary monoculture because of the spread of the Golden Arches.

Although there are 712 McDonald's, there are more than 4000 Chinese restaurants, more than 2000 other Asian restaurants, more than 2500 Italian restaurants and 10,600 that style themselves as modern Australian.


The conference volume confirms that the story of the past three decades has been the Africanisation of world poverty. This is summed up in the introduction to the conference papers by David Gruen of the RBA and Terry O'Brien of Treasury. Although there are difficulties in getting reliable figures, it appears there has been a huge fall in the number of people outside Africa living in extreme poverty (an income of less than $US1 ? $1.82 _ per day). Conservatively, there has been a net fall of more than 200 million since 1970, despite an increase in the world's population of about 1.6 billion. But during the same time there has been a rise of about 175 million in those living in extreme poverty in Africa. In 1960 Africa was home to only about one in 10 of the world's extremely poor, but two in three of them by 1998.

This is not the outcome of globalisation. On the contrary, Africa's problems stem in large part from its inability to integrate into the world economy, unlike Asia and India, where the numbers living in extreme poverty have plunged and per capita incomes have soared.

Treasury put it bluntly in a paper last year: "It is one of the ironies of the [past] few years that globalisation's critics attribute to it economic problems that in fact arise from ethnic and religious fragmentation, civil wars, corruption and the absence of modern institutions and social trust." It was talking about Africa.
This isn't new news (1, 2), but the professional foreign aid pimps and professional "advocates" don't want it bandied about. They want more useless foreign aid to perpetuate their own petty rackets. Meanwhile the Mercedes dealers in Africa wax fatter off the corrupt dictators and their hangers-on while the people starve.
"Lust in his heart" Alert!
Via the NY Post's Page Six:
RED-blooded writer Hampton Stevens says he got fired from the New York Times after professing his lust for right-wing blondeshell Ann Coulter. Stevens, an independent contractor who hosted the op-ed forums on, claims he was canned shortly after some salty statements he made about the coltish Coulter appeared in the New York Observer. "The New York Times has every right to hire and fire as they please," he told us. "But I think I should be free to express my opinion." A Times spokeswoman told us: "Hampton Stevens moderated an online forum for on a free-lance basis. His free-lance project is now complete
Why do I think that the earthy part of his comment was less a problem for the Times than his laughing at "liberal folly"?

Apparently, Hampton failed to notice that the official Times poster girl is MoDo.
Those Wacky Florida Oldsters!
The AP enlightens with Poor Training, Glitches Factored in Miami-Dade Election Fiasco:
Eleven other Florida counties had the same kind of touchscreen voting machines used in Miami-Dade. They were being operated by similar crews of mainly elderly volunteers who had worked low-tech elections for years.

So why did Tuesday's primary go so well in those places and so miserably here?

For starters, those other counties trained their poll workers up to three times longer than Miami-Dade. Some made sure volunteers could read the English instructions. Most had their machines longer then Miami-Dade did, and they didn't experience the same cascade of last-minute technical glitches that faced the state's most populous county.


Retiree Jack Wile said he trained with some 40 others on the new iVotronic machines for about four hours. He has a computer and understood the instructions but says only about four people in the class who seemed to grasp the nuances of the system.

"The rest of the people who were in the class were in a fog," said Wile, an assistant precinct clerk. "Some of them couldn't even figure out where to sign the sheet to show that they took the class."

Precinct clerk Dorothy Walton, who has been working polls since 1973, said she came away from training without knowing exactly how to close out the machines at day's end. She said she didn't ask questions because she was supposed to have a helper who did know.

The helper didn't show up Tuesday.

Workers in Pasco and Sarasota counties got 12 hours of training, and Sarasota County required them to pass a written test. But in Miami-Dade, where the ballots were in English, Spanish and Creole, workers weren't even required to prove basic literacy.
Oh yeah, Janet Reno says this is all Jeb Bush's fault.
Thanks Grayout!
KXTV lets us know that Davis Signs Package of Anti-Terrorism Bills:
Gov. Gray Davis is working his way through two dozen bills having to do with state security. The bills were proposed after last September's terrorist attacks.

One bill keeps security guards from obtaining temporary registration cards before a background check is completed. Other measures boost penalties for using weapons of mass destruction and allow the state to increase its use of wiretaps to fight terrorism.
I wonder what the new penalty for using a weapon of mass destruction is? No tofu for 30 days? As for fighting terrorism, numerous California jurisidictions have made it clear they won't even interview known illegal aliens because it's "profiling". Whose wires are they planning on tapping? The Elks Club?

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Grease Spot?
(Link via DailyPundit). The Mirror (UK) teases with BIN LADEN "DEAD":
OSAMA bin Laden's supporters yesterday issued a statement on the internet saying he was dead.

The claims, repeated in the Al Bayan newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, said that the al-Qaeda terror chief died when the Americans bombed the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan.

The details tally with dates of bombing missions in which US intelligence experts suspected that he may have been killed.

The newspaper's story, headlined, "Yes, Osama bin Laden is dead but the Jihad will continue until Judgement Day'', quotes witness Shahid Ayan saying he perished on December 10, 2001.

He said: "On the 24th night of Ramadan (Dec 10) and at a late hour, there were some scary explosions in the place where Osama bin Laden's cave was.

"The cave was completely erased from the ground and became nothing. This was the only cave of the 15 that was destroyed by an enormous 52ft missile and there is no doubt that bin Laden died.''
Since it's the Mirror, home of some of the worst Eurowhiners, one can't help but wonder about an ulterior motive for using one of those notoriously "creative" Middle Eastern sources as the basis for this newsflash. I also like the idea that the witness measured the missile.

On the other hand, the thought of an "enormous 52ft missile" paying a house call on Osama is rather pleasing.
No Fool Like an Old Fool
Old fool Walter Cronkite lets us know that he'd still like to be in on the news action:
Cronkite, who now works on documentaries with his son's company, Cronkite Productions, addressed the annual convention of retiree-advocacy group AARP on Thursday. The principal anchorman for "The CBS Evening News" retired in 1981 to spend more time with his grandchildren.

"I would have stayed quite a bit longer ... knowing what I know now, that I would still have plenty of years to grow up with the kids," he said in an interview.

"Not being on the air, that's not important. But I'd like to be in the newsroom helping set the agenda."
And you have quite an agenda, don't you Wally? An illustration from Wally's latest bloviation on Larry King:
KING: And foreign policy's effect on what might have caused 9/11?

CRONKITE: Yes, I think very definitely that foreign policy could have caused what has happened.

This is a revolution, in effect, around the world. A revolution is in place today. We are suffering from a revolution of the poor and have-nots against the rich and haves. And that's us.
Last time I looked, it was a bunch of middle class Islamist religious fanatics financed by a Saudi millionaire. But that wouldn't fit in with the "agenda", would it?

By the way Wally, thanks for Vietnam.
I am divine (but not in an elitist way)
Words fail me after a visit to the blog of Derek Sapphire, healer, activist and guru. (Link via Brain Graze).