Saturday, October 12, 2002

Finally, Someone With Some Sense
The news coverage of the Maryland "sniper" story has been appallingly bad, but so what else is new? The newsdroids haven't the faintest idea of what is going on, their paid experts and profilers are brimming with drivel, and the local police chief has to ask the reporters not to follow his investigators around. The only sensible, fact-based assessment of the killer that I have seen comes from Stephen Hunter, novelist and Washington Post movie critic. A very small excerpt:
His choice of weapon reveals something as well. It's notable that he hasn't selected a firearm or a cartridge that's linked to sniping as it's practiced professionally. The police have described the recovered fragments as being from a ".223 bullet," a particular vagueness that suggests they know a lot more than they're letting on or a lot less. In any event, the .223 family of cartridges -- it could also include a target round like the .222, a varmint round like the .22-250 or a specialized pistol round like the .221 Fireball -- aren't part of authentic sniper practice or the more informal "sniper culture" that surrounds this most disturbing but necessary of jobs. Most government and police snipers use a .308 Winchester rifle because it is far more lethal (its muzzle-energy, which measures force in pounds by mathematical formula, is around 2,300 pounds, while the .223's is around 1,200; in most states the .223 -- or any .22 centerfire -- is illegal for deer hunting because it wounds without killing too frequently.) The .223, as a combat round, has proved disappointing; one merely has to read "Black Hawk Down" or the specialized gun press to sample the discontent with its performance in Mogadishu or Afghanistan.

But again: He's not a dummy. That caliber has some extremely useful features for him. Since he's not a soldier in a firefight shooting someone who is shooting at him or a police marksman ending a hostage situation, he's not concerned with immediate killing power, as they would be. He can wound grievously, even fatally; it doesn't matter to him when, or even if, death arrives. He creates the same miasma of terror, regardless.
Much more by following the link.
Fellow Traveler Alert!
Whacking Day has their way with pond scum Phillip Adams:
My predicition proved spot-on: Krauthammer - whilst polite and witty - made mincemeat of Adams' juvenile questioning. Adams - whose intellectual prowess barely scrapes in at the level of "dullard" - was incapable of making any coherent argument in return, and has now - as I predicted - and as he always does, insulted his guest after the show.
One of the hallmarks of this enlightened age is that bottom dwellers like Phil can find employment.

UPDATE: Prof. Bunyip weighs in as well:
The name Krauthammer, Adams says, "simultaneously evokes notions of a master race and massive blows to the anvil."

Master race? What, as in Nazi? Adams must have had a good chuckle penning that line, given that Krauthammer is a Jew.
Then there's the bit about Krauthammer being one of the "most hawkish of the Bush chickenhawks." Piggy wants us to picture Krauthammer as the archetypical armchair general, hiding comfortable and safe behind a desk while others march off to die. Actually, Krauthammer wouldn't be much use on a battlefield. He's a paraplegic.
More by following the link.
The inmates are in charge of the asylum
The Telegraph (UK) astounds with Neighbour convicted of religious abuse:
An engineer was convicted yesterday of religiously abusive behaviour after insulting a Muslim neighbour who hailed September 11 as a "great day", praised Osama bin Laden as a "great man", and thought all Americans "deserved to die".

Alistair Scott, 33, is believed to be the first person to be found guilty of the new offence designed to outlaw religious hatred. He was charged under the Government's Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, which came into force last December.
No word on whether opining that all Americans deserve to die is considered abusive.
Peanut Prize
The NY Post editorializes:
So Jimmy Carter has finally achieved his long-sought goal: a Nobel Peace Prize.

Big deal: The Nobel committee made it beyond clear that its decision had less to do with the former president's work for "peace" than with his willingness to publicly trash President Bush's Iraq policy.

Not to mention Carter's previous denunciation of his own country, in a 1999 New York Times op-ed article, as "senseless and excessively brutal."

In fact, committee head Gunnar Berge confirmed what critics of the award have been saying for years: It's all about rewarding left-wing political activists.
Relive a small part of the sanctimonious idiot's continuing record of foreign affairs foolishness to the detriment of the USA by following the link.

And Gunnar, being a socialist doesn't mean you can't go to the dentist!

Maybe he's a spokesmodel for Billy Bob teeth?

Musical Whine Alert!
Big Wig's muse has prompted the Banana Dolt Song:
Talk all the time, after too much rum!
Reporters they come when he bitch and moan.
Slander and curse till the morning come!
Reporters they come when he bitch and moan.

Please, Mr. Colin, send him to Havana!
Castro wants to have a sing-a-long.
Please, Mr. Colin, him and Arianna.
Castro wants to dress her in a thong.

He lift foot, turn foot, eat foot, LUNCH!
Reporters leave and he sad and all alone.
He lift foot, turn foot, eat foot, LUNCH!
Reporters leave and he sad and all alone.
No word on when Harry will resume his career at the Flying Fish Stick Lounge of a Holiday Inn near you.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Fish Story Alert!
ScrappleFace has the goods on that French Tanker explosion off Yemen.
Bag Lady Alert
Dick Morris gets the last word with Hillary's Bags Surface. (And no, not the ones under her eyes.)
FOUND! The four Judith Leiber bags Hillary Clinton denied having ever received. Yesterday, the House Government Reform Subcommittee released a list of gfts worth over $1 million that were received by Bill and Hillary Clinton in the White House that were never disclosed. The list contradicts statements made by the former first lady and current senator.

In this column, on Feb. 11, 2001, I wrote that Hillary had received many undisclosed gifts, including some from "Judith Leiber, designer of expensive and easily recognizable evening bags." I wrote that Hillary had received three or four of these valuable creations, worth "about $10,000," but that the bags "do not appear on any of the disclosure forms in the public record." The article was accompanied by a picture of the former first lady carrying a Socks the Cat evening bag by Leiber that retails for more than $3,300.

Outraged, Hillary denounced the story as "false" and criticized me for "not bothering" to check the facts. She claimed to have received only two bags - one given to her before the first inauguration in 1993, which did not have to be disclosed, and another which she claimed to have reported on her 1994 disclosure form.

Hillary opined at the time, "It's really regrettable that the people writing and publishing the story didn't call to get the facts, because there would have been no story. I guess that's why they didn't call and it is a very unfortunate commentary on the way these things are handled."

Well, the missing bags have finally surfaced in the documents of the House subcommittee. Hillary got four bags while serving as First Lady after all, and their combined worth is about $9,000.
Hillary lying! I'm shocked and dismayed!
The bags are only a part of how Clinton passed the bag for gifts from cronies. The list of donors looks like a repertory of the greatest hits of the Clinton scandals.

Gift-givers included the Chinagate trio of James Riady, Charlie Tree and Johnnie Chung. Pardon supplicant Bill Fugazy made an appearance. Denise Rich's list of gifts goes on for pages.

Bernard Schwartz of Lorel - alleged to have given key U.S. military technology to China - was a donor and, in anticipation of the scandals of the future, so was the Enron executive committee.
In another article with a more detailed list, I saw my favorite - some tuxedo and fancy dress shirts for Bubba. But since they have been donated to the National Archives, they don't count as "personal" gifts. Reminds me of the time Bubba took a five dollar tax deduction for each pair of used underwear he donated to charity.

I'm surprised he didn't have 'em bronzed.
Who's Got the Sick Sack?
The Nobel e-Museum disgusts with the announcement:
The Nobel Peace Prize 2002
"for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development"

Jimmy (James Earl) Carter Jr.


former President of United States of America
b. 1924
More like:

The Nobel Loon Prize 2002
"for his decades of unceasing whining and uncritical acceptance of every pronouncement of 3rd world thugs and international bureaucrats at the expense of his fellow citizens"

Jimmy is just the kind of American appreciated by the Euroweenies: apologetic, guilt-ridden, gullible, and free with the taxpayers money.

Well, I guess he can join Arafat in the august ranks of Nobel Laureates.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Power Duh Alert!
Reuters reveals that Lawmakers Urge FTC to Probe Sniper Weapon Sales:
Several Democratic lawmakers on Thursday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the marketing of military sniper rifles to civilians, noting that such a weapon may be involved in the recent Washington area shootings.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and three fellow House Democrats wrote in a letter to the FTC that sniper weapons are different from standard hunting rifles because they are designed to strike a target from a distance.
It kind of makes you wonder what hunting rifles are designed to do.

And don't tell the Reps about arrows. Or stones.
What a Hoot!
The Independent (SA) titillates with Phat's in fire as Swazi king fights 'insult':
Swaziland's King Mswati III is seething over what he considers to have been an insult to the Swazi nation by flamboyant SABC TV presenter Joe Khambule, aka Phat Joe.

Mswati has called on his subjects to "deal" with Phat Joe for mocking the way the polygamous king chooses his young wives.

"I feel that if the Swazi nation feels insulted by the manner this man ridiculed me as their king, the ball is in their court to take action against him," Mswati told journalists at a press conference at his traditional headquarters here.
In the offending episode of the show Phat Joe Live, broadcast last Thursday, the king, impersonated by a man clad in traditional Swazi attire, was portrayed picking nubile maidens to be his wives, although he had not met them.

Phat Joe suggested that Mswati used the annual reed dance - where Swazi maidens danced topless for him - to choose his brides and that he based his selection on the girls' physical attributes.
The Swazi parliament on Monday passed a motion calling on its Minister of Public Service and Information, Mntonzima Dlamini, to watch a tape of the show and take action against Phat Joe.
Phat Joe is not new to controversy. He has had to apologise to Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini after telling his viewers that he had driven past the king who was hitch-hiking after the KZN government suspended his transport.
You see, while there is a general shortage of fun (amongst other things) in Swaziland, things are different at the King's palace:
Southern Africa's last absolute monarch, King Mswati III of Swaziland, has picked an 18-year-old schoolgirl to become his 10th wife, a news report said on Sunday.

The Mbabane-based Times on Sunday reported that the 34-year-old king selected Ayanda Nolichwa Ntentesa after seeing her at an annual traditional reed dance held in southern Swaziland last Sunday.

Large numbers of young bare-breasted maidens gather at these ceremonies in the hope of attracting the king's attention.

The report said two men arrived at Ntentesa's home in Manzini in central Swaziland on Monday night to fetch her and take her to the royal palace outside Mbabane.

She went to school for the last time on Tuesday morning and is now reported to be living at the king's palace. A date for the royal wedding has not been set.

Ntentesa, like all young women in Swaziland under the age of 19, was bound by a chastity vow not to have sex for the next four years and carried woollen so-called "don't-touch-me tassles", the colour of which denotes her status. Mswati imposed the ban in September last year.

The king said he was reintroducing the traditional chastity rite to curb the spread of Aids in Swaziland, where an estimated 32,5 percent of adults are HIV-positive and 7 000 people die from the disease every year, in a population of about a million.

In June, Mswati married 18-year-old Nontsetselo Magongo at a secret royal wedding less than a week after his marriage to his longest-serving fiancee, Angel Dlamini.
Party hearty, dude!

Remind me again how many votes Swaziland gets in the United Nations?
Osama's Little Pals
Th NY Daily News reveals Bin Laden bankrolled Kahane killer defense:
Osama Bin Laden helped pay for the legal defense of the man who shot militant Jewish leader Meir Kahane in a midtown hotel in 1990, officials revealed yesterday.
The FBI had never heard of Bin Laden at the time, and the New York police were saying Kahane's killing by El Sayed A Nosair was the work of a lone gunman with no affiliation to terrorist groups.

The revelation surfaced in a report by Eleanor Hill, director of the Senate Intelligence Committee that's investigating pre-Sept. 11 intelligence failures by government agencies.
But wait, there's more from the Christian Science Monitor:
Norris responded to the scene of the killing of a radical Jewish leader, Rabbi Meir Kahane. An Egyptian male was apprehended.

The suspect - Sayyid Nosair - had jumped into one cab, then jumped out, obviously confused, Norris said.

Norris and his colleagues visited the suspect's apartment, where they encountered several other males of Middle Eastern descent. Two of them were cabdrivers and just happened to be at the Kahane murder scene. Norris says it was obvious to him that the suspect had jumped into the wrong getaway cab.

But Norris was told by his superiors to focus on only the murder suspect, and that the FBI would take over the conspiracy portion of the investigation.

Norris said he didn't hear another word about that investigation until 1993, when a man drove an explosives-laden van into the World Trade Center. That driver was one of the same taxi drivers Norris encountered in 1990 at the apartment of the man accused of murdering Mr. Kahane.
The mills of the gods grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.

I wonder how Osama is enjoying his dirt nap?
Humorless Idiotarian Alert!
(Via Free Republic) In a letter to the editor of the Haverford - Bryn Mawr Bi-College News, Jennifer Zachary-Higgins shares:
Dear Editor,

I would like to express my grave discontent with the humor section of the newspaper. The Last Word serves no purpose to the campus community and succeeds only in making a mockery of all that is true and good in the world.

Allow me to explain. Right now, across the world, there are literally millions, if not billions, of people out there who struggle each day just to survive. Many nations of the world are constantly suffering from famines, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters. Some, like those in Yugoslavia and Iraq, suffer not from natural disasters but from unjustifiable intervention by the United States. And, as if I have not made my point already, there are those within our very borders who never know if there will be food on the table in a week.

Yet, the Last Word is concerned with none of these things. Instead, it merely makes a mockery of all those people, especially myself, who try to correct those problems, by trying (unsuccessfully) to make us laugh and distract us from our important work.

Well, I’m not laughing. And I’d bet, that if you actually took a poll of the Haverford and Bryn Mawr students, you would find I am part of a silent majority. That is why I ask that David Langlieb stop his immoral page and replace it one that is more productive, one that attempts to address the challenging issues of the modern world.

Jennifer Zachary-Higgins, BMC ‘05
I nominate ole Jen for Commissar: "No laffink Comrades! It's a betrayal of the proletariat!"

Her knickers must have been further twisted by Bryn Mawr to Build a Parking Space and Lamp In Front of D.C. Deemed “Too Phallic” For Public Decency.
OPEC Worried!
The Telegraph (UK) astounds with Frying Squad on scent of cooking oil motorists:
Drivers trying to beat rising fuel costs have discovered a cheaper means of powering their cars - cooking oil.

They are mixing the oil, which costs 32p a litre, with methanol and using it in place of diesel, which retails at about 74p. Police and Customs officers are trying to tackle the problem by sniffing out offenders, whose cars give off a distinctive "chip shop" smell.

An increasing number of motorists in Llanelli, west Wales, are filling their tanks with cooking oil in place of diesel after word spread. The town's Asda supermarket sells more cooking oil than any other branch in Britain and is now limiting sales as a precaution.

A spokesman said: "Anyone seen attempting to wipe out our stock with bulk purchases would be stopped."

One driver said: "I've halved my motoring costs since I started running my diesel on cooking oil. The car runs just as well and even smells a lot better."
It cuts down on air freshener expenses too!

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Health Alert! This Means You!
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Man dies after blogging playing computer games non-stop:
A 24-year-old South Korean man died after blogging playing computer games nonstop for 86 hours, police said yesterday.

The jobless man, identified by police only by his last name Kim, was found dead at an Internet cafe in Kwangju, 260 kilometres southwest of Seoul, they said.

Quoting witnesses, police detective Oh Myong-sik in Kwangju said the man had been virtually glued to the computer since late last Friday and had no decent sleep and meals.

The man collapsed in front of the counter early yesterday but soon regained consciousness. He then went to the toilet where he later was found dead, the police officer said.
I wonder what his final score was?
If You Are Not Troubled by High Blood Pressure....
Joel Mowbray has an exclusive in National Review about the visa applications of the 9/11 killers - Visas that Should Have Been Denied:
The cover story in National Review's October 28th issue (out Friday) details how at least 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers should have been denied visas — an assessment based on expert analyses of 15 of the terrorists' visa-application forms, obtained exclusively by NR.
According to expert analyses of the visa-application forms of 15 of the 9/11 terrorists (the other four applications could not be obtained), all the applicants among the 15 reviewed should have been denied visas under then-existing law. Six separate experts who analyzed the simple, two-page forms came to the same conclusion: All of the visa applications they reviewed should have been denied on their face.

Even to the untrained eye, it is easy to see why many of the visas should have been denied. Consider, for example, the U.S. destinations most of them listed. Only one of the 15 provided an actual address — and that was only because his first application was refused — and the rest listed only general locations — including "California," "New York," "Hotel D.C.," and "Hotel." One terrorist amazingly listed his U.S. destination as simply "No." Even more amazingly, he got a visa.
Wail and Waleed al-Shehri
Brothers Wail and Waleed al-Shehri applied together for travel visas on October 24, 2000. Wail claimed his occupation was "teater," while his brother wrote "student." Both listed the name and address of his respective employer or school as simply "South City." Each also declared a U.S. destination of "Wasantwn." But what should have further raised a consular officer's eyebrows is the fact that a student and his nominally employed brother were going to go on a four-to-six-month vacation, paid for by Wail's "teater" salary, which he presumably would be foregoing while in the United States. Even assuming very frugal accommodations, such a trip for two people would run north of $15,000, yet there is no indication that the consular officer even attempted to determine that Wail in fact had the financial means to fund the planned excursion. They appear to have received their visas the same day they applied.
I tend not to ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence, but there must have been one hellacious wagon load of the latter in the consular offices. Many more details by following the link.
Canadian Toilet Smugglers Alert!
What can I say? Dave Barry collects news stories about exploding cows. I collect stories about toilet smuggling. Thus, Radley Balko in Capitalism Magazine drew my attention with Department of Everything:
In 1992, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, a big, honking piece of legislation that sought to codify into federal law the thousands of administrative laws put forth by the Department of Energy. It set crucial, national-security-affecting policies such as how cold refrigerators were permitted to be.

Also included in that massive bill was a tiny, barely-noticed-at-the-time provision mandating that every toilet sold in the United States after the year 1994 use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. That provision quickly became known in toilet industry circles (yes, there are toilet industry circles) as the "flush twice rule," as patriotic, beef-eating Americans who bought domestic toilets after 1994 had no choice but to flush twice to be sure all their business washed away before houseguests arrived. It also created - I'm not kidding - a "black market" for Canadian toilets - toilets with big, glorious, gluttonous bowls, capable of holding 3, 3 ½, even four gallons of water.

I bring this up because the Department of Energy turns 25 years old this week. And despite an annual budget of $18 billion, 20,000 full-time employees, and 150,000 contract employees, smaller toilet bowls are probably the most memorable thing that's come out of the DOE that's had a significant impact on your life. And I'd venture to guess that most of us don't see smaller toilet bowls as a positive.
Psst! Hey buddy, want to buy a toilet?

Which reminds me of Black-Market Flush:
Recently, on inspection of a 1993-built home being sold by a retiree of the local water company, I was informed that the installed "toilets were going to be replaced due to sentimental value". The 'new' toilets were sitting in the garage.

Toilets. Sentimental value. Who's zooming whom?

It was obvious that the stools in the garage were the ones originally installed when the house was built. The 'sentimental' units were marked 3.5 gpf (gallons per flush).
Hey come on! They probably bring back fond memories of many a "porcelain cruise".
Ecoweenie Scourge Alert!
A hearty welcome to Aaron Oakley at Bizaare Science who has arrived on the Blog scene to take on the Greens. He observes that the media have conveniently forgotten who murdered Pym Fortuyn:
What was even more absurd was the free ride the media gave to the green loony, Volkert van der Graaf, who assassinated Fortuyn. van der Graaf was a member of kooky enviro group Ecology Offensive. Any expose of this cute little group? Not on your life!
Nah, there is no such thing as leftist or Green violence.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

They'll have to pry my lunchbox from my cold dead fingers!
The Brisbane (Australia) Courier-Mail startles with Lunchboxes targeted in war on obesity:
As Queensland children head back to school, nutritionists are urging parents to do away with the lunchbox.

They say it may encourage youngsters to graze on snack foods.

Instead, they say every student should be given a full, healthy lunch from a school cafeteria.

The goal is to end Australia's growing obesity problem.
"The lunchbox is a bad system, because it makes it difficult for parents to provide a healthy mix.

"It's not surprising that the easiest food gets thrown in.
Those rotten parents!
Griffith University nutritionist Roger Hughes said an examination of lunchboxes at the start and end of the day had found most healthy items such as fruit and vegetables were left untouched.
Er...well, those rotten kids! But never fear, the government can help!
Mr Somerset said he and his colleagues wanted Australia to adopt a cafeteria system, currently used in several European and Asian countries, whereby a government-funded full lunch was provided for each student.

He said that, although the system would be expensive to maintain, it would ultimately lead to higher health standards and lower health service costs.
When lunchboxes are outlawed, only outlaws will have lunchboxes.
Big Yard Sale This Saturday!
The Rutland (Vermont) Herald reveals Alleged burglar hosts a yard sale:
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A Cavendish man has been charged with burglarizing his neighbor's home and then holding a three-day yard sale to sell about $30,000 worth of goods, even giving out sales receipts in the process.

Stewart Fuller, 41, of Knapp Road in Cavendish pleaded innocent Monday to two felony counts of unlawful trespass and grand larceny after Roger and Shirley Labelle returned from Michigan to find their home ransacked and various neighbors in possession of their property.

The case involves a number of people, but Vermont State Police allege it was Fuller who masterminded the efforts to loot the Labelle residence while they were away in August and September. Police also allege it was Fuller who sold everything from a collection of NASCAR model cars to the lawn tractors, china, tools and furniture he found in their house and garage.

Fuller admitted taking items from the Fuller residence and he gave police a sworn statement saying that he took them to the residence of Michael Marro, 42, of Gould Road in Weathersfield, where the yard sale was held.
Marro told detectives he remembered selling Indian artifacts, figurines, toys, tools, chain saws, faucets, a satellite dish and receiver, videos, stuffed animals, picture frames, candlesticks, costume jewelry, baseball cards and fishing poles, along with numerous other items he couldn't recall. When police arrived to question Marro, he still had several tables covered with the Labelles' items that had not been sold, including stereos, toolboxes, watches, jumper cables and a computer printer.
Nice fishing pole, Clem. It looks just like mine!
Wingnut Alert!
The Washington Times' Jennifer Harper has a mind boggler:
Fallout from Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney's defeat in the Aug. 20 Democratic primary continues in Georgia.

Three protests converged at the governor's mansion in Atlanta over the weekend, as Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes entertained the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which backed Mrs. McKinney's primary opponent, Denise Majette.

The Rev. Timothy McDonald, whose Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta picketed the event, accused the group of "meddling in predominantly African-American congressional districts," according to the Associated Press.
Hmmm, that's a new one. Sounds right serious!
He was joined by state Sen. Billy McKinney, the congresswoman's father. "I'm against Barnes. Barnes duped the black community," said Mr. McKinney, who was defeated in his own primary election, referring to Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat. "Black people need to get out of the pocket of the Democrats."
Undoubtedly true, but considering the source, one cannot help but be wary of the suggestion. Billy and Cynthia are grumpy that it is not their pocket.
After singing hymns, Mr. McKinney crossed the road to shake hands with white protesters angry at Mr. Barnes for changing the Confederate emblem in the state flag. Simultaneously, the New Black Panther Party arrived, with Malik Zulu Shabazz leading a dozen members in chants of "black power."
And a good time was had by all.
Teddy's Eructation
Not to be outdone in the "I have qualms" talent show, Teddy Kennedy apparently put down his glass long enough to read some staffer's speech on Iraq to the Senate:
And Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, said a pre-emptive U.S. attack on Iraq would be "Pearl Harbor in reverse." He said such action would not be worthy of the diplomatic skill exhibited by past presidents including his brother, John F. Kennedy, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
Actually Ted, I was kinda thinking of it as a Bay of Pigs that would work.
"A shift in our policy towards preventive war would reinforce the perception of America as a bully in the Middle East," Mr. Kennedy said. "I strongly oppose any such extreme doctrine."
Forget the bully part. How about a slumbering giant that turns into a rabid weasel on crack when attacked or threatened by thugs? That should lend the proper festive air to the proceedings.

And Ted, save the "diplomatic skill" blather for the next family football game. At least they'll pretend to believe you.
It's A Joke, Right?
Ananova shocks with World's first homeless World Cup:
The Austrian city of Graz is to host to the first World Cup for homeless people.

It will see 16 teams made up of homeless people play in the tournament next July.
The competition next year is part of a larger scheme to use football as a way for homeless people to integrate into society.
They apparently had tryouts for this upscale Bumfights this weekend.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Big Ass Spanish Boat Alert!
The Daily Evergreen of Washington State University has to apologize:
The Daily Evergreen would like to sincerely apologize for an injustice served to the Filipino-American, Spanish-speaking and Catholic communities on the front page of Thursday's Evergreen.

The story "Filipino-American history recognized" stated that the "Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza," the galleon on which the first Filipinos landed at Morro, Bay, Calif., loosely translates to "The Big Ass Spanish Boat." It actually translates to "Our Lady of Good Peace."

Parts of the story, including the translation above, were plagiarized from an inaccurate Web site.
The journalists of the future!
Those Wacky German Socialists!
It seems Hitler wasn't enough, now it's Brezhnev. Der Spiegel via ABC (Australia) reports Bush policies compared to those of Soviet leader:
Another German official is reported to have compared US President George W Bush less than favourably with an historic figure.

Der Spiegel magazine says German Foreign Ministry official Klaus Scharioth described Mr Bush's security policies as similar to those of the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

In particular, the magazine said he compared Mr Bush's policies to Mr Brezhnev's actions while putting down the Prague Spring uprising in Czechoslovakia in 1968, which Moscow justified in terms of quelling a threat to world peace.
Dear Klaus. If you are completely bereft of clues, you should shut your whining schnitzel hole. I'm sure the Czechs are really pleased with you impugning the memory of the Czech freedom fighters by equating them with Saddam Hussein. As for the USA, you merely add credence to the Euroweenie stereotype.
Rosie O'Doughnut Alert!
(Via Tim Blair) The Observer delivers a tasty nugget, Life turns nasty for the Queens of Nice:
Rosie O'Donnell, actress, comedian, newly 'out' lesbian, former daytime talk show host and now former publishing impresario, is nothing if not blunt.

Here's 'the Queen of Nice', on why a magazine bearing her name would succeed. 'I knew two million Americans would buy it. How? Because that's how many bought my CD - and I can't sing.'

Upon such unvarnished marketing certainties are magazine empires built in modern America.
Where Martha Stewart's Living and Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine had gone before, Rosie sought to follow. And for a while it succeeded. Sales rose to more than two million, emulating the success of its lifestyle rivals, but as the months passed Rosie began to lose its lustre. News-stand sales fell by half, to 250,000.

O'Donnell blamed editorial interference from Gruner and Jahr: the publishers blamed their star's obsession with social issues and her bizarre editorial decisions. The July 2001 issue carried a front cover photograph of Rosie holding up her badly infected finger - eye-catching, perhaps, but not what America's magazine buying public has come to expect.
Eeeewwwww!!!! Good thing it was just her finger!

And you'll have to go to Tim Blair's blog to read about the canceled plans for "Tim magazine".

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Sneaky Tommy Alert!
(Via Kim du Toit) Fox News' title is Senate Rule Stalls Forest Fire Prevention Measures, but it's really about Plurality Leader Tommy Daschle:
Arguing "what is good for the goose should be good for the gander," Western senators are scratching their heads over Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's delay on the Interior spending bill, which sets aside cash to help prevent forest fires.

They say that after 6.5 million acres of western forests burned to the ground this summer, the South Dakota Democrat, who ushered through legislation this summer to protect his state's lands, should be quick to speed through passage of the measure.

"We've been asking that question, and so have the people in the rest of the western states -- as have his own Democratic colleagues," said Mike Tracy, spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. "It's frustrating to watch the duplicity."

Craig has offered an amendment with Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., to the Interior appropriations bill that would extend forest-thinning measures to high-risk public lands in western states. But the Craig amendment -- and a host of similar, competing proposals -- have been languishing as the Senate delays taking up the Interior spending bill.

Tracy said Craig's amendment mirror's language added by Daschle to an emergency spending bill this summer that exempts certain lands in South Dakota from the red tape and lawsuits that often plague forest-thinning projects in targeted high-risk areas by the U.S Forest Service.

At the time, Daschle said the language merely codified an agreement already reached by the government, environmental groups and the timber industry.

"Americans understand that Sen. Daschle's bold action was necessary - but they don't understand why it's only a good idea for South Dakota," wrote Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Montana, in a statement to

Western lawmakers are concerned that old growth in national forests has created a virtual tinderbox of public lands in their states, and has been responsible in part for the 65,000 nearly uncontrollable blazes that killed 20 firefighters this summer.

Daschle would not return repeated calls for comment.
Tommy is already in trouble with the Ecoweenies, but their knickers will really get knotted if the "exemption" moves beyond Tommy's home state.
Serendipitous Country Notes
I'm not overly musically inclined, but last night I was installing Winamp 3 (highly recommended for reasons I won't go into here) and was testing it out on a few Internet radio stations. I was surprised to find SteelRadio which is devoted to steel guitar music of all sorts.

Now steel guitars are a part of a number of musical genres, but I consider them (particularly the pedal steel guitar) as one of the hallmarks of real country music as opposed to the stuff being purveyed these days in Nashville. Maybe I'm biased - our local radio station has a "Who's the best country artist" contest every Saturday and it's usually a hard fought battle in the male category between Hank Williams Sr. and Tom T. Hall. I doubt there are too many other places on the dial where one can hear Miss Patti Page sing The Tennessee Waltz. But I digress.

My affection for pedal steel guitars and disdain for "modern" country music are shared by many. Larry Cordle and Lonsesome Standard Time made a hit out of Murder on Music Row:
Hit and run, slow strangulation or some other nefarious deed? Whichever, the two chalk lines on stained gray cement spoke of tragedy. A third victim, voice silenced forever, lay sideways on a stretcher, pedals glistening like angry steel fangs in the sunlight.

Pedals? Metal fangs? Whoa! Upon closer examination, it can be seen that one chalky outline is fiddle-shaped. The "victim" sliding into the hearse is a pedal steel guitar. Tears, fears and gut-wrenching emotion will follow this tragedy, though neither flesh nor blood has been torn or spilled. Ears, not eyes, will ultimately record what has happened.

The above scene, depicted on the Murder on Music Row CD cover, amusingly satirizes the loss of the traditional country music sound.
Then, of course, George Strait and Alan Jackson covered it for a mega-hit and swept the TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards in June, 2001.
For the steel guitars no longer cry
And the fiddles barely play
But drums and rock 'n' roll guitars
Are mixed up in your face
Ol' Hank wouldn't have a chance
On today's radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row
But I digress again.

The point I'm ambling up to is that this all sounds very "down home", right? That's why I was amazed by a television documentary on making pedal steel guitars at Mullen Guitars in Flagler, Colorado. In a metal building on the prairie, Del Mullen and his helpers are turning out remarkable instruments. And one key part of the process is a high tech computer controlled milling machine used to produce the metal bodies - follow the factory link at the Mullen site to see it. The real "computer revolution" is taking place all around us and we barely notice. And its keystone is decentralization. It's pushing outward, while the "smart growth" crowd is pushing inward - trying to herd everyone by legal fiat into vertical buildings in large cities. Central planning always tries to make a comeback to everyone's discomfort. We''ll see how that turns out. Meanwhile, try a little SteelRadio.
Movietone News
Yahoo/Reuters provides the picture as
Wang Jiaxiong from northwest China's Shaanxi province falls to his death while trying to jump over the Great Wall in Tianjin, China, on October 2, 2002. Wang tried to clear the wall on his bike after riding down a 35-metre high, 76-metre long runway.
Must be the pernicious influence of capitalism.
Just a Coincidence Alert!
Bloomberg reports French Tanker Explodes After Boat Rams It Off Yemen:
Sana, Yemen, Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- A French oil tanker was rammed by a small boat packed with explosives as it was about to load at a Yemeni port in the Gulf of Aden, Agence France-Presse reported, citing French Vice-Consul Marcel Goncalves.

Yemeni officials said the blast was an accident, the state-owned Saba news agency reported.
Hey Hoyt, did you get all the dynamite in the bass boat yet?
Loan Shark Collection Time
As we mentioned previously, Bobby Mugabe has not only trashed the economy of Zimbabwe, but has also hocked everything else to Libya to pay for oil. Since this dual disaster strategy means he can't come up with the vigorish, the legbreakers are looming:
Zimbabwe's fuel crisis intensified this week amid reports that Libya had turned off its supply following non-payment.

Zimbabwe has experienced recurrent fuel shortages since 2000 and Libya has supplied 70% of Harare's fuel needs since August last year.

President Robert Mugabe recently visited Tripoli to hammer out a new deal with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Although Mugabe tried to renew the $360-million (about R3.6-billion) deal with Gaddafi, the Libyan oil company TamOil, in which the Libyan government is a major shareholder, called in its $63-million debt.

TamOil is believed to have told Mugabe that fuel deliveries would resume only upon payment.

The fuel crisis is set to worsen as financing agreements signed with other suppliers expire in a fortnight - and the chances of their renewal are minimal because of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange shortage.
But despite the overwhelming evidence of mounting fuel shortages, Mugabe's government insists fuel supplies are adequate and claims the "artificial shortages" are due to hoarding by traditional distributors".
I'm surprised they didn't think to blame the US or UK. That probably comes later when Bobby demands a handout.
The Root of All Politics, er... Evil
More on the Andrew Reyes story from the Charlotte Observer - Reyes faces charges of fraud:
Andrew Reyes, the former Mecklenburg Democratic chairman missing for 17 months, is in a San Diego jail today wearing a khaki jumpsuit and facing charges in what investigators say could be one of Charlotte's biggest embezzlements.
As late as 1997, Reyes was a relative unknown in Charlotte. A year later, he was dining at the White House. In 1999, he was elected Mecklenburg party chairman and was named by Gov. Jim Hunt to the state Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.

He boasted of friendships with John F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Ellen DeGeneres. He brought another Kennedy -- Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend -- to a Charlotte rally.

At the root of his popularity was money.

He gave generously, at least $281,000 to Democrats, thousands to local nonprofits and, one Valentine's Day, $2,000 worth of flowers to friends from Charlotte to Hollywood.
The only problem was the money wasn't his. Apparently he was "managing" the money of the wealthy former owner of a large construction company. When the gentleman died, the heirs wondered where all the money went. Then Reyes took it on the lam. But he still has friends.
Current Mecklenburg Democratic Chairman John Cotham said "We're delighted that he's alive. ... He always seemed like a kind guy who seemed concerned about bringing people and the party together."
Was he kind to puppies too?