Saturday, December 28, 2002

The Aliens Have Landed!
Check out the mug on the head honcho of the Raelians! That'll make you catch the next comet out of town.
Holiday advice alert!
(Via Fark) WTOP (Washington, DC) stuns with Putting Boxes Curbside an Invitation for Holiday Theft:
When new big screen TV owners or new computer owners put boxes curbside, it may be an advertisement for holiday thieves.

Most of us just take the boxes to the curb and leave them for trash pickup day. But while those boxes sit on the street, they're giving potential crooks a clue at what's inside your home.
So rather than leave the Play Station box in plain view, police suggest you break down the boxes, put them in garbage bags, then put the bags inside trash cans.
The poster on Fark suggested that it was just easier to put the boxes in front of your neighbor's house.
Fabian Alert!
No, not the singer. The British socialist society who issued a Call for ban on fizzy drink ads aimed at young:
Advertisements for sweets and fizzy drinks targeted at children should be banned as part of a strategy to combat an obesity crisis threatening the next generation, the Fabian society urged the government yesterday.

The left-of-centre thinktank said many children's lives would be shorter than their parents' unless unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise were tackled urgently.
It's for the children! And while they were at it, they had some more advice:
The pamphlet, by Howard Stoate, Labour MP for Dartford and chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on primary care and public health, also said that planning permission should be given to new food stores only if they were accessible on foot.

He called for subsidies for food shops in "food poor" neighbourhoods, compulsory cookery classes in schools, and regular government advice to households, including suggested daily menus of nutritious foods.

Responsibility for school sport should be transferred from the Department for Education and Skills to the Department of Health, where it could be tailored to improving children's fitness and lifestyles.
I'm tempted to ask, "What next?", but I'm afraid of the answer.
I'm not surprised!
Fights at cricket match blamed on boredom.
Diversity Alert!
The NY Times amazes with Citing Security, New York Rejects Mexican ID Cards:
Dozens of local and state governments now recognize an embossed Mexican consular document as a valid form of identification for Mexicans who are here legally or illegally.

But New York City and New York State, with one of the fastest-growing Mexican populations in the nation, are not about to join them.

Citing security concerns, Police Department officials said they had rejected requests from the consulate to accept the new "matricula consular," or consular ID card, as proof of identity for Mexican immigrants.

The State Department of Motor Vehicles also has refused to recognize the consular card, issued since March by Mexico's 43 consulates in the United States, to its list of approved identity documents for obtaining a driver's license.

Their reluctance - and similar resistance in New Jersey, Connecticut and other Northeastern states - stands out against a trend elsewhere in the country. Thirteen states now accept the Mexican consular ID for purposes of applying for a driver's license, and hundreds of police departments recognize it as proof of identity.

"I'm surprised that a state and city that are otherwise immigrant-friendly, or at least supposed to be, would not accept it," said Juan A. Figueroa, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a Hispanic advocacy group.
Frankly, I'm surprised too. You'd think the northeastern bastions of liberalism would be at the forefront of "welcoming the new neighbors". And of course, Juan's being coy, the only "immigrants" who need the "matricula consular" are illegal aliens. Legal immigrants already have usable identification.
Although intelligence officers from the New York Police Department have interviewed officials at the Mexican consulate here, they have not recommended that the department accept the consular ID. A law enforcement officer said the department's opposition was based on security concerns, but he declined to be more specific.

Mexican officials maintain that their consular ID card, based on corroborating government documents from Mexico and designed to thwart counterfeiting, is secure. It shows a current photograph, date of birth and the address of the holder.
Yeah, I'll bet the Mexcian government runs a really secure operation, fer sure!

And while we're talking diversity, how about Squalid Site of Queens Rape Unnoticed by Public Nearby:
It was late Sunday afternoon when Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, hands buried in the pockets of his topcoat, walked to the end of the deserted train platform, because he had to see this thing for himself.

He stepped carefully down the stairs to the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Queens, threading between two third rails, which carry live electricity. His polished wingtips met wet earth. He said he had not told the local station house that he was coming out to Flushing because he did not want a big scene.
On Dec. 19, the police say, a group of young homeless men surrounded a couple sitting on a bench on the walkway above, dragging the 42-year-old mother away, down two sets of stairs, between the lethal third rails, and into their dark hideout in the middle of a sporadically crowded hub of Queens. The hideout sits beside Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, adjacent to a subway and busyard, alongside a crowded commuter line, its small trees and cattails within sight of anyone walking to a Mets game at Shea Stadium or to the National Tennis Center.

The woman told the police that she was dragged into a "shack" and raped repeatedly on a mattress. Officers turned out in force, combing the area for two hours, passing by this invisible place in plain sight. It took a police dog to find her.
Five men have been charged in the attack: Carlos Rodriguez, 22, Victor Cruz, 22, Jose Hernandez, 18, Luis Carmona, 20, and Armando Juvenal, 20.
The police have said all the men are illegal immigrants; Mr. Juvenal is Ecuadorean, while the others are from Mexico. Immigration authorities are not routinely notified when an illegal immigrant is arrested, the police said.
And they had prior arrest records for a variety of crimes including rape.

Hey, I wonder if they had their matricula consulars?
Whine of the Day!
'What would Muhammad drive?':
A Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist is under fire from Muslims for his depiction of a Middle Eastern-looking man behind the steering wheel of a nuclear-bomb laden truck under the headline, "What would Muhammad drive?"

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim World League are demanding an apology from Doug Marlette's syndicator, Tribune Media Services, and from his employer, the Tallahassee Democrat.
Ah, the usual suspects have shown up.
The cartoon shows a Ryder rental truck like the one used by convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
He explained that "to a cartoonist working in the current geo-political atmosphere, it is a natural step to ask, 'What would Muhammad Drive?'"

"And I’m sorry to report," he said, "that the image in post-9/11 America that leaps to mind is the Ryder truck given to us by the terrorist Timothy McVeigh, carrying a nuclear warhead and driven, alas, not by an Irish-Catholic or a Jewish Hasidim or a Southern Baptist, but, yes, by an Islamic militant."

Muslims consider depictions of their prophet to be blasphemous, but Marlette told WND he did not have Muhammad in mind when he drew the picture of the truck driver, but rather a "generic" Arab headdress-wearing man.
In a phone interview, Marlette told WorldNetDaily he would not apologize, though he has received more than 4,500 e-mails from angry Muslims, with some threats of death and mutilation.
Ah, the religion of peace.
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad complained that "it now seems to be 'open season' on Islam in certain religious and political circles."

"Defamatory attacks on Islam and on the prophet Muhammad by media outlets or religious leaders only serve to harm our nation's image worldwide and divide America along religious lines," Awad said.

Noting that Muslims object to any visual representations of their prophet, Awad also criticized a "racist and stereotypical" portrayal of Muhammad.
the cartoon prompted a "firestorm of reaction" from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which reprinted it and organized an e-mail campaign.
They think it was representation of Muhammad and they reprinted it? Doesn't that cut down on the virgin count when they make it to Paradise?

And how did they identify the driver as Muhammed if they don't have any pictures of him?

Friday, December 27, 2002

She's baaaaack!
The NY Daily News reports Jailed Yank could win Peru trial:
Lori Berenson, the Manhattan woman sentenced to 20 years in a Peruvian prison, may get a new trial as Peru's top court prepared to declare its tough anti-terror laws unconstitutional.

Berenson, 33, was sentenced in 2001 to 20 years in prison on charges she collaborated with leftist rebels in a failed plot to seize Peru's Congress in 1995.

Her parents, Mark and Rhoda Berenson of Gramercy Park, hailed today's expected ruling by Peru's Constitutional Court that strikes down four legislative decrees.

"We hope she will have a chance for justice now and that the court will say she is free," Mark Berenson said last night.
In case, you don't keep up with the gas bubbles that roil the fetid swamp of American and worldwide leftism, the story in a nutshell goes like this.

Lori was on a extended Latin America tour working for "justice for the people". After an long stay in El Salvador and Nicaragua, working for the usual suspects, she headed down to Peru, when she fell into really bad company, namely the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).

It seems that, among other things, she rented a large safe house where they were preparing an attack on the Peruvian Congress. She was convicted on various charges by a Peruvian military court in 1996 and sentenced to life in prison. That conviction was overturned and she was retried in 2001 in a civilian court and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Her annoying parents and leftists everywhere (her attorney was Ramsey Clark) are continually running campaigns to free the "innocent tyke" with copious pictures of the bespectacled waif behind bars. The only problem is that after her arrest the then fat and shrill Lori appeared on Peruvian TV to deliver a rant which did not endear her to the Peruvian public.
"There are no criminal terrorists in the MRTA. It is a revolutionary movement."
Ah yes, the best of Grammercy Park, as ugly American revolutionary.

I wonder if wearing garlic is effective against Lori and her pals?
And even more good news ... not necessarily for India though
In a previous post, I had a little fun with the rise of telemarketing of US consumers by firms in India. Well the FTC's planned national "do not call" list has thrown a spanner in the works:
MUMBAI: The US Federal Trade Commission's plan to bar telemarketers could affect the revenues of Indian call centres.
The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission said he hopes to eliminate 80% of unwanted telemarketing calls under his agency's plan to set up a national "do-not-call registry."
Telemarketing calls made by Indian call centres give steady revenue per call made and a bonus if successful enquiry or sales is generated. It is seen as a lucrative business at the low end of industry by almost all call centres in the country.
According to officials in call centre companies here, almost all the companies doing voice business here derive a substantial portion of their revenues from telemarketing. Moreover, most states have a do-not-call registry which Indian companies currently follow.

The creation of a central registry means that this list will now be centralised and more closely monitored from now on. Indian firms, which work for American companies, have to become a member of the American Teleservices Association.

They also have to register with each state in which they plan to make these calls. The ATA has been asking the FTC to remove the do-not-call list in each individual state as it raised the cost and complexity doing business as its member has to buy 50 different lists to do business in the country.
I guess they got it removed - and replaced by one big honking list. Be careful what you wish for.

But the skies are not completely clear:
Calls from charities and politicians are exempt from the FTC ban, as are telemarketers conducting surveys or market research, and any firm that has an "existing business relationship" with a consumer - unless the consumer specifically requests that the company not call. These means that the captive call centres of companies like GE may not be affected in India.

The ATA is now lobbying against the central registry and is raising money from its members to file a suit against the same, according to members of the ATA here.

In the past, ATA has said a do-not-call registry would violate their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Since October, ATA has been preparing for a possible legal challenge. ATA has formed a Strategic Planning Fund to support a possible legal challenge.
Thanks pals, for protecting my right to hear about aluminum siding.

Actually, if you can restrain yourself from abusing telemarketers, you can today request that you be put on their firm's "do not call" list. It shuts them up immediately and after a while the number of calls is much smaller.
Good News from India
The Straits Times reports that US and India sign pact on world tribunal:
NEW DELHI - India and the United States signed a pact yesterday agreeing not to send each other's citizens to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The signing was a victory for Washington in its efforts to scuttle the international tribunal.

The US-India agreement states there will be 'non-extradition of nationals of either country to any international tribunal without the other country's express consent'.
Stand by for the outrage from the ranks of world wingnuttery.

And while we are on the subject UN sponsored kangaroo courts, check out Hans Nichols' report in Insight magazine on U.N. Court Makes Legal Mischief:
Few of the words that President Bill Clinton offered the world have been stenciled onto the sides of buildings. An exception is his declaration that "Arusha is the Geneva of Africa," painted on several walls of the Arusha International Conference Center in Tanzania, home to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). It is here in this safari town, in a grouping of buildings where the electricity is temperamental and the translators are few, that a new first draft of international law is being written. A court press release boasts that the ICTR is "providing a sound foundation" for the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC), which is scheduled to be up and running in February.

If that's the case, the ICC may be more of a disaster than its critics have predicted. While many of the technical snags of the Arusha tribunal's early days -- lack of translators, power failures, computer shortages -- have been remedied, its structural problems remain, according to yet another report from the International Crisis Group, an independent Belgian commission that has monitored the court from its inception.

Even the court's cheerleaders concede that justice here proceeds at a molasses pace. Seven-and-a-half years into its U.N. mandate, the ICTR has convicted a mere eight individuals, three by plea bargain. In the last three years, the court has handed down only one judgment.
But they're having fun doing it!
In fact, several judges at the ICTR don't intend to stay in Arusha and are trying to get appointments to the ICC at The Hague -- a more prestigious posting and in a more comfortable setting. And yet, according to attorneys at the ICTR, the judges -- especially because of their lack of experience and tact -- are the biggest problem. In one oft-cited example, last November judges laughed out loud as the defense attorney cross-examined a witness who repeatedly had been gang-raped over a period of weeks, as she was asked questions such as, "Did you bathe in between?"
Hey, but they have high hopes!
Yet at this conference the problems of the ICTR -- and there are many -- were not on the agenda. Instead, the participants were most excited by a call to hold "IMF [International Monetary Fund] officials criminally accountable in the ICC for giving faulty advice to African countries," as Professor Shadrack B.O. Gutto of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa suggested. "Yes! Yes!" and a few "Hear, hears" were heard. Then there would be justice, the room assented.
And yet there are US politicians that want to subject our citizens to these international court farces. They should be ashamed.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

A slogan for the New Year
I like it and thank the National Post (Canada) for coming up with it.

Saddam-free in 2003

The Old Rogue is Laid Up
The AP stuns with Fidel Castro Recovering From Infection:
Out of the public eye for more than a week, President Fidel Castro told Cubans in a letter published Wednesday that he is recovering from a serious infection caused by a bug bite to his left leg.

"I am fine, dear compatriots, and I feel more optimistic than ever about the future of the Revolution," the 76-year-old leader wrote in the letter, entitled "Chronicle of Repose" and published on the front page of the Communist Party daily Granma.
Doctors informed him that he had a staphylococcus infection and ordered more cold compresses, antibiotics and - to his dismay - bed rest.

"I didn't have any other alternative but to resign myself," wrote Castro. He begrudgingly then canceled a Friday night appearance at the anniversary celebration of the Federation of University Students and a Saturday morning session of the National Assembly.

"It was my duty to protect my beloved left leg," he wrote. "With it, I have practiced many sports, including soccer, have run in races, jumped, swam, climbed mountains. ..."

"It had never betrayed me," the Cuban leader wrote of his left leg. "I couldn't betray it now."
That's a novelty for the bearded one.

On the other hand, I'm sure his letter will firmly lay to rest any rumors that Fidel was sampling Cuba's tourist offerings and received a "gift that keeps on giving".
Dynamic Duo Alert!
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. in the Washington Dispatch on Byrd Dogging:
Both Clintons were superb last week during the Trent Horror. Hillary publicly pronounced that what Lott "did was state publicly what many of them (Republicans) have stated privately over many years in the back roads and back streets of the South." And Hillary spent a lot of time in the "back roads and back streets of the South," chasing down her errant hubby.

But Hillary, what were the monsters saying in those unlovely purlieus? You lived there for two decades, and I have not heard of your complaints about the indigenes of those back roads, not when they were voting for your husband. You and your husband did very well politically in those regions.

Last week, husband Bill was singing the same song. Said he of the foolish Sen. Trent Lott, Lott "just embarrassed them (Republicans) by saying in Washington what they (Republicans) do on the back roads every day." Back roads again -- well, we now know what our ithyphallic ex-prez is suspected of doing "on the back roads every day." Bubba should talk of back roads. He acted in the White House about the same way he acted on the back roads.
Hey, RET, Arkansas was always beneath those high class Clinton characters! According to them.
Where's the popcorn alert!
Cameron Barr in the Christian Science Monitor reports that Top Arab TV network to hit US market:
DOHA, QATAR - Coming to a screen near you: Al Jazeera in English.

The Arabic-language news network, notorious for broadcasting the statements of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda colleagues, plans to open an English-language website in early 2003 and begin distributing English-language news programming by satellite and cable late next year.

Since it began broadcasting in 1996, Al Jazeera has brought unprecedented Arabic-language journalistic scrutiny to the regimes of the Middle East. Now its executives and journalists say they want to provide English speakers in the US and elsewhere with more accurate and informed reporting about the world's most turbulent region.
Al Jazeera, says Kenton Keith, a former US ambassador to Qatar, "no more than other news organizations, has a slant. Its slant happens to be one most Americans are not comfortable with.... But the fact is that Al Jazeera has revolutionized media in the Middle East.
Kewl! There is a shortage of quality entertainment programming. Up next: Osama talks from beyond the grave.
How soon we forget
Courtesy of "backhoe" on Free Republic:

But heck, Taliban Online quotes Patty!
(Via Free Republic) The goat humpers finally noticed what a pal they had in Patty. It must be her diverse, multicutural thinking that attracts them.
Professor Patty Ponders the Ultimate Defense

So did Professor Patty get lumps of coal in her stocking?
The Columbian (who broke the original story) editorialized Tuesday that High school discussion sours when senator neglects U.S. reality:
Patty Murray had every right to say what she said last week to a group of high school students in Vancouver. No resignation is necessary.

She also had every obligation as a U.S. senator and high-level representative of this country and this state to present the United States in a far more accurate light. That she didn't is something voters can consider when she is up for re-election.
Murray's Dec. 20 statement did clear up that she thinks Osama is a bad guy. Meanwhile, she still neglects to give U.S. actions credit or context. And her office is doing damage control by flicking mud at "right-wing demagogues."

The senator should be assured that more than the "right wing" is concerned that a U.S. senator does not see the importance of representing America in a correct light to its young people.
No one is arguing her right to say any damn fool thing she wants. We are merely dismayed that a US Senator is either completely clueless or thoroughly dishonest. I rate the Columbian's response at one lump.

Over at the Tacoma News Tribune, we find the "ignorant goof" explanation in A shallow lecture from Sen. Murray:
Should Washington's U.S. Sen. Patty Murray resign her seat in disgrace for suggesting the United States could learn something from Osama bin Laden's charity work?

Of course not, despite all the hyperventilating to that effect from national conservative action groups and right-wing talk radio.

Should the senator have chosen her words more carefully last week when she addressed a group of high school students in Vancouver, Wash.? Yes, she should have. As it was, she sounded singularly shallow.
Shallow? I guess ole Patty just hasn't been paying attention to current events. Later on, they describe what they think Patty "really" meant. Rating: half a lump.

Speaking of which, the Seattle Times seemed to be sniffing Patty's famous tennis shoes in Those silly attacks on Sen. Patty Murray:
Their gasbaggery last week over U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's conversation with a Vancouver, Wash., high-school class was all spin and distortion.
Fact is, Murray's information about bin Laden is right.
I guess they don't keep up with current events over at the Times either. Don't spill the Kool Aid while you're chugging it, people! Rating: one candy cane.

Finally the Washington Post grandly weighs in with Inept but Entitled to Her Say:
Sen. Murray's (D-Wash.) crime, it seems, was to make an ill-worded and rather silly speech last week to a high school in Vancouver, Wash....

Nevertheless, there is a deeper point that Sen. Murray, with extraordinary ineptitude, seemed to be trying to make -- a point that is worth preserving: At the very least, it ought to be possible to discuss America's image in the Islamic world, and the kinds of mistakes the United States has made there.
Nice try, guys! It is possible to discuss it and it goes on all the time. It's just that it's a little tough to discuss it with Patty while she has a lip lock on Osama bin Laden. Rating: one half lump.

So to net it out: Patty got 2 lumps and a candy cane. Not a bad haul and a whole lot less than the coal train she deserved. And the blithering idiot defense may work for Patty. Since the Kumbaya school of foreign policy sounds like that to most people, she could get away with it.

"worst holiday shopping season in more than three decades"
Bloomberg has alarming news:
New York, Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Toys ``R'' Us Inc., Sears Roebuck & Co. and other retailers will offer after-Christmas discounts of as much as 80 percent, trying to salvage what may be the worst holiday shopping season in more than three decades.

Best Buy Co. is offering two DVDs for $25. Casual Corner will take 50 percent off already-discounted women's clothing. Other retailers, such as department stores Macy's and J.C. Penney Co. plan to open their doors early tomorrow for bargain hunters.

The promotions are aimed at enticing shoppers who curtailed spending in the weeks before Christmas because of concerns about the economy and their jobs. Retailers also need to boost sales to clear shelves for spring merchandise, even if the discounts erode profits, analysts said.

"Consumers have been showing signs of weakening and backing off some, and that just continues,'' said James Luke, who helps manage more than $10 billion at BB&T Asset Management and owns shares of retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Sounds pretty scary, but what's the bottom-line?
Sales at stores open at least a year are forecast to rise 1.5 percent in the November-December period from a year earlier, the smallest increase since 1970, according to Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi Ltd., which tracks more than 80 retailers.
The average profit growth forecast for 137 retailers on Tuesday was 10.7 percent, according to a Thomson First Call survey of analysts.

That's less than the 11.5 percent average profit increase last year, and the 14.6 percent fourth-quarter forecast for Standard & Poor's 500 companies, First Call said. More analysts may revise estimates tomorrow, First Call analyst Ken Perkins said.
Only a 1.5% increase in sales from last year and the profit growth forecast is 10.7% as opposed to 11.5% last year! Stop, you're breaking my heart.

Stay tuned for the Democrat "collapsing economy" whine about this. It'll work the same way that reductions in the increase in spending on "social programs" are called "cuts in programs for people".

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Merry Christmas to All

And to all, a good night.
Some assembly required alert!
Samizdata has the scoop:
"It is now evident that by reserving a frequency in close proximity to the frequency used by code M, the Europeans have put themselves in a position to veto the effective use of GPS by America's armed forces. They believe that once they have begun transmitting on this frequency, the US will have no choice but to ask their permission before conducting any GPS supported military operations. This, in effect, means all US operations anywhere in the world. For example, in case of a North Korean attack, the US would have to ask the EU for permission before it could begin flying close air support missions against invading North Korean troops . This would give the EU enormous leverage whenever the EU wanted the US to concede something in the Middle East or elsewhere."
That's why they invented the expression "sand 'em out of orbit".
Ah, the folks in the heartland!
The AP reports Man Falling Off Ladder Is Really Dummy:
GIBBON, Neb. - A sheriff's officer and other residents have tried to save a man falling off a ladder as he hangs Christmas lights.

Please don't, said Cathy Pierce, who lives at the house where all the ruckus is about. It's a dummy she made using the old coveralls, boots and gloves of her husband, George.

"It is really neat to see so many good people wanting to do the right thing," she said. "He really does look real."

The couple have hung the dummy up every year for 10 years. He appears to be hanging from the roof with half a string of lights up and the other half trailing to the ground. A ladder looks as if it has fallen to the side.

Buffalo County Community Service Officer Clint Kirschner was on patrol in Gibbon when he saw what he thought was a man falling and ran to save him.

"I feel so bad for him," Pierce said. "We used to call the sheriff's department every year when we put him up so they would know what was happening if they got a 911 call, but we figured after 10 years, they would know."

Kirschner is by far not the only person who has tried to save the dummy. Pierce said almost two or three times a day, there is a knock on her door telling her that the man hanging lights needs help. Sometimes someone will just set the ladder back up.

Pierce said if it gets really icy they take the dummy down so no one gets hurt trying to help him.

"Some people get mad and shake their fist at the house if they've been fooled," she said. "Others sit down in the yard laughing so hard."

She said sometimes youngsters are so worried their parents stop and show them that it is not a real person.

Most neighbors enjoy the joke and start asking about the dummy at about Halloween.

"My husband says he doesn't dare fall in the yard. No one would stop to help, they'd all think it was the dummy," Pierce said with a laugh.
Now you can get sick again!
From Sand in the Gears:
No, what I used to like about the cold was that it offered me the opportunity to take the greatest cold-fighting medication known to man -- orange-flavored Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu remedy. Plop plop fizz fizz, baby. A shot of fizzy orange tonic, and then lie down on the couch and fall asleep to the gentle sound of Jim Carrey asking, "Hey, want to hear the most annoying sound in the entire world?"

But then they took it off the market. Seems it was giving too many people coronaries. I have been very bitter about this. I mean, so do jogging shoes, but you don't see any overweaning government agency yanking them off the market, now do you? So the Feds deprived me of my meds. Overnight, the cold became less inviting.
"Look honey," says the wife, gesturing to a commercial running across our television screen, "they've brought back your Alka-Seltzer." She pats me on the shoulder. "Now you can get sick again."

"No," I reply with a surly voice, "it's not the same. They've reformulated it. I need the stuff that can give me a heart attack."
Christmas News - II
James Taranto's Best of the Web has a worldwide Christmas news roundup. Most exhilarating was the word from North Korea that:
Not all communist countries celebrate Christmas. But even North Koreans are on holiday of sorts. "The winter recreation of agricultural working people has begun in [North] Korea," reports the official "news" agency KCNA. "According to Hong Sung Dok, deputy director of the Bureau of Recreation of the Ministry of Labor, a large number of peasants are enjoying themselves at the expense of the state at recreation centers situated in nearly twenty scenic spots. . . . During the 15-day holidays, they visit revolutionary sites and scenic spots, have art performances and enjoy folk plays, amusements, sports games, etc."

"Holidaymakers from different farms" also get to visit "the Korean Revolution Museum" and can experience "appreciation of art performances in theatres in Pyongyang and such amusements as yut and chess." Enjoy it while you can, comrades. The Guardian reports that the North Korean government is threatening to "destroy the earth."
Nothing like a hot game of yut!
Christmas News
In Columbia, Tennessee they sang Christmas songs to beat traffic tickets while the National Geographic tells us more than we wish to know about whether Rudolph is female.
Two children's books written in the early 1800s are credited with introducing the reindeer aspect to the Santa legend.

The first, The Children's Friend, published in 1821, contains an illustration depicting an elfin-sized Santa dressed in red in a tiny sleigh pulled by one reindeer. The scene shows him delivering books and toys to good children, and a birch rod to those that have been naughty ...
Speaking of naughty, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has used a Christmas message to attack Washington. Spare the birch rod and spoil the child.
Time for some holiday cheer!
A musical video.
Gasbag Alert!
(Via Whacking Day) Stay away from open flames while reading the latest from Paul "I love Kool Aid" Routledge in the UK wingnut paper of record:

AS citizens, we have little power to prevent our leaders going to war against Iraq.
But we are also consumers, and in the run-up to war a Boycott America campaign has been suggested. These principles could provide some guidance:

- DO not go to the United States as a tourist. Stay at home and see what a much finer country ours is.

- DO not buy or drink American wine, beer or spirits. Give me Tetley's any day.

- DO not eat American food. Stay away from McDonald's and all the other fast-food outlets.

- DO not pay to watch American films. They are full of noise, foul language and violence.

- DO not buy American newspapers or magazines.

- DO not use Americanisms. Instead of "Hi!" let's go back to saying "Good morning." No more "Yeah!" A "yes" will suffice.

- DO not wear American clothes. Throw the baseball cap in the dustbin (not, emphatically not, the trash can).

- DO not fly American airlines anywhere. It's probably safer not to.

- DO not smoke American cigarettes. They are bigger killers than al-Qaeda.

- DO not, above all, believe the lies that will spew out of the Anglo-American spin machine once the conflict gets under way.

- IF we try to live by these simple precepts, perhaps one day the United States will be forced to mend its violent, imperial ways.
Zounds! Not saying "hi", not wearing baseball caps, not eating fast food - this guy really knows how to hurt!

And don't tell the USA's liberal media establishment about the the newspaper and magazine boycott!
It's for the children
Little Green Footballs always has a generous measure of the good stuff. Yesterday in addition to the "Christian riot", they had Hanoi Jane getting heckled, the US ambassador to the UK having a tea party for terrorists, and Palestinian thugs dressed up as Santa. But I really like the item from Sunday, Whitewashing Jihad:
Reader davesax forwarded this NY Daily News Special Report on New York’s public school textbooks, in which kids are encouraged to ask, "Why do they hate us?"

At least three schools have bought copies of "The American Vision," a 2003 high school history textbook, published by Glencoe McGraw-Hill, that was one of the first to write about the terror attacks. In a seven-page lesson on the massacre of 3,000 innocents, students are asked:

"What are the three main reasons certain Muslims became angry with the United States?"

"Why does American foreign policy anger Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East?"

"The events of 9/11 were unjustified and inexcusable, but they didn't take place in a historical vacuum," said April Hattori, a McGraw-Hill spokeswoman. "It's important to explain what caused Muslim extremists to want to attack America."
Even worse, one textbook promotes a false, whitewashed definition of jihad stripped of any menacing qualities and reduced to a sort of PC version of the Young Achievers Club.
Well if the tykes won't drink this Kool Aid, they can always bring in Professor Patty Murray to set them straight.

Some of the other propaganda, er, reading matter was rather odd too. From the Daily News article:
On the shelves of school libraries is a biography for young readers of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is said to hail from the "long tradition of activist ministers like Martin Luther King Jr."

But the book might offend some with its own stereotypes, like this line in a chapter on Crown Heights: "Poor blacks in the cities often found themselves at the mercy of Jewish shopkeepers and landlords, who decided when and when not to advance credit to their customers."

There is also a whitewash of Louis Farrakhan, described as a "black American of achievement" who bears a "message no American can ignore." The Nation of Islam leader also shows a "willingness to forgive," the book claims.
No word on whether they covered Rev. Al and Tawanna Brawley or Farrakhan's UFO.
Rowdy Christians Alert!
At Little Green Footballs:
Following the broadcast of a BBC documentary suggesting that Jesus may have been conceived as the result of an illicit affair or of Mary's rape by a Roman soldier, enraged British Catholics poured out of churches after evening mass, smashing store windows, overturning cars, and attacking anyone of Middle Eastern appearance. Electronics stores were particularly hard hit, as rampaging mobs vented their anger on the television sets and radios that broadcast the hated words of the BBC. Witnesses reported hearing a group of priests and nuns chanting, "The BBC must die! Down with their confused and unfounded guesswork!" as they decapitated a Pakistani BBC stringer with a rusty crucifix.

British police used tear gas and rubber bullets to subdue the rioters, arresting thousands of Catholics and a few opportunistic soccer hooligans. Local Christian leaders, however, are calling for the deaths of all BBC reporters involved in the documentary, and the Bishop of Portsmouth has promised that unless their demands are met, "This is going to be a red Christmas." The producers have gone into hiding, reportedly in Canada.
And in Australia (via Tim Blair), Peter Howson: Christians, rise up and defend realm:
For too long bishops and archbishops in Australia have been preaching against Western triumphalism and Christian arrogance. Yet today one would be surprised to find triumphalism and arrogance within the church. Bin Laden and Bashir have thrown down their challenge. We must fight across all fronts ? religious, cultural and economic. But, regrettable as it may seem to some in the church, the exercise of military power is also essential. This battle will not be quickly or easily won. But if we are to win it, the Christian church must join in the militant defence of our common Christian heritage.

Monday, December 23, 2002

White Christmas Alert!
Well, there's a big snowstorm in the midwest, but out in Utah they have a different problem - White stuff might not be snow:
OGDEN - After five years and innumerable unsuccessful attempts at controlling the pigeons and their accompanying waste products on the 2nd District Courthouse, building operations manager George Berkley posted the following sign on the front door:

"Holiday tip #37 - In Ogden, never try to catch snowflakes with your tongue. The pigeons don't go south for the winter."
Peace Prize Shocker!
Aftenposten (Norway) stuns with Willie Nelson robbed while in Oslo:
A 20-year-old man broke into the hotel room of American country music legend Willie Nelson when Nelson was in Oslo this month to sing at the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert. Nelson's family lost passports, cash and a bottle of red wine.

The robbery was kept under wraps for more than a week, but newspaper VG found out about it and broke the story, much to the embarrassment of the Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel.

Nelson and his family were staying in a large suite at the hotel and were reportedly sleeping when the bold 20-year-old made his way in the night before the December 11 concert.

The thief may have been bold, but he wasn't necessarily smart. After emptying a bottle of red wine, he sprayed a so-called "tag" on a sign outside the suite. Police called in their tagging experts at the Stovner police station, who quickly recognized the tag as that of a 20-year-old man from Romsaas, on Oslo's north side.

The culprit was soon caught, driving a used car he'd bought with the cash he stole from Nelson's suite and later converted to several thousand Norwegian kroner.
Well, he did better than he would have in Jimmy's room. Follow the link for a picture of "Jimmy and Willie".
Useful Idiots Alert!
The SF Chronicle reports Activists planning mass civil disobedience if U.S. attacks Iraq:
While the Pentagon has spent the past year training troops, building facilities and stockpiling weapons to launch a war against Iraq, the peace movement has been using the buildup time to coordinate "emergency response plans" to disrupt domestic military activity, tie up commerce and get out their anti-war message.

Rally meeting places are posted, march routes set, protest signs painted, acts of nonviolent civil disobedience choreographed.

Activists in more than a dozen cities have announced where and when to meet on the first day of war -- what they call "The Day Of." In Dallas, they plan speeches at City Hall; in San Francisco, they plan to block traffic in the business district; in St. Louis they will hold a candlelight vigil downtown; in Seattle they plan to march at the federal building. In New York City, organizers hope to crowd Times Square with protesters.
I'm so surprised. I recall news footage from the first Gulf War of male protestors roughing up a female secretary coming out of an office building in San Francisco. Better order extra doses of rabies vaccine.
More on Professor Patty Murray
WorldNetDaily has the latest:
Meanwhile, teachers from around Washington state have informed a Seattle talk radio host that Murray had made the same comments about bin Laden to their students. But despite comparisons by many of her constituents to Sen. Trent Lott's recent controversial remarks, Murray's statements appear to be generating minimal response from her Senate colleagues.
And here's is CNN's coverage of Murray's ravings. No left wing bias here, nosiree!
Complaint Department Alert!
Arabs threaten to bomb plane over in-flight food
You can't make this stuff up
The Telegraph (UK) has the latest in the Tony Martin case:
The burglar injured by Tony Martin after he broke into the farmer's home is suing him for £15,000 compensation for loss of earnings.

Brendon Fearon, 32, wants the compensation because he has supposedly been unable to find a job since suffering the gunshot injuries in the raid on Martin's Norfolk home, according to the Daily Mail.
I wonder how he is going to document his earnings history for the court? "Yer honor, my average take of swag, minus expenses, for the 3 years prior to the shooting ...".

Oh and here are more details on his "claim":
The writ gives a number of reasons for Fearon's claim, including his leg injuries, which prevent him finding work, concern about his "long-term sexual functioning" and becoming "very tearful" when watching a film in which someone dies.
Cry me a river.

And how about an inordinate fear of breaking into other people's houses?

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Let no voice be unheard
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Frank Main and Carlos Sadovi enlighten with Candidates lean on gang members to get out the vote:
Come Election Day, gang members across the city will likely trade their baseball caps and street colors for white shirts and ties.

On Feb. 25, they'll take a holiday from the round-the-clock drug dealing that fuels Chicago's billion-dollar narcotics trade. Instead, they'll be selling candidates.

Fanning out into the neighborhoods, they'll hand out palm cards, shuttle elderly voters to the polls, tally the votes and--on the less admirable side--tear down opponents' signs, intimidate opponents' supporters and maybe pick a few fights.

And then, when their candidates win, the gang-bangers will step up and ask, "Where's mine?" In at least 10 of Chicago's 50 wards, a Sun-Times investigation has found, gang members are expected to work in next February's elections as political foot soldiers, a practice loaded with dangerous ethical conflicts for the candidates.
Thuggery in Chicago elections? I'm shocked!
On Nov. 5 in Humboldt Park, a gang leader halted drug sales and ordered gang members to get out the vote for the Democrats, said a police investigator who asked not to be identified.

"These guys passed out palm cards for $5 an hour when they could have made $40 an hour selling dope," he said.

Some candidates say they are simply reluctant to turn away enthusiastic volunteers, gang members or not. Other candidates openly court gang members.

"I try to use them in every election," said Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th), who estimated a fourth of her workers in the November election were gang members. She paid 40 to 50 gang members $25 each to get out the vote, she said, and plans to recruit gang members for the Feb. 25 aldermanic election.
It's great of the boyz to take a one day paycut.

To be fair, some of the politicos say they're against it, including Mayor Junior Daley. But it's hard to figure out how seriously to take it.
The electoral clout of Chicago street gangs peaked in the early 1990s with 21st Century V.O.T.E., a political action committee tied to the Gangster Disciples. The group launched voter registration drives and unsuccessfully ran two candidates for alderman. One, Wallace "Gator" Bradley, a former enforcer for the GDs, was photographed in the White House with President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.
Wooeee! It wouldn't be much of a challenge to pick out a perp in that line-up!
It's Patty Murray Time
The always enjoyable American Prowler selects the obvious candidate for Enemy of the Week. But first an appetizer:
Billy Clinton, the little great one, or great little one, whichever you prefer, continued his newest comeback by pronouncing the Republican Party fundamentally racist. There he went again, projecting like someone still deeply troubled for going ahead with the execution of a lobotomized black prisoner on the eve of a critical Democratic presidential primary in early 1992. In happier news, Clinton is back to competing with Jimmy Carter overseas, writing for the International Herald-Tribune that America must not "dominate" but rather focus on supporting such institutions of "global community" as the United Nations. Well, at least the Clinton-Carter competition isn't over a woman.
Ah, Bubba and Jimmy, there's a dynamic duo! But they don't quite have what it takes this week:
In more normal times we'd do our hiding behind the skirts of a maternal figure like Sen. Patty Murray, famous for winning her Senate seat as a "mom in tennis shoes." What we didn't know is that instead of letting the family dog chew on those shoes she decided to do so herself, and now their rubber and plastic residue has entered her brainstream, leading to hallucinatory pronouncements about all that the popular Osama bin Laden has done to build roads, health-care facilities and day-care centers around the world. Could she be confusing Osama with Jimmy Carter and his many good works? Or is Jimmy not violent enough for the little mom? Not since Squeaky Fromme and Patty Hearst have we heard such an eruption from a seething cauldron of suburban angst.
Spoiler alert - Patty wins it in a walk. Must be those darn right-wing haters again!