Saturday, June 21, 2003

Road Kill Alert!
(Via LGF) Jason Burke at the Observer reports DNA tests after missiles strike 'Saddam convoy':
American specialists were carrying out DNA tests last night on human remains believed by US military sources to be those of Saddam Hussein and one of his sons, The Observer can reveal.

The remains were retrieved from a convoy of vehicles struck last week by US forces following 'firm' information that the former Iraqi leader and members of his family were travelling in the Western Desert near Syria.

Military sources told The Observer that the strikes, involving an undisclosed number of Hellfire missiles, were launched against the convoy last Wednesday after the interception of a satellite telephone conversation involving either Saddam or his sons.
One ringy dingy!

As always, only time will tell.
Dr. Frank has Andrew Motion Lotion's "rap" for Prince Andrew's 21st birthday. Mr. Motion Lotion is nominally Britain's Poet Laureate. Good thing, since other gainful employment seems out of the question.
A common reaction
(Via Gweilo Diaries) Berlusconi slaps down France over Israel trip:
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told France on Tuesday it should ''shut up'' about his Middle East policy, further straining relations with Paris just as Italy is preparing to take over the European Union presidency.

''They missed a good opportunity to shut up,'' Berlusconi told reporters in response to French criticism of his decision not to meet Palestinian leaders during a recent trip to Israel.
My, my - why the outburst? Let me guess - it was Napoleon's buttboy? Yep.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said this week that Berlusconi had ''not satisfied the European position'' by holding talks only with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during his June 9 visit to Jerusalem.
The "European position"? Is that "butt up, head in sand"? Sounds like something that, with $2, will get you a subway ride in NYC.
''I went (to Israel) as the prime minister of Italy. There's no way France can issue criticism over something that was the sole right and responsibility of the Italian prime minister,'' Berlusconi said, clearly bristling with irritation.
It's just like the Frenchies to assume authority they don't have. Either that or they love being the old schoolmarm of Europe.
Meet ya in Damascus
Captured aide says Saddam, sons fled to Syria:
WASHINGTON -- A top lieutenant to Saddam Hussein has told U.S. interrogators that the Iraqi leader and his two sons survived the U.S.-led war in Iraq and that he himself had fled to Syria with the sons after the conflict, Defense Department officials said today.
Bashar's holding a bash and didn't invite us. I'm sure it's just an oversight.

Friday, June 20, 2003

That Nellie is a real knee slapper!
Nelson Mandela is in Ireland for the Speical Olympics, but couldn't resist opening his pie hole - Mandela Slams U.S. Iraq Policy During Irish Visit:
Former South African President Nelson Mandela said Friday the United States posed a danger to the world for sidelining the United Nations to make war on Iraq.
Nellie ought to put his butt on the line by stopping off in the Congo on the way home. Not to worry, Nellie, the UN will protect ya!
Say What?
(Via FR) A Bangladeshi view of Hillary, or something - Hillary still loves Bill.
No doubt Bill Clinton's admission of his affair-de-amor with sexy dynamite and the former WH intern, Monica, dumbfounded and devastated the sweet-natured and one of the debonair, well-poised female personalities of the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is now 55 but has the deceptive profile. She among the Democrats is a top fund raiser and writer. In one speech she earned a contribution of 4 million dollars to the party.

In her latest book that hit the bookstores and stands she received an 8 million dollar advance for it. For her Bill has more pluses than minuses. She still loves Bill Clinton as she ardently believes he is the most thrilling and interesting man she has ever met and that was at in Law discipline at Yale University. And she really never wanted to wring his neck; for she is cool, calculative, essential traits for her to be one of the US' best Attorneys, especially in criminal suits.

Unfortunately, her days at the White House as the First Lady were marked by the US' unprecedented economic prosperity together with a series of ethics scandals. And she tolerated the nonsensical perjury for Chelsea and other great causes while Diana could not and her spouse had the only fault-indulgence in homosexuality, even in Buckhingham Palace!
Sexy dynamite!
Aging wacko alert!
The 77 year old Prime Minister of Malyasia soiled his Depends - Mahathir attacks greedy, sexually deviant `Europeans':
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad launched a vitriolic attack on the European race yesterday, accusing them of warmongering, indiscriminate attacks on Muslims, greed and sexual deviancy.

Europeans, including "those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand," wanted "to control the world again," he said.

Predicting that he would be condemned as a "racist," the veteran Southeast Asian leader said he was "not anti-European. I have many friends and acquaintances who are Europeans."
And they all call him a bum bonnet behind his back.
Aromatic hot air alert!
New Zealand to tax cattle flatulence:
New Zealand farmers are angry after the government announced plans to tax the flatulence of their livestock.

Farmers face a levy of up to 25p a head on cattle and 3p on each sheep as part of the government's policy to combat global warming.
I wonder how much they would charge for Michael Moore?
The government will spend the tax it collects from the flatulent animals on researching ways to make them less windy.
All together now! BEANO!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Decisions, decisions!
The whiney port siders over at are just bursting with plans. This time it's for an internet primary (for the Democrat party, natch). Howard Dean is favored (ignore the allegations of skulduggery), but I signed up anyhow for this heartwarming endeavor.

Hmmm, which wingnut should I choose? The Rev. Al is a sentimental favorite, but Dennis Kucinich is nicely bizarre, and Carol Moseley Braun upholds time honored Democrat traditions - at least the ones involving cash. Then there's the formerly Irish Senator John Kerry who looks French. Didja know he served in Vietnam? It's so hard to decide!

Hey, you can participate too!
Dear friend,

I'm writing to ask you to take part in's
presidential primary. Too often, the real choices in
presidential nomination processes are made long before
the real primaries. Pundits, pollsters and big donors
shouldn't be the only voices that count at this early
and important stage of the process.

MoveOn's primary will give at least 1.4 million people
the opportunity to make their voices heard. You can be
one of them by registering to vote in the MoveOn Primary

Since a "voice" merely consists of a valid email address to pad the fundraising mailing list, this ought to be real scientific.

Oh, and when you hear about the "Silicon Valley entrepeneurs" who are behind, recall that their contribution to technology was a flying toaster screen saver and a computer quiz game called "You Don't Know Jack". Seems appropriate.
Comments turned off
Because SquawkBox, my commenting service, is once again casters up and killing page load times.
What would we do without Bubba?
Every day's another titillating ego massage for the bleary roué. Al Kamen in his Washington Post "In the Loop Column" reports Canadian Rumor Mills in Overtime:
Canadian papers were running items about what was called a "close personal and business relationship" between Clinton and Canadian billionaire Belinda Stronach, chief executive of auto-parts maker Magna International Inc.
This has created much salacious -- and surely false -- buzz up north. A CanWest News Service story strongly cautions against thinking such things. "They are good friends," a close friend of Stronach's told CanWest, "but there is not a romantic linkage. It's just not that way. . . . You shouldn't jump to conclusions that they are having a serious fling," though the friend said Stronach is attracted to Clinton.

Another friend said Stronach, 36, is "intrigued" by Clinton's "charisma and brainpower, particularly his knowledge of world events," the wire service reported. Stronach, according to that friend, said of Clinton: "'The guy is really smart and he really knows a lot of stuff.' "
In case you are wondering how someone so delusional could become a billionaire - it's dad's money.

But Hillary's not worried about yet another woman, even a really rich one. She's too busy sleazing up bogus publicity as the rest of the column describes.
Still Guilty
Ronald Radosh in the NY Post:
June 19, 2003 -- Fifty years ago on this day, I stood with a few thousand largely Jewish and left-wing New Yorkers on a street off Union Square, vainly hoping that our vigil would call off the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Tonight, the remnants of those who either believe in the Rosenbergs' innocence or still proclaim them heroic martyrs who died for their commitment to justice, peace and a "progressive" America are meeting at Manhattan Center to commemorate the day and to honor the legacy and memory of the Rosenbergs.

They will hear speeches from the Rosenbergs' sons, Robert and Michael Meeropol; from Harry Belafonte; from the ever-present Susan Sarandon, and (of course) from Pete Seeger, who seems to be devoting his senior years to heralding the long-lost causes of his youth.

This time, I will not be among those attending.

Writing in these pages in 1995, my late friend Eric Breindel, then The Post's editorial page editor, noted that "books, articles and documents have, for years, made . . . plain [that] . . . the Rosenbergs' guilt has certainly been a settled issue."

Here it is almost a decade later, and it seems that nothing will stop the Rosenbergs' defenders from carrying on and trying to renew their campaign. No amount of newly discovered evidence, no accumulation of new facts seems to have made a dent in their minds.
It's hard to dent granite.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

A hot time in the Olde Countrie!
In the Evening Mail (Birmingham, UK), Marc Cowan shocks with It's the M6 doll road!:
A burning cargo of sex toys closed one of the country’s busiest sections of motorway and brought the Midlands to a standstill today.

Paraphernalia including whips, plastic breasts and dolls spilled from the wagon and onto the road as fire crews sought to make the lorry safe.
The bizarre cargo brought much-needed light relief to those working at the scene as one of the blow-up dolls was rescued from the charred wreckage.
Click through for the photo.
Urkel TV was closer than I thought!
(Via Drudge) Will We See Gore TV?
The former Veep is assisting in an effort to create a liberal alternative to conservative talk radio, and is exploring a cable television venture
One entertainment industry source who met with Gore and Hyatt earlier this year said that, at that time, part of what they envisioned was youth-oriented programming, "putting video cameras in the hands of kids." Another source close to Gore and Hyatt says the venture would not resemble a traditional cable news outlet, but would be "something totally different in concept and format."
Gore has also been helpful to Chicago venture capitalists Sheldon and Anita Drobny, who announced in February that they planned to fund a liberal radio network to counterbalance such conservative commentators as Rush Limbaugh. Several sources said Gore has helped introduce the Drobnys to such Hollywood political forces as producer-director Rob Reiner. Comedian Al Franken, author of the book "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot," is considering hosting a show on the Drobnys' network, and added that the couple has approached Gore to do regular essays.
Good news for insomnia sufferers.

But maybe they can have coverage of those events the evil capitalist press ignores like Activists Mark 1953 Rosenberg Execution:
On the 50th anniversary of the execution Thursday, Seeger, Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and other show business activists will appear at a benefit for the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which assists children of people imprisoned, attacked or fired for taking a public stand.
You mean like spying for Stalin?

Too bad I had to go to the underground press to read these articles.
You gotta be kidding!
Just like the purported Buttafuoco/Simpson match, my view of the Spike Lee/Viacom dust-up over "Spike TV" is distaste for both parties. Predictably, sensitive ole Spike has his panties in a twist over Viacom's plan to create a "guy channel" called Spike TV:
Lee said he thought his reputation would suffer "irreparable injury" if Spike TV went on air, because it could lead the public into thinking he's involved with a station that will revolve around James Bond, wrestling and a Pamela Anderson-inspired cartoon.

"He claims . . . that it would cause irreparable injury to 'associate an acclaimed artist's name' with the 'demeaning, vapid and quasi-pornographic content of Spike TV,' " the network said its in filing.
Gee, I would have guessed the association would raise most people's opinion of Spike.

But the really weird part is:
In his decision last week, Tolub noted that TNN President Albie Hecht "has conceded that Spike Lee was one of the role models for the network name," and that, coupled with the network's marketing itself as "aggressive and irreverent," could mislead the public into thinking Lee was involved.
The rocket scientists at TNN thought that Spike Lee would be a "role model" for a guy channel? I'm surprised they didn't want to call it Urkel TV.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Looks like I missed the wankfest!
But David Carr at Samizdata was on the case - 90-minute Moanathon:
The BBC has a great, big monkey on it's back and that monkey is America. The nabobs who run that state broadcast organisation just don't understand how a country that (in their eyes) does everything wrong can end up so supremely dominant in terms of power, wealth and influence, while a country that does everything right (such as France) seethes and whines impotently about the unfairness of it all.

You can see the tension in their news reportage, torn as it is between a horrified revlusion of America and, at the same time, an unquenchable fascination. That was very much on display tonight in a 90-minute TV special run on BBC2 and called 'What the World Thinks of America'.
In fact, it was rather dull, equivocal and not quite sure of itself. The underlying theme was largely one of self-pity and petty jealousy culminating it a morose admission that America was the unchallengable world superpower and there isn't much the likes of France can do about it except whine and bitch. They may as well have called it 'Inferiority Complex - The Movie'.
They also apparently have a forum where Americans can chime in. Thanks, but I'll pass. I'm afraid of monkeypox.
It's those wacky artists again!
Yesterday it was "poo on sticks", today it's Setting Ancient Nefertiti Bust on Bronze Nude Touches off a Tussle:
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - They were together only a few hours. But that brief union of a celebrated, 3,000-year-old bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti with a modern bronze nude body touched off a furor.

Some Egyptians are calling the art project at Berlin's Egyptian Museum an insult to their culture and demanding the return of the ancient bust, charging it isn't safe in German hands.

The museum director, Dietrich Wildung, answers that his museum's most famous piece was never at risk and defends the videotaping of Nefertiti's head on a nude torso as a legitimate artistic experiment.

The tape is now part of an installation by two Hungarian artists at the Venice Biennale, one of the world's most prestigious contemporary art festivals.
Sorry to disappoint, but the only picture I can find is this, which is a real snoozer. As a substitute, try this.
Don't tick off the Big Guy!
Lightning strikes peeping Toms:
As if it was divine retribution, three men were struck by lightning while they peeped at a pair of passionate lovers having sex in a car in a hillside area in Taipei.

Hiding in a broken hut and each using a high-powered telescope, the three were so oblivious as they watched the lovers' act that they did not notice lightning flashing in the sky before a bolt hit the hut, police said yesterday.

"All three were hit at the same time, but survived as they appeared to have evenly shared the impact of the super-high voltage electric current when the lightning struck," a police spokesman said.

The officer said the three, who remained speechless for several hours, suffered minor burns in the skin of their hands and legs, while their hairs were all standing and their stares were fixed.
I'll bet their stares were fixed.
Will there be audience participation?
More must see TV in the Clash Of The Sleazeballs? Joey Buttafuoco Vs. O.J. Simpson
Celebrity sleazeballs Joey Buttafuoco and O.J. Simpson are both fighting to stay in the media spotlight -- and soon they will be battling each other.

Buttafuoco claims he's in talks to do a celebrity pay-per-view boxing match with Simpson and claims, "I want it. He wants it. And I'm taking it seriously."

To that end, Buttafuoco has been working out with a kickboxing trainer for the past two weeks and says he's "very focused" on the prize.

It may sound incredible and you won't get any argument from Buttafuoco. In his words, "The opportunities in this industry continue to amaze me."
Well, you got that right Joey. But watch out, OJ is in great shape from being on the golf course every day looking for the "real killers". He'll take your head off.

By the way, Buttafuoco's wife finally decided to divorce him. Paul Vitello in Newsday notes the similarities to Hillary Clinton.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Uh Oh!
Business Owner Chases, Runs Over Robbery Suspects In Hummer:
A business owner in Phoenix, Arizona took matters into his own hands after a group of men robbed his business, according to a Local 6 News report.

Police say three armed suspects walked into the Mr. Insurance building in Phoenix and demanded money. A fourth suspect was in the getaway car, according to the report.

Investigators said after the suspects left with the store's money, the co-owner jumped into his Hummer and chased after the suspects.

Police said that the man, identified only as Peter, followed the suspects through a neighborhood and eventually caught up with them. He then rolled his Hummer over their car.

Two of the suspects were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The two other suspects managed to get away but police later caught them as well.

It is not known if Peter will face charges.
Follow the link for a picture.

This is great, but it sounds like the guy really needs a Raptor Mark III.
Violent Art Critics Alert!
There's nothing worse than a nasty art critic. Wait, most of them are nasty - I mean violent art critics. Cathy Marks reports from Australia in the Independent - Self-styled art vigilantes threaten to destroy public sculptures they detest:
Public artworks are often loathed by the public, but a sculpture in Sydney has aroused an unusual degree of antipathy. A group of self-styled art vigilantes is threatening to destroy the work unless the council dismantles it.

The group, which calls itself the Revolutionary Council for the Removal of Bad Art in Public Places, has set a three-month deadline for the offending sculpture to be whisked away. If the deadline is not met, it says, the work will be defaced or destroyed.

"We have blowtorches, angle grinders and bolt cutters, and we will use them if necessary," said a spokesman, Dave Jarvoo.
Whoa there hoss! What's the problem?
The work, Stones Against The Sky, is made up of seven steel poles crowned by large artificial stones. Sydneysiders call the work, in a plaza in front of an apartment block in King's Cross, the city's red-light district, "Poo on Sticks".
I couldn't find a snap of it, but here's another one from the same series. It's more like poo on chopsticks.
The group, formed two years ago, is believed to comprise teachers and students from two nearby art colleges. Mr Jarvoo said members had written letters of complaint to the local council and submitted a petition against the sculpture, but with no success. "We are being forced to consider taking matters into our own hands," he told The Australian newspaper.
That sounds like a rough bunch!
Mr Jarvoo said other works would be vandalised unless they were removed. "The mission of the council is to eradicate the disease and discomfort that bad art inflicts on the general psyche," he said.

Ken Unsworth, the artist paid about £14,000 for Stones Against the Sky, said he was unmoved by the group's threat.
Why do I get the feeling that the taxpayers have already suffered the ultimate discomfort - they paid for this stuff?
Jonah Goldberg swats that little whiner, Eric Alterman
Big Dumb Lie: Is anyone fooled by claims that the media aren't liberal?:
Mr. Alterman looks to the handful of conservative media outlets and ignores the horde of liberal ones. He fulminates about the influence of the "wild men" at The Wall Street Journal editorial page, for instance, but barely mentions New York Times editorialists. Indeed, at times it seems Mr. Alterman has never even heard that the Times exists, let alone that it is both extremely liberal and more influential than any other news organ.

Mr. Alterman rails against the conservative perfidy of Fox News, yet sees little to no evidence that ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC might be liberal. Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Harper's, NPR, etc. don't warrant much attention or worry. But he insists that the (vastly tinier) Weekly Standard has dangerous influence.

The Bradley, Olin and Scaife foundations are said to be wreaking havoc on the gullible masses. But the (hugely richer and highly liberal) Ford, Rockefeller and Pew foundations don't merit any mention at all. The American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation are claimed to pull the country to the right, but Harvard, Berkeley, etc. seem to have no gravitational mass at all in his eyes. It's as if Mr. Alterman scans the whole political landscape through the lenses of some novelty glasses which can only pick up conservatives.
Keep in mind that Eric Alterman is media critic for The Nation--a hysterically left-wing magazine dedicated to the proposition that corporate America, U.S. foreign policy and the Republican Party are criminal, racist or both. The simple reality is that, for him, the Democratic Party is far too conservative.
This raises one of Mr. Alterman's biggest problems. He simply dismisses the proven fact that the vast majority of journalists admit they are liberal. When nine out of 10 reporters state in a survey that they voted for Bill Clinton, Mr. Alterman counters that Mr. Clinton wasn't very liberal, and that if he had run for president in, say, Belgium or Germany he'd be considered conservative. That's a debatable point, but it doesn't change the fact that in America the press corps clusters almost entirely at one end of our political spectrum, consistently voting for the most liberal candidate available. If it keeps Mr. Alterman up at night to think that our liberals are to the right of liberal Swedes, let that be his white whale.
It's whacked out Capt. Eric at the helm of the Pequod. "Thar she blows!"

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Dang it all!
I missed on out on the TV Guide Sex and the City Collector's Covers!

Walter Annenberg must be spinning in his grave.
Eric Rudolph was a Doper?
So reports Cliff Kincaid in Accuracy in Media's Media Monitor column:
The Washington Post has angered some conservative Christians by quoting a so-called terrorism expert as saying accused bomber Eric Rudolph is a "Christian terrorist." A more accurate description would be "doper." The Post had previously noted in passing that Rudolph had traveled to Holland to procure high-quality marijuana seeds for the marijuana he raised and smoked.
Deborah Rudolph, one of Eric Rudolph’s former in-laws, told the Southern Poverty Law Center that many years ago Rudolph was "probably making $60,000 a year selling pot…" She said he constructed a "secret little room" in a house where he grew marijuana under special lights, and that he received High Times magazine, which glorifies the drug culture and runs ads for marijuana growing equipment.

Law enforcement officials told Jim Stewart of CBS News that the extreme rhetoric attributed to Rudolph in "Army of God" letters was a diversion. Stewart reported, "As for some 'Army of God' letters stating a philosophy, lawmen don't buy that either. Rudolph bombed a gay nightclub, yet he has a beloved gay brother. He professes to hate abortion, yet his mother says he never mentioned it. He denies the Holocaust, but can't explain why. He flirted with the white supremacist Christian Identity movement, but never joined. Rudolph did join the Army, and took copious notes during explosives training. But then he got bored, agents say, and smoked so much dope he drew an early discharge. Back home, he was known for just hanging out in the woods and renting video movies nonstop…About the only two things Rudolph ever excelled at, lawmen say, were growing marijuana and building bombs."
Eric Rudolph does seem to be a wingnut. What kind seems rather unclear.

On the other hand, we'll probably find out more than we want to know when it pops up as media trial of the month. Which reminds me, whatever happened to the Robert Blake trial?
I'm not a big fan of labor unions, but these days I'm nostalgic for the ancient champions of the anti-idiotarian left like George Meany as opposed to the current crop of Kool-Aid drinkers in the NEA or AFSCME. I'd heard that Meany's spirit was still alive in some of the craft unions and offer this from Fred O. Williams in the Buffalo News - Construction Police:
Union leaders fed up with contractors who employ illegal immigrants - thereby taking jobs from legitimate workers - have begun tracking down and turning in offenders.

Chris Stone is no immigration agent, but some days he acts like one.

One morning last week, he was tailing a group of Spanish-speaking men to a construction site in Cheektowaga. After getting into the left lane on Broadway to keep them in sight, he found himself alongside their car.

"They veered toward me," said Stone, a union organizer for Carpenters Local 9.

He called Cheektowaga police, who later arrested four men at the Sam's Club expansion site and turned them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Using tails, stakeouts and even video cameras, area construction unions have taken a vigilante role against illegal immigration. In the past few weeks, Stone and other union staff have led authorities to 13 illegal immigrant workers at two non-union construction sites.

Already facing a slow economy, construction unions say they are protecting area jobs. They accuse the federal government of lax enforcement and employers of looking the other way.
Non-union contractors have battled the building trades in the past, as they have gained a greater share of construction jobs. But on this issue, the non-union Associated Builders and Contractors says it is on the same page with its longtime foe. Builders who use illegal labor hurt legitimate businesses, both union and non-union, said Rebecca Meinking, president of the builders association's Empire State chapter.

Nor do legal experts criticize the union's gumshoe tactics. As long as it's done in public, where there's no expectation of privacy, people are free to watch and even videotape each other's activities, said Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark.

"In many cases, private citizens have more latitude investigating than law enforcement," he said.
It's a minor miracle they got the Feds to pick up the illegals. But they haven't caught very many so far. Maybe it's because Buffalo is so far North?
Buffalo native Alberto Benitez, an immigration law expert at George Washington University, says advocates of tighter immigration controls have an uphill battle. Where he lives now in suburban Virginia, it seems most of the low-paying jobs are performed by recent immigrants from Mexico or Central America - and no one's interested in whether they have a green card or not.

"Day care workers, short-order cooks, lawn care, apple picking - the U.S. economy would implode" without undocumented workers, he said.

In a less diverse, economically disadvantaged area like his hometown, though, Benitez acknowledged that the climate toward immigration is different.

"Buffalo is not a very diverse city," he said.
Apparently "diverse" means "tolerates illegal aliens" and "implode" means there would be no unemployment. That's really awful!

But let's see what the real wingnuts have to say:
"It sounds like they are deputizing themselves to denounce people, when it's not their function," said Sophie Feal, an immigration lawyer at the Volunteer Lawyers Project in Buffalo. "Just because someone looks foreign does not mean they're not eligible to work."
Sophie's just ticked that only illegals have been picked up so far. Sounds to me like they're just concerned citizens doing their duty to help round up illegal aliens. What are you doing, Sophie?

Which brings me to Fewer employers getting worker 'no match' letters:
The federal government is scaling back a program that sparked an outcry from industries that use immigrant labor.

No longer is the Social Security Administration sending out nearly 1 million letters a year to employers whose workers' Social Security numbers appear invalid.

This year the administration reduced the number of so-called "no-match" letters and added a caution that the letter alone is no reason to fire a worker.

Those who favor tighter border control say the move undermines enforcement of illegal immigration.

Those who advocate for immigrants hail the decision, saying it should reduce problems for foreign workers and confusion for employers.

"The program not only caused concern for the many immigrant employees - both documented and undocumented - but confused the employers who depend on immigrants to fill their jobs," said Shelley Schrader, director of the Interfaith Immigration Services of Nebraska.

The administration had said the expanded letter program was an effort to correct records so that billions of dollars of unaccounted Social Security earnings could be properly linked to workers for retirement benefits.
Let's see - the illegal aliens gum up Social Security records by using bogus numbers. The SSA sends out notices that the numbers are bogus and then all the whiners and profiteers get their knickers in a twist. And the proposed solution is not to send the letters.
This year the number of "no-match" letters was to be reduced to about 130,000, which is slightly above the 2001 level.

"We made a business decision to implement the new procedure," said Social Security spokeswoman Carolyn Cheezum. She could provide no statistics but said last year's expanded effort yielded a "substantially low number" of corrected records.
I wonder if it occurred to the Social Security rocket scientists that the numbers were uncorrectable?
Let's trick Blogger!
Per my lament below, the Blogger archiving problem that ignored all my posts from this morning is now fixed - for new posts only. What a system! So I have reposted (and deleted the old posts) and the permalinks now work.
There will always be an England?
First the diversity crowd wanted to "improve" the Union Jack, now there's a Call for Queen to lose title as head of Church:
The Queen should be stripped of her title as Supreme Governor of the Church of England so that the royal family better reflects the religious and ethnic diversity of the United Kingdom, according to a major report on the monarchy.
Some useful employment would decrease the wanking level.

Originally posted at 12:49 PM. Reposted to amuse Blogger.
Jackanapes caught in the cookie jar
(Via Pave France) Jon Henley reports for the Guardian that Paris judge holds Chiracs to account for £1.4m grocery bill:
A Paris investigating magistrate has overruled the recommendation of a senior public prosecutor and set up a formal inquiry into the £1.4m grocery bill claimed by Jacques Chirac and his wife during eight of the 18 years that the president spent as mayor of the French capital.
So he's a big eater, right? Well, it's a tad more than that:
Because most of the files from the early years of the Chirac tenure were shredded before municipal elections in 2000, the report covers only the years 1987-1995. But the evidence looks strong: during those eight years alone, the Chiracs claimed for, and were reimbursed, £1.45m for their personal food bills.

Some £950,000 of the bills, which are entirely separate from the mayor's annual £1m entertainment budget, were paid in cash apparently taken from the proceeds of the town hall's staff bar. The money was reimbursed in exchange for receipts that "in many instances give rise to suspicions of substantial fraud", the report says.

One £1,500 bill for foie gras and truffles had plainly been tampered with. "The initial sum appears to have been £500, with the figure 1 added at a later date," the auditors said. Another bill, for £375 in 1994, was reimbursed "four times that year, and then once the following year, on the basis of carbon copies of different colours and a modified date".

The corners of many receipts had been cut off to remove the date, the report adds, while receipts for purchases worth £4,000 from the luxury Paris delicatessen Fauchon "appear purely and simply to be fakes".
He's not even a good fraud.

Originally posted at 12:15 PM. Reposted to trick Blogger.
Another reparations scam
Carol J Williams in the LA Times has all the details in Haiti bills France for slavery debt: $21.7 billion:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — France owes this country exactly $21,685,135,571.48, the government figures — not counting interest, penalties or consideration of the suffering and indignity inflicted by slavery and colonization.
In one of the most colorful campaigns to galvanize Haitians in years, the country is awash in banners, bumper stickers, television ads and radio broadcasts demanding payback.
France recognized Haiti's statehood 35 years later, after the country began paying 90 million francs in gold to compensate French landowners driven out by the revolution.

The reparations demand, Haitians say, is today's value for the 90 million gold francs Paris strong-armed from Haiti in the 19th century. Reparations for moral crimes have yet to be calculated, says the government spokesman.

And anyone reading newspapers aligned with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government, or listening to state-sponsored broadcasts, would think a check for the staggering sum was all but in the mail.
I suppose it beats voodoo and you never know, the Frenchies might fall for it since clues seem to be in short supply over there.
Over the past week, an illusion of momentum has emerged following the Group of Eight industrialized nations' summit in Evian, France. On the fringes of the forum, French President Jacques Chirac replied to the repeated restitution demands by contending this country's dire economic straits were more the consequence of corrupt government than thwarted development inflicted by payoffs to France in exchange for recognition of Haitian independence.
Guess not, but you never know.
Haiti's state secretary for communications, Mario Dupuy, describes Chirac's allusion to corruption as "verbal violence" but smiles tolerantly in laying out what he sees as the colonial masters' long-term outlook. "This is the kind of attack that precedes negotiations," insists Dupuy.

Others inside Aristide's circle say the campaign will continue.

"It's serious and it's going to intensify," says Michelle Karshan, a media liaison for Aristide. "It's not something Haiti came up with by itself. It came up in the context of the summit on race in South Africa. The French leadership itself has acknowledged that slavery was a crime against humanity."
Haiti is the only country to make a formal appeal for compensation from a colonizing and enslaving power, said Haitian Foreign Minister Joseph Philippe Antonio.
Antonio insisted the French government eventually will see its way to do the right thing.

"France will pay restitution for the monies that it owes Haiti," he said. "Restitution means to reimburse what you took that did not belong to you, with interest."
Everyone needs a hobby.

Originally posted at 9:11 AM. Reposted to get around Blogger.
The Deck of Hillary
I had noticed that NewsMax was offering a deck of cards featuring Her Heinous. Now Richard Johnson has the details in the NY Post:
The novelty cards, which each features a vintage Hillary quote, are split into four suits. Spades feature remarks by "The REAL Hillary" such as:

* "I mean you've got a conservative and right-winged press presence with really nothing on the other end of the spectrum."
Clubs expose "The Feminist" side of Hill:

* "I have a pretty good antenna for people who are chauvinistic or sexist or patronizing toward women."
Mrs. Clinton's role as first lady is revisited with diamonds.

* "I knew nothing about my brother's involvement in these pardons . . . I had no knowledge whatsoever."
* "I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president."

Of course, most entertaining are the hearts, which dredge up her greatest sound bytes on the subject of "Bill & Me."
* "Who is going to find out? These women are all trash. Nobody's going to believe them."
As someone else observed recently, drag $8 million through a trailer park and see what comes out.

Originally posted at 7:57 AM. Reposted to defeat Blogger.
My usual ability to defeat the oddities of Blogger has been countered by their moving the Country Store to a new enhanced Blogger version called "Dano". Well, Dano seems to prevent my usual archive prestidigitation and as a result, all permalinks from today are dead. Except for the first one, but that's because the weekly archive inconsiderately starts at midnite Pacific time, not my time. I thought things would actually improve after Google bought Pyra Labs. Color me naive.

UPDATE: The permalink to this post works. I should have guessed.

UPDATE: Now "fixed" - see above.
Rich and satisfying!
At the Weekly Standard, Matt Labash greatly amuses with Hillary Goes to Wal-Mart. I can't even begin to summarize the goodness, but here are some excerpts:
Fairfax, Virginia
It's hard to describe the electricity one feels when crossing this Northern Virginia strip-mall parking lot to attend Hillary Clinton's "Living History" book-signing. But I haven't been this excited about Wal-Mart since my one-hour photos came back in 25 minutes. It makes me feel all sprightly and young again--as if it were 1998.

Hillary has yet to arrive, but already, her fans and detractors are sparring. On one side of the street, snaking out of the store through the lawn'n'garden section, are the Hillaryites. They carry umbrellas and folding chairs and squeeze-bottles. They look like public librarians and NPR pledge-drivers. They arrive as early as 9 A.M. to snatch up all 2,000 books and be in place to get them signed at 7:30 that evening. They are a patient, trusting people. And they will need patience to endure the taunts of their opponents, standing across the way on a median strip.
The Hillaryites are frustrated, but a bellicose, heavyset woman starts trying to rally the troops by screaming "Bozo! Bush is a BOZO!" I scramble over to her and try to conduct an interview. But she's tasted blood and finds it difficult to stop. She tries to respond to questions and wage war at the same time. The effect is that of a Tourette's sufferer short of medication: "My name is Tina, and those are BOZO LOVERS! BUSH IS BOZO THE CLOWN! Hi, who you with? BOZO! Who do you write for? DOWN WITH BOZO!"

Across the street, Freepers are getting satisfaction. "Do you feel the love?" smiles one of them. But they up the ante with the announcement of a "Hillary Book Toss." It's done in homage to Hillary, who reportedly once chucked an ashtray at her husband's head. Whoever throws the book farthest gets to keep it and get it signed by Hillary. Just as the Freepers announce this, Wal-Mart security moves in and tells them they will have to conduct the book toss over to the side, on a grassy knoll. Safety comes first. Initially, I think security just wants to ensure that nobody sustains a head injury by getting clipped with the 562-page behemoth. But after reading it, I see the less obvious concern: If the book had fallen open to page 465, where Hillary tells a friend, "My husband may have his faults, but he has never lied to me," someone might have laughed himself to death.
But Hillary greets everyone with a smile, as her eyes bulge big--so big that the whites attain 360-degree clearance around her irises.

To the people assembled, this expression means different things. To her fans, her eyes say, "I'm one of you--just a gal who likes to stop by Wal-Mart for a Sam's Choice cola and a $1.78 Nacho Chile Pie." To her moderate critics, they say, "Look at me, I'm almost human." To her Freeper-style critics, the eyes say, "Back off, or I'll ice you, just like I iced Vince Foster." To me, they don't say much of anything, since her staffers won't let reporters near her.

Instead, I swim around the plastic flip-flop racks and Prayer Bear stuffed animals, to interview her supporters in line. Just for kicks, and to see if they are as gullible as Hillary purports to be, I ask when exactly during impeachment year they finally believed that Bill Clinton had had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Here are their verbatim responses: Hillaryite 1: "When he said so." Hillaryite 2: "I don't remember." Hillaryite 3: "I don't remember." Hillaryite 4: "When he admitted it." Hillaryite 5: "I think he was set up by the Republicans."

Hitting the other end of the line, I grab a Hillaryite to ask how his signing went. "She's pure evil," he says. "She's a cancer on America." It turns out he's not a Hillary fan at all. But he stood in line for nearly four hours just to try to get her to inscribe his book, "To BJ," which stands for . . . well, her husband knows. He also wanted to get his picture taken with her--as he flipped her the bird. He didn't succeed, and now he's kicking himself: "It was something my grandchildren might have said, 'You know, I'm proud of granddad.'"
Wait until Bubba hits the book circuit, he won't be able to resist personal inscriptions.