Saturday, July 12, 2003

It's a Kool-Aid fest!
That trendy, with-it, Internet guy, Al Gore Howie Dean will be guest blogging over at Lawrence Lessig's place for a week. Lots of Kool-Aid is being consumed in the comments section of the post announcing it, but some people aren't slurping:
Hmm … “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” … or a presidential candidate?

How do we know it’s really Howard Dean, and not a Dean campaign staffer?
(after all, letters from many officeholders, are really by their staff)

I’ve gotten very cynical since “Aimee Deep

I’m reminded of a Heinlein book, where a candidate is kidnapped, and his staff temporarily covers it up by replacing the candidate with an actor. It works so well they decide to ask the actor take over as the candidate. The actor objects that he’s not a qualified. The staff argues in reply that it doesn’t really matter, since the candidate is just the public face of the campaign organization anyway.

» posted by Seth Finkelstein on Jul 12 03 at 9:51 AM
Oh yeah, they're also going to be editing comments. As commenter Kelly Miggs writes:
It’s a real shame you’re editing comments. It would be hillarious to see Howard Dean get into a flame war with someone called “yomoma187!”
It would be kewl, but the whole deal will undoubtedly be as well scripted as any campaign event. Of course, Howie's big announcement that he was seeking the Democrat nomination did have some problems:

Greens rain on Howie's parade
And as for all you little people...
Cables compete for 'Timex crowd':
Television demographics just got a brand new term: the Timex crowd — the vast and valuable viewership of ordinary Americans looking for a straightforward news story.

It may prove the most coveted target audience of all.

CNN President Jim Walton was parsing his network's strategies before a group of TV writers Thursday when he made an blithe comment about the Fox News Channel, which currently dominates the ratings race.

"I really don't think Rolex cares how many watches Timex sells," Mr. Walton said, implying that the quality of CNN's coverage, viewership and advertising mattered more in the long run than the hard quantity of Fox's ratings numbers.
I believe the technical term for this is "sour grapes".
That explains it!
(Via Not Quite Tea and Crumpets) One of them pointy headed types has had a revelation - Marriage may tame genius:
Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says.
But, regardless of age, the great minds who married virtually kissed goodbye to making any further glorious additions to their CV.

Within five years of making their nuptial vows, nearly a quarter of married scientists had made their last significant contribution to history's hall of fame.

"Scientists rather quickly desist (from their careers) after their marriage, while unmarried scientists continue to make great scientific contributions later in their lives," says Dr Kanazawa.

The energy of youth and the dampening effect of marriage, he adds, are also remarkably similar among geniuses in music, painting and writing, as well as in criminal activity.
And why's that, exactly?
Dr Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women.

That craving drives the all-important male hormone, testosterone.

Dr Kanazawa theorises after a man settles down, the testosterone level falls, as does his creative output.
Dang, and I thought it was the home cooking!
Current Events Quiz!
(Prompted by Ipse Dixit) Quick, how many of the nine Democrat Presidential candidates support gay marriages? Ron Fournier of the AP reports that only 3 do: Kucinich, Moseley-Braun, and Sharpton. Geez, that seems a little light. Where are all the others like uber-lib Howie the Duck?
The remaining six, all top-tier candidates, side with the majority of Americans and against gay activists like Smith.

"We're disappointed they have chosen not to support allowing gay people to marry," Smith said.
Responding to an Associated Press survey, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina said through aides that gay marriage is an issue for states to resolve.
As governor of Vermont, Dean signed a civil-union bill that conferred state benefits to same-sex couples. He has made a point of saying the law did not endorse gay marriages, a distinction with little legal difference.

"We have full civil marriage rights (for gays and lesbians), we just don't call it marriage," Dean said in September 2002.

More recently, Dean said as president he would not tell states they had to have civil union or gay marriage laws. Still, he would "insist that every state find a way to recognize the same legal rights for gay couples as they do for everybody else."

Some gay rights activists said Dean was trying to have it both ways, a criticism certain to be raised next week when Dean and several of his Democratic rivals attend the Human Rights Campaign forum.
Sounds like they're a tad nervous about this one. The Democrats haven't supported states' rights since heck was a pup.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Another marketing genius
Gizmodo stuns with AT&T Wireless wants you to keep quiet:
In a marketing stunt that is sure to backfire, AT&T Wireless is going to start sending actors dressed up as grandmothers out into public places like Grand Central Station to shush rude cellphone users who speak too loudly on their phones and reward polite ones with candy and vouchers for accessories. I'm sure someone thinks this is a clever idea, but publicly confronting your customers with their bad behavior is usually not a good idea. ... Imagine if Budweiser went around during Mardi Gras and chastised people for behaving foolishly when drunk.
I forsee humor ahead - "Fake Gran Busted in Station Fracas."
High Burn Rate Alert!
USDA Workers Used Gov't Credit Cards to Buy Concert Tickets, Lingerie:
WASHINGTON — Agriculture Department employees used government credit cards to pay tuition for bartender school, to buy Ozzy Osbourne concert tickets, lingerie and tattoos and to make a down payment on a car.
Those Ag workers are a fun bunch, but not up to previous standards:
Last year, audits by the General Accounting Office revealed federal workers have used the cards at adult clubs, brothels, sporting events and to buy jewelry.
So how much is on the tab?
A random audit by the department's inspector general of just 300 of the 55,000 department employees who carry the government credit cards showed they had charged $7.7 million in personal purchases in a six-month period from Oct. 1, 2001, to March 31, 2002.
Unless my calculator is busted that's an average burn rate of $51K per employee per year! Here's hoping they actually pay the charges off. The report's not too clear on those little details, but what the heck - it's tax money so it doesn't belong to us anyhow.
Passing Strange
Charles Krauthammer tries to explain it in the Washington Post - Liberal Democrats' Perverse Foreign Policy:
It was the left that led the opposition to war in Iraq. Now it is the left that is most strenuous in urging intervention in Liberia. Curious.

No blood for oil, it seems, but blood for Liberia. And let us not automatically assume that Liberia will be an immaculate intervention. Sure, we may get lucky and suffer no casualties. But Liberia has three warring parties, tons of guns and legions of desperate fighters. Yet pressure is inexorably building to send American troops to enforce a peace.

There are the usual suspects, Jesse Jackson and the New York Times, but the most unapologetic proponent of the no-Iraq/yes-Liberia school is Howard Dean, Democratic flavor of the month. "I opposed the war in Iraq because it was the wrong war at the wrong time," says Dean, but "military intervention in Liberia represents an appropriate use of American power."

What is it that makes liberals such as Dean, preening their humanitarianism, so antiwar in Iraq and so pro-intervention in Liberia?

The same question could be asked of the Democratic Party, which in the 1990s opposed the Persian Gulf War but overwhelmingly supported humanitarian interventions in places such as Haiti and Kosovo.
The only conclusion one can draw is that for liberal Democrats, America's strategic interests are not just an irrelevance, but also a deterrent to intervention. This is a perversity born of moral vanity. For liberals, foreign policy is social work.
Hence the central axiom of left-liberal foreign policy: The use of American force is always wrong, unless deployed in a region of no strategic significance to the United States.
I'm not as high minded as Mr. Krauthammer. I just think they're nuts. As for the question at hand:
Regarding Liberia, it is rather odd for the Europeans, who rail against U.S. arrogance, to claim that all the armies of France and Germany, of Europe and Africa, are powerless in the face of Charles Taylor -- unless the Americans ride to the rescue.
Odd indeed.
News you can use!
Charles Storch astounds in the Chicago Tribune with What to do when your robotic dog won't behave:
Samantha Stewart has owned Patton for a few months, and she is concerned because her robot dog gets temperamental, sits and whines a lot and disdains playing with his ball. The 27-year-old graduate student from Aurora has come to the Sony Gallery in Chicago hoping for a cure.

Otis Gates, a traveling vet-shrink-Mr. Goodwrench-sales rep for Sony's Aibo line of entertainment robots, hooks Patton to a laptop computer for a diagnostic exam. Head, legs, sight, hearing, speaker, lights, sensors, camera check out fine. Gates' snap diagnosis: Patton is just going through a stage -- unfortunately it happens to be the one known as Crybaby Aibo.

Gates tries an instant fix, replacing the programming Memory Stick in Patton's belly with Aibo-ware Pal Special Edition. Miraculously, Patton is on his ball "like white on rice," says Gates. Next patient.
If I tried to reprogram Old Blue, I'd likely get bit!

Much more on Aibos and their owners by following the link, but the following gives you a hint:
Karl Kochvar, 45, a scenic artist at the Goodman Theatre, is at the gallery to meet other owners and show off to cooing passersby his four Aibos -- Masaki, Mirai, Morosato and Yuki.

Like many Aibo owners, Kochvar finds the robot technologically fascinating and a practical alternative to a biological pet. "It's hard to have a dog in Chicago, especially in an apartment," he says. "These guys are ready to go when you are. They won't curl up in your lap on a cold winter evening, but they won't wake you up at 2 a.m. because they have to go."
Binder, 53, is an Aibo luminary. He and his wife own 25 of the robots, which he believes is the largest private collection. The Rancho Cordova, Calif., plant engineer estimates he has invested about $40,000 in Aibo, including accessories and memorabilia.

Because Ayou was his first purchase and remains his alpha dog, Binder says he was devastated when Ayou wouldn't boot up. Missing his pet, he was driven to a procedure he otherwise finds ghoulish: He put Ayou's core workings in the body of another of his Aibos, Blanca, and ran Ayou's personality there. He is optimistic AiboPet or Sony will restore his household.
He acknowledges getting emotional each time he has had to ship one back to Sony. "When I send them to the vet for repairs and when the FedEx ambulance picks them up, I cry," he says.
Always remember to backup your pet.
I love a parade!
(Via The Corner) Malia Rulon regales us with tales of the Kucinich tidal wave amongst the "celebs":
WASHINGTON - While many of his Presidential rivals are pursuing endorsements from mainstream groups such as labor unions, Democrat Dennis Kucinich has cornered the market on eclectic endorsements.

The latest come from Doris "Granny D" Haddock, a 93-year-old New Hampshire woman who walked coast-to-coast two years ago to support a rewrite of campaign finance laws, and Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and leader of the M.K. Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence.
Wow, those are head turners!
Other endorsements for Kucinich's White House bid: actor Ed Asner, country music singer Willie Nelson, lifestyle guru Marianne Williamson and author Studs Terkel.

"Maybe that is the real America," said Henry Graff, a Presidential historian and professor at Columbia University.
One can't help but wonder what planet Henry lives on.
But the lawmaker argues that this growing list of high-profile support, which also includes actors Peter Coyote, James Cromwell, Hector Elizondo and Elliott Gould, could turn that around.

"If people whose names that are virtually household words are supporting my campaign, it's likely that with their help 'Kucinich' will soon be a household word," he said...
Hey it's a household word around the Country Store already. It wouldn't be though, if the damn dog down the road didn't make midnight visits to the front steps.
"They were excited about it. And I'm hearing today about Granny D. People know who she is."
There must be interesting demographics for this bunch.
However, Graff said there is likely a strategy behind Kucinich announcing, for example, that Ben & Jerry's Homemade ice cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield support him.

"It isn't accidental. It's cool, as the kids would say. And why aren't Ben and Jerry as cool and worthy to be listened to as Newt Gingrich endorsing a candidate?" Graff said.
As James Taranto would say, "What would we do without experts?"
Vermont Vacuum Alert!
Deborah Orin elaborates in the NY Post - 'Liberal' Dose of Vermont Could Doom Dean:
The buzz in Democratic circles is whether anti-war 2004 contender Howard Dean is the new George McGovern. Maybe it should be whether he's the new Mike Dukakis.

Dukakis was the governor who boasted of a "Massachusetts Miracle" when he ran against the first George Bush in 1988 — only to see it get derided as the "Massachusetts Mirage."

And some Dem rivals, as well as Republicans, believe Dean's record as Vermont governor could be just as vulnerable. Maybe the "Vermont Vacuum" instead of the "Vermont Vision."
Some highlights:
Rivals also question Dean's temperament, pointing to his 2001 boast that he once vetoed a record 13 bills just because he was mad at state lawmakers.

"It wasn't necessary for me to do that," he said. "I was just so angry with them. I just thought they were too big for their britches."

Some challenge Dean's claim that he, as a doctor, made dramatic progress in getting health-insurance coverage for Vermonters. Rival John Kerry claimed at a May debate that Vermont's coverage rate was 90.5 percent before Dean took office — and 90.4 percent when he left. Dean disputes those figures.
Wotta guy! But it's really unkind to say such things about Josiah.
Yes, the Sun has the photo
Tusk tusk, Mr President:
These naughty elephants showed a total lack of wildlife reserve in front of President George Bush and wife Laura.

They were on safari with daughters Jenna and Barbara in a 4x4 when the frisky beasts started bonking.
Good thing Bubba didn't see anything like this on his African safari!
Peace and love, man!
Kerry uses Lennon to lure peaceniks:
Sen. John Kerry is distributing fliers in New York with a 30-year-old photo of him and Beatle John Lennon to woo anti-war presidential voters as he competes with rival Howard Dean in blasting President Bush on Iraq.
A spokesman for Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, said she was traveling and couldn't be reached for comment about the political use of a photo of her late husband.

A Kerry spokesman said he saw no need to seek Ono's permission to use the photo, which was snapped by a Kerry pal and is a cherished memento in his office.

The flier, which seeks New York volunteers, shows Vietnam vet Kerry, clad in a leather flight jacket, with Lennon at a 1971 anti-war rally in New York.

Lennon's name isn't used, but he's identifiable in his cap and trademark glasses. Kerry aides say he introduced Lennon at that rally.
I haven't seen the flyer, but since the French guy keeps the following on his Senate web site, it's likely it.

Where's the Japanese conceptual artist?

Woohoo! I'm convinced.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Did that French guy serve in Vietnam?
(Via Instapundit) Virginia Postrel remarks on the Esquire (dead tree version) photo album of the Democrat presidential candidates:
The captions, by photographer Michael Edwards, describe how the shots were set up, and they generally make the candidates sound like pleasant guys--with one big exception. I did not make this first sentence up:
Senator Kerry's initial idea for the shoot was to pose with his wife on the type of gunboat he captained in the Vietnam War.
But the final photo was even better:
Kerry is on the phone in the photo, looking away from the camera, while his wife faces forward and gestures as though she's throwing something at us. Compared even to the awkward-looking Howard Dean, it's not a flattering picture. Kerry seems self-absorbed, and his wife seems weird.
Sounds pretty lifelike to me!
Where'd they all get to?
The Tobacco Road Fogey wonders what happened to all the folks with their knickers in a twist over the "stifling of dissent" when Michael Savage got the boot? I think it's because he's not as good looking as the Dixie Chicks. But it's close.

On a related note, since Savage got axed for wishing death on someone, Brent Bozell wonders why Bryant Gumbel, Nina Totenberg and Julianne Malveaux didn't get the same after similar hijinks. Here's my favorite of the three:
From To The Contrary, PBS, November 4, 1994:

USA Today Columnist/Pacifica Radio Talk Show Host Julianne Malveaux, on Justice Clarence Thomas: “You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that's how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person.”
That Julie is a real sweetie!
They thought of everything!
From Reuters - EU to get its own anthem:
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A future European Union constitution will include a flag, an anthem, a motto and a Europe Day, despite British reticence about such state symbols.

The 105-member Convention on the Future of Europe decided at its final session on Thursday to add a reference to the symbols of the 15-nation bloc, due to be enlarged to 25 states next May, in a draft constitution submitted to EU leaders.

The official EU anthem is the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the flag is the dark blue banner with 12 yellow stars in a circle, and the motto is "United in Diversity", not dissimilar from the first motto of the United States, "e pluribus unum".
Actually, it's not similar at all, but then it's Reuters.

But the sad part is that they are just going to write the existing anthem into the EU constitution along with the designated times for lunch breaks and all the other flotsam and jetsam. I was hoping for a song contest! However, there's still room for fun because the anthem has no lyrics and the words for "Ode to Joy" are clearly not diverse enough. I'm sure the bureaucrats would welcome suggestions. Who knows, they might write the lyrics into the constitution as well!
Higher Education Alert!
Anastasia Hendrix amazes in the SF Chronicle with 'Kill the president' e-mail prompts probe - Santa Rosa teacher gave assignment:
A political science instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College is being investigated by the Secret Service for telling his students to compose an e- mail to an elected official that included the words "kill the president, kill the president," a school administrator said Wednesday.

Michael Ballou, a part-time lecturer who teaches an "Introduction to U.S. Government" course at the college's Petaluma campus, intended the assignment to be an "experiential exercise that would instill a sense of fear so they would have a better sense of why more people don't participate in the political process," said Doug Garrison, the vice president and executive dean of the Petaluma campus.
I guess that 'splains it!
My, my
Robert Windrem reports over at MSNBC that U.S. satellite feeds to Iran jammed:
U.S. government officials as well as Iranian Americans and communications satellite operators confirm that all U.S.-based satellite broadcasts to Iran are being jammed by an unknown group or individual, possibly Iranian agents operating out of Latin America.

Over the past several months, private Iranian-American groups have begun increasing their broadcasts into Iran using Telstar-12, a communications satellite over the eastern Atlantic. All are trying to encourage protests against the regime in Tehran.

Iranians, using small satellite dishes, have been able to receive the broadcast, whose mix of news, entertainment and exhortations to protest have gained a large audience, particularly in Tehran. Then on Sunday, the Voice of America began its Farsi-language broadcasts.

Not long afterward, the jamming intensified.

Over the past few days — as the fourth anniversary of the country’s most widespread protests approached — the broadcasts have been jammed, not in Iran but somewhere in the Americas, according to officials and investigators.
But he added, Loral has yet to find the source. “They can’t find the exact location. They say it is probably in the Caribbean or South America. They are reworking the numbers and may have something better in the morning.”
The investigator said Intelsat, a big satellite consortium that has a nearby “bird,” is telling people the jamming is coming from South America.
A representative of one of the Iranian-American broadcasters said he suspected the jamming came from Cuba, which has excellent relations with Iran, but offered no proof.
You know, it would really be awful if the US Navy conducted a missile test in the Atlantic and the missile was knocked off course by a pirate jammer. It might even land right on the jamming equipment!
Whinefest alert!
Last Sunday in the Observer, one Cristina Odone substantially increased the level of global whining with a slam on the Italians. Her biggest complaint seems to be that they watch TV and that's why they elected Silvio Berlusconi. A more detailed dissection is available at Cose Turche, but just so you know how far Odone is into the ozone, check out the next piece in the article:
Meeting Bill Clinton when you're eight and a half months pregnant makes you feel like the little boy who is handed a delicious-looking ice cream cone - only to find out it's made of plastic: you can't do a thing. Blocked by your huge stomach, every notion of flirting is frustrated - and you have to make do with watching everyone else at it.
Hey Cristina, I'm sure Bubba won't mind!
It's our old pals at the BBC
Porphyrogenitus weighs in with a review of the BBC's Iran coverage:
So I just listened to a BBC World News Service radio report on Iran and the student movement (Julian Marshal was the anchor that hour).

It focused on how much better things are in Iran since the revolution, on reformers in the Iranian parliament, and the emphasis was on the young people just wanting change to go faster than was reasonable. They did mention some arrests, but the focus was on how much freer everyone is in Iran these days. From the BBC report, one would have absolutely no understanding of the reasons behind the protests, except that they're ungrateful that progress isn't going faster than it is (but how things have improved! - great emphasis was placed on a split between the young people who just don't get it and the older people who were around in the early days of the revolution and understand just how good things are in Iran now).
More by following the link, but somehow the BBC asshats never mentioned the goat faced mullahs running the place with the assistance of brutal vigilante thugs. Andrew Sullivan provides more (and some pictures) and observes:
How do these BBC apologists for theocratic terror live with themselves?
Good question. It was bad enough when the leftists would defend Stalin's every drunken stagger, but these medieval Islamic whack jobs can't even claim to be the "vanguard of the proletariat".

UPDATE: The Wog Blogger enlightens us on BBC fare:
I have just seen a promotion for a BBC program shortly to screen. Called ... wait for it ... Holidays in the Axis of Evil.

Pesky little varmints aren't they?

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Chilling effect alert!
From James Taranto's Best of the Web:
So let's see if we have this straight. A congressional committee intimidates a private broadcaster into changing his programming decisions, and this is supposed to be a victory for the First Amendment? The Sun notes that McCain last month "proposed legislation that would require industry giants such as Clear Channel to sell some holdings."

McCain seems to have forgotten the First Amendment's first five words: "Congress shall make no law . . ."
All the whiners forget the first 5 words.
Mark Steyn Alert!
No smoke without firing:
The German Euro-MP offended at being called a Nazi by the Italian prime minister had himself just denounced the Italian government as neo-Nazi. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the goosestepper, one would have thought. But call a German a Nazi and the Continent reacts like a dowager duchess coming across the footman in cutaway breeches.
I would say the strategic interest of the rest of the West lies in the EU becoming as big a laughingstock as possible, so I enjoyed the week immensely.
It was delectable.
It'll look swell on your coffee table!
Michael Wolff gives a rave pre-review at New York magazine's - En Guardian!
The British are coming—again. The launch of a U.S. edition of the unabashedly liberal Guardian may be just what the Bush-whacked U.S. press needs.
Then, during the next break in the conference, Rusbridger took me across the street to his office and showed me the prototype for the new American Guardian. Its tentative form is as a weekly magazine, quite unlike any other weekly magazine that has been started in the U.S. in the past generation.
Wowee - that ought to be grist for the mill. The UK leftists cross the pond to give us benighted folks the benefit of their wit and wisdom! Based on their recent treatment of the Imamu Baraka flap where they initially identified the governor of New Jersey as a Republican, I'd say there will be plenty of hijinks to keep us amused. But how do they expect to come out ahead on the deal? Socialist toilers daily consuming the pages with devotion? Not hardly.

A clue is provided by Michael Wolff himself. In case, you are unfamiliar with Mikey, he was most recently famous for hauling his skanky butt over to Qatar during the Iraq war and complaining that he was only being briefed by a one star general. He wanted Tommy Franks to drop everything and hop on over to answer questions. Before that, Mikey was famous for writing a book detailing his experiences as a dot.bomb entrepeneur which famously featured his screwing over of employees and investors:
Those who worked with Wolff and were owed money won't let him off that easily, reserving special language for him: "megalomaniacal scumbag," "unbelievably sleazy," and "scoundrel," all gladly on the record.
Beginning to get the picture? It's that new kind of leftism without all the grubby hoi polloi. Mikey's Guardian rave elaborates:
there’s been something of an exceptional, and profitable, highbrow British invasion. Arguably the two most successful print publications to be introduced during the past decade in the U.S. market are The Economist and the Financial Times.
Both The Economist and the FT succeeded by pursuing the opposite strategy of almost every other U.S. publication: offering too much, rather than too little, information—and charging plenty for it.

Rather than a lot of readers at a small price, the idea is fewer readers at a greater price (whereas most U.S. magazines discount their subscription price as much as 80 percent). Rusbridger figures that the American Guardian, charging a hefty subscription price, will be in safe financial territory at a 100,000-level circulation. (Advertising, in this approach, is welcome but not the main driver.) In other words, against the trend of all other commercial media (wherein the price the consumer needs to pay or is willing to pay gets progressively lower), the job here is to make the magazine—the writing, the attitudes, the opinions, the content—worth more by being better, smarter, more exclusive.
Being foreign helps. It’s not a mass-produced American product. It’s imported. Authentic. Hand-tooled. Tasteful. Indeed, in some fine irony in this jingoistic age, its non-American-ness (and, hence, its ability to be anti-American) makes it worth more.
The smarty thing—which runs against the Fox-led Zeitgeist—might, counterintuitively, work here too. The Wal-Marting of the publishing business (as well as every other business) invites the inverse strategy: You’re too dumb, too low-class, too fat for our magazine. Sorry, it’s not for you. That’s a marketing approach that could potentially be worth real dough.
The American Guardian, lovingly and exclusively crafted for the coffee tables of limousine liberals. I can hardly wait.
It is possible for things to get sicker
Check this out and don't miss the gallery.

UPDATE: Alert reader Del Simmons tells me that I've been had by an Internet hoax. Dang! Now someone is going to tell me this is a hoax too.
Old dogs, new tricks?
Over at Samizdata, David Carr has some fun with the "Social Democrats", who seem to be, well, look at what Gerhard Schroeder has to say:
If we want to generate growth and jobs, we must lower those costs that eat into take-home pay.

Financial constraints are not the only driving force behind our reform programme. The reform of the welfare state is also a precondition for the success of future generations. In the past, the main topic of welfare politics was the redistribution of wealth. First, we must remember that wealth can only be redistributed once it has been generated. Second, we should note that redistribution has limits, beyond which mere monetary transfers encourage dependence. Third, elaborate systems of redistribution tend to produce "side-effects" in opposition to the desired results.
When he finishes rubbing his eyes, Carr also notes similar mutterings from Peter Mandelstam in the UK. Carr's comment:
Coincidence? No, I don't think so. Nor is it due to mere fickle fate that both of these portentious editorials appear in the pages of the Daily Social Worker where messages like this are about as common as gay bars in Riyadh. Now, I'm taking a calculated guess here but I'd say this is all part of a cunning plan to prepare the ground ahead of a big summit on 'Progressive Governance' (subtitled: 'Oh Christ, we've been rumbled. What do we do now?) to be held here in London this coming weekend.
Wouldn't it be fun to watch them emerge from their smoke-free rooms next week and jointly announce to their tax-consuming constituents that the booze has all run out, the snacks have all been eaten, the guests are all tapped out and that the party is definitely over.
Yikes, that would put the fox in the hen house!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Tooth Fairy Alert!
How sick is this? Hmm, the gold record might be interesting. If I had $2,000,000 burning a hole in my pocket.
This Tuesday thing is getting out of hand!
Boner gets teaching job in Franklin:
A controversial former mayor of Nashville has found a new calling. Bill Boner has been hired to teach government at Franklin High School this fall.

Boner served in the state legislature and represented Nashville in Congress before his election as mayor in 1987. He also became engaged to his fourth wife while still married to his third.
Yeehaw! That must have lead to hilarity!
Franklin High principal Willie Dickerson says she's not concerned about Boner's personal life and thinks students will enjoy having a teacher with so much experience in his subject.
Euro-tiff 3
Kate Connolly and Bruce Johnston have the latest in the Telegraph:
Efforts to end the row between Berlin and Rome unravelled yesterday when an Italian minister invited Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to holiday with him, saying he was "not as bad as most Germans".
Will the fun ever stop? And he's wrong, of course - Gerhard is far worse.
Look for the union label!
Heather Sokoloff astounds in the National Post with Save the marigolds, says Saskatchewan Premier:
The Saskatchewan marigold scandal has gone all the way up to the Premier's office.
The controversy required Norma Woodward, a 74-year-old Avon saleslady and grandmother of 13, to devote most of yesterday retelling the story on radio call-in shows, of how she and 20 other senior citizens -- most of them older than her -- raised $50 and planted the marigolds in a flower bed by their cottages after learning that park budget cuts had left no funds for flowers.

She said it pained her friends to see the bed tangled in weeds so close to their tidy front porches, at an intersection between two roads leading to beaches on Madge Lake, where she and her husband built their cottage 45 years ago.

Mrs. Woodward says it would be nice if Mr. Calvert apologized on behalf of the unionized park workers who uprooted the flowers in protest less than a day later, but she is not holding her breath.

"As far as I am concerned, we've made our statement and it's over and done with," she said. "The unions need to learn to be more human. If no one raises a stink about it, nothing will ever change."

But Bob Bymoen, president of Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union, says the cottagers should be directing their anger at the government instead of the park staff. "This was a desperate act on their behalf to get someone to notice that they do not have enough money to run that park," Mr. Bymoen said.
I'll bet it's the fault of those pesky taxpayers!

I'm not holding my breath for any criminal charges - the big question seems to be who the Saskatchewan Premier should get to replant the marigolds, the union goons or the old folks.
Is there something about Tuesday?
Thomas Whitaker shocks in the Sun with Hulk doll's monster willy:
SHOCKED six-year-old Leah Lowland checked out a mystery bulge on her Incredible Hulk doll — and uncovered a giant green WILLY.
Click through for the inevitable photo.
That'll be uplifting!
Elephants mating logo causes consternation at Thai AIDS conference:
BANGKOK (AFP) - An irreverent alternative logo for the World Aids Conference to be held in Thailand next year, which features two elephants mating, has caused outrage among event organisers, a report said.
"The logo fails to convey any meaning," an indignant Doctor Sombat Tanprasertsuk of the Diseases Control Department told The Nation newspaper.

"There is only one message people would get: that community workers are obsessed with sex."
But Sombat indicated he saw the funny side of the incident, quipping that the alternative logo could not even be described as educational because "it doesn't show the male elephant wearing a condom at all."

Community groups displaying the flags at the AIDS conference said they were design to create fun and attract attention to their programmes at next year's world symposium.
And we all know that fun is in short supply at world symposia. To help out, here's a motto: "Is that your trunk or are you just glad to see me?"

Monday, July 07, 2003

Yet more whiners with a big sad on
Apparently it was a slow news day at the Guardian - Halfords gives in over chimp ads:
Halfords has bowed to pressure from animal rights groups and vowed never again to use live chimpanzees in its advertising, despite the advertising watchdog's decision to reject more than 100 complaints about the campaign.

The car and bicycle equipment chain has agreed not to use the chimps again after the Captive Animals' Protection Society called for a boycott and organised demonstrations outside its stores in protest against an advertising campaign featuring live animals riding bicycles around a Halfords store.
Remind me not to invite them to the circus.
It's not our fault!
In a press release hyping a new book, I was pleased to discover that it's definitely not our fault:
In a provocative new book, Dr. Barnard reports on recently conducted but previously unpublicized studies, showing that cheese, chocolate, sugar, and meat all spark the release of opiate-like substances that trigger the brain's pleasure center, making these foods so hard to resist. Breaking the Food Seduction (St. Martin's Press, June 2003) is expected to bolster the case of the new fast-food lawsuits seeking redress for America's obesity and diabetes epidemics. The book also includes new information proving that industry has purposefully manipulated our tastes for unhealthy foods.

"Until now, Big Food has tried to defend itself from Big Tobacco-like lawsuits by arguing that unhealthy foods, unlike cigarettes, are not addictive. Ever since the first fast-food lawsuit was filed last summer, industry has argued that customers who get suckered into high-fat meals-like cheeseburgers and shakes-have only themselves to blame for their health problems," says Neal Barnard, M.D. "But it's high time we stopped blaming ourselves and recognized there's a real physiological reason we feel inexplicably drawn to these foods."
And we can sue somebody with big pockets! Yum!
News you can't use!
Comic Book to Unveil Princess Di Superhero:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Britain's Princess Diana will be reincarnated as a mutant comic book superhero this fall, according to publisher Marvel Comics.
"At a glance, Diana may not resemble the flying, teleporting, lethally oscillating characters that populate my comic, but the strange power she exerts from beyond the grave certainly makes her a valid subject to explore," Milligan said in a statement issued by Marvel. "And, of course, she looks great in Spandex!"
I wonder if Di's heirs gets royalties?
It's another Euro-tiff!
Fresh Italian jibe deepens dispute with Germany:
A junior Italian minister has called Germans arrogant, beer-drinking slobs, just days after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi evoked a storm of controversy for comparing a German member of European parliament to a Nazi prison guard.

In a letter published in the right-wing daily La Padania on Friday, industry ministry undersecretary Stefano Stefani characterised German tourists as ''hyper-nationalistic blonds'' invading Italian beaches.
Schroeder's spokesman Bela Anda told the Tagesspiegel daily: ''This is a blanket insult to all Germans who like to holiday in Italy. If these comments meet with the approval of the Italian government and remain without consequence, the Chancellor will cancel his planned holiday in Italy.''
Stefani also had words for Schulz in his letter.

''Schulz ... probably grew up taking part in noisy burping contests, after drinking gigantic amounts of beer and gorging himself on fried potatoes.''
Europe won't achieve union without a vast transnational bureaucracy. Wait, they've already got one.
Today's Hoot!
From James Taranto's Best of the Web:
Promoting Better Journalistic Habits
"When I grew up," writes the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, "there was no Ritalin; just a big nun with a ruler, warning you not to be 'dreamy' or 'a bold, brazen piece.' "

Is she still alive? If so, the Times should hire her to edit its op-ed page.
Isn't that special!
World Net Daily disgusts with Justice: Can Constitution make it in global age?
In a rare appearance on a television news show, Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer questioned whether the U.S. Constitution, the oldest governing document in use in the world today, will continue to be relevant in an age of globalism.
"We see all the time, Justice O'Connor and I, and the others, how the world really – it's trite but it's true – is growing together," Breyer said. "Through commerce, through globalization, through the spread of democratic institutions, through immigration to America, it's becoming more and more one world of many different kinds of people. And how they're going to live together across the world will be the challenge, and whether our Constitution and how it fits into the governing documents of other nations, I think will be a challenge for the next generations."
It's not just the illogic (it always was "one world of many different kinds of people"), it's the smarmy Kumbaya attitude.

But that's OK - unlike the President and Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices don't take an oath to defend the Constitution.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

They're back!
Having failed to stop the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the naked wingnuts are lending their bods to other causes - Naked protest over GM crops:
Around 30 people have staged a naked protest against GM food.

The protesters spelled out "no GM" with their bodies in a meadow at Forest Row, East Sussex.
You can follow the link for the usual distance shot, but be warned - there's a close-up that's a tad scary.

And Tim Blair points to Nude protest against Pamplona running of the bulls which has a much more comely protestor. But it's all for naught:
The demonstrators' views did not seem to carry much weight with ordinary Pamplona residents.

"San Fermin festivals without bulls would be meaningless," said Isabel Lopez, a 33-year-old clinic worker.
Maybe they're just flashers?
Ranks a little thin? Hire a protestor!
Mariano Castillo reports in the San Antonio Express:
AUSTIN — When 41 temporary workers, many of them students, boarded a bus from Corpus Christi to McAllen to attend a redistricting hearing there Tuesday, they expected to make easy money as seat warmers.
"Hey Trudy, I got a gig!"
One day before the Senate Jurisprudence Committee held its hearings in McAllen, several chamber members approached Niskala. He said they were concerned about the impact that changes to the 27th District would have on the city's ability to keep its military bases open.

Unable to muster many chamber members because of short notice, one businessman agreed to pay the minimum wage for the temporary workers, Niskala said.
One of those decisions put the temporary workers — who were given little instruction other than to attend — on the same bus as members of the American GI Forum, another Corpus Christi delegation whose protests and heckling had brought the Brownsville hearings to a standstill.

Jeff LeBeau, the general manager of the temp agency, checked on his employees at the bus loading area and promptly was asked to leave. He said he complied, though it added to his suspicion about the project.

"Our understanding was that the job was to ride the bus, attend the hearing, and maybe help out hanging a sign. That was it," said LeBeau, who also would not name the businessman who paid for the workers.

The temps became concerned during a food break outside McAllen, where GI Forum leaders gave instructions on what to do if they were arrested, LeBeau said.
"But then I got really suspicious!"
LeBeau assured nervous employees who contacted him by cell phone that they did not have to participate in a demonstration. As many as 15 to 18 employees stayed on the bus, and the other half joined the protest, LeBeau said.
"And then I sat on the bus for hours."

Another experiment in democracy, brought to you by the Democrat party.
Hey kids, it's living history!
(Via Natalie Solent at Biased BBC) At The New Criterion, John Gross reviews the upcoming BBC historical epic, Cambridge Spies:
Fresh from its triumphs in Iraq, BBC television has turned its attention to Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, and Anthony Blunt. The series which it has been devoting to them, Cambridge Spies, is no small affair, either. Four episodes, each an hour long; a budget of some ?6 million; superior casting; buckets of advance publicity—the whole thing was plainly intended to be a jewel in the Corporation’s crown.

The early nineteenth-century prime minister Lord Melbourne is said to have remarked, after he had been persuaded to see a play by Ben Jonson, “I knew it was going to be dull, but I never thought it would be so damnably dull.” Anyone familiar with the current state of the BBC would have been naive not to foresee that Cambridge Spies was going to hold up a distorting mirror to its subject, but just how damnably distorting it was going to be would have been hard to guess.
Well, there's a surprise! Here's some details:
Two incidents, for example, are shown playing a crucial role in pushing the quartet towards communism. In one of them, a Jewish girlfriend of Philby’s at Cambridge is subjected to Nazi-style insults. In another, college domestic workers who are on strike are beaten up by right-wing undergraduates. The most notable thing about both episodes, in the context of a supposed docudrama, is that neither of them actually happened: they were both dreamed up by the scriptwriter. And there are many other fabrications, including a KGB attempt to assassinate Franco which fails because Philby, decent and humane fellow that he is, can’t bring himself to pull the trigger.
Whew! Get a shovel, the stable needs work!
Nothing's working? It must be Sunday morning!
Comments are turned off since my commenting service is casters up. Permalinks for today's posts won't work until this afternoon, based on recent history.