Saturday, August 23, 2003

Letters, they get letters!
The Smoking Gun has a selection of letters sent to the judge in the Kobe Bryant case. I wonder if these people knew that their letters would become part of the public court record? In any case, I agree with TSG that this one is a prize winner, although I have a sentimental affection for Jesus Christ, the Black Messiah.
And speaking of the United Nations
Con Coughlin sums it up in the Telegraph - The UN is unfit to take over rebuilding Iraq:
Officials at the United Nations compound in Baghdad could not have made themselves any clearer. During numerous meetings with coalition commanders to discuss the security arrangements for the Canal Hotel, the UN's administrative headquarters, they were insistent that they did not want a large American presence to protect them.

Even when members of Iraq's interim government received warnings that the remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime were planning a suicide truck attack against a "soft" target in the Iraqi capital - such as the Canal Hotel - the UN officials reiterated the view that they could look after themselves.

Salim Lome, the UN spokesman in Baghdad, was still defending this position last Wednesday morning as American and Iraqi rescue workers continued to recover survivors from the remains of the hotel.

UN officials "did not want a large American presence outside", Mr Lome explained, because it would have compromised their position as independent intermediaries between the Iraqis and the "occupying powers".
They must have started believing their own PR. Babes in the woods meet the Big, Bad Wolf.
Yet, perversely, it is the Americans, rather than the UN, who seem to be getting all the blame for last week's tragic attack on the UN.
For that and everything else, too.
More whining from the peanut gallery
Neil Mackay has an "exclusive" in the (UK) Sunday Herald - Former UN chief: bomb was payback for collusion with US:
The reason the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were bombed is because the UN has been taken over by the US and turned into a “dark joke” and a “malignant force”, according to one of the UN’s most internationally respected former leaders.

Denis Halliday, the former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, attacked the UN as an aggressive arm of US foreign policy in the immediate aftermath of the truckbomb attack on the UN mission in Baghdad which killed at least 23 people – many of whom were Halliday’s former friends and colleagues.
If the UN is an "aggressive arm of US foreign policy," I wish someone would tell 'em to get on the stick - they're doing a lousy job. As for Mr. Halliday, check the link for more of his delusions. He must have lost his tin foil beanie.
How are you going to keep 'em down on the farm?
Saddam's Hometown Gets Unrestricted Web:
TIKRIT, Iraq - The first words Ahmed Abdullah typed in the Google search engine were "George Bush."

The 19-year-old wanted to access the president's Web site, something he couldn't do under restricted and tightly controlled Internet service during Saddam Hussein's rule.

On Saturday, Saddam's hometown of Tikrit got its first postwar Internet cafe, where residents could browse any site without fear of being monitored or blocked.

"I like it. It's beautiful. There is so much information I can get," Abdullah said, surrounded by U.S. soldiers and commanders who crammed the one-room Internet cafe they had helped set up with $24,000 from the 4th Infantry Division's budget.

The owner, Hashim Hassan, 33, ran a similar cafe for two years before the war. But in those times, "any political sites, opposition or sex pages, were blocked. Now there are no restrictions."

Still, the risks of cooperating with American troops in a region that is a hotbed of Saddam loyalists and resistance to U.S. occupation are high. Last week, in the main street where Hassan's cafe sits, just around the corner from the 4th Infantry's sprawling headquarters, Iraqi guerrillas killed a U.S. interpreter and wounded two soldiers in an ambush.

The blast and shooting shattered the windows and destroyed some of the computers on the first floor of the glass-and-marble building. The opening had to be delayed for a few days.

Hassan said he wasn't afraid working with the Americans would make him a target. But his co-worker, Naeb Hassan, said Tikrit, 120 miles north of Baghdad, remains a dangerous and unsafe place where "some people love Saddam."
He may know more about the local situation than I do, but I'd say this guy is going to be a prime target for the Saddamites and nutjob Islamists. And cutting off Internet access is just about their speed - after they check out all the camel photos.
Here's a plan
Over at (headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona) Rocio Ayuso amuses with Hispanics blast impounding of vehicles in L.A.:
Los Angeles, U.S., August 22, 2003 (EFE).- Hispanics in the South L.A. municipality of Maywood are angry at what they say is a discriminatory campaign in which police are stopping Latinos and impounding the vehicles of those without a driver's license.

"We're not talking about agents of law and order but of official corruption, as though this were Latin America," an irate Felipe Aguirre of the Comite Pro Uno, an activist group organizing protests against the practice, told EFE.
If irate Felipe were more acquainted with the USA, he would know that impounding the cars of unlicensed drivers is the standard practice in most places for obvious reasons. Wait, maybe he does get it:
Although the underlying reason for the regulation is road safety, the Comite Pro Uno, supported by the nationwide League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, allege the manner of enforcement in Maywood has made it a new form of racial discrimination.

"They're taking it out on the immigrant community," said Aguirre, after pointing out that the number of vehicles impounded in the community exceeded the total for the rest of the state of California.
Of course, it could be that the town is overrun by unlicensed immigrant drivers. But Felipe, why don't the immigrants just get licenses?
The vast majority of undocumented immigrants do not have a driver's license, because documentation is required in order to obtain one.
Ah, those kind of "immigrants" - the illegal alien kind. And here's another puzzle:
Maywood is "99.9 percent Hispanic," as attested by the fact that even the council members are Latino, but the traffic cops are "all white," Aguirre said.

The activist alleges, however, that the problem is not only another instance of racial discrimination.

According to Aguirre, the massive impounding of vehicles in the Hispanic community is aimed at fattening the municipal coffers with easy money obtained from the most needy, whose cars are usually worth less than the fines that must be paid to get them back.
So according to Felipe, the Latino city council is using racist white cops to fatten the town coffers. What a tearjerker! And I bet they are claiming they are just trying to keep a horde of unlicensed drivers out of town, eh Felipe?

If I can stop sniffling long enough, I'd like to make a suggestion. The illegal aliens wouldn't face such an awful quandary if they'd just head back across the border. Why don't they go home and stop breaking the law in the USA? Problem solved. Of course, Felipe would then miss out on his 15 minutes of fame.
Today's Hoot
David Carr at Samizdata - The devil rides out
Have you had a bad day? Got a problem? Is your life a mess? Are you sick? Lame? Poor? Lonely? Unemployed? Or are you just fed up, listless and overwhelmed with feelings of exhaustion and hopelessness?

Well, you can always vent your frustrations by blaming your troubles on George W. Bush. Why not? Everyone else does. For everything. From perished pensioners in Paris to stubbed toes in Sarajevo to nosebleeds in Nairobi there is not a misfortune or a twist of cruel fate anywhere on the face of this planet that cannot be laid squarely at the varnished door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Friday, August 22, 2003

30-year robot project pitched
Japanese researchers in robot technology are advocating a grand project, under which the government would spend 50 billion yen a year over three decades to develop a humanoid robot with the mental, physical and emotional capacity of a 5-year-old human.
Is there a shortage of 5-year-olds?
Security fears stall bill letting illegal immigrants get licenses
Sacramento -- A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses stalled Thursday after running into security concerns from lawmakers and county sheriffs.

The legislation had been on the fast track after Gov. Gray Davis said he would sign the measure. But amendments made this week -- including one that would double the cost of renewing licenses for all Californians -- raised red flags.

"Last year, the governor wanted stronger security. This bill is 15 steps backward," said Nick Warner, legislative director for the California State Sheriffs Association. "I don't think the world has changed that much."

Except, he noted, for the Oct. 7 recall election.
Next Gray will be patrolling street corners in sequinned hot pants.
Three strikes and you're out
The AP reports Brazilian Rocket Explodes on Launching Pad:
SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) - A rocket undergoing final pre-launch tests exploded on its launch pad Friday, killing an unknown number of people, officials said.

"There are dead, military and civilians, but we don't know how many," said Brazilian Air Force Col. Romeo Brasileiro.

The explosion destroyed the VLS-3 rocket, which was undergoing tests at the Alcantara Launch Center near Sao Luis, 1,460 miles north of Sao Paulo.
It was Brazil's third failed attempt to send a Satellite Launch Vehicle into space with a research satellite.

A rocket launched in November 1997 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean after suffering engine problems shortly after blast-off.

In December 1999, another Brazilian rocket developed problems and failed three minutes after takeoff. Officials remotely destroyed the rocket.
Brazil's rocket base is a relic of a past military government, but even with the socialists in charge they still have a space program. The base does have a useful location in being close to the equator. On the other hand, why would a country as poor as Brazil be in the space business itself, instead of renting out the place for others to launch from?
How weird is this?
The UK Times reports that the family of the late Victor Kiam has sold the Remington electric shaver business to Rayovac - Kiam family cuts ties with Remington. That's fairly straightforward, but how about the end of the article?
Victor Kiam took over Remington in 1979, in one of the earliest leveraged buy-outs, after the company had lost $30m in five years. Thanks to cost cuts, including a management cull, he bought Remington back to profit in a year.

He become a household name in the 1980s through the television adverts featuring lines including "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company" and "shaves as close as a blade, or your money back".

The ads did not, however, represent his first TV appearance. Mr Kiam, credited with inventing the Cross Your Heart bra while at Playtex, which he joined in 1959, is believed to have modelled the product in a TV ad, his identity disguised.
Say what? Must have been quite a disguise.
Another crisis manufactured on the left
Investor's Business Daily has a few words on rising gas prices - Refined Tastes:
Energy: Gasoline prices are soaring again, especially in the West. Is this another oil company "conspiracy" to jack up prices? Or is something else at work?

You've probably seen the images on the evening news: long lines of frustrated drivers snaking out of Phoenix-area stations, sometimes waiting hours for a turn at the pump. You might also have seen pictures of gas station marquees in California, where prices topped $2 a gallon.
It didn't take much, really. A few unplanned refinery shutdowns in California for maintenance and the like. A refinery breakdown in Washington. A ruptured gas pipeline in Arizona. That kind of stuff.

But it had an immediate impact on gasoline prices. Is this just another instance of oil industry "gouging"?

Hardly. Go back to the last time gas prices soared, in 2000. After that, Congress turned its dogs loose on the oil industry to find out what malevolent role, if any, it played in causing the sudden price surge. The answer came back: none.

This time around, the oil industry may again provide a tempting target for PR-hungry pols and angry environmentalists.
Ya think? Howie Dean is probably warming up his tonsils.
Again, it's the wrong target. Crude oil prices are actually edging down; only gasoline prices are rising. Something else is at work.

Who deserves the blame? There are many culprits. The green movement. America's rampant NIMBYism. Washington's urge to overregulate air quality.

No matter how it's argued, our current energy woes stem from one thing: We don't have enough refineries to make fuel.
The last time a new oil refinery was built in the U.S. was in 1976, and obviously quite a bit has changed since. Like about 28 million more cars on the road. And those cars, though more fuel-efficient, are guzzling more gas than ever — 40% more, the Federal Highway Commission says.

We have fewer oil refineries to make more gasoline — and more types of gasoline — than ever. Today there are about 150 refineries in the U.S., down from more than 300 as recently as 1980. From just a few types of gas back in the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. now requires 13 types across the country.

So any shortfall anywhere, as now in the West, instantly turns into higher prices. You see, people can't just go elsewhere and buy more. That's the tragedy of so-called boutique gasolines.
The shortage of refineries reminds me of the creaky power grid. And the asinine requirement for 13 different types of gasoline is typical bureaucratic Wonderland. Thanks, ecoweenies!
Those Pesky Superheroes!
Superhero Ban for Kids 'Ridiculous':
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has slammed a decision by some kindergartens to ban children from dressing up as superheroes, saying the move was "political correctness gone mad."

At least a dozen centers for pre-school children in the city of Melbourne this week declared that they have been practicing a "superhero-free" policy, saying that dressing up as characters like Superman and the Incredible Hulk encouraged children to be aggressive.
Mayor Bill Baarini was quoted as saying it was often the less assertive children who were the victims of aggressive behavior by their role-playing peers.

He denied the ban was driven by ideology.

But Howard told a Melbourne radio station Friday the decision was "just ridiculous," pointing too to a ban by some centers on children singing Christmas carols.
"Wonder Woman and Superman and Batman and all that sort of thing - why not? For heaven sake ... we are losing control of reality. What is wrong with this?"
With all due respect to Prime Minister Howard, the real question is "What is wrong with them?"

Don't worry kids, maybe they'll still let you dress up as Captain Planet.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Maybe things are looking up?
Order not to arrest illegals overturned:
An order by the chief Border Patrol agent in San Diego for his agents not to arrest illegal immigrants on city streets or question them except along the border has been overturned by Robert C. Bonner, commissioner of the new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

Chief William T. Veal was told Friday to recall the Aug. 8 memo, which he issued after protests from the Mexican Consulate over the Aug. 2 arrests in San Diego of illegal aliens seeking to obtain Mexican identification cards.
The memo prohibited agents from initiating arrests in cities, residential areas, near workplaces and locations where day laborers gathered, and from making arrests while driving to their assignments.
Jeez, what's left?
It also described the agents' main priority as the "maximum containment" of illegal immigration at the border and preventing terrorists from entering the country.
And if they get past the border, they're home free?
The order, the officials said, was overturned after a closed-door meeting at CBP headquarters attended by Mr. Bonner and Border Patrol Chief Gus de la Vina, whose agency has been moved to the new bureau from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

CBP officials said Mr. Bonner, who has given the Border Patrol a front-line role in the nation's war against terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, illegal aliens and illicit narcotics, ruled that the order was "overly broad and restrictive" and should be rescinded.

Mr. Bonner also directed the Border Patrol to review its policies nationwide to determine whether agents are enforcing immigration laws in areas outside the immediate border.
And why not?
Chief Veal's memo followed the Aug. 2 arrest by Border Patrol agents of five members of a Mexican family outside the Mexican Consulate near downtown San Diego, all of whom were returned to Mexico. The five were en route to the consulate to apply for matricula consular cards, an identification card issued by the Mexican government to its citizens living in this country.

Deputy Consul General Javier Diaz met with Chief Veal to protest the arrests, while Mexican Consul General Rodulfo Figueroa issued a statement saying he was astonished by the arrests because of their proximity to his office.
Since the only people who need these "identification cards" are illegal aliens, I'd say the lines outside Mexican consulates are a "target rich" environment.

As for Rodulfo's whine, the Border Patrol should show him "proximity" by parking a few paddy wagons outside his office, not to mention the State Department revoking his diplomatic credentials for aiding and abetting illegal activities.

Of course, on that basis, there won't be a Mexican Consulate left in the USA. OK by me.
She's got a gig!
What do you do when you're a broken down leftoid hack who has finally been turfed out of elective office by suddenly awakened constituents?

You get your like-minded university chums to get you a taxpayer funded sinecure, er job, of course! Therefore, it was no surprise to read McKinney accepts position at Cornell.
Cynthia McKinney, the feisty former 4th District congresswoman, is headed for the Ivy League.

Officials at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., confirmed that McKinney has been named a visiting professor at the institution. Under her contract, she will serve as a guest lecturer for three years, beginning this fall.

"Cynthia McKinney is a person of considerable achievement in the political sphere," said Porus Olpadwala, dean of Cornell's School of Architecture, Art and Planning, who served as chairman of the 13-member faculty committee that selected McKinney for the part-time professorship.

"She is an internationally renowned advocate for voting rights and human rights. She has taken clear stands on a number of critical issues and been a strong voice in Congress," Olpadwala said.
That's university speak for "Cynthia's a barking moonbat just like us."

I have to admit I'm glad though, since Cindy has provided so much blogfodder for me. Hey, maybe she'll have Daddy drop by to tell the tykes that it's all the fault of the J-E-W-S. As for Cornell, Ithaca truly is the City of Evil.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Geez, you can't make this up either
The Smoking Gun has the goods on wingnut Al Franken's apology to Attorney General Ashcroft:
AUGUST 20--Comedian Al Franken last month wrote an apology letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, admitting that he was not truthful when he previously sought Ashcroft's views on abstinence.

In June, Franken wrote to Ashcroft seeking the AG's story for "Savin' It," which the performer described as a book "about abstinence programs in our public schools." On its face, the letter (which you'll find below) reads like a joke, with Franken advising Ashcroft to "share a moment when you were tempted to have sex, but were able to overcome your urges through willpower and strength of character. Be funny!" Franken also asked, "Did a young woman ever think you were homosexual just because you wouldn't have sex with her? Be serious!"

Franken's missive, written on letterhead from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, claimed that he had already received abstinence stories from other prominent Republicans, including Condoleezza Rice and Senator Rick Santorum. However, in his July 11 apology, Franken admitted that he had not received those abstinence stories and called his solicitation to Ashcroft, "an imprudent attempt at satire."

The comedian also apologized for writing on Harvard letterhead: "My biggest regret is sending the letter on Shorenstein Center stationery. I can assure you that no one at the Shorenstein Center had knowledge of the letter before I sent it." Franken, who was a fellow at the Kennedy School this spring, added, "I am very embarrassed to have put them in this awkward and difficult position, and I ask you not to hold this against the Center, the Kennedy School, or Harvard in general."
Why not? They gave an asshat like Al a fellowship. Follow the link for more plus a photo of the original letter.
You can't make this stuff up ... especially when it's from Berkeley
Teacher Charged with Selling Sex:
OAKLAND (AP) -- A Berkeley school teacher has been charged with selling sex out of an Oakland apartment.

Shannon Williams is due in court tomorrow on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting prostitution. She was arrested last week after allegedly agreeing to have sex with an undercover officer for 250 dollars.

Berkeley school officials confirm Williams is a teacher in the district's independent studies program.
Those are independent studies all right!
Williams told the Oakland Tribune the incident is a misunderstanding and she will fight the charges in court.

Police allege Williams told them she only works as a prostitute during the summer, to supplement her teaching income.
Ah, nothing like a summer job.

I'm waiting for the NEA to pin the blame on President Bush.
Life imitates humor
Who's got a photo of the blonde Janeane Garofalo?
All the candidates are doing it!
Why cough up $25 on the remote chance you could spend a day with John Kerry when Porn star candidate offers date to big donors!
Porn actress Mary Carey, one of 135 candidates running for California governor, offered on Tuesday to go on a date with anyone offering her a hefty campaign contribution. But that is it, just a date,

Carey said she would offer a dinner date to anyone giving more than $5,000 (3,150 pounds) to her campaign that seeks to replace Gov. Gray Davis if he is recalled by voters on October 7.

Asked if the date could lead to a sexual encounter, campaign aide Jayson Helgeson replied: "I don't think so, that's not part of it. It's like a normal date."

Pressed to clarify what a normal date means for a woman who has appeared in both explicit lesbian and heterosexual scenes, he put the phone on hold to clarify and then responded: "No sex, no matter what."
Why so squeamish about whoring for contributions? If it had been Gray Davis, a campaign aide would have sent over a price list.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Do you feel lucky?

Do you feel lucky?

Steve Brown at amuses with Internet Fundraising Contest Offers Winner a Day With John Kerry:
Political watchdogs say Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry's campaign website contest - where donors contributing a minimum of $25 are entered for a chance to win a day campaigning with the candidate - is really an effort at playing catch-up with web-savvy former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, another 2004 candidate.
Visitors to the website can click on the "This Could Be You" button, featuring a photo of Kerry with his arms around a blacked-out silhouette. The question mark, appearing on the silhouette, makes it clear any contestant donating a minimum campaign contribution of $25 could win.

Visitors are also asked to refer a friend, for which they receive additional contest entries. According to the website, the winner will receive roundtrip transportation, food and accommodations for a trip to Iowa or New Hampshire to spend the day on the campaign trail with Kerry.
"It looks pretty lame," Rich Lowry, editor with National Review, told "I'm not sure who'd want to be that guy - the mystery person featured with Kerry. John Kerry isn't exactly famous for his personal bonhomie."
I agree - spending a day with Lurch would be like watching paint dry without all the fun. Now if they offered me a day with Teresa, the Angolan Enchilada, I'd be getting my wallet out.
Revenge of the Redwoods!
Sequoia Crushes SUV In National Park:
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- A 200-foot-tall giant sequoia tree fell along Sequoia National Park's main road, crushing a vehicle into a several-foot high pile of crumpled metal, park officials said Monday.

The tree, believed to be approximately 1,000 years old, fell Sunday at about 5:15 p.m. along the Generals Highway several miles east of the Giant Forest Museum, said park spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet.

No one was injured but the Jeep Grand Cherokee was destroyed, Picavet said.

The vehicle was parked in a turnout alongside the road.

"They had hiked to a waterfall close by. They said they heard this huge crash like a sonic boom and they saw the top of a tree going over," Picavet said. "They didn't put it together until they got back and saw it had fallen on their car."
I'd like to hear that call to the auto club. "My car is stuck, bring a really big tow truck and lots of chain saws.
"This vehicle made it all the way from Florida without any problems," Picavet said. "We're all interested to see if the insurance company treats this as an act of God."
I'm sure the tree huggers will tell 'em the god in question was Gaia.
Another use for modern art!
Burglar misinterprets bacon mask – so police deconstruct artist's door:
POLICE have apologised to a modern artist after raiding his home when one of his creations was mistaken for human remains.

Richard Morrison, 37, returned from a day out to find his door had been kicked in by officers armed with a search warrant.

The detectives were acting on a tip-off from a thief who had broken into Mr Morrison's house only days earlier.

The burglar, who was arrested for a different crime, told police he had a horrific experience at Mr Morrison's house, in Wavertree, Liverpool.

A Merseyside Police spokesman explained: "He thought he saw a head in a jar. It was obviously a very serious allegation."

The discovery was in fact one of Mr Morrison's exhibits – a mask made of bacon inside a sweet jar full of formaldehyde.

Mr Morrison, a part-time artist who also works for the Criminal Records Bureau, said the creation had been inspired by the work of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

He said: "It's obviously a very macabre piece of work, but I never expected it to get this reaction.

"The police told me that the burglar was terrified – he had a crisis of conscience and confessed his crimes to his mother.
This kind of art is also good if you need an emetic. If you call the Poison Control number, they'll say, "Get to a gallery immediately and view a work by Hirst or Emin!"

I swear I've mentioned ole Damien before, but can't find the post. In any case:
In 2001 a cleaner mistakenly tossed an exhibit of empty beer bottles, dirty ashtrays, coffee cups and sweet wrappers that Damien Hirst created at a launch party for a show of his work at the Eyesto'rm gallery in London into the rubbish bin and the work had to be quickly recreated by gallery staff from photographs.
As for Tracey, most famous for her display of her unmade bed surrounded by dirty underwear and condom wrappers, she's always worth a laugh or two.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Huge honking surprise alert!
Alex Veiga of the AP reports some astounding results from the sociologists at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center - Study: Newly arrived Hispanic immigrant men drove down other workers' wages:
LOS ANGELES - Men working blue-collar and service jobs in 15 states tended to earn lower pay when they were employed alongside newly arrived Hispanic immigrant men because the new arrivals were often paid less, driving down the wages for all, according to a UCLA study.
Who says rocket science is dead? And the article coins a new euphemism, "newly arrived immigrant," for illegal alien.

Oh yeah, they also have a solution:
The study recommends expanding worker protections for the immigrants, enforcing minimum wage standards and extending amnesty.
Deportation achieves the same effect, but somehow the pointy headed types missed it in their "study".

And then there's the closer:
Catanzarite said people should not infer from the study that immigrant labor hurts American workers.
Um, how does that work?
"The findings don't suggest that immigration overall is hurting native-born workers," she said. "Some of these jobs wouldn't even exist if those immigrants weren't here."
There's nothing like scientific precision! Of course, being sociologists they wouldn't know much about science.
Dog eats homework alert!
Charles Hurt entrances in the Washington Times with Democratic presidential candidates lose popularity:
Most of the Democrats running for their party's presidential nomination have lost overall popularity among Democratic voters in key states since starting their campaigns this year.
"Will bloviate for power" doesn't seem to be a winning campaign slogan, I guess. Except for the Kool Aid Kontender, Howie Dean.

The article has a rundown of the Democrat candidates in the early primaries and their campaigns' responses to their diminishing popularity. My favorite:
[In New Hampshire] Democrats' impressions of Sens. Bob Graham of Florida and John Edwards of North Carolina have dropped by nearly half, into dangerously low territory, Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Graham faces similarly low popularity in South Carolina, where his rating has dropped 15 percentage points since he began campaigning. According to surveys conducted by American Research Group, the number of respondents with an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Graham surpasses the number of those with a favorable opinion by nine percentage points.

Graham spokesman Jamal Simmons said the campaign is aware of the problem.

In South Carolina, Mr. Simmons said, Democrats are registering their dislike for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who won his seat in November. In New Hampshire, he said, Democrats are confusing Mr. Graham during telephone surveys with former Sen. Phil Gramm, a conservative Texas Republican who ran for president in 1996.

"It's no surprise that Democrats thinking of conservative Republicans would respond unfavorably," Mr. Simmons said. "We're sure those numbers will change when people get to know Bob Graham of Florida."
Then again, Jamal, maybe they are confusing Bobby with Bozo and that's why his favorable numbers are as high as they are.

Best quote:
Democratic voters seem to have no confusion about Al Sharpton of New York. He is by far the most consistently disliked candidate in each state.
There is yet hope for the republic.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Naughty, Naughty!
The AP reports that Anti-logging activist admits violating tree harvesting rules:
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - A environmental activist who has led high-profile opposition to commercial logging has admitted violating state timber harvest rules by cutting down trees to make way for a new home, a newspaper reported.

In settling a dispute with the state Department of Forestry, Vince Taylor agreed that he violated the regulations last year when he felled trees on property he owns near the town of Mendocino on the northern California coast, according to a report in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

The harvesting created potential harm to the habitat of the red tree vole and the coast lily, which are considered species of "special concern," according to the state.
Not the red tree vole!
Japery Alert!
(Via Linkfilter) "Zsa Zsa Saddam" to taunt regime loyalists! No, it is isn't Arianna Huffington, it's a ploy to catch Saddam:
TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein has his head tossed back, his blonde locks flowing and a filter-tipped cigarette dangling coquettishly between his delicate fingers.

Meet "Zsa Zsa Saddam", the U.S. army's latest ploy in the four-month hunt for the fugitive dictator.

In a campaign set to start on Monday, U.S. forces plan to put up posters around Saddam's hometown of Tikrit showing his face superimposed on Hollywood heroines and other stars in an attempt to enrage his followers and draw them out.

As well as Saddam dolled up as a slinky Zsa Zsa Gabor, there is a busty Rita Hayworth Saddam, a grooving Elvis Saddam and even Saddam in the guise of British-born rocker Billy Idol.

"We're going to do something devious with these," said a chuckling Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Russell last week, as he checked out a range of spoof Saddam pictures taken from the Internet (

"Most of the locals will love 'em and they'll be laughing. But the bad guys are going to be upset, which will just make it easier for us to know who they are."
Woohoo, what a hottie! More here.