Saturday, August 30, 2003

The rats are leaving the sinking ship!
Carl Limbacher amuses with Hillary to Gray Davis: You're on Your Own:
It looks as if politically doomed Democrat Gov. Gray Davis won't be getting any more help from U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has apparently written off his chances to survive October's recall vote.

Asked yesterday whether she intended to stump for Davis in California before crucial vote, Sen. Clinton told "The Today Show" that she had already been there, done that.

"I was there weeks ago," she explained. "I'll leave it up to the people of California."
Real warm of the witch.

But wait, Christopher Ruddy points to an even more sinister turn of events in Why Gray Davis Is Toast:
Gray Davis is toast, but apparently no one has told him just yet.

He thinks his enemies are the “right wing” and hard-core Republicans, but it is his Democrat brethren who will deliver to him the coup de grace on recall day – to help elect an even more radical Democrat, Cruz Bustamante.
This election may serve as a paradigm for the “divide and conquer” strategy. There is no question that the Democrats can muster about 35 percent of the vote – between unions, minorities, state employees and the like. A Republican in this splintered field, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be hard pressed to beat that base number.

So this is why the Democrats are laughing. They will replace a liberal Democrat with one even more liberal.
Don't worry though, the Curmudgeon has a clever plan. As for me, I think a politician with Aztec warrior fantasies fits right in with the California ambiance.
Today's hoot
From NZ Pundit:
All star Iraqi blogger, the uptight and frequently overwraught Salam Pax, had his parent's home raided by the US troops. Although he wasn't there he claims they knicked his father's Johnny Walker and the troop's informant confused some African carpenters with a Sundanese terrorist group.

Fantastic stuff, should give all his Guardian readers something to get excited about.

Did we ever find out what exactly his parents did for the Baath party?
Shhhh, Gordon! You're not suposed to ask.
It's our little pals again
(Via The Tocquevillian) Four With Al Qaeda Ties Arrested in Najaf Mosque Bombing:
NAJAF, Iraq — Iraqi police have arrested four men in connection with the bombing of Iraq's most holiest Shiite Muslim shrine, and all four have connections to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network, a senior police official told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The official, who said the death toll in the Friday bombing had risen to 107, said the four arrested men -- two Iraqis and two Saudis -- were caught shortly after the car bombing on Friday.

The bombing killed one of the most important Shiite clerics in Iraq, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, who had been cooperating with the American occupation force.

The police official, who led the initial investigation and interrogation of the captives, said the prisoners told of other plots to kill political and religious leaders and to damage vital installations such as power plants, water supplies and oil pipelines.
It's what they do. It's all they do. Until they're dead.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Gimmicks make me grumpy

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Lo! Who is that, prowling amidst the pastry! It is Cracker Barrel Philosopher, hands clutching a MoonPie! And with an ominous grunt, his voice cometh:

"Dang! I told you not to eat beans and then ride in the elevator!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

Her Imperial Heinous Alert!
Sky News says Hillary to run in 2004.

Rush Limbaugh says I told you so.

Scrappleface says:
The so-called 'blogosphere' today released an official statement on the potential 2004 presidential candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton. The complete statement reads as follows:

Please...Oh, Please...Oh, Please. Heh.
I say, "Shall we dance?"
It's that annoying violet sniffer
Kenneth Timmerman has the skinny in French Propose Their World Order:
In an Aug. 25 speech that was almost surreal for its flighty idealism, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin called for a "new world organization" to replace the United Nations as it is currently structured.

At an annual conference in Paris bringing together 200 top French diplomats and Foreign Ministry officials, de Villepin reiterated his view that the United States must cede power to a new "collective-security" organization. "[B]uilding a new world, founding a new order" was "urgent," he insisted, "an immense task that is incumbent upon us." It was France's role to lead Europe to become "one of the founding pillars" of the new system, he said.
He's channeling Napoleon again.
The new collective-security system should be "founded on collective responsibility and world democracy," de Villepin said. In particular, he said that France was now looking favorably to the idea of enlarging membership of the U.N. Security Council and vesting it with expanded powers. While he provided no specifics in his speech, aides later said that he believed Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and a major African power such as Nigeria all should be given permanent seats on the council, along with veto power over all Security Council resolutions, including those authorizing the use of force.

In a direct dig at the Bush administration, de Villepin insisted that no nation should be allowed to use force, even in the defense of its own interests, without specific approval from the Security Council. "Using force is often tempting," he said, but "can only be justified if collective security or urgent humanitarian needs require it." Force must be "a last resort," and "only when the international community, through the Security Council, decides."
Translation from diplospeak - an enlarged peanut gallery will tell the USA what to do and it'll have to obey. And pay for it too, I'm sure.

Dream on, Dominique.
And speaking of wankers with weird hobbies
Drop on by for a laugh:
430 days from now, U.S. citizens will elect their new President. The outcome of these elections directly influences the lives of citizens around the world.

In an effort to establish global democracy, gives people all around the world a voice in the forthcoming U.S. Presidential Election.

Ensure that your voice is heard by casting your vote electronically and add momentum to a worldwide drive to establish global democracy.
Much like MoveOn's "electronic primary" it's a glorified online poll with mailing list building overtones. I'm so excited.
Aztec Warrior Alert!
The best thing about Cruz Bustamante and his membership in the MEChA/Aztlan gang is the whole Aztec imagery shtick. This seems to involve a lot of Aztec warriors vowing revenge (or something) over swooning maidens like this and this. It sure is swell that Cruz has a hobby.

Hey, hottie! I am the Warrior King of California!
It had to happen - Allah has a Blog
In the name of Myself, the compassionate, the merciful, the perpetually enraged, Allah inaugurates this blog and declares it now and for eternity for the glorious ummah, the fruit of Islam, the sons and daughters of Mohammed (PBUH), the Muslims of all nations. AND NO ONE ELSE. Allah wants to be crystal clear on this point because if any Hebrews show up later and start acting like they own the place, Allah is just going to LOSE HIS SHIT.
Ruh Oh!

It's complete with links to "Satans who make Allah feel a little funny in the pants."
Matthew at A Fearful Symmetry reveals The Kiss Worth Missing. Apparently at the MTV Music Awards, in a scripted spontaneous moment, that skank Madonna put a heavy duty lip lock on Britney Spears and then Christina Aguilera. I'm so shocked!

Actually, I mostly hope they don't tell Al Gore and Tipper or who knows what we'll see at the next Democrat convention.
You read it here first!
Some "experts" from the "Smart Growth" crowd hit the wires yesterday with a new study Sprawling Suburbs May Help Fuel Obesity and the Kool Aid drinkers in local newsrooms are lapping it up.
Sprawling suburbs that make it harder for people to get around without a car may help fuel obesity: Americans who live in the most sprawling counties tend to weigh 6 more pounds than their counterparts in the most compact areas.
There is growing recognition that ever-fatter Americans' tendency to be sedentary is at least partially due to an environment that discourages getting off the couch and out of the car. Do adults walk three blocks to the bus stop, or drive to work? Can kids walk to school? Is there a walking or biking path to the post office, restaurant, a friend's house?

In a sprawling community, homes are far from work, stores and schools, and safe walking and biking is difficult. But Thursday's research marks the first attempt to pinpoint just how much that matters.
OK, I'll bite - how big's the problem?
The nation's most compact areas were four boroughs of New York City — Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens; San Francisco County; Jersey City, N.J.'s Hudson County; Philadelphia; and Boston's Suffolk County.

Most sprawling were outlying counties of Southeast and Midwest metro areas: Cleveland's Geauga; Goochland County outside Richmond, Va.; Clinton County near Lansing, Mich.

In the 25 most compact counties, 22.8 percent of adults had high blood pressure and 19.2 percent were obese. In the 25 most sprawling counties, those rates were 25.3 percent and 21.2 percent, respectively.

Those aren't huge differences, Ewing acknowledged. But the risk from sprawl equaled certain other risk factors for obesity and hypertension, such as eating few fruits and vegetables, he said.
Well that's a huge honking problem, fer sure! Zzzzzz. And I'll eat vegetables any day rather than live in the Bronx or Jersey City. These "Smart Growth" weenies won't be happy until we are all living in Bauhaus boxes.

But one thing puzzles me. Why not examine people who live in real sprawl country - farm country? They have to drive everywhere because there is nowhere to walk to if they cared to. It wouldn't be because farm people live rather less sedentary than the rest of the population, would it? That and the fact that they want to condemn suburbs. The AP article obfuscates the source of this stuff, but the base Press Release makes it clear:
The study, Relationship between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Morbidity is being published in a special issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion. Smart Growth America and the Surface Transportation Policy Project have issued a companion report, Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl ...

Smart Growth America is a coalition of nearly 100 advocacy organizations that have a stake in how metropolitan expansion affects our environment, quality of life and economic sustainability.

The Surface Transportation Policy Project is a diverse, nationwide coalition working to ensure safer communities and smarter transportation choices that enhance the economy, improve public health, promote social equity, and protect the environment.
I'm so surprised.
Auld Lang Syne Alert
Molly Hennessey-Fiske in the Raleigh News & Observer provides a blast from the past in The Russians are cunning:
RALEIGH -- The former Soviet general -- the spy, the turncoat -- came to town Wednesday to warn against his own.

"Don't feel that you now have a partner in Russia," Oleg Kalugin, 68, told the audience of about 90 at Raleigh's first International Spy Conference. " ... We have a long history of deception and subterfuge."

With that irresistible lure, Kalugin led the assembled -- a mix of conspiracy-prone retirees, veterans and students -- into the realm of cloaks and daggers in search of his true loyalty.

"Freed," as fellow speaker Nigel West said, "of the shackles of Soviet secrecy," Kalugin detailed his 32-year career in the KGB for the audience, most of whom paid between $250 and $300 each to attend the three-day conference. He still looks the part, with close-cropped hair and a simple khaki suit. His smooth, slavic inflection recalls the era when he spied against Americans on their own turf, recruited agents from anti-war and civil rights groups and churned out communist propaganda.
Sheesh, why did they bother? Out homegrown leftoids are perfectly capable of figuring out how to backstab the nation on their own.
Good thing there's not a tin foil shortage!
AnalogKid at Random Nuclear Strikes nets a beauty:
I'm sure you've all heard about the blackout in London yesterday, but have you checked your local Indymedia sites?

Portland IMC reprinting the BBC, "A power cut is causing major disruption on rail and Tube services in London and the South East."

And the poster comments:"So, Bu$h wipes out power in NY, and now he's messing with the grid in London...can you believe this guy?!"
I didn't know Hillary posted on Indymedia! I bet she looks quite fetching in her foil chapeau.

Which reminds me, as long as it's fancy dress, I better order an "I am the VRWC" tee shirt.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Cruzer has some 'splaining to do!

Have Bustamante show you the secret handshake!


They also love militant Islam and hate Jews. And Cruz Bustamante won't say a bad word about them. Full details at Spiced Sass.

UPDATE: Cruzer makes it official - Bustamante Won't Renounce Ties to Chicano Student Group:
California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the grandson of Mexican immigrants who counts improving race relations among his biggest pursuits, refused Thursday to renounce his past ties to a little-known Hispanic organization considered by critics to be as racist as the Ku Klux Klan.

Instead, Bustamante, who is running to be governor of California, praised the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, or MEChA, and said he still supports it.

"The students who are in MEChA today are just like the students when I was there, pretty much they are trying to get an education," Bustamante said during a press conference in which the first three questions related to his ties to the group.
And what an education it is:
MEChA has used violence in the past to make its case. At a July 4 celebration in 1996, members of the group, who call themselves Mechistas, were videotaped attacking black and white Americans protesting illegal immigration. In 1993, students at UCLA caused $500,000 worth of damage during protests to demand a Chicano studies department. MEChA has also been associated with anti-Semitic groups like Nation of Aztlan.

MEChA's motto is "for the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing."
That sounds inclusive.

UPDATE 2: But wait, there's more - Bustamante Seeks to Regulate Oil Industry in California. The Butterball wants to regulate gasoline prices in California and had a big sad on because of those evil capitalists:
Bustamante did recognize that the oil industry adds significant revenue to the state's economy and employs thousands of well-paid workers in refineries. But he said because of the environmental damage that California faces as a result of being the home to these companies, the state deserves to get something back.

"Because California bears the burden of all the environmental risks, it is even more inexcusable that our prices are higher than states that have no refineries," he said, adding that the clean air standards demanded by the state add only 4 cents of tax to each gallon of gas.
And weird gasoline blends used nowhere else. Even more unfortunate for the fussy little fellow is the fact that California refines less than a third of its gasoline and brings the rest in from out of state refineries. Hmm, aside from Cruz lacking any clue, this could be a laboratory for practical economics. Kind of tough on the natives though.
Mugabe's Pleasure Dome
(Via Rantburg) Everyone's favorite wingnut African dictator, Bobby Mugabe, has the nesting urge - Mugabe's $9m pleasure dome:
Robert Mugabe is building a lavish $A9 million palace on the outskirts of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

Furnishings and security for the President's new residence are expected to send the cost to $15 million at a time when nearly half of Zimbabwe's population is dependent on international food aid.

Contractors are working feverishly on the fittings, while two lakes built on the southern boundary have begun to fill.

The residence offers more than a hectare of accommodation, including two-storey reception rooms, an office suite, and up to 25 bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms and spas. The Chinese-style roof is clad with midnight blue glazed tiles from Shanghai. The ceilings were decorated by Arab craftsmen.

It is three times the size of the President's official residence, State House, and his adjacent offices.

Mr Mugabe has built smaller mansions in Harare and Zvimba, his birthplace, as well a Chivu, the birthplace of his wife, Grace.
Bobby is a busy guy with all that thuggery he has to organize. I guess he feels he needs a few perks.
Construction of a helicopter pad and extensive communications lines at the new site casts doubt on Mr Mugabe's intention to retire, suggesting that he intends to continue running the country from his new home.
Dictators don't retire if they would like to die in bed.
Piscine Payback!
Crazy Carp Have Invaded Missouri's River:
Crazy carp have invaded Missouri's rivers. Two species of nonnative carp have been jumping into boats, injuring occupants and damaging the watercraft.

A state fisheries biologist motoring near Columbia had a filling knocked out of his tooth by a high-flying fish that struck him on the side of the head. Another state biologist in the St. Charles area was seriously hurt when he was hit by a giant carp.
"The sound of a propeller under water makes these fish go crazy," Todd said. "The fish don't jump if you're sitting there without the motor on, but the higher the RPMs, the greater the noise, the higher these fish jump."
Who would have thought you would need a shotgun loaded with birdshot to go fishing? Don't forget to lead 'em!
More on Sparkler Boy
I was so intrigued to hear that Howard Dean was a "national advocate against sparklers" that I did a little Googling and found Dean under fire from Vermont firefighters:
Facing criticism by the top firefighters union official in his home state, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean agreed yesterday to clear the air in a meeting with officials of the New Hampshire firefighters union.

In a letter inviting Dean to the meeting, David Lang, president of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire, wrote:

“While I appreciate your willingness to protect the public from the potential dangers of ‘sparklers,’ we are more interested in what you did as governor to secure adequate fire protection resources for your state, Pre and Post September 11.”

A Dean spokesman this week called the Presidential hopeful “a national advocate against sparklers” in response to criticism of Dean’s record by Steven Locke, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont.
Hey Howie, is that a sparkler in your pocket or are you just glad to see us?
And speaking of Hillary and Howie
From Richard Johnson's Page Six column in the NY Post - Dean Lead Helps Hillary:
August 28, 2003 -- With Howard Dean sprinting away from the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton can now relax and start planning for 2008 - confident that Dean will go down in flames. "Dean is McGovern without the folksy charm," said one observer ...
I think of Howie as McGovern with the charm of a telemarketer.
Another hoot
Emmett Tyrrell at
So it looks like Dr. Howard Dean is not going to get the feminist vote. In his party, that is a large percentage of the vote. Now what if Senator John Pierre Kerry takes the gay vote? And what if the environmentalists go to Congressman Dennis Kucinich? We know that the unions lean toward other candidates, and very few African Americans appear in Dr. Howard Dean's spontaneous crowds.

The problem the clever Dr. Howard Dean faces is that his party is a mélange of one-issue enthusiasts. Dr. Dean has reached for the anti-war crowd, but what about the other groups? He hopes to corral them by striking the one chord that holds them all together, hatred of President George W. Bush. Democrats get very mad when they think someone other than a Democrat is lying to them.
Hey, you can't be a Democrat anymore unless you have a big sad on!
Today's hoot!
The NY Post editorializes - Hillary Knows Conspiracies:
August 28, 2003 -- "I know a little bit about how White Houses work. I know somebody picked up a phone, somebody got on a computer, somebody sent an e-mail, somebody called for a meeting, somebody, probably under instructions from somebody further up the chain, told the EPA, 'Don't tell the people of New York the truth,' and I want to know who that is."

- Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, junior U.S. senator from New York and co-administrator of (among other things) Cattlegate, Filegate, Indonesiagate, Travelgate, Lippogate, the Whitewater stonewalling, her missing (and magically reappearing) law-firm billing records and the pardons lavished on all manner of disreputable souls as she and her husband left office in January 2001.
Still playing the same old tune on her fascist banjo.
Howard the Duck alert!
Deborah Orin's NY Post article, Dean Machine Makes Mincemeat of Routed Rivals, has the latest on Howie's Hijinks including this gem:
All of which has rivals desperately seeking a "silver bullet" to shock Dem activists into thinking twice about Dean - who does have some awkward points in his record as Vermont governor.

Like his lousy relations with America's beloved heroes - the firefighters. The Vermont firefighters union claims Dean gave them short shrift because he didn't join their push for firefighter survivors benefits or safety laws on items such as smoke detectors, left them off a post-Sept. 11 task force and rarely consulted them.

Team Dean hit back by highlighting his role as "national advocate against sparklers."
There's a bold position for you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

It's awful!
Over at Give War a Chance, Emily puts the hammer down on whining crapsack Arthur Miller in "Help, help! I'm Being Oppressed!":
Does anybody else recall their own trepidation following the "disappearance" of Maureen Dowd? What about when Noam Chomsky's limp body was discovered in a roadside brush, a single bullet to his temple? The country coiled in shock when it was announced that traces of arsenic were discovered in the empty box of Krispy-Kremes that ultimately killed Michael Moore. As this is written, a Dixie Chick sits in a dark cell, living on peckings, uncertain of her fate, while Janeane Garofalo hasn't been given the opportunity to co-star in a shit film since literally the start of the so-called "war on terror". When will the nightmare end?
You go girl!

All these wusses mewling about the chilling of dissent are basically complaining that someone had the temerity to disagree with their pontifications. I wonder what they would do if they met up with some bona fide nasty types like Bobby Mugabe or Saddam Hussein? Probably have a mob scene trying to kiss their feet.
Danger! Donks at work!
Craig Cantoni on the Phoenix "gas crisis" and Arizona's primo Donk governor - Gaseous rhetoric from crisis:
There has been no shortage of gaseous rhetoric from Gov. Janet Napolitano, a lawyer by trade, about the gas shortage. Like most liberals and other economic illiterates, her immediate reaction was to blame private industry.

According to Mark Ellery of Napolitano's Commerce Department, the owner of the broken pipeline, Kinder Morgan Partners, has been trying for two years to get the government to approve permits for a new gasoline pipeline from Tucson to Phoenix. Two years.

How times have changed. In 1862, Congress authorized the building of a transcontinental railroad. After being delayed by the Civil War, construction began in 1865 and was completed in 1869. In only four years, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads laid 1,775 miles of track, much of it over horrendous terrain, thanks to government providing incentives instead of roadblocks.

Now it takes years just to get permission to build a pipeline across 118 miles of open, flat desert. Getting permission to build a refinery takes even longer, due to environmental extremists and NIMBYs.
But Craig, I'm sure the desert is the only known habitat of the fulminating sand flea. Digging a trench in the sand and putting the sand back might upset their delicate mating dance and harm the species. Future generations would lose the genetic diversity that might provide humanity a cure for tennis elbow!
Bali bomber thanks anti-war protesters
The man who helped mix the deadly one-tonne Bali nightclub bomb Sawad, alias Sardjiyo, yesterday said he wanted to thank the Australian people who had supported his cause during recent Australian anti-Gulf War protests.

And fellow bomb-mixer Abdul Ghoni urged Australians against forming friendly alliances with America.

"I want to thank the Australian people who supported our cause when they demonstrated against the policies of George Bush. Say thank you to all of them," Sawad said.
I'm sure they think you two winguts are quite welcome.

It's great when all the asshats get together.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

That must be it!
Over in Germany that is - Bad Feng Shui Blamed for MPs Lacking Ideas:
BERLIN (Reuters) - If German politicians lack ideas for reforming the country's struggling healthcare and pensions systems, they can now blame an adverse flow of energy in their workplace.

The German parliament's glass dome, a Berlin landmark, makes for bad feng shui, according to an expert in the Chinese art of positioning objects, buildings and furniture.

"The energy is downright sucked out of MPs' heads by the glass dome," feng shui adviser Wilhelm Wuschko told the mass-circulation daily Bild Saturday.
And I thought it was just because there were so many leftoids hanging about!

So what's the solution?
To keep the energy inside, the dome should be coated with a protective foil, he said.
A giant tin foil beanie! What a plan - it'll defeat those CIA mind control rays too.
Clue Shortage Alert!
NOW/PAC Endorses Carol Moseley Braun for President:
"Today, Women's Equality Day, the National Organization for Women's Political Action Committee is proud to announce our endorsement of former Ambassador and Senator Carol Moseley Braun for president of the United States. Both the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Congress of Black Women join us in endorsing.
I guess gender is more important than honesty to the harpies.
Tired of those "ethical investing" weenies?
You know. The wankers who want you to invest in tofu stores, sandal manufacturers, and organic bean sprout farms. Well you can forget that wussy crap, because UK broker launches 'vice' fund:
Brokerage firm Willis Owen has unveiled plans to launch a 'vice' fund dedicated to putting money in companies shunned by ethical investment campaigners.

It will focus in particular on "high dependency" stocks - shares in firms such as betting shops, and alcohol and tobacco manufacturers - which hold up well during recessions, and prosper during boom times.

Willis Owen said backing such companies can yield good returns for individuals whose consciences are not troubled by their investment decisions.

"It may not be politically correct, but we all know that sex, drugs and rock-and-roll sells," said Willis Owen managing director Richard Craven.

The vice fund, which Willis Owen aims to have up and running within the next few weeks, is based on a similar venture in the US which has generated twice the returns of the broad S&P 500 share index since being launched last year.
Hot dang, time to shift the retirement funds!

Naughty, naughty Cruzer!
Barry Witt and Howard Mintz at the Merc reveal that Bustamante using donor loophole:
Despite a voter-approved measure that was supposed to keep big money donations out of California politics, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is exploiting a gaping loophole in the law that will allow him to collect up to $4 million in large sums from a handful of special-interest donors.

The leading Democrat in the recall race has already received his first big check -- $300,000 -- from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, a San Diego-area Indian tribe with casino interests. The contribution, which the campaign disclosed Sunday, went to Bustamante's 2002 re-election committee, which isn't subject to the $21,200 fundraising limit established by Proposition 34.
Say what? The 2002 election committee?
But Bustamante can legally transfer the money to his 2003 ``Yes on Bustamante'' committee, formed this month to support his campaign for governor in the Oct. 7 recall election, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission, which governs California election finance.
Oh yeah, the Sycuan Band has 120 members. And a big honking casino and a resort/country club.

Good thing the Democrat party is the party of the people or I'd think they might be in the hip pocket of special interests!

BTW: The article has a nice snap of Cruzer too. Wotta guy!

Monday, August 25, 2003

It's War!
The first shot was fired by Tony Ball of BSkyB - BBC 'should sell popular shows':
The BBC should be made to sell its most popular programmes to its commercial rivals and concentrate more on its public service obligations, the chief executive of BSkyB said yesterday.

Tony Ball outlined his radical idea, which would compel the corporation to license series such as The Weakest Link, Fame Academy and Holby City, at the annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

He also revealed the results of a new survey that claims 51 per cent of viewers believe the licence fee is not good value for money - a significant fall since similar research was conducted four years ago.
It must be grating to have to pay a television license fee to the BBC. It would be like National Public Radio collecting a fee on every working radio in the USA.

But then there was a counterattack - BBC launches public attack on Murdoch 'imperialism':
The controller of BBC1 launched an unprecedented attack on Rupert Murdoch yesterday, calling the media billionaire a "capital imperialist" who wants to destabilise the corporation because he "is against everything the BBC stands for".

Lorraine Heggessey said Mr Murdoch's continued attacks on the BBC stemmed from a dislike of the public sector. But he did not understand that the British people "have a National Health Service, a public education system" and trust organisations that are there for the benefit of society and not driven by profit.
That's certainly not much of a recommendation. And we're also pleased to hear:
The BBC has been alarmed by the increasingly close relationship between the Government and Mr Murdoch's British newspapers, at a time when the BBC's relationship with New Labour is strained as never before. The frostiness of the relationship has raised speculation that the Government will consider abolishing the licence fee in its forthcoming review of the BBC's charter.
Now we're talking. And I'm puzzled by the BBC honchos' pretensions to some sort of policy making role. They merely run a TV network on the backs of the taxpayers. Of course, I should not be surprised - that's what the public broadcasters do in the USA too except they have pledge drives.

And finally, the Guardian is in full BBC defense mode. They have to protect their allies in the leftoid media.
Geeks and Chicks Alert!
Ashlee Vance has fun in The Register with Anna K sends Amazon CEO into shock: CEO Jeff Bezos appeared to enter "sexpot shock" while joining tennis star Anna Kournikova for the Friday opening of the NASDAQ exchange.

Mouth wide-open and almost cross-eyed, Bezos looked like a teenage boy making his first journey into the raunchy section of a movie store. Bezos and Anna were teaming up to promote the “Anna Kournikova Multiway Sports Bra." The product, designed by Shock Absorber, will be sold to U.S. customers via only.

Who could blame Bezos for his excitement? Anna may struggle on the tennis court but her form in front of the camera is beyond compare.

She may not need too many of the sports bras, however. Rumor has it Anna is going to hang up her racket due to lingering injuries. She has yet to win a tournament on the pro-tour.
Obligatory Anna snaps by following the links in the article and also here.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Party Hearty Alert!
Tony Paterson in the Telegraph - Schröder's artist friend caught in sex, drug scandal:
A leading German artist, befriended by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and commissioned to paint his official portrait, is at the centre of a scandal after being caught hosting a cocaine party with nine prostitutes.

Joerg Immendorf, a controversial expressionist painter, was arrested last week after a police raid on his suite at Dusseldorf's five-star Steigenberger hotel. They discovered the 58-year-old artist naked with the prostitutes, and 11 grams of cocaine in a Versace ashtray on the bedside table.

Mr Mocken said that Immendorf had confessed to holding similar parties at the hotel for more than two and a half years.
Party on, Dude!
The police, who were apparently tipped off by a rival prostitute who had not been invited to the party, found a further 10.6 grams of the drug in Immendorf's atelier nearby.
There's always a wet blanket!

But what's the connection with Mr. Grecian Formula?
Lurid newspaper reports of the arrest have scandalised Germany, and put a question mark over Mr Schroder's surprising decision to engage Immendorf to paint the portrait which will hang alongside those of other post-war chancellors in the Berlin Chancellery.
A former Left-wing Maoist activist who also owned a well-known bar in Hamburg's red-light district, he is best known for his painting Cafe Deutschland, which takes Germany's post-war division as its main subject. He attracted widespread media coverage two years ago when he married one of his students, Oda Jaune, who is 30 years his junior.

Immendorf's rebel image attracted the attention of Chancellor Schröder, who has made a habit of entertaining Left-wing artists, writers and intellectuals with supposedly "progressive" views since he was first elected five years ago.

Earlier this year Mr Schröder and Immendorf appeared together in St Petersburg for the official opening of the city's reconstructed 18th century "Amber Room" which was stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The chancellor joined the artist to present the city with an avante-garde sculpture by Immendorf, which takes the form of a massively outsized human nose - a fact which reports of the artist's alleged cocaine-sniffing habit have not failed to mention.
Wotta guy!
Today's Hoot
Eric Raymond has an An Open Letter to Darl McBride. The first part:
Mr. McBride:

Late yesterday. I learned that you have charged that your company is the victim of an insidious conspiracy masterminded by IBM. You have urged the press and public to believe that the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation and Red Hat and Novell and various Linux enthusiasts are up in arms not because of beliefs or interests of their own, but because little gray men from Armonk have put them up to it. Bwahahaha! Fire up the orbital mind-control lasers!

Very few things could possibly illustrate the brain-boggling disconnect between SCO and reality with more clarity than hearing you complain about how persecuted your company is. You opened this ball on 6 March by accusing the open-source community of criminality and incompetence as a way to set up a lawsuit against IBM. You have since tried to seize control of our volunteer work for your company's exclusive gain, and your lawyers have announced the intention to destroy not just the GPL but all the open-source licenses on which our community is built. It's beyond me how can have the gall to talk as though we need funding or marching orders from IBM to mobilize against you. IBM couldn't stop us from mobilizing!
If the crew at SCO had the faintest clue, they would have noticed that messing with the Linux crowd is like sticking your hand in a hornet's nest. Then again, the path to profits through lawsuits requires its devotees to be startlingly obtuse.
Please leave the robot at home!
No, it's not Al Gore. Robot Shows Prime Minister How to Loosen Up:
PRAGUE (Reuters) - A robot with impeccable manners charmed guests at a state dinner with his wisecracks and dancing, outshining Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and showing up his often-mocked social stiffness.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi unveiled an improved version of the 4-foot-tall Asimo humanoid on an official visit to the Czech Republic, where the word robot first appeared in author Karel Capek's 1920 play "R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots).

Asimo began working the crowd as soon as he arrived at the dinner late on Thursday, telling jokes, greeting Spidla warmly, and even making a champagne toast before wisecracking that he couldn't drink himself because he is underage.

"Let's drink to Japan and the Czech Republic, and to the friendly relationship between humans and robots," Asimo, made by Honda, said in perfect Czech.

"If Capek could see me, he would definitely be surprised."

Spidla smiled at the robot but seemed at a loss for witty conversation.
It seems to me that talking to robots is like talking to ventriliquists' dummies or puppets - it's OK for kiddie shows, but not something that adults do. I guess I can't muster up the necessary suspension of disbelief.

They should have asked Junichiro to park the robot in the coat room.
Euroweenie Alert!
In France, Nothing Gets in the Way of Vacation
PARIS — Don't get sick in Paris in August.

Not only do hospitals cut back capacity, as nurses and doctors depart for the sacrosanct August vacation. Stores close, restaurants close, even the city's ice cream parlors drop their shutters during the hottest month of the year so that employees won't miss their month-long summer holiday.

Apparently, nothing gets in the way of the holiday, not even grandma and grandpa. This summer's withering heat wave claimed a staggering number of victims — the government talks of perhaps 5,000 deaths, the country's largest undertaker twice that number — most of whom were elderly. The police, undertakers and social service agencies found them in apartments, homes and hotels. The rooms were often as hot as ovens.
The summer heat wave has exposed not only France's slavish devotion to August vacation, but also the breakdown of family ties. French society, experts say, now increasingly turns its back on the elderly.
Much more by following the link, but here's a beauty:
The Italian media were full of reports this month about Maria Di Dio, 82, a widow from Caltanissetta, Sicily, and mother of 12 grown children. The police detained her son Salvatore after he deposited his mother on the doorstep of his brother Leonardo in 105 degree heat, before departing for his August holiday. Salvatore argued that it had been Leonardo's turn to care for their mother, even though he admitted knowing that Leonardo had already gone on vacation.
Warm, real warm.

Speaking of which - Europe Reacts Coolly to Bush's Call to Freeze Charities' Assets
PARIS, Aug. 23 — Europe has reacted tepidly to President Bush's call to freeze the assets of four European charities said by the administration to be sending cash to Palestinian militants. That sets the stage for another trans-Atlantic rift over Middle East policy.
Mr. Bush demanded Friday that the assets of five charities be frozen along with those of six top officials of Hamas, the Palestinian organization whose military wing has claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus on Tuesday.

Four of those organizations are based in Europe: the French-based Committee for Welfare and Relief for Palestine; the Palestinian Relief Association in Switzerland; the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, or Interpal, with headquarters in Britain; and the Palestinian Association in Austria. The fifth charity, the Sanabil Association for Relief and Development, is based in Lebanon.
Mr. Bush's demand highlights a stark difference between how the United States and Europe, with its large and growing Muslim population, have dealt with Palestinian activists. Europe has resisted Bush administration requests that it blacklist Hamas's political wing, which many European leaders contend is a legitimate organization.
Sure, I believe it. The political wing doesn't know a thing about what the military wing is doing. When monkeys fly out of Chirac's butt.
Naked Protestor Pics!
Apparently in San Francisco, the circus is in town. Then again, in San Francisco the circus is always in town.