Saturday, October 25, 2003


The Sun astonishes with I've got Blaine's trousers:
DAVID Blaine fan Caroline Roney holds up the smelly trousers the 30-year-old magician wore in his glass box — which she hopes to flog for £20,000.

Caroline, 24, caught the grey woollen pants when Blaine hurled them into the crowd at the end of his 44-day London stunt.

She has already turned down a £5,000 offer.

Waitress Caroline, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: “I’m not going to wash them — that will destroy their value.”
Lest you think Caroline is more weird than she actually is, "flog" is British slang for "sell".

Which brings to mind the old Benny Hill skit in which Benny plays Dad sitting in a chair reading the paper when his teenage son comes to him and says, "Dad, there's a woman at the door and she wants to flog something." When Benny gets to the door, you can guess how the woman is dressed.
Dancing in the streets! Or something like that.

The LA Times entrances with Ordinance Bans Public Urination, but all are not happy in La La Land:
Some advocates for the homeless were outraged.
Er, that's what they do. That's all they do.
They accused elected officials of criminalizing an act that many homeless people often have no choice but to commit because of the lack of public toilets in Los Angeles,
That must be it!
... and said officials should instead spend their time trying to solve underlying social problems that cause homelessness.
Good luck, although I'm sure a large infusion of cash to the "advocates" will make them stop whining.
Council members, on the other hand, said the law is necessary because human waste is a problem from downtown to West Los Angeles.

What's especially puzzling to officials is that people seem to be relieving themselves outdoors, even in areas such as Venice Beach, where clean public toilets abound.
Friday's action is the latest in a flurry of quality-of-life ordinances enacted by the council over the last few months. They include increased regulations for taco stands and ice cream trucks, and seizing the cars of those who illegally dump sofas, try to buy drugs or solicit prostitution.
Those pesky sofa dumpers again!

UPDATE: The Curmudgeon has his own pictorial take (natch) on this one and the observation:
All kidding aside, let them piss on on Barbra Streisand's lawn; she won't care.
And maybe she'll toss them a few bucks if they help her hang the wash on the line!
Thanks Gray!

Immigrant license law to tax DMV:
The state office that just about every Californian must visit, the Department of Motor Vehicles, is preparing for an unprecedented rush of business at the same time it copes with serious budget cuts.
At about that time, a new law -- which may be challenged in a referendum -- could go into effect allowing as many as 2 million undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.

The one-two punch is expected to lengthen lines at DMV offices, delay telephone and mail responses, and present the department with a host of logistical complications.

"My estimate is that during the first three months, it's going to be an all-day wait in line if you don't have an appointment," said DMV Director Steve Gourley.

The DMV is trying to ward off chaos at its 166 offices by reaching out to potential new applicants, especially through the Spanish-language media.
Hmm, here's a "outreach" thought - require that each illegal alien talk with Matthew Engel first. He'll explain why American consumerism and automobiles are bad for the environment.

He might even have a lead on a donkey cart!
The Angst is Palpable

Over at the Guardian, Matthew Engel is having a big sad over the environment. Gee, what could that be about, you ask coyly? Yep - "Matthew Engel reports on how America is ravaging the planet".

Same old sh*t, right? Goofball Euroweenie tours the USA and reports back on the dolorous conditions there. Well sort of, but there's some really satisfying boohooing over the nefarious "Bush Administration", the general American public, and even erstwhile tree huggers and tofu eaters. Here are a few of my faves:
Those of us without a degree in climatology can have no sensible opinion on the truth about climate change, except to sense that the weather does seem to have become a little weird lately. Yet in America the subject has become politicised, with rightwing commentators decrying global warming as "bogus science". They gloated when it snowed unusually hard in Washington last winter (failing to notice the absence of snow in Alaska). When the dissident "good news" scientist Bjorn Lomborg spoke to a conservative Washington thinktank he was applauded not merely rapturously, but fawningly.
In the meantime, all American consumers have been asked to do is to buy Ben & Jerry's One Sweet Whirled ice cream, ensuring that a portion of Unilever's profits go towards "global warming initiatives". Wow!
But, in truth, despite the Soviet-style politicisation of science, serious national debate on the issue ceased years ago.
"We're waging a war on the environment, a very successful one," says Paul Ehrlich, professor of population studies at Stanford University. "This nation is devouring itself," according to Phil Clapp of the National Environmental Trust. These are voices that have almost ceased to be heard in the US.
Why has the leader of the free world opted out? The first reason lies deep in the national psyche. The old world developed on the basis of a coalition - uneasy but understood - between humanity and its surroundings. The settlement of the US was based on conquest, not just of the indigenous peoples, but also of the terrain.
This brings us to the third factor: the Bush administration, the first government in modern history which has systematically disavowed the systems of checks and controls that have governed environmental policy since it burst into western political consciousness a generation ago.
But the Bushies have perfected a technique of announcing regular edicts (often late on a Friday afternoon) rolling back environmental control, usually while pretending to do the opposite.
What is really alarming is the intellectual atmosphere in Washington. You can attend seminars debunking scientific eco-orthodoxy almost every week.
Out in the west, words such as enviro-whackos are popularised by rightwing radio hosts such as the ex-Watergate conspirator Gordon Liddy, who passes on to his millions of listeners the message that global warming is a lie. "I commute in a three-quarter-tonne capacity Chevrolet Silverado HD," he swanked in his latest book. "Four-wheel drive, off-road equipped, extended curb pickup truck, powered by a 300hp, overhead valve, turbo supercharged diesel engine with 520lb-feet of torque... It has lights all over it so everyone can see me coming and get out of the way. If someone in a little government-mandated car hits me, it is all over - for him."
In this country, green-minded people can't even trust the good guys. The Nature Conservancy, the US's largest environmental group with a million members - with a role not unlike Britain's National Trust - was the subject of an exhaustive exposé in the Washington Post in May, accusing it of sanctioning deals to build "opulent houses on fragile grasslands" and drilling for gas under the last breeding ground of the Attwater's Prairie Chicken, whose numbers have dwindled to just dozens.
Americans still have a presumption of infinite space. But I have made a curious and mildly embarrassing discovery. In states such as Maryland and Ohio, the pattern of settlement in supposedly rural areas is such that it can actually be quite difficult to find a discreet spot away from housing to stop the car and have a pee.
I better stop before I wet myself too. I guess if you don't want a high pitched whine, you don't give a Guardian writer an expense account and send him to the USA.

Beyond satisfaction at Matthew's discomfort, I was amazed at his "second reason":
There is a second reason: the staggering population growth of the US. It is approaching 300 million, having gone up from 200 million in 1970, which was around the time President Nixon set up a commission to consider the issue, the last time any US administration has dared think about it. A million new legal migrants are coming in every year (never mind illegals), and the US Census Bureau projections for 2050, merely half a lifetime away, is 420 million. This is a rate of increase far beyond anything else in the developed world, and not far behind Brazil, India, or indeed Mexico.
Careful Matthew, this is dangerous ground for a lefty. The talking point on this issue is that uncontrolled immigration is swell, because they are just seeking a better life than they had in Elbonia and we Americans should be big-hearted enough to help out.
Yet extra Americans are not just a problem for the US: they are, in the eyes of many environmentalists, a problem for the world because migrants, in a short span of time, take on American consumption patterns. "Not only don't we have a population policy," says Ehrlich, "we don't have a consumption policy either. We are the most overpopulated country in the world. It's not the number of people. It's their consumption." Ehrlich may be wrong. It is, though. somewhat surprising that the federal government's four million employees do not appear to include anyone charged with even thinking about this issue.
Say what? It's not a problem that our borders are completely porous. The problem is that once the 3rd world people get across the border, they want a better life than they had in Elbonia?

Hey, maybe the boy has really clever plan for stopping illegal immigration! I'll tell you what, Matthew. You explain to the Mexican peasant farmers that once they get across the border to the USA, they should continue to live like Mexican peasant farmers! But environmentally correct peasant farmers of course. I'll bring the tofu and granola.

As for the federal government hiring someone to "think" about the problem. Why should we bother when we get free help from geniuses like you?
Time flies when you're having fun

Arkat Kingtroll reminisces a bit:
My goodness, time does fly.

I remember two years back. Oct. 7, 2001. Twenty days after the war began, and we had just started bombing Afghanistan. We had no idea what would happen—for all we knew, we might be in the bloodiest fighting since Iwo Jima.
Yep and all the handwringers were whining and wringing their hands to help out the war effort. Then there was the fifth column:
Out in San Francisco, the communists were protesting. The Worker’s World Party, AKA the International Action Center, AKA the newly-formed International ANSWER, managed to rally a few dozen people in downtown San Francisco to protest against America’s counterattack against al-Qaeda.

I was there, with a fairly moderate sign—it read “Our Dead Will Be Avenged”.

Well, it’s been over two years. We’ve gone from success to success—some more alloyed than others, but on the whole, everything’s gone far better than I expected. And, well, the anti-America Left is hating life.
I'd break out a violin, but they mostly do that anyhow.
They’ve held a lot of protests. Some got big crowds, some got small ones. Our soldiers keep winning battles, and keep failing to die or kill in large numbers, and that makes it tough for the WWP to get the numbers out there. But they keep trying!

In fact, they’ll be out tomorrow.
Some people like football, some like to march with their wingnut pals. Maybe it's a neat way to pick up vegetarian hotties? Although if it's the WWP, I suspect they look more like Mother Bloor or Rosa Luxemburg.

In any case, Arkat has made his own signs so he can join in the festivities and he shares them with us. Follow the link for a preview.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Who's got the hot toddies?

(Via Best of the Web) Brian McCabe at New Hampshire Public Radio warms the cockles of our heart with Snow and Global Warming:
The Lieberman campaign's lack of traction isn't so surprising after observing their tactics today in Concord. In the middle of a cold, windy day -- with the first snow of the year falling all around them -- a team of young Lieberman supporters were promoting the fact that their man fights global warming. Apparently oblivous to the large white flakes around them, an observer noted, "It's snowing!" Unabashed, one young supporter replied, "That's because of global warming!"
Hey, they just like the part where you throw the virgins in the volcano to appease the weather gods.
The Solons Plan a Road Trip!

Our crack Senators (and previously our Representatives) say it's party time in Cuba!
The Senate joined the House on Thursday in striking at the four-decade-old policy of making travel to Cuba a criminal act, putting Congress on a collision course with Bush administration efforts to step up enforcement of travel restrictions.

The travel ban does nothing to hurt Fidel Castro," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. "It only harms Americans." He was co-sponsor of the measure, passed 59-36, that bars use of government money to enforce current travel restrictions.
If it doesn't hurt the old rogue, why is he always whining about it? Maybe because he wants his fair share of all the tourist bucks? And I do mean all tourists:
Castro appears to be contributing to prostitution and the increase in prostitution tourism by his own tolerance. He remarked that Cuban women are prostitutes not because they needed to be but rather because they liked to make love, and that they are the most educated and the healthiest prostitutes on the market.

But I've got a solution that will make everyone happy. Just knock off Fidel and open the floodgates. I know he's hard to catch, but that's half the fun.
Today's Hoot!

John Derbyshire at The Corner provides insight into ENGLISH LIKE SHE IS TEACHED:
My daughter Nellie is a fifth-grader at a public school in the outer suburbs of New York City. Last night she asked me to help her with her homework. It was a "special" exercise, one of those propagated by New York State to all its schools (so this is my State assigning this problem, not Nellie's teachers). The exercise consisted of a short prose passage on a sheet of paper, with ten blank spaces. There is an accompanying list of words. You have to find the word most suitable for each blank. Here is our solution--a joint effort by father and daughter. The capitalized words are the ones from the list that we thought best fitted the text. All the rest of the text--and I have reproduced it PRECISELY as printed--is from New York State.
"When the day came for me to set a DESTINATION to travel, I knew that I had to plan my COURSE carefully. I was so ecited and nervous, I felt as though I would SEVER in two.

I know that I am very ACCURATE when it comes to finding my NAVIGATION.

I felt REVIVED when I started the engine. After this test, I would be able to fly by myself. I took off into the wind. My plane was unsteady due to the strong GALE.

Suddenly my plane's left wing started to chip off. I was in great DESPAIR. When I looked at the wing, I noticed that it had started to DETERIORATE. Thankfully, the wind started to clamed down and I flew safely to the ground. I felt great JUBILATION when I got my wings."
We got the exercise done as best we could, but it took me a while to clame down afterwards.
And as usual, the laugh's on us.

If you ever examine an old McGuffey Reader or facsimile thereof, you'll discover that 19th century students were held to a rather higher standard than today's students. Hell, higher than today's "educators".
Don't let the garage door hit you on the butt, fellas!

Pop-up ad pusher X10 files for bankruptcy:
The notorious Internet pop-up ads of scantily clad women being viewed from miniature wireless cameras might be gone forever.
X10 Wireless Technology, which sells the cameras mainly through the Internet, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday in U.S. District Court, seeking a voluntary reorganization.
Chapter 7 would have been better.
X10 may have been one of the first companies to take full advantage of pop-under and pop-up technology. It used splashy, colorful ads to draw attention to its Web site from such Web sites as The New York Times.

At its height two years ago, was the fourth-most visited Web site — ahead of well-known names like eBay and TerraLycos, according to research firm Jupiter in Darien, Conn.

The strategy may have backfired. Jupiter found that nearly two-thirds of the people who saw the ads closed the browser within 20 seconds.
And said "#*&!@ popup bastards"!
Well, Duh!

An editorial from the NY Daily News - Straight shooting from Rumsfeld:
Well, certainly Iraq is going to be a "long, hard slog." This is a shocking disclosure? Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been saying exactly this all along. Anybody who thinks he has ever suggested otherwise hasn't been listening.

Still, the bluntness of an internal memo, apparently leaked by some Pentagon unfriendly to embarrass Rumsfeld, is bound to bring aid and comfort to those souls - Democratic presidential candidates and others - who wish desperately to believe that the U.S. intervention in Iraq has been built of smoke and doublespeak and flat-out lies.

There's been nothing of the sort, of course, and the plain-talking Rumsfeld need feel no embarrassment. Out-loud acknowledgment of a "long, hard slog" is nothing more and nothing less than a reaffirmation that the good guys are in this thing for the duration - until they don't need to be there anymore.

And that has been said all along, as well.
It isn't that they haven't been listening - it's that they're lying asshats.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Ruh Oh!

The (UK) Sun is reporting that Germans aim to grab our nukes:
GERMAN defence chiefs want Europe to seize control of Britain’s nuclear weapons under breathtaking EU army plans.

The Sun can reveal the UK would be forced to share its arsenal with the Germans — who are banned from possessing their own nukes.

Documents circulating in Germany’s defence ministry will send a chill through the Pentagon as they expose how EU states want the new Euro army to rival Nato.

An eight-page dossier passed to The Sun states: “Another difficult and delicate area will have to be addressed. That is the transfer of national nuclear weapon capabilities of certain EU countries. They should also be integrated within the European defence system. This needs extensive consultation and the assistance of the non-nuclear states to decide what to do with those weapons.”

Last night shadow defence secretary Bernard Jenkin stormed: “Only British Prime Ministers should have their finger on the nuclear button.

“This paper proves what Tony Blair cannot admit — that people in Europe DO want an EU army which will threaten Nato.”
And even more hijinks:
The devastating document calls for an entirely NEW EU defence department. MEPs would be HANDED the power to send UK troops into battle.

A new EU navy AND an elite commando unit are demanded. Meanwhile Britain and France risk losing their independent voice on the UN Security Council to a Brussels official.

An EU army staff COLLEGE to rival Nato’s would be built — in Germany. Britain’s defence firms would also be FORCED into working with EU rivals.
It adds: “A European army legitimised and financed by the European Parliament is the visionary goal of German policy.”
Hitler didn't need the Wehrmacht to conquer Europe and Stalin didn't need the Red Army. They could have just sent in a herd of bureaucrats.
Aw Jeez! Not this pinhead again!

Joe Wilson is a legend in his own mind

I guess it's all about you, eh Joe?
Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel!

EU elite are filthy pigs, says Bossi :
The European Union's elite are determined to destroy Europe's Christian heritage, Italy's reform minister, Umberto Bossi said yesterday.

He described the elite as "filthy pigs" who wanted to "make paedophilia as easy as possible".

Mr Bossi, leader of the Northern League, said Brussels was "transforming vices into virtues" and "advancing the cause of atheism every day". He denounced the European arrest warrant as a step towards "dictatorship, deportation, and terror, instilling fear in the people, a crime in itself". It would lead to a Stalinist regime "multiplied by 25".

One day Italian citizens would be locked up on the orders of Turkish judges, he told Il Giornale newspaper, which is owned by the family of the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He added that the euro was a "total flop", its inflationary effects costing ordinary people "a fortune" in lost purchasing power.
And that's just for breakfast.
The outburst was a public relations disaster for Mr Berlusconi, who was at the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday for the first time since his calamitous debut as EU president in July.
What's a public relations disaster among the Euroweenies and what's a public relations disaster at home are two completely different things.

More Euro wanking by following the link, but asshat Martin Schulz, the German MEP and professional Berlusconi baiter, whines that Berlusconi should "rein in his coalition ally". I hope they have the stones to tell Schulz to butt out of internal affairs, but I'm not hopeful.
Lying crapsacks

I'm late to the party on this one, but Investor's Business Daily nicely summarizes the situation with the upcoming CBS miniseries that purportedly portrays President Ronald Reagan.
Next month, CBS will broadcast "The Reagans," a two-part miniseries on the former president and his family. Asking for a fair portrayal was apparently too much to expect from the entertainment industry.
Ya think? What else would you expect from that empty suit, CBS Chairman Les "Pantload" Moonves:
The politics of CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves are more conspicuous. He is everything one would expect of the Hollywood left. His credentials include partying with Fidel Castro for four days in 2001 and defending the far-left Bryant Gumbel when his CBS morning show was tanking some years back.

Moonves was also star struck by a certain family from Arkansas that could not be mistaken for Reagan Democrats.

"I used to watch Moonves fawning over the Clintons at the annual Renaissance Weekends on Hilton Head Island," syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz said Tuesday in his blog.
I always liked him hanging with Hillary at the 1996 Democratic convention. As for James Brolin, it's swell that he's got a gig besides humping Babs' leg.

The best part is that these Hollyweird types are so twisted they don't even notice the problem:
To remind the country of what a dimwitted, religious zealot Reagan was, the movie has a scene where his wife, Nancy, played by a self-confessed leftist, asks Reagan to help AIDS patients. He responds, "They that live in sin shall die in sin." Then Reagan, according to Rutenberg, "refuses to discuss the issue further."

That's beyond literary license; Reagan never said that, a fact script writer Elizabeth Egloff even admits to. But because "we know he ducked the issue over and over," she told Rutenberg, she obviously felt it was more a defining moment of his presidency than the historic economic recovery that brought extraordinary job creation.

Well, now, isn't it clear? At CBS, the clowns are all here.
I prefer the term "pond scum".

And as long as we are making stuff up, did you hear that Liz managed to write this tripe while starring in a "one woman, one donkey show" in Tijuana? Neither did I, but it explains everything and makes the story better.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Go Ralphie, Go!

Pressure Grows for Nader to Run
Nearly one in four voters in a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll say the Green Party's Ralph Nader should run for president again in 2004.
Me too!
Nader expressed surprise and said the numbers showed that "people are looking for alternatives to the Democratic and Republican duopoly."
Er, not exactly, Ralphie.
Give goat bothering terrorists one upside the head

Cyber-Attack Target Needs Your Help!
As noted in yesterday's features concerning the DoS cyber-attacks and their likely perpetrators, the top target of the on-line crackers who took so many blogs offline yesterday was a site called Internet Haganah (trans: "Internet Defense"). They maintain a database of al-Qaeda affiliated sites around the net, and also work to get them shut down. Unfortunately, the recent attacks have stressed their resources, and they need your help.
Details by following the link.
As our reader 'Paul' noted:
"I think when he finally gets back up we should all send Aaron 25 bucks so he can mirror his sites. He is doing his part to keep our sorry butts from being blown up by terrorists."
Yes, he is.
And I'd really like to think there was someone in the Federal government who had an eye on these ankle biters.
The elite newshawks are pissed!

Bush Pulls Press Corps Bypass: CBS Says President Declaring a 'PR War' by Speaking Directly to Local News:
An initiative by President Bush on Columbus Day to bypass most of the White House press corps and take his message about what America is doing in Iraq to the American heartland was pronounced a success last week by an administration spokesman.

"It was an effort to reach Americans that get their news from their local television stations," said Allen Abney, a White House spokesman.

However, a CBS report labeled it the "public relations equivalent of a declaration of war."

The Bush media blast came in the form of a series of exclusive eight-minute-long interviews that the White House arranged with the five major station groups it said regularly cover the White House-Cox Television, Hearst-Argyle Television, Tribune Broadcasting, Belo and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Station representatives said no ground rules were set on what questions could be asked.
Er, what's the problem?
At the major networks' news departments, top executives seemed to feel that the journalistic sky had not fallen. They noted the networks had quick access to the video and audio from the regional interviews. Some doubted that the White House gambit would significantly alter the public's perception of the president and his performance.

Still, on a slow news day-because it was a holiday-the fact that Mr. Bush was talking to regional television outlets, but not the networks, made it into the Big 3 network evening newscasts. CBS News White House correspondent John Roberts, whose report was the one that likened the move to a war declaration, echoed the frequently heard opinion that the White House felt that local news interviewers would not question him as strenuously or insightfully as the press corps at the White House every day.
Bwhahaha! There's a hoot. Needless to say, the reporters the President talked to didn't feel that way.

And here's the closer:
It is likely that the Bush administration will take this tack again. Recent research has shown that more Americans get their news from their local stations than from the TV networks. Indeed, a Radio and Television News Directors Foundation study earlier this year found that 49.9 percent of the public said they get most of their news from local stations, while only 23.2 percent said they get it from national TV networks.
Sounds like a smart move to me.

Ow, my head hurts!

Orthodox Russians see red over plans for 'Hindu Vatican' in Moscow:
Alfred Ford, a great-grandson of the motoring legend, Henry, has outraged the conservative Russian Orthodox Church with his plans to build a huge centre for Hare Krishna and Vedic religion worshippers in the centre of Moscow.
Admittedly this is from the Guardian, which always makes one wonder what the real story is, but what's the deal on this?
It's our little pals again

Kabul facing threat from "new species" of terrorists, head of peacekeeping force says:
A "new species" of well-trained terrorist has infiltrated Afghanistan's capital, posing an increasing threat to the already shaky security situation in the country, the head of an international peacekeeping force said.

According to intelligence reports, the terrorists are Arab citizens of Saudi Arabia, Yemen or come from the Russian republic of Chechnya, Lt. Gen. Goetz Gliemeroth, commander of the 5,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, said on Tuesday.
I'm so surprised.
Insufficient Research Alert!

(Via Power Line) The Candidate vs. the General: Did Wesley Clark bother to read his own book?:
Talk about insufficient research: Candidate Wesley Clark has written a book that ignores an earlier book by Gen. Wesley Clark.

In spring 2001, a few years after his stint as commander of NATO forces in Kosovo, Gen. Clark brought out "Waging Modern War," in which he outlined the frustrations of trying to serve every other country in the NATO alliance and his own. He wrote about not getting permission to fight a ground campaign, about not managing to persuade the U.S. Army to use Apache helicopters, about working through constant flak from Allied officers and, not least, from Washington and Brussels.

It was, apparently, a maddening assignment, a product of the kind of coalition and alliance warfare that, for some reason, Candidate Clark feels the need to recommend in his new book, "Winning Modern Wars" (PublicAffairs, 200 pages, $25). You could make the argument that the Bush administration, in Afghanistan and Iraq, remembered the frustrations of Gen. Clark much better than Candidate Clark does.
Based on Weasley's campaign so far, he has all kinds of memory issues.
For those who believe lawyers can replace soldiers and courts can replace battlefields in defeating terrorists and dictators, they have found their candidate. For those who believe that Kosovo was a greater success than Afghanistan and Iraq, they have found their candidate. For those who believe that, instead of invading, we should have spent several years arguing with France and Germany to create a coalition that would have bombed Iraq endlessly while Saddam set about destroying the oil fields, they have found their candidate. Finally, for those who believe Israel is the aggressor and the terrorist bombings can be ignored, they have found their candidate.
That's not fair! They already had Howard Dean.
Another Gas Alert!

Protests Kill Off 'Flatulence Tax' Plan:
The New Zealand government has abandoned a controversial plan to tax farmers for their livestock's flatulence, after the proposal prompted widespread protests - and considerable derision.

Opposition parties slammed the Kyoto Protocol-driven move, farmers threatened a nationwide revolt, and a new movement was quickly born.

Fight Against Ridiculous Taxes, with its obvious acronym, became the slogan of farmers' groups, meat processors, and others across the country campaigning to have the left-leaning government of Prime Minister Helen Clark drop the plan.
I mentioned this last June when the Ecoweenies in the Clark government dreamed it up - now it appears to be gone with the wind.
The flatulence tax idea was part of the Clark government's efforts to meet New Zealand's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, which requires developed countries to reduce emission by specified amounts.

Although the government was initially adamant that the statutory levy would be charged, and said only the practicalities were subject to negotiation, it eventually backed down under pressure.
"Farmers will be relieved that the government looks to have finally got the FART tax out of its system," federation vice-president Charlie Pedersen said in a statement.
So what are the Ecoweenies doing instead?
In a compromise reached with industry groups, Environment Minister Pete Hodgson and Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton have agreed that research already underway into ways of reducing methane emissions could get additional funding, and thus do away with the need for a levy on farmers.
That sounds suspiciously like the difficult research at the Canadian "belching and flatulence" directorate. I think the Kiwis got it right:
The Federated Farmers organized a poetry competition, inviting farmers to have share their thoughts on the tax in (mostly unpublishable) verse.

"I have never herd a cow break wind, but can't say the same for politicians," wrote one of many aspiring poets. "What about a tax on them ..."
There's a never ending source of income.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

News you can use!

Yahoo! Entertainment stuns with Second-Hand Gas Kills 130,000 Americans a Year!
Federal health officials are expected to soon issue a report warning the public about the dangers of second-hand gas. Human gas, that is.

"Second-hand gas, if inhaled on a regular basis, can cause headache, irritated eyes, emphysema, asthma, bronchitis and in many cases, heart attack," says a physician with ties to the Centers for Disease Control.
Lots of laughter too!
"Each year, approximately 130,000 Americans die from second-hand gas -- and many others suffer serious ailments as a result of long-term exposure.

"Gas-passers and non-gas-passers alike must realize the extent to which breaking wind -- commonly called 'farting' -- damages everyone's health."
Due to poor dietary habits, there is now an "epidemic" of flatulence in America, the report warns. The average American produces a staggering three pints of gas and breaks wind 14 to 23 times daily.
Time for the trial lawyers to arrive! And sell your Taco Bell stock!

Er, hold on a sec. This looks like Yahoo! Entertainment, but actually the source is the Weekly World News. I guess they've gone mainstream or Yahoo! has gone tabloid.
Wake me up when it's over

Televangelist's ex sharing Hollywood mansion with porn legend:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former televangelist wife Tammy Faye Messner and porn legend Ron Jeremy are Hollywood Hills mansion housemates for nearly two weeks in WB's "Surreal Life 2" which began taping on Monday.

The odd couple share the house and act as house hosts for 11 days. They will have four other roommates - rapper Vanilla Ice, "ChiPs" actor Erik Estrada, former "Baywatch" actress Traci Bingham and "Real World: Las Vegas" cast member Trishelle. They will also have a celebrity guest move in each week.
One of the show's executive producers Cris Abrego said the casting process took a long time, in part because so many personalities were interested in joining the cast.
So that's where celebrities go when their 15 minutes are up!

But there's better news:
The second "Surreal" installment is in the same house used in the first show, although Abrego said it's been injected with a heavy dose of "bling bling."

"It's very pimp, very Austin Powers love shack," he said.
I'm sure it's a class act.
Today's Hoot

The Times' Secret Link to Clinton:
THE New York Times had a big conflict of interest on Sunday.

The Gray Lady's review trashing "Bill Clinton: An American Journey. Great Expectations" was written by Todd S. Purdum, the husband of Clinton's first White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers - though Times readers weren't informed of his connection to Clinton.
Sounds like it is back to business as usual at the Times.
But Purdum found a quote from Betsey Wright, Clinton's former chief of staff, worth repeating.

Wright, who coined the term "bimbo eruptions," said Clinton's womanizing had "nothing to do with sex" and everything to do with "this inferiority complex . . . I think he's spent his entire life being scared that he was white trash."
Put your mind at ease, Bubba. You are.
Much more than I wanted to know

From Michigan comes some ... er, strange legal news. This snippet will give the idea:
Thomson, who works for a home-delivery food company, has been ordered to stay away from Sparkles and the dog's family as he awaits trial.
No mention of Paul Krugman.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Things are fairly bizarre out

'Wheel' sued for fortune:
A "Wheel of Fortune" winner has sued the show for $2 million, charging the game's exuberant host, Pat Sajak, hugged him so hard he caused severe back injuries.

Will Wright, 38, an accountant and father of two, was a contestant on the hit TV show three years ago during the taping of a special episode in Washington, said Wright's attorney, Gregory Lattimer.

Wright won $48,000.

Sajak was so excited by Wright's big win that he "hurled himself into [the] plaintiff's chest and wrapped his legs around the plaintiff's body," according to the lawsuit, first reported by the syndicated show "Celebrity Justice."
Say it isn't so, Pat!
Today's Hoot

As always, there's lots of goodness at James Taranto's Best of the Web. He has an interesting contrast of the Easterbrook flap with the Arab American Institute hoedown for Democrat presidential candidates. I guess anti-Semitism depends on who said it.

Meanwhile, some of his better one liners:
You've gotta love Reuters. It headlines the story "Bush Tells Mahathir His Jew Remarks Are Wrong." His "Jew remarks"?
Hey, has anyone else noticed that you never see Osama bin Laden and Ted Kennedy in the same place at once?
Along similar lines, the Science Fiction Book Club-- logo: "50 years of great science fiction and fantasy"--is offering for sale Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them."
Canada's National Post reports that the Toronto Globe and Mail has published a ranking of Canadian universities that "awarded top marks to medical and law schools that do not exist."
Today's Barbra Streisand "It Only Applies to the Peons" Award

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics - Howard Dean Leads by Example:
If I felt that America's oil dependence was a matter of national security and was responsible for people dying in the Middle East and money being funneled to terrorists, I would certainly take it upon myself to do what I could to make a difference - no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential the result. Wouldn't you? And wouldn't one of the most obvious expressions of your convictions be the car you choose to drive?

So guess what Howard Dean drives. A Geo Prism? Toyota Prius? Ford Focus? Of course not. According to this article from Dawson Bell, inside the Dean garage in Vermont you'll find a pair of Ford Explorers. That's right, the darling of the environmental left owns not one but two big, gas-guzzling SUVs.
But he's got an excuse:
Dean: Well, I drive an SUV. Naughty, naughty. But I have two children who play hockey and soccer and there was no way I could do without a seven- or eight-passenger car.
That's what us peons say too, Howie!
... most people, generally speaking, hate to be "lectured to" about morality. They also hate environmental hypocrites. You know, people like Barbra Streisand who ride around in limousines, fly on private jets, and own 50,000 square-foot mansions that use more electricity that most grocery stores and then have the nerve to go out and tell you and me to do our laundry by hand to save 1/1,000,000,000 of a megawatt.
Phatty Adams has a dream!

It must be something he ate. Maybe it was slugs.

We're from the United Nations. We're here to nag you.

Those pesky Swiss have the BBC's knickers in a twist - Swiss right in political avalanche:
The far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) has won the biggest share of the vote in parliamentary elections, throwing a decades-old system of consensus government into turmoil.
The party, once the smallest of four governing parties in the Swiss coalition, is now the largest.
The party has doubled its share of the popular vote in the last 10 years.
The "turmoil" is that they will have to rearrange things in the coalition cabinet to maintain proportional representation. What really chaps the BBC's hide is actually:
The party ran an anti-foreigner campaign, in which asylum seekers were portrayed as criminals and drug dealers.
The United Nations refugee agency also said the party's propaganda contained some of the most anti-asylum advertisements ever seen in Europe.
Say what? The United Nations is messing about in a national election?

Yep - UN condemns Swiss asylum rhetoric:
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond said publicity by the People's Party (SVP) was among the most blatantly anti-asylum seen in Europe.

A recent newspaper advertising campaign said left-wing policies had left the country with, among other things, "a brutal Albanian mafia" and "black African" domination of drug crime.
The advertisement suggested that foreigners had played a major part in the surge in violent crime in recent years.

"Instead of severely punishing stubborn, criminal asylum-seekers, we give them apartments, jobs and welfare," it said.
How un-PC!
And Ron is wagging his finger:
"The politicisation of the asylum issue, and rampant manipulation of facts and statistics... to cast asylum seekers and refugees in as ugly a light as possible in support of a fixed political agenda is a disturbing phenomenon wherever it happens," he said.

"Recently in many industrialised countries it's happening all too often," he added.

The agency spokesman said some European politicians were deliberately using the term "asylum seeker" alongside words such as "terrorist", "criminal", "rape", "disease", "fraud" and "bogus" during campaigning.

Correspondents say that while the agency has frequently criticised similar phenomena elsewhere in Europe, these remarks are unusually strong and indicate a growing concern.
That'll learn 'em, Ron!

But hold on a sec!
Meanwhile SVP General Secretary Gregor Rutz described Mr Redmond's comments as "absolutely scandalous" and an interference in Swiss politics.
Ya think?

Ya gotta admire the United Nations bureaucrats. On one hand, they sponsor some of the most decrepit and scandalous Third World dictators who ever lorded over benighted pest holes and on the other, they lecture First World citizens on how it's their responsibility to bring into their homes any citizens of the pest holes who make a break for the border. I believe the technical term for this is "Maximization of Expense Account Opportunities" or perhaps "Enhancing Upside Career Potential".

But spouting off in a national political campaign? That's a new low even for them. On the other hand, we already have UN bueaucrats gadding about on propaganda tours in the USA. How along before one of them pipes up during a campaign?

Depends on your perspective

Poll: San Franciscans favor conservative candidate for next mayor

In San Francisco, a "moderate Democrat" is a conservative.

Best line award goes to the description of the corrupt hack, Willie Brown:
The charismatic and stylish Mayor Willie Brown must step aside after serving his limit of two terms
It's always nice to know that the guy who picks your pocket is a snappy dresser with an engaging personality.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Today's Hoot!

"Siobhan" has some thoughts on Barbra Streisand in Scotland on Sunday - Not such a funny girl:
THE most horrifying sentences in the English language (in ascending order of terror) run as follows. Your bank card has been withheld. This figure is only an estimate. I have written a novel, would you give it a look? The boss wants to see you. This is going to hurt a bit, I’m afraid. Come and see Barbra Streisand sing a song to her dead dog on television.
Say what?
With huge pictures of her ex-poodle Sammy projected behind her, Barbra Streisand last week launched her 60th album, a collection of film tunes, with a rare television appearance, crooning Smile in tribute to her pet, who had been dispatched to the great kennel in the sky 12 months earlier. Here was a showbiz legend taking us through every furball of her deceased dog.
But wait, there's more:
Now 61, it has been years since she had her finger on the button marked ‘perspective’.
Latterly she was even behind her audiences, who could see the punchlines for her onstage jokes rolling up on her Teleprompter before Streisand could mouth them.
Not to jar anyone’s misty, watercoloured memories, but not every Streisand film was well-regarded, even during her heyday. The Way We Were is still loved by grandmothers who sense that Love Story was a little too hard-edged ...
But she had virtually given up on the idea of a permanent relationship when she met actor James Brolin on a blind date in the summer of 1996. The former star of titanic entertainments such as Marcus Welby MD, Hotel and Night of the Juggler bowled her over, perhaps because she had not seen any of these z-list productions. They wed a year later. "We talk deeply and we feel deeply," enthused the second Mr Streisand. "We’ve been known to wake up and suddenly it’s dark again." Either this is love, or they live near the Arctic Circle.
But, of course, the politics is the fun part:
Unkindly known as "Barbra Strident", she gives the impression that she has two huge chips on her shoulder because we do not think of her as a hottie, and we do not take her seriously. But when she harps on about her looks, it sounds like relentless narcissism. And anyone who has been lectured about her sincerely-held political beliefs will confirm that when Streisand gets on her soap box, she’s a bore.

She has been a generous donor to good causes from Aids to conservation charities, to her favourite politicians. But rather creepily, she also spent most of Clinton’s administration around Washington and chumming up with Clinton’s mother Virginia.
Babs and the Hot Springs Hottie - that must have been a dynamic duo!

Much more by following the link. And stay tuned for the impending Truth Alert!
That's more like it!

Also in the San Francisco Chronicle, literary aesthete Mike Davis dons his tin foil beanie and gets the Angstfest back on message. He says the recall was all the fault of talk radio:
The mainstream media has done a poor job of documenting the organization of the recall at the grassroots level where AM radio voices like Roger's, or his counterpart Eric Hogue's in Sacramento, rouse thousands of mini- Terminators.
Ruh Oh! And Mikey tries his hand at pop psychology too:
Arnold Schwarzenegger does add something genuinely novel to the mix. He is not just another actor in politics but an extraordinary lightning rod, both in his movie persona and in real life, for dark, sexualized fantasies about omnipotence.

But the best part? Mikey establishes his literary street cred by dragging in terminally morose author Nathanael West:
In his classic novel "The Day of the Locust" (1939), he clearly foresaw that fandom was an incipient version of fascism. On the edge of Hollywood's neon plains, he envisioned the unassuageable hungers of California's petty bourgeoisie.
Whine on, dude!

But it does make me wonder. In Mikey's world can every racial, economic, and social group be angry except the middle class? I guess that in Mikeyworld it is the job of the middle class to just suck it up and pay for socialist fantasies. The bad news for Mikey and his pals is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are middle class.
Whoa, Nellie!

From the San Francisco Chronicle - Lockyer's shocking choice in recall
Attorney General Bill Lockyer, considered a leading Democratic contender for governor in 2006, stunned a political conference in Berkeley Saturday by announcing that he voted for Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in the recall election.
That'll get the coffee going the wrong direction.
Lockyer's statement came at a conference sponsored by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, where academics and reporters examined the aftermath of the recall election. At the conference, California Democrats, still reeling from the stunning recall of Gov. Gray Davis, turned their fire on each other in a flurry of accusations and finger-pointing.
Another Angstfest.
But the most shocking comments came from Lockyer, who revealed that Schwarzenegger "is the first Republican I ever voted for." He said felt he had to back the GOP candidate because "I thought I was doing what made sense.''

Lockyer said he voted against the recall, but couldn't bring himself to back Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.

"You know people in your profession really well,'' he told reporters after his lunchtime speech to a post-mortem seminar on the recall election. "You know who works hard and who doesn't. You know who's honest and who isn't. And that's all I'm going to say.''
Ruh oh! Sounds like his opinion of the Cruzer is much like mine.

That's not going to sit too well with the Democrat Kool Aid drinkers.
Lockyer's complaints are nothing more than "sanctimonious posturing'' that didn't help keep Davis in office, said an angry Garry South, a top political aide to the governor.
Of course, Garry was grumpy about just about everybody:
Lockyer and Bustamante weren't the only Democrats to catch fire from other party members. South also blasted Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats for backing Bustamante on the recall ballot, which he called "an idiotic notion.''

"There was a lot of silliness out among our officeholders,'' he said. "It was like 'pick a candidate, any candidate' and Democrats would flock to it.''

The lieutenant governor's "No on the recall, yes on Bustamante'' slogan was a nonstarter from the beginning, South added, because Bustamante's real interest was in becoming governor.

"Cruz thought this was a way of sneaking into the (governor's) job with a fig leaf on,'' South said.
Cruz with fig leaf? That's gag inducing.

More California political notes by following the link.