Saturday, November 01, 2003

Flying High!

Drugs Found In Plane's Peanuts.
Customs officials found 2.6 pounds of powder and rock cocaine in peanut bags.
That'll make you waggle your wings.
Tough Times for the Pander Bears

Dean's Comment on Confederate Flags and Pickup Trucks Sparks Iowa Dust-Up
"I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," the former Vermont governor was quoted as saying in Saturday's Des Moines Register. "We can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats."
Nice try Howie, but you managed to offend a whole bunch of Donk "core constituencies" with that one.

Not to be outdone, Dick Gephardt piped up:
Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, who shares the lead in Iowa with Dean, accused Dean of making a blatant move to win the votes of people "who disagree with us on bedrock Democratic values like civil rights."

"I don't want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," Gephardt said in a statement. "I will win the Democratic nomination because I will be the candidate for guys with American flags in their pickup trucks."
Better, Dick, but those nasty pickups will get the ecoweenies all upset, not to mention the marching wingnuts of the Left who run from American flags like vampires from crosses.

And then Lurch pitched in his two cents:
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts contended that Dean's "pandering" to the National Rifle Association gave him an inroad to "pander to lovers of the Confederate flag."
And to further prove he was no panderer, the French looking guy popped over to a farm for a bit of pheasant shooting. Sheesh, don't tell PETA. I'd say something even more unkind, but the Curmudgeon has got it covered.

Can't take a joke department

CNN Blows! (True, but scroll down the link to find out why this time)
Early in October, thousands of frat boys e-mailed what looked like a Web page to thousands more of their brothers, buddies and buddies' girlfriends. It was an article about a new study that "Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women." The story, which carried an Associated Press byline, claimed that the Journal of Medicine had published the study and, in its online form, included supposed links to other stories as well as the news organization's copyright. But those who read the story realized it was a goof when they saw that among those quoted were Dr. B.J. Sooner, Dr. Len Lictepeen and Dr. Inserta Shafteer, who says in the piece: "Since the emergence of the research, I try to fellate at least once every other night to reduce my chances."

CNN didn't think it was so funny, however, and neither did the A.P. And now the cable news network has sicced its real-life lawyers on the college student who created the virtual mess.

The spoof-or hoax, depending on how you look at it-originated on North Carolina State University's Web space, the Wolf Web, where students can post links, sites and announcements. And not long after it posted, enraged A.P. and CNN representatives called the university's legal-affairs office, charging intellectual-copyright infringement and threatening to sue the writer of the story and, should the circumstances merit it, the university itself.
"Intellectual-copyright infringement" (sic) for a parody?
Bubba takes another massive hit off the bong and prattles on

Clinton urges aid, cooperation to ease globalization ills
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Former President Bill Clinton on Friday urged the United States to offer aid and cooperation to other nations to ease terrorism and other ills that globalization can bring.

"We are drastically underfunding building a world with more partners and fewer terrorists," Clinton said to applause before a crowd of more than 2,000 at Yale University.
Fend 'em off with our checkbooks, eh Bubba?
Ruh Oh!

Student prank that gave the Chinese a fit of the willies
In the history of comical flops, few pranks can have gone down quite so badly as the fake-genital skit performed by three Japanese students in China's Northwest University.

Camping it up in red bras and knickers bulging with paper cups, the performers must have been expecting guffaws or at least shy giggles from the freshmen and faculty they were entertaining at a welcoming party for new students.

Instead, they sparked an anti-Japanese demonstration by thousands of fellow students, internet death threats, and articles in the national media accusing them of attempting to humiliate China and its people.
I guess the laugh was on them.
Kids, don't try this at home!

Train-Toilet Dope Mu$t Do His Duty
The man riding a Metro-North train who dropped his cell phone into the bowl and got his arm stuck trying to retrieve it will have to pay "many thousands of dollars" for the damage done to the train, officials said yesterday.

Edwin Gallart, 41, tried to get his phone after dropping it into the potty Thursday on the 6:19 p.m. Harlem line train that had just left Grand Central Terminal.
Cops and firefighters boarded the train at the Fordham Road station, dismantled the commode and freed Gallart. The cell phone was never found.

"When the moron's arm went down the crapper, so did our evening commute," Brucker said.
But here's the best part:
At Gallart's home in Wakefield yesterday, a woman opened the front door and tossed a foul-smelling brown liquid at reporters outside.
How about an alternative theory - there was no cell phone and these folks merely have an er, ... unhealthy fixation.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Trick or Trick!

In keeping with tradition, here's our scary Halloween picture for 2003:

Halloween Hillary's strange brew - Bubba in a tub?
We don't see many of them around here

Dear Howie,

I don't know what a "metrosexual" is either. But how damn dumb are you, that you claimed to be one without knowing? I mean, it could involve unnatural acts with a crappy car! That would put some rust on your socket wrench now wouldn't it?

Anyhow, if you are still confused about your metrosexuality, I suggest you take this online test discovered by Andrew Dodge. I took it and it told me that not only was I definitely not "metro", but that I was a Redneck! Dang! I thought I was a cowboy.

Thinking of you,
(in a non "metro" way, of course)

Yer pal down at the Store

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Something to remember from The Corner:
Think about it. 1984! Could the news be any better? The nation's economy is growing so fast that you have to go back to the last time taxes were cut this much, at practically the same point after the taxes were cut, to find something to match it.
Democrats Shake Their Booty

It must be jelly because jam don't shake like that! Or maybe it's cottage cheese.

There's a competition for the best line. Is it:
The aim is to make politics sexy for the 18-to-34 crowd, not in a "Sir, the girl is here with the pizza" way, but in a smart, leggy, sassy way.
or is it:
Outside on the sidewalk, Richard Strauss, 34, a former Clinton staffer, reflects wistfully on Da Man. "I'm longing for him," he says.
or maybe:
She's standing with Mario Diab, 28, who's Lebanese. He can't vote, "but I love him," he says, and he means Clinton.
Ruh Oh! Bubba better be careful who's under his desk!

(Hat tip: FR for the link and the juxtaposition of the infamous animated Hillary bathing suit photo.)
They've got to be kidding!

Site Lets Pet Lovers Marry Companions:
If just being the owner and caretaker of your pet isn't enough for you, can help you take your relationship to the next level.
Readers will note that I refrained from any crude humor.
It's that Bubba guy again

Bubba's General Retreat:
WESLEY CLARK'S fizzle from superstar wannabe to self-proclaimed "underdog" is raising new questions in the Democratic Party about former President Bill Clinton's star - and political smarts.
Clinton helped launch Clark in a wave of media buzz by talking up the retired general as one of the Democrats' top two stars - along with wife Hillary - and prodding allies like Mickey Kantor to back him.

But political novice Clark is sinking in most polls, down to also-ran status in Iowa and New Hampshire, and had a few deer-in-the-headlights moments at last Sunday's debate.

Officially, Clinton now insists he wasn't promoting the retired general, but other Democratics don't buy it. "Yeah, and he never had sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," sniffed a rival strategist.
"Clinton is the nudge-in-chief - he can't resist the action. He's dying to be a player, to undermine the other candidates and make sure that the Democrats don't win in 2004," says a New York Democratic activist.

"He's keeping the party unbalanced . . . He will continue to pick and choose his moments to throw other people off their game," adds this activist, convinced Clinton's real agenda is keeping any Dem from a 2004 win so Hillary has a clear field in 2008.

But there's also broad belief among Democrats that despite his public claims of neutrality, Clinton is desperate to stop Howard Dean for fear that he'll yank the Democratic Party too far to the left, damaging it for decades and hurting Hillary's chances in 2008.

The problem for Clinton, many say, is that it's too risky for him to openly take on Dean and put his prestige (and Hillary's future) on the line - that's why he nudged Clark from the shadows.

"Clinton sees himself as having a legacy for the Democratic Party of moving to the center, to electability, and I think in his mind he sees that legacy being challenged from the left by Dean," says a 2004 Democratic strategist.
And the boy loves the spotlight.
Pond Scum

Brown Gets Borked: Her problem is that she's too qualified--and black.
Meet Janice Rogers Brown, the latest judicial nominee headed for a filibuster. Senate Democrats would have you believe this black seven-year veteran of California's Supreme Court is somehow not qualified to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The truth is that Judge Brown is all too qualified, and what scares the left is her chances for promotion. More U.S. Supreme Court Justices--including Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas--have come from the D.C. Circuit than from any other federal court. Democrats don't want President Bush to get credit for putting a black woman on the High Court any more than they wanted him to appoint the first Hispanic Justice, which explains their earlier filibuster of Miguel Estrada.
As Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Justice Thomas and others can attest, liberals reserve their harshest and most personal attacks for minorities with the audacity to wander off the ideological plantation. Judge Brown, the first black woman to sit on the California Supreme Court, is precisely the type of judge President Bush vowed to appoint, "a person who clearly understands the role of a judge is to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench." Her judicial record reflects this principle, no matter the topic at hand or her personal views. Hardly an "extremist," Judge Brown won 76% of the vote in her last election and wrote the majority opinion for the court more times that any other Justice in the 2001-02 term.

But the truth is that the merits are irrelevant to the willful liberal Senate minority that has already filibustered four nominees and is headed for seven. This is about political power, and overturning the results of the 2000 and 2002 elections. The White House and GOP Senators should be embarrassed to let Judge Brown get pounded the way she did last week while barely fighting back.
These stealth filibusters with doilies really get my goat. When will the Senate Republican leaders get some backbone? I want to see the usual suspects on the front page of every paper making marathon speeches to keep a black woman off the Supreme Court. As it is, no one knows about it except the unfortunate nominee who gets used as a punching bag.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Here's a laugh!

Gephardt Plows Down Dean in Iowa
Not content with merely retaking the lead in Iowa, Congressman Dick Gephardt on Tuesday continued to plow through Howard Dean with new attacks on the Vermonter's lack of support for retirement entitlements.

During a speech detailing his plan to solve Iowa's Medicare reimbursement disparity, Gephardt (D-MO) continued to attack Dean (D-VT) even though polls in Iowa now show the former House minority leaders winning in those first in the nation caucuses.

Gephardt said on Tuesday, "As you might imagine, there are clear differences in this campaign on the issue of Medicare, specifically Medicare reimbursements. In 1993, Howard Dean called Medicare 'one of the worst things that ever happened.' He said it was 'one of the worst federal programs ever.' Howard Dean said Medicare should be a 'wholly managed care program.' And most importantly, he supported the 1995 Republican plan to cut Medicare by $270 billion dollars. Well, that plan would have devastated rural health care."
"But two years later, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act cut $200 billion dollars from Medicare, cuts that Howard Dean still supports to this day, saying quote 'I believe I'm a farsighted person.' Well, to me, there's nothing more shortsighted than trying to balance the budget by cutting Medicare," Gephardt said.
Yadda yadda. But here's the good part:
Dean's staff shot back almost instantly.

"It may be close to Halloween, but it's time for Dick Gephardt to stop scaring seniors," Dean Campaign Manager Joe Trippi said on Tuesday.
No word on what Donk candidates would do if they couldn't scare seniors.
Enquiring minds want to know!

(Via FR) Double Bagger:
October 29, 2003 -- YOKO Ono still knows how to get a man to take his clothes off. Peter Jennings was interviewing Ono at last week's ArtWalk event for the Coalition for the Homeless when she somehow talked the news anchor into getting inside a giant black bag with her in front of 500 people at Cooper Union's Great Hall. A few moments later, both emerged with Jennings struggling to put his shirt back on and Ono's own garb disheveled. While no one's quite sure what happened in the bag, everyone was craning their necks to get a glimpse of Jennings bare-chested - including his wife, Kayce Freed, seated in the front row with her mother.
Peter, it's Yoko - the sack goes on her head.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

It's those artistes again

Maggots, skeletons, fear and death. The Turner is back - as healthy as ever:
The leaves are falling and the nights drawing in. And down at Tate Britain an inflatable doll is engaged in sexual activity with another as the two recline on a lilo. The Turner Prize is back.

Yesterday, the work of the four finalists for the prize, to be announced on Dec 7, went on display by the banks of the Thames. The least shocking aspect of the exhibition was the desire, largely unfulfilled, to shock.

There were maggots issuing from decaying flesh, and apples - real ones - rotting on a bronze tree. There were pots containing dark images of child abuse, and an endlessly replayed film of a man running, but never escaping.

It is all about sex, fear, decay and the inevitability of death. So no change there, then.

Many have given up completely on the Turner, mocking it as a receptacle for all that is silly in British contemporary art. But that did not stop the people at the Tate from extolling the qualities of the work being shown.

The gallery no doubt hopes that the sign advising parents with children under the age of 16 to avoid the exhibition will prove to be an immediate crowd-puller. The blow-up dolls will certainly be a must for schoolboys.
Katharine Stout, curator of the exhibition, said: "The work of all the artists is incredibly powerful."

The rotting apples certainly should be, given time.
Hmm, that reminds me. Whatever happened to pictures of poker playing dogs?
Damn, the Frenchies are showing us up for pikers!

France sets targets for expelling migrants. (It's the Guardian after all, so read "illegal alien" whenever you see "migrants".)
The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has launched his toughest and most controversial offensive yet against illegal immigration, setting local authorities individual "expulsion targets" for the coming year.

In a circular last week to France's prefects, Mr Sarkozy said he wanted at least twice as many illegal immigrants escorted to the border next year, and added that he would soon be writing personally to each official giving them a precise target figure for their area.

"The credibility of any public policy on immigration depends on effective execution of repatriation decisions," the hardline minister said in the circular, which was seen by the newspaper Le Figaro. He wants expulsion procedures improved and figures boosted even before a draconian new immigration bill becomes law, he said.

The hyperactive interior minister, France's most popular political figure by some margin, has made controlling illegal immigration one of his top priorities, closing the Sangatte refugee camp near Calais last year and ordering a police crackdown on any immigrants found near the Channel who refuse to apply for asylum in France.

He has already issued police with similar targets and incentives for tackling petty crime and delinquency, arguing that it is important for voters "to be able to see and measure the fact that this government is actually making the changes it promised to make".
This guy can't really be French!

More details and the predictable whining by following the link.
News you can use!

Dr. Fart speaks: Everything you want to know about flatulence, and some things you don't
To understand the nuances of farting, or flatulence, I called upon Dr. Michael D. Levitt, a gastroenterologist and associate chief of staff at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Levitt, 64, could well be called Dr. Fart because he is the world's leading authority on flatulence. He has had 275 articles printed on flatulence in medical journals, as either the principal author or the co-author.

In fact, Levitt's career could only happen in America. "In other countries, no way would a scientist study farts. But for reasons I can't completely figure out, farting is considered wrong in America and people are worried about it. Farts have been good to me. I've done very well, thank you."

Levitt works with four assistants out of a small laboratory on the third floor of the V.A. hospital, about a mile west of the Mississippi River. Every day he receives at least one long-distance phone consultation from a worried farter, almost always a man whose wife has prompted her husband to find out why he cuts the cheese so often.

Levitt's job doesn't end when he leaves the hospital at night, either. "Every cocktail party I go to, I always get at least one wife who comes up to me and complains about her husband's farts."
I'm glad to see that Salon finally got some worthwhile content. Follow the link for a wealth of flatulence factoids, but here's one:
Americans are probably the most supercilious about farts. Other cultures are less squeamish about them. The British explorer and linguist Sir Richard Francis Burton, who first translated the "Kama Sutra" in 1883, contends in one of his many books that a tribe of Arabian Bedouins created a language of arcane codes and warnings through a series of intricately nuanced farts.
Maybe that explains Arafat!
Today's Hoot

Some excerpts from Frank J.'s Bite-Sized Wisdom:
* So, if a suicide bomber is rushing in on a truck, what would Jesus do? I think he'd jump on the hood while firing through the windshield with his .44 magnum.

* Sorry, that was "What would Dirty Harry do?". Jesus would probably have some solution where no one gets killed, but everyone has his or her own style.

* A bunch of liberals have made a Reagan movie and we're supposed to believe it's not a hatchet job? I wonder if when they do a Clinton movie are they going to whitewash everything or will the movie only be sold in adult video stores.

* Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are going to try and solve Middle East problems. That's almost as silly as sending Carter over to solve things. Anyway, so many people over there already seem to be inspired by the movie Fight Club.

* Bill Clinton claimed Tony Blair discussed his health problems with him years ago, but Mr. Blair's spokesman insisted that his irregular heartbeat had never happened before. What!? Bill Clinton said something that's not true? My whole world has gone topsy-turvy.
Hmm, upgrades!

Online game envisions new virtual worlds. Maybe it's Neo and Trinity in The Matrix! Well, not quite:
A new online computer game, which its creators say is more social and creative than other games of its kind, is expected to get its commercial debut on Monday after nearly five years in the making.

The game, called "There," allows people to create virtual personas that can meet with friends, shop and play games. "There" is similar in concept to other subscription-based online games such as Electronic Art's "Sims Online" and Sony's "EverQuest."

But in "There," the digital characters--each of whom correspond to actual subscribers--can be more expressive than in other games, the company said. For instance, they are capable of gestures, such as eye contact, sighing and blinking. The idea is to make a virtual meeting via "There" a more natural and fun experience than an online conversation over an instant-messaging service or an Internet chat room, said Andrew Donkin, chief marketing officer of There Inc., the company that makes the game.

The company designed the game to appeal to adults in their 30s and 40s, specifically women, Donkin said. "There" has few rules, no violence (all activities are PG-13) and no score-keeping. In its virtual world, players can not only chat with each other, but also shop together, sell and auction things, design homes and clothes, go to parties, zip around the game's four islands on "hover boards" and dune buggies and listen to music.
Zzzzz...snort. Excuse me, but I fell asleep.

Is this a woman thing?
Maybe I can get a government grant!

Mining lists of grants awarded by the custodians of the taxpayers' money in Washington is always good for amusement, if you don't mind laughing at your own expense. Even better is when the pork barrel legislators with a professional interest in promoting government largesse pipe up to defend the practice. So here's a smile from Greg Pierce in the Washington Times:
It's "scientific McCarthyism," an attempt to impose a "right-wing ideological agenda," says Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat.
Sigh. Why is nacelle nostrils so upset this time?
Mr. Waxman is upset about a list of more than 250 research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Republican congressional staffers sent the list to NIH officials after an Oct. 2 Capitol Hill hearing in which the propriety of some of the grants was questioned.

In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Mr. Waxman says the "hit list" sends "a clear message to scientists ... that the Bush administration is prepared to attack leading researchers and sacrifice scientific integrity at NIH to further a narrow right-wing ideological agenda."

Mr. Waxman says the list looks like "an inside job," adding: "Officials within HHS itself appear to have been directly involved in the creation of this list."
Dang, it' must be that pesky VRWC again!
Wrong, says Andrea Lafferty.

"The research is my research, mine and my staff," says Mrs. Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition. "We began collecting the information [on the list] under the Clinton administration ... and worked on it for months and months."

The list represents "almost $100 million of NIH grants that we wanted looked into," Mrs. Lafferty says, "such as studying the sex habits of illegal immigrants ... [and] prostitutes that hang out at truck stops." She calls NIH "a bureaucracy run amok."

As for charges of an "inside job" at HHS, Mrs. Lafferty says: "Maybe Henry Waxman ought to learn how to use the Internet, since Al Gore invented it."
Even after the flap, you apparently still have to dig around local papers to discover the grant topics. Here are some from San Francisco:
Among the other UCSF researchers named on the list are Nancy Padian, whose project is studying sexually transmitted diseases within groups of Latino youth in San Francisco's Mission District; William Woods, who is studying HIV risk in bath houses and sex clubs; and Ruth Malone, who is studying the tobacco industry's targeting of gays and lesbians.

The concern for possible funding loss is based in precedent. In July, Congress fell two votes shy of passing an amendment that would have stripped funding of a continuing study of HIV among Asian prostitutes in San Francisco massage parlors.
HIV risk in bath houses and sex clubs! Tobacco industry targeting of gays and lesbians! Who knew?

Hmm, I wonder if they would toss me a few bucks for Kylie Minogue studies?
I have to confess that I have never heard of Kylie Minogue

Hell, I can't even pronounce it. But Ghost of a Flea has a roundup of Kylie news. Summary:
"If an alien landed on earth, he would think Kylie's arse is the world's leader."
Undoubtedly a better choice than Kofi Annan.
It's our little pals again

Looks Like the Work of Al Qaeda
A Syrian car bomber was arrested during yesterday's wave of terrorist attacks in Iraq, raising strong suspicions that "foreign fighters" linked to al Qaeda were behind the latest Baghdad bloodbath.
The Syrian terrorist was shot and wounded after trying to ignite a car full of explosives at a fourth police station in Baghdad.

Police said he got out of a car and tossed a grenade toward the police station and was yelling, "Death to the Iraqi police, you are all collaborators," when he was shot.

"He's a foreign fighter. He had a Syrian passport, and the policemen claim that as he was shot and fell that he said he was a Syrian," Hertling said.
What a surprise.

Monday, October 27, 2003

OK, who spiked Bobby's punch?

Mugabe 'flown to South Africa after collapse'
President Robert Mugabe collapsed yesterday and was flown to South Africa for emergency medical treatment, sources in Zimbabwe said last night.
Sources in Zimbabwe said Mr Mugabe was taken ill late on Sunday and vomited throughout the night, then collapsed yesterday.

He was flown by military aircraft to the Waterkloof air base, a South African military airport near Pretoria, and driven to a clinic for treatment, they said.
Gosh, it would really be too bad if Bobby died in bed. And everyone's getting an early start on the funeral games, even before the old thug is dead:
If he [had] been treated in Zimbabwe, news would have leaked out quickly, prompting popular unrest. By moving him to South Africa the situation can be better managed by his supporters until the extent of his health problems can be assessed.
Supporters of Mr Mugabe, 79, were setting up barricades in the capital, Harare, manned by well-armed riot police.

It was reported that senior members of the "Green Bombers", the notorious youth brigades created by Mr Mugabe and responsible for rape, murder and political thuggery, were being flown to the city.

Any transition of power in Zimbabwe would probably be violent as Mr Mugabe's successors in the ruling Zanu-PF party would clash with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr Mugabe's illness is expected to intensify jockeying in the Zanu-PF for the succession. The death last month of Vice-President, Simon Muzenda, 81, a staunch Mugabe supporter, has already sparked attempts by various factions in the party to secure the vice-presidency.
One of the formerly prosperous countries in Africa continues its voyage down the hydroflush.
I was wondering about that too

In case you didn't know, Mark Steyn has a lengthy letters column at his web site which gets updated every Monday. There's something for everyone, but this week I liked this one:
How about a column or a rant about foreign aid to these countries like China, India, Brazil, Nigeria and others who are committed to the “Space Race”. All of those countries get huge aid from the West in either straight cash or subsidies.

China has just sent a man into space and the others all have “space ports”. I guess their own domestic situation is so good they don't need our money any more....

Lance Morgan,
Victoria, British Columbia
Lance is right of course, but I'm not holding my breath.
Line of the Day

From Bigwig: Jacques Lied. People Died.
Chilling effect alert!

No, it isn't some Hollyweirdo with a hangnail, it's China to consolidate Net cafes:
Nearly all of China's 110,000 Internet cafes will be consolidated under the management of larger, mainly state-owned companies in the next three years, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The move aims to "regulate and standardize" the "fledgling and troublesome" cafe business, said the report.

The government is concerned about the sudden popularity of such cafes, which are gathering places for online gamers and those seeking Web information outside of official sources, in a country where many still cannot afford PCs or Internet access.

A fire set by an arsonist in June last year killed 25 in an unlicensed Internet cafe. The resulting crackdown on unlicensed premises has halved the number of outlets in the country. Since then, the China government has also stopped issuing new licenses.
Would I need a tinfoil beanie if I suggested that the arson was rather convenient?

Can't see the forest for the smoke

An editorial from the Victorville (California) Daily Press:
The timing is all too disturbing. As the United States Senate weighs President Bush's Healthy Forests legislation — legislation that would, among other things, spur thinning of the nation's forests to minimize the danger of wildfires — Southern California is being scorched by another season of devastation.
Part of the reason for intensity of the fires, of course, is that the forests have been allowed to grow unimpeded over the course of the last decade or so, and the accumulated fuel — underbrush, dead trees and the like — has just been waiting for a spark. This particular spark, firefighters believe, was provided by an arsonist, but it could just as well have been lightening or a thrown cigarette or an untended campfire. The result is the same: miles and miles, and acres and acres, of blackened wildlands, the loss of homes, the deaths of countless wildlife, and the loss of hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of board feet of lumber that should have been harvested by commercial loggers.
The Bush Administration, to its credit, is doing everything it can to end that cycle of tragedy. It is pushing for the Senate to pass H.R. 1904, the "Healthy Forests Restoration Act," a bill designed to streamline logging projects to reduce the risk of catastrophic Western wildfires such as the one we've all been watching burn for a week now. But, typically, resistance has been growing. Last week, two senators — both, not surprisingly, Democrats — moved to block the bill by demanding hearings on a compromise amendment that would provide protections for "old-growth forests" (big trees). Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), are the culprits.
As the Colorado Springs Gazette noted in an editorial reprinted in this space last week, it would make enormously good sense for the Senate to approve the bill, and at the same time give some leeway to commercial loggers to help offset the cost of the recommended thinning of the forests. Those loggers, in a better world, would sell some of the timber they cut, would realize a profit from the cutting, and thus the taxpayers wouldn't have to directly fund the thinning. The two Democrats want to avoid using proceeds from timber sales to pay for fuel reduction projects by authorizing $760 million annually. From taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the far leftists in the environmental movement keep wailing about saving all those "old growth" trees for "future generations," even as all that "old growth" goes up in smoke.
The environmentalists won't be happy until there is no logging, no mining, and no oil and gas drilling in this country. Which reminds me of this Wall Street Journal editorial (paid subscription required) from last Friday - Of Mines and Men:
Everybody in Congress claims to be worried about the paucity of new jobs, so we can only assume they are all delighted with Interior Secretary Gale Norton's decision late last week to help create some, specifically in the U.S. mining industry.

This is a tale worth telling because it shows how much government willfully does to destroy jobs. Ms. Norton reversed a Clinton-era opinion that had all but sent the domestic mining industry down an airless shaft. In 1997, an obscure Interior solicitor named John Leshy looked at the 1872 Mining Law and decided that 100 years of consistent interpretation were wrong. He issued a new opinion claiming the law limited each 20-acre federal mining claim to a single five-acre mill site. Mill sites are the land on which companies put offices, equipment and waste rock from mines.

Mr. Leshy's intention was to bar companies from public lands, and he succeeded. Physics made it impossible for companies to fit their rock and infrastructure into that tiny space. U.S. mine exploration spending has since declined by two-thirds. The number of metal mining jobs dropped 41%, to 29,000 today from 50,000 in 1997.
It's hundreds and thousands of "little" decisions like this by fifth columnists in the government that advance the wingnut agenda. Lynx hair anyone?

Predictably they aren't too pleased that this one is being reversed:
The usual green suspects are yelling that the Norton reversal is one more Bush scar on Mother Nature. What they don't mention is that of the 260 million acres of Bureau of Land Management lands, just 0.06% is affected by mining. The charge that companies can now dump more "toxic" waste is also bizarre. Companies with more mill sites will still have to follow federal environmental laws (Clean Air, Water, you name it).

If our environmental lobbies want to eradicate domestic mining and manufacturing, then they and their political friends ought to say so and we can all debate it. They shouldn't be able to hide behind bureaucratic opinions that evade the will of Congress and throw tens of thousands out of work without accountability.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

That could be a problem

Family sick of living on Butt Hole Road
A South Yorkshire family have moved home because they are fed up with their address - Butt Hole Road.

Paul and Lisa Allot, who lived in the £150,000 bungalow with their two children for 15 months, got sick of people pulling their leg.
They say people posed for pictures outside their house in Conisbrough, many of them with their trousers dropped, reports The Sun.

But why not just get the name of the road changed?
"I thought it would be nice to rename it Button Hole Road. But it's easier to move than go through all the hassle of a new name with the local council."
Ah, government at work again! But hold on a sec, who did they get to buy the place?
However, new owner Peter Sutton says he's happy to live on Butt Hole Road: "I think it'll be fun and I know what to expect."
Pete sounds like a party type of guy.
Limousine Liberal Alert

Rep. Pelosi Says Wal-Mart Arrests 'Terrorizing'
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Friday police raids on dozens of U.S. Wal-Mart stores in the search for illegal immigrants this week amounted to "terrorizing" workers.
You think that Nancy couldn recognize terrorism if someone dropped a jumbo jet on her? Neither do I.

But she's got the talking points down pat.
"It instills a great deal of fear in people who are only trying to earn a living and put food on the table for their family," Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters on a Congressional visit to Mexico.
Nancy, whether illegal aliens are good people or bad is immaterial, the relevant criterion is that they are illegal.
She was speaking after meeting Mexican President Vicente Fox for talks on immigration and border security.

Pelosi said the Wal-Mart raids showed the need to legalize undocumented workers in parts of the economy other than just the agricultural sector.
Sounds like she brought her kneepads.
Happy hour starts early for Teddy

Kennedy flips mistaken vote -- again:
The Senate chamber filled with audible gasps Tuesday when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the pro-choice champion, clearly voted ''yes'' on final passage of the bill to ban partial-birth abortion. It was a mistake, however, and Kennedy changed his vote a few minutes later.

This marked the second time in a week that Kennedy, widely considered the most powerful member of the Senate, became confused on an important vote. He mistakenly voted with President Bush in opposing a Democratic-backed amendment to require partial Iraqi repayment of U.S. reconstruction aid. On that occasion, Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle conferred with Kennedy and prompted him to change his vote.
Not too many brain cells left, eh Ted?

It's that Krugman crapsack again

Jack Kelly opines in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Blaming Bush first:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has yet to blame President Bush for the Chicago fire and the San Francisco earthquake. But there is still time.

In his column Oct. 21 (published in the Post-Gazette on Friday), Krugman noted the anti-Semitic remarks delivered by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at an Islamic summit meeting last week, and blamed Bush for anti-Semitism in the Muslim world.
Anti-Semitism in the Muslim world! Yikes, that's a really recent occurrence!

But that's OK - I blame Krugman for the epidemic of Terminal Flatulence.
Save the Earth Alert!

Hop on over to David's Medienkritik for the latest media goings-on in Germany. Here's my favorite from today - German Green Party Officials Ordered Challenger Jet to Brazil
Now that's cute: two top officials of Germany's Green party who are currently in Brazil had ordered a Challenger Jet of the German air force to Brazil for their intra-country transportation needs. They planned to visit environmentally correct projects. Renate Kuenast and Juergen Trittin are both members of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government.

The Cologne - Sao Paulo - Cologne round trip of the Challenger Jet alone - not counting the intra-Brazil travel - would have come at a cost of 250 000 Euro for Germany's taxpayers. Also, the environmental fallout was estimated at 20 tons of Kerosin.

It was only after Kuenast and Trittin sensed that Germany's weekly magazine SPIEGEL threatened to reveal their not so environmentally sound travel plans that they cancelled their intra-Brazil flight plans.

Well, next week they will commence their activities to save the earth...
And I'm sure they're doing a swell job of it too.

And while you're visiting, check out How German correspondents stationed in the US produce Anti-Americanism back home.