Saturday, November 08, 2003

Unintended consequences alert!

SUV tax break a marketing bonanza:
When Congress this year decided to allow small-business owners, doctors, lawyers and real estate salespeople to deduct up to $100,000 from their taxable income for the purchase of a luxury SUV [ed. note - it's not luxury SUV's, it's vehicles that weigh over 6,000 lbs.], Texas car-dealership magnate Jerry Reynolds could hardly believe his good fortune.

He took to the radio to spread the news, drafted a treatise for the Internet, and last week, the man known around Dallas simply as “the car guy” began advertising in the Dallas Morning News. “It’s a loophole,” the ad proclaims, “and this weekend, we can show you how to make that loophole big enough to drive a fleet of trucks and sport utility vehicles through it!”

The “SUV loophole” once seemed to be just a quirk in the tax code — deplored by environmental activists but ignored by most everyone else. Now it is shaping up to be a marketing bonanza for financial planners, accountants and auto dealers eager to snap up commissions and drive up sales of heavy vehicles, ranging from workhorse Ford F-250 pickup trucks to elite Hummer H2s, BMW X5s and Mercedes-Benz ML55s.

“It’s really been an eye-opener for people,” Reynolds said. “And it’s been fun, I’ve got to tell you.”
One of the best reasons for a flat tax is to cut out all the fooling around that goes on with the oddball exemptions and deductions. But since every politico loves to tinker with the tax code, I don't think the accountants and financial planners will have to worry about curtailed prospects any time soon. In the meantime - vroom!
It's early yet, but I'm already declaring Today's Hoot

I just flew in from the Shire...
...and boy are my arms tired!

There's no question about it, New Zealand is the same bucolic agricultural paradise at the ends of the earth, completely surrounded by a seawater moat that stretches a thousand miles in all directions it's always been.

And the modern day Hobbits that inhabit it are by and large as clueless about current events as any Took, Broadfoot or Sackville-Baggins was about the War of the Ring. I had many a strange conversation with people back home who were taken aback that I didn't agree instantly with their upper-sixth form political analysis.

"Now let's have none o' this 'ere going on about Dark Riders, and a Shadow gowin' in the East there Mr Frodo, my old missus won't 'ave any such talk in the parlour. What I want to know is, how is all this gallivanting about going to affect my prize-winnin' marrows eh?"

"Well, I'm sure I don't know what fancy notions you might 'ave picked up over there in Minas Tirith young Meriadoc, but round 'ere we just leave folks alone. Live and let live my Grandad used to say, and I expect that if those foreign folk were to know about the Shire, they'd just see we was peaceful folk and let us in peace. Stands to reason, don't it? We don't bother them, so why should they bother us?"

"Perigrin Took, you take off that ridiculous suit of mail this instant! People'll just laugh at you looking like that. And put that sword away, you'll be putting someone's eye out, waving it about like that. You've gone all addled since going off with odd foreign people, Rangers and whatnot. It'll all end in tears, and no mistake."


The more "sensitive" politics gets, the lower the bar is set for giving offence. It's now at such a pitch of hyper-acuity that I suspect a heavy storm might prompt a demand for reparations from the Maori on the grounds that they never had bad weather before whitey arrived.

Case in point. I was in the Bowen House office of a cabinet minister who shall remain nameless (he's actually a good egg, and I'd probably vote for him given half a chance). After ribbing me about being one of only 216 ACT voters in the Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga (he checked) we were having a good old natter when one of his staffers asked him to come and have a look at something on her computer.

It was this ad for 42 Below Vodka. Have a look at it now. Okay, that was pretty funny, wasn't it? Maybe some of the jokes are a bit New Zealand-centric, but there was nothing harmful there. But the Minister's staffer (who is white) wanted him (Maori) to see it in case he might be offended and might want to take some sort of action.

He thought (as I did) that it was a bit of harmless and amusing fun, while she stood there emitting That Marge Simpson Noise.
Much more by following the link.
Just Damn

Along with the first cup of joe this morning, I clicked on over to The Corner where they already have 3 items to get my heart started.

Some hyphenated "Americans" from Pakistan are opposing Bobby Jindal for governor of Louisiana because his parents came from India. Rod Dreher comments:
"I think it's a kind of unforeseen fear that if Bobby Jindal gets elected he might push things that are against the Pakistani interest," said Ashraf Abbasi of Port Arthur, Texas, who is president of the Pakistani-American Congress, an umbrella organization for Pakistani-American groups. Boy, it's hard to figure what the governor of Louisiana can do to hurt Pakistan. Halt Tabasco exports to Karachi? Ban the Neville Brothers from playing Mardi Gras in Quetta?
Maybe Ashraf's worried that Jindal would ban public displays of assholism.

Following that, there's a piece on the Washington Post suck-up to the late Joan Kroc:
"She was a bit of a news nut," said Dick Starmann, Kroc's longtime friend and spokesman. "She loved NPR and its unfiltered presentation of the news. . . . It wasn't liberal and it wasn't conservative. It was as objective as you're going to find."
Maybe if you live on the planet Moonbat. Too bad the old gal was senile.

Finally, Tim Graham notices some campus hijinks at Princeton:
In case you’re in danger of thinking that the campus isn’t the best place for time traveling back into Hippiethink, see a sad Princeton revival of that old CNBC show starring Phil Donahue and Vladimir Posner (or Poznir, if you’re feeling Russian). The old Soviet stooge insists to the student body that America has had a government-controlled media since the Vietnam era. In case you missed it, “all information” goes through a military review first before it’s deemed acceptable for public consumption. Donahue modifies that theory slightly, suggesting that Americans can’t abide anti-war views, so that his brand of far-left “truth”-telling just can’t get a fair hearing.
Whoa, déjà vu! It's been more years than I care to think of since I last saw that Communist flack and his buttboy, Phil. It's good to see that they're playing the "big venues" with their dog and gerbil act.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Dustbin of History Alert!

Communists picket Matrix premiere to celebrate revolution
Communists picketed the Moscow premiere of The Matrix: Revolutions to celebrate the jubilee of the Russian revolution.

A group of 32 youngsters wore red T-shirts, Soviet army helmets and Matrix-style dark glasses outside the Pushkinskiy cinema.
Snappy dressers!
They each held up neon-lit letters which spelt out the slogans "We are NEO-communists" and "Destroy the Matrix".

According to Communist Party ideologists, the Matrix series' central hero Neo is a genuine communist, reports Kommersant.

Oleg Bondarenko, Communist party youth movement leader, said there was "no difference" between Neo and Lenin as revolutionaries.
Lenin knew Kung Fu?

Follow the link for a photo. They look like a reincarnation of Devo.
Thanks, Mrs. Kroc!

End NPR subsidy: Windfall can replace federal funding
JOAN KROC, widow of McDonald’s tycoon Ray Kroc, has just given National Public Radio the power to set the American taxpayer free.
I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: (via Res Ipsa Loquitur) There are more details on the NPR money laundering budget here. While NPR itself apparently only gets about $1M of taxpayer money annually, the "member stations" get $86M.

But the best part is:
Meanwhile, a hoax news release credited to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) circulated at several news Web sites yesterday, calling for NPR to "turn away this blood money," and for "Americans to boycott NPR programs since they will be bought with the slaughtered carcasses of billions of sentient beings."

The satiric release stated, "Because the bequest amounts to about twice NPR's annual budget, public radio stations will cease fund raising during NPR programs and Congress will withdraw all taxpayer funding."

PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said his group did not issue the release.
Pot, Kettle, Black

Kerry blasts Dean on gun control:
CONCORD — Sen. John Kerry charged yesterday that Democratic Presidential primary rival Howard Dean is proving himself to be an unprincipled “flimflam artist” on gun control, as well as campaign finance, Social Security and Medicare.

Just because you're an idiot, doesn't mean you can't play the race card

Tuesday's election was enlivened by the presence of Barbara Blackmon, a black trial lawyer who was the Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor in Mississippi. She's most famous for the innovation of asking her incumbent opponent, Amy Tuck, to sign an affidavit saying that she had never had an abortion. This was not received well by the populace.

But wait there's more - Losing Miss. Candidate Blames Racism
JACKSON, Miss. - Democratic challenger for lieutenant governor Barbara Blackmon, who is black, said Thursday that her race is the reason she lost to the white Republican incumbent.

"It is my belief as well as the belief probably of over 300,000 voters of this state that if my pigmentation were different, I would be the lieutenant governor of this state," Blackmon, a state senator, said during a news conference at her campaign headquarters in Jackson.
Logic's not her strong suit, but she did get over 300,000 votes if that's what she means.
Blackmon won 37 percent of the vote to 61 percent for Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, according to unofficial returns.
Hmm, the incumbent Democrat governor (who is white) lost 53 to 45%, the Democrat candidate for attorney general (who is also black) lost by 52 to 46%, and Babs lost by 61 to 37% percent.

There's a pattern here all right and it's that when it's a bad election for Democrats, candidates who are idiots and Democrats have a real problem.

Also neat were her election eve pronouncements that despite the early results, God would eventually make her the winner. Having had a couple of days for her defeat to sink in, she then opined that her loss was similar to the Pharisees and the Sadducees rejecting Jesus Christ. No word on UFOs yet.
What he said

Joseph Farah at World Net Daily - No more women near combat:
The news that Jessica Lynch was raped and sodomized by her Iraqi captors underscores just one of the many reasons women don't belong in combat or anywhere near combat.

There's only one way to prevent this tragedy from occurring in the future – and that is to stop the ridiculous, politically correct social engineering that places young women in harm's way in America's military conflicts.
It's considered unfashionable to make such statements anymore, so I guess I'll have to be the one to say it: Women don't belong on warships, let alone in command of them. Women don't belong in the cockpits of fighter planes and bombers that can be shot down over enemy territory. Women don't belong on the front lines in any military capacity. There, I said it.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

It's Weasley

The asshat brasshat was flapping his gums in New Hampshire yesterday and the delusions were coming fast and furious. My favorite:
Clark insisted his early release as Supreme NATO Commander of the Allied Forces by Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen was not a firing.

“I was suddenly called and told I would have to give up command early. I was told at the time I was not being fired. I was told at the time it was just an administrative matter,” he said.
Yeah and Bubba was just "ministering to a troubled young person".
Keep your hand on your wallet!

Report: Arafat funnels $100,000 PA aid monthly to wife:
Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat transfers $100,000 from funds directed to the Palestinian Authority to his wife Suha who lives in Paris along with the couple's daughter, according to an investigative report conducted by CBS television show 60 Minutes, to be aired Sunday accross the United States.

According to the report, Arafat has accumulated in his private accounts more than $800 million from aid originally appropriated to the Palestinian authority.
Too bad the taxpayers in the developed world have nothing better to do with their money.
Hottie News from Kuku Land

Dem Candidates Tout 'Feminine Values' in N.H.:
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Wanted: A single, funny and dynamic woman who likes underdogs, politicians, peace in the world and universal single-payer health care.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is looking for you.

"If you're out there call me!" the Democratic presidential candidate said at a campaign forum Wednesday night after outlining the traits he's looking for in the nation's next first lady. Kucinich is a bachelor.
Woohoo! What ever happened to long walks on the beach?
Coal to Newcastle Alert!

Saudis 'fear sand shortage'
Saudi Arabia has reportedly imposed strict border checks to enforce a ban on the export of sand.
Those darn sand smugglers! OK you kids, take off your shoes.

(Hat tip: Not Quite Tea and Crumpets)
Yee Haw!

Rebel Flag Pickup Coalition Endorses Dean

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Spin Howie, Spin!

First, he wanted to "be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

Then after the other Donks rapped his knuckles, he's feeling "their" pain:
One day after his Democratic presidential rivals demanded he apologize for his remarks, which they called offensive to blacks and southern whites, Dean for the first time expressed remorse. "I regret the pain that I may have caused either to African American or southern white voters," he said in New York. What he had hoped to do, Dean said, was provoke a "painful" dialogue about race among all voters, including those displaying confederate flags. But, he said, "I started this discussion in a clumsy way."
And now to unclumsy it, he's complaining about Southerners:
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told a Tallahassee audience today that southerners have to quit basing their votes on "race, guns, God and gays."
Howie must be one of those pesky city folks that just plain doesn't know when to shut up.

Howie! Stand up straight! Try breathing deeply and slowly. And then y'all don't come back now, hear!
Yes, spirituous liquors were involved

Wisconsin Lawyers Face Bare Facts About Nudity
MADISON, Wis. -- A couple of Wisconsin lawyers are in trouble for showing a little more than their habeas corpus.

David Burleson and Todd Buss have pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct after they were busted in the nude.

The attorneys were found naked in the laundry room of a downtown Madison apartment building. It was after Wisconsin's victory over Ohio State last month.

According to police reports, the lawyers were very drunk and singing loudly. They told the officers they were rain-soaked and that a resident told them they could dry off in the laundry room.

The naked lawyers had to pay a $200 fine.
That must be tough to explain to your clients. Unless they are Badger fans too, I guess.
More on CBS's Reagan Smear Job

Adam Buckman in the NY Post - It's So Pathetically Bad That It's Hysterically Funny
It was one of the funniest tapes I had ever received from a TV network.

It was a special promo reel sent over early last month for "The Reagans," a miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan - the very same miniseries that became so embroiled in controversy that CBS finally dumped it yesterday.

I never saw the finished product, but if it were anything like the promo, this four-hour miniseries was about to go down in history as one of the worst made-for-TV movies ever. This tape was so hysterical, I thought it was a joke.

In the role of Nancy Reagan, Judy Davis was seen barreling comically through the White House screaming at the top of her lungs at everyone who crossed her path. Her unabashed scenery-chewing was reminiscent of Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest" - only Davis' performance was much worse and a lot funnier.

In contrast to Davis' raging first lady, James Brolin was seen playing the role of Ronald Reagan with all the emotion of a piece of wood - a style which has long been Brolin's trademark.

Funny as it all was, it was also seriously offensive. I thought CBS had taken leave of its senses.
Michael Medved noticed that it was a tad bad too:
"Leaving aside its content or its political slant, my guess is CBS is deciding to save itself embarrassment all around," Medved added.

CBS President Les Moonves will be able to gain a double advantage by canceling the movie, according to Medved.

"Moonves will be able to escape embarrassment by not running a stinker series at the same time he can blame those nasty right wingers," Medved said.
And Les needs all the help he can get according to John Fund - Tiffany Trips Up: CBS's problems are bigger than "Reagan." My favorite part:
This year he has stumbled twice. In May, he was embarrassed when the CBS movie "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" drew ominous parallels between Hitler's ascent to power and the reaction of the Bush administration to 9/11. After its producer, Ed Gernon, blatantly tipped his hand by telling TV Guide that "I can't think of a better time to examine this history than now," Mr. Moonves fired him.

But that dustup was nothing compared to Mr. Moonves's other blunder: his plan to launch a reality series called "The Real Beverly Hillbillies." Using so-called "hick hunts," the network intended to move an uneducated Appalachian family into an opulent West Coast mansion and invite the nation to laugh at their bumbling ways. Several union leaders and 43 members of Congress called on Mr. Moonves to shelve the show. Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia suggested that, instead, Mr. Moonves program a reality show that relocated network executives to "the sticks," where they would have to find a job. Mr. Moonves admitted the "phenomenal" opposition to the show left him "pretty surprised."
Asshats in the woods - what a concept!

And I have the first candidate, because back at the mansion, Barbra Streisand is in a tizzy! Babs, who is a bosom chum of the leftoid producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and whose husband, Mr. Streisand, had a starring role, is deeply disappointed. Don't worry Babs, you just cut up the possums and put 'em in the big pot to stew. Think of it as backwoods paté.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Kids! Don't try this at home!

The AP astonishes with a photo whose caption starts "A Vodou believer pours hot pepper-spiced homemade alcohol on her genital area...".

Good thing for the caption or I would have thought something weird was going on.
I'm deeply saddened

Daschle Mad at CBS for Caving on 'The Reagans':
Little Tommy Daschle is mad that he'll have to pony up for Showtime to watch Viacom's attack on Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

CBS's decision to dump "The Reagans" onto its sister pay-cable channel "smells of intimidation to me," the Senate minority leader grumbled today.
Sorry Tommy, it smells more like some lying dung beetles got caught with their proboscises in the manure pile.

Unintended Consequences Alert!

Nonprofits Feel the Squeeze of Wage Increases - City of Berkeley mandated wage increases of course:
This July, the Berkeley City Council voted to increase the city’s living wage from $9.75 to $10.76 an hour to reflect inflation. This was the first increase since the living wage ordinance was enacted in August 2000.

But some nonprofits can’t afford to pay the increase. For example, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, Berkeley’s largest homeless services organization, estimates it would cost some $30,000 to bring their employees’ salaries up to compliance—money the group doesn’t have. Other Berkeley nonprofits are also feeling the crunch.

“We aren’t like the business community. We don’t have any way to pass off the costs,” said Florence Green, executive director of the California Association of Nonprofits.

When businesses’ costs increase, they can raise prices or push to sell more, said Terrie Light, associate director of the Project. But for most nonprofits, the customers aren’t paying, and their government contracts and foundation grants rarely increase in pace with rising costs.
Stop, you're breaking my heart! Wait, I know - ask the taxpayers to pick up the tab.

And to prove that no bad idea goes unemulated, San Francisco wants to get in on the action - San Francisco Voting on Minimum Wage:
Proposition L, one of 14 measures on the city ballot Tuesday, would impose an $8.50-per-hour minimum wage on all employers in the city, not just those awarded municipal contracts. The state's hourly minimum wage is $6.75, and the minimum required under federal law is $5.15.

The initiative's backers, who include advocates for the poor, labor unions and San Francisco's elected supervisors, maintain that a city-specific pay mandate is long overdue in a place where working parents need to earn about twice the proposed amount to meet basic expenses.
If it passes as expected, San Francisco would be the first California city and only the third in the nation to set its own minimum wage. Washington, D.C., guarantees its workers $1 more than the federal minimum, which Congress last raised in 1997. Earlier this year in New Mexico, the Santa Fe City Council set a local minimum wage of $8.50 for all businesses with at least 25 employees.

San Francisco's measure is a little more ambitious because it doesn't exempt small businesses from the mandate. The new wage would take effect in three months for for-profit businesses, but would be phased in over two years for nonprofit organizations and firms with fewer than 10 employees.

City contractors already are required to pay their employees an hourly "living wage" of $9 for nonprofits and $10.25 for for-profit companies.
Unfortunately for these goofs some useful jobs just aren't worth $10 per hour. But there's another way out for a business - leaving town. Good advice for the citizens too.

Things are looking up!

Berlin brothels offer happy hours to combat recession
Brothels in Berlin are offering happy hours with half price sex to attract customers during the economic slump.

Prostitutes are also offering 'get-to-know-me' prices for new clients and discounts for regulars.
Sort of like the Welcome Wagon?
No, it isn't the Weekly World News

Feeling Sexy? It Could Be Your Cat:
Want to make a special someone purr? Maybe you should give her a cat.

A study has shown that domestic cats infected with a parasite called toxoplasma gondii can actually alter the personalities of their human owners, turning women into “sex kittens" and men into “alley cats.”

“We found they [the infected women] were more easygoing, more warm-hearted, had more friends and cared more about how they looked. However, they were also less trustworthy and had more relationships with men,” Dr. Jaroslav Flegr, who conducted the study at Charles University in Prague, told London’s Sunday Times newspaper.
Here, kitty, kitty.

But there's a down side.
Infected men, on the other hand, became more aggressive, less well-groomed, undesirable loners who were more likely to be suspicious and jealous.

“They tended to dislike following rules,” Flegr told the Times.
Ruh Oh!

And while I haven't read the full study, the article's description makes it look like another instance where the researchers should have remembered that "correlation is not causation". Another doctor quoted later in the article says much the same thing.

Monday, November 03, 2003

It seems to be Zell Miller day
Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of them all, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, looked south and said, "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."

Today our national Democratic leaders look south and say, "I see one-third of a nation and it can go to hell."
From his book A National Party No More which is being excerpted in the Washington Times.
One liner time

Senator Zell Miller (D-Ga) weighs in on Pander Boy, Howie Dean:
Sen. Zell Miller (Ga.), speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," said yesterday that Dean "knows about as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday."
Tinfoil beanie time!

Venezuela's Chavez Warns Costa Rica on 'Coup Plot':
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on Sunday accused Costa Rican government officials of backing his opponents in an alleged coup plot from San Jose to topple his leftist government.

Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, in September cut off crude supplies to the Dominican Republic during a diplomatic dispute over similar vague charges Chavez made against the government of President Hipolito Mejia.

Chavez, a fiery, outspoken former army paratrooper who often denounces conspiracies against him, did not provide details about how Costa Rican officials were involved.
For his next trick, Hugo will roll on the floor and chew the carpet.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm? millionaire weds Chinese president's girl:
In a sign of the ever closer relations between power and money in the new China, the daughter of its Communist president, Hu Jintao, was reported this weekend to have married one of its new millionaire internet tycoons.

Hu Haiqing, 33, married Mao Daolin - no relation to Mao Tse-tung - in Hawaii, according to the Asian Wall Street Journal.

But the marriage was kept secret, in line with the normal practice of the leadership to reveal as little of their family lives as possible.
Oh no, a capitalist tool!

But if you think that's a tad odd, how about this?
Chinese websites report that Miss Hu studied for eight years in the United States, living under a pseudonym, and that she applied unsuccessfully for a green card.

If true, she would not be the first princeling to have studied at capitalism's heart. Deng Zhifang, the youngest son of the former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, studied at the University of Rochester and his son is a US citizen.

Mr Mao himself did a masters degree at Stanford University. Also known by his western name Daniel, he used to be chief executive of, one of three internet companies that dominates China.

He remains on the board and his net worth has been put at $61 million. Shares in Chinese dotcoms, listed on the US Nasdaq market, have been among the highest risers in the world this year.
That high pitched whine is Chairman Mao spinning in his grave.
OK, who cleans out the cab?

Amtrak train hits empty cattle truck near Malta - that's Malta, Montana:
MALTA - A westbound Amtrak train struck an empty cattle truck about five miles east of here Saturday afternoon, breaking the locomotive's windshield and flinging manure into the cab.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the crash delayed the Empire Builder for two hours. Amtrak borrowed a freight locomotive from Malta to lead the train westward because of the broken windshield on the engine.
No to mention the "difficult working conditions."
Today's Hoot!

Arrogant `king' reigned over corruption, Teamsters say:
But when he and the rest of the union's chain-smoking staff moved into a new union hall in 2002, they were told by local president Charles Crawley that the building would be smoke free.

Crawley, known among the membership as "King Kong Chuck," however, didn't outlaw chewing tobacco.

The cigarette ban, along with security cameras mounted in nearly every worker's office and a new telephone system that allowed Crawley to listen undetected to anybody else's phone calls, pushed the union employees to their limit, McCormick says.

But it was Crawley's dipping habit that sent them over the edge -- and into the arms of the FBI.

"We were not allowed to smoke in the building, but it was all right for him to dip and spit into Styrofoam cups," McCormick says. "And, then, he'd leave those cups all around for us to pick up. To be honest with you, it started over smoking."

The employees shared allegations with federal and union investigators that Crawley arranged kickbacks, embezzled union funds and tampered with ballots.
Lots of hijinks by following the link, but my favorite isn't even illegal:
The new $1.7 million union hall opened on Aug. 10 last year with a brisket barbecue and national notoriety.

The Chronicle reported the day before the grand opening that nonunion construction workers built the 16,246-square-foot structure because Local 988's leadership decided union contractors cost too much.
Ruh Oh!

Poppy pins banned in case people sue:
The Royal British Legion has stopped supplying pins with its poppies because it fears compensation claims from "injured" members of the public.
The legion, the largest charity for ex-servicemen, sells about 30 million poppies each year to mark Remembrance Day. Traditionally, buyers get a steel pin to attach the poppy to their lapel.
IQ's must have dropped while I wasn't looking - now people can't operate pins.

I'm waiting for the NY Times to start running disclaimers on the front page - "May be hazardous if shoved up your butt". Of course, I wouldn't mind if it was verified by a clinical trial amongst the staffers.
Limousine Liberalism Alert!

Michael Moore Enjoying Corporate High Life:
Moore was flown around California aboard a private jet, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, courtesy of media mega-corporation Time Warner.

And while he wasn't enjoying the corporate high life at 30,000 feet, he was tooling around the Golden State in the kind of vehicle anti-corporate environmentalists routinely decry as public enemy No. 1 - an SUV paid for by his publisher's corporation, Warner Books.

Moore's man-of-the-people image was further dented when it was revealed that he gladly accepted the protection of several bodyguards, who helped the left-wing crusader keep the unwashed masses at bay.

Asked if his new chairman-of-the-board lifestyle meant he was being hypocritical, Moore told the Los Angeles Times that the only reason he's feeding at the corporate trough is because it's there.

"I would never pay for this," he insisted.
I guess Mikey's only receiving what he believes is due to a "man of the people". I hope they had hydraulic lifts for the plane and SUV though.

Meanwhile, being a professional environmental "activist" is a good gig too - Fat of the land:
As a grass-roots conservationist from Oregon, Jack Shipley looked forward to his visit to Washington, D.C., to promote a community-based forest management plan. But when he stepped into the national headquarters of The Wilderness Society, his excitement turned to unease.

"It was like a giant corporation," Shipley said. "Floor after floor after floor, just like Exxon or AT&T."

In San Francisco, Sierra Club board member Chad Hanson experienced a similar letdown when he showed up for a soiree at one of the city's finest hotels in 1997.

"Here I had just been elected to the largest grass-roots environmental group in the world and I am having martinis in the penthouse of the Westin St. Francis," said Hanson, an environmental activist from Pasadena. "What's wrong with this picture? It was surreal."

Soon, Hanson was calling the Sierra Club by a new name: Club Sierra.
More than you want to know by following the link. Scare tactics, telemarketing, excessive spending on fund raising, fancy parties for big donors, and fat executive salaries. The best part is that these groups are also subsidized by tax dollars. Here's the punchline:
"This is a growth industry -- a huge growth industry," said Daniel Beard, chief operating officer at the National Audubon Society. "There is a lot of wealth that has accumulated in this country over the last 20 years. And people are wanting to do good things with it."
And be sure to include extra for handling. Because they love to handle it.
Don't tell PETA!

Hello, Kitty! Cat helps cops in stand-off. Sounds like a feline Rin Tin Tin, right?
Thursday night's incident was caught on home video and shows police trying to talk with 41-year old Greg Cook.

Police say Cook threatened to shoot the officers. They were able to arrest him after tossing his cat in the air to distract him.
It appears that Fluffy didn't exactly volunteer. Follow the link for a picture of Fluffy in midair.