Saturday, April 09, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Note to the New York Times: Don’t use Wikipedia as an authoritative source. Lifting text verbatim from Wikipedia would seem to be a poor practice as well.

Without taking a huge digression, the advantage of a Wiki is supposedly that a "community" of folks shares their knowledge to build an informative web site with an easy to use authoring tool. There's a problem though, if some of the community have more enthusiasm than knowledge. Or more bias.

UPDATE: Apparently the copying was in the other direction.

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell ya!

Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times - Nukes are Green:
If there was one thing that used to be crystal clear to any environmentalist, it was that nuclear energy was the deadliest threat this planet faced. That's why Dick Gregory pledged at a huge anti-nuke demonstration in 1979 that he would eat no solid food until all nuclear plants in the U.S. were shut down.

Mr. Gregory may be getting hungry.
Actually, "In 1987 Gregory introduced the Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet, a powdered diet mix, which was immensely profitable," so maybe it was just a PR stunt, but it's still a good line.
But it's time for the rest of us to drop that hostility to nuclear power. It's increasingly clear that the biggest environmental threat we face is actually global warming, and that leads to a corollary: nuclear energy is green.
So it's time to welcome nuclear energy as green (though not to subsidize it with direct handouts, as the nuclear industry would like). Indeed, some environmentalists are already climbing onboard. For example, the National Commission on Energy Policy, a privately financed effort involving environmentalists, academics and industry representatives, issued a report in December that favors new nuclear plants.

One of the most eloquent advocates of nuclear energy is James Lovelock, the British scientist who created the Gaia hypothesis, which holds that Earth is, in effect, a self-regulating organism.

"I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy," Mr. Lovelock wrote last year, adding: "Every year that we continue burning carbon makes it worse for our descendents. ... Only one immediately available source does not cause global warming, and that is nuclear energy."
Who would have thunk it? I thought the Ecoweenies were bound and determined that the citizens of the "developed world" all live in mud huts - as long as they didn't get the mud from a wetland. Of course not everyone was as "sensitive" - Official: China Plans 40 Nuke Power Plants:
China plans to build 40 nuclear power plants over the next 15 years, making them the main power source for its booming east coast, a government official said in remarks reported Thursday.

China is expected to be the world's biggest developer of nuclear power stations in coming decades as the government tries to meet soaring demands for electricity while reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Gosh, they're on the Kristof train too! And, of course, those sneaky Frenchies have always been on it.

Fasten your seat belts though - I'm sure the back-to-nature crowd will be out shortly with torches and pitchforks to chastise ole Nick.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Lookin' for a cheap date? Try Wal-Mart
Just when you thought you'd heard it all from the king of discount shopping, Wal-Mart is now pitching itself as the new dating hot spot -- with everyday low prices to boot.

In fact, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's been playing Cupid to hundreds of lonely single German shoppers for well over a year now.
Here's how its works.

On Friday nights, singles looking for romance, mindless flirting or just a new friend head over to their neighborhood Wal-Mart where they're given a big bright red bow to attach to their shopping cart or shopping basket.

Then it's up to the willing participants to approach one another and take it from there.

But if that's too intimidating, Wal-Mart has set up "flirting points" around the stores stacked with "romantic" merchandise, such as chocolates, wine and cheese, to help with that first awkward step.

Said Wyatt, "The singles night runs for two hours in the evening, from 6 to 8 p.m. every week. Our managers there told us that its been hugely successful and has actually boosted store traffic and sales in a lot of markets in Germany. In some stores we're getting 300 to 400 people taking part every week."

Wal-Mart feels so good about the idea that the retailer trademarked the "Singles Shopping" slogan in Germany and is also testing it in its stores in Puerto Rico, South Korea and Britain.
The skeptics on FreeRepublic, where I found this, have some suggestions of their own including this guy as official Wal-Mart Singles Shopping host.

It must be Friday

Restaurant Explodes After Cockroach Control Snafu:
PERTH, Australia -- An Australian restaurant owner's attempt to get rid of cockroaches in his kitchen has left his eatery in ruins.

The owner set off 36 fumigation devices.
36! How many cockroaches did he have?
However, he apparently forgot to extinguish an oven pilot flame.

Fire officials said the ensuing explosion lifted the roof off of the Thai restaurant, blew out the back wall as well as the front window and caused the ceilings to cave in.
Maybe it's an insurance scam?

Handler punished for donning camel costume:
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Qantas Airways Ltd. on Friday suspended a baggage handler who was caught on video opening a passenger's bag which contained a camel costume, donning the head and wandering around the airport tarmac.
That's probably not in the job description.

Don't think small:
A Boston-area man was arrested this past Tuesday after several humongous deposits he made to a new bank account didn't clear.

Thanh Nhat Le, 51, of suburban Dorchester, was arrested at a local Sovereign Bank after arguing with a teller who wouldn't cash his check for $7,550.

Le had opened an account at Sovereign the previous week with $171 in cash, the Boston Herald reported.

But three checks had been deposited to his account since. One was for $250,000. Another was for $2 million. The third was for the paltry sum of $4 billion.
No, he wasn't a secret billionaire.

Cookie Monster leads way as Sesame Street goes on a diet:
My beloved blue, furry monster - who sang "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me" - is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song - "A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food," where Cookie Monster learns there are "anytime" foods and "sometimes" foods.
Tofu and birkenstocks are next.

Outlaw blows himself up:
Albania's most wanted man fought off special police and eluded capture for years only to blow himself up while fishing with dynamite, police and newspapers say.
That used to be Mullah Omar and Osama's hobby too. Maybe that's why we haven't seen them lately.

Speaking of which - according to the AFP, Osama is a "Saudi dissident". And all along I thought he was merely a murderous wingnut with goat bothering tendencies. Who knew?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

And speaking of folks who are feeling blue

Poor Saddam!

Poor baby!

Polipundit points us to a really sad story - Annan Tells Staff of His 'Pain' from UN Inquiries. (Too bad Bubba Clinton wasn't around to feel it for him.)
"To see the institution you have devoted your life to being hammered and attacked, in most cases unfairly, was very difficult to digest, and I can imagine what impact it had on you and on staff morale," he said.
Tell it to the kids in Rwanda, Kofi. And the kids in Timor, the Congo, Kosovo and just about everywhere else the UN has been.
"It is also unfortunate that my own son seems to have been associated somehow with this program, and of course that investigation is going on," Annan added.
Somehow? I guess he was just ambling down the street and all of sudden, folks started stuffing money in his pockets. That happens a lot at the UN.

Speaking of money and the UN, check out Indonesia denies tsunami aid paid for posh ambassador villa in Geneva:
Indonesia on Monday denied allegations in a Swiss newspaper that tsunami relief funds were diverted to purchase a swanky resident for its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.
I wonder where their ambassador to the UN in New York lives?
"The report insinuates that we are using disaster aid funding for the purchase of the residence and this is not at all the case," Thamrin told AFP.

Le Matin said that the purchase of the 9.6-million-franc (US$8.1 million) villa in the swish Collonge-Bellerive district overlooking Lake Geneva was inappropriate while many in Indonesia, where 220,000 are dead and missing after the tsunami, still needed help.

But Thamrin said the purchase of the villa had already been agreed by the finance minister on October 12 and the contract was signed shortly after - more than two months before the December 25 tsunami.

The government had provided the funds in its 2005 state budget, he said, adding that the purchase of the villa would be a long-run saving against costly rents, and would also be an investment for Indonesia.
Dang those pesky rents! They also seem to be a tad unclear on the concept of fungibility.
Ambassador Makarim Wibisono, 58, who is also current president of the UN Human Rights Commission, was scheduled to move into the Provence-style villa with his wife and three children in the coming weeks.

They will enjoy a large verandah overlooking a swimming pool, an immense park including a house for the domestic servants, hot-houses, and a volley-ball court, Le Matin said.
Sometimes when you're at the UN working for human rights, you just have to make sacrifices.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Today's Hoot!

“The Big Dig is perfectly safe….yeaghhhhh!!!!” No, it isn't Howard Dean.

They're all so doggone diverse!

Mugged by la Réalité:
FR D RIC ENCEL, PROFESSOR OF international relations at the prestigious Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Paris and a man not known for crying wolf, recently stated that France is becoming a new Lebanon. The implication, far-fetched though it may seem, was that civil upheaval might be no more than a few years off, sparked by growing ethnic and religious polarization. In recent weeks, a series of events has underlined this ominous trend.

On March 8, tens of thousands of high school students marched through central Paris to protest education reforms announced by the government. Repeatedly, peaceful demonstrators were attacked by bands of black and Arab youths--about 1,000 in all, according to police estimates. The eyewitness accounts of victims, teachers, and most interestingly the attackers themselves gathered by the left-wing daily Le Monde confirm the motivation: racism.

Some of the attackers openly expressed their hatred of "little French people." One 18-year-old named Heikel, a dual citizen of France and Tunisia, was proud of his actions. He explained that he had joined in just to "beat people up," especially "little Frenchmen who look like victims." He added with a satisfied smile that he had "a pleasant memory" of repeatedly kicking a student, already defenseless on the ground.

Another attacker explained the violence by saying that "little whites" don't know how to fight and "are afraid because they are cowards." Rachid, an Arab attacker, added that even an Arab can be considered a "little white" if he "has a French mindset." The general sentiment was a desire to "take revenge on whites."
Lebanon? How about a new Sweden?
Swedish authorities in the southern city of Malmo have been busy with a sudden influx of Muslim immigrants — 90 percent of whom are unemployed and many who are angry and taking it out on the country that took them in.
More here and here including:
Denmark now restricts asylum admissions, welfare payments, and citizenship and residency permits for reasons of family unification.
Shortly after Denmark passed these laws in 2002, Sweden's Social Democratic integration minister complained that the policies were inhumane. The Danish People's party leader, Pia Kj rsgaard, replied to the Swedes in a newsletter: "If they want to turn Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö into Scandinavian versions of Beirut . . . then that is up to them."
Leave it to the the purveyors of the nanny state to turn immigration into a monumental disaster.

Of course, we have our own peculiarly American version of immigration wackiness - Border family's strange encounters with illegal crossers:
Mr. Garner, a carpenter, his wife, and three daughters (age 10, 12, and 15) tell countless stories that are as alarming to outsiders as they are matter-of-fact to them.
Follow the link for some real beauties.
Theirs is a life dominated by self-defense lessons, family practice drills to huddle in the master bedroom, obligatory two-way radios for kids who walk to school, and a handgun on the hip for mom.
Despite increasingly harsh crackdowns over the years by the US Border Patrol (both pre- and post-911), the presence of illegal immigrants is also a growing phenomenon, says Ms. Garner, who grew up here in Naco, population 7,000. And it is more dangerous and pernicious, she says, with a growing number of people of different nationalities coming across the border, including from the Middle East, India, and Afghanistan.

The evidence of that comes in Islamic prayer rugs found in the desert dust, Arabic literature left by still-warm campfires, and Afghani head garb caught on cactus quills. The FBI also recently found a drug tunnel beneath the bedroom of a schoolmate of one of the Garner girls, with $250,000 cash hidden inside.

"The diversity of those who are coming across has grown and their desperation has definitely heightened," she says. "Years ago, they would politely ask you for water outside. Now you come home and someone is in your house, eating your food, trashing your bedroom, stealing your stuff, and leaving garbage everywhere."
Stories like those of the Garners are being corroborated from San Diego to Houston this week as the high-profile citizen's effort known as the Minutemen Project unfolds across a 20-40 mile section of the border here. A woman who lives in Laredo, Texas, tells of being choked in her own bedroom and being yanked off her horses. A San Diego couple complains of fields strewn with plastic bottles and human excrement.

But the most intense scrutiny is coming, here south of Tucson, where last year agents apprehended 500,000 migrants, catching - they say - only one in three who attempt to cross. By placing citizen volunteers at outposts 300 yards apart, the minuteman group is hoping to prove a point: that the influx of illegal immigrants could be slowed, if not stopped, at even the border's most porous sections if the Border Patrol could carry out similar saturation patrolling.
Days into the project, the Garners and other neighbors say the idea is working, even though people on both sides of the border know the experiment is only temporary.
A nation without borders is no longer a nation. Of course, that's what some folks want.

It surely is a puzzle

Damian Penny on the May 5 UK election:
Because of Blair's brave support for the ouster of Saddam and the war against Islamofascist terror, this is the first British election I can remember in which I, an unrepentant Thatcherite, would likely vote Labour.
And he points to Mark Steyn who sums it up nicely:
If I lived in Britain, I'd vote for Tony Blair's Labour party. Yes, yes, I know he's a nanny-state control-freak and you can hardly pull your pants on in the morning without filling in the form for the Public Trouser Usage Permit and undergoing inspection from the Gusset Regulatory Authority. But on the One Big Thing — the great issue of the age — he's right, and he's reliable. And, sad to say, the British Conservative party isn't. Their leader, Michael Howard, has been a cheesy opportunist on the war, supporting it at the time, backtracking later, his constantly evolving position twisting itself into a knot of contortions even John Kerry might find over-nuanced. Most other Tory heavyweights — ex-Thatcher cabinet ministers like Lord Hurd and Sir Malcolm Rifkind — are more straightforward: They're agin the war. They'd have no time for his frightful American clothes or his ghastly hamburger diet, but, social distaste aside, they're Michael Moore Conservatives.
The Conservatives aren't really any less pro-EU either. About the only thing in their favor is that they don't have Labor's cast of leftoid knuckle draggers shambling about out of the public eye.

I thought he was "exonerated"?

How many more must die before Kofi quits?
Like its cousin, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Rwanda's stunning new genocide museum, perched on a quiet hillside overlooking Kigali, is at its most arresting when it honours the lost children. One installation invites us to consider David, a cute, shy boy, with big round black eyes: David's favourite sport was soccer; he enjoyed making people laugh; his dream was to be a doctor; he was tortured to death; his last words were: 'The UN will come to get us.'
He was too young to know any better. What excuse do the moonbats have? Is it a hopeful sign that this appeared in The Observer? Probably not.

Anyhow, Instapundit quotes the relevant passage covering Kofi Annan's part in the Rwandan blood bath, but I was entranced by another portion of the article:
One very personal example: when I worked in Liberia in the mid-Nineties a new chief administrative officer was dispatched to Monrovia by the UN to replace the previous CAO, who was removed (then reassigned elsewhere) for taking a 15 per cent kickback on UN procurement contracts. In the name of cleaning up the old corruption, the new CAO tapped our phones, paid locals to spy for him and threatened to send home anyone who opposed him, all to facilitate his own quest for a 15 per cent kickback on everything we purchased.

The worst part was watching him try to coerce as many of his young 'local staff' to sleep with him as possible. A UN salary is enough money to support an entire extended family in a country such as Liberia, so these vulnerable women were in a tortuously compromised position by their boss's unwanted advances.

I was the human rights lawyer and these girls would come to my office in tears asking for help. I wrote memo after memo of complaint to my chain of command, but no one did anything. I even confronted the CAO personally. To no effect. When I visited the UN human resources office in New York to complain personally, they laughed at my naive outrage: 'It happens all the time in the field,' they said. 'There's nothing we can do.'
Ah, but there is something we can do.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Don't quit your day job, Al!

Big Weird Al has got a new gig, which frankly is rather hard to describe other than that it is some sort of cable TV network for 18-34 year olds:
Gore TV has arrived at last.

Al Gore announced yesterday that his long-awaited cable network -- dubbed Current -- will debut Aug. 1.

"Young adults have a powerful voice, but you can't hear that voice on television ... yet," said Mr. Gore, who has aimed the 24-hour news channel at 18- to 34-year-olds who are preoccupied with the Internet.
Speaking from Current's new San Francisco offices, Mr. Gore claimed he wanted to lend "a national platform to those who are hungry to help create the TV they want to watch."

Young viewers are "collaborators," he said, and have been invited to submit their own videos and ideas to the Web site (
I get it now! It 'll run World's Stupidest Home Videos 24/7!

Here's another explanation:
Current's promoters say it will offer 24 hours of programming in a "unique, short-form content format," described as a synthesis of MTV and CNN.

Audiences will not just be viewers, but "active collaborators," helping shape the network's content and fulfill its mission as "a TV platform where the voices of young adults can be heard."

"The Internet opened a floodgate for young people whose passions are finally being heard, but TV hasn't followed suit," Gore said. "Young adults have a powerful voice, but you can't hear that voice on television ... yet."

The network says it will cater to the "Internet generation's need for choice and control."

The short-form programming will be "the TV equivalent of an iPod shuffle," with "pods" of "15-second to five-minute segments that range from the hottest trends in technology, fashion, television, music and videogames, to pressing issues such as the environment, relationships, spirituality, finance, politics and parenting, subjects that young adults can rarely find on television."
Sounds perfect for folks with Attention Deficit Disorder!

But here's the puzzle: while Al claims that this lead balloon is not political, the backers seem to be a role call of Democrat moneymen including some of the swells that manage the California public employees pension fund. I guess they just think it's a wonderful business opportunity. I sure would ante up a five spot, if I could invest in it, wouldn't you? I just hope the public employees aren't going to actually need their dough any time soon.

But there's someone I left out. Ole Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, showed up on the stage to praise the oddity and announce that Google was partnering with them. Time will tell, but why do I get the feeling that Google is developing a political agenda?

And the winner of the coveted Pondscum Prize...

Is the Associated Press. I guess there wasn't much suspense to that one. More here.

Today's Hoot!

Spread Them Out:
Cuban airspace is pretty empty...
Same in Syria and Iran.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Not so fast, Kofi!:
Senator Norm Coleman has dragged Kofi Annan out of the saloon and back into the street...
With his claim to have been exonerated, ole Kofi should have been on the stage. There's another one leaving shortly.

Barbecue Sandwich, Cole Slaw, and Fried Okra - April 4, 2005

Starvation Not So Popular After All

What's old is new:
Kofi Annan's long-awaited reform report, "In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All," is a laundry list of changes designed to strengthen the United Nations' grasp on global governance. Virtually every recommendation in Annan's report is a regurgitation of recommendations first advanced a decade ago by the U.N.-Funded Commission on Global Governance.

When the Commission on Global Governance's final report, "Our Global Neighborhood," was released in 1995, it went almost unnoticed outside the U.N. activist community. The dramatic changes the report recommends, however, have been bubbling up through the U.N. ever since.
Kind of like an old septic tank. By the way, the author of this article, Henry Lamb, is associated with a web site that sells a pocket Constitution (in quantity). Just what you need to get the drop on ole Robert "Sheets" Byrd before he can whip his out. As an andidote to that NY Times puff piece on Senator Claghorn, try Powerline.

The British have an early warning system for stupid new EU rules - but they're way behind. That's what comes of giving bureaucrats free rein. Imagine what it would be like with the United Nations kleptocrats in charge? There is a real simple solution though.

And here's more Euroweenie angst:
A website that gets unemployed Germans bidding against each other to work for the lowest wages is set to spark fresh controversy with plans for an August launch in Britain.

Trade unions have accused of promoting "slave labour" with reverse auctions that see workers compete against each other in a downward bidding spiral for odd tasks and short-term contracts.

German unemployment has reached 5.2m, the highest since the Great Depression. However, founder Fabian Loew believes his model will work even better in a low unemployment country such as Britain.

"After Thatcher and Blair, the British are open to new ideas and have a much more flexible attitude to work," he said. "So I think it could be a big success over there." invites employers with openings for waiters or construction yard workers to offer a maximum fee and wait for a crush of eager workers to knock down the price.

It's a nightmare come true for defenders of Europe's cosseted social model, already consumed by angst over a "race to the bottom" with low-wage economies in eastern Europe and Asia.
Proving that there's no hole that can't be dug deeper, adulterous Anglican bishop Gene Robinson fires up the faithful:
The first openly gay Anglican bishop has sparked outrage for suggesting that Jesus might have been homosexual.

The Rt Rev Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church of the United States, said that Jesus was an unmarried, "non-traditional man" who did not uphold family values, "travelled with a bunch of men" and enjoyed an especially close relationship with one of his disciples.
I wonder how he would describe a Marine platoon? But ole Gene sure has a way with words:
"God's light and God's life ooze over me like warm butter".
That's an image that's hard to forget.

Finally, Bubba Clinton may not be in the best of health, but he hasn't changed any (scroll down).

Ruh Oh!

Blogger busts Adscam ban:
AN AMERICAN website has breached the publication ban protecting the explosive and damning testimony of a Montreal ad exec at the Adscam inquiry. The U.S. blogger raised the ire of the Gomery commission this weekend by publishing extracts from testimony given in secret by Jean Brault on Thursday.

The American blog, being promoted by an all-news Canadian website, boasts that "Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open" and promises more to come. The owner of the Canadian website refused to comment yesterday.

Adscam inquiry spokesman Francois Perreault expressed shock at the publication ban breach, and said commission co-counsel Bernard Roy and Justice John Gomery will decide today whether to charge the Canadian website owner with contempt of court.

"We never thought someone would violate the publication ban," Perreault said yesterday. "Maybe we were more confident than we should have been."
Duh! But, it's a rather odd ban:
But reporters and cameras have been allowed inside the hearing room as long as they don't publish Brault's testimony until the ban is lifted.

And members of the public have swarmed to the inquiry since Gomery cut off the live transmission, filling a special auditorium.

Rumours have swirled all weekend about a possible breach of the ban by American newspapers, Internet sites and television stations that are outside Gomery's reach.
I guess Captain Ed can forget about a Canadian vacation.
Perreault warned that even if Brault's testimony has been outed by a U.S. website, it doesn't mean it is now public information in Canada.

"Anyone who takes that information and diffuses it is liable to be charged with contempt of court," Perreault said. "Anybody who reproduces it is at risk."

Sun Media lawyer Alan Shanoff said publishing the name of the blog, the Canadian news site or providing the Internet address could lead to a contempt charge.
I guess I can forget about a Canadian vacation too. Latest update is here and just keep scrolling down the main page.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

It's the UN again!

The man who tried to blow the whistle on the UN oil-for-food scandal:
No one would listen to the man who tried to blow the whistle on the UN oil-for-food scandal. Two years later he finally received a response - he was fired.

Rehan Mullick finally got the chance to tell his story last week. For four months in late 2002, he repeatedly tried to explain to high-ranking officials at the United Nations how Saddam Hussein had infiltrated and manipulated the $65 billion oil-for-food programme with the collusion of UN staff.

The softly spoken database analyst should know - he had spent nearly two years working at the UN mission in Baghdad and was appalled by the chaos and abuses he witnessed - but at the organisation's headquarters in Manhattan, nobody wanted to listen. Instead, he was treated with the contempt reserved for whistleblowers the world over - first ignored and then, when he persisted, fired.

Among the startling revelations in the dossier he compiled were details of relatives of senior Saddam loyalists running the database at Unicef, the UN agency that claimed that sanctions had killed 500,000 Iraqi children. If that dossier tells much about the abuse of the oil-for-food programme on the ground, Dr Mullick's treatment by the UN is a damning indictment of the culture of cover-ups at an organisation also plagued by allegations of sexual harassment at its headquarters and sexual misconduct by its peacekeeping troops in Congo. It is all the more striking as Dr Mullick is a self-confessed supporter of the UN and he arrived in Baghdad opposed to sanctions.
But I thought they were supposed to be so competent at the United Nations? I guess they are - at criminal enterprises.