Saturday, July 30, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
Please read quietly at your desks and discuss the following N.Y. Times book review as regards the following question:
Is mere contempt enough punishment, or should society be allowed to stomp the living crap out of wholesale idiots ?
Bombing Victim's Wife Writes to bin Laden, With Proposition
It was an unfortunate coincidence that "Incendiary," Chris Cleave's debut novel about a terrorist attack on a London soccer stadium, was published in England on July 7 - the very day that real terrorists bombed three London subway trains and a bus, killing more than 50 and injuring hundreds more.
It is a case of simple tastelessness, however, that this novel begins with the words "Dear Osama ..." and ends with its heroine imploring the Qaeda leader to leave his cave and move in with her: "I will hide you from the law and put all your CD's back in their right boxes with their labels facing front," she declares. "We'll make a new start the 2 of us."
Read the rest if you can stand it. I can't.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
This is a very odd story.
Stray Rocket Kills Bull, Cuts Power Supply in Russia’s Far East
A village of Birofeld in Russia’s Jewish autonomous area was partially hit by a power outage, after a missile accidentally launched from the backyard of a local resident’s house destroyed a power line and flew into a barn where it killed a bull, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.
Local police said in a report the rocket was launched from the yard of a man who earned his living by collecting scrap metal. The man claimed the missile went off as he was sawing a piece of metal and a spark fell on the rocket.
The rocket first ploughed through the man’s vegetable garden and hit the barn killing a bull before flying over the village, destroying a TV antenna on the roof of a one-story building and hitting a power line. It fell in woods near pasture where goats were grazing. As a result, electricity supplies to the village were disrupted for 24 hours.
Shortly afterwards, the metal wires from the destroyed power lines were stolen by scrap metal hunters, the agency said in a report.
Just a few questions before we move along.
- Russia has a "Jewish autonomous area?" Given the history of Russia towards it's Jews, the sound of that gives me the creeps.
- What the hell is a junk collector doing with a missle in his backyard? Is this common in Russia?
- How big was this thing to take out a vegetable garden, a barn, and a bull and still keep going?
- This was no bottle rocket. So how did a "spark" launch this freakin' thing?
- Why are there goats in the story? Was the power outage the result of the goats grazing in the pasture near the woods where the missile landed?
- A TV antenna? Don't they have cable in Birofeld?
- Scrap metal hunters stole the downed power lines???? How the heck did they do that without frying themselves?
- What is it about scrap metal in this village anyway? Did anybody check out the home of the rocket man for the stray wire? First place I'd look.
- Did the villagers all eat steak that night...for free?
If you can supply any answers or theories as to the above, please feel free to comment.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Val was kind enough to include Heigh-ho in a post listing blogs covering Castro's latest assault on liberty and human rights. I know it's hard to maintain any sort of real focus on this communist fossil, what with the war in Iraq, Ossama's terror, and Kim Jong Il playing with nuclear fire. But please remember that there are 11 million people living just off our shores whose lives and liberty have been squashed by a murderous tyrant for almost 50 years! I'm a patient man, but...
Val's right about Castro's best weapon being his control of information at home and the lack of information abroad. That has just got to change.
If the mainstream media won't tackle the job, then by God the pamajahadeen damn well will.
Do what you can.
Good Lord I do so hate this man.
CUBA: Veteran activist says 3 dissidents could be tried (last item)
HAVANA (AP) - Three dissidents still held after a police roundup last week could be tried on charges of working to undermine Fidel Castro's communist government, a veteran activist said Wednesday.
The news that dissident attorney Rene Gomez Manzano, independent journalist Oscar Mario Gonzalez and opposition political activist Julio Cesar Lopez could go to trial came the morning after Castro lashed out at opponents as "traitors" and "mercenaries" in his annual rebellion day speech.
"Cuba's alleged opposition does not exist except in the feverish minds of the Cuban-American mafia and the bureaucrats of the White House and the State Department," Castro said before a gathering of government faithful at Havana's Karl Marx Theater.
No opposition? Listen, Fidel, put down the crack pipe or what ever it is you're smoking and take a look around. Have you ever heard of these guys before?
No? Why they're the Assembly to Promote the Civil Society. They're only a group of some 365 independent organizations looking to open society and establish a democracy in place of your Socialist "paradise."
Odd that you shouldn't know about any opposition seeing as these brave folks staged a demostration in Havana on May 20, 2005 against the social and political repression served up by your dictatorship.
Odd that you should choose to arrest René Gómez Manzano, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello and Félix Bonne Carcassés - the three Executive Committee members of the Assembly.
No opposition? Perhaps you should read the comphensive listing of some 470 seperate opposition organizations put out by CUBASOURCE. Perhaps you should look out the window and count the number of people cheering the anniversary of your fifty-second year as a tyrant.
No opposition? It is not the minds of others that are feverish, old man.
Your days are numbered.
"One revolution is still necessary: the one that will not end with the rule of its leader. It will be the revolution against revolutions, the uprising of all peaceable individuals, who will become soldiers for once so that neither they nor anyone else will ever have to be a soldier again." - Jose Marti
BLOG OF NOTE: I've found Val Prieto's Babalu Blog to be a most comprehensive source for information regarding the dictator currently residing the presidential Palace in Havana...and about those who will one day show that bastard and his cronies the door. Keep an eye on this story, people. I think the grip may be starting to slip.
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
MIAMI (AP) - A federal judge has ordered former football star O.J. Simpson to pay $25,000 in damages for pirating satellite television signals from DirecTV.Let me get this straight:
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard awarded the damages, plus attorneys' fees and other costs, after granting a motion for summary judgment in a civil suit filed against Simpson.
In a raid on Simpson's Miami home in 2001, federal agents seized illegal devices known as "bootloaders" that authorities said were used to steal television programming.
The judge "basically denied us our right to a jury trial," said Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, reached late Tuesday while driving home in pelting rain. (Hey Jimmy Olsen! Nobody cares what the weather was like. -Ed.)
"This was a decision made by a judge in chambers," he said. "They say he did it; we say he didn't. A jury should be able to make that decision."
But DirecTV executives were pleased with the long-awaited ruling.
"The evidence was overwhelming, since the devices seized in Simpson's home were connected to his TV and in operation and receiving unauthorized signals at the time of the raid," said Dan Fawcett, executive vice president, legal and business affairs, of the El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV, Inc.
"The judge has made the proper ruling based on the evidence and the fact that Simpson did not dispute the evidence," he said.
Civil trial? Check.
No material facts in dispute? Check.
Motion for Summary Judgment? Check.
What makes O.J. think he's entitled to waste the time of six law abiding citizens to sit in a jury box just to come to the same conclusion as the judge? In fact, if a jury came to any other conclusion the judge would enter a judgement notwithstanding the verdict. That is because a reasonable person could not have possibly come to such a conclusion based upon the unrefutted evidence.
Go ahead and file your papers, attorney Galanter. Run those hours up.
But don't hold your breath. Your client is toast.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
#1: "Yeah, Bob, my rocket used to blast-off before the countdown reached zero. But now that I've found "Hydro-Boost" with "Stay-a-Thon," I'm able to put my baby into orbit with half the throw-weight of conventional exploratory vehicles."
Highway Signs in Easthampton, Mass., Bear the Outline of Alabama
EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) - The highway signs at the intersection of Routes 10 and 141 might make you think you'd taken a wrong turn and wound up in the Deep South.
Amid the staid Yankee surroundings of this western Massachusetts town, the recently installed signs bear the outline of the state of Alabama, squashed to fit the square shape.
The incorrect signs had been up about a week when Joe Pipczynski, Easthampton's superintendent of public works, was alerted by a state Highway Department worker.
Alabama signs couldn't be more distinctive from Massachusetts signs.
Let's examine first, a sign from Alabama:
Look at the outline of that state. Does that look even remotely like this?
Of course not.
Moreover, Massachusetts signage can be clearly distinguished in other ways.
First, owing to its revolutionary past, Massachusetts signs are very often Colonial in nature.
Secondly, because of their starkly different political leanings, people from Massachusetts say things differently from Alabamians.
Finally, Alabamians are simple folk.
They say what they mean, mean what they say, and let it go at that.
Massachusetts, the other hand...well they just can't say enough.
Monday, July 25, 2005
The Senator from Massachusetts is outraged about a Commerce Clause case called Rancho Viejo v. Norton, which, in the Kennedy legal interpretation, threatens "Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage" and the environment. Is that all?Ah-ha! I knew the Commerce Clause would rear it ugly little head before long! But's what's the deal here? The Commerce Clause is going to wreck Social Security and Medicare? How?
In Rancho Viejo, a real-estate company challenged the Interior Department's application of the Endangered Species Act to halt a project that might disturb an endangered species known as the arroyo Southwestern toad.... At issue was Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce -- in this case, the movement of the toad, which, as Judge Roberts pointed out, is entirely intrastate. The toad is a homebody; it does not travel out of California.Okay, then. The Judge says the toad isn't interstate commerce. Got that. But how do we get from Pepe the Stay-at-home Toad to tossing Grandma out into the gutter?
He said what??? Settled my keister. It's about as unsettled as teh Palestinian question. What a maroon.
It's a long hop from the arroyo toad to Social Security or the minimum wage, and we confess to some difficulty in following Senator Kennedy's line of reasoning. [No kidding? Ed.] Nor do we agree that the interpretation of the Commerce Clause is "settled," as he asserts. If anything, the Supreme Court confused matters in the past term.
Judge Roberts said that federal regulation of the toad appeared to be "inconsistent" with Lopez, the 1995 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that gun possession near a school did not constitute economic activity. But he was writing in 2003 -- before last term's controversial Raich decision, in which a 6-3 Court seemed to retreat from Lopez in saying that federal law can trump state laws permitting the possession of marijuana for medical use.Yeah, well that's all well and good, but how do we arrive at Judge Roberts trashing Social Security and Medicare?
Dishonest? Ted? Nah! It must be that you can't figure out what the "sweeping implications" are about the toad story. I have a feeling Ted might have been refering to "The Toad Factor" so prevalent in national Democratic Party politics these days. But Ted is sticking to his guns:
Also worth noting is that Judge Roberts's four-paragraph dissent was not a full-fledged opinion on the merits of Rancho Viejo; he was merely disagreeing with the majority's decision to deny a review of the case by the full court. This makes Mr. Kennedy's denunciation of the "sweeping implications" of Judge Roberts's words even more dishonest.
"I can imagine few things worse for our seniors, for the disabled, for workers and for families than to place someone on the highest court in the land who would put these protections at risk."
Which is a bigger threat to families:
Need a hint?
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summer’s pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumns turn’d
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv’d!
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv’d;
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Or perhaps an opening bid in a run for Senator of New York.
I for one know that every time I am up to my neck in a difficult legal question, the first thing I do is ring up the wife.
spd: Ring ring! Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!Ring ring!
spd: Hi honey. Where were you?
wife: Laundry room trying to get green crayola out of daughter #3's new Wonderbra. I wound up dying a cat by mistake. She looks like a fluffy raw steak. What's up?
spd: Can you spare a minute? I've got this nagging Commerce Clause problem that I need some homespun help unravelling.
wife: Well, make it quick because I've got to pick up spd jr from karate at four and the girls have riding lessons at 4:15 and the maids are coming at 4:17 and a half and I'm doing the taxes and making a pinata for Barbara's birthday party and there's a cake in the oven for daughter #2's teacher who's got shingles and the pool guys just got here about the turtle invasion and the roof guy is dangling from his foot outside the dining room window. What is it?
spd: Well... it should be simple. Should the Pike Balancing test be used where there is no finding of facial discrimination and no facts put forth as to...
wife: Hold on a second honey...that's the chimney guy calling about the squirrels.
Musical interlude: "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro; "She's Having My Baby" by Paul Anka; "Pappa Don't Preach" by Maddonna
wife: Hello? Honey?
spd: I'm here. Honey, we've got to do something about the "hold" music. It's giving me the creeps.
wife: Sorry about that. While you were on hold the Bling sisters dropped by to show me their new shitzu, "Muffin." Ugly dog. But it's cute.
spd: I'm sure. Say honey? I hate to pressure you but I've just got to get this brief out by five tonight, and I need your help.
wife: Okay, shoot.
spd: Should the Pike Balancing test be used where there is no finding of facial discrimination on interstate commerce and no facts put forth as to a discriminatory effect or purpose?
spd: Huh... Why?
wife: Because, genius, there's nothing to balance. No discrimination on one hand, and no facts on the other. It's a wash.
spd: But what about potential burdens?
wife: Burdens? You want to talk to me about burdens? Listen mister, I've got your burdens. I've got your burdens, hanging. Right now there're three Jehova's Witnesses trying to save both your son and his skatebosrd out in the driveway, daughter# 2 is designing a neck tattoo and the dog just polished off the meat-colored cat. Burdens? You want to talk burdens! Why I oughta...
This is pretty much the same argument I'll make in my upcoming brief to the Supreme Court.
I sure hope the wives are listening.
Go over to and see KJ at The Cheese and look into getting yourself a Hero Bracelet.
And then say a prayer.
I started to put this in the comments, but it's a good memory, so up top it goes.
A long long time ago, when I was in the Navy, I was stopped on the streets of San Francisco by an old guy who asked me for money. Normally I just wave panhandlers off. But this guy looked familiar, like an old uncle that you last saw when you were a kid. Not grungy or weird or smelly, just an old tired guy down at the heels. So I asked him what he wanted the money for, food?. "No, I don't need food," he answered straightfowardly. "I can get food at the shelter. I just want a cold beer." It so happened that we were standing in front of a small bar (coincidence?). It was late in the afternoon, and I was on my way nowhere special with a pocket full of liberty. Just for the hell of it I said, "Well, old timer, the beer's on me" and invited the guy into the cool darkness of the little joint, where it turned out he was both well known and well liked. I wound up talking to him and his bar-fly buddies over cold Anchor Steams for a couple of hours. I bought the rounds, as these guys were pretty thin. It turns out that my friend was a merchant seaman for like a hundred years. He sailed the Murmansk run during WWII ( a deadly voyage) and had the scars to prove it. Not one, but two ships were torpedoed out from underneath him, and for each he carried tattoos stating the name of the ship, the date sunk, and the names of his mates that didn't make it.
He was old and forgotten when I met him, living in the seamans' home and begging passers-by for change for a cold beer. But listening to his tales brought sparkles to his eyes and tears to his cheeks. That old gray head carried stories and memories that would have filled a dozen adventure books. And I got them all for the price of a few beers and a little of my time.
All these years later, I still think buyin' that guy a beer might have been the best investment I ever made.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Stonework Developed in DPRK
Pyongyang, July 20 (KCNA) -- Various kinds of stonework products have been made in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Among them are stones bearing slogans and photos, articles of luxury, craftworks, pots for medicine preparation, kitchen sinks and candelabra.
Photo-inscribed stones are popular for their high level of representation and processing technique.
Stone carvings of figures, animals and other things are made for decorations of buildings, offices and rooms.
The products, made with natural stone, enjoy popularity in China, Cambodia, Nepal and other countries.
And these guys have the bomb?
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
I've been meaning to write about "Wing" for a while now. I was particularly interested after the critical praise Paul "Slice Like A Hammer" Anka recieved for his new "Rock Swings" compliation of rock songs jazzed up (which, I admit, is not at all bad). I figured if an aging Las Vegas lounge act like Anka could cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit," how bad can a mature Asian woman's cover of ABBA's "Fernando" be?
I was astonished. You must listen to Wing. I understand from reading the review she carries on her website that this dear lady has spent thousands of dollars of her own money to make these recordings. You must buy her records. Every one else is.
We owe her that much, world.
Do it for all she's done for us.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I came across this piece the other day and I thought "Do people really not know this stuff about redheads?"
For Marion Roach, it all started with a sideways - or rather an upward - glance. Footloose in Europe at 25, gazing up at ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time, she noticed something odd. The innocent, pre-apple Eve was blond, whereas the Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden was wearing nothing but her long red hair.As one who has been sorely tempted (and eaten alive) by redheads, I understand why Adam took the bait. As the article says, redheads make up only 4 % of the world's population, but they represent more than 3 quarters of the rdr household. This, plainly, is why I am insane today.
"I remember that I got it," Roach says, a little testily, "but I didn't know why." She saw the same thing in the mosaics of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. "The moment she succumbed to temptation, Eve became an object of temptation for others."
In Roach's case, the spark of inspiration for her book came in 2002 in the form of a scientific study she read in a medical journal.Well, that's not surprising. Redheaded women are at least 20% more stubborn than other types of women.
In the article, which Roach details in her book, doctors at the University of Louisville reported that redheaded women need 20 percent more anesthesia than other people.
Stubbornness, Roach found, is considered a classic redhead trademark. Think of the famous redheads we know: Pippi Longstocking, Lucille Ball, Brenda Starr, Rita Hayworth.Like I said. So why then would I fall in love with a redhead and then marry a redhead even though I had grown up with redheaded women and knew their propensities? Well....
The blessings, if we can call them that, bestowed on redheaded women are very different. Redheaded women are reputed to be fickle, but inconsistency is likely to be considered a woman's prerogative.Point. Set. Match. I could warn you, but you'd never listen.
Apparently, for a woman to be considered a cunning vixen isn't a bad thing at all. Men seem to love it, she says: "It's 'If I could get her to be mine, wouldn't I be something?' "
According to stereotypes discussed by Roach, red hair as a marker of sexual ability is a privilege only to the female sex. In fact, redheaded women are represented as the most ravishing women in art, as Roach details in her book. All those flowing tresses in Maxfield Parrish's paintings, in the work of Dante Rossetti and the pre-Raphaelites, indicate a delicate, uncontrollable beauty that has a unique appeal.
"It isn't just that she's bad," Roach laughs, "she's bad for you."
Monday, July 18, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Portia tagged the source of the Plame Game leak months and months ago as being "Scooter" Libby. This news hurts, but only because Portia's damned Yankees took three of four from my beloved Red Sox. Otherwise, it's still not news.
BTW, how's that Social Security reform plan shaping up, Democrats? Coming anytime soon?
Friday, July 15, 2005
Is anybody as bored as I am with the continuing "controversy" over who "outed" Valerie Plame? This whole thing went down the rabbit hole months and months and months ago.
Joe Wilson lied, time after time. Karl Rove did not and it's a crime. Yes it's a crime unless it's not. But who told who and who said what? It matters much, and not a lot. Now you must go investigate, and if you try we'll obsfucate. We'll go to jail and make a fuss. We can't betray the public trust! Cause it's all lies but it's all true. And it's all red but it's all blue. Let's run aground the Ship of State! And off with his head, but no no wait... And off with his head but, no no wait...
Meanwhile, Rome burns.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Why did Judge Jack do it? Because she simply wouldn't accept at face value what the plaintiffs' attorneys were offering in terms of evidence and "expert" testimony. Something smelled, and smelled bad. So Judge Jack conducted her own investigation, and lordy what an investigation it was, taking over 20 months. Some of the results of her inquiry appear in today's Wall Street Journal editorial "The Silicosis Sheriff" (subscription only, I'm afraid):
Her first discovery was that, of the more than 9,000 plaintiffs who supplied more information about their "disease," 99% had been diagnosed with silicosis by the same nine doctors. These physicians had been retained by law firms or by "screening companies" that do mass X-rays on behalf of law firms searching for plaintiffs. When these physicians were deposed, they all but admitted they took their orders from the lawyers and screening firms.Are you getting the idea? "These diagnoses were about litigation rather than health care," she wrote in her 249 (!!!) page decision. "These diagnoses were manufactured for money." Well, Judge Jack, God bless her, wasn't going to take any such crap in her courtroom. In true Texas fashion, the good judge opened up a can o' whoop ass on the plaintiff's attorneys.
Which explains why none of them took a medical history, while others never even saw their patients. One doctor signed blank forms for the screening company and let his secretary fill out the diagnoses. Yet another performed 1,239 diagnostic evaluations in 72 hours -- less than four minutes apiece. Dr. George Martindale, who diagnosed 3,617 patients with silicosis, admitted that he didn't even know the criteria for diagnosing the disease and had simply included in each of his reports a paragraph provided by the screening company.
Another shocker was that more than 65% of the silica plaintiffs had previously been plaintiffs in an asbestos suit, even though it is close to clinically impossible to have both asbestosis and silicosis. Digging deeper, the judge found that many of the same doctors had ginned up the same patients for both asbestos and silicosis cases. One doctor, Ray Harron, received nearly $5 million from 1996-2004 from a leading screening company, N&M, and has supplied thousands of silicosis diagnoses, and at least 52,000 asbestos-related diagnoses.
Judge Jack reserved her most severe criticism for the lawyers, noting that statistics alone should have shown that their case defied "all medical knowledge and logic," and that by bringing it regardless they had exhibited a "reckless disregard of the duty owed to the court." She required the Houston firm of O'Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle to pay the defendants' $825,000 in legal fees, and ordered sanctions. She also made clear she was on to the tort bar's tactics, noting that the "clear motivation" was "to inflate the number of plaintiffs and overwhelm the defendants and the judicial system."And there you have it, folks. A real by god American hero. We rag on our judges so often about the terrible decisions that only a few of them are actually responsible for (see, e.g., KJ's example today of juriprudence gone awry) that its truly refreshing to read about one judge that took it upon herself to get it right.
Judge Jack did not shy away from the word "fraud" in her courtroom, and clearly someone at the Justice Department has been paying attention. A Manhattan grand jury is now investigating at least one of the screening companies, and subpoenas have gone out to at least two of the doctors involved.
Thank you Judge Jack. You are my kind of gal.
Newsweek still arrives at my door weekly, but for two reasons only: (1) I ordered it to help my niece make her magazine drive quota (along with Travel and Golf and Conte Nast, two magazines that I can't ever remember even opening, much less reading) and, (2) George Will; hands down the best political/social writer in the business today.
Okay, that last pronouncement may be open to discussion, but Mr. Will just blows me away with his ability to reduce an absurdly complex social cassarole into deliciously erudite morsels of reality. Mr. Will's extraordinary ability to do so no doubt springs from his love for baseball, a game that turns on careful observation, focused patience, and exacting execution.*
Yet I have never read a piece by Mr. Will that so discombobulated me as this week's fare in Newsweek entitled "What We Owe What We Eat: Why, Matthew Scully asks, is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference?" Mr. Will warns us against reading the article - and I agree - it may disturb the willful complacency we strive to maintain in such matters. But the questions posed are poignant and worthy of adult discussion. What do humans, so far removed from the process by which we now procure our food, owe in terms of humanity to that "food" while it still breathes?
As one who never shot a “gun” until one was placed in my hands by the Navy and who has only successfully stalked prey in the grocer’s aisles, I find the question to be, not only socially reflective, but pregnant...with twins.
Mr. Will’s column is by no means a paean to the fringe rants of PETA, but rather a thoughtful pause, as if suddenly noticing an elephant in your parlor.
Is there a reasoned response? Of course. And I'm open to suggestions.
I won’t urge you to read it…but you will, because, at bottom, you’re human.
*Obigatory basball reference - Yankees at Sox tomorrow night.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I just put that up there in the hope that random web-surfing goof-offs would read this article in The Weekly Standard about the Iraq-Al Qaeda relationship that we've been repeatedly told by the New York Times, et al, does not exist.
From The Mother of All Connections: A special report on the new evidence of collaboration between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda by Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn:
There could hardly be a clearer case--of the ongoing revelations and the ongoing denial--than in the 13 points below, reproduced verbatim from a "Summary of Evidence" prepared by the U.S. government in November 2004. This unclassified document was released by the Pentagon in late March 2005. It details the case for designating an Iraqi member of al Qaeda, currently detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an "enemy combatant."
1. From 1987 to 1989, the detainee served as an infantryman in the Iraqi Army and received training on the mortar and rocket propelled grenades.
2. A Taliban recruiter in Baghdad convinced the detainee to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban in 1994.
3. The detainee admitted he was a member of the Taliban.
4. The detainee pledged allegiance to the supreme leader of the Taliban to help them take over all of Afghanistan.
5. The Taliban issued the detainee a Kalishnikov rifle in November 2000.
6. The detainee worked in a Taliban ammo and arms storage arsenal in Mazar-Es-Sharif organizing weapons and ammunition.
7. The detainee willingly associated with al Qaida members.
8. The detainee was a member of al Qaida.
9. An assistant to Usama Bin Ladin paid the detainee on three separate occasions between 1995 and 1997.
10. The detainee stayed at the al Farouq camp in Darwanta, Afghanistan, where he received 1,000 Rupees to continue his travels.
11. From 1997 to 1998, the detainee acted as a trusted agent for Usama Bin Ladin, executing three separate reconnaissance missions for the al Qaeda leader in Oman, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
12. In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars.
13. Detainee was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Khudzar, Pakistan, in July 2002.
Well, I'll be...
Interesting. What's more interesting: The alleged plot was to have taken place in August 1998, the same month that al Qaeda attacked two U.S. embassies in East Africa. And more interesting still: It was to have taken place in the same month that the Clinton administration publicly accused Iraq of supplying al Qaeda with chemical weapons expertise and material.
Well, blow me down.
But none of this was interesting enough for any of the major television networks to cover it. Nor was it deemed sufficiently newsworthy to merit a mention in either the Washington Post or the New York Times.
The Associated Press, on the other hand, probably felt obliged to run a story, since the "Summary of Evidence" was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the AP itself. But after briefly describing the documents, the AP article downplayed its own scoop with a sentence almost as amusing as it is inane: "There is no indication the Iraqi's alleged terror-related activities were on behalf of Saddam Hussein's government, other than the brief mention of him traveling to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi intelligence." That sentence minimizing the importance of the findings was enough, apparently, to convince most newspaper editors around the country not to run the AP story.
I can't believe that this simply isn't newsworthy. Something must have happen to J-Lo and Brad Pitt that knocked it off the front page. Or maybe Karl Rove didn't leak it fast enough.
We know from these IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service]documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to Osama bin Laden's request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
We have been told by Hudayfa Azzam, the son of bin Laden's longtime mentor Abdullah Azzam, that Saddam Hussein welcomed young al Qaeda members "with open arms" before the war, that they "entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation," and that the regime "strictly and directly" controlled their activities. We have been told by Jordan's King Abdullah that his government knew Abu Musab al Zarqawi was in Iraq before the war and requested that the former Iraqi regime deport him. We have been told by Time magazine that confidential documents from Zarqawi's group, recovered in recent raids, indicate other jihadists had joined him in Baghdad before the Hussein regime fell. We have been told by one of those jihadists that he was with Zarqawi in Baghdad before the war. We have been told by Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister and a longtime CIA source, that other Iraqi Intelligence documents indicate bin Laden's top deputy was in Iraq for a jihadist conference in September 1999.
*fingers in ears* Lala lala la la! I can't hear you! Lala lala la la!
Iraq's use of terrorism was so widespread, in fact, that it became an issue in the 1992 presidential campaign, when Al Gore accused the first Bush administration of a "blatant disregard for brutal terrorism" practiced by Hussein and ignoring Iraq's "extensive terrorism activities."
*head in sand* I'm not listening to you! Blah blah blah blah blah!
An internal Iraqi Intelligence memo dated March 28, 1992, lists individuals Hussein's regime considered assets of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Osama bin Laden is listed on page 14. The Iraqis describe him as a Saudi businessman who "is in good relationship with our section in Syria."
What about Valerie Plame, huh??? What about Bush looking like Alfred E. Neuman??? What do you have to say about that Mr. Smarty Pants?
Sometimes it takes a while for all the pieces to come together. By the time it does, its not "news" anymore, but history. We got several million pieces of Iraqi intelligence still to go. I'll be patient as the truth of the matter surfaces.
But don't go looking for it in the New York Times.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - A military investigation into FBI reports of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, recommended that the prison's former commander be reprimanded, but a top general rejected the recommendation, according to a congressional aide familiar with the inquiry's findings. >Investigators recommended that Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller be reprimanded for failing to oversee the interrogation of a high-value detainee, which was found to have been abusive, the aide said.
But Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of U.S. Southern Command, instead referred the matter to the Army's inspector general, said the aide, who described the still unreleased report on the condition of anonymity because the Pentagon has not released it. Craddock concluded that Miller did not violate any U.S. laws or policies, the report said, according to the aide.
The investigation is the latest in a series looking into allegations of abuse at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Guantanamo Bay naval base.
GUANTANAMO: Roberts says no evidence of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay (Sixth item)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Pat Roberts said Monday he saw no evidence of mistreatment during a weekend visit to the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that has drawn some calls for its closure because of alleged abuse of detainees.
"If you really think of who these detainees are - and rather than call them that I call them terrorists - and what they have done, it's hard for me to imagine how much better these terrorists could have it," the Kansas Republican said of conditions at the U.S. naval base.
Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said interrogation techniques are respectful and "produce valuable intelligence every day."
"They are treated very humanely and respectfully," Roberts said. "If they comply with camp rules and they behave, they play outdoor sports like soccer and volleyball, even ping pong."
There are strict procedures for respecting the religion and culture of detainees, Roberts said, and U.S. camp guards strictly observe all the Muslim prayer calls, which occur five times a day.
All of my comments to this post were so inflammatory as to require redaction.
Heads on stakes will suffice.
In the upper left corner of the country there is a place called Seattle. You know the place, its in King County, Washington where people can vote Democrat more times than there are people to vote. Home to Starbucks, Liberal Larry, and also Frank Colacurcio Sr. You may not know Frank, Sr. or his fair-haired boy, Frank, Jr., but they are what you call "strip-club magnates". Hey, everybody's got to earn a living, right? Anyway Frank, Sr. is a helluva guy. A little bit of history with the law, maybe, but otherwise an an upstanding citizen . Frank, Sr. likes to be a force in his community. So like any good American, he donates to the campaings of those who best represent his personal views.
Its no surprise then that the obvious choice for a strip club magnate to funnel cash to would be none other than a "Fearless Woman!" Yes, Judy Nicastro, fearless woman who "while at University of Washington, started CORE (Community Organizing Rape Education) program to bring together community members and university administration to deal with issues of rape and violence. Obtained funding to open a Sexual Assault Center." Judy Nicastro, "self-described fighter for the underdog" and "populist street fighter" who honed her remarkable political talents to a fine edge while being simulatneously both pro-tenant and pro-developer! Judy Nicastro, fearless fighting woman and City Council person who unabashedly took more than $15 thou from Frank, Sr. in illegal campaign contributions to help him with a parking lot problem. Judy, Judy, Judy Nicastro, a Seattle city councilwoman with both Green and Democratic ties.
The second oldest professional.
Uh oh. The jig is up!
For many American workers today, time's a wastin' - literally. According to a new survey by America Online and Salary.com, the average worker admits to frittering away 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including lunch and scheduled break-time....
The biggest distraction for respondents? Personal Internet use. 44.7% of the more than 10,000 people polled cited web surfing as their #1 distraction at work. Socializing with co-workers came in second at 23.4%. Conducting personal business, "spacing out," running errands, and making personal phone calls were the other popular time-wasting activities in the workplace.
Check out who's wasting the most time at work by state: the "Show Me" state is max vegging on Ebay, followed closely by those half-awake Hoosiers. Folks on the Big Island, though, appear to be lying through their teeth....then again, there's this important footenote
(3) Estimate only. An insufficient number of responses was received from state residents. Estimate is based in part on responses received from persons living in the region in which the state is located (but not the state itself). Regions are based on boundaries recognized by the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"Persons living in the region" but not in the state? Who'd they factor into Hawaii's numbers? Sea turtles?
Now I don't mean to discourage productivity by urging you to visit my blog and those of the few I bothered to list on the sidebar, but Jesus people, three hours a day goofing off at work? That seems to be a bit excessive, no? Look what happens to slackers: this website hasn't been updated in years! Let's get out there and produce...something.
And Portia? Limit the lunches to 3 hours, okay?
Ah, there's nothing like a slacker's horoscope to get the juices flowing on a hot Tuesday morning:
LEO: If executive action is called for remember that choosing to wait on a final decision is also an action.
Take the day off, folks.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Every year I
First, waste some of that billable time playing "Oyez Baseball" over at The Oyez Project; a nifty little site that is chock full of info on the Supreme Court.
Feeling sleepy yet? No? Then try a a little light reading with Roger Abrams' "Legal Bases" and find out how the game is really played off the field. From the review:
The book is organized around "nine men and one woman who played pivotal roles in its history. They constitute our 'All-Star Baseball Law Team.' " The "team" (apparently the 10th player is justified by the designated hitter rule) is chosen to illustrate important principles of baseball and law dating from the 19th century (John Montgomery Ward) through the reserve clause challenge (Curt Flood) to baseball's crimes (Pete Rose). Abrams claims that the importance of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was too great to fit in just a chapter, but many readers will still wish for more on the man who shaped the business of baseball more than any other single individual.
Was that a little snore I just heard? Good, you're on your way.
I'll wake you up in time for Red Sox v. Evil Empire, Inc. on Thursday in the Court of the Green Monster.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
What the f*ck do you think you're doing?
This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.
Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.
All you've done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You don't get rewarded for this kind of crap.
And if, as your MO indicates, you're an al-Qaeda group, then you're out of your tiny minds.
Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.
And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.
So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the f*ck out of our city.
Cheers, mates. See ya at the pub.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.
In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Aksam reported.Got me thinking about this: bizarre story:
City Gent: Oh, jolly good too. (surveys field; he looks puzzled) I say, those are sheep aren't they?
City Gent: Yes, yes of course, I thought so...only...er why are they up in the trees?
Rustic: A fair question and one that in recent weeks has been much on my mind. It's my considered opinion that they're nesting.
City Gent: Nesting?
City Gent: Like birds?
Rustic: Ar. Exactly. Birds is the key to the whole problem. It's my belief that these sheep are laborin' under the misapprehension that they're birds. Observe their behavior. Take for a start the sheeps' tendency to 'op about the field on their back legs. (off-screen baa-ing) Now witness their attempts to fly from tree to tree. Notice that they do not so much fly as...plummet. (sound of sheep plummeting) Observe for example that ewe in that oak tree. She is clearly trying to teach her lamb to fly. (baaaaaa...thump) Talk about the blind leading the blind.
City Gent: But why do they think they're birds?
Rustic: Another fair question. One thing is for sure; a sheep is not a creature of the air. They have enormous difficulty in the comparatively simple act of perchin'. (crash) As you see. As for flight, its body is totally unadapted to the problems of aviation. Trouble is, sheep are very dim. Once they get an idea in their heads, there's no shifting it.
City Gent: But where did they get the idea from?
Rustic: From Harold. He's that sheep there over under the elm. He's that most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep. He's the ring-leader. He has realized that a sheep's life consists of standing around for a few months and then being eaten. And that's a depressing prospect for an ambitious sheep. He's patently hit on the idea of escape.
City Gent: Well why don't you just get rid of Harold?
Rustic: Because of the enormous commercial possibilities should he succeed.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Deceased Steelers Fan Laid Out at Funeral Home on Recliner in Front of TV, Beer at His Side
PITTSBURGH (AP) - James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a TV showing his beloved team in action.
Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh, died of prostate cancer Thursday. Because his death wasn't unexpected, his family was able to plan for an unusual viewing Tuesday night.
The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith's home on game day Sundays.
Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.
I understand completely, Mr. Smith.
Go in peace.
[American Association for Nude Recreation]-East contends that the statute impairs its ability to disseminate the "values related to social nudism in a structured camp environment." Brief of Appellants at 15. One of the purposes of the camp, according to AANR-East, is to "educate nudist youth and inculcate them with the values and traditions that are unique to the culture and history of the . . . American social nudist movement." J.A. 57. AANR-East contends that the amended statute will reduce the size of the camp every year because not all would-be campers have parents or guardians who are available to register and attend a week of camp during the summer, as evidenced by the fact that 24 campers who would have otherwise attended camp by themselves in June 2004 were unable to do so because of their parents’ inability or unwillingness to attend. AANR-East contends that the statute encroached on its First Amendment right by reducing the size of the audience for its message of social nudism and will continue to do so as long as it is enforced. We think this is sufficient for purposes of standing. A regulation that reduces the size of a speaker’s audience can constitute an invasion of a legally protected interest. See Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 422-23 (1988). Likewise, "[t]he denial of a particular opportunity to express one’s views" may create a cognizable claim despite the fact that "other venues and opportunities" are available. Irish Lesbian & Gay Org. v. Giuliani, 143 F.3d 638, 649 (2nd Cir. 1998).
The world has gone insane and I'm not going to join it.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - As the fourth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack approaches and concrete plans for ground zero seem to come and go like tourist buses, it can often seem as if the void there will never be filled.
But over the last several months, far from the political battles, an artist and a team of assistants have been working in a hangarlike studio here, creating an unusual, sprawling sculpture that will be installed and dedicated near ground zero on Sept. 11, becoming the first substantial permanent memorial in the area.
The bronze sculpture will be an eerily lifelike re-creation of the stump and roots of a sycamore tree that grew for more than 70 years in the churchyard of St. Paul's Chapel. The tree became a potent symbol of sacrifice after 9/11, when it was broken by the blast from the collapsing towers and helped to shield the church from damage. The work will sit at the head of Wall Street on Broadway, in a courtyard of Trinity Church, the Episcopal parish that operates St. Paul's. It will soar 18 feet into the air and spread more than 25 feet across the courtyard, and the tens of thousands of people who visit the ground zero area every week will be able to walk through its undulating root branches.
"This sculpture is not intended as a memorial, just as an artwork," said Steve Tobin, the artist, who came up with the idea for the project in the weeks after the attack, when he read about the sycamore. "But I think this work is going to embody 9/11 for a lot of people."
Yeah...man. I do remember.
Second to last item
WILL SMITH ACCEPTS CONTROVERSIAL GIFTS
Will Smith has sparked controversy by accepting a $12,749 goody bag for appearing at Saturday's Live 8 concert in Philadelphia.
Smith, Stevie Wonder and Bon Jovi enjoyed a backstage gourmet menu of crispy calamari salad and salmon sushi while appearing at the American charity event to end poverty in Africa.
The stars have been accused of undermining the concert's message, by going home with Hugo Boss suits, watches, jewelry and guitars.
Nothing to see here, folks.
Fly me to the moon.
Cass is getting jiggy with the self-less ones.
Monday, July 04, 2005
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth."
-John Adams, 1765.
Happy Fourth of July, People.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Check, one two.
Check, one two.
This posting by my favorite blog princess got me thinking: " How come mike checks suck?"
After 70+ years of amplified music, hasn't anybody ever come up with a better mike check. How is it that the most politically sensitive and creative amongst us still employ the most brain-dead, lazy, boring, stupid, lame, etc., methods to make sure that their voice will reach an adoring crowd? Is it enough that perpetually sun-glassed Bono simply cough "check, one two" into a mike, a mike that later might, should the G-8 listen, SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD? Should Sir Paul McCartney be permitted to simply mug and smirk without SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER through his mike checks? I think not.
How about a contest: Best Modern Mike Check. I challenge you to devise the best, honest to God, mike checks for whomever.
Make 'em real.
While everyone else is going to be glued to the tube today to watch geezers Bono, et al, strike a pose for hunger in Africa, I'm going to load up the ol' I-pod with some new sounds and boogaloo down by the backyard pool. Maybe coax a mermaid or two while I'm at it.
And the business will shake hands and talk in numbers
And the princess will wake up from her slumber
Than all the knights will step forth with their arm bands
And ev'ry stranger you meet in the street will make demands
So believe no lies, then dry your eyes and realize
It appears that, during my long-weeks absences from Casa rdr, the House and Garden faeries have not been holding up their end of the devil’s bargain. There are weeds sprouting everywhere, my private domain (the garage) is in complete disarray, and the battery in Porsche is dead, preventing any escape from the clutches of that nemesis “Honey Dew.”
Rather than simply succumb to the siren song of “he who complains about stuff unruly,” I am jettisoning my earthly persona in favor of “that who sure as hell gets stuff done with out whining, dammit.”