Friday, July 29, 2005

Home Internet Out

I will not be posting this weekend. Or even checking and commenting.

My home internet was knocked out by a thunderstorm late Wednesday evening.

We will not be on line until Monday at the earliest.

I will get stuff posted today until I leave for the Braves game, who were tied with the Washington Nats three days ago, but now lead the NL East by 3 games.

It was nice while it lasted in Washington. I don't think the Astros will even let the Nats win the wildcard. What say you, Pile?

I will leave this post on top today, and post new stuff under it. Don't stop reading just because this is on top.

And do check in and feel free to comment away over the weekend.

Yo, Dog, Chill!

Ever see a dog doing something that you think is bad, but it is just so darn cute you can't help but laugh?

Yeah, me too. Hard to scold that dog.

Soccer Made Interesting

First, just so there is no misunderstanding, I always think that soccer sucks ass. Of course, I usually mean that figuratively, but in this game . . .

. . . it literally did. The mooning dude also scored a hat-trick (that means 3 goals to any of y'all sports ignorant).

h/t: This Blog Will Be Deleted by Tomorrow.

Aim - Shoot - Hit

Another academic twit is concerned about the fact that our military might actually be strong, and he hates that it is voluntary. We are the problem, you see.

But as this is a military matter, I will stand down and let Cassandra do what she does best with a laser guided precision fisking.

Math Geeks Figure Out Courtship

How to woo women is the stuff ads in the back of Maxim are made. Well, those and male enahncement drugs for those with a women who has already been wooed.

So how do we solve this age old delimina? Ask math geeks.
Forget expensive presents or costly jewelry. Wining and dining is the best way for men to woo women, scientists said Tuesday.
Scientists also said that many women they rubbed up against on the train smelled good, but most don't seem to like the tape on their glasses.
Researchers at Imperial College London developed a mathematical formula and modeled courtship as a sequential game to find the best way to impress the ladies.

Physical attraction is an important element but offering gifts also helps.
The scientists added that there research was very objective because none of the scientists were actually subjects of the study. Not that they didn't want to be. It was just that none of them qualified because they hadn't dated since second grade. They do hope to use their findings on future dates, if they can get one.

I for one am hoping that tax dollars were used for this ground breaking research.

A Little Advice From The British

Please move along. Slowly.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Then And Now

Judge Roberts and Thurgood Marshall took [are taking] similar paths to the Supreme Court. Each was an excellent advocate, and each worked with Presidents prior to elevation. And each were nominated when Sen. Teddy Kennedy was in the U. S. Senate. So what does he have to say?

In his June 20, floor speech responding to President Bush's nomination of Roberts to the Supreme Court, Kennedy argued that senators "must not fail in our duty to the American people to responsibly examine Judge Roberts' legal views."

The Massachusetts Democrat said he is troubled by Roberts' strict interpretation of the Constitution's "commerce clause" and added that "other aspects of Judge Roberts' record also raise important questions about his commitment to individual rights.

"What little we know about his views and values lends even greater importance and urgency to his responsibility to provide the Senate and the American people with clear answers."

"Judge Roberts represented clients in [cases over hot button issues], but we have a
duty to ask where he stands on these issues," Kennedy continued. "[T]he nominee will be expected to answer fully, so that the American people will know whether Judge Roberts will uphold their rights."
Then (photo leaving his Presidential hopes funeral).

During the 1967 confirmation debate over the nomination of then-Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, however, Kennedy held a different view about the types of questions the nominee should be required to answer. Film footage obtained by Cybercast News Service shows Kennedy's response to the prospect of senators asking Marshall questions about how he might rule in future cases.

"We have to respect that any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters, which are either before the court or very likely to be before the court," Kennedy said during a 1967 press conference. "This has been a procedure which has been followed in the past and is one which I think is based upon sound legal precedent."

Video/Audio of both statements.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Document Appetite Never Satisfied

Who couldn't see this coming. Democrats requested documents on Robert's advice as counsel during previous administrations. Rather than saying no freaking way, those documents are privileged and work product, and protected from disclosure as they should be, the Bush administration handed over some documents. Naturally, they couldn't hand over everything, because some things were likely part of legal work that was administration sensitive and not proper for disclosure.

But just like the Democrats are doing with Bolton, they demand more, even when they shouldn't have received what they already got.
Democrats gave no ground Wednesday on their demands for more of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' legal documents, saying the limited release by the White House could delay a vote to put him on the bench.

Gave no ground? What did you expect? Honor and consistency? They are Democrats.
"The Senate will need the White House's full cooperation to expedite the scheduling," said Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who also said he would vote against Roberts if he found the nominee to have an "activist" agenda for the high court.

Talk about irony. Activists is what the Democrats want on the Court. How else could they achieve any of their legislative initiatives.
"Something has to give. If the nominee does not want to answer questions, then we need more documents," said Schumer, a member of the committee. "If there is a moratorium on documents, then we need the nominee to answer questions more forthrightly and we need more time to ask those questions."

Well, Chuck, since your primary objection is his religious belief, how about asking him some questions before you start complaining about his not answering questions.

But leave to Leahy to top off your drink. Noting that he doesn't want another of "those" conservative justices, Leahy said:
"They've knocked down all these, basically writing the law themselves," Leahy added. "I want to find out if he's going to be as active as this — as people like Justice (Antonin) Scalia and Justice (Clarence) Thomas, who have almost willy-nilly overruled things."

Leahy also said any Supreme Court nominee who doesn't agree that Roe v. Wade is established legal precedent would have difficulty getting confirmed.

Uh, yeah. Willy-nilly? Congress has limited powers, and Scalia and Thomas enforced those limits in non-commercial areas. Not activist, not making law. Then, the Court adds a new right and nit picks every regulation of it as though the Court were the super legislature. And that is the type of activism we expect, Leahy says. What an idiot.

If this doesn't get very ugly soon, it will be hillarious.

Tom Cruise Reveals Powers of Scientology

Tom Cruise appeared on Oprah to reveal some of the awesome power of Scientolgy.

Darth Sidious claimed that he, and not L. Ron Hubbard, taught Cruise everything he knows.

h/t: Tom Cruise's Blog and Rightwingsparkle.

The Cheese Thesaurus

I looked ghetto up on an on-line Thesaurus but found no single word synonyms. But, thanks to Ernest Burkeen, I can now provide one:

Ghetto: Funky.

As in: Miami city leaders are apologizing for a news release that invited summer campers to a ''Ghetto Style Talent Show'' and ''Watermelon Eating Contest.'' . . . After being criticized . . . Miami Parks Director Ernest Burkeen, who is black, released a formal apology and announced the renaming of the talent show. The show will now be called the "Funky Talent Show" . . . . The watermelon contest will still be part of the event.

Betting On The Weather

Have you always wanted to bet on the location and timing of the next hurricane, but couldn't afford real estate in Florida? Now you don't have to. You just need to play the futures game being started by some University of Miami professors.

Three professors at the University of Miami are launching an electronic futures market to forecast where a hurricane will make landfall in the United States.Traders who buy or sell the right spot at the right time can cash in, maybe clearing enough profit to buy a small generator.

Aptly called MAHEM, the Miami Hurricane Event Market isn't open for trading yet. Organizers are still refining the prospectus and plugging holes in their Web site,, but MAHEM is slated to debut any day now, all in the name of research and education.

"We are not gamblers. We are scientists," said David Kelly, an economics professor and one of MAHEM's co-founders, who acknowledges some people will consider the market tasteless."But if you go down that road, you could say buying stock in a pharmaceutical company is hoping people get cancer. I choose to look at this as a benefit to society by helping research on how to make a better forecast."

I have no real problem with the concept. In fact, I applaud it. Although I believe in the rights and wisdom of the individual over the group in making individual choices, being a predictor is a great role for markets.

I have heard about research that suggests that a "group of people" might be a better predictor than any individual expert. A simple example that I won't look up right now relies on the game of guessing the number of objects in a jar. The study suggests that the actual number of jelly beans (or other objects) in the jar is likely to be very near the mean (or average) of a large number of all guesses. This proved to be the case even though the range of guesses was high and no single guess may have been close at all.

This project sounds extremely similar to the Terrorist futures market that Homeland Security suggested shortly after 9/11. That project, sadly, was ridiculed in the press and the Bush administration scrapped it to the idea dump. The links of this paragraph suggest why that was a bad idea. This summarizes the idea:
"While the Pentagon program may sound outlandish, there is strong evidence that futures exchanges can predict events better than other forms of analysis. Betting pools on election results have proven more accurate than polls, and options markets are better predictors of future stock prices than the price targets set by individual equity research analysts. The reason, economists say, is that markets are extremely efficient at aggregating information from all investors—including inside information."
The idea behind these projects is that the price of the "prediction" will reflect the number of investors buying it. If this project proves to be a good predictor of the hurricanes, maybe the terrorist futures idea will make a comeback.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mobs Split -- Move Republican

Mob organizations have been waning ever since Kennedy was President. One of the last major influences that the mob had was in labor unions. Now, the largest (AFL-CIO) is suffering from losing up to one third of its membership, and it appears the major reason is that it is spending too much money on politicians, especially Democrats. Mob leader child James Hoffa explains:

He predicted to CNN that seven other international unions would soon bolt from the AFL-CIO and join the Teamsters. "It is not done lightly. We have extended a number of propositions and ideas to the AFL-CIO to make sure that we could change the tide of the AFL-CIO.

"We have been disappointed over the last 10 years that we have seen a decline in membership," he said, referring to Sweeney's decade-long tenure as president.

Though the union suggested "a number of changes," including a $5 million rebate to help the Teamsters reorganize in their core industries, "they said no," Hoffa said. "Their idea is to keep throwing money at politicians."

He added, "What was being done at the AFL-CIO is not working; we are going to do something new. That is our message." Among the new things the Teamsters will try, Hoffa said, will be becoming "more bipartisan. ... We're not going to be afraid to back a Republican."

Thank goodness. The mob has been ignoring Republicans for way too long, and if there is anything that party needs, it is another big government influence.

Dating Tips

So your dating options are wide open, and you are wondering what age woman you should be thinking about hooking up?

Here is a break down. The article assume a 30 year old male. I have been married a while, so don't ask me.

After all, you don't want to end every night like the guy in the striped shirt.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Why Not "Rape" Her To Get Her Back?

In Solomon had been an Islamic Judge, he would have ordered the baby split in two, then when the real mother said, "no, let the other woman have the baby so that it may live," he would have had her split in two as well.
BOMBAY -- Hard-line Islamic clerics in a northern Indian village have declared that a woman's 10-year-old marriage was nullified when her father-in-law raped her -- and ordered the mother of five to marry the rapist.
The logic here is dumbfounding. The fatwa ordered by the clerics require Imrana Ilahi, 28, to separate from her husband and treat him as her son because she had sex with his father.

"She had a physical relationship with her father-in-law, and it nullifies her marriage," said Mohammad Masood Madani, a cleric at the theological school. He said it made no difference whether the sex was consensual or forced. The village council then decreed that Mrs. Ilahi would have to marry her father-in-law.

The funny (as in sad) thing is that the husband does not want this either.
But Mr. Ilahi, 32, told his wife: "My father is dirty and you are clean. I still
love you and I cannot desert you." Mrs. Ilahi, with her husband and five
children, sneaked out of Charthawal and took shelter in Kukra, the village of
her parents.
Apparently, Muslim women are property, but even their husbands are forbidden from forgiving their raped wife.
"The fact that the woman was 'used' by her husband's blood relative makes her [unclean] for her husband and there is no way she can be allowed to live with him," the law board said.
No way, huh? And now for a West Virginia angle.
Under Shariah law, the rape has made her the mother of her husband, said Naseem Iqtedar, the law board's only female member.
The beauty of this is that the logic is so completely stupid, it is easy to get around. When the ex-wife/ex-daughter-in-law/step-mom moves in with the ex-father-in-law/new husband, the ex-husband/step-son should just rape his ex-wife/step-mom. Then she will have to divorce the former ex-father-in-law/soon to be ex-husband, and marry the former husband/step-son/now new husband again. Got it?

Saturday, July 23, 2005


I realize I am going to get hate comments for this one, but you are really wasting your typing. I feel this way, and I'm saying it.

I have made fun of the Tom Cruise/Brooke Shields drug dispute. And don't get me wrong -- Cruise deserves it while advocating his pseudo-religion.

But Cruise, Kelly Preston and the rest of them are crusading for one good cause, even if they are doing it because of Scientology.

There are too many kids on drugs today. We have psychologists giving babies - not kids - babies and toddlers, adult anti-depressents. We have entire school systems that think pressuring parents into drugging their kids is the way to handle discipline. We put these kids on cocaine like drugs and wonder why they shoot up their school and then themselves.

Kids need many things, but they need these two things: discipline and outlets of expression. The drugs are killing both. We frown on drugs as mood alterers for adult recreation. Yet, all too many applaud it and accept it for their kids.

If your kid is on Ritlin or some other ADD or psychological mood drug, you are an abusive parent. I don't want to be misunderstood, so let me keep it simple: I think ADD is as real as the religion fighting these drugs. There is no valid reason to give a kid these drugs. Quit drugging your kid and start parenting him. Turn off the TV, teach some discipline and make him or her exercise his excess energy away.

And I really don't want to hear about how your kid is different. No one was on these drugs when I was a kid, and no one thought there was a crisis. At risk of insensitivity, your kid is not different (maybe a .00001 % chance he or she is different).

Now go on to your anti-depressants and TV and forget you read this, if you even made it this far.

Sowell Is Just Too Good

Thomas Sowell's Random Thoughts are better than my most cogent, well thought our arguments. Which is why he is syndicated, and I have 7 extremely intelligent but small in number readers.

A few teasers:

Why do we keep pretending that we know how to control child molesters after they are released from prison? How many more children must be killed before we face the plain reality that, if it is dangerous to let child molesters out of prison, then they should be kept in prison.

The media have never shown any such interest in how prisoners are treated anywhere else [other than Gitmo] on the island of Cuba, such as in Castro's prisons.

None of the people who said that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction -- and who said it before George W. Bush became President -- is accused of lying.

Those of us who believe in the two-party system regard voting for a third party as throwing away your vote. However, we could use two new parties to replace the Democrats and Republicans.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hero Bracelets

I recently ordered two "Hero Bracelets" from the web site. A sample is at the right. Although they now have Vietnam, Deployed and Purple Heart bracelets, and Hero tags, I ordered the original bracelet to recognize a soldier killed in action in Afganistan or Iraq.

My bracelets arrived today. I just wanted to say thank you to Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett and Sgt. Charles T. Caldwell.

I hope you don't mind that I will be wearing your memory on my wrist.

More Punishment By Shame

But this time, in India. And it builds great abs.

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian police forced around 200 people caught watching pornography to do sit-ups in public to shame them and keep them away from theaters that illegally screen smutty movies.

The police made the all-male group vow not to watch pornography again. To make matters worse for the embarrassed teenagers who were caught, police called their parents to watch them doing sit-ups.

I'm sure the kids loved that. Word is, the sit ups looked like the ones pictured. I'm thinking it won't work.

For a related discussion on punishment by shame, see here.

Texas Steps Up To Kelo

Quotes from the news item.

AUSTIN - Private property owners would be protected from state and local governments seizing their land for economic development purposes under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House Sunday night.

The bill, drafted in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing eminent domain seizures for economic development projects, gained final passage 136-0.

The House version of the eminent domain bill was amended to stop the city of Freeport from seizing waterfront land from a family-owned shrimping company to make way for a private marina project.

The Senate has passed similar legislation, but differences must be worked out in a conference committee before midnight Wednesday when the special session ends.

This was important legislation as I had been reading about the Freeport case. Anyone know if this became law?

Mainstream Means Liberal -- If We Already Got Away With It

Wednesday, the USA Today explained in the most condescending way how we should judge Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court. The theme of the piece was simple: to be either "conservative" or "mainstream," one must accept established Leftist, anti-Constitutionalist precedence of prior Supreme Court opinions. At least, if it was Leftist.

Let the condescension begin:
When President Bush was running for office, he said repeatedly he wanted to fill any Supreme Court vacancies with nominees in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - the justices most willing to overturn the court's established precedents.
The implication is slander. Every justice has an Constitutional view that is more powerful than precedence for its own sake. Was it Scalia and Thomas that last year voted to overturn the 1986 established precedent of Bowers v. Hardwick that held that laws that outlawed sodomy were not a violation of the Constitution? Oh, no they wanted to uphold precedence. In fact, Scalia mocked three other justices pretend reverence for stare decisis in this dissent in Lawrence v. Texas.
Justice Scalia, with whom The Chief Justice and Justice Thomas join, dissenting.

"Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt." Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833, 844 (1992). That was the Court's sententious response, barely more than a decade ago, to those seeking to overrule Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973). The Court's response today, to those who have engaged in a 17-year crusade to overrule Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U. S. 186 (1986), is very different. The need for stability and certainty presents no barrier.
Of course, Scalia is not one to hide his philosophy on this subject. He just rightly points out the idiocy of those who would claim otherwise.
I begin with the Court's surprising readiness to reconsider a decision rendered a mere 17 years ago in Bowers v. Hardwick. I do not myself believe in rigid adherence to stare decisis in constitutional cases; but I do believe that we should be consistent rather than manipulative in invoking the doctrine. Today's opinions in support of reversal do not bother to distinguish--or indeed, even bother to mention--the paean to stare decisis coauthored by three Members of today's majority in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. There, when stare decisis meant preservation of judicially invented abortion rights, the widespread criticism of Roe was strong reason to reaffirm it . . . .
So what precedence exactly is it Scalia and Thomas would recklessly overturn? Dred Scott? Pleassy v. Furguson? Korematsu v. United States? Of course not. The USA Today, Scalia and Thomas would overturn those decisions in a second. Lochner v. New York? Already overturned and not urged otherwise by Scalia or Thomas. No, the only case that matters is Roe v. Wade. It is the only opinion in the history of the Supreme Court that can't be overturned by a "mainstream" jurist. It is all the Left cares about in this debate. It is really kind of creepy.

The USA Today continues -
Roberts' limited experience as a federal appeals judge - scarcely two years and about 40 largely non-controversial opinions - gives few clues as to his legal philosophy. His work as a lawyer for previous Republican administrations and for private clients, though, offers some hints. He made arguments on abortion rights, free speech and church-state issues that are at odds with established law.
That is right. Get this -- as a lawyer, he advocated the position urged by his client. That is right. Stop the presses. Roberts is a lawyer and he wants to be a Supreme Court justice.

And what pray tell was his church-state arguments "at odds with established law"? As best I can tell, there is no established law in the church-state arena. The last opinion this year had two outcomes to the same issue.
The Scalia-Thomas mantra was convenient political code for voters who oppose abortion, gay rights or affirmative action; reject government regulation of business, safety or the environment; or want official support for their brand of religion.
Who can say that Scalia and Thomas oppose abortion or gay rights? The refusal to make the government adhere to one's policy choices in any area not regulated by the constitution is not the same as opposing that policy decision. Thomas, while dissenting in Lawrence v. Texas explicitly stated that he found the anti-sodomy law silly and a poor policy decision. But -- follow me here -- that was not a good enough reason to find it unconstitutional.

Even if I disagree with Thomas -- and I did in in that case as I agreed with the outcome but for a different reason than Kennedy gave (who, as far as I could tell, didn't give a reason) -- his opinion was not anti-gay.

Scalia and Thomas are likewise against Court intervention in abortion. It doesn't matter what the States say -- their position is only that it is up to the State. And Scalia and Thomas have never issued a Lochner like opinion or supported an "official" brand of religion.

The USA Today does not name one case to support this slander.
Whether such views are within the mainstream of American law and values is very much in doubt. In a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll 10 days ago, for instance, 29% of the public said Roe v. Wade should be overturned; 68% said it should be sustained.
This point is interesting and surprising. But ignoring that, I'll assume the poll's validity.

First, examine the numbers. I can assure you that there is not one pro-lifer that thinks that Roe v. Wade should be maintained. On the other hand, there are lots of pro-choice people that think Roe v. Wade is bad Constitutional law. This poll means that 68% (at least) of the people are pro-choice to some degree. So if Roe v. Wade is overturned - so what! Abortion will still be legal everywhere by a landslide. Or does The USA Today know better?
The confirmation process, established by the Founders to make the Senate a co-equal with the president in appointing the judiciary, provides the opportunity to examine Roberts' constitutional philosophy. He should be asked in detail his views of how the Constitution should be interpreted. Is it rigid and unchanging, to be viewed only in its most literal, 18th century terms? Or should the apparent intent of the Founders be applied in the light of modern realities?
Where to begin. First, the Senate is not "co-equal." The Senate may reject an appointment, but never make one. The right to appoint is the President's and his alone.

Is one's view of the Constitution "rigid and unchanging?" I would think not -- unless of course the Constitution has not been changed. Then it is. Because if the Constitution has not been amended, it hasn't been changed.

The USA Today would have you believe that being interpreted in "light of modern realities" is something innocent. What it means is "shouldn't the Court take political issues and Constitutionalize them, even though the issues were not governed by the Constitution." This may mean, depending on the USA Today's view, striking laws that are "old fashioned" and contrary to European world view. Or it may mean giving government more power than it was ever given by the Constitution because the Left has an "altruistic" motive.

The next paragraph of the editorial is the Asshat of the Week Statement. It asks a question, assumes a doomsday scenario, and asks us to chose from only the two choices: (1) big, Leftist government no matter what the Constitution says, or (2) the end of civilization as we know it.

Should the modern interpretation of the right to regulate interstate commerce be sustained? Or would he, as some of his backers wish, revert to when there were few restraints on business, few rights for workers and little protection for consumers or the environment?
The answer of course is neither. Maybe he would just ask the Federal government to limit its regulation of "interstate commerce" to matters that were actually "interstate commerce." Maybe we should allow the states to perform their function on the other stuff.

If Congressional power were limited a little, even limiting a "nice" worker safety or environmental regulation or two, wouldn't the states have an opportunity to step in? Of course.

A strict adherence to the commerce clause does not require the bloody stumps of meat packing workers to float in sewage filled streets.

The USA Today ends with this nugget:
Mainstream law is the settled judgments of the Supreme Court. Roberts should be
judged on whether or not he accepts the doctrines behind those judgments. To
reject them would less conservative than radical.
In other words, if an incorrect liberal Constitutional opinion has been approved by a prior decision, only a "radical" would correct it. Except, of course, for decisions like Dred Scott, Plessy v. Furgeson and Bowers v. Hardwick.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Another WOT Question -- Cause and Effect

So, I'm thinking about the advice my liberal friends offer me about terrorism. "Terrorists get their money from oil rich countries," they say. "Our war against Iraq has increased terrorism, and we are just there for oil," they blather. "We rely too much on oil," they wax philosophic. "We consume too many resources," they surmise from the air conditioned, electricity rich coffee shop. "We need more rapid transit, KJ. You should quit driving that SUV and take the train to work. And please quit driving over my hybrid!" they scream.

Then I consider the last three major terrorist attacks outside of Iraq. One in Spain that attacked mass transit trains. Two in London that attacked mass transit trains and buses.

So I ask:

1. Do the liberals encourage us to take mass transit so that we are more easily targets for the terrorists?


2. Do the terrorists attack mass transit so we will be scared to take the train, and instead drive to work, so that oil rich countries can fund more terrorism?

Just A WOT Question

I believe that people who make threats should be taken seriously. I think our law enforcement ought to treat terroristic threats more seriously than we do. I think when a person publically announces that he will help people attack the United States, he should be considered an enemy of our country. These seem like reasonable positions to me. Last I heard, we either capture and hold, or kill, our enemy.

So, when we run into the father of a known suicide terrorist, and he is saying stuff like this, why don't we just have some mid-level operative in his home country come by one night and kill him?

Could it hurt our cause? I doubt it. Could he be hurting our cause if left alive? Well, I think he should be taken at his word on that point.

I'm not saying we should just walk up and kill him. I'm just asking. Why don't these people "disappear"? And the fact that they don't just "disappear" -- doesn't that say something tremendous about our country and its rules of engagement?

More Evidence In The Political Scandal Theorm

The Cheese Theorm of Political Scandal (tm) is as follows:

In a Lame Stream Media News Story, if a political scandal involves a Republican politician, the party affiliation will be in the headline or opening paragraphs of the story. If the story involves a Democrat, the party affiliation will be buried toward the end of the story, if mentioned at all.

The latest evidence:

The opening four paragraphs.

SAN DIEGO - A federal jury Monday convicted San Diego's new acting mayor and a city councilman of taking payoffs from a strip club owner to help repeal a "no-touching" law at nude clubs, the latest embarrassment to a city awash in scandal.

Michael Zucchet [Ed.: see photo], who became interim mayor over the weekend, was found guilty of conspiracy, extortion and fraud on his first business day in office. He was immediately suspended from the position, his attorney said.

Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who was convicted of the same charges, also was suspended.

The jury also returned guilty verdicts against former Clark County, Nev., Commissioner Lance Malone, who worked for strip club owner Michael Galardi to repeal San Diego's ban preventing nude dancers and patrons from touching each
other. The repeal effort failed.

Skip middle 15 paragraphs. The last two paragraphs:

During the trial, defense attorneys sought to portray Zucchet and Inzunza's dealings with Malone as part of the legislative process and suggested that their clients — both Democrats — were being targeted by a Republican U.S. Attorney for political reasons.
"Does anybody think we'd be here if this case involved real estate development?" Michael Pancer, Inzunza's attorney said during closing arguments that stretched over four days.
Yep. Next to last paragraph is the first mention of party affiliation. And there is no bias?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Creepy and Cool

These are two sites I have found recently that can best be described as creepy and cool.

Here, a flash player video maps and summarizes the war with Al Qeada since its jihad declared in 1998. It has a world map, then with text, a time line and some photos, shows the major terrorist attacks linked to the jihad. Many took place before the war with Iraq.

A must see. Some background music if you are at work.

At this site, we see the last photos of Bill Biggart (right). Mr. Biggart was a professional photographer in New York on 9-11-2001. He took several really impressive photos of the events that morning. Then, when the second tower fell, he was crushed to death.

His equipment was salvaged, and his photos saved for us to see.

And see them you must. These are some incredible shots, made more incredible because we know how his story ended.

UPDATE: Unocal Rejects Chinese Bid

I said here earlier that I was not happy with China's bid to buy a major U.S. oil supplier. This comes at a time when China is beefing up its military arsenal and adding, among other things, to its naval power for its already largest army on Earth. From what I know, the U. S. government did nothing more publically than have a few congressional types express some concern, which resulted in some Chinese saber rattling.

In the end, the work was probably done behind the scenes. The Chinese have been an insy winsy defensive and tempermental lately. A public showdown was probably wisely avoided. Besides, no one wants to tangle a country prepared to send pig sperm into space.

Unocal has accepted instead a Chevron deal that was not as large financially. Either the Board/stockholders are patriots, or they were lead to the path of least resistence in private discussions. Either way, I am relieved.

Another Heartfelt Apology

Ever had your brother tell you he was sorry? At the order of Momma? You know he meant it, don't you. This isn't much different.
Under orders from an international court, Guatemala apologized Monday for the government-directed massacre of 226 people in a highland village during the nation's bloody civil war.
Makes you proud to be a Guatemalan.
The government was ordered to apologize by the Inter-American Human Rights Court, which also decreed that the state pay survivors and relatives $7.9 million in damages in a ruling last fall.
The what court? Can someone tell me what the helk that is?

Stein said he insisted the ceremony take place in Plan de Sanchez and called the court ruling historic.

"The people want moments that commemorate their victims," he said. "But, more than anything, they don't want what happened to keep being denied officially."

I don't know about you, but I have had it with government apologies many years after the fact by people who had nothing to do with the crimes. Besides, if Guatamala's government meant it, why did a court have to order it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bush Names Man To Replace Woman. Sandra Day Considers Bias Suit.

President Bush named John G. Roberts, Jr. to replace Sandra Day O'Connor to the SCOTUS. I don't know much about him, except that he is a respected appellate attorney (which means he is a book worm who can't try a case) and a former Rehnquist clerk, and of course a white, Christian religious extremist.

The question now for everyone: is he a conservative? I have made an in depth analysis, and based on a series of certain facts, I have reached a conclusion. Let's look at the best evidence we have. His judicial opinions? No, his name.

John: Means "Johova is merciful." Of Jewish origin, best known as a Biblical, Christian name. Not flashy. And it is the book of the Bible upon which "The Passion of the Christ" was based. How much more religious right could his first name be? Maybe if he was named "Jesus," but then he would be hispanic.

G.: Use of middle initial is very traditional. Not an unusual, liberal sounding middle initial letter, like a Q or an X would be. Could stand for "God," but more likely a family name, which means, of course, family values.

Roberts: It doesn't get more traditional than this. It is a Teutonic Personal name of great antiquity and is frequently found in Domesday Book as Robertus. The name is associated with Roberts' Rules of Order, which is the traditional method for running a meeting. I looked, and thus far no "Point of Order" under Roberts' Rules has ever recognized a right of privacy or a penumbra.

Jr.: Used to distinguish the son from the father of the same name. Thus, he was named after his father, which is indicative of a somewhat traditional thinking family. It is also a common way to name kids in lower class society, however, which add that "working class" feeling to his name. In fact, it sounds pretty Red State redneck knuckle dragging Republikkkan all the way.

Is this name approach an appropriate indicator? Of course. Let's think for a second about a few well known liberals, one a Court member, one a hopeful. Let's consider, e.g., Mr. I'd Give My Left Nut to be on the Court, Law professor Lawrenece Tribe. His last name all but proclaims his it takes a villiage, socialistic way of thinking. Then there is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her first name establishes her feminist creditials - the only woman in the Bible with a book named after her. And she uses three names, two of which are quite odd and liberal sounding. A definite no-no for any traditional, conservative woman.

Yep, this nominee looks pretty conservative.

It Is A Start

This is good news, regardless of its effectiveness.

More than 500 British Muslim leaders and scholars condemned the killing of innocent people in the London terror attacks and said suicide bombings were "vehemently prohibited."

The British Muslim Forum issued the fatwa, or formal legal opinion, as more than 50 Muslim religious leaders from around Britain stood outside the Houses of Parliament on Monday to hear it read out, the BBC said.

The religious decree expressed condolences to the families of the 56 people killed in the bombings of three subway trains and a bus on July 7 and wished the hundreds injured a speedy recovery.

It said Islam condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives, adding that suicide bombings are "vehemently prohibited." Police suspect the attacks were carried out by Islamist suicide bombers. BMF Secretary General Gul Mohammad quoted the Koran saying: "Whoever kills a human being ... then it is as though he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a human life it is as though he had saved all mankind."

He went on: "Islam's position is clear and unequivocal: murder of one soul is the murder of the whole of humanity; he who shows no respect for human life is an enemy of humanity. We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism in the
world. We pray for the peace, security and harmony to triumph in multicultural Great Britain."

The BMF is an umbrella group launched in March 2005 with nearly 300 mosques affiliated to it.

About time. Better late than never. I hope it influences someone.

Parent Of The Year Award In Jeopardy

On my 16th Birthday, my Mom got me a singing telegram. "Nurse Goodbody" showed up at the end of football practice and embarrassed the helk out of a fragile flower of a high school athelete. My coach even had us run extra because she was a few minutes late and was in on making sure the whole team was there when it happened.

It was tasteful. No sexual jokes, just comments about "girlfriends." She kept her clothes on, though I think she wore some red thing with fishnet stockings. Still, it was not even Desperate Housewives. Nonetheless, some parents of my teammates were a little upset, though no one was reprimanded or fired.

These parents, however, show we now live in different times:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Landon and Anette Pharris are pleading guilty -- to hiring a stripper for their son's 16th birthday party.

The Nashville couple was sentenced Thursday to two years probation and ordered to take parenting classes. They were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Mom said they wanted to do something special for their son. She said they even had grandpa there. The stripper danced for two hours. Then, the party-goers passed the hat and paid the stripper an extra $150 to get completely naked.

A drug store photo developer dropped a dime on the strip party after seeing the
snapshots taken there.

Two comments: (1) I guess Dad taking son to his favorite hooker is no longer the in thing to do on one's 16th birthday? (2) Has no one heard of a digital camera and a color printer?

Monday, July 18, 2005

From the Book of Hallucinations

In this week's Bible readings, we go to the Book of Hallucinations, Chapter 11, verses 1-13, and learn of God's Wrath on the French:

1 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people in Iraq, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows. And I have seen their oppression wherewith the Saddam oppresses them. 2 Therefore, you W, will lead a coalition of my people into Iraq and free them, and thereby make your own people safer to boot. And, what the Hell, ask France to join you.

3 After the Lord told W that he was to lead his people in the Great Mid-East War, W said, "Who am I, that I should go unto the U.N. and that I should bring forth the children of Iraq out of Saddam's grasp. 4 I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou have spoken unto thy servant; I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. Democrats will mock my speech. Let my more eloquent brother Jeb lead them."

5 The Lord said, "Certainly, I will be with thee, for thou art Skull & Bones. I will be with thy mouth, and have my Angel Rove teach you what to say. Besides, I have plans for Jeb in 2012."

6 And W replied, "France is lead by a no count weasel named Chirac. He is in deep in U.N. corruption. What do I say when he refuses your coalition?"

7 The Lord replied, "I will stretch out my hand and smite Chirac's France with a few of my wonders; and after that he still won't go, but I will enjoy it. He is such an ass!"

8 So W presented himself to Chirac, and said, "The people in the Lord's land need to breath freedom. You should assist me in delivering them from the hands of Satan's and Saddam's tyranny."

9 But Chirac replied, "I know not the Lord, nor the common people of Iraq. They do not bring me millions in oil for food slush money or weapons contracts." Chirac was not moved, and his heart was hardened.

10 Then the Lord brought to France a severe drought. Then he sent onto France a plague of hundreds of thousands of locusts. "The locusts are devouring everything from crops to window-box flowers," reported the Observer to Chirac.

11 And the Lord said to W, "Rise up and stand before Chirac, and say unto him, Thus said the Lord, help me free Iraq, that they may serve me."

12 And Chirac said, "Moi? Outrageous! I will kill the locust."

13 Then the agriculture official told Chirac, "There is nothing we can do. The locust has no known predator and the only insecticides which might make a difference are banned."

14 And W and the Lord laughed their asses off.

Speaking of coffee...

Speaking of coffee (see three posts back) I left work early enough for the gormet coffee chain in my building to still be open. I stopped to get me a cup and checked out their trivia question which entitles you to 10 cents off. For a while I wrote this store's trivia questions for a free cup of coffee every day. I told you I was a junkie. I was a coffee trivia whore. I was fired when a new assistant manager wanted the job, and since she was essentially a free trivia writer, I was fired.

Anyway, I, always looking for a bargain, checked out the question. It was as follows:

"This President defeated his opponent by exactly 10,000 votes."

I, being the political savvy and smart person that I am, said it was a trick question and that the answer was no one. My reasoning was that a President is elected by the Electoral College, which has always had fewer than 10,000 possible votes, and thus no President had ever won by 10,000. The person behind the counter said that it refered to the votes in the election. I argued that the President didn't win by the margin of votes in the popular vote. He won by the getting the most votes in the Electoral College. I continued that our current President won his first election after losing the popular vote, and that he was the second President to do that. Thus, no President "wins by X number of popular votes" ever.

I didn't get the 10 cents off because I was getting the refill price for using my own cup, which meant I couldn't get the discount. Still, the issue couldn't go unchallenged.

There Ought To Be A Smack Upside The Head

See the picture on the right? That could be the next criminal in Pennsylvania if one lawmaker has his way.

The Pennsylvania law maker actually holds a contest each year called "There Ought To Be A Law." As a livid terrier fed up already with all the unenforced or stupid laws on the books, I can't think of anything more dangerous or annoying than encouraging a bunch of busy body idiots from sending in their best new ideas to torment their neighbors.

Sure enough, this year produced a bill to make your dog wear and seat belt and keep his precious little head inside the window.

Stevenson, R-Pa., submitted a bill to the House Transportation Committee in June that would require drivers to keep their dogs' heads inside the vehicle at all times. Stevenson also wants to require drivers to restrain the animals, either with some kind of modified seat belt or in a crate or carrier box.

"I never did like dogs sticking their heads out the window," said McCann, one of more than 500 students from his legislative district who proposed laws. "Maybe a sign might have been too close to the road and they'd get hit. Maybe they'd jump out the window on a highway."

Stevenson said the bill will protect "not only human lives, but pet lives. I think it's going to be a great idea because it's going to cut down on driver distractions."

Right. This is about safety. Or publicity. What a useless and stupid law. Hopefully, our Judges will find some penumbra of rights in the Constitution to overturn this miscarriage.

The dog is going to go crazy because it is part of his wiring to stick his head out the window. When you don't let him, he tears into you while you passing a granny driving 38 in the passing lane, for which she never gets a ticket but should, and causes a huge pile up. And I will sit back smugly and say, told you so.

Self Esteem Run Amock

What happens when the schools' culture of undeserved "self esteem" takes over? Elijah Walker gives us a sneak peak. Everyone thinks they are the clone army of the future.

Elijah Walker's hearing in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Wednesday sounded more like a science-fiction movie than a sentence for cocaine possession.
Walker said he wanted to plead guilty, even though he'd have to serve six months in prison.

But he raised an issue Judge Melba Marsh hadn't heard before: He didn't want to give a sample of his DNA, fearing the state might use it to clone him.

"I don't know what you're going to do with it," Walker told the judge. "You could do all kinds of things with it. I just know I have to protect it."

I have bad news for Mr. Walker. But I will let assistant prosecutor Kevin Hardman deliver the message:

"I'm not sure the state really wants another Elijah Walker," he said.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

12 Step Program Out The Door

I have an addiction. I am addicted to coffee. Some would say caffeine, but in my case it is really coffee. I must have several large cups every day. I can't sleep in, because I will wake up with a withdrawal headache. The first step in such a case is admitting you have the problem. And I want to be clear -- my program is only one step. Pass the java.

In Provo, Utah, were Mormons rule and coffee is taboo, there is a new coffee shop in town. Well, not exactly. It doesn't serve coffee, or anything with the loving nectar that is caffeine.
Johnson, a 22-year-old English major at Brigham Young University, started Vermillion Skies to give Mormon students - who don't drink coffee or alcohol - a place to hang out and experience pop culture without going against their religious beliefs.

"It's not about seeing how close to the line you can get without crossing it," says the Arizona native. "It's more about how much you can enjoy without compromising." The drinks are only part of the lure.

What was once a Pentecostal church at 236 N. University Ave. is now the locale for Bad Poetry nights (every Wednesday), live local-band concerts (Friday and Saturday), Pirate Nights, Cranky Hour (from 5 to 6 p.m.) and harmless late-night lounging.
In other words, it is boring as hell and you have to listen to bad college poetry without the benefit of a buzz of any kind? No thanks! I could handle that with a scotch, or a double espresso, but not a decaff mint tea.

But I give the student credit for knowing his audience and filling a need.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Fake Research? Says Who?

Apparently there is a growing trend for people to fake research for large federal grants. A valid commerce clause spending program I'm sure, Congress doles out large amounts of money for research grants every year. [Go here for a summary of the various decision making processes.]

We learn important things from many of these, like for 1.2 million dollars, we learned that conservative thought, like Hitler and Reagan, is a mental disorder.

Few of these projects are as important or as ground breaking as studies like this study, which received no Federal funding.

Anyway, the fake research is now becoming as big a problem as the just plain stupid research.

Allegations of misconduct by U.S. researchers reached record highs last year as the Department of Health and Human Services received 274 complaints -- 50 percent higher than 2003 and the most since 1989 when the federal government established a program to deal with scientific misconduct.

Chris Pascal, director of the federal Office of Research Integrity, said its 28 staffers and $7 million annual budget haven't kept pace with the allegations. The result: Only 23 cases were closed last year. Of those, eight individuals were found guilty of research misconduct. In the past 15 years, the office has confirmed about 185 cases of scientific misconduct.

You know, it is bad enough that my tax dollars go to fund stuff that should be done in the private sector, but the costs to the tax payer doesn't end there. Because these research grants are often quite large, the incentive to cheat is quite high.

The study mentioned above about conservative political thought, which was funded with $1.2 million in government money. In a current high profile case, Eric Poehlman, once a prominent nutrition researcher, will be sentenced in federal court in Vermont on July 18 for fabricating research data to obtain a $542,000 federal grant while working as a professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He faces up to five years in prison.

Moreover, the desire to have get grants, and make headlines, makes reaching a controversial conclusion profitable. As a result, we actually have two problems: research that is designed to lead to certain conclusions, and thus is basically useless, or research that is doctored and fraudulent, and thus basically useless.

And to top it off, in the case of federally funded grants, we have to pay to investigate and prosecute the cheats.

Find them all. Fine them all. Fine them heavily.

You Lucky Bastard

Other than having to attend Pirates games, this guy has all the luck.

In the 30 or so years Doug Rohrkaste has attended Pirates games, he never once snagged a foul ball as a souvenir.

"Never even came close," he said.

But, in an extraordinary sequence June 22, Rohrkaste grabbed a souvenir off the bat of Jason Bay, then snared two more balls on consecutive pitches to Jack Wilson an inning later. That trifecta occurred within about 15 minutes, according to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.

I touched a foul ball two weeks ago, but it was already in the clutches of a guy two rows back. Closest I've come.

Souter Condemnation Update

In our Follow Up Segment, the effort to condemn Justice Souter's personal Vermont farm house and build a hotel continues to move forward. Logan Darrow Clements and his company, Free Star Media, are collecting donation on-line for the project.

At left is a a photo of the house and land that is underperforming by earning insufficient tax revenue, thus justifying its condemnation and turn over to a private developer.

World Net Daily reports:

An effort by a Los Angeles advertising entrepreneur to persuade the city fathers of Weare, N.H., to turn the tables on Souter by seizing his home and building a hotel on the site is gaining steam.

Clements wants to build "The Lost Liberty Hotel" on the property as a kind of museum commemorating the lost right to private property in America.

We will keep you apprised of this ongoing effort to make "public use" of this insignificant farm house.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

8 Myths About Iraq

Right Wing News has a nice summary and argument called "Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq." He takes on each of the following asshat statements:

1. George Bush lied about WMD.
2. A British medical study showed 100,000 civilians had been killed in Iraq.
3. Bush claimed Iraq was responsbible for 9/11.
4. The war was planned by Cheney, et al in 1998 at a think tank.
5. The WOT has nothing to do with Iraq.
6. Saddam has no ties to terrorism.

Here, John quotes from a great exchange between Christopher Hitchens, who has been on the right side of this issue from the beginning and has not wavered, and Ron Reagan, the son by DNA only of Ronal Reagan.

7. Saddam had no ties to Al Qaeda.
8. The Downing Street Memos prove Bush lied about intelligence.

Here, John links to our own Villainous Company.

Check it out. It is well researched, short enough to give you soundbite retorts to your asshat Leftist co-worker at the lunch table, and important to know.

More First Amendment Fallout

McCain-Feingold has been criticized by conservatives (and liberals claim to be the free speech people) for its potential and actual impact on political speech. Although the Right and the Left have a strong precense in the blogosphere, the Right pretty much owns talk radio. The reasons are not that important, but the impact is. The Right gets its message out via talk radio, as the LameStream Media is often at best an reluctant news source of stories that help conservatives.

The claims of the Right that M-F was a threat to free speech are now no longer hypothetical. The first lawsuit to limit free speech, brought of course by a liberal, has been successful.
Talk-radio hosts regularly discuss candidates and ballot issues, often with a particular point of view in favor of one or opposed to another. Do those comments constitute a financial contribution to a campaign?

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham thinks they do. In a ruling issued Friday, Wickham said the comments and activities by KVI-AM (570) hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson on behalf of the Initiative 912 campaign are in-kind contributions that must be reported to the Public Disclosure Commission.
The article does not mention M-F, and this appears to be brought under state law. Most state laws like this, however, are similarly written, so this will not end in Washington.

The ruling was sought by the San Juan County prosecutor and city attorneys for Seattle, Auburn and Kent as part of a larger case involving contributions to the Initiative 912 campaign.

Their argument is that the KVI hosts went beyond merely talking about the issue.

* * * *

The ruling has attracted attention beyond Washington's borders. "It is absolutely stunning in terms of the philosophical and theoretical questions it raises," says Michael Harrison, publisher of the talk-radio trade magazine Talkers; Harrison adds that he's not aware of a similar case elsewhere in the country.

The issue has its biggeest impact on talk radio. Although theoretically applicable to newspaper editorials, it is unlikely that they would be targeted. Blogs might be on the hit list though.
Brian Maloney, a former Seattle-area talk-show host who now runs a national blog on talk-radio issues, raises this question: If talk-radio comments count as political contributions, why not newspaper editorials? Or Web sites?

It's unclear what's the next legal step in this case. Kelly says the Radio and Television News Directors Association has been asked to look at the case. In the meantime, there's been no directive to the hosts on what they can and can't say, and Kelly says he would prefer not to do that. "To me that smacks of censorship," he says.
No kidding. But M-F explicitly excludes newspapers from its prohibition on certain types of political discussion. Can these state laws, and M-F, be used in 2008 to shut up talk radio?

We will see, because I assure you, these suits will be filed.

Gay Thursday* 7/14

I do not know why anyone would want to be cured of being happy, fun loving and colorful, but this site provides one with just that. A cure for being gay*. And there is even a certificate at the end. Note: if at work, watch the volume.

Check out the same guy's Mad Cow annimation also. Same warning -- audible naughty words.

* Gay: 1 a : happily excited : MERRY b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits 2 a : BRIGHT, LIVELY b : brilliant in color

MORE GAY* THURSDAY: A Guide To Mid-Western Culture.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The G8 Focuses On Lindsay Lohan

An online petition has started to put the focus on hunger. In particular, former hottie Lindsay Lohan is wasting away, and one group is hoping to put a stop to it.

At Feed Lindsay, you can review her decline. You can sign a petition.

In response to the hunger problem, Bob Geldolf has planned a several concerts to raise awareness for Ms. Lohen's hunger problem. He expects acts such as the Black Crowes and Rolling Stones, each of which could use a meal of their own, to play.

Other celbrities are expected to make an appearance in support of Lindsay, including Calista Flockhart and Laura Flynn Boyle.

Ms. Flockhart said, "Every day in Hollywood, there are 30,000 hot women who turn away a perfectly good, healthy meal. After a while, they start to get freaky skinny, and only the most expensive eating disorder doctors can help. This takes away from their party and drug money, and sometimes causes them to have to sell their fourth home. For the price of a 6" sub from Subway, we could end this tragedy."

Please, won't you help help feed a formerly hot, now starving celebrity?

With your help, we can put an end to the hunger and starvation plaguing Hollywood, one starlet at a time.

This was cross-posted at No Government Cheese and Ebb & Flow Institute.

Abercrombie And F@%#&

The below picture is a billboard advertisement for Abercrombie & Fitch in Atlanta, Georgia. Never the prude, Neal Boortz sums up this ad and that store about right. I will rephrase his points and add a few of my own.

Abercrombie & Fitch is a sleazy retailer. Abercrombie purports to sell clothing. What Abercrombie really sells is sex . . . teen and child sex in particular.

Abercrombie's website shows a picture of some young male. You can't see one stitch of clothing.

The above billboard is nothing more than a crotch shot of a young man wearing jeans with no shirt. The guy is clearly aroused. The old love commando was ready for action . . . but, so sad, he was wearing those jeans.

Perhaps he had just spotted an 8 year old wearing Abercrombie's special thong for children.

Perhaps he had just reviewed Abercrombie's porn magazine that poses as its cataloge.

Either way, Abercrombie is telling your pre-teen or teen-aged sons and daughters, "Hey, let's head to the mall, run into some hot guys with erections and engage in group fondling and sex."

If your daughter is walking around with clothes that say "Abercrombie & Fitch," what does this say about her? I will tell you. She might as well lie down and spread eagle. She is advertising the fact that she is a slut to the world.

Yeah, I know, your daughter wears this stuff and isn't a slut. Well, either you are wrong, or she is guilty of false advertising.

Marquette May Be The Dumbest College In America

Colleges do a lot of stupid things. Usually, stupid things are done because of the perverse political climate and that beast called political correctness. This story is such a story.

Marquette University is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a nice enough town on Lake Michigan. It is the home of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and a few of my close friends. Marquette University is a medium sized university with an occassionally strong basketball team. There was just one problem -- its mascot.

From 1954 through 1993, the Marquette nickname was the Warriors (see left). It was an allusion to the Less Recently Immigrated American Warriors of the region. The school changed its name in 1994 to the "Golden Eagles" (see above right).

Then, in 2004, some trustees offered the school $2 million if it would go back to the Warriors. That offer was rejected, but the school did reconsider its name and chose to go by just the "Gold."

That name was immediately mocked and rejected by students and alumni, who had not been consulted. So, a vote was held.

In round one, a vote was held to narrow the choices to two, but "Warriors" was not going to be one of the votes. Apparently, some were not deterred.
The university said that during the first vote to narrow the choices to two, nearly 3,300 people wrote in "Warriors" -- Marquette's former nickname that was dropped out of concern that it might be offensive to Native Americans.
The choice were narrowed to two: the "Golden Eagles" and the "Hilltoppers." The Hilltoppers was the team name from 1917 until 1954, when they went to the Warriors.
Marquette said more than 23,000 people voted for either Golden Eagles or Hilltoppers. Golden Eagles won with 54 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent for the Hilltoppers.
Well, there you have it. The Golden Eagles rule the roost again. Proud Warriors of days gone by are outcasts. And the tops of hills everywhere must mope back home to their - uh - hill bottoms.
The Cheese likes Warriors, but I have to admit that the old Warrior logo sucks.

Euro-trash Tuesday 7/12

Yeah, I know, I missed it last week, and I'm a day late this week. So sue me.

Naked German Man Yells At Trees:
A German man has been arrested after a marriage guidance counsellor advised him
to run around naked shouting at trees. Dieter Braun, 43, from
Recklinghausen said the stress release technique had worked perfectly until he
was arrested.
Yeah, that whole arrest and German jail thing can increase the stress level.
He told police that venting his anger on the trees had stopped him shouting at
his wife. "If I didn't go to the woods and scream at the trees then
my marriage would probably be over," he said.
Funny, but I think that if I had stripped and started yelling at our trees would be the beginning of the end of my marriage.
He added taking his clothes off at the same time made him feel more
relaxed. "For me it's a type of relaxation therapy. Feeling the breeze on
my naked skin really calms me down."
No argument here.
But local police said other visitors to the forest did not find his
behaviour relaxing and have now charged him with causing a public

Again, no argument here.

For other Euro-trash Tuesday, see A Guide To Midwestern Culture.

Elderly Man And Two Punks Negotiate Settlement

Two burglars entered a 79 year old Gayle Martin's house in Dry Ridget, Kentucky to discuss a hostile acquisition of Mr. Martin's personal property.

Negotiations ensued around 5 a.m. Mr. Martin employed the firm of .357 Magnum (firm picture at right) to negotiate for him. After a short discussion, the two burglars decided to end negotiations and settle for their life. They are now discussing a counter offer from University Hospial in Cincinnati.

Grant County Sherriff Randy Middleton indicated that no legal action would be taken against Mr. Martin, and added, "He's a good shot."

It is important to keep brushed up on those negotiation skills.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Study Co-Sponsored by The Cheese and The Institute

In light of the recent unpublished study by PBS in which PBS determined that it was free of left wing bias, No Government Cheese and The Ebb & Flow Institute decided to co-sponsor a study of their own.

The findings of the study were remarkable.

It turns out that Pile On and KJ are the smartest, least biased and most often right people in the entire blogosphere. And that is just when they publish their conclusions. Privately, they are right an even greater percentage of the time, but they don't often publish their conclusions to every issue they face.

For example, earlier today KJ wondered what he was going to have for lunch. He decided that the correct answer would probably be a chicken sandwich and a side salad. It turns out, that is exactly what he had for lunch. He also correctly predicted the location of his car keys and correctly answered a request for his ATM PIN. [Note: KJ even knew that PIN Number would be redundant, as the "N" in PIN stands for "number."] KJ has also been recognized for his ground breaking research of the field of women in prison.

Pile On was reported to have very similar powers of deduction, or induction, depending on the logic he chose to use. For example, he figured out his Blogger password earlier today with just one quick analysis. After successfully logging on, he correctly deduced that he had used the correct username and password. Pile has also been recognized for his study of the quite complex biological wonder that is the Wild Jihadist.

The study also found, unsurprising to most, that all the chicks dig KJ and Pile On, especially when they are just being themselves.

The Cheese and the Institute are considering publishing this study for peer review later. Perhaps. Frankly, we are concerned that all the stupid, biased people in the blogosphere will undermine this fine study through unsubstantiated charges, specious logic, ad hominem attacks or just saying something really stupid. On second thought, it may be best to just keep the study under wraps.

Turns out that conclusion, like most other conclusions made by KJ and Pile On, was right.


UPDATE: Due to increasing demand from the common folk, I have been asked to provide a little more detail of our study. Our study was subject to the following exaulted standards: (1) lots of very intelligent people were consulted; (2) lots of big words were used; (3) all data was subjected to a multiple regression analysis -- it isn't important that you don't know what that is; (4) all data was evaluated in an unbiased manner, as was self evident from the findings of the study that we are unbiased; and (5) the study was subjected to peer review, which is pretty hard to do since the study found that we are right more often than any of our former peers.

Finally, we asked some of the smartest people we know to comment on the study.

Instapundit said, "Heh. Indeed. Read it all."
Hugh Hewitt said, "Morning glory to you. What a great study."
Stephen Hawking said, in his smart sounding computer generated voice, "I think this study may prove that the only hope for figuring out the mysteries of the universe lie in reading No Government Cheese and the Ebb & Flow Institute blogs. Now, will you please turn my artificial lung back on?"
Marilyn Vos Savant said, "This is all just too complicated for me. They must be right."
Karl Rove said, "I am interested in leading Pile In Aught Ocho."
Michael Jackson said, "Who thinks the study might be biased? Hector Vex? That is just ignorant. Just ignorant."

So, there you have it. Intelligent people, big words, multiple regression analysis, smart celebrity endorsements. Now, please stop bothering us with ignorant questions.

This post has been cross-posted at No Government Cheese and Ebb & Flow Institute. As they say, when in Rome.

The Kelo Knee Jerk

As you know, I am quite upset about Kelo v. New London. It was, as far as I am concerned, an awful decision and inconsistent with the text and meaning of the 5th Amendment. I encourage everyone to work on state constitutional amendments or legislation to limit the powers of your states and local governments.

The reform can take several forms, including limiting the "public use" in which condemnation may be used, defining liberally for the land owner the meaning of "just compensation" and setting up cost efficient procedures so that the land owners do not need to spend their "just compensation" on attorneys' fees (but that is OK if they want to). This can be done. Eight states, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, South Carolina and Washington, already ban the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes.

Just because I think Kelo was a bad decision, it does not follow that I back Federal legislation to limit state and local governments' use of eminent domain.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch on Tuesday announced plans to introduce a bill giving land and homeowners more protections. The Utah Republican called the court's June 23 ruling in Kelo v. New London "alarming" because it gives the government unprecedented abilities, but intends to curb that with the EMPOWER Act, which Hatch said he will introduce next week.

The act would force governments to fairly negotiate with property owners, including the payment of fair compensation. It would also establish a federal ombudsmen's office to inform property owners of their rights and order disputes into mediation, if needed.

Hatch isn't the only one in Congress unhappy with the high court ruling. So far at least five other senators and representatives have announced plans for legislation to chip away at the court's decision.

This article never says what these bills propose to do. Congress certainly has every right to limit the Federal government's use of eminent domain. Thus, Congress could require that all Federal eminent domain use be consistent with "public use" as the dissenters argued. We know though that the Feds don't use eminent domain for economic development. Thus, the article leads me to believe that Congress is going to make this law applicable to State and local governments as well. There is my problem.

Let me be perfectly clear here. The Federal constitution grants Congress limited powers. If the power is not included in the Constitution, Congress doesn't have it. The fact that the Supreme Court has given the States more power under the Federal constitution that they should have does not mean that Congress has the power to legislate in those same areas, even if I support the public policy.

Congress was never granted authority in the Constitution to control a State's use of eminent domain. I suppose the argument for such authority will come from two places: the commerce clause (of course) and Section 5 of the 14th Amendment.

I could easily draft the arguments for either provision, and the liberal Supreme Court justices would no doubt agree with them. Still, I'm not buying either one. Eminent domain as applied in Kelo is the taking of real property. Real property has always been considered a local issue. The only local property regulation that Congress has ever been allowed to get away with (that I can think of) has been some sort of environmental regulation.

The State's use of eminent domain needs to be curtailed, but it needs to be curtailed at the State level. The Feds don't have, in my opinion, the Constitutional authority to tell local governments how to use their so called proper eminent domain power.

That said, there is one way the Feds can certainly regulate the States. Under South Dakota v. Dole, an opinion with which I strongly disagree, the Feds can place significant strings on the State use of Federal money. Lots of local "economic development" projects are done with some Federal money. The Feds could, under the law as currently interpreted, limit the use of eminent domain on any project using Federal money. Since that type of State regulation is OK, even though I don't like it, I think Congress could and would get away with that.

I am aware of the irony here. The same conservative principles that would have limited Kelo in the first place would also result in a decision to limit Congress' power to fix the problem created by the liberal justices.

The good news is that the Commerce clause has been so stretched out of proportion, Congress will probably be allowed to pass legislation setting national eminent domain guidelines despite the encroachment on Federalism principals.

You Go Judge

I received an e-mail with this story and immediately thought - urban legend. Snopes says it is true, so there you go. It must be true. Apparently, shoe bomber Richard Reid was sentenced by Judge William Young for his effort to light his shoe bomb during a transatlantic flight. Here is an excerpt of the Judge's comments, which I did not see on any major media outlet, but read the whole thing.

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.

After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stated "I think I will not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young:

Judge Young began by sentencing Reid to 3 life sentences, four 20 years sentences to run consecutively (so, 80 years), plus another 30 years, plus fines and restitution totalling more than $2 million. He then continued.

"The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.

Let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature.

Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal." You are no big deal.

* * * *

And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here.

Day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down."

A little heavy on the idealistic, but just fine by me when staring at a terrorist.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Amazing People

Perhaps an overlooked Forth of July tradition is the Coney Island Hot Dog eating contest.

The hot dog eating circuit is currently being dominated by a small Japanese man named Takeru Kobayashi (see picture, on right), who won for the fifth straight year. He is the world record holder for hot dogs and other types of speed eating contests. Last Monday, he "gobbling a nauseating 49 dogs in 12 minutes - but missing his own world record of 53 1/2, set at last year's July Fourth competition." Also, consider that Kobayashi stands 5 feet 7 inches and weighs just 144 pounds.

He has an up and coming competitor in an American woman.
The runner-up was Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va. (see picture, on left) - known as The Black Widow on the competitive-eating circuit - who set an American record by downing 37 hot dogs in the same 12 minutes.
Yes, there is a competitive eating circuit.
Thomas, who weighs a remarkable 105 pounds, is a rising speed-eating star. Last December in Atlantic City, N.J., she finished off 89 meatballs - about six pounds' worth - in 12 minutes. And in August, she captured a lobster-eating contest in Maine by consuming 38 of the creatures in 12 minutes.
I actually caught one of these contests on ESPN, and saw where they televised this year's competition. It is an amazing site to see. Most of these people are quite petite. Only a few lard asses. It is amazing to watch them work.

Whose Your Benefactor

A recent study gave more ammunition to the Americano-centrist appologists like me.

PRIVATE American citizens donated almost 15 times more to the developing world than their European counterparts, research reveals this weekend ahead of the G8 summit. Private US donors also handed over far more aid than the federal government in Washington, revealing that America is much more generous to Africa and poor countries than is claimed by the Make Poverty History and Live 8 campaigns.

Church collections, philanthropists and company-giving amounted to $22bn a year, according to a study by the Hudson Institute think-tank, easily more than the $16.3bn in overseas development sent by the US government. American churches, synagogues and mosques alone gave $7.5bn in 2003 - a figure which exceeds the government totals for France ($7.2bn) and Britain ($6.3bn) - according to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which deal a blow to those who claim moral superiority over the US on aid.

Yep. Those people who always claim that America is not generous with the people around the world never mention this stuff. Our government gives more than any government, then our private individuals give more than our government!

Carole Adelman, the author of the Hudson Institute report, has discovered that a further $6.2bn a year is donated by independent US organisations, $2.7bn by US companies and $2.3bn by US universities and colleges, mainly through scholarships, to reach an overall private US donations total of $22bn.

In stark contrast, in separate exploratory work for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Adelman found that the maximum EU figure was a mere $1.5bn in private sector donations, 14.6 times less than the comparable US figure.

Some will argue that our percentage of giving is still not as high as some European countries, to which I have one response: we also spend a ton subsidizing your military defense.

NOTE: Please check out the official charities of the Cheese below the blog link bar on the right.