Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jeff Spicoli has a new mom
Sean Penn, Cindy Sheehan highlight Sacramento peace forum

“There is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence.”
Henry Adams

Budding rocket scientist robs shoe store
LV man held after calling to retrieve his cell phone

An 18-year-old Las Vegan suspected of robbing a local shoe store was arrested last month after he left his cell phone at the crime scene, then called the phone and asked that it be given back to him, authorities said this week…

[Jereme] Botiz was charged with felony robbery, burglary and battery…

Authorities said Botiz and a co-defendant went into a Payless Shoes at 2220 E. Sahara Ave. on Dec. 21. Botiz brandished a weapon, pistol-whipped a clerk and stole approximately $1,800, police allege.

But when Botiz was fleeing the store, he dropped his cell phone in the parking lot, according to his arrest report. A witness saw Botiz drop the phone, snatched it up and went into the Payless Shoes to talk to the store employees.

"The witness said, 'I've got his phone,' " [Clark County Prosecutor Frank] Coumou said.

After police showed up to investigate the robbery, the phone started ringing. A detective answered.

"The caller wouldn't identify himself but said the phone belongs to Jereme," Coumou said.

The call ended, but a few minutes later, the phone rang again.

"The caller identified himself as Jereme and said he was the owner of the cell phone, and he wanted it back," Coumou said. "He also asked whether there was anything going on in the parking lot."

The caller then agreed to meet with the detective -- not knowing law enforcement was on the line -- so he could retrieve his cell phone. A rendezvous was set up at a local Starbucks, and the caller told the detectives he would be showing up wearing a Tennessee Titans football team jersey.

"The detectives set up the sting and, as predicted, they witnessed a blue vehicle pull up," Coumou said. Two men got out of the car, one wearing the jersey.

Coumou said Botiz was quickly arrested, and according to the prosecutor, Botiz later admitted participating in the robbery.

chutz·pah \'hut-spa’\ n 1: supreme self-confidence
2: NERVE, GALL; synonym see TEMERITY

Your phone records are for sale

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts…

Some online services might be skirting the law to obtain these phone lists, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for legislation to criminalize phone record theft and use.

Seems to me I read something about theft of records by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which I believe Senator Schumer chairs.

We don’t need no stinking observers
Palestinian militants order vote observers to quit Jenin

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - Followers of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have ordered international observers overseeing this month's Palestinian election to leave the Jenin area of the northern West Bank.

"We are sorry to tell you that you must leave Jenin as soon as possible," said a statement Saturday from the Jenin branch of the Brigades received by AFP.

"We ask you to understand that this step is not against you. It is against the occupation and against the international community which has done nothing to stop the Israeli army's escalations against our people..."
This is a job for a Super Certifier!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Apparently, Goldwater was president (for an unspecified time) and we can’t have anything smacking of victory in Iraq

Beating a dead horse...

"This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency… Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
at a morning roundtable with reporters
January 5, 2006
Kennedy is 73


"I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing."
Representative John Murtha (D-Penn.)
at town meeting in Arlington, Virginia
January 5, 2006
Murtha is 73

The circus is still in town

New Orleans city spokesman: “We going to knock down 5,500 houses because they’re not safe.”

Concerned homeowners: “Which houses?”

Spokesman: “Most are in the Lower Ninth Ward.”

Homeowners: “There’s tens of thousands of homes there. Which ones will be bulldozed?”

Spokesman (turning to an associate): "When can you get them a copy of the list of homes to be demolished?”

Associate: Shuts his eyes and gives a slight ‘No’ shake of the head.

Spokesman (steps back from the microphones to speak with associate. He whispers): “What’s wrong?”

Associate (whispering back): “I don’t have a list.”

Spokesman: “What? Then how…”

Associate: “I’m not certain. I think the Army Corps of Engineers is just going to bulldoze any house with a big red ‘X’ spray-painted on its front. City inspectors went around putting those ‘X’s on the bad ones right after the water was pumped out.”

Spokesman: “That’s it? Damn, these people are going to sue!”

Associate: “We’re going to get any such suit moved to federal court.”

A second associate hands spokesman a piece of paper.

Spokesman (stepping back to the microphones and reading from the paper): “The city can lawfully tear down buildings without the consent of owners if they pose an imminent danger. Thank you.” (spokesman and his associates exit).
Residents Protest New Orleans Demolitions

In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity*

Standing at a microphone-festooned podium centered on the low-rise platform are Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and Senator Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. They are speaking about the nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Samuel A. Alito.

Schumer: “Judge Alito gave a speech in 2000 to the conservative Federalist Society that shows he subscribes to a view that affords the executive branch strong powers. It's very hard to imagine, unless he distances himself from that view at the hearings, that he would accept any congressional right to regulate wiretaps of any kind."

Kennedy: "There are times when individuals or executives believe that they are beyond or above the law in terms of eavesdropping or spying on the American people. I believe now is one of those times and am concerned that Judge Alito's statements, writings, and decisions suggest an unmistakable tendency to favor strong executive authority."

Reporter (looking down at his notes): “Senator Schumer, this is a two-part question. First, Sir, you head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DSCC. Would the DSCC’s illegally obtaining the credit report of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele be an instance where an individual or executives believe they are beyond or above the law in terms of spying on the American people? And, second; Senator Kennedy, do you know the status of the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney/FBI investigation of this incident by its fraud and public corruption section?”

Reporter looks up for a response and sees that the podium has emptied.

[Ed. – the joint news conference forum and the reporter’s question is my fiction, however the quotes from Schumer and Kennedy are real and accurate; they can be found in
Alito to be grilled on NSA wiretaps. The U.S. Attorney/FBI investigation is also real: FBI Investigates Democrats on Steele's Credit Report ]

* - Meister Eckhart

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Slipshod mothering, bathroom, gun, lost digit… I see years of therapy ahead.
Canadian man shoots himself while using bathroom

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Police in a Vancouver suburb reminded residents on Tuesday it was not a good idea to play with a loaded gun while using the bathroom, after a man accidentally shot himself.

A 21-year-old North Vancouver man was facing numerous weapons charges after he shot off one of his fingers while apparently playing with a gun on New Year's Day, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

"Perhaps, our mothers never explained to us that it was not a good idea to play with handguns whilst using the restroom. But then again, maybe that was supposed to be a given," the Mounties said in a press release.

(via opinion journal)

Case law, what’s that?

I was always under the impression that UVA’s law school was one of the better in the country.

I guess, not so much anymore.
The academic left's argument for the impeachment of George W. Bush.

I knew it. Bush blew up the Sago mine!
The New York Times
January 5, 2006
Editorial

The Sago Mine Disaster

Political figures from both parties have long defended and profited from ties to the coal industry. Whether or not that was a factor in the Sago mine's history, the Bush administration's cramming of important posts in the Department of the Interior with biased operatives from the coal, oil and gas industry is not reassuring about general safety in the mines. Steven Griles, a mining lobbyist before being appointed deputy secretary of the interior, devoted four years to rolling back mine regulations and then went back to lobbying for the industry…

The Times is also working on a story saying that, according to its anonymous sources, the CIA, on Bush’s orders, tried but failed to kidnap Santa Claus this past Christmas. Apparently, Bush ordered NSA to monitor calls to and from the North Pole, which is how the CIA knew when Santa was coming to town.

Over their dead bodies

Sons: “Mother, aren’t you going to follow in our footsteps?”

Mother: “Nah, I’m going to run for office.”
Meet Candidate “Martyr Mom”
(via lgf)

Kinda like a commune, I quess
Ann Arbor bank creates subsidiary for Muslims

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A bank that has been offering special services for Muslims for two years has now formed a subsidiary to focus solely on the religious group…

"The formation of the subsidiary allows us to have a financial institution which is 100 percent in compliance with the Muslim Shariah, the legal code of the Islamic religion," bank President and Chairman Stephen Lange Ranzini told The Ann Arbor News for a Saturday story.

Among the laws of Shariah is a ban against paying or receiving interest.

The bank's Islamic deposit accounts allow Muslims to open accounts where any profits are shared rather than paid as interest.
So if Depositor A deposits $10,000 and Depositor B deposits $100,000 and a profit of $1,000 is realized, do A and B each get $500? If so, where can I sign up?

Wait, two questions:
(1) Do you have to be a Muslim to borrow from the bank or to open a deposit account?
(2) Are the deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation? (I suppose the answer to this question depends on the answer to (1). Surely the FDIC won’t insure accounts in a bank that discriminates)

Light in a bag

If the reported facts are substantiated, I hope these two get buried so deep in the penal system that they’ll have to have light carried to them in a bag.
Calif. Couple Leaves Children Home Alone

MANTECA, Calif. (AP) -- A married couple who got a dog sitter for their puppies but left the man's young children home alone while they vacationed in Las Vegas were arrested Wednesday, police said.

Jacob Calero, 39, and Michelle De La Vega, 32, were taken into custody as they arrived home on a flight to Oakland. They had left town Friday to celebrate the new year, authorities said.

The couple apparently told 9-year-old Joshua to look after his 5-year-brother, Jason, who is autistic. The children spent one night alone before police found them…

Joshua said his father and stepmother got each other puppies for Christmas, which they brought to De La Vega's mother to care for before leaving town.

"I thought they loved them more than us," Joshua told The Associated Press during an interview at his maternal grandmother's apartment. The children's mother died in 2003…

Calero and De La Vega each were being held on suspicion of two felony counts each of child endangerment. Bail was set at $200,000…

Police found the children asleep in their beds Saturday night. A gas fireplace was on, but they found nothing out of the ordinary…

Officers began calling Calero's cell phone Saturday, but he didn't call back until Tuesday. "We get the sense that they felt no urgency for them to return home," Kalinowski said.

Calero and De La Vega have requested lawyers and have refused to talk to police, Kalinowski said. Felony child endangerment carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison…

Nailed to Stupid, Part Deux

I’m betting that Tina Marie Stebbins (see: There’s stuck on stupid and then there’s nailed to stupid) and Alejandra Carvajal are twins, separated at birth.
Fla. Woman Accused of Aiding Escaped Inmate

MIAMI (AP) -- A woman accused of providing food, money and clothing to a serial rape suspect after his escape from jail has been arrested, police said Wednesday.

Alejandra Carvajal, 45, was arrested at her Miami home Tuesday and charged with accessory after the fact to capital sexual battery.

She went to Reynaldo E. Rapalo's hiding place in Miami a day after he escaped from jail Dec. 20., Miami-Dade County Detective Mary Walters said. He was caught six days later…

He had been awaiting a February trial on sexual battery and other charges that could send him to prison for life. He is accused of sexually assaulting seven women and girls, ranging in age from 11 to 79.

Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades are pros

What else can you call a small band of thugs who hold 1.5 million people and their titular government hostage while simultaneously thumbing their noses at Egypt, a sovereign state? Seems the “mindless” chaos wasn’t so mindless after all. One can only imagine what theses guys got for releasing Kate Burton, “aid worker” extraordinaire.
Palestinian Militant Freed After Rampage

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Palestinian authorities on Thursday released a militant held in connection with the kidnapping of a British family in Gaza, a day after his followers went on a rampage and smashed holes in a wall along the Egypt border.

Palestinian security officials refused to comment on why they released Alaa al-Hams, a militant from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. The group is affiliated with the ruling Fatah Party.

"I was released as a result of the agreement reached between Fatah and the (Palestinian) Authority yesterday. This will calm all types of protests from our side," al-Hams told The Associated Press by telephone.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Drugging people makes them pliable and submissive, who knew?
Free booze makes homeless healthier: study

TORONTO (Reuters) - Giving homeless alcoholics a regular supply of booze may improve their health and their behavior, the Canadian Medical Association Journal said in a study published on Tuesday.

Seventeen homeless adults, all with long and chronic histories of alcohol abuse, were allowed up to 15 glasses of wine or sherry a day -- a glass an hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- in the Ottawa-based program, which started in 2002 and is continuing.

After an average of 16 months, the number of times participants got in trouble with the law had fallen 51 percent from the three years before they joined the program, and hospital emergency room visits were down 36 percent…

"The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases... It's about improving the quality of life."

Three of the 17 participants died during the program, succumbing to alcohol-related illnesses that might have killed them anyway, the study said.

Jon, you got some ‘splaining to do
Newsweek's Meacham called Sen. Feingold "a sane Howard Dean"
Think Meacham will be scrapped off the Democratic National Committee’s allies list?

More fever from The New York - “We’re clueless and we can prove it” - Times editorial writers
On the Subject of Leaks

Speaking of leaks, how’d you like to be in this boat. Other thoughts, along this line.

What? What did he say? Pete, please speak up.
Pete Townshend Warns iPod Users

LONDON (AP) -- Pete Townshend has warned iPod users they may face hearing problems if they don't turn down the volume…

The Who were famous for their earsplitting live performances, but Townshend, 60, said his problem was caused by using earphones in the recording studio.

"I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal components deaf," he said.

Bill: “Dude, what’s a ‘principal component’?”

Ted:
“Dude?”

Bill:
“Dude, Pete Townshend says my iPod will make principal components deaf.”

Ted:
“Who?”

Bill:
“Yeah.”

Ted:
“What?”

Bill:
“Dude, I never heard of that group. Focus, Dude. What’s a principal component?”

Ted:
“Dude. I don’t know. I heard my old man talk about ‘em once. Whatever they are, I guess they got ears.”

Bill:
“Dude.”

Ted:
“Dude.”

Hey, Buddy, can you spare a Kalashnikov*
Palestinians Enter Egypt After Border Smash

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Hundreds of Palestinians crossed into Egypt on Wednesday after militants, angry at the jailing of their leader, stole two bulldozers and smashed through the wall separating Gaza and Egypt.

The militants rammed the wall hours after they blocked the official border crossing and took over government buildings…

The militants belong to the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party. They rammed the massive wall as a show of force against the Palestinian Authority…

The militants' rampage through the southern Gaza town of Rafah underscored the growing lawlessness in Palestinian towns, especially in Gaza. Abbas, who has condemned the chaos, has been unable to impose order, and his failure to keep the gunmen in check is expected to harm Fatah's prospects in Jan. 25 parliamentary elections.

Fatah-affiliated vigilantes demanding government jobs or the release of imprisoned friends have been responsible for much of the anarchy, particularly since Israel's pullout from Gaza in September.

The tightly run Islamic militant group Hamas, whose followers have rarely been involved in vigilante violence, is expected to do well in the vote against the corruption-tainted Fatah. Hamas, which opposes the existence of Israel, has killed hundreds of Israelis in attacks.

The latest rampage began Tuesday, when Palestinian intelligence arrested Al Aqsa militant Alaa al-Hams on suspicion he and his followers kidnapped British human rights activist Kate Burton and her parents for two days last week. The Burtons were among 19 foreigners abducted by Fatah gunmen in Gaza in recent months. All have been freed unharmed…

Salima Abu Maghaseeb, 42, said she was angry over the disruption of her plans to travel to Egypt with her daughter for her daughter's wedding this week.

"I don't know why the Palestinian Authority is allowing them to do this," said Abu Maghaseeb, who had her documents checked at the impromptu roadblock. "Those people should use their guns ... to protect people and not to come and terrify us. God only knows what the future holds for Gaza..."

A spokesman for the European observers, Julio de la Guardia, said the disruptions outside the crossing were an internal Palestinian matter.

"Our functioning at the border crossing has not been disturbed," he said… [Ed.- the official motto of the observers: “Ever Clueless”]

*

Update:

More perspective here: After Israel, who can run Gaza?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The “We’re just illiterate” defense
Barbie Accused of Being Part of the Transgender Movement

On Dec. 30, CWA [The Concerned Women for America], a leading Christian conservative group, noted on its Web site that on the Barbie Web site, www.Barbie.com, "there is a poll that asks children their age and sex."

The age choices were 4 to 8 but children "are given three options for their choice of gender": I am a Boy, I am a Girl and I Don't Know.

Bob Knight, director of CWA's Culture and Family Institute, said Barbie manufacturer Mattel was being influenced by the "transgender movement."

To pose "this transgender question at little girls, they've really crossed the line," Knight said, who added that "bisexuality gender confusion" is the Web site's agenda, which is "very dangerous."

The concern comes after a conservative boycott of Mattel's American Girls dolls. The American Family Association and the Pro-Life Action League protested that some American Girls dolls were wearing "I Can" wristbands, which support Girls Inc. Girls Inc. is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes education and self-esteem programs, as well as sex education, and supports abortion rights and the acceptance of gays and lesbians. The Mattel-Girls Inc. partnership ended on Dec. 26.

But Mattel, which also manufactures Barbie, said the Barbie incident is much ado about nothing.

"This was just an innocent oversight," says Lauren Bruksch, a spokeswoman for Mattel. As a rule of thumb, Bruksch said, the questionnaires at barbie.com always try to have a neutral answer or nonresponse option. For gender, this third option should have been "I don't want to say," rather than "I don't know." The Web site has since been fixed.

Here are some possible responses Mattel could have given to CWA:

a) Ignore them
b) Say, “Thank you for your interest, Mattel has always supported politically progressive causes in the past and we will continue to do so now and in the future.”
c) Say, “‘Zontou,’ our former webmaster, has issues and it slipped this by our management. It was counseled and reassigned to the accounting department. The website has been changed.”
d) Say, “Without agreeing with your point of view, we acknowledge that a website meant for young children is not an appropriate political advocacy forum. We have modified the site accordingly.”
e) Say, “While English is the native tongue of the people in our Marketing and Information Technology Departments, those employees have a limited vocabulary and are grammatically-challenged. We have corrected the problem.”

Mattel chose “e.”

Apparently, the WaPo editorial board has misplaced its Hacky Sack*
The Forgotten Power
*

al Qaeda in Gaza: Female martyrs needed for Britain, only hotties need apply
Britain probes 'sex for visa' allegations

Have you ever seen them together in public?

Recent strategy moves by the Democrats are fueling the rumor that the real Nancy Pelosi is being held in a bunker in Maryland and an impersonator, purported to be Karl Rove in drag, has taken her place.
Democrats to hit White House, Republicans on privacy issues

Democrats on Capitol Hill are drafting a strategy to attack the Bush administration and Republicans as having little regard for the privacy of Americans…

Democratic leaders then plan to keep the issue alive as they continue their opposition to key parts of the USA Patriot Act, which is set to expire in early February unless extended.

But the real payoff, Democrats say, will be the hearings into President Bush's authorization of warrantless spying on terror suspects…

Centrist Democrats, however, warn that such a strategy could backfire…

But Democrats, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have been full speed ahead on the new strategy…

This is a job for UN peacekeepers!

I’m pretty sure Palestinian police shooting up their own towns is outside “the agreed framework.” Kofi should redeploy one of his crack battalions of pedophiles and rapists stationed in Africa.
Palestinian police storm offices in Gaza Strip

GAZA (Reuters) - About 200 policemen stormed government offices in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Monday to protest at [sic] the failure of the Palestinian Authority to fight growing lawlessness, witnesses said…

Firing into the air as they ran through the streets, the policemen raided government offices, courthouses, an election office and the municipality building in Rafah.

They smashed windows at the Interior Ministry building and forced the staff to leave...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Researcher: “Gawd, who’s idea was it to put ‘Fat Ass’ in a miniskirt?”
British academics to tackle fashion's bottom line

The School of Textiles and Design at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have begun what is believed to be the world's first-ever study on how women's clothing affects the bottom.

Models with variously sized posteriors will wear different types of clothing as part of the research, which will examine how designs, colours, patterns and fabric types affect perception.

Others will be asked to assess how big or small each model's backside appears to look in the outfits.

Wanton destruction now within acceptable limits – emergency over

PARIS, 1/2/06 - Only $7.7 million worth of automobiles were torched on New Year’s Eve in France (up $1.6 million from last year). Consequently, Self-published Poet and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin today proposed lifting the state of emergency (six weeks earlier than planned). President Jacques Chirac concurred. Everything should be hunky-dory by Wednesday.

The 425 vehicle owners starting 2006 minus their ride could not be reached for comment.

France to End State of Emergency This Week

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's reveler: “Damn, I caught a cold in New Orleans”

Not so much.
New Orleans Mold

November 25, 2005. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, mold spore levels in many parts of New Orleans are two to four times normal levels. Despite government safety warnings, residents are being allowed back into parts of the city with unsafe mold contamination counts. Many locals are complaining of runny noses, sore throats and a persistent cough…