Saturday, March 04, 2006

A humble prediction: Tomorrow’s telecast of the ‘Academy Awards’ will be the least watched in decades

Why? Because relatively few people have seen or are interested in the five films nominated for best picture (the possible exception is Brokeback Mountain). Even after the films were nominated their box office revenue continued to plummet (the stats are here).

If one takes all of the major motion pictures that were playing in and around the release of the nominated pictures (there are 21 such pictures) the total gross US revenue for all of those pictures including the five nominated was $1.95 billion. The combined total of the grosses for the five nominated films is $231 million (12%). Looking at the weekly sales, for every ten people buying a movie ticket only one person chose to go to any one of the five nominated films (in many weeks it was 1 in 15).

Moviegoers have already voted once with their wallets and I believe they’ll cast the same vote again with their remote.

An interesting offshoot of all this is watching those who write about Hollywood and the movie industry trying to put lipstick on the pig.

David Germain, AP’s movie writer, offers Big Studios to Sit on Sidelines at Oscars
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- No matter who wins Sunday, Hollywood can both brag about an unusually daring crop of Academy Awards films and hang its head in embarrassment that hardly any came from the studios that dominate the movie business. [Ed. – Yeah, embarrassed all the way to the bank]

The Oscars are as establishment as it gets in the entertainment world. So it's a triumph of art over commerce that low-budget, fierce dramas such as the cowboy romance "Brokeback Mountain," the ensemble tale "Crash," the Truman Capote story "Capote" and the Edward R. Murrow saga "Good Night, and Good Luck" are the awards darlings this time over the escapist blockbusters that often rule.

"It doesn't have anything to do with the budget of the film. It has to do with the scope and scale of ambition, and the skill that people brought to it to realize that ambition," said James Schamus, a producer of best-picture front-runner "Brokeback Mountain."

"None of these films is small in what they're trying to accomplish," he said… [Ed. – In other words, money schmoney - the propaganda value is what matters]

Apparently, a sequel is in order as well

My first reaction after reading Parents Complain About Book's Undertones (below) was, “This is just stupid.”

But, given the AP’s track record of disguising, concealing or lying about the pertinent facts of a story in order to serve its agenda, I did some digging (farther below).

Here’s the Washington Times’ version of the AP’s story:
SAVANNAH, Mo. (AP) -- A children's book about two male penguins that raise a baby penguin has been moved to the nonfiction section of two public library branches after parents complained it had homosexual undertones.

The illustrated book, "And Tango Makes Three," is based on a true story of two male penguins, named Roy and Silo, who adopted an abandoned egg at New York City's Central Park Zoo in the late 1990s.

The book, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, was moved from the children's section at two Rolling Hills' Consolidated Library's branches in Savannah and St. Joseph in northwest Missouri.

Two parents had expressed concerns about the book last month.

Barbara Read, the Rolling Hills' director, said experts report that adoptions aren't unusual in the penguin world. However, moving the book to the nonfiction section would decrease the chance that it would "blindside" readers, she said.

Other than their names, the AP doesn’t provide any information about the authors of And Tango Makes Three.

Justin Richardson is an openly-gay psychiatrist who, according to the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), “has been a long-time promoter of homosexuality to teenagers…” Peter Parnell is a Broadway playwright and Dr. Richardson’s “life partner.

And the AP didn’t ask Richardson and Parnell if they are planning a sequel; because, as Warren Throckmorton (see below) points out, Silo Rain[ed] on the Penguin Pride Parade.
One of America's A-list gay couples has broken up.

No, it's not Rosie and Kelli. It's Roy and Silo. Roy and Silo are male penguins. Chinstrap penguins to be exact.

About six years ago, Roy and Silo set up housekeeping together in New York's Central Park Zoo. They courted and attempted to mate and by all accounts were fairly inseparable. They even adopted a child together. Roy and Silo hatched little Tango a couple of years ago and raised her as their own.

However, recently Silo has become perhaps the world's first documented ex-gay penguin. He has moved out of his nest with Roy and taken up with Scrappy, a hot little bird who recently moved in from Sea World Zoo in San Diego. I guess he was wishing for a California girl.

For those who have pointed to Roy and Silo as models for us all, these developments must be disappointing. Some gay activists might actually be angry.

When zoo keepers in Germany attempted to force male pairs of endangered penguins to mate with females, they received hate mail from gay rights groups. Finally, in a bow to the pressure the zoos relented and stopped their breeding efforts.

Chief among the chagrinned may be the authors of a children's book about the Roy and Silo and their adopted daughter called, And Tango Makes Three.

About the book The School Library Journal gushed, "This joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library."

Publisher's Weekly wrote that Silo and Roy's love story provides a picture of "non traditional families that youngsters can understand. This tender story can also serve as a gentle jumping-off point for discussions about same-sex partnerships in human society."

I think now that jumping-off point has become less gentle.

No word yet from the New York Times that ran a story on the pair called "The Love that Dare not Squeak its Name." The article suggested that gay rights might hinge on penguin pride. "Gay groups argue that if homosexual behavior occurs in animals, it is natural, and therefore the rights of homosexuals should be protected," wrote Denitia Smith, author of the article.

With Silo and Scrappy picking out curtains together, will gay rights groups now acknowledge that sexual orientation changes? The concept of gay penguin permanence painted by the Times and And Tango Makes Three now seems more like fiction than public policy sign post.

So should former homosexuals among us say, "I told you so?"[Ed. – "That’s a curious remark," thinks I. Until I read on]

When I want guidance on public policy matters, I don't go to the zoo.

So when activists talk about homosexuality in the animal kingdom, keep in mind that we don't know much about what function same sex behavior serves for any animal species.

Some scientists who are also gay advocates recognize the muddle we get into when we wax anthropomorphic about sexual categories. For instance, gay gene proponents, Dean Hamer and Peter Copeland pointed out in their book, Science of Desire that "…there is no good animal model of human heterosexuality, let alone homosexuality." In other words, "Pigs don't date … and horses don't get married."

And for family values or gay rights, penguins don't march…

THE AUTHOR

Warren Throckmorton, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy in the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City (PA) College. Dr. Throckmorton is past-president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and is the producer of the documentary, I Do Exist, about sexual orientation change. His columns have been published by over 70 newspapers nationwide and can be contacted through his website...

"Ideological education is the key link to be grasped in uniting the whole Party for great political struggles. Unless this is done, the Party cannot accomplish any of its political tasks."
Chairman Mao Tse-tung

Rod Blagojevich’s feel-good commission is feeling out-of-sorts
Ill. Governor Stumped by Hate Crimes Panel

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- It started as a routine gubernatorial appointment to a feel-good commission - so routine that the governor says he didn't even know the details.

But the naming of a Nation of Islam official to a commission that fights discrimination has exploded into an election-year furor for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, putting him in the middle of a conflict among blacks, Jews and gays.

Even if Blagojevich makes his way through the racial and religious minefield this issue presents, his claim of ignorance about the appointment could reinforce his image of a detached, uninformed governor.

"No matter what he does, he's going to tick somebody off," Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights organization Equality Illinois, said Friday. "It's completely a no-win situation."

Four Jewish members of the Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes resigned this week rather than serve alongside an aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, known for his disparaging remarks about Jews, whites and gays.

The third and fourth resignations came Friday, when Howard Kaplan of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago said he could not serve on a commission "that, by implication, accepts divisive and bigoted standards."

Democratic state Rep. Lou Lang, who was appointed just a day earlier to fill one of the vacancies, also stepped down.

In dueling news conferences, Jewish and gay lawmakers called for Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad to disavow Farrakhan's comments or step down from the commission, while black lawmakers defended her right to serve…
Looks like Illinois need another commission to look into the process used to appoint people to their Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

Or perhaps Governor Blagojevich should just appoint an Unhate Czar to coordinate the anti-discrimination efforts of the black community with those of the homosexual community with those of the Jewish community with those of the physically-challenged community with those of the Catholic community with those of the Hispanic community with those of the weight-challenged community with those of the Protestant community with those of the Polish community with those of the women’s-rights community with those of the Muslim community with those of the little people’s community with those of the Italian community with those of the mentally-challenged community with those of the animal-rights community with those of…

Friday, March 03, 2006

'Spooky’ comes a calling
AC-130 Gunships Returning to Iraq

AN AIR BASE IN IRAQ - The U.S. Air Force has begun moving heavily armed AC-130 airplanes — the lethal "flying gunships" of the Vietnam War — to a base in Iraq as commanders search for new tools to counter the Iraqi resistance, The Associated Press has learned...
It would appear that the US military has finally had it with the infiltration of enemy combatants into Iraq and is about to take the gloves off. The AC-130U ‘Spectre’ is a fearsome weapons system designed to wreck havoc, both physical and psychological.

This is pure speculation, but don’t be surprised to soon see reports of stepped up interdiction of foreign fighter supply lines and the annihilation of enemy combatants on and around Iraq’s borders with Iran and Syria.

Will the gay groper strike again?
Johansson Not Holding Grudge Over Groping

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Scarlett Johansson wasn't amused when fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi groped her on the red carpet at January's Golden Globe Awards, but she's willing to forgive him.

"It was definitely in poor taste," Johansson said in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. "I'd been prepping for two hours with hair and makeup and getting dressed. And the first interview I do, someone who I have never met before fondles me for his own satisfaction."

Mizrahi, who was doing pre-show interviews for the E! cable channel, created a flap when he groped Johansson's breast, asked Eva Longoria about her pubic hair and peeked down Teri Hatcher's dress.

"Mostly, I was thinking, 'Oh, my God. This is happening on live TV,'" Johansson recalled, adding she didn't buy the openly gay designer's explanation that he was trying to determine how her dress was put together.

"Like he doesn't know how a dress works," the 21-year-old actress said…
That Mizrahi remains on the job is pathetic; yet, given Hollywood’s morals, apropos.

A word of advice to Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal: Wear a cup and keep Mizrahi at arm’s length while you’re on the Red Carpet at the Oscars.

Heeeeeere’s Jay!

By now many readers have probably read or heard about the Colorado high school geography teacher, Jay Bennish, caught using his position to proselytize for Marxism. That there is an uproar over this incident is indicative of how obtuse Americans, especially parents, are regarding the leftist/liberal propaganda machine that public education has become.

However, what I found most interesting about Bennish’s ‘lecture’ was its tone; it was a harangue (a recording is here). It reminded me of the scene in the movie The Shining where Jack Torrence (played by Jack Nicholson) comes after his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) with an axe.

Even five years into it, Mr. Bannish has yet to learn that subtlety is the grease needed to deliver propaganda well. Which is probably why Sean Allen, a high school sophomore, saw right through the teacher.
Diatribe on Bush taped; teacher placed on leave

AURORA, Colo. -- By many accounts, teacher Jay Bennish was notorious for veering off topic to blast President Bush, capitalism and U.S. foreign policy during his social-studies classes here at Overland High School.

Then Sean Allen got an MP3 player for Christmas.

This week, Mr. Bennish was placed on administrative leave pending a school-district investigation after 16-year-old Sean recorded a lecture during his sophomore geography class in which the teacher compared Mr. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

During the 20-minute recording, Mr. Bennish said there were "eerie similarities" between "things that Adolf Hitler used to say" and Mr. Bush's statements during his Jan. 31 State of the Union address.

Mr. Bennish also said that capitalism was "at odds with human rights," and that the United States was "probably the most violent nation on planet Earth."

Jeff Allen, Sean's father, said his son would often complain about his teacher's left-wing rants, but Mr. Allen assumed he was exaggerating -- until he heard Mr. Bennish on the recording.

"I had no idea he was this nuts," said Mr. Allen…

Naked stupidity

Once or twice for a lark or even on principle, but repeatedly makes you just another creepy flasher.
Naked rambler jailed for contempt

Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has been jailed for two months for appearing naked in the dock from custody.

Mr Gough, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, completed his second naked trek from Lands End to John O'Groats last week.

He had been arrested on Wednesday for walking naked into Edinburgh Sheriff Court to face previous charges.

On Thursday, he again refused to cover himself and Sheriff Derrick McIntyre found him in contempt of court, telling him he was "offensive".

Mr Gough and his partner Melanie Roberts, 34, from Bournemouth, reached the north coast of Caithness last Monday after an 874-mile trek which began in June.

He was arrested and jailed on several occasions during his naked walk.

The 46-year-old ex-marine said he wanted to challenge public attitudes to nudity…

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Laugh, and then laugh still more

In today’s Best of the Web Today James Taranto has a hilarious post entitled Howard Dean's Flying Circus. (scroll down to it)

Perhaps, I was just in the right mood, but I laughed till I cried.

NY Times ‘Diversity Council’: The percentages of blacks, women, and gays employed at the newspaper are too low and that should be changed using a non-quota system


How perfect is this? The leaked confidential report of the NY Times’ Diversity Council reads like a dissertation written in Orwell’s ‘Newspeak’.

The Media Mob at the New York Observer has the story: Times Diversity Report: "A Newspaper at Risk"
After a 10-month study, the New York Times Diversity Council issued its confidential internal report yesterday. The 39-page document, made available to staffers, describes The Times as "a newspaper at risk" on diversity matters and says the paper is "losing ground in comparison to business that are among the leaders in diversity."…

The council was chaired by picture editor Jose Lopez and vice president for real-estate development Hussain Ali-Khan. Managing editor Jill Abramson was its advisor.

According to the report, the Times newsroom is currently 82.5 percent white, slightly less than the industry average of 86.5 percent. Only 14 percent of newsroom managers are minorities, the council found, and there are currently no minorities on the newspaper masthead and only one nonwhite on the company's executive committee.

"[W]omen and minorities remain underrepresented at the Times and minorities are seriously underrepresented in its managerial ranks," the report says.

In 2003 and 2004, three senior managers who were nonwhite left The Times, including managing editor Gerald Boyd, who resigned after the Blair debacle. "This was a major blow to the diversity of the senior management ranks," the report says, "but more disturbing, it exposed the newspaper's lack of depth in diversity among managers."

The council defined diversity in terms of employees' race, gender and sexual orientation. Religious and political differences were not accounted for…

The report issues eight recommendations meant to increase diversity. Senior management, it says, "starting with the publisher, chief executive officer and executive editor, must do more to lead by example." The council does not advocate a quota system, but recommends that all hires be vetted by the recruiting committee with an eye to diversity concerns. Other proposals include creating the position of senior vice president for diversity, increasing bonuses tied to diversity improvement, and developing a mentoring and career-development program.
How would one measure success, enabling you to hand out those bonuses?

Since the council doesn’t want quotas (i.e., the percentages it used to measure/define the problem), perhaps the committee could periodically walk about the newspaper’s facilities and visually gauge the newspaper’s blackness, gynoness, and gayness; rating the spread of diversity within departments as undiverse, diverse, plusdiverse, or doubleplusdiverse. The council could then report its collective sense of observed diversity to Big Brother.. er, sorry.. I meant the Senior Vice President for Diversity.

(Hat tip: instapundit.com)

Note to Terry Davis: One hunts where there is game
Europe Urged to Restrain Foreign Spies

BERLIN, March 1 -- Europe has become "a happy hunting ground" for foreign intelligence agents looking to kidnap terrorist suspects, the leader of the continent's top human rights group said Wednesday, urging European governments to crack down on operatives working for the CIA and other spy services.

Terry Davis, chairman of the Council of Europe, also criticized several European countries for not being more forthcoming about whether they have helped the CIA carry out extralegal counterterrorism operations on their soil. These include the secret detention and abduction of suspected members of al-Qaeda…

The report contends that the CIA has unfettered ability to mount covert counterterrorism operations in Europe with little regard to European legal and human rights standards. But the council said it was unable to collect any fresh evidence or obtain independent confirmation of several alleged CIA plots to apprehend or detain suspects on the continent…

Can Justice Ginsburg vote on a case if she was asleep during the oral arguments related to it?
High Court Tackles Political Boundry [sic] Case

…The Supreme Court had put the Texas cases on the fast track, scheduling an unusually long two-hour afternoon session.

The subject matter was extremely technical, and near the end of the argument Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dozed in her chair. Justices David Souter and Samuel Alito, who flank the 72-year-old, looked at her but did not give her a nudge...

Seriously, I’d like to know. Any reader with knowledge of federal/SCOTUS judicial protocol is encouraged to leave a comment with the answer.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The battle for the hearts and minds of our youngest rages on

A ‘conservative’ and a lesbian have weighed in.

Now comes a ‘Democrat’ with Why Mommy is a Democrat; here’s a sample. Powerline provides insight into what the ‘elephant’ does to the park bench seen in the 2nd sample page (if you have time, listen to the author defend his positions)

And soon we’ll be blessed with the work of a certain Massachusetts Senator’s clueless staff.


Chris Muir comments - hilariously
(click on image to enlarge)

Vermont's Attorney General: I’m clueless, and I’ll prove it.
Vermont Campaign Limits Get Cool Reception at Court

…Vermont's aggressive effort to drive much private money out of politics, through a law it enacted in 1997 that set tight limits on both contributions and expenditures, appeared unlikely to withstand the court's scrutiny after an argument that included a low-key but withering cross-examination by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. of Vermont's attorney general, William H. Sorrell.

The chief justice challenged the attorney general's assertion that money was a corrupting influence on Vermont's political system, the state's main rationale for its law. "How many prosecutions for political corruption have you brought?" he asked the state official.

"Not any," Mr. Sorrell replied.

"Do you think corruption in Vermont is a serious problem?"

"It is," the attorney general replied, noting that polls showed that most state residents thought corporations and wealthy individuals exerted an undue influence in the state.

The chief justice persisted. "Would you describe your state as clean or corrupt?" he asked.

"We have got a problem in Vermont," Mr. Sorrell repeated.

The chief justice pressed further. If voters think "someone has been bought," he said, "I assume they act accordingly" at the next election and throw the incumbent out.

He also challenged a line from the attorney general's 50-page brief, an assertion that donations from special-interest groups "often determine what positions candidates and officials take on issues." Could the attorney general provide an example of such an issue, Chief Justice Roberts asked. Mr. Sorrell could not, eventually conceding that "influence" would have been a better word than "determine."

By the end of the argument, it appeared clear that Vermont's spending limits would fall, and that its contribution limits, the lowest in the country, were hanging by a thread.

If you want to be respected, you must respect yourself *
Stapp Says Sex Tape Was Meant to Sabotage

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scott Stapp thinks a recently released sex video showing him and Kid Rock with several strippers is meant to sabotage him.

"Obviously someone wants to hurt me and doesn't want me to be successful in my solo career," Stapp told AP Radio in a recent interview…

"You think it's part of your rock 'n' roll memories," Stapp said. "I should have burned that tape."
Newlywed Scott Stapp Arrested

Former Creed frontman, Scott Stapp, was arrested for suspected intoxication on Saturday, a day after marrying his fiancée, Jaclyn Nesheiwat, in Miami.

Stapp, 32, was stopped by police at Los Angeles International Airport while trying to board a plane, MTVnews.com reports. The singer was on his way to Hawaii with his new bride where the couple planned to spend their honeymoon.

Police officers, who responded to a disturbance call around 6 p.m., found Stapp behaving in a belligerent manner and took him into custody, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Airport Police tells MTV. He was booked for public intoxication of drugs or alcohol…
Stapp Arrested for Allegedly Being Drunk

...In a November interview with The Associated Press, Stapp said he was his "own worst enemy, in being self-destructive."

"Just when pressure will mount, I'll go do something stupid, just to blow off some steam and end up hurting myself," he said. "Just like being stupid and getting in trouble, I'll beat up somebody, get drunk and act like an idiot and get out of control."...

* - Spanish proverb

Let the car-torching by German ‘youths’ begin!
Americans and Jews villains in blockbuster

BERLIN -- A virulently anti-Semitic film about the Iraq war has provoked a storm of protest in Germany after it sold out to cheering audiences from the country's 2.5-million-strong Turkish community within days of being released.

"Valley of the Wolves," by the Turkish director Serdan Akar, shows crazed American GIs massacring innocent guests at a wedding party and scenes in which a Jewish surgeon removes organs from Iraqi prisoners in a style reminiscent of the Nazi death-camp doctor Josef Mengele.

Bavaria's interior minister conceded last week that he had dispatched intelligence service agents to cinemas showing the film to "gauge" audience reaction and identify potential radicals…

The production went into general release in Germany two weeks ago and has had full houses ever since. More than 130,000 people, most of them young Muslims, saw the film in the first five days of its opening.

At a packed cinema in a largely Turkish immigrant district of Berlin last week, "Valley of the Wolves" was being watched almost exclusively by young Turkish men. They clapped furiously when the Turkish hero of the film was shown blowing up a building occupied by the U.S. military commander in northern Iraq.

In the closing sequence, the hero is shown plunging a dagger into the heart of a U.S. commander called Sam. The audience responded by standing up and chanting "Allah is great!"…

The nature of the film and the enthusiastic reception given to it by young Muslims, has both shocked and polarized politicians and community leaders.

Bernd Neumann, the state secretary for culture in Chancellor Angela Merkel's government complained last week that the reaction to the film "raises serious questions about the values of our society and our ability to instill them."...

Europe, lacking the political will and courage to deport those Muslims who refuse to assimilate, will shortly succumb to the effects of its ‘three monkeys’ political correctness (i.e., see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil), and that too will shock them.
“...Islam is a religion, and an explicitly political one - unlike the birthplace of your grandfather it's not something you leave behind in the old country. Indeed, for its adherents in the West, it becomes their principal expression - a Pan-Islamic identity that transcends borders.”
Mark Steyn - 2/16/06

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Just don’t put him in charge of ‘Show & Tell’
Strip club owner runs for school board

Mehlville, Feb. 28 (UPI) — A Missouri school board candidate says voters should focus on his fatherhood -- his three kids -- rather than his livelihood -- national strip club boss.

Micheal Ocello of Mehlville, Mo., who used to a be a male stripper, runs a chain of successful adult clubs across the nation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Now, he wants to help run the schools attended by his children and is one of six people seeking two seats on the Mehlville School Board.

Several potential voters interviewed by the newspaper said Ocello does not have a chance of winning in the conservative St. Louis suburb.

"I don't want to say anything negative about anybody," Tom Diehl, a nonprofit fundraising consultant, told the Post-Dispatch. "I imagine it might be tough for some voters to get beyond that issue."

Takes one to know one

fraud \'frod\ n 1 a : DECEIT, TRICKERY; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : TRICK

CBS sues Stern for fraud


CBS’ 48 Hours apologizes for altered image

But reading is like, you know, like, totally lame
Study: Reading Key to College Success

WASHINGTON (AP) -- One major factor separates high school graduates who are ready for college from those who aren't, a new study shows: how well students handle complex reading…

The ACT isolated reading complexity as a critical factor by analyzing the results of the 1.2 million high school seniors in 2005 who took the well known ACT college entrance test.

Based on that test, only 51 percent of students showed they were ready to handle the reading requirements of a typical first-year college course. The literacy of today's high school graduates has become an enormous concern for colleges and employers...
The broad and abject ignorance of today’s high school ‘graduates’ is also in the mix. And while scholarship, knowledge, literacy and achievement may be lacking, self-esteem abounds.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Someone’s obsession or another’s delusion?

At a recent NY press interview
I feel stunning
And entrancing.
Feel like running and dancing for joy.
For I'm obsessed over
By a clever and brilliant boy!

Sen. Clinton: Rove obsesses about me

Gosh, that was big of them
Oprah visits new homes

Oprah Winfrey is in Houston today [2/17/06], checking in on 50 families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Houston Habitat for Humanity and Oprah's Angel Network are building each family a new home, with interiors by Nate Berkus, a design expert on Oprah's show who's also on the cover of this month's Oprah's O At Home magazine. The families agreed to work alongside Habitat volunteers for 300 hours. It will be featured on her show at 4 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 11.

(hat tip: James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today )

Hussein’s epiphany: Starving yourself makes you ill
Saddam ends hunger strike before trial resumption

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein has ended a hunger strike he began earlier this month to protest against the conduct of his trial, his chief lawyer said on Monday, a day before the ousted Iraqi leader is due back in court…

"The president maintained his hunger strike for 11 days but was forced to end it for health reasons," Khalil Dulaimi, who met Saddam for seven hours in Baghdad on Sunday, told Reuters...

Geez, how dumb is he? Any Hollywood starlet could have told him that!

Never mind
Tests Show Powder Found in Dorm Not Ricin

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The FBI determined a powdery substance found in a roll of quarters at a University of Texas dormitory was not ricin after initial state tests had indicated it was the potentially deadly poison, a spokesman said Sunday.

The FBI tests did not identify the substance, but they came back negative for the poison that is extracted from castor beans, said San Antonio FBI spokesman Rene Salinas…

Texas health officials did "just a quick test and they don't check for the proteins in ricin," Salinas said… [Ed. – Okay, AP, what exactly did they test for that indicted it was ricin?]

The a [sic] 19-year-old freshman and her roommate were both evaluated for possible exposure to ricin and cleared at a hospital.

Roughly 400 residents of the Moore-Hill dormitory were evacuated Friday night while hazardous materials crews sanitized the area where the substance was found…
There's a second and equally important story here. But, as is typical of the AP, it involves some actual reporting work and therefore wasn't pursued. Here's the question:

Do the “Texas health officials” have a properly trained staff and the right equipment to conduct the correct tests?

In today’s environment, such state-run facilities have become critical first responders against the treat of terrorism and/or a viral pandemic; since 9/11/01 the federal government has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollar into the states to make them so.

Applicants should wear a thong, black berets are optional

The Clinton Foundation is hyping its Intern Program by offering ‘Hands-on experience’.

(Hat tip: exposetheleft.com)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Stop the hate or I’ll hit you with a brick
17 Arrested at Florida Neo-Nazi Rally

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Fistfights broke out and police made 17 arrests Saturday at a neo-Nazi rally and march through a predominantly black neighborhood.

In khaki uniforms, tall black boots and red arm patches bearing swastikas, about 30 members of the National Socialist Movement were barricaded on one side by SWAT team members at the rally. On the other side of the SWAT officers, a group of about 100 black-clad counter-demonstrators, many covering their faces with black masks, held anti-Nazi signs.

Several counter-demonstrators were arrested before the march officially began when pockets of violence erupted, police said. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was hurt…

No members of the neo-Nazi group were arrested, police said.

Fourteen of those arrested are members of out-of-town groups such as the Skinheads Against Racial Prejudices and the Southeastern Anarchist Network, said Orlando police spokeswoman Barb Jones. All faced charges including disorderly conduct, battery on a law enforcement officer and wearing a mask, police said…

During the march, the neo-Nazis walked on one side of the road and the protesters on the other, separated by two lines of police. Both groups hurled insults.

Counter-demonstrators held signs including ones that read, "Stop the hate. Stop the violence" and "Love everyone."

"For them to come into our neighborhood, it's wrong; it's a slap in the face," said Donnell Jones, 33.