Saturday, March 25, 2006

Did I miss a recent constitutional amendment?

When did the Legislative Branch take over the Executive Branch’s State Department?
Senators Pressure Iraq As Gunbattle Rages

By Vanessa Arrington Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- As a gunbattle raged south of Baghdad Saturday, two key U.S. senators told Iraqi leaders that American patience was growing thin and they needed to urgently overcome their stalemate and form a national unity government… [Ed. – Interestingly, Arrington provides no direct quote about American patience “growing thin”]

"I come away with the impression that the Iraqi leaders understand the sense of urgency we have conveyed to them. We all know the polls show declining support among the American people," McCain said at a news conference. "So I am guardedly optimistic that this will happen within weeks." [Ed. – Senator, those polls are irrelevant. The poll in November is the only one that matters, a concept you still haven’t grasped, you ‘maverick’ you]

Wisconsin Democrat and war opponent Sen. Russell Feingold joined McCain in pressing for the quick formation of a government, but he also declared his concern that the continued presence of American forces was prolonging the conflict... [Ed. - Naturally, the good senator provided no rationale for his position, but it makes for a great sound bite]

Chirac ‘deeply shocked’ France and its language becoming irrelevant

The President of France grabs the handle of his little rouge wagon and marches home, oblivious to the fact that all the other kids have and ride bikes.
Chirac gives use of English tongue lashing

BRUSSELS -- French President Jacques Chirac yesterday defended his eyebrow-raising exit from an EU summit session, accusing the French head of Europe's employer union of insulting French pride by daring to speak in English.

An ardent defender of the French tongue, Mr. Chirac said he was stunned to hear English on the lips of the Frenchman in a speech at the two-day European summit.

"I was deeply shocked that a Frenchman would speak at the council table in English," he told journalists, explaining for the first time his abrupt walkout when the summit opened on Thursday.

"That's the reason why the French delegation and myself left, so as not to have to listen to that," he added...

"He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met."
Abraham Lincoln

Friday, March 24, 2006

Right play, wrong quarterback

In a previous post, Staying alive, I lauded the Washington Post for signing up a conservative blogger to add to their cast of bloggers. I still think it is a smart and knowing move for The Post. They just need to do a better job of vetting their candidates for the position; ‘cause if they don’t, the blogosphere will.
'Red America' Blogger Resigns

A 24-year-old conservative blogger hired by The Washington Post Co.'s Web site resigned today, three days after his debut, amid a flurry of allegations of plagiarism.

Ben Domenech, an editor with Regnery Publishing, relinquished the part-time position hours after a liberal Web site posted evidence that he had plagiarized part of a movie review he wrote for National Review Online. Previous allegations of plagiarism about Domenech's writing for the College of William & Mary student newspaper surfaced Wednesday, but the 2001 review was the first instance found since he attended college...

Chirac took his Français and left
Chirac flees summit in a fury over use of English

PRESIDENT CHIRAC stormed out of the first session of a European Union summit dominated by a row over French nationalism because a fellow Frenchman insisted on speaking English.

President Chirac and three of his ministers walked out of the room when Ernest-Antoine Seillière, the leader of the European business lobby UNICE, punctured Gallic pride by insisting on speaking the language of Shakespeare rather than that of Molière.

When M Seillière, who is an English-educated steel baron, started a presentation to all 25 EU leaders, President Chirac interrupted to ask why he was speaking in English. M Seillière explained: “I’m going to speak in English because that is the language of business.”

Without saying another word, President Chirac, who lived in the US as a student and speaks fluent English, walked out, followed by his Foreign, Finance and Europe ministers, leaving the 24 other European leaders stunned. They returned only after M Seilière had finished speaking...

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”
Dale Carnegie

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

A roundtable discussion

Moderator: "What would be the consequences, if any, for one of your brethren who renounced his/her religion?"

Catholic priest: “Well, that would depends on the circumstances. I suppose the worst case scenario is that the individual would be excommunicated from the Church.”

Orthodox rabbi: “The individual would likely be shunned.”

Fundamentalist Christian minister: “We’d pray that that person would find Jesus again thus saving his immortal soul before he dies.”

Fundamentalist Muslim imam: “We must kill him.”

A tripartite nexus

If you do nothing else this weekend, take a few minutes to read (and listen to)
Victor Davis Hanson on the tripartite nexus of Congressional leadership, media elite, and the celebrity fringe criticizing the war effort.

It’s the transcript and audio of Hugh Hewitt’s recent radio interview of Victor Davis Hanson, found here at

Another geriatric tour in the offing
Streisand May Tour for First Time in Years

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Barbra Streisand may take the stage again - six years after her last public concert.

"A tour is being explored, but nothing has been finalized," said her publicist, Dick Guttman.

Streisand's husband, James Brolin, told TV's "Access Hollywood" earlier this week that his 63-year-old superstar wife would be back on tour...

America awaits with bated breath.

Idiots on both ends of the phone line
911 calls in Chattanooga go unanswered


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Thousands of calls to Chattanooga's 911 call center have been going unanswered, according to records examined after a caller was unable to report a kitchen fire because three of four dispatchers were taking breaks at the same time.

Stacey Hunter and her family members called 911 from her home phone and cellular phones Monday afternoon when the fire broke out, but the calls went unanswered. Finally, Artterius Bonds, and 14-year-old nephew, Quayshaune Fountain, ended up running a half mile to get help from the fire station. No one was hurt.

"If they hadn't gone running, my house would have completely burned up," Hunter, 34, said as she stood in her scorched kitchen.

Chattanooga Police Chief Steve Parks, who oversees employees of the Hamilton County Emergency Communications District, said the department was responsible for the unanswered calls.

One dispatcher was taking calls and three others working the shift were taking a break, the chief said. He described the situation as an unacceptable failure of the 911 system…
Ah, but wait. There’s more from a different reporter…
Nonemergency calls slow 911 system

By Ginny LaRoe Staff Writer

Many area residents don’t use the 911 emergency number correctly and may be endangering others, communications officials say.

"I couldn’t quantify it, but we get a tremendous amount of calls of my car has been towed, or is there a detour around this, or they didn’t pick up my garbage," said Lee Watkins, with the Hamilton County Emergency Communications District.

Mr. Watkins said dispatchers do not ignore such calls, but they aren’t a priority and slow responses to true emergencies…

Records show about 60 percent of 911 calls in Chattanooga last year were answered in under nine seconds, or in about the time it takes for the phone to ring once. More than 3,500 of the city’s 152,957 calls to 911 in 2005 were answered after more than 50 seconds, records show.
Think about that number, 152,957. That’s 17 emergency calls every hour of every day for the entire year. Here’s some more perspective: the population of Chattanooga, TN is 154,853.

Effectively, 99% of Chattanooga's population, literally every man, woman and child required emergency service in 2005.

Funny how just a little digging changes the complexion of Bill Poovey’s story.

Smile for the cameras*
Arizona Issues Warrant for Rescued Couple

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Arizona authorities have issued a warrant on drug-related charges for a couple who were among a family of six rescued from a snowbound motor home this week, according to court documents and a newspaper report.

Warrants were issued for Elbert and Becky Higginbotham on Wednesday, the day after the six were rescued in a mountainous region in Southern Oregon, according to records in Snowflake Justice Court in Snowflake, Ariz.

Elbert Higginbotham is wanted on charges of possession of dangerous drugs for sale, misconduct involving weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the court records. All are felonies. His wife is wanted on charges of possession of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the records...
* - see photo of media swarm here

One aftereffect of liberal courts

Long ago, with California leading the way, ‘progressive’ judges, in cahoots with activists for ‘the homeless’, ruled that institutionalizing indigent, mentally ill people violated their constitutional rights. The effect has been a further degraded life for these hapless human beings and the distribution of their misery to the whole of the ‘village’ – not unlike a hippie commune run amok.
L.A. Investigating Alleged Patient Dumping

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Authorities are examining a surveillance tape that shows an elderly woman wandering Skid Row in a hospital gown and slippers as they investigate the practice of hospitals and police agencies dumping homeless people downtown.

Carol Ann Reyes, 63, of Gardena, was taken from a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Bellflower on Monday to the downtown area known as Skid Row, authorities said.

A surveillance camera outside the Union Rescue Mission showed Reyes walking from the direction of a taxi that had just driven away. She wandered the street for about three minutes before a mission staff member brought her inside.

City officials have been looking into the alleged dumping of homeless people in Skid Row, a ramshackle area downtown.

Several hospitals have acknowledged that they put some discharged indigent patients with nowhere else to go into taxicabs headed to the area because it offers a chance for getting services and shelter…
And how will LA deal with its ‘dumping’ problem? They plan to build institutional facilities to temporarily house and treat the dumpees until they can be pawned off to some charity or other government band-aid.
Los Angeles County officials are also considering establishing five regional homeless centers in an attempt to reduce dumping, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The regional homeless centers plan would spread the responsibility of caring for the homeless to suburbs instead of concentrating it downtown, the newspaper said. Each 30-bed center would operate 24-hours a day and would accept people from hospitals, police and care providers. The goal would be to find the resident permanent housing and services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, officials said.

And as sure as you’re reading this, you can be certain that the activists will be in the mix demanding (with the treat of legal action) that the dumpee be 'set free' as soon as he/she has been treated and rejuvenated; only to start the cycle again.

Yes, Chris, it is a great country.

(click on image enlarge)

And your strip is great too.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What, no laying on of hands?
Mrs. Clinton Says G.O.P.'s Immigration Plan Is at Odds With the Bible

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked the Bible yesterday to criticize a stringent border security measure that, among other things, would make it a federal crime to offer aid to illegal immigrants.

"It is hard to believe that a Republican leadership that is constantly talking about values and about faith would put forth such a mean-spirited piece of legislation," she said of the measure, which was passed by the House of Representatives in December and mirrored a companion Senate bill introduced last week by Senator Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican and the majority leader.

"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scripture because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself," she said. "We need to sound the alarm about what is being done in the Congress."... [Ed. – Are you kidding me? The what-would-Jesus-do meme from Hillary ‘Abortion-on-Demand’ Clinton?]

ABC’s John Green: To puke, or am I a puke? That is the question.

From The Drudge Report
A top producer at ABC NEWS declared "Bush makes me sick" in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

John Green, currently executive producer of the weekend edition of GOOD MORNING AMERICA, unloaded on the president in an ABC company email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

"If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke," Green complained.

NY Times continues to circle the bowl

It’s getting to the point where ‘The Times’ need have only two sections, whose respective mottos would be:
A. “Stuff our wild-eyed propagandists wish was true.”

B. “News written by rational adults.”

Corrections: For the Record

Published: March 23, 2006
Editors' Note

An article in The Metro Section on March 8 profiled Donna Fenton, identifying her as a 37-year-old victim of Hurricane Katrina who had fled Biloxi, Miss., and who was frustrated in efforts to get federal aid as she and her children remained as emergency residents of a hotel in Queens.

Yesterday, the New York police arrested Ms. Fenton, charging her with several counts of welfare fraud and grand larceny. Prosecutors in Brooklyn say she was not a Katrina victim, never lived in Biloxi and had improperly received thousands of dollars in government aid. Ms. Fenton has pleaded not guilty.

For its profile, The Times did not conduct adequate interviews or public record checks to verify Ms. Fenton's account, including her claim that she had lived in Biloxi. Such checks would have uncovered a fraud conviction and raised serious questions about the truthfulness of her account.

An article about her arrest and the findings from additional reporting about her claims appears today on Page B1

Slow news day in Hollywood
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Star Jones Reynolds is recovering from a breast-lift procedure performed last week at a Santa Monica hospital, her publicist said Wednesday.

"Star is recovering wonderfully," publicist Brad Zeifman said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Apparently, Star was unaware of the ‘bringin ‘em up painlessly’ alternative.

Violent crime, murder, rape, and aggravated assault are about to drop in Kansas
Kan. Concealed-Weapons Bill to Become Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The state House on Thursday overrode Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a concealed weapons bill, allowing it to become law this summer...

The new law, taking effect July 1, will allow Kansans who are U.S. citizens to obtain concealed-carry permits from their local sheriffs. Applicants must be 21 and take firearms training, and hidden weapons still will be banned in some places, including schools, churches, libraries and courthouses...

In Guns Save Lives, a book review in The Dartmouth Review of John R. Lott’s book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-control Laws, M. Ryan Clark writes:
Lott found that concealed weapons laws caused violent crime to drop by 4.9 percent, murder by 7.7 percent, rape by 5.3 percent, and aggravated assault by 7.01 percent.
Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Only if you’ve never questioned the statements made by gun control advocates; ‘information’ very often unencumbered by fact.

Lott's subsequent book on the subject, The Bias Against GUNS: Why Almost Everything You've Heard about Gun Control Is Wrong provides a balanced analysis of the effects of gun-control legislation.

Lott blogs here.

Sorry Ass Testers (SATs)
College Board Finds More SAT Score Errors

BOSTON (AP) -- The College Board apologized to high school students and college admissions offices after acknowledging that more students received mistakenly low scores on the SAT exam, a mistake discovered just as many students await college admission decisions.

The board disclosed Wednesday that 27,000 of 495,000 college entrance tests taken in October were not fully re-scanned for errors after scoring problems surfaced. When they were, an additional 375 students were found to have incorrectly low marks.

"We couldn't be more sorry for the total stress this has caused students and admissions officers, and families," said Chiara Coletti, a spokeswoman for the College Board…

The announcement brings to 4,411 the number of students who received incorrectly low scores. It is the latest in a string of embarrassing revelations for the College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the exam, which said after discovering the 1,600 exams last week that it believed there would be no more problems…

A negotiation in Florida

“¿Perderé los $10 millones?”


“¿Qué manera al campo izquierdo?”


'No choice': Soriano in left

Does it come with attachments?
Bank of America and Olivia to offer cards to lesbian market

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In one of MBNA's first marketing blitzes as part of Bank of America Corp., the company said Tuesday it will start offering credit cards tied to Olivia, a San Francisco travel company that caters primarily to the lesbian community…

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Two and a half tokes
Actor Charlie Sheen Questions Official 9/11 Story

Speaking to The Alex Jones Show on the GCN Radio Network, the star of current hit comedy show Two and a Half Men and dozens of movies including Platoon and Young Guns, Sheen elaborated on why he had problems believing the government's version of events…

"We're not the conspiracy theorists on this particular issue," said Sheen.

"It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75% of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."…

Sheen described the climate of acceptance for serious discussion about 9/11 as being far more fertile than it was a couple of years ago.

"It feels like from the people I talk to in and around my circles, it seems like the worm is turning."…

Sheen described his immediate skepticism regarding the official reason for the collapse of the twin towers and building 7 on the day of 9/11.

"I was up early and we were gonna do a pre-shoot on Spin City, the show I used to do, I was watching the news and the north tower was burning. I saw the south tower hit live, that famous wide shot where it disappears behind the building and then we see the tremendous fireball."

"There was a feeling, it just didn't look any commercial jetliner I've flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother 'call me insane, but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition'?"

Sheen said that most people's gut instinct, that the buildings had been deliberately imploded, was washed away by the incessant flood of the official version of events from day one…

Seems to me that Charlie was also in the news a few weeks ago… Ah, yes, here it is:
Here's a tip for a happy marriage: Don't accidentally send an email intended for a hooker to your wife. For that matter, the whole hooker aspect should be eliminated altogether.

Charlie Sheen tossed away his chance at marital bliss when he sent his wife Denise Richards a cyber message that was supposed to go to a hooker named Debbie, according to published reports. The couple was vacationing in Barbados when Richards received the message.

“Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.”
Heinrich Heine

President Bush: Read blogs to get all the facts about Iraq

Will that remark cause an explosion in blog readership?

A presidential endorsement is no small thing, just ask Tom Clancy
A woman in Washington D.C. read his novel "The Hunt For Red October" when it was first published by the Naval Press Institute in the 1980s, and loved it so much that she gave a copy to all her friends. One of those friends was President Ronald Reagan, who stepped off Marine One with the book tucked under his arm. A reporter saw the book and asked Reagan, "What are you reading?" Reagan then held up the book so everybody could see the cover and replied, "It's a really a good yarn." After Reagan's compliment, Tom Clancy's first novel became a best seller.
Here’s the question posed to President Bush (shortened and paraphrased):
The media only reports the car bombings and bloodshed in Iraq, where can Americans go to see the good things that happen in Iraq?
The President’s answer (also shortened, but verbatim):
"…I just got to keep talking and word of mouth, there’s blogs, there’s internet, there’s all kinds of way to communicate which is literally changing the way people get their information and so if you’re concerned I would suggest that you reach out to some of the groups that are supporting the troops, that got internet sites and just keep the word moving…"
The whole of the question and answer (text and video) is here at Expose the Left (hat tip to same).

Gallup: CNN is an albatross, we’re cutting them loose

From the Drudge Report

…CNN has far fewer viewers than it did in the past and we feel that our brand was getting lost and diluted combined with the CNN brand. We have only about 200 thousand viewers during our CNN segments…
Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO of GALLUP

Detroit school district: Takes money from the ineffectual and gives it to the inept
Teachers' Protest Closes Detroit Schools

DETROIT (AP) -- Hundreds of Detroit teachers stayed home Wednesday, forcing more than 50 schools to close in what school officials described as a sick-out to protest a temporary pay cut.

The teachers are upset because some principals are getting raises while they are giving up five days of pay to help balance the district's budget, district spokeswoman Mattie Majors said.

School officials estimated that 1,500 of the district's 10,000 teachers were out sick Wednesday, and said it forced 53 schools to close. Administrators and substitutes were sent to fill in, said Lekan Oguntoyinbo, another schools' spokesman...

Detroit school reform falters
After five years under state control, Detroit Public Schools is falling behind other urban failing districts on state tests, and just as many students don’t finish high school…

NEA Study: Michigan Teachers Paid Above National Average
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michigan public school teachers earn an average salary of nearly $57,000 a year, about $10,000 higher than most of their counterparts across the country, according to a study conducted by the largest teachers union in the nation. That represents a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year, putting Michigan fourth nationally, behind only Connecticut, the District of Columbia and California…

Michigan ranked among the top 10 states in the country in total expenditures on public education, moving from ninth to eighth this year. A 3 percent increase took that amount from $18.7 billion to $19.2 billion, according to the report. Michigan remained fourth nationally in total public education revenues from state government, with a 4.3 percent increase from $12.4 billion to $12.9 billion...

Third time’s the charm
In 3rd Trial, Boston Man Convicted of Rape

BOSTON (AP) -- A rape suspect who twice won mistrials because key DNA evidence could have come from either him or his twin brother was convicted Wednesday in his third trial…

Read the rest to see why Massachusetts taxpayers had to pay for three trials to convict a known rapist whose semen was found on his latest victim’s pillowcase.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Some perspective on the recent riots in France

I made several posts – found in this blog’s archives for the end of October and the first weeks of November 2005 - offering my humble commentary and analysis of the riots that swept France at that time.

And, truly, those efforts were humble when compared to the insight that Paul Belien can provide.

If you really want to understand what caused the Winter ’05 riots read his The Battle for France - The riots aren’t about social justice but who will rule.

And while my post on the current French student riots is accurate, it is a skeleton; Belien’s France: Pity the Students puts real meat on those bones.

Breeding anarchists

At the Anarchist Book Fair, San Francisco, March 18, 2006

An anarchist mom encouraging her young daughter to "Pin the Molotov on the Cop Car."

Sadly, mental illness doesn’t shut down the reproductive system.

(Hat tip: Zombie Times)

Staying alive

As a MSM newspaper, the Washington Post (WaPo) is a bit of an anomaly in that it has never lost sight of the fact that it exists to convey actual information (as opposed to spewing propaganda). I suspect, some of that is the competition for local readers it gets from the Washington Times, but most of it comes from a long history of telling both sides in a town where taking sides is the reason for existence. Further to its credit, WaPo has resisted bias-creep in it news articles.

Its management is astute; they have seen and embraced the future of information conveyance - the Internet and its offspring, blogs. And in line with the policy of presenting both sides, they’ve initiated Red America by Ben Domenech.

I recommend a visit.

There goes the neighborhood
Pamela Anderson Buys Las Vegas Condo Unit

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Pamela Anderson has bought a condo at a $1 billion luxury high-rise under construction just west of the Las Vegas Strip, its developer said Monday…

Disqualify him and hand him a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic
Alfonso Soriano Refuses to Play Outfield

VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Alfonso Soriano refused to play the outfield for the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be his spring training debut Monday night, and general manager Jim Bowden said his biggest offseason acquisition will go on the disqualified list if he doesn't agree to switch positions this week.

"The player refused to take the field, which we believe is a violation of his contract," Bowden said.

Soriano, a four-time All-Star second baseman, was listed as batting leadoff and playing left field on a lineup sheet posted in the Nationals' clubhouse before Monday night's 11-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But when the Nationals took the field in the top of the first, Soriano wasn't out there. With play just about ready to start, left field was empty…

When Soriano first reported to camp last month, the question of whether he would accept the switch was left open until his return from the World Baseball Classic.

Soriano played for the Dominican Republic, which was eliminated in the tournament semifinals Saturday. He joined the Nationals on Monday and worked out with teammates in the afternoon, but he wouldn't speak to reporters…

"We told him if we get to Thursday, and he refuses to play left field, we told him at that point we will request that the commissioner's office place him on the disqualified list, at that time - no pay, no service time," Bowden said…

Billary morphs to Hillbilly

So says the NY Daily News in I'm boss, Hil tells Bill
WASHINGTON - After being surprised by her husband's role in the Dubai ports deal, Sen. Hillary Clinton has insisted that Bill Clinton give her "final say" over what he says and does, well-placed sources said.

The former President agreed to give his wife a veto to avoid his habit of making controversial headlines that could hurt her chances of returning to the White House, multiple sources told the Daily News.

He knows it's Hillary's time now," said an adviser close to both Clintons who expects to play a key role in her likely 2008 presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton's handlers are keeping a close rein on the former President's schedule to try to prevent another embarrassing screwup like their competing roles in the Dubai ports deal.

While she was blasting the Bush administration for allowing Dubai to run six of the country's ports, he was advising Dubai on how to sell the deal.

"Hillary has final say," said the adviser, and the ex-President's staff has been warned not to do or say anything without running it by the senator's handlers…

To boost his spouse's Oval Office bid, the former President is hosting several get-togethers around the country with ex-staffers and is planning some regional town hall meeting and panel discussions to talk about success stories from what Hillary Clinton likes to call "our administration."

Still, the senator's advisers are trying to put a muzzle on her husband's more controversial comments and actions that have hindered her effort to paint herself as a national security hawk - a crucial part of her political makeover…

The Dubai port controversy was the latest episode that allowed her critics to charge she was being politically duplicitous. Because of their contrasting actions, the Clintons were lampooned by conservatives, and Hillary Clinton faded away as a leading voice of criticism for the ports deal.

The ex-President also sent his spokesman as well as his wife's handlers scrambling when he lashed out at President Bush during a speech in Dubai last November, saying the Iraq war was "a big mistake." Hillary Clinton has supported the war…

The senator's camp knows, however, when it's politically prudent to put her near her husband, like when they visited victims of Hurricane Katrina, the funeral for Coretta Scott King and in Israel at the anniversary of the assassination of Mideast peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin.

Where aging rockers and actresses go to die
Anti-War Artists Give Benefit Concert

NEW YORK (AP) -- Michael Stipe [46], Susan Sarandon [60], Cindy Sheehan and others marked the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with a concert to benefit groups campaigning against the war.

Organizers of Monday night's "Bring 'Em Home Now!" concert said 3,000 tickets were sold. [Ed. – Interesting, the seating capacity is 2,500. If that’s a true count, the Fire Marshall should be informed]

"It's awesome to me because there are more and more kids getting involved," Sheehan said before the concert. [Ed. – Yeah, I’m sure most ‘kids’ would think the concert lineup and guest hosts were totally awesome]

Sarandon said artists were playing their part in the anti-war effort by attending the concert and through the movies Hollywood is producing.

"Look at `Syriana,' look at `Good Night, and Good Luck,'" Sarandon said of two recent films that deal with issues of war and censorship. [Ed. – Problem is, not many people “looked” at those two movies, they averaged 20 tickets sold per showing]

The actress, who said she was in talks to portray Sheehan in a film, said the activist "gave a face to all that was going on." [Ed. – Coming soon to a theater near you! - Vacant Eyes Playing Vacant Head]

Profits from the ticket sales will go to anti-war groups including Gold Star Families for Peace, which counts Sheehan among its founding members, and Veterans Against the War.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Say what?

I’ve always liked Sharon Stone and not just for her enduring beauty. Her real best pictures/scenes have been the ones that required she actually act (fully clothed sans the leg crossings).

Heretofore, I’ve also been impressed with what she has had to say off camera. She always seemed a very grounded, highly intelligent person - well aware of the real world about her.

That was until I read Peace just a breath away, says Sharon Stone
"And it really is just a breath. It's just an agreement that's just a breath. We are not far apart. We can choose to have this alternative kind of growth that is a collective nuance of understanding.”


One can only imagine what she was breathing or ingesting preceding that insight.

Deadly smuggler recovering nicely

N.Y. Anthrax Patient's Condition Upgraded

SAYRE, Pa. (AP) -- A man who apparently contracted anthrax from the African goat hides he uses to make drums was upgraded from fair to good condition Monday, more than a month after he was hospitalized...

Political correctioness at full throttle

One of the most fascinating aspects of the tale of African dance troupe leader Vado Diomande (the man infected with anthrax) is that no one; not the press, not the NYPD or NYC government, nor even concerned citizens are pointing out the obvious: Diomande is a persistent smuggler and a very dangerous one.

Here’s the relevant law:
Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States

Animal hunting trophies, game animal carcasses, and hides are severely restricted. To find out specifics and how to arrange to bring them into the United States, contact USDA/APHIS Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export (NCIE) at 301-734-7830, or on the Web at Veterinary Services - Safeguarding Animal Health (Import/Export) ( Veterinary Services )…

Avoid Fines and Delays

Prohibited items that are not declared by passengers are confiscated and disposed of by CBP agriculture specialists. But that’s not all. Civil penalties may be assessed for violations and may range up to $1,000 for a first-time offense. Depending on whether the confiscated, undeclared items are intentionally concealed, or determined to be for commercial use, civil penalties may be assessed as high as $50,000 for individuals. The same fines apply to prohibited agricultural products sent through the international mail.

Here’s how Diomande got the skins past customs:
The stilt dancer and choreographer had visited the Ivory Coast in December and returned to New York with the unprocessed skins in suitcases.

My brothers and sisters, let us heal together
Church Fire Suspects Decline to Post Bond

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Three college students accused in a string of rural Alabama church fires will not seek release on bond on the federal charges, their attorneys said.

A federal magistrate judge said Thursday the three men could be released on $50,000 bond, in cash or property, with strict conditions. But Matthew Lee Cloyd, Benjamin Moseley, and Russell DeBusk Jr. also face state arson charges, and would remain jailed while a state judge considered setting bond.

Moseley's attorney, Bill Clark, said his client had no plans to make the federal bond in recognition of the seriousness of the church fires and in an effort to promote healing. [Ed – looks like Bill is fixin to do some good ol’ repentant-sinner lawyerin for Ben]

"Ben Moseley is concerned for the members of the churches involved, the people in those communities and the injured firefighters," Clark said Saturday in a statement. "It is hoped that this decision will help us move forward with efforts to resolve all of these matters in a way that will result in reconciliation and restoration."… [Ed. - Yeah, he must have been really conflicted as they ignited the splashed accelerant – at nine different churches]

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.”

This is rich. Pelosi intimates that Feingold is clueless
Feingold's censure call a distraction for his party

Congressional Democrats say Sen. Russell D. Feingold's move to censure President Bush for authorizing warrantless surveillance is a distraction from their quest to take back Congress in the fall.

"Every time we get in a great strategic position, we manage to energize the Republican base," Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, told The Washington Times.

"Everything is going well for the Democrats and President Bush is tanking in the polls, and then Russ Feingold comes up with the idea of censure, which is going to go nowhere and is not just quixotic but is somewhat self-serving," he said.

Mr. Moran's comments echoed a theme used by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week during a briefing with reporters…

"I have no idea why anybody would censure someone before they have an investigation," she said. "Why doesn't everybody just channel their energy into winning the election?"

NJ, MD & VA to dangerous drivers: Pay the bribe, keep your license
Virginia mulls bad-driver fees to save budget

RICHMOND -- Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and General Assembly lawmakers want lousy drivers to help balance the state's budget and ease congested roads.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled House and Senate are each pushing "abuser-fee" programs that annually fine drivers for the number of points on their driving record or if they have been convicted of a serious offense such as drunken driving. The fines would be in addition to court fees and insurance surcharges…

For example, drivers going 10 to 19 mph over the speed limit would receive four points under Virginia law and have to pay a $100 fine for three consecutive years. They also would have to pay $75 for each additional point. Drivers convicted of drunken driving would be tagged with six points and be fined $700 for three consecutive years. Drivers who fail to pay would have their license suspended…

The proposals are based on a program the New Jersey Legislature established in the early 1980s that now generates $139 million a year, said Lee Jackson, manager of the state's Insurance Surcharge Program…Maryland also has extra charges for bad drivers. Motorists who have so many points that their license has been either suspended or revoked can ask for a hearing, but the request comes with a mandatory, $125 filing fee…

The report also says license suspensions often have "serious, albeit unintended" consequences, including motorists losing their jobs and driving without a license or insurance.

About 800,000 suspension orders are mailed annually to licensed New Jersey drivers, and the main reason is failure to pay the surcharges, according to the report. The state has about 6 million drivers.

Virginia has about 5.2 million licensed drivers. As of last week, the state had mailed nearly 410,000 suspension notices.

"Those who will be hit the hardest by abuser fees will not have the money to pay, and they will be the ones driving on a suspended permit," said Sen. John H. Chichester, Stafford County Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "Therefore, everyone loses in that regard, and [the suspended driver] will ultimately lose because they will get caught."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

French Socialist Party: "Merde se produira"
French Prime Minister: Jobs Law to Stand

PARIS - French unions threatened a one-day general strike and socialists warned Sunday that protests would increase unless the government rescinds a law weakening job protections for young people. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the measure will stand…

The spokesman for the opposition Socialist Party, Julien Dray, warned of bigger demonstrations if the government does not change its position by Monday night.

"When youths take to the street, you don't know what can happen," Dray told Radio-J. "By digging in its heels, the government is creating the conditions for troubles (that can have) dramatic consequences."…

NY Times: Photoshopped? No, never! We just goofed and used the wrong film!

Published: March 15, 2006

Editors' Note

The cover photograph in The Times Magazine on Sunday rendered colors incorrectly for the jacket, shirt and tie worn by Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor who is a possible candidate for the presidency. The jacket was charcoal, not maroon; the shirt was light blue, not pink; the tie was dark blue with stripes, not maroon.

The Times's policy rules out alteration of photographs that depict actual news scenes and, even in a contrived illustration, requires acknowledgment in a credit. In this case, the film that was used can cause colors to shift, and the processing altered them further; the change escaped notice because of a misunderstanding by the editors.

Unlike these so-called experts, I’ve been a professional photographer for over 100 years and I doubt there was any animus involved. If one carefully examines the photo (shown below), it obvious there was an emulsion problem on the plate. Most likely, the affernackel detached itself from the stanisfran just before the presses rolled; that’s very hard to detect.

That and 49,200 more will fill the Meadowlands

Associated Press Writer Nathaniel Hernandez tries hard but gets no cigar.
War Opponents Protest From Boston to Tokyo

CHICAGO - The third anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq drew tens of thousands of protesters in at least two dozen cities around the globe with many chanting "Stop the War" and calling for the withdrawal of troops...
By my count, in reading the rest of the Hernandez’ article, a total of 26,800 people protested in Chicago, London, New York, Seoul, and Tokyo (the cities on which he reported). The combined population of those five cities is 37 million people. The protesters were 7/100ths of 1 percent of the population; perhaps Fringe Elements Protest would have been a more astute headline.

In France, however, 500,000 people in 160 cities protested because the government had the audacity to allow employers to demand actual work for pay.

And the beat goes on
French Police Subdue Riots Over Jobs Law

PARIS - Police loosed water cannons and tear gas on rioting students and activists rampaged through a McDonald's and attacked store fronts in the capital Saturday as demonstrations against a plan to relax job protections spread in a widening arc across France.

The protests, which drew 500,000 people in some 160 cities across the country, were the biggest show yet of escalating anger that is testing the strength of the conservative government before elections next year…

Four cars were set afire, police said… [Ed. – Ah yes, the ubiquitous torched autos, a French riot wouldn’t be complete without them; see here, here, here, and here]

Police turned water cannons on the protesters at the Sorbonne and were seen throwing youths to the ground, hitting them and dragging them into vans.

"Liberate the Sorbonne!" some protesters shouted. "Police everywhere, justice nowhere."

In an apparent effort to set fire to a police van serving as a blockade, protesters instead torched the entrance of a nearby Gap store, apparently by accident, engulfing the small porch in flames…

The law would allow businesses to fire young workers in the first two years on a job without giving a reason, removing them from protections that restrict layoffs of regular employees.

Companies are often reluctant to add employees because it is hard to let them go if business conditions worsen. Students see a subtext in the new law: make it easier to hire and fire to help France compete in a globalizing world economy. [Ed. – No, the real subtext is “Damn, we’ll really have to work”]

Youth joblessness stands at 23 percent nationwide, and 50 percent among impoverished young people. The lack of work was blamed in part for the riots that shook France's depressed suburbs during the fall. [Ed. – Right, right it was the French ‘youths’]