Saturday, April 22, 2006

Are you allowed to hang a Pulitzer Prize plaque on your prison cell wall?

bumped from 4/21, scroll down for update
CIA Officer Fired for Leaking Classified Info to Media

WASHINGTON — A CIA officer has been relieved of his duty after being caught leaking classified information to the media.

Citing the Privacy Act, the CIA would not provide any details about the officer's identity or assignments. It was not immediately clear if the person would face prosecution. The firing is a highly unusual move, although there has been an ongoing investigation into leaks in the CIA.

"The officer has acknowledged unauthorized discussions with the media and the unauthorized sharing of classified information," said CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano. "That is a violation of the secrecy agreement that everyone signs as a condition of employment with the CIA."

One official called this a "damaging leak" that deals with operational information and said the fired officer "knowingly and willfully" leaked the information to the media and "was caught."…

A Justice Department spokesman said "no comment" on the firing. The spokesman also would not say whether the agency was looking into any criminal action against the officer. One law enforcement official said there were dozens of leak investigations under way.

A second law enforcement official confirmed said the CIA officer had provided information that contributed to a Washington Post story last year saying there were secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe...
You gotta love the WaPo headline for the story: CIA Fires Employee for Alleged Leak
The information included highly classified material regarding a network of secret CIA prisons in foreign nations in which terrorist suspects were held, the official said. The prison system was revealed by The Washington Post last year. The Post's Dana Priest won the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting this week for her stories about the secret prisons and other national security matters.

The fired employee is said to have given information not only to Priest but to other reporters as well…

Priest declined to discuss the firing or to confirm whether the employee provided information for her Priest declined to discuss the firing or to confirm whether the employee provided information for her report . "I don't intend to comment on my sources for that or any other story," she said...
If Priest’s source was female perhaps the two of them can share a cell and laud each other’s righteousness, ad nauseam.

Update:

I was being factitious about Priest’s source being a woman. Turns out, I was right on the money. One can only hope that government charges and punishes Ms. McCarthy and Dana Priest to the full extent of the law for revealing classified operational information in a time of war.


George Bush is pissing off some extraterrestrials so they’ve rerouted the Schwassman-Wachmann comet to teach Earth a lesson.

Crazy? Apparently, U.S. Newswire and Yahoo don’t think so as they’re publishing the story.
Former Military Air Traffic Controller Claims Comet Collision with Earth on May 25, 2006

KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii, April 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Eric Julien, a former French military air traffic controller and senior airport manager, has completed a study of the comet 73P Schwassmann- Wachmann and declared that a fragment is highly likely to impact the Earth on or around May 25, 2006…

Julien argues that the kinetic energy of even a 'car sized' fragment will impact the Earth with devastating effect. He concludes the May 25 event is tied in to the Bush administration's policy of preemptive use of nuclear weapons against Iran, and the effect of nuclear weapons on the realms of higher intelligences. Regarding its importance, Julien declares: "we have to save lives when we have such information to share with the public". He further claims it important "to preserve all data, historical artifacts and precious material in the event of such a collision." Julien predicts that the comet collision will occur in the Atlantic Ocean between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer, and generates 200 meter waves. Julien concludes that "each person with this information has to take responsibility to warn potential victims."...

(Hat tip: Best of the Web Today - April 21, 2006)

Friday, April 21, 2006

ABC reporter Wilf Dinnick: If the West doesn’t give money to Hamas, Hamas may never renounce terrorism
Reporter’s Notebook: Does Hamas Face Collapse?

JERUSALEM, Israel, April 21, 2006 — Hamas's refusal to condemn Israel's deadliest suicide bombing in 20 months was a sharp departure from the denunciation of terror from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Monday's attack, which killed nine other people and wounded dozens outside a packed Tel Aviv fast-food restaurant, was carried out by a bomber from the Islamic Jihad militant group. Hamas leaders defended the attack as a justified response to Israeli "aggression" against the Palestinians.

Hamas's response was in line with its refusal to give up its right to violence. Hamas leaders see it as an essential bargaining chip in future negotiations, one that it believes Abbas and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gave up too quickly and received nothing in return…[Ed. – Except the billions in foreign aid the Arafat stole]

Dinnick is the kind of dimwitted reporter who would note a decrease in a jurisdiction’s crime rate and chastise the government for an increase in criminal incarceration, oblivious to the obvious cause and effect in play.

Hair helmet key to election win
Labour Spent $13K on Cherie Blair's Hair

LONDON (AP) -- Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party spent $13,700 on hairstyling bills for his wife, Cherie, during last year's monthlong general election campaign, a newspaper reported Friday.

The party would not comment on the report's accuracy, but suggested there was nothing wrong with such expenditures.

"So what?" a Labour spokeswoman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with party policy. "Mrs. Blair worked fantastically hard during the election. ... She is enormously popular with the party and, don't forget, we won the election."

The Times newspaper said the party had listed the styling bills as an election expense - $490-a-day for a month of campaigning - in its mandatory declaration to the Electoral Commission…

Christopher Meyer, Britain's former ambassador to Washington, recalled in his recent memoir that the Blairs held up their Concorde's departure from Andrews Air Force base after a visit to Camp David because her hairstylist had been left behind.

"A helicopter brought him posthaste to Andrews as the rest of us kicked our heels," Meyer wrote...

Al Gore: ‘a planetary emergency’
Duke scientists: not so much

Scientists cool outlook on global warming

Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted.

Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions."

Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the Duke researchers noted that some observational studies predicted that the Earth's temperature could rise as much as 16 degrees in this century because of an increase in carbon dioxide or other so-called greenhouse gases.

The Duke estimates show the chances that the planet's temperature will rise even by 11 degrees is only 5 percent, which falls in line with previous, less-alarming predictions that meteorologists made almost three decades ago...

The topic of global warming, meanwhile, will be framed dramatically in "An Inconvenient Truth," a 94-minute documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore, who has deemed rising temperatures "a planetary emergency." The Hollywood production will be released to theaters in May and is billed by producer Davis Guggenheim as "the most terrifying film you will ever see."

The production also recommends that viewers take "political action." On Tuesday, Mr. Gore paid Roy Neel, a longtime Democratic adviser, $40,000 to help him create a public outreach program on global warming, the New York Daily News reported.

The American Spectator and columnist Jonah Goldberg have accused Mr. Gore of "green" scaremongering.

You know, I thought I smelled wood burning
Kerry 'thinking hard' about 2008 run for president

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said on Thursday he was seriously thinking about another White House bid in 2008 and will decide before the year is out.

"I will make that decision toward the end of the year, but I'm thinking about it hard," Kerry said in response to a question at the Latin Economic Forum at the United Nations...

CA Supremes: If Hollywood can’t be vulgar and boorish it will loose its creativity
Court Rejects 'Friends' Trash Talk Case

SAN FRANCISCO - Sometimes vulgarity is not just acceptable but necessary in the workplace, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday as it threw out a sexual harassment case by a former assistant on the "Friends" TV show.

The justices, ruling 7-0, agreed with Warner Bros. Television Productions that trash talk was part of the creative process and, therefore, the studio and its writers could not be sued for raunchy writers' meetings.

No jury would believe the writers' assistant was the target of harassment during profanity-laced script sessions "for an adult-oriented comic show featuring sexual themes," Justice Marvin Baxter wrote.

"Most of the sexually coarse and vulgar language at issue did not involve and was not aimed at plaintiff or other women in the workplace," Baxter wrote…

[Amaani ]Lyle said she was offended by repeated references to the actors' sex lives and to the writers' own sexual exploits as they penned the successful NBC sitcom rife with bawdy banter about six New York City friends.

She was fired after four months on the job, allegedly because she could not transcribe meetings fast enough or capture the flavor of the meetings…

"There was absolutely no evidence to link any of the conduct at issue with anything that occurred on the show," said [Jeffrey Winikow — an attorney for the California Employment Lawyers Association].

Warner Bros. acknowledged that some of the sexually explicit talk took place but said it was vital to the show's chemistry. The justices noted that Lyle had been warned when she was hired that explicit discussions were part of developing the sexually charged comedy.

Still, the court added that the same dialogue and behavior might be illegal elsewhere.

Adam Levin, an attorney for Warner Bros. who argued the case before the justices in February, said the decision was a boon for Hollywood and other fields that thrive on creativity…

Los Angeles employment law attorney Anthony Onicidi speculated that a ruling in favor of the former assistant have made it virtually impossible to produce TV programs or other creative works…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Issue your respective nutters their armbands and let the civil war begin!
Militants on New Palestinian Security Wing

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The new Palestinian interior minister named a well-known militant as his top aide on Thursday and announced the formation of a new security branch to be composed of militants.

The moves were part of an ongoing power struggle between the new Hamas-led Cabinet and moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Interior Minister Said Siyam issued a decree appointing Jamal Abu Samhadana, the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, as director general of the Interior Ministry. Samhadana's group is responsible for many of the homemade rockets launched at Israel in recent weeks…

Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hilal said Siyam also was forming a new security branch that would be answerable only to him to bring law and order to the Palestinian streets.

"This force is going to include the elite of our sons from the freedom fighters and the holy warriors and the best men we have," he said. "It's going to include members of all the resistance branches."

The Interior Ministry said it was not clear how many people would be in the force but most of them would be from militant groups…

Soon after the Hamas-led Cabinet was sworn in late last month, Abbas appointed a longtime ally, Rashid Abu Shbak, to head the three security services that fall under the interior ministry. Abbas also controls several other security services directly.

It was unclear whether Samhadana or Abu Shbak would retain ultimate control of the security forces, though any dispute would be resolved in the Abbas-headed National Security Council.

Abbas directly controls the presidential security unit, the border police and the various intelligence services.

Preventive security, which is in charge criminal intelligence, the civil defense, which deals with disasters, and the police fall under the Interior Ministry…

"We are going to beat with an iron fist all the people and the groups who are acting illegally," Siyam said. He said he was referring to crime, not armed resistance against Israel…

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of crazed bloodthirsty thugs.

How to wipe out your customer base in one stroke
New Technology May Force TV Ad Viewing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- In this era of easy ad skipping with TiVo-like video recorders, could television viewers one day be forced to watch commercials with a system that prevents channel switching?

Yes, according to Royal Philips Electronics. A patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says researchers of the Netherland-based consumer electronics company have created a technology that could let broadcasters freeze a channel during a commercial, so viewers wouldn't be able to avoid it.

The pending patent, published on March 30, says the feature would be implemented on a program-by-program basis. Devices that could carry the technology would be a television or a set-top-box.

Philips acknowledged, however, that the anti-channel changing technology might not sit well with consumers and suggested in its patent filing that consumers be allowed to avoid the feature if they paid broadcasters a fee.

On Wednesday [April 20], company officials issued a statement that noted the technology also enables the opposite: allowing viewers to watch television without advertising. The intention was never to force viewers to watch ads against their will, the company said of the technology…

The company also said it had no plans to use the technology in any of its products…
My suggestion to Philips is this: give the people in your employ who developed this technology a minimum one month paid vacation away from the labs so that they might reconnect with their species.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Apparently, her 15 minutes will never end

Gateway Pundit offers the latest installment in Cindy Sheehan’s nationwide ‘Exploiting the Death of My Son Tour’.

It is altogether fitting and proper that the mainstream media lionizes Sheehan, their's is a marriage of equals.

Who knew? A Washington Post staff writer can be ‘fair and balanced’

In today’s WaPo Howard Kurtz offers Moving to the Right Brit Hume's Path Took Him From Liberal Outsider to The Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News. The article’s final paragraph (below) sums up the piece well. I recommend it to readers who don’t know much about Hume beyond his Special Report.
"Am I going to be able to get devoted readers of the New York Times to watch Fox News? Maybe, but it would be heavy lifting," [Hume] says. "We are in some respects the antidote."

every move you make, every step you take
i'll be watching you


The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz has an interesting report today.
CIA mines 'rich' content from blogs

President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.

The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.

"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times…

"I can't get into detail of what, but I'll just say the amount of open source reporting that goes into the president's daily brief has gone up rather significantly," Mr. Jardines said. "There has been a real interest at the highest levels of our government, and we've been able to consistently deliver products that are on par with the rest of the intelligence community."

Mr. Naquin said recent OSC successes have included the discovery of a technology advance in a foreign country. Also, most data on avian flu outbreaks come from open sources, he said…

"But now our customer base literally ranges from the president to local police departments," Mr. Naquin said. The Fairfax County police use OSC products, as do police departments in San Diego, New York and Baltimore. The center also provides support to the U.S. military.

A Defense Department official said Chinese military bloggers have become a valuable source of intelligence on Beijing's secret military buildup. For example, China built its first Yuan-class attack submarine at an underground factory that was unknown to U.S. intelligence until a photo of the submarine appeared on the Internet in 2004…

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

State education administrators: When all else fails – cheat

Okay folks, move along, move along. There are no minority students here. Move along...
States Omitting Minorities' Test Scores

Laquanya Agnew and Victoria Duncan share a desk, a love of reading and a passion for learning. But because of a loophole in the No Child Left Behind Act, one second-grader's score in Tennessee counts more than the other's. That is because Laquanya is black, and Victoria is white.

An Associated Press computer analysis has found Laquanya is among nearly 2 million children whose scores aren't counted when it comes to meeting the law's requirement that schools track how students of different races perform on standardized tests.

The AP found that states are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting that requirement. And minorities — who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing — make up the vast majority of students whose scores are excluded…

States are helping schools get around that second requirement by using a loophole in the law that allows them to ignore scores of racial groups that are too small to be statistically significant...

Clueless governor challenges dimwitted reporter in inanity competition
Ariz. Gov. Vetoes Criminal Immigrant Bill

PHOENIX (AP) -- Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill that would have criminalized the presence of illegal immigrants in Arizona, citing opposition from police agencies that want immigration arrests to remain the responsibility of the federal government...

In a letter to lawmakers, Napolitano said she opposes automatically turning all immigrants who sneaked into the state into criminals and that the bill provided no funding for the new duties... [Ed. - Bold italics above are mine]

il·le·gal \(')i(l)-'lE-g&l\ adj : not according to or authorized by law : UNLAWFUL, ILLICIT

crime \'krIm\ n 1 : an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law; especially : a gross violation of law

crim·i·nal \'kri-m&-n&l, 'krim-n&l\ adj 1 : relating to, involving, or being a crime 2 : relating to crime or to the prosecution of suspects in a crime 3 : guilty of crime; also : of or befitting a criminal

More money is definitely the answer

Since pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into urban public school systems has been so successful in the past, clearly that’s the way to go.

Part of a Gates Foundation grant to Chicago public schools (see below) will go to educate state-certified teachers so that they can teach English, math, and science in an “engaging” way. In a system where half its high school students never graduate and those that do and who enter college require remedial classes to “catch up,” the appeal of the curriculum is not the problem.

The parents are indisposed, the teachers, while degreed, are incompetent (because they remain uneducated) and the students are indolent; all three go through the motions until the student is old enough to opt out of the charade. This is a societal rather than a budgetary problem.

How do you attack the problem? Make it shameful again to be an unwed mother, deride ignorant lazy fools, and take away the union cudgel being used to beat an undeserved paycheck out of the taxpayers.

Gates Foundation gives $21 mil. to schools

Freshmen at 14 Chicago public high schools will have a more challenging and engaging curriculum in English, math and science -- and better-trained teachers -- thanks to a $21 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It's the largest single grant the Gates Foundation has awarded to a local school district. It will start small this fall then pave the way for curriculum changes at 50 high schools over the next three years.

If high school really is "boring," as Mayor Daley complained it was three years ago, it won't be for much longer. "The impact of this grant will be long-lasting. We will take what we learn and apply it across the entire system over the next few years so that all of our children will benefit," Daley told a news conference at Crane Technical Preparatory Commons, 2245 W. Jackson Blvd.

Schools CEO Arne Duncan said he could have implemented the curriculum changes at 60 schools in one fell swoop, but that would only have "perpetuated mediocrity."...

Gates foundation gives $21 million to Chicago Public Schools

…Only 54 percent of freshmen in the district eventually receive a high school diploma, and many who make it to college require remedial classes to catch up, a study by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago found.

Often, too little attention is given to providing students with a rigorous curriculum, leading to poor preparedness for college and high dropout rates, said Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education for the Gates foundation.

"I could kick myself that five years ago we should have paid more attention to curriculum," Vander Ark told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board Monday…

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hamas government: If Israeli Jews died then the attack was justified.
Palestinians: Tel Aviv Bombing Justified

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) -- A Palestinian suicide bomber struck a packed fast-food restaurant during Passover on Monday, killing nine other people and wounding dozens in the deadliest attack in more than a year.

In a sharp departure from the previous Palestinian government's condemnations of bombings, the Hamas-led administration said the attack resulted from Israel's "brutal aggression." The bloodshed and the hard-line stance could set the stage for harsh Israeli reprisals and endanger Palestinian efforts to secure desperately needed international aid…

The bomb, laced with nails and other projectiles, shattered car windshields, smashed windows of nearby buildings and blew away the restaurant's sign. Glass shards and blood splattered the ground. Police said the guard was torn in half by the blast.

The explosion killed a woman standing near her husband and children, who were slightly wounded, said Israel Yaakov, another witness.

"The father was traumatized. He went into shock. He ran to the children to gather them up, and the children were screaming, 'Mom! Mom!' and she wasn't answering, she was dead already," he said.

The wounded were treated on sidewalks. One man was lying on his side, his shirt pushed up and his back covered by bandages. A bleeding woman was wheeled away on a stretcher.

"Everything was a mess. Everything was blood. I saw half a body - I don't know if it was the terrorist or the guard," said a witness who gave his name as Bentzi.

Police said nine civilians and the bomber were killed and dozens of others were wounded…
As I stated in a previous post, Hamas: Give us a moment while we paint bull’s-eyes on our foreheads,
now that Hamas is the Palestinian government, condoned terrorism flowing from Gaza and directed at Israel becomes an overt state-sponsored act of war.

...the Palestinian nutters become a Middle Eastern version of Nazi Germany’s madmen but without the underlying organization and resources. It is not improbable that if the Palestinians initiate another round of suicide bombings and rocket attacks, Israel will turn large chunks of Gaza into parking areas.

The Witless and Wrinkles Tours

Darn, Jane Fonda [68] isn’t going on a nationwide anti-war tour after all.

Since Cindy Sheehan will be on tour in perpetuity, I’d been saving up the headline above for when Fonda likewise commenced her promised tour. Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men…
Jane Fonda Declines War Protests

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jane Fonda says she would like to tour the country and speak out against U.S. involvement in Iraq, but her controversial history of Vietnam War protests leaves her with "too much baggage."

"I wanted to do a tour like I did during the Vietnam War, a tour of the country," the Oscar-winning actress said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "But then Cindy Sheehan filled in the gap, and she is better at this than I am. I carry too much baggage."...
And just how much baggage is that?
Last month, the Georgia Senate overwhelmingly rejected a resolution honoring Fonda, an Atlanta resident, for her work preventing teen pregnancy, donations to universities and charities, and role as goodwill ambassador for the United Nations.

Her political activities protesting the Vietnam War, including a trip to North Vietnam in 1972, have long made her a target of veterans...

Provenance? Hey, I told you the price. Do you want it, or not?
Washington Letter Returned to Mass.

BOSTON (AP) -- A letter signed by Gen. George Washington is back in the hands of state archivists, 60 years after it was stolen from the Massachusetts State House.

The future president's letter, dated April 14, 1783, asked the states to settle their financial accounts with the army before it was disbanded following the war. Copies were delivered to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

When it disappeared in the 1940s, official documents in Massachusetts were open to the public inside the State House. [Ed. – Seems MA government has always attracted the best and the brightest] Dozens of historic documents vanished before the archives were moved to Dorchester, and state employees now regularly watch the Internet and auction catalogs for missing documents to reappear.

It was in a February auction catalog that a staff member at the Massachusetts Historical Commission spotted the Washington letter - valued at $60,000 to $80,000.

The letter was among 750 items up for auction from a collector who bought it 50 years ago, apparently from a now-closed Boston book shop, said Tom Slater, director of Americana for Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers of Dallas. [Ed. – And neither expert involved in this transaction would have known that a document sent to the state government by Gen. Washington was purloined. Right!]

Alan Cote, secretary of Massachusetts' supervisor of public records, called the Texas gallery two days before the Feb. 21 auction and persuaded the owners to withdraw the letter from the sale.

State officials said they had no reason to believe the collector knew the letter had been taken from the state archives [Ed. – This would be true only if the collector was a moron. Surprisingly, this ignoramus did know its monetary value - wonders never cease] and do not plan to legal action.

"No one conceded it was stolen," Slater said of the letter. "There was an arrangement made whereby it would go to the state of Massachusetts, and it was withdrawn" from the auction. [Ed. - This was the 'arrangement': “Give us the letter, NOW, or you’re all going to jail]

Chevy Chase to police: Roust them not us
Ticketing in Chevy Chase draws fire

By Amy Doolittle

Chevy Chase residents say they are getting more than they bargained for now that the Metropolitan Police Department is providing steady, overnight patrols in their Northwest neighborhood. They say officers are ticketing their vehicles for everything from parking too close to a driveway to having improperly affixed stickers.

"The objection here is to action that is being taken in the middle of the night by a police department that appears to be focused on making a fast buck by skulking around while residents sleep," resident Simon Marks wrote on an online forum. "I have simply never heard of parking tickets being issued at 3 a.m. to residents who have parked their cars outside their own homes. It's senseless and not the kind of additional parking enforcement that will make any of us safer."…

"We have our share of vandalism," said Chevy Chase resident Sue Hemberger. "You have days where you have three dozen cars in a row get hit, so there's thefts from auto and vandalism. ... It seems unreasonable to me to demand more enforcement and then complain when you get it."

Officials with the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3/4G said residents should not complain to the police department because officers could be reassigned to areas with higher violent-crime rates.

"On the one hand, we can complain about it," said Cris Fromboluti, a commissioner with ANC 3/4G. "But on the other hand, if we complain that [police officers] are here, maybe they will be taken away. And we don't want that."

Perky is as perky does
Face up to the perky
*Katie Couric can't escape the adjective. Some say it's descriptive. Others call it sexist.

By Robin Abcarian, [LA] Times Staff Writer

It remains one of the most famous lines ever uttered on a sitcom pilot. On "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Ed Asner's curmudgeonly Lou Grant looks at Mary, who is applying for a job, and says, "You've got spunk." "Well … " she starts to reply, obviously flattered. "I hate spunk!" he snarls.

Years after the 1970 show, Asner had a change of heart. "No one could hate spunk, not even a curmudgeon," he told the AARP magazine. "I should have said, 'You know what? You're pretty goddamn perky. I hate perky.' "

So, it turns out, does the woman to whom the word has been applied more often, quite possibly, than anyone else in America. That would be Katie Couric, who, in September, will become the first woman to solo at the anchor desk of a nightly network newscast.

Like the VW Beetle with its dash-mounted daisy vase, SpongeBob SquarePants and Molly Ringwald's breasts in "Sixteen Candles," perkiness is an ephemeral, know-it-when-you-see-it quality, combining cuteness, a certain bubbly energy and optimism. It is a vaguely 1950s quality, not a 21st century quality. In fashion, perkiness went out with the pointed bra cup…

In 1994, [feminist Camille] Paglia said she was interviewed by Couric during a book tour. "I found her pleasant but weightless, depthless. Backstage in the green room, she said to me with a look of wonderment in her eyes, 'But Camille, why do you say all those controversial things when you know you will be criticized?' I was dumbfounded."...
‘Nough said.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Iranian mullahs will bleed to death providing aid (we should be so lucky)

The Iranian government has pledged $50 million in financial aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government. This is the same Iran where 40% of its population lives in poverty, 12% of its workforce is unemployed, and its primary industrial goal is the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Iran to Give Palestinian Authority $50M

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran will give the financially strapped Palestinian Authority $50 million in aid, state-run television reported Sunday…

Though Shiite Iran has a policy of exporting Islamic revolution, so far it has not fully embraced Hamas, which represents a largely Sunni Muslim population…

With its coffers empty, the Palestinian government already is two weeks late in paying March salaries for its 140,000 employees, and it is unclear when it will have the needed funds. The Palestinian Authority is the largest employer in the West Bank and Gaza, sustaining about one-third of the population...
While the average salary for a working Palestinian is $250 per month and the unemployment rate is 60%, you can be sure that the government employees, those are the masked guys toting guns and the suits driving Mercedes, are paid above the average.

$50 million doled out to 140,000 outstretched hands doesn’t go far (that’s $357 per person). I have a feeling that the average salary for an employee of the Palestinian Authority is more than $179 a week. Plus the ammo (that's the stuff the ‘police’ are constantly shooting into the air) for their Kalashnikovs isn’t cheap.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Iran will subsidize the Palestinian Authority and the ‘welfare’ programs (a multi-billion dollar drain annually) for their constituency.

But not to worry, the Russians are stepping into the breach.

If the Russians are our allies then smoking is good for your health.

'Meet a genuinely crazy person'…

would have been my title for staff writer David Finkel’s piece in Saturday’s Washington Post. His editors chose The Left, Online and Outraged: Liberal Blogger Finds an Outlet and a Community instead.
SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. -- In the angry life of Maryscott O'Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O'Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O'Connor's reputation is as one of the angriest of all. "One long, sustained scream" is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day.

She smokes a cigarette. Should it be about Bush, whom she considers "malevolent," a "sociopath" and "the Antichrist"? She smokes another cigarette. Should it be about Vice President Cheney, whom she thinks of as "Satan," or about Karl Rove, "the devil"? Should it be about the "evil" Republican Party, or the "weaselly [sic], capitulating, self-aggrandizing, self-serving" Democrats, or the Catholic Church, for which she says "I have a special place in my heart . . . a burning, sizzling, putrescent place where the guilty suffer the tortures of the damned"?…

"I was not like this before," she says. "I was riddled with empathy for everyone suffering in the world. Classic bleeding-heart liberal."

Before:

She signed petitions. She boycotted veal. She canvassed for Greenpeace. She donated to Planned Parenthood. She read the Nation, the New Yorker, the Utne Reader and Mother Jones. She agonized over low wages for overseas workers every time she bought a $40 leather purse. [Ed. - Ah yes, the agony; yet she still bought the purse].

Then George W. Bush was elected. Then came 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the Patriot Act, secret prisons, domestic eavesdropping, the revamping of the Supreme Court, and the thought "It has come to the point where the worst people on Earth are running the Earth." And now, "I have become one of those people with all the bumper stickers on their car," she says. "I am this close to being one of those muttering people pushing a cart. [Ed. – Hey, that would be a step up]