March 2004 Archives

Amish Country Splodeydope?


It's too soon to tell, but there's a possibility that the Jihad has come to northeast Indiana:

HOWE - A week-old shooting involving a Russian assault rifle sparked a two-state, multi-agency investigation of possible, but so far unlikely, connections to terrorist activity. The person charged in the shooting is Adel Al Yazidi, 34. He was arrested Friday in Trumbull County, Ohio, accused in the attempted murder of three people on the outskirts of this northern LaGrange County town on March 24.

The case has since evolved beyond the shooting. When Yazidi was arrested, police found a Mideastern video depicting various buildings and explosions, along with sheets of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps inside the home where he was staying.

"The FBI stated they don't believe there's any link (to terrorism)," said Detective Jeff Campos of the LaGrange County Sheriff's Department, adding he is not worried about a terrorist threat in LaGrange County.
It's not like they found bomb-making materials or anything. They just stumbled over (allegedly) part of the revenue stream, that's all. Nothing more to see here, citizen. Move along.
The investigation in LaGrange County began after a local business owner, Saleh "Sam" Ali Obad, told police Yazidi had forged about $30,000 in checks from Obad's business, B&S Auto Sales.

Obad had left his business in the care of Yazidi when he returned to visit family in Yemen. Yazidi allegedly took checks from the business and forged Obad's name on them, cashing them throughout the region, according to Obad and police.
Oops! Stepped in another part of the (alleged) revenue stream. Never mind.
Obad told Yazidi he had filed forgery charges against him, police said, and about 6:30 p.m. March 24 on North LaGrange County Road 050 East, Yazidi placed an SKS assault rifle across the roof of his car and opened fire on a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by Obad, with his wife, Ella Wampler, and a friend, Saif Abdulla Muthana, all of Howe.

No one was injured, although the vehicle was riddled with bullet holes in the front, the engine and the doors on the driver's side. One large round went through a house across the street, passing through the living room and lodging in the kitchen, Campos said.

The three were following Yazidi after he had been seen driving slowly by Obad's home and business property, according to police and Obad.

After the shooting, Yazidi took off in a stolen 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis, Campos said. He was arrested Friday in a different vehicle north of Warren, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border.

. . .

While searching the home of Yazidi's girlfriend north of Warren, near Orwell, Ohio, police found thousands of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps and the video.

Yazidi has been linked to addresses in a number of states, including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York and Indiana, Campos said.

But police do not believe Yazidi is funding terrorism in Yemen.

Wendy Osborne of the Indiana FBI said she could not confirm or deny whether the FBI is investigating Yazidi.
So let me get this straight. The cops raid the guy's girlfriend's apartment, find items consistent with A) terrorist sympathies (the videos) and B) known methods of financing terror (the tax stamps), and they won't either 'confirm or deny' that they're investigating further? Look. If he's under investigation, why not say so? It's not like the rest of his cell won't already know he's been arrested. If he's not under investigation, what are they waiting for, a buggy bomb to go off in front of Yoder's farm? And if by chance he's not funneling money to Hizballah or whoever, what better way to clear his name than "We investigated further and determined there is no link between Mr. Yazidi and terrorism?"

If you're not clear on the role counterfeit cigarette tax stamps play in financing terrorism, read this. Indeed, given that Charlotte, Michigan (the town mentioned in that story) is less than 90 minutes drive from LaGrange, it's possible that Yazidi was in on that exact scam!

Back to the Journal-Gazette story:

The counterfeit cigarette tax stamps Ohio police found in the house - where Yazidi was staying - look like official stamps issued by state governments, said Detective Chet McNabb of the Trumbull-Ashtabula-Geauga Law Enforcement Task Force.

The stamps, which are legally required to be affixed to packs of cigarettes sold everywhere but on Indian reservations, are clear cellophane, with writing in black or blue ink, McNabb said. The counterfeit stamps - made on a computer - are stuck to packs bought at Indian reservations and then sold for full price.

"They'll take them to mom and pop stores, Arabic stores, put fake tax stamps on them, sell them for full price," McNabb said. "Eventually that money gets funneled back into the system to go back oversees. That's one of the ways (terrorists) get money."

Several Indian reservations are in New York, within a three-hour drive of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.

McNabb said the task force found no cigarettes in Yazidi's girlfriend's house.

Police also found a video that showed "buildings, vehicles, all sorts of things being blown up," McNabb said.

"I have no way of knowing what it is, what it relates to," he said. "I don't know the language, so I don't know what they're saying."

But the video is definitely of Mideastern origin, McNabb said. The FBI terrorism task force out of Cleveland plans to examine it today.
Three guesses what it'll say. First two don't count.

It's A New Track Record!

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John F'n Kerry is infamous for being on both sides of about every issue at one time or another, but this is a new low even for him:

The presumptive Democratic nominee complained that Bush has not taken steps to drive prices down, calling on the administration to stop pumping oil into the nation's emergency stockpile until Americans see cheaper prices. The administration has rejected that notion.
Just because Clinton dipped into the strategic reserve during his term to artificially depress pump prices doesn't mean it's a good thing (I think, but don't have the info to prove it yet, that if Clinton hadn't done that, Bush wouldn't be in the position of having to put it back now!). I think the President is being smart here by trying to replenish as much as can be done before OPEC's scheduled production slowdown.

Eight paragraphs later:

Kerry also raised the specter of the uncertainty in the Middle East in light of the Iraq war, saying, "no young American in uniform ought to ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil from the Middle East."
First, there's no connection. It's not like we seized Iraq in order to steal its oil (despite what the Communists at ANSWER try to tell you). Second, we're buying the oil to replenish the reserve so we're not dependent on oil from the Middle East in the event they try to screw us like they did in 1973. There's nontrivial logical gymnastics involved in being on both sides of an issue while simultaneously claiming your opponent is wrong both times.

Update: Jon Henke has a better analysis of this, with a couple of points I haven't thought of: mainly, if we start dipping into the SPR for non-emergency reasons, it encourages US oil companies to reduce their inventory (since they know they would be able to count on the SPR to cover the shortage). It also encourages OPEC to reduce their production, to keep prices where they want them to be.

Local6 does it again, but I've got a bone to pick with them this time. Paralyzed Motorist Spends 36 Hours On Freeway:

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas -- A motorist injured in a crash lay paralyzed in the middle of a freeway with a broken neck for 36 hours before he was rescued.

Ed Theisen's body was blocked from view by Gulf Freeway traffic barricades in this Houston suburb. The 46-year-old survived a night alone on the concrete, unable to move or summon help.

. . .

Theisen had been rear-ended March 22 and was exchanging insurance information with the other driver. To avoid walking in heavy oncoming traffic, Theisen had stepped between concrete barriers when he felt weak.

"He thought he was having a heart attack or a stroke," said Rodeffer-Theisen. "He grabbed the concrete barrier and just went down."

Police wrote an accident report after Theisen disappeared, saying he had walked away from the scene, his wife said. She said the tow truck driver who hauled off Theisen's car did not see him.

Rodeffer-Theisen, relatives and friends were plastering their neighborhood with fliers when they got word that he was alive.
One little detail Local6 left out - what did the other driver do? Seems to me that'd be a fairly important point, and even if they didn't know, I'd at least expect them to say so. Well, the Houston Chronicle knows:
The other driver did not see where Theisen went and told police, who made an accident report, that he had just walked off, his wife said. The tow truck driver who hauled off Theisen's car about 7 a.m., and who likely was his last hope, did not see him, Rodeffer-Theisen said.
Am I an evil person for wondering if the other driver (who, by the Iron Law of rear-end collisions, appears to be at fault) maybe didn't bother looking too hard for Theisen because that would make it easier to spin the accident his way to the police? Does that make me a cynical bastard? Just wondering.

Another Creationista Argument Bites The Dust

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One of the reasons (perhaps the only real reason) Creationism continues to have any traction in the U.S. is that it's very easy to raise doubts about evolution in a way the layman can understand. Every one of those pseudo-arguments is answerable, but the explanation generally requires a strong scientific background (like BS-level Biology, Geology, or Chemistry) to understand. Creationistas like Hovind and Gish know this -- their entire schtick is based on it. That's why they spread their BS by doing tours talking to crowds (usually 80% or more bused-in fundamentalists) and consistently dodge offers to debate in writing with review by people actually cognizant of the subject matter.

One of their standard arguments goes like this: "You expect us to believe that life arose from nothing, where a cosmic stew of chemicals just happens to arrange itself the right way and SHAZAM! we get life? Are you serious?" Scientists at Los Alamos are pretty close to saying "Yes. And we can prove it could have happened that way:"

Researchers argue over the definition of life, but they generally agree that it must have three elements: a container, such as the membrane wall of a cell; metabolism, the ability to convert basic nutrients into a cell's working parts; and genes, chemical instructions for building a cell that can be passed on to progeny and change as conditions change.

Each of these critical elements has now been achieved in the laboratory, albeit in rudimentary form, and scientists say they are ready to try to put them all together in one working unit.

"We have quite a bit of knowledge about how these different systems work independently," said microbiologist Martin Hanczyc of Massachusetts General Hospital. "We are at a point where we can start taking these things into the laboratory and do experiments.

"Whether we'll be able to synthesize a living cell in the near future is a big question. But we can start exploring that possibility with what we have available now," said Hanczyc, who along with Harvard's Jack Szostak is able to make artificial cellular membranes grow and divide.
I extended the quote to include the 'big question' reference so I can't be accused of selective quotation. But the fact that we can synthesize all the critical elements now is more than the creationistas will concede.


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flower_goddess and I are big fans of The Apprentice. This is another one of those posts where if you're not already familiar with the show, you're probably not going to get a whole lot out of this.

Local6 Rocks!

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I don't know if there's anything inherently weirder about Florida (a proposition argued by, among others, Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, and Tim Dorsey), but I get the best stories off the website of WKMG-TV in Orlando:

And that's just today!

Subjugation Stories Compared


I just finished reading Militant Islam Reaches America by Daniel Pipes, and I encountered a very interesting story, courtesy of one of the founders of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad:

In very brief, Muhammad's message went as follows: Blacks came into existence 78 trillion years ago and lived an advanced and righteous life through the eons. This came to an end six thousand years ago when a deviant black savant named Mr. Yakub, known as "the big head scientist," rebelled against the black gods and created the white race with an eye to destroying the paradise blacks enjoyed. When blacks learned what Mr. Yakub was doing, they exiled him to an island in the Aegean Sea, where he continued his work. Six hundred years later, he had brought the white race into existence, with a mission to reign over blacks for six thousand years. That reign ended in 1914, though a seventy-year grace period would extend it to 1984; W.D. Fard [another founder of NoI] came to proclaim its end and show blacks how to reclaim their rightful place through the Nation of Islam--something they would definitely do by the year 2000.
"Militant Islam Reaches America", Daniel Pipes, p. 223

I immediately thought of Scientology's version of Why We Are The Way We Are. In L. Ron Hubbard's own words, here's what happened:

The head of the Galactic Confederation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet) -- 178 billion average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H Bomb on the principal volcanoes (Incident 2) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic Area ones to Las Palmas and there "packaged." His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits etc. were placed in the implants. When through with his crime Loyal Officers (to the people) captured him after 6 years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. "They" are gone. The place (Confed.) has since been a desert.
There's an urban legend that Scientology got its start from a bar bet between Hubbard and Robert Heinlein. That particular origin seems to have been debunked, but there are several sources that claim Hubbard said something to the effect of 'screw writing. You want to make _real_ money, start a religion!' I can just picture Hubbard reading Muhammad's history and thinking "Nice story. I can use that."

Is it standard procedure for your child's school to call you and recommend you bring an attorney to parent-teacher conferences?

Just askin'. No particular reason.

This Way To The Gore Gallery


I've been getting a lot of hits lately by people Googling for pictures of Sheikh Yassin's shuffle off this mortal coil. I don't have any, but I know who does (all links courtesy of the Creator of Worlds. Caution: these are every bit as graphic as you expect pictures of someone hit by an antitank missile to be. Maybe more so. [] [] [another]

Found a new site to add to the research bookmark list: Quackwatch, dedicated to the exposure of fradulent medical/health items, practices, and practicioners. Some of the site's highlights:

The IDF bagged a big fish this morning: Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin:

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and leaders of Islamic militant group Hamas declared three days of mourning on Monday for the group's founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated at dawn by Israeli missiles as he was leaving a mosque near his home in Gaza City.

The 67-year-old paraplegic was killed when Israeli Apache helicopters fired three missiles at him as he was headed toward his car in his wheelchair following morning prayers.
In true Palestinian Blood Ritual fashion, bystanders had to go get a piece.
Leaders, members and supporters of Hamas rushed to the hospital to view Yassin's body, chanting slogans calling for revenge against Israel, and thousands of people poured into the streets as they heard the news. "We strongly condemn this assassination of an old quadriplegic man," Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters at the hospital. "Israel is dragging the whole region again to a wave of violence."
Note the promotion of Yassin from paraplegic to quadraplegic (that's OK; he could still pray in an acceptable fashion - at least right up to the point where the missile upset his applecart). And I'm getting sick of this whole "It's all Israel's fault!" meme. Splodeydopes blow up school buses and cafes, killing pretty much only civilians; Israel retaliates by killing the people who plan and finance that, and this makes the 'wave of violence' Israel's fault?!?

Naturally, they vow revenge:

"The reaction to assassinating the Sheikh will turn all Palestine (including Israel) to an angry volcano and into a piece of hell that will burn the land under the feet of the Zionists!" Islma'eel Haneya, a Hamas leader close to Yassin, told reporters at Shiffa Hospital.

"Yassin is a martyr and he is in paradise now," Haneya said. He said that reaction "to this awful crime would never be expected, and Israel would severely regret assassinating (Yassin) and other Palestinian leaders and fighters."
So let me get this straight. Yassin is in paradise, thanks to the Israelis, so now Hamas wants to punish them? I would think they'd be happy the IDF liberated him from the festering shithole that is Gaza!
Izel Dein Al Qassam, the armed wing of the militant Islamic Hamas movement, said in a leaflet that its response to the assassination of Yassin would be "like an earthquake that will shake all the state of Israel."

. . .

Last week two suicide bombers killed 10 Israelis in Ashdod, and [Israeli Defense Minister Shaul] Mofaz told the Israeli cabinet that seven more suicide bombings had been thwarted since the beginning of March.
So we have nine attempts in three weeks, two successful. Let's see if the splodeydopes can put their money where their mouth is.

Coincidence? Never!

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Roy F. Craig, former chief investigator for the Colorado Project, a government search for verifiable evidence of UFOs, died over the weekend. They say it was cancer, but we know better. What does this have to do with my report yesterday that Black Helicopters are on their way to Fort Wayne? Absolutely nothing! Therefore, the helicopters must really be coming to spread alien cancers with their mind control lasers!

Poking through my referrer log, I see that somebody found this page via a Singapore Google search for "hadith prophet vegan" (DL ranks about 33d for those search terms, BTW). If I read that right, the visitor was trying to figure out if there was anything in Mohammed's writings that indicated he was a vegan. A person wondering those kinds of things could be severely damaged by a visit here.

Heh heh heh. I live to serve.

Mind Control Maintenance Run


Apparently the New World Order Managing Committee is displeased with what's going on here in the Fort, because they're sending some black helicopters our way:

American Electric Power Inc. plans to inspect its high-voltage lines by helicopter this week.

The aerial patrols through Indiana, Michigan and Ohio will take six weeks and are to begin Monday in Lima, Ohio. Patrols over Fort Wayne will run from April 12 to April 18 and will include Van Wert and Paulding counties in Ohio.

Patrols will be completed between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. six days a week, excluding Easter weekend, beginning April 9.

AEP checks the lines to maintain the transmission system on a semiannual basis.

The helicopters will travel at about 45 knots and fly between 50 and 100 feet above the transmission lines.
Lies, lies, all lies! This is just their cover story so they can have helicopters fly low and slow without alarming anyone! They'll undoubtedly be using portable mind control lasers to fix whatever they think might be broken!

What? The article didn't say anything about the helicopters being black? Of course not! That proves they are black!

A Combined Arms Drive-By Shooting... Just Barely

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I've often wondered if we'd ever hear details of the 'Thunder Run' into Baghdad last April. I don't know how I missed this story (published in December), and I had no idea just how close-run a thing it was:

Back home, Americans learned of the victory in sketchy reports that focused on the outcome—a column of armored vehicles had raced into the city and seized Saddam Hussein's palaces and ministries. What the public didn't know was how close the U.S. forces came to experiencing another Mogadishu. Military units were surrounded, waging desperate fights at three critical interchanges. If any of those fell, the Americans would have been cut off from critical supplies and ammunition.

Embedded journalists reported the battle's broad outlines in April, but a more detailed account has since emerged in interviews with more than 70 of the brigade's officers and men who described the fiercest battle of the war—and one they nearly lost.
Read the whole thing.

Now Serving Number 1733

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Alternate caption for this page of James Lileks' photo history of Times Square:

Every Hour, 3,490 People Buy At Bond

"...and we've got about three hours' worth just hanging out on the street in front of the store."

Heavenly Hos


So what's the payoff for the five-a-day regime, anyway? Men: free mistresses in heaven! And your wives won't mind! And they'll get cosmic extreme makeovers! What's not to like? The Imam sez:

This ayah outwardly addresses the males of this ummah and promises them Hoors in the Hereafter. Consequently, a Muslima will not be adversely affected when her pious husband is endowed with a Hoor.

. . .

Further it is mentioned in a lengthy Hadith that Rasulullah Sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam was asked a similar question one day by one of his wives. He consoled her by explaining that the believing woman of this world will be far more beautiful and attractive than the Hoors. This will be due to the excessive ibaadah that they (the woman of this world) had performed.
Ask The Imam: a guaranteed cure for blogger's block.

Analyzing My Mind, Part I


A comment in my PETA post noted "I've only read 4 stories on your site so I can't quite analyze your mind yet . . .." I live to serve, so this should get you off to a good start:

  • I've called myself an 'interventionist libertarian' in the past, but I'm coming to the conclusion that my political beliefs are more in line with South Park Republicans than strict Libertarianism.
  • I am a willing lackey (enthusiastic, even) of the Imperialist-Capitalist-Running-Pig-Dog-Military-Industrial-Complex.
  • I think the greatest threat to Western Civilization is militant Islam, and I think it wants the West converted, subjugated, or dead.
  • I think the second-greatest threat is a tie between militant Leftism and militant Christianity.
  • I think the Palestinian conflict is 10% the fault of Israel and 90% the fault of the Palestinans and their paymasters (which includes the U.N.).
  • I am a fan of disc golf, the Detroit Red Wings, Michigan football, and Michigan State hockey (there's a logical explanation, but I'm trying to keep this brief), and I think baseball and most basketball are wastes of TV time that would be better spent covering any of the aforementioned.
  • If you see a nick of 'parking_god' (perhaps without the underscore) anywhere on the Net, it's probably me. I got the nickname from my cousin on the Saturday before Christmas 1987, when I found a parking space twenty feet from the door of Twelve Oaks Mall in suburban Detroit: "You are the parking god!"
  • Once in a great while, I come up with an idea that I think is good enough for The Onion, and I feel awed by people who can do it consistently, like iowahawk, Frank J., and a host of others who are far more prolific and far more funnierer.
  • I occasionally double-repeat the last syllableseses of wordseses on purpose, for reasons I can't explain.

Breakthroughs in Islamic Medicine

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I'm hooked on Ask The Imam, I really am. Every time I hit the 'Read Random Fatwa' button, I want to do it again. Like this fatwa on the benefits of cupping:

Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: 'One should not undergo cupping during the 13, 14 and 15 of the lunar month.' Some Muhadditheen explain that on those days the full moon has a gravitational impact on many things on earth. For example, the sea has high tides due to the full moon. Similarly, the flowing of the blood is also affected and flows faster during the full moon. One may loose much blood in these days if one undergoes cupping. Therefore, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) advised that one should undergo cupping on the 17, 19 and 21 of the lunar month. (Mishkãt p. 389). Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) advised that cupping should not be done on a Tuesday, since there is a certain time on a Tuesday that flowing blood does not stop. (Mishkãt p. 389). Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) also advised that cupping should not be done on Saturdays and Wednesdays as this could lead to leprosy. (Mishkãt p. 389)
You may think "That must have been a historical reference, like leeching or something; surely they don't still believe that!"

And you'd be wrong.

PETA brought their wacked-out animal supremacist freak show to a Fort Wayne elementary school yesterday:

Representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showed up at the school on Cook Road as promised at the end of the school day to give kids "Chicken Chumps" trading cards. The cards, with names such as "Cruel Kyle," "Sickly Sally" and "Tubby Tammy," show children eating chicken and looking miserable.
When I saw this on the news last night, I was all ready to go nuclear on the local school administration for allowing this to happen until I learned that the Chikkken Corps stayed on the public sidewalk instead of school property. I am happy to hear that parents didn't take too kindly to the idea:
Carol Mills, who walks her children home from the school every day, was furious about the activity.

"They don't even understand," she said. "How mature are these people to come harass elementary school kids because they eat chicken nuggets? Are they serious?"

The PETA representatives, including a person in an 8-foot-tall chicken costume, were barred from school grounds and warned by crossing guards to stay out of the way of children. When school officials kept children from crossing the road near the chicken, Ravi Chand, PETA vegan campaign coordinator, and the chicken moved to the other end of the sidewalk closer to the children.
Nor did the school board:
School board Secretary Jon Olinger, who visited the school Thursday, said an elementary school was the wrong place for PETA to spread its message.

"I think it's pathetic that they're aiming a political message at 8-, 9-, 10-, 11-year-olds," he said. "It's a professional terrorist organization as far as I'm concerned."
I think Mr. Olinger has it exactly right. People for the Ethical Equal Treatment of Animals are trying to get us to recognize rights animals don't have. I say it all the time: for the vast majority of practicioners, veganism/vegetarianism (and I don't care enough to learn the distinction) is an animal-worshipping religion based on guilt over the fact that humans are sentient and animals are not. In fact, if I'd heard about this in time, I would have made a big placard that said "This is the god PETA worships" with an arrow, and just followed the chicken around. It's a public sidewalk, right? They wouldn't be able to stop me!

And I think it's pretty clear that this kind of thing doesn't play well here:

Countering their demonstration was Jay Thompson of Huntertown, who was handing out raccoon tails and holding a sign that read, "Wildlife Population Control Specialist."

He said PETA's message is not appropriate for elementary-age children.

"There is an ethical way to treat and teach children," said Thompson, who owns Land and Lakes Outfitters, a bait and tackle shop in Huntertown.

[PETA vegan campaign coordinator Ravi] Chand was able to distribute cards to just a handful of children - most of whom were from Shawnee. The cards, modeled after the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, illustrate the cruelty the organization said chickens are subjected to and the ill health PETA said comes from eating them.

"Chickens should be our friends not food," said 14-year-old Chance Kuruda, although he said he eats chicken.

So will he continue to do so, even after what PETA had to say?

"Yeah," he answered.

There's one more thing about this that really bugs me. There's a high school just down the road, and some of those students can even vote! Why did they target elementary school students? The only reason I can see is that little kids are more easily swayed by the "don't hurt the cute little chicks" non-argument. Scumbags.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill an animal and eat it.

Update: My friend Jim says that PETA's tour (and it actually is a tour; look on the 'Press Releases' tab under for the story, since I refuse to link to it here) is targeting elementary schools rather than high schools because they can intimidate little kids, but high schoolers can intimidate them (or at least mock the hell out of the dork in the chicken suit).

It's also been pointed out to me that my idea for a 'This is the god PETA worships' protest sign is designed to get an emotional response from the predominantly conservative Christian population, which is more than a little hypocritical given my attitudes towards religion in general. I disagree with that; my religious beliefs are irrelevant to this issue.

And it's not like I'm wearing an eight-foot Jesus costume.

And This Guy Gets A Thrice-Weekly Column?

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I don't have strong feelings one way or the other on Detroit News sports columnist Rob Parker (although Detroit Sports Rag isn't too fond of him), but he couldn't have gotten this take more wrong if his life depended on it:

Receiver Terrell Owens. He gets three cheers for standing up and fighting his trade to the Baltimore Ravens. Former Broncos quarterback John Elway refused to go to Baltimore after the Colts drafted him No. 1. T.O. is within his rights.
John Elway never signed any contract with the Colts - he even warned them before they drafted him that he would not play for them, saying he would go to the USFL or even Major League Baseball. Elway was under no obligation to the Colts and was well within his rights to do what he did. Owens, on the other hand, is in a contract without a no-trade clause, so he's obligated to report to the Ravens. Call me crazy, but I believe that anybody who holds out on an active contract should be sued by the team holding that contract.

Keep Your Eyes On The Queen, Boys

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I don't usually just quote someone else's blog without adding commentary of my own, but Feste has a real zinger that doesn't need any embellishment:

What a tough guy [Kerry], I'm so impressed with his gravitas. He can't run on his own record and the Dems haven't had a new idea in all he has left is class warfare, 3-card Monty tax policy, and ad hominem attacks. Pity. We as a nation deserve better.

We gave Aristide a face-saving (literally) way out - "Sign here, please, watch your head getting on board, have a pleasant flight, bear in mind that the closest emergency exit may be behind you" - a free plane ride to a luxury resort in South Africa the Central African Republic (telephone not included), and this is how he thanks us?

AN attorney for exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has asked the US to investigate high-ranking US government officials involved in what Aristide claims was a kidnapping and coup d'etat to remove him from office.

Ira Kurzban, who was for years the US legal representative for the ousted president's government, said Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega and Luis Moreno, the deputy chief of mission of the US Embassy, were behind Aristide's February 29 removal and forced him and his wife into exile in the Central African Republic. "Because they were kidnapped, by officials of the United States Government, a claim has been filed," Kurzban said at a news conference in Miami's Little Haiti.

. . .

In his letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Kurzban asked that the Justice Department launch a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the departure of Aristide - who insists he's still Haiti's president - and his wife, Mildred Trouillot Aristide, who is a US citizen. They fled the country aboard a US chartered plane.

Kurzban said US laws were violated, including those banning kidnapping, the imprisoning of internationally protected persons and committing such acts against a person on board an aircraft registered in the US or owned by an American.

He said Aristide's removal from office was also a violation of an international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons. Kurzban said his call for an investigation was the first step toward bringing the case before an international court.
Um, okay, Mr. President. We'll fire up the VC-32 and drop you off at the steps of the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince. How's that sound? We apologize for any misunderstanding.

The Over/Under on his life expectancy if we did that: two minutes, six seconds. Take the Under.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

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I think I've found my dream job. Watching old sporting events and cracking on them, kind of like a "Mystery Science Stadium 3000" thing. Unfortunately, somebody is already doing it. On ESPN Classic's "Cheap Seats", comedians Randy and Jason Sklar make fun of old sports footage; for example, one of college football's all-time classic games, 1982 Cal-Stanford (Joe Starkey's call of The Play is one of the best of all time - right up there with Bob Ufer's 1979 U-M - Indiana call [short] [medium] [full 3:00 version (currently broken)]).

So I missed out on a cushy ESPN gig. That's OK - I'll just make my own (.mpg file, 3.6 MB).

Choose Your Battles Wisely

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Do you know why, really why, splodeydopes attack defenseless targets like buses and nightclubs? It's because when they go against the IDF, they get their asses handed to them. Literally.

At least six Palestinians were killed on Saturday during a suicide bombing and shooting attack on Israeli soldiers at the main Israel-Gaza border crossing.

. . .

Brigadier-General Gadi Shamni, commander of Israeli forces in northern Gaza, said the incident began when a Palestinian car exploded at the heavily guarded Erez crossing.

Hamas called it a suicide bombing and said the driver was killed. Shamni said no Israelis were hurt.

Soon afterwards, two jeeps painted in Israeli army colors raced to the scene, as if they were responding to the blast, and a Palestinian gunman in the lead vehicle began firing at soldiers, who shot him and its driver dead, Shamni told Reuters.

The second jeep, also disguised as an army vehicle, then exploded near a Palestinian police post about 100 meters (yards) away, killing the driver, the general said by telephone.

Hospital officials said at least two other Palestinians, both policemen, were killed and some 15 wounded.

Big Cat Road Trip?

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A preliminary injunction against Gary Dutcher evicts his cats:

An Allen Superior judge ruled Tuesday that a man housing four wildcats in his northeast Allen County home must remove the animals until the final outcome of the lawsuit filed against him by his neighborhood association. Judge Stanley Levine issued the preliminary injunction calling for the removal of the animals after a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

During the hearing, Gary L. Dutcher, 32, testified that he has already removed the animals from his home, [address redacted]. Attempts to reach him Tuesday night were not successful.

It was not known late Tuesday where he took the animals.
I think about what started this mess and it makes me wonder exactly how he removed the cats. Did he just pile them into his Camaro, drive until he hit something, then pop the door and say "Right. Off you go, then?"

Well, What Did You Expect?


Call me cynical, but I'd be willing to bet the 9/11 victims' families that are complaining about the Bush campaign ad are 99% Democrat.

Update: It's worse than that. This NY Post editorial lays out how it's all a scheme by a group called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - a group that, despite its name, isn't anti-war: they're actually on the other side:

But now it turns out that this whole furor is driven by a tiny group that's motivated by a far-left agenda and a festering hatred of the president - and has some quite dubious financial ties.

Leading the rhetorical charge has been an outfit called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - which, the group admits, has only a few dozen members and represents relatives of no more than 1 percent of the 9/11 victims.

More to the point, the group was formed specifically to oppose the entire War on Terror: Not just the campaign against Saddam Hussein, but also the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Indeed, the group's leaders traveled to Afghanistan, drawing a detestable moral equivalence between the 9/11 attacks and U.S. bombing of the Taliban and opposing "violent responses to terrorism."

So the treehuggers want to promote ecotourism for developing nations as an alternative to actual development. Sounds good, but did anybody ask the animals?

Something weird is happening in the wilderness. The animals are becoming restless. Polar bears and penguins, dolphins and dingoes, even birds in the rainforest are becoming stressed. They are losing weight, with some dying as a result. The cause is a pursuit intended to have the opposite effect: ecotourism.

The massive growth of the ecotourist industry has biologists worried. Evidence is growing that many animals do not react well to tourists in their backyard. The immediate effects can be subtle - changes to an animals' heart rate, physiology, stress hormone levels and social behaviour, for example - but in the long term the impact tourists are having could endanger the survival of the very wildlife they want to see.

My hometown newspaper has the story of a woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time:

It was about 7:45 a.m., Monday morning, Feb. 2, when Brenda Beazley, a county employee was driving to work at the courthouse. She was in front of the Vo Tech Center and saw a medium sized white truck approaching from the opposite direction. Suddenly, as the truck was almost abreast of her, she saw something white fly off the roof. Brenda thought it might have been a piece of metal. She didn't think about it long, however, because suddenly a hole was punctured through her windshield on the driver's side and an object smashed into her face. She was able to pull off the road, and found blood streaming into her eyes and down her face.

. . .

Brenda had eight stitches placed in her scalp and five more on her nose. The doctor thought perhaps she had a broken nose. A piece of thick ice had dislodged from the roof of the truck and smashed through the windshield of Beazley's vehicle.
Of course, it could be worse..

Wouldn't it really suck if you were a teenager and your parents were both crime scene investigators?

Mom: "Sweetie, where were you tonight?"
Teenage Daughter: "Mostly I hung out at Jennie's. We spent a lot of time on the phone talking to Courtney."
Dad: "I'll go subpoena the phone records." [leaves room]
Mom: "What else?"
Daughter: "We drove to Dairy Queen for Blizzards."
Mom [to Dad] : "Honey, while you're on the phone, get a subpoena for the surveillance tapes for the Dairy Queen on - "
Daughter: "North Clinton."
Mom [to Dad] : "North Clinton. Then get a tire kit."
Dad: "OK."
Mom: "You know the drill. Clothes go in this bag, underwear in this bag, and hold out your hands so I can get fingernail scrapings."
Daughter [sotto voce]: "I hate my life."

Bless His Cotton Pickin' Maize And Blue Heart

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I've finally brought my Michigan football page over from GeoCities. It still looks more or less like it did in 1997, but I'll be fixing that Real Soon Now.

From the Navhind Times (via Drudge):

Reuters London Feb 28: Former chief United Nations weapons inspector Mr Hans Blix said today he suspected the United States bugged his office and home in the run-up to the Iraq war, but had no hard evidence.
I'll save him the trouble. Yes, we did. Yes, we are right now. Yes, we will again. I'd be more than a little disappointed if we didn't.

Describing such behaviour as "disgusting", Mr Blix told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in an interview: "It feels like an intrusion into your integrity in a situation when you are actually on the same side."
Blix is making a dangerous assumption, and I don't mean about the bugging allegations.

Mr Blix said his suspicions were raised when he had trouble with a telephone connection at home.

“It might have been something trivial or it might have been something installed somewhere, I don’t know,” he said.
Because EVERY TIME there's trouble with a phone connection ANYWHERE, my first thought is 'The CIA's doing it.' Damn, even these guys aren't THAT paranoid.

He said US state department envoy Mr John Wolf visited him two weeks before the Iraq war with pictures of an Iraqi drone and a cluster bomb that the former inspector believed could have been secured only from within the UN weapons office.

"He should not have had them. I asked him how he got them and he would not tell me," Mr Blix said.
Well, Hans, he could have told you, but then he'd have had to kill you. Otherwise, the story would get out about how the U.S. put machines in orbit that can take pictures of things on the ground. Not only that, he'd have to reveal that the U.S. actually pays people to tell us what they know about what their governments are doing, and even sometimes to get pictures! No way in hell is the world ready to hear that yet.

Former UN secretary-general Mr Boutros Boutros-Ghali and another former chief UN weapons inspector, Mr Richard Butler, said yesterday they believed they had been spied on.

“From the first day I entered my office they told me: beware, your office is bugged, your residence is bugged,” Mr Boutros-Ghali told the BBC.

“It is a tradition that member states that have the technical capacity to bug will do it without hesitation,” he said.
Like I said. We've always done it, we're doing it right now, and we'll always do it. Although I have to wonder what it is they're so worried about us finding out...


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