26 August 2002
Mom! Big Brother won't give me a hall pass!

Columnist Michelle Malkin rails about California's attitude toward parents who home-school their children, which has apparently mutated from surly indifference to outright hostility:

"Mocking home schoolers as fringe radicals and religious extremists, meddling with their teaching materials, and forcing them to beg public school officials for permission to educate their own children wasn't enough to defeat the growing movement. So now California's educracy has adopted a new motto: If you can't beat 'em, criminalize 'em."

The latest example of this hostility is a memo from California Deputy Superintendent Joanne Mendoza which basically says that paperwork for homeschooling will not be accepted from anyone without state-approved teacher credentials. And according to ScrappleFace, that's not all it says.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:25 PM)
29 August 2002
Targeted marketing

It's apparently impossible to keep track of every single nuance of popular, or for that matter unpopular, culture. A video producer from UC Davis was shopping at a Target store in Elk Grove, California when he happened upon a pair of shorts imprinted with the double-8 symbol embraced by neo-Nazis and other dumb Klux. He informed the store manager and passed the word on to the Southern Poverty Law Center, who turned up the heat. Target is now busily pulling all the pertinent merchandise off the racks.

It could have been worse. At least there weren't any lawsuits involved.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:16 AM)
1 September 2002
Dash it all

A few months ago, FARK.com made an addition to its usual categories like "weird", "dumbass" and "Wheaton": there is now a category called "Florida". And the Sunshine State, true to form, is delivering all manner of farkable news items.

Consider the case of Patrick Feheley, running for the 13th District House seat currently held by Rep. Dan Miller, who is retiring. Feheley filed suit against another Democratic rival, Candice Brown McElyea, claiming she'd inserted a hyphen into her name when she filed to run for the office; as "Brown-McElyea, Candice", she'd appear on the ballot ahead of "Feheley, Patrick". (Two other Democrats are running, but their names fall farther down in the alphabet.) Says Feheley, this is a deceptive manipulation of the election process. (Deceptive manipulation? In Florida? Sheesh. Now we've heard everything.)

The judge designated to hear the case set a routine procedural hearing for the 5th of September, five days before the primary election, too late for the ballots to be reprinted should Feheley prevail. Upset, but knowing there wasn't much he could do about it, Feheley dropped his suit.

Of course, this is only the primary. Should Feheley win, he'd still have to beat out a Republican to be determined, and an independent candidate. Who might that Republican be? The front-runner right now is Katherine Harris. Yes, that Katherine Harris. Then again, her candidacy is being challenged by rival John Hill (no relation).

It's times like these I almost feel sorry for Jeb Bush.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:38 PM)
16 September 2002
Cue Cleavon Little with the revolver

A New York judge has been receiving threatening letters; the police have evaluated the letters and are leaning toward the theory that acting Supreme Court Justice Marylin Diamond actually sent the letters to herself.

Why would she do such a thing? Retired NYPD profiler Ray Pierce, asked to join the investigation, has observed that the letters always seem to show up right about the time security alerts are issued — or right about the time that Justice Diamond's authorization for bodyguards is scheduled for expiration.

Justice Jacqueline Silbermann, who serves alongside Diamond, calls the profiler's contention preposterous. A handwriting analysis failed to connect Diamond to the letters; in the meantime, Diamond's additional security has been cancelled.

Why do I think this is destined to be a Lifetime Original Movie?

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:14 PM)
22 November 2002
Cannon fodder

Now here's a headline: Join U.S. military, degrade humanity. Is it Fisk? Pilger? Chomsky, fercrissake? Nope. Just an English major at San Diego State, unaccountably posted to the job of Opinion Editor at the student newspaper, who's already decided that those who wear the uniform of the United States of America are dupes at best. To give him the maximum amount of credit, well, yes, that qualifies as Opinion. I assume that it's based on his extensive experience with PlayStation2, since obviously he's not going to sully his precious bod with something as mundane as fatigues.

What do you get when you take the oath? Says this Opinion Editor, you get the opportunity to "be a tool for imperialism and bastardize human life all around the globe." Admittedly, more than a few of the troops overseas have gotten some of the locals in a family way, but I'm sure this isn't what he meant by "bastardize". "In actuality," he says, "our military is designed for aggression. In the modern world of diplomacy and nuclear capability, our need for physical defense is extremely less than the number of troops and size of our budget."

(Aside: What the hell kind of English major comes up with a phrase like "extremely less"?)

So in this modern world (apologies to Tom Tomorrow) there are but two options: diplomacy and nukes. If we can't talk Saddam into disarming, we can always roast him and the rest of Baghdad over an open fire. I'm sure this isn't what the kid meant to say, but it sure sounds like what he said.

And "when you join the military, you give years of your life to corruption and death. Today's soldiers are not heroes deserving of unconditional respect — they are enforcers of economic domination with blood on their hands." I've been out of the uniform for almost a quarter of a century and I resent the hell out of that; imagine how well I'd take it were I still a soldier.

Michele at A Small Victory has seen this sort of thing over and over again:

Not one of these cowards ever thinks of what would happen if the U.S. just disbanded its armed forces and sat back and observed the rest of the world in action. They never think about the consequences of not going into these countries, of not fighting for democracy and freedom. They only think of what will look good on their protest signs. They think they are so brave and daring, but the real brave and daring ones are out their making sure that this country remains a place where dissent can be voiced without fear.

I don't know how cowardly this guy is, but I'd bet he's got WarbloggerWatch bookmarked.

Oh, well, he's still young. He'll grow out of it. Right now, though, he presents a compelling case for reinstating the draft.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:51 AM)
23 November 2002
Cannon fodder (the sequel)

By now everyone has read the saga of Joe Zarro, kid journalist at San Diego State, who took it upon himself this week to badmouth the armed forces of the United States of America. The response from blogdom was immediate and forceful, which should surprise no one.

And it probably should surprise no one that not everyone at SDSU buys Zarro's mindset. In the next day's Daily Aztec letters column, Maureen Hammerquist of the University's enrollment services makes it quite clear:

I'm married to a man who has worn a military uniform for the last 18 years. He has always performed to his best and strived to better himself while putting his life at risk on more than four deployments and in more than two war zones. I take your editorial statements personally because of my strong opinion that your blanket statements don't accurately reflect the true duty of the men and women in service to our country.

My grandfather also wore a uniform and served his country in World War II. He then went on to serve for 22 years as a U.S. Congressman. Does this mean that he is twice the tool for imperialism and twice the "bastardizer"? You wouldn't think so if you knew what he stood for, and, gasp, in spite of the political party he represented.

That's the trouble with those damn generalizations: they're just so, um, general.

And finally:

As a spouse, I may not always like all the negativities associated with the military lifestyle, but I am proud of what my husband does and what he represents. He saves lives, and who knows, one day one of the lives he saves could be yours.

Let's hope that by then this kid's education has included a couple of courses in gratitude.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:14 PM)
19 December 2002
Just loafing

John Lee Malvo, the younger of the D.C. sniper suspects, is not happy with his meals at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center; the veggie loaf he's getting three times a day, he says, is making him ill.

In a related story, requests for ice water from the hades.org domain are up 11 percent from last week.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:20 PM)
21 February 2003
Shoulda used the drive-thru

The robbery at BancFirst's Expressway branch in McAlester was fairly uneventful, as robberies go. The bank staff was clever enough to switch bags, and the thief walked away with nothing.

Slowly.

Police arrested Kenneth Ray Dean in the parking lot between the bank and a restaurant in a matter of moments. Dean is 71 and walks with a cane. Of course, bank employees had no way of knowing the cane wasn't loaded.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:43 AM)
19 March 2003
Asshat management

Washington State Grange employees found Jody Mason about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday and asked what he was doing.

He told employees he'd chained himself to the building in civil disobedience Monday night after listening to President Bush's televised ultimatum to Saddam Hussein.

Grange employees explained that he was at the wrong building. The Grange is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that advocates for residents in rural areas.

Grange employees obviously have more patience than I.

(Via Fark)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:50 PM)
6 April 2003
Meanwhile, back at the left

I was relatively restrained, say the commenters, on that Margaret Atwood piece, and well, to me it seemed the appropriate timbre for a response: when you're scolded by a maiden-aunt figure, it's not particularly useful to lash out with intemperance.

On the other hand — though the same wing — some people are just asking for it. In this spirit, I give you Alan Bisbort of the Hartford Advocate, who offers the following under the implausible title I Miss America:

Next to the high crimes and low misdemeanors perpetrated by this Bush administration, Nixon's sins seem, well, if not quaint, then understandable within the context of the times. Even though he will forever bear the blame for the expansion of the Vietnam War with his bombings of Cambodia and Laos — and the terrible "blowback" they bred — it should be noted that Nixon inherited that war from two Democratic predecessors, that the largest troop escalations were done on Lyndon Johnson's watch.

Ironically, beyond these much more serious sins, the crimes that led to Nixon's impeachment hearings and resignation in August 1974 seem so, well, tame: he bugged the campaign headquarters of a Democratic opponent (George McGovern) whom all polls indicated he'd beat in a landslide in Nov. 1972 (he did). And, then, when the press discovered that this break-in led back to the White House, he covered it up. That's it. Sounds like standard, and unchallenged, presidential protocol these days.

Indeed, the crimes of George W. Bush ON A DAILY BASIS surpass the collective crimes of Richard Nixon's entire presidential career.

Say what? "On a daily basis"? I'll grant you that Watergate was every bit the "third-rate burglary" it was reputed to be, but the subsequent stonewalling came perilously close to being an impeachable offense, back when that term actually meant something. (The Clinton proceedings, I think, lowered the bar for impeachment to approximately the same degree that Clinton lowered his shorts.) Is there a Bush "enemies list"? The guest list on The O'Reilly Factor doesn't count. Has Bush moved to sack persons who might present a legal threat, as did Nixon with erstwhile Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and assistant AG William Ruckelshaus? Is there anything on Dubya's CV that looks even remotely like this?

Oh, wait, you're not through. Okay:

So, why aren't people more outraged by the current White House's abuse of power, unprecedented in American history?

What could be more criminal than to start a war by invading another country that poses no immediate threat? What could be more criminal than starting this war by using fictitious documents, photographs and threats of retaliation against countries, and longtime allies, that will not go along with this charade? What could be more criminal than to perpetrate, and escalate, this terrible bloodshed even as we speak? What could be more telling about this Little Caesar in the White House that, even as he needlessly puts our brave, dutiful soldiers in harm's way, he is cutting the benefits to veterans of previous wars? What could be more criminal than to loot the U.S. Treasury to conduct a blood-for-oil feud, then pass the cost on to generations unborn?

Let me guess: You're upset because we didn't send the Marines to Riyadh on the 12th of September. Oh, you're not? Wasn't that enough of an immediate threat? Or is it going to take mining the runway at Bradley International to get your attention? It obviously can't be some sudden concern for Iraqi civilians, since Saddam routinely whacked more of them on a, um, "daily basis" than we've managed in half a month so far. You want criminals, Al, you're looking at the wrong end of the pipeline.

And if you're this upset about some imagined "blood-for-oil" feud — and by the way, in the unlikely event that anyone is engineering a trade, I take type A, RH-factor positive, and Castrol 10W-30 — the very least you can do is refuse to participate. Separate yourself from all things oil-based. Sell your car. Rip out that heating system that burns up so many gallons of the wicked stuff every winter. It's the perfect day to do it, what with spring on the way, and — what's that? Ten inches of snow due today? Well, damn. But we can't let mere weather interfere with Doing the Right Thing, can we? Put on your mittens and tear out that furnace.

I miss the America that stood up to Richard Nixon. Even Dick Nixon looks good to me now.

I'm a registered Democrat, and the fact that Nixon was President when I turned eighteen is a major reason why, but I'll tell you what, Al: when Connecticut secedes from the Union, I'll send you a couple of bucks to help finance a Nixon memorial in downtown Waterbury. Until then, if you're going to keep recycling this "Bush is Evil" tripe, you'd be better off keeping your trap shut — or letting it freeze shut.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:13 PM)
29 August 2003
As the worm turns

The Feds are coming down hard on Jeffrey Lee "teekid" Parson, who allegedly has admitted to rewriting the Blaster worm and turning loose his handiwork on an insufficiently-suspecting world.

What to do with a bratling like this? Michele mocks him far better than I, but the solution I like the best comes from one of her commenters, a chap named Morpheus:

[T]his little boil on the backside of the nation has caused something like tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of damage (if not billions), so a simple (or even complex) spanking is not really a suitable punishment. A nice, long, horsewhipping, followed by a few weeks in the stocks somewhere on Wall Street, followed by a 100% garnishment of his wages above, say $10k/year for life might begin to cover it.

Cracking: it's not just a job, it's indenture.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:59 PM)
17 October 2003
Taunt them a second time

A fellow named Francis Carpenter, who works for a bank in Luxembourg, has evidently been drinking too much of the European Union's ersatz Kool-Aid.

In this piece in Le Figaro, Mr Carpenter proposes that British place names commemorating battles lost by the French — Waterloo, Trafalgar, and such — be changed, in the interest of furthering European unity.

This idea, fortunately, doesn't seem to be catching on in the UK, though no one seems to have responded officially with le mot de Cambronne.

(Via Fark)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:05 PM)
23 November 2003
Public enema number one

This particular anal drip is named Alan Ralsky, and he is now believed to be the World's Leading Spammer.

If they ever bust this guy, I hope he gets pantsed on television, if only to see if he's used any of that penis-enlargement crap.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:12 AM)
3 March 2004
Grey Lady grows spine, film at 11

Ted Rall, dumped by The New York Times, responds:

[W]hat the Times has done here to me — and to you — represents a dangerous precedent for a free press (or, in this case, an online press). They've sent the message that political pressure works. It's one thing for an editor to decide that a cartoon no longer works for editorial reasons, or that it's not as good as it used to be. It's quite another to cancel it simply because you're tired of being deluged with hate mail. Dealing with feedback is an editor's job. If you don't like the hate mail, delete it.

Anyone want to argue that Rall's cartoon isn't as good as it used to be? Michele? Bueller?

Update, 4 March, 10:40 am: Here's what Michele had to say:

Note to Ted Rall: Maybe they let you go because you SUCK?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:35 PM)
20 March 2004
No accounting for some people

Mark Maughan is an accountant in suburban L.A., and he does seem to think well of himself; no other explanation will do for his reaction upon typing his name into the Google search engine and getting this as the first pertinent result.

Mr Maughan is suing Google, Yahoo!, America Online and Time Warner, claiming that Google's PageRank technology produced results that were "alarming, false, misleading and injurious."

AOL (which is a Time Warner operation) uses Google technology under license in its search facility; Yahoo!, at the time of Mr Maughan's alleged injury, was using Google's search engine with a custom interface. Attorneys for Mr Maughan want Google to discontinue PageRank and pay some unspecified sum in damages.

Little does Mr Maughan know that the news reports of his lawsuit, and the bloggage linking thereto, will inevitably dominate search results for his name for years to come. It might even come up if someone searches for "clueless L.A. accountant".

(Suggested by Fark)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:19 PM)
24 April 2004
It's a shame these slugs ain't real

"In the space of twenty years," writes Christopher Knight, "I've watched America go from a bright shining city on a hill, to a cellblock of an island prison 'ruled' by petty crooks and thugs."

Sooner or later, something's going to snap, and for when it does, Knight has readied his list of People Who Should Be Shot When The Revolution Comes. The list is not partisan, but it's not non-partisan either; both Democratic and Republican shoes have been lining up to kick the keisters of We The People.

With regard to item #3, however: My house, at least where the bricks aren't, is a loud shade of puce. Officers of the Neighborhood Association profess to like it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:18 PM)
30 May 2004
Last night in Tornado Alley

By now, we know the drill. Forget about the local broadcast stations; channels 4 (NBC), 5 (ABC), 9 (CBS), 25 (Fox) and 52 (independent) pitch their entire schedules to give you block-by-block, sometimes even pixel-by-pixel, coverage of That Big Damn Cloud. What we want to know, of course, is "Where is it?" and "Which way is it moving?" The latter question is usually simple: the way these things develop, they tend to move west to east. So we're looking for more, um, nuanced coverage, to project the path using a whole continuum of trajectories. About the time the storm left Geary, I figured it was going to track right along 178th Street, and decided not to give it any further thought, since its closest approach to Surlywood would be about eight miles.

And that's pretty much the way it went. The most surprising aspect of it, I think, was that there was only one really big storm heading our way; often they travel in pairs or worse. Not this time. There was another storm, way up toward the Kansas border, but it was given relatively short shrift, probably because the people up there are watching Wichita television.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:30 AM)
24 July 2004
Replenishing the chutzpah fund

NorthWestern Corporation, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is reorganizing under federal bankruptcy protection; president/CEO Gary Drook says the company should be financially sound and on its own again by this fall. "Don't worry about ownership," he reportedly has told employees: "I'll be out of a job, but you'll still have one."

Not that Drook plans to suffer any: he's asking the bankruptcy court for nearly $3 million in severance, and $3.5 million for three other top NorthWestern officers.

This isn't quite as galling as, say, the Menendez brothers asking for clemency because they're orphans, but it's close.

(Via MT Politics)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:41 AM)
7 August 2004
Worse, they called him a lawyer

A California attorney, claiming he was the subject of abuse on Yahoo! message boards, is assembling a class-action lawsuit against Yahoo! on behalf of Californians who have been similarly picked on. Apparently the cruel words came fast and furious:

[Stephen] Galton is a partner in the firm of Galton & Helm, which specializes in insurance law. He registered to use Yahoo message boards in early 2004 in order to respond to a negative late-2003 post about one of his clients, which he did not identify in the suit.

After Galton posted his response, under the screen name "stephengalton," he was subjected to name-calling by various other users of the message boards.

One user, a person using the screen name "mumioler" who had posted the original messages about Galton's client that started the dispute, wrote a series of new messages calling Galton a "shyster" and an "overly robust geezer that makes a living walking behind the elephant with a shovel."

Other users also took personal shots at Galton, and he filed suit in April of this year against them. At the same time, he sought their personal information via a subpoena from Yahoo. The company, the suit said, responded with incomplete or inaccurate information.

McGehee is properly scornful:

I used to get called names a lot when I was a kid, and when I was a kid I used to try to make them stop. I outgrew it. Galton didn't.

And Galton will probably have a hissy fit over his new prominence in the search engines, too.

This reminds me of an incident twenty-odd years ago in which Car and Driver ran a column which castigated the legal profession for various offenses against motoring enthusiasts. An attorney wrote in to cancel his subscription in protest; the magazine printed his letter, along with the following response:

Perhaps you'd be interested in subscribing to our sister publication Ambulance and Chaser.

All by itself, that was worth a three-year renewal.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:28 AM)
26 August 2004
Drowning in a sea of Super Soakers

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch wants your guns. His Gallagher-esque Bash-O-Matic device quickly reduces those pesky firearms to a heap of rubble, thereby contributing substantially to the level of public safety in the Teensy State With The Incredibly Long Name.

Um, what's that? Lynch is collecting toy guns?

Tragic accidents happen because children and adults alike find it hard to distinguish a toy gun from a real gun.

Only if they have no experience with guns at all, which of course Lynch thinks would be really keen.

(Via Interested-Participant)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:54 PM)
5 February 2005
These are my people, because I say so

Well, what do you know. Firebrand University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who has made noises about how all those nasty European types should go home and leave the American continent for the true natives like him, has the same amount of Native American ancestry as, say, William Jefferson Clinton: zilch.

The former chairman of the Keetoowah band of Cherokee Indians says University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was given an honorary membership that required no proof of Cherokee heritage.

John Ross led the tribe for several years in the 1990s. He says the Keetoowah established an "associate member" program to recognize friends of the tribe. "If somebody helped out in a certain way, to honor them they'd give them an associate membership," Ross said Thursday. "There were 300 or 400 associate members."

Former President Clinton also was given an honorary membership in the tribe.

To be a full-fledged member of the Keetoowah, a person has to prove he or she is at least one-fourth Cherokee. Churchill has never had such a membership. Only full members are allowed to vote, hold office and receive tribal privileges.

Churchill has cited his associate membership in the tribe as proof of his Cherokee roots. He told The Denver Post on Wednesday he is three-sixteenths Cherokee. In the past, he has described himself as one-sixteenth Cherokee and also claimed to have Creek Indian blood.

I'd side with the pundits who argue that recent inflammatory statements by Churchill are insufficient grounds to sack him: you don't advance the cause of academic freedom by revoking tenure of those who rock the boat. On the other hand, playing fast and loose with the truth is good enough reason to toss anyone out on his tuchas, ethnicity be damned.

(With thanks to John Rosenberg.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 PM)
4 May 2005
High in WTF Factor

Cornell University President Jeffrey Lehman, at the school's Mosaic Conference last weekend:

Integration today does not mean assimilation. Rather, it means a recognition of the value of a pluralistic society in which ideals are shared at the same time that different identities are values. They involve a recognition of the fact that integration does not describe the static demographic mix but rather involves a dynamic process of dialogue. This is a powerful and, to my mind, vital contribution to our society's understanding of diversity and I want to endorse it wholeheartedly.

Never mind "our society's understanding of diversity"; what happened to our society's understanding of English? I've read this paragraph three times and the most I can get out of it is "I like the pretty colors." Nothing wrong with that, particularly, but this guy writes like he's being paid by the buzzword.

Criminy. I got accepted at this place, back in the Jurassic period. Maybe I should consider myself fortunate to have wound up elsewhere.

(Via John Rosenberg, who can't make heads or tails of it either.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:27 AM)
11 May 2005
Hold your tongues, knaves

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that members of the public who address the Board of Supervisors are expected to adhere to the highest standards of political correctness. Declared Board President Aaron Deskin:

[D]iscrimination and harassment on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, weight, height or place of birth will not be tolerated in San Francisco city government.

Farging biped.

(Via Tongue Tied.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:18 PM)
5 July 2005
Brief interruption

We pause in this travel narrative to bring you the following announcement:

Anyone who uses the domain www.unitedinchristchurch.org for online poker is doubly scummy and deserves to be crucified horizontally.

While rotating over a gas grill.

Can anyone recommend a marinade that attracts fire ants?

Addendum: The corksoaking iceholes struck again around noon. I am killing all pingability for anything posted prior to 3 July. If you actually link to one of the pre-WT05 stories, send me email and I'll put it in manually when I get a chance.

Another addendum: Courtesy of Fistful of Fortnights:

Comment Spam Mogul and admitted thief of blog content gets angry — when his blog suffers a spam attack.

Well then. Thanks to this fellow and his unsavory colleagues, bloggers must repeatedly scrape these barnacles from our blogs on a daily basis — if not more often. Now this poor guy expects sympathy?

I'll be happy to donate some wood for the crucifixion.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:38 AM)
6 August 2005
Seminoles v. dillholes

T. K. Wetherell, president of Florida State University, says he will sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association for its decision to ban Native American-related team indicia and mascots and whatnot at schools hosting NCAA postseason events.

Says Wetherell:

This university will forever be associated with the "unconquered" spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

What's more, he says, he's contemplating painting the Seminole logo "three times as big" on the Doak Campbell Stadium field.

The actual Seminole tribe was not consulted by the NCAA, says Tribal Council member Max B. Osceola Jr.:

It's like history — they left the natives out. They have non-natives telling natives what's good for them or how they should use their name. You have a committee made up of non-natives telling people that they can not use a native name when you have a native tribe — a tribal government, duly elected and constituted — that said they agree with Florida State.

(Emphasis added.)

The NCAA ruling apparently does not affect football, since there is no actual NCAA championship series. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for someone to complain about Michael Savage's last name.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:45 PM)
8 August 2005
The things one finds in referrer logs

This piece from last summer has been getting a lot of traffic this weekend; it took a few minutes to round up the usual linkage, but Myron Tereshschuk is newsworthy again:

Late last year, Mr. Tereshchuk was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a criminal extortion charge filed by the United States attorney's office in Alexandria. Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of explosives and biological weapons, charges that the United States attorney's office in Baltimore had filed against him. Possessing illegal toxins carries a maximum term of life in prison. Mr. Tereshchuk is expected to be sentenced this fall.

I suppose that somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered whatever happened to him.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
Ghouls gone wild

There is a special place in hell reserved for those who are both self-righteous and opportunistic, who see the most solemn moments as excuses for pushing the product.

Peter Jennings wasn't even cold yet when this hit Michelle Malkin's mailbox:

The death of ABC-TV news anchor Peter Jennings shows the tenacious nature of smoking, and its often terrible consequences to a man seemingly robust and with so much more to contribute, says Professor John Banzhaf, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health, a national antismoking organization.

"With all of his knowledge of the deadly and addictive nature of cigarettes, and virtually unlimited resources and access to the best medical help in both trying to quit smoking and then in treating the resulting lung cancer, Peter Jennings was helpless and became one of tobacco's best known victims," says Banzhaf.

Elapsed time between ABC's announcement of Jennings' death and Banzhaf's grab for the spotlight: less than fifteen minutes.

What a farging ghoul. Anybody got a Marlboro?

(Addendum, 8:45 am: NPR is reporting that ABC's first mention of Jennings' death was broadcast over the television network around 11:30 pm, half an hour before it hit abcnews.com, which could have given Banzhaf a whole forty-five minutes to pull this script out of the can.)

(Submitted to the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:48 AM)
15 August 2005
Spearheading the resistance

Not long ago I wrote about Florida State University's response to the NCAA's current obsession with "offensive" team names and mascots.

Charles E. Kupchella, president of the University of North Dakota, has now weighed in with an open letter to the NCAA:

Is it the use of Indian names, images, and/or mascots to which you are opposed? If it is all of the above, which logos, images, and mascots do you indict by your announcement? Is it only certain ones? [A] very respected Indian artist designed and created a logo for the University. The logo is not unlike those found on United States coins and North Dakota highway patrol cars and highway signs. So we can't imagine that the use of this image is "abusive" or "hostile" in any sense of these words.

Is it the use of the names of tribes that you find hostile and abusive? Not long ago I took a trip to make a proposal to establish an epidemiological program to support American Indian health throughout the Upper Great Plains. On this trip I left a state called North Dakota. (Dakota is one of the names the indigenous people of this region actually call themselves.) I flew over South Dakota, crossing the Sioux River several times, and finally landed in Sioux City, Iowa, just south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The airplane in which I traveled that day was called a Cheyenne.

I think you should find my confusion here understandable, since obviously if we were to call our teams "The Dakotans," we would actually be in more direct violation of what apparently you are trying to establish as a rule, even though this is the name of our state. This situation, of course, is not unlike that faced by our sister institution in Illinois.

And there's one other issue, by the way:

Is it only about applying names to sports teams? If so, would this be extended to the use of the names of all people, or is it just American Indians? Why would you exempt the "Fighting Irish" from your consideration, for example? Or "Vikings," which are really fighting Scandinavians, or "Warriors," which I suppose could be described as fighting anybodies? Wouldn't it be "discrimination on account of race" to have a policy that applies to Indians but not to Scandinavians or the Irish, or anybody else for that matter? This seems especially profound in light of a letter to me from [NCAA] President [Myles] Brand (8/9/05) in which he, in very broad-brush fashion and inconsistent with the NCAA's recent much narrower pronouncement, said, "we believe that mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin should not be visible at our events."

(Emphasis in Dr Kupchella's original.)

I went to a high school where the teams were known as the Battling Bishops. Somehow I don't think anyone came away with the notion that Catholic clergy were unusually belligerent. Then again, as a high school, we obviously weren't members of the NCAA.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:12 AM)
Futile sputtering

Some schmuck actually dropped this on Andrea Harris:

Remember this: Your words are actions, and you Will pay dearly for them. The web is a public record. Your posts are published. Your ip is public. And you're going to go to far with the wrong person who does a whois search and finds that they just so happen to be very close to where you live ... and that paying you a visit starts to sound like a satisfying idea. I personally wouldn't (no matter how appropriatly ironic I would find the justice) and would advocate against such reactionary vigilantism — but someone will. It's only a matter of time.

Now if you boil this down to the crucial stuff, this is what's left (and I do mean "left"):

"Mommy! This girl is picking on me!"

Because that's all it is. "You're gonna get yours, you big meanie! Not that I would ever stoop to such a thing myself, of course."

It is to laugh.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:24 AM)
27 October 2005
Note to 42 people over the limit

Just a reminder: most of the banks who issued you those cards are getting ready to increase your monthly minimum payments substantially.

[evil grin]

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:42 PM)
31 January 2006
Facial expression

"Bad attitude? Moi? Why the **** would you think that?"

(Via Fark; possibly not safe for work)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:15 AM)
6 March 2006
Tainter of light

A Google search came in today for "Kinkade lousy person", which surprised me a bit, until I happened upon this:

Former gallery owners, ex-employees and others say his personal behavior ... belies the wholesome image on which he's built his empire.

In sworn testimony and interviews, they recount incidents in which an allegedly drunken Kinkade heckled illusionists Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas, cursed a former employee's wife who came to his aid when he fell off a barstool, and palmed a startled woman's breasts at a signing party in South Bend, Ind.

And then there is Kinkade's proclivity for "ritual territory marking," as he called it, which allegedly manifested itself in the late 1990s outside the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

"This one's for you, Walt," the artist quipped late one night as he urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure, said Terry Sheppard, a former vice president for Kinkade's company, in an interview.

In Kinkade's defense, who hasn't wanted to whiz on Winnie the Pooh?

Still, this is a far cry from his carefully-crafted Christian Family Man persona.

(Via Tinkerty Tonk.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:40 PM)
9 March 2006
Memo to an unnamed customer

When you cancel your checking account, you are no longer allowed to use the Visa Check Card associated with that account.

Just in case you hadn't noticed.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:19 PM)
29 March 2006
Honey, it's an air bag calling

Isn't this lovely?

Dr. Kirtland Speaks is suing for his right to telemarket car accident victims. He claims that the Louisiana Board of Chiropractic Examiners regulations, preventing him from employing this marketing tactic, violate his freedom of speech.

The doctor planned to hire telemarketers to glean accident victims' names and telephone numbers from public accident reporters. "The Board" found this was illegal under two Louisiana laws designed to protect patients and victims from solicitations.

The doctor just won a victory. At the suit's start, he filed a "Motion for Preliminary Injuntion," asking the court to prevent the State from enforcing the don't-telesale-victims law. A lower court declined the motion but Speaks' appeal to the 5th Circuit resulted in a ruling in his favor.

Fifth Circuit opinion here [requires Adobe Reader]. The pivotal paragraph:

Sensing the difficulty of its position, the Board contended at oral argument that preventing solicitation of prospective clients only when they are "vulnerable to undue influence" functions as a time limitation. The argument is that it prohibits solicitation only when necessary and, theoretically, could allow solicitation sooner than a firm time limitation. We are unpersuaded. The term "vulnerable to undue influence" is undefined. The Board urges that the three subsections under § 37:1743(A) define those terms, but those subsections merely provide non-exclusive examples of situations in which a prospective client "may be considered to be vulnerable to undue influence." The uncertainty inherent in the statutory term "undue influence" leaves the seller of services uncertain of when he may call. It is this chilling uncertainty that supports the use of a bright line time-out period reflecting the State's judgment of when the risk of undue influence is too great. The balance of interests required by the First Amendment cannot be struck by use of such an open-ended stricture that resists ex ante fixity.

Me, I balance my First Amendment interests by refusing to answer the goddamn phone unless Caller ID presents me with acceptable information.

Update: Dr Speaks gets an unsolicited phone call.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:28 PM)
3 April 2006
Memo to a dillhole

If you're going to call up our CS people and loudly demand that they research a charge on your credit card from way the hell back in October, the very least you can do is come up with the correct card number.

Of course, if you're going to make an error this fundamental, it's no farging wonder your books don't balance.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:10 AM)
14 April 2006
1-800-LOSERS

Friday, 42nd and Treadmill closes at 4:30 pm. (I seldom get to leave that early, but that's another matter.) And at closing time today, our old phone system will be unceremoniously ripped from the wall and replaced with a shiny new (and, surprisingly, even larger) box. How old was it? The voicemail test message is "Mr. Watson — come here!"

What's going to happen, though, is that about 4:29:30, the phones will be ringing in earnest, and we'll get desperate calls from annoying people who evidently have no one else to talk to, as happens pretty much every Friday, right on schedule, and they'll bend the ears of our poor staffers as long as they're permitted. I hope that the cutover time is graven in stone, and that the miserable scuzzbuckets are cut off in mid-sentence. In mid-syllable, if possible.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:13 PM)
19 April 2006
I dnt nd ths sht

The following text message came in today on Ye Olde (well, almost five years olde) Cellular Phone:

Jarvis@vanzwamcs.com / bye for now / Budget Waste Inc

It's certainly a waste of my text-message budget.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:16 PM)
23 April 2006
More people I am not speaking to

Something from 571-522-1332 dialed up here shortly after dinner, mumbled something about the state military (?), paused, and then rang off with "This is a public survey call. We may call back later."

Apparently it's these guys, who seem to have been doing a lot of "public survey calls" for various GOP causes and such.

Political haranguing, of course, is exempt from the Federal Do Not Call regulations.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:17 PM)
15 August 2006
And keep the puppies out of the blender

According to legend, there's more than one way to skin a cat; when asked, I generally reply that I prefer a belt sander.

This, however, is beyond the pale:

A New York man faces charges for allegedly throwing five kittens into a hot frying pan. The kittens are about six or seven weeks old. Authorities say they were slightly burned and are expected to recover.

The incident occurred in Buffalo after the apartment's occupant began cooking pork chops in hot oil. When he left the kitchen, a visitor put two of the kittens in the pan. The visitor then threw one kitten on the floor and wiped the other on the wall. After that he put the other three in the pan.

Police say [they] expect the suspect to be charged with animal cruelty.

Or, at the very least, to be spritzed with Pam and rolled onto a cookie sheet.

(Suggested by BuffaloPundit.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:40 AM)
17 August 2006
What's the bag limit on weasels?

You gotta hope it's at least two, preferably these two:

Troy Gentry, one-half of the country twosome Montgomery Gentry ... has been indicted for allegedly shooting a black bear named Cubby.

Gentry, 39, of Franklin, Tenn., allegedly bought the tame bear for $4,650 from wildlife photographer and hunting guide Lee Greenly, 46. Gentry then "killed it with a bow and arrow in an enclosed pen on Greenly's property in October 2004," reports The Associated Press.

Authorities claim that Gentry and Greenly "tagged the bear with a Minnesota hunting license and registered the animal with the Tennessee Department of Natural Resources as a wild kill."

The pair also edited a videotape of the killing to appear as if the country star snagged the bear in a "fair chase," authorities told The AP.

This is a couple of steps beyond the old delicatessen joke where the guy comes in to buy a whole load of seafood, and the attendant asks if they should deliver it. "No, just throw it to me," he says. "I have to be able to say that I caught it."

Gentry could face five years in Club Fed and a $20,000 fine, not to mention the eternal memory of not having had the stones to do any real hunting.

(Via skippy the bush kangaroo.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:46 AM)
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The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

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