Saturday, August 31, 2002
So, anyway, the Germans didn't lend us a hand, NATO did.
Aside: Here's a great picture of a NATO AWACS over Niagra Falls.
Friday, August 30, 2002
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Despite the efforts of many, Jedi will not become an officially recognized religion in Australia.What is scarier; A bunch of nerds claiming "Jedi" as their religion, or a government that assumes the power to declare which religions are "officially recognized in Australia"?
"If, for example, people of a particular religious affiliation do not provide the correct information, certain facilities might not be built that otherwise would be." [said the Australian Bureau of Statistics.]I hope, for the Aussies' sakes, that they don't mean that the state will or will not build certain facililties based upon religious information from the census. I hope against hope that they mean that some churches might mis-estimate their populations based upon faulty data. I hope.
William Safire, writing about how Bloomberg pulled an article that might have offended the Lee family, starts with a good jibe, and ends with a clever jab.
Let me see if I can write today's column without getting sued. It has to do with my old pal Lee Kuan Yew, who prefers to be called "senior minister" rather than dictator of Singapore, and whose family members have been doing exceedingly well lately.Oh, and the stuff in between is pretty good, too.
I tried to reach the C.E.O. of Bloomberg, Lex Fenwick, but he dove under his desk. The founder, one Michael Bloomberg, is no longer with the firm and left no forwarding address.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
[Bradford] admitted that the parking lot raid arrests may be illegal, if people were never told they were trespassing and given a chance to leave.
Bradford said that if that's true, then he wonders why his officers followed an illegal order to arrest everyone.
The city attorney told the council that if an internal affairs investigation reveals that the arrests were illegal, the city will dismiss all of the charges against all of the people and even overturn the convictions for those who pleaded guilty to get out of jail.
Watch for the interesting side story in this case of the high capacity ammunition feeding devices (manufactured after the '94 ban). Each one is worth a few years in federal pen, unless you are a government sanctioned armed-bureaucrat.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
"Actions such as this impugn not only my integrity but also the judgment of FBI and DOJ [Department of Justice] officials in the decision-making progress," Harp wrote. "My actions have been scrutinized at the highest levels of the FBI and DOJ, and no wrongdoing was found. . . . I firmly stand on my record."
Yates said Monday that the arrests were made to prevent innocent people from being killed by dangerous drag racers.Again with the "arrest the children to save the children" nanny-state nonsense. Yates, like his client, is an idiot.
Monday, August 26, 2002
A judge today denied a request from Houston Police Capt. Mark A. Aguirre to force the City of Houston to remove an investigation of the officer from the control of Police Chief C.O. Bradford.Aguirre believes that the Chief cannot be impartial, since he is in the chain of command. I hope, for Houston's sake, that the IAD of the HPD has the structure, and capability, to investigate any and all members of the force, right up to the top.
- Aguirre, head thug of the MACFU, relieved of duty, disgraced, unrepentent and without shame, has stepped up to defend his actions at the MACFU.
- A pre-raid memo has been released that detailed the need to arrest racers and their fans in order to crack down. Pity, when they showed up no one was racing.
At the time, blood from several farmers was pooled and centrifuged to skim off the plasma, which the blood stations sold to companies to make medicines. The remaining red cells were pooled and transfused back into the sellers, providing a gruesomely efficient method for transmitting blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis and AIDS.
Yates said the raid in the parking lot of the 24-hour Kmart Super Center in the 8400 block of Westheimer was part of an ongoing effort. He said seven fatalities in recent months have been attributed to drag racing and related hooliganism.So, I infer, their reasoning was something like "We must arrest the children to save the children."
Sunday, August 25, 2002
Aguirre is a member of the HPOU, so the union has a duty to obtain representation for him. But the union chose to hire an attorney not on staff to represent him because a number of other union members were involved in his sting last weekend, Marticiuc said.Wow, even his own union sees that he put the officers in his command in a bad spot. A bad spot that none of them complained about in situ, but a bad spot nonetheless.
That decision also was made to avoid a conflict of interest: "There's a darn good possibility that other officers' perspectives may be different from his -- that's another reason he was farmed out," Marticiuc said.
The second article mostly just rehashes old stuff, but offers this "new" take on the raids:
What got Aguirre into trouble, the officers say, is that he used his harsh tactics last weekend on young people with affluent families instead of the poor, homeless, disenfranchised and largely voiceless people targeted on his home turf.
[...] 11 news has learned the chief, himself, was apparently in on the planning for Operation E-racer.Operation E-Racer?
Houston Police Chief Clarence Bradford made it clear this week that the raid on Westheimer would be thoroughly investigated.
Monday night Chief Bradford called for an investigation of the controversial crackdown. He wanted to know who was in charge? What instructions were given to officers? And why were arrests made instead of issuing citations?
Who was in charge? It turned out to be HPD Captain Mark Aguirre. He told 11 news that he was surprised the chief had so many questions about the raid. "It was my understanding that Chief Bradford was in the loop," said Aguirre. "I assume that. Nothing of this magnitude would escape his attention."
Friday night 11 News obtained an interoffice correspondence, which appears to back Captain Aguirre's beliefs. The memo is the plan for last weekend's raid. It was sent to Chief Bradford on May 13, months ago.
In the correspondence Captain Aguirre explains to the chief the proposed solution for the problems in that area and why issuing tickets would not work.
[Link found at Off the Kuff]
Aguirre is not allowed to comment since he has been ordered by HPD not to talk about the matter, but his attorney said Saturday's disciplinary action was unexpected.Surprised?
"We're very surprised about that," Yates said. "To our knowledge, he's the only person (connected to the raid) who's been relieved."
No surprise here. That is, no surprise that Aguirre has a dumbass attorney.
If by that he means that they didn't get the courtesy phone call before the Captain got picked up, I guess I believe him. If the mouthpiece actually means that a suspension pending the results of the investigation was unexpected, then I suppose Aguirre's attorney is a double dumbass.
"No comment." Learn it, love it, live it.
Saturday, August 24, 2002
- At-large member of the Houston city council Michael Berry tagged along with the HPD on the Friday night "practice" raid at James Coney Island. His reasons for not coming forward until a week later, and for not complaining about HPD''s blatantly illegal behavior ranges from
"But looking at what I knew and when I knew it, I was trying to understand police techniques," Berry said Friday. "I didn't know that's not what is done every time. I just didn't know that."to
I was trying to get an idea on that because if I'm ever put in a position as mayor to make the decision on whether to fire the guy who called the command[.]Well, Mr. Berry, I see little threat of that need ever arising.
Asked whether he would discipline Aguirre or others in the Houston Police Department if he were mayor now, Berry responded, "It's an HPD question. They know the rules."The question, Mr. Berry, is not whether or not they know the rules; The question is whether or not HPD followed the rules.
Berry chalked it up to a learning experience.The lesson: Tagging along for an illegal police raid is fun, until people find out that you were there.
"A lot of people can sit in their office on Monday morning and quarterback and say it shouldn't be done," Berry said. "But they don't know how we catch criminals, and I was out there getting my hands dirty trying to learn."We?
He is actually associating himself with the officers that conducted the MACFU.
HPD did not catch any criminals that night. HPD manufactured criminals.
Berry said that despite the large number of arrests, police were not abusive or overbearing at the James Coney Island bust.Sure, they may have let her go, but what about the 25 people they did arrest?
"They treated people fairly," he said. "There was a woman with a baby; they let her go."
- The ACLU (or at least the TCLU, if there is such a thing), is going to file suit on behalf of all those wrongfully arrested.
Friday, August 23, 2002
About a dozen protesters dotted Bush's motorcade route. Some waved signs saying, "No attack of Iraq. You can't fix Daddy's mistake" and "More forests, less Bush."which is typical fare for coverage of any Presidential motorcade, and usually stands alone as "complete news coverage." I was pleased to see, for once, some balancing coverage to really describe what is typically seen along a motorcade:
The demonstrators along the route were far outnumbered by people waiting at the ends of their driveways who held signs saying "We love you" and "We support you."
Police supervisors, from sergeants up to an assistant chief, have received notices that they're under internal investigation, possibly facing a reprimand or suspension.Such a tactic was approached in the JCI story, where it was mentioned that HPD officers strongly recommended that signs put up. The KPRC story linked above, however, marks a new low: Public money being used to set a trap on private land.
But LaFon said that supervisors and any street officers, who arrested innocent people, could face charges, even if they were just following orders to arrest everyone.
"I would expect that any officer being given an order that's a clear violation of the law would not carry out that, and identify it as such," LaFon said.
News2Houston Investigators said that HPD is not answering their questions about whether department money was used to purchase the signs.
Hmmm, "just following orders." Now where have I heard that before?
Sonic officials said Thursday that they never complained to police about the regular weekend crowd, had no warning of the raid and ordered employees to protect customers as the operation began.
Dismayed Sonic employees refused to allow police to tow 12 cars that the arrested customers were forced to leave in the lot.
"We wanted the opportunity for our customers to come get their cars without paying towing charges," said Celina Abernathy, a Sonic spokeswoman. Such charges can exceed $100. "Obviously we don't want our customers arrested. That is just common sense."
Sonic has never warned trespassers, filed complaints or signed paperwork to allow police to make arrests under the city trespassing ordinance, Abernathy said. Kmart officials have declined to explain the steps they took before the arrests.
Thursday, August 22, 2002
"I'm almost gone. I'm gonna finish the year and that will be it," he [Aguirre] says. "It's gotten to be too much. I don't see staying in a profession that does not reward excellence. If they're going to mess with you and make it intolerable to do what you have to do, why stay? I'll go to the private sector, where you're rewarded commensurate with your effort.Boy, Cortinas didn't know the half of it!
"I love doing this, but at what health cost to me? I'm the only one rowing the boat here. I've only got one oar, and I'm going around in circles."
Some will be sorry to see him go. "Captain Aguirre, whether he stays in office or whatever road he takes, he's delivered something to this city that will never be forgotten," says Second Ward activist Cortinas.
"We signed a trespass affidavit that said `James Coney Island requests on our behalf that the Houston Police Department requests all persons who are not patrons in the normal course of business to immediately leave the property or be arrested,' " Straughan said, quoting the agreement.Someone really needs to lose their job(s) over these actions, and perhaps face criminal charges, too. Swooping in and arresting legitimate invitees of a business for trespassing without first giving them a chance to leave upon notice should not be happening in a civilized country.
But no one had the opportunity to "immediately leave," Straughan said.
"From what we have learned, nobody that HPD arrested was asked whether they were there as a customer," he said. The police "just showed up, blocked off entrances, and arrested everybody."
Straughan declined to comment on Aguirre, but he said the company plans to file a complaint with the Police Department. Officials with Kmart did not respond to calls for comment.
Mayor Lee Brown said he has asked the city's Office of Inspector General to speed up its investigation.Yeah, just so long as the investigation doesn't lead right back to the Mayor's own office!
[Continuing thanks to niki for excellent coverage on this story.]
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
How passengers will be affected:
- Continental will charge $80 for a third piece of checked luggage. Delta, which just announced a similar policy, plans to charge $40 for the third checked bag. [Losing luggage will still be provided at no additional charge.]
- Charges for items that were previously free to Continental's low-fare customers will be disclosed over the next three weeks. Food and beverages aren't likely to be included. [Phew!]
- Paper tickets will cost $20 on Continental, the same amount other airlines have started charging. [I'm sure they meant to say "$20 more than e-tickets," otherwise this will be a pretty good fare sale.]
- Continental vows rigid enforcement of excess baggage charges and change fees.[No word on charges for excess-size passengers.]
Delta says it will no longer bend rules when it comes to refunding non-refundable tickets, waiving minimum-stay requirements or advance-purchase periods.
Well, the first person to post a message about the MACFU at the KTRK message board says that this all came from The Mayor's Office.
The decisions made by the captain in charge of the controversial operation are being questioned by internal affairs. On Tuesday, the police union held a press conference to talk about the incident.
He's [the Chief's] conducting an investigation to determine what happened," said Mayor Lee Brown. "He's expressed pretty clearly the answers he wants. Why did this happen? Why was this particular captain in charge? It's not his area. Why he, being the chief, wasn't notified."
Those questions, according to the police union, should have been answered long before Operation Erasure's first arrest. The union will provide attorneys for the more than 50 officers who were at the scene to protect those officers during the investigation.
"I would imagine that the city's position will be on hunkering down to limit their liability," said Marticuic. "As the union, our position would be to represent these officers that are out there trying to do their jobs, being ordered to do their jobs in such a manner."
District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal's office is listening to complaints about what happened this weekend, but stopped short of saying there was an investigation. According to the union, decisions to make arrests generally don't come from captains on the scene. They say they generally come from a bit higher up in the police department hierarchy.
I wonder if they will be fired instead of the officer that gave the orders?
[And a thanks to Professor Reynolds for sending this pitiful blog over a thousand hits yesterday.]
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
UPDATE: 8/21/2002 I saw the sherriff whose deputy made this arrest on GMA this morning. Apparently the emergency room workers who saw the kids didn't think the burns were that bad. The sherriff, however, defended the actions saying that his department had to "protect our kids" by "sending a wake-up call to the mother" because "social services is always dropping the ball". He further added that his department would continue to do whatever it took to protect OUR kids.
Silly me, I always thought that kids belonged to their parents, not to the government. Except in Cuba.
See this message by "zeraf":
Word I have and is unoffical at this point. But apperently our alustirous Mayor has taken upon himslef with no legal backing of any kind and assembled a task force to arrest any sport bike riders hanging out in groups. This is reguardless of where they are or what they are doing. And any bystander around where they are will be arrested as well. This is far more gestapo thenn when they arrrest drag racers and any watching. At least there there is some probably cause. But for the sport bike riders they will be arrested in the absence of commiting any chrime. Thay are bering arrested for no more then owning a sport bike. The people arrested at JCI were arrested for tresspassing, yet they were in the establishment eating food purchased there at the time of thier arrest. So how they justified tresspassing is unknown.I think that this is a different mass arrest than the Kmart MACFU, but I'm not sure.
Indiana University was crowned the nation's No. 1 "party school" Monday in an annual Princeton Review survey that school leaders and medical experts derided as irresponsible and unscientific.Sounds like somebody could use a brewski.
The American Medical Association has repeatedly criticized the "party school" rankings, saying they irresponsibly legitimize high-risk drinking and portray alcohol as central to college life.
On Monday, Richard Yoast of the AMA's Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse called the survey "a marketing gimmick" and said it does a disservice to quality universities.
Understatement to say Kmart raid was badly handled
There must be a number of different ways police could have handled complaints they received about drag-racing around west Houston neighborhoods and teenagers loitering in a nearby Kmart parking lot. Houston police officers apparently chose the second worst way of dealing with the situation -- short of actually firing upon the several hundred young people congregating in the parking lot of the huge variety store.
Not long after midnight Saturday night, scores of police officers swarmed over the Kmart parking lot in the 8400 block of Westheimer and arrested 278 people, most for criminal trespassing, which is a misdemeanor. Apparently, the officers had been instructed to target drag racers who had been annoying area residents and business owners. When none was found, it seems that the captain in charge ordered officers to place everyone on the scene under arrest. A number of cars were towed.
Sure, there were probably scads of kids who were hanging out in front of the 24-hour shopping center, some playing loud music or perhaps engaging in underage drinking or drug use. The store reportedly is a social mecca for young people looking to see and be seen late at night.
But the police should have given everyone an opportunity to leave of their own accord along with a warning that they'd be arrested if they did not promptly comply. They could have arrested those they saw engaged in obvious illegal activity.
What they did rather -- given several reports that share the ring of truth -- was to round up young people indiscriminately, including shoppers who happened out of the store at the wrong time, patrons of a nearby hamburger joint and at least one 10-year-old girl who became separated from her father in the law enforcement-induced melee. All were restrained in plastic handcuffs, forced to spend the night in jail or juvenile detention and post hundreds of dollars in bail.
Houston police can expect a slew of complaints from angry parents and young adults caught up in the poorly executed raid. The cost of any lawsuits filed will be borne by the innocent taxpayers. HPD owes them at least a pledge that this incident will be thoroughly investigated, as the police chief has called for. When completed, stern disciplinary action should be meted out -- to those who deserve it.
The officers said the captain in charge, Mark Aguirre, ordered them to round up everyone who was outside the 24-hour Kmart Super Center or eating at the Sonic Drive-in next door, even though they found no drag racers.Here's a quick summary, of what I believe, upon distilling many reports of what happened in Houston:
Police planned an operation to nab drag-racers hanging out in a K-mart parking lot. Apparently this has been getting out of hand, and the K-mart lot was the hanging out and staging point of many of these races. "Scores" of officers were participating, including 2 "sting" cars at the parking lot, driven by officers. The operation had been planned for months.
Police show up in force, but there is a slight problem; No one is drag racing. Frustrated at seeing the potential wasting of hundreds of hours of police time, Captain Mark Aguirre, "ordered them to round up everyone who was outside the 24-hour Kmart Super Center or eating at the Sonic Drive-in next door, even though they found no drag racers."
Hundreds of people, including many innocent bystanders were arrested for violating the Texas criminal trespass statute, and 42 minors were arrested for violating the city's midnight curfew law. There is a report that some of the minor's arrested for violating the curfew were out at the Sonic with their parents, but after being separated from their parents by police action, the minor(s) were taken to juvenile detention.
All in all, a grade one Cluster-Fuck.
Houston Police Chief C.O. Bradford ordered an investigation Monday into the weekend arrests of hundreds of people gathered peacefully at a westside parking lot by police who were assigned to stop illegal drag racing.
Officers on the scene called the arrests "utterly, utterly senseless" on Monday, and said the captain in charge, Mark Aguirre, ordered them to round up everyone who was outside the 24-hour Kmart Super Center or eating at the Sonic Drive-In next door.
The operation had been weeks in planning and involved dozens of officers. But officers involved said that when no drag racers were found, they were ordered to arrest the 278 people there.
UPDATE: Link to Texas Criminal Trespass statute:
[partial only, check link for complete text.]
(a) A person commits an offense if he enters or remains on property, including an aircraft, of another without effective consent or he enters or remains in a building of another without effective consent and he:
(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.
Monday, August 19, 2002
The prospect of long lines and finding space for the minivan-sized [bomb detection] machines in already cramped airports [Caution: Link is to a very large FAA document.] have led Congress to consider delaying the screening requirement by a year.
"I see disaster coming," said Bruce Baumgartner, aviation manager at Denver International Airport. "If it doesn't work and people are inconvenienced, people are going to stop flying."
Airports without enough of the explosive detection machines in place by year's end must check bags with smaller hand-held equipment that finds traces of explosives.
The trace detectors require more employees and take longer to examine luggage than the larger machines.
Without enough employees and equipment, passengers could face waits of three hours to have their baggage checked for explosives, said Kevin Cox, senior executive vice president at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
"It will be catastrophic," he said.
Me -- I'm all for juries having, and using this power. Too many damn things are illegal these days, and the jury box offers society its last peaceful method to avoid tyranny.
I guess NYC Democrats didn't get the memo.
Halt in political ads sought as 9/11 anniversary nears
A top Democrat wants to halt campaign advertising during the week leading up to Sept. 11.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, proposed a five-day political advertising moratorium in a letter sent Friday to Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., her counterpart at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
DEMS ON POLITICIZING 9/11:
DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO
For 11 months, we have heard the caterwauling from Democrats about how Republicans should not use the 9/11 attacks for political purposes.
Yet now the New York State Democratic Committee will run a blatantly political ad on Sept. 10, ostensibly to preempt the camera-time certain Republicans may get on the 9/11 anniversary.
Sunday, August 18, 2002
Please do not let Jeffrey go to law school. We like him just the way he is, properly full of both angst and whelm, at least according the dipsticks you installed at the factory.
Please give Jeffrey something, anything, really, to believe in enough so that he does not feel the need to squander the next three years of his life pursuing such an horrific goal.
Lord, as you and I both know, I have fulfilled my end of the deal we made while I was in law school. In case you do not remember the terms (Yeah, right, like you'd ever forget anything, other than my birthday, you old bastard, would it kill to send a stinking card) of our agreement, I quote the relevant paragraphs, to wit:
XXI - Apellant agrees to never practice law for money.
XXII - Apellant agrees to counsel every single one of his friends, acquanitences, employees, co-employees, bosses, spouse, children, strangers on the street, FRATERNITY BROTHERS, brokers, doctors, other service personnel and especially rabbits TO NEVER ATTEND LAW SCHOOL, UNLESS THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN OF THE POSITION IN WHICH THEY WILL UTILIZE THE SKILLS OF BEING A LAWYER, BEFORE COMMENCING THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
As you know, God, I have kept up my end of the bargain, the above provisions included. In return, I expect you to keep working on reducing the overall enrollment in U.S. law schools, to continue working on tort reforrm legislation, and, of course, to not retroactively fail me out of law school.
And, cochise, while you are at it, I fully expect you to stop sending my wife those dreams she continues to have about failing out of law school, especially now that she has been admitted to the bar of 2 states and D.C. for twice as long as it took her to get through law school.
So let it be written, so let it be done,
In your name,
Saturday, August 17, 2002
Speaker: James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation
"A lot of these real famous football, basketball, baseball players getting off at Gate C33 and marching through the regular terminal?" he said. "They see it as distractive and creating another security risk."Silly me, I thought the security we were worrying about here was someone using a large aircraft as an involuntarily manned cruise-missile. Turns out we were really worrying about the security needs of professional athletes not wanting to deal with the public.
Nice to know Mr. Coyne isn't prone to exaggeration. I'm sure he's very trustworthy, and that he has security listed as job one.
He thinks adding more security to a private charter is overkill. "These are the most closely guarded planes, short of Air Force One, on the planet," he said.
Aside: Individuals and small groups flying on their Gulfstream GV's magically fall under the 95,000 pound limit by just 4,500 pounds. Don't you think the
powers-that-be could have been a little less obvious how they consider themselves, and their ilk, above the law? They would have provided themselves at least a modicum of cover had they chosen to peg the weight limit at 100,000 pounds and higher.
Friday, August 16, 2002
Other than their own parents. For girls, anyway.
[Via DailyPundit] By working their last one day before retirement in a position covered by Social Security, Texas public school teachers have been avoiding the Government Pension Offset (Also known as "The Windfall Elimination Provision") The worst part, this is actively pushed by the union, and facilitated by public school boards that actively advertise, and charge participants, to provide one-day jobs in order to avoid the law.
Thursday, August 15, 2002
Blogger presented me with this message:
Clicking on "why?" brings up this:
UPDATE: FOUR HOURS LATER, THIS FINALLY POSTS.
FURTHER UPDATE: I've been thinking about this, and I finally know why it makes me mad: its that damn indefinite article. Pyra doesn't claim ownership of the overwhelmed server, it merely refers to "A server". What's up with that? Reminds me of this exchange from Fight Club:
Narrator: My suitcase was vibrating?
Airport Security Officer: Nine times out of ten it's an electric razor, but every once in a while...
Airport Security Officer: it's a dildo. Of course it's company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo... always use the indefinite article "a dildo", never "your dildo".
Arabia faces the opposite problem. There are a large number of unmarried women living (for now) under the rule of the house of Saud that have no desire to enter arranged marriages.
There must be some way, short of a shooting war, to hook them up with each other.
On second thought, maybe a shooting war is exactly what is called for here. We could enlist these men in the war on terror, letting them loose to topple the Saud regime as they see fit. Afterwards, once they've kicked the Saud's ass, we hold the biggest "Sixty Second Dates" session in history.
Just call me Yenta.
[George Will article courtesy The Hub.]
[This is Satire. I further understand that our world resists satire, so let me make it clear that I do not think that this is really a good idea. Still further, I wish disclaimers were not required...]
Not a visit to my friend's place, before or after 9/11, goes without a supposition of just how many blocks that building would fall if knocked on its side.
I consider this one of his best essays, an analysis of the international scene on par with the quality of RLK's domestic analyses.
[RLK's writings linked to in sidebar]
- Heartstring Pullers Working Overtime for 9/11 Anniversary
- Estate of John Holmes Restates Penis Length
- Incompetent Space Aliens Create Shitty Crop Pattern
- Houston Texans to Restate Win/Loss Expectations
And, from my favorite section, News From Travistan (Article at link)
- Travistan Upholds Old Navy Embargo
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
"It happens all the time," Reed said at City Hall. "This then gives the theater owner the authority to tell people, 'You are violating the law, you have to leave.' "What an ass. If intrusive government, omnipresent bureaucrats and crippling regulations hadn't destroyed private property rights, freedom of association, free thought and self-sufficiency, then the theatre owner would be free to kick cell-talking jerks out on their keisters. Instead, they run their theaters in constant fear of litigation or investigation for discrimination, questionable business practices, labor practice violations, union thuggery and countless other cryptic regulations.
I suppose it is just as worthwhile to order your law-enforcement agents to be ineffective inside air-conditioned terminals as it is to order them to be ineffective in air conditioned cruisers.
It truly boggles the mind that we are pulling people off of our borders in order to root through granny's luggage, confiscate 1" long toy weapons, and make women drink their own breast milk. It is high time we Impeach Norman Mineta.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
- Man sends federal court invoice for $16,800 for time ordered to be served on jury duty. I'm sure it has been tried before, but I wonder if anyone has ever successfully challenged lengthy jury service on 16th amendment grounds?
- Not happy with mere prop-eye-candy backdrops, President Bush is now squarely standing behind his messages.
- The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor has some interesting dirt on the Illinois Air National Guard:
The former commander of the F16 squadron that accidentally bombed Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan had warned state officials that cronyism and mismanagement in the Illinois Air National Guard could cause safety problems in the future.
Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Terry Rogan says he contacted the Illinois governor's office and other elected officials in 1996 to alert them to problems in the command structure that, he predicted, would one day cost lives. "I told them, 'It's not a question of if, it's a question of when'," he said.
"These guys are going to take out people, and they're going to take them out in big numbers."
Mr. Rogan was concerned that poor leadership of the Illinois Air National Guard was to blame for the inordinate number of accidents involving F16 pilots.
A report in the Chicago Sun-Times found that the Illinois Air Guard had a serious accident rate that is nearly five times higher than the U.S. air force over a 10-year period.
Monday, August 12, 2002
Anonymous means without an attribution of source. All my posts are attributed to a pen name, that is, The Comedian. If you want to know whether or not to trust me, read some of my posts and decide for yourself.
[Oh, and the linked article is a bunch of crap,
so don't waste your time on it. I linked to
it just to prove that the headline is real.]
"Those poor bastards at Gruner + Jahr," one media insider tells PAGE SIX's Ian Spiegelman. "Rosie pulled the old bait and switch on them. They thought they were getting Oprah Two. They didn't realize they were getting this woman who was going to retire from network TV and become an activist and a bit of a freak show."Seems to me giving Rosie a magazine in the first place simply repeated a bad habit of many investors: If you like horses: Don't buy them, bet on them.
A Rhode Island Jury awarded Judith Oliveira $27,978,201.00 for injuries suffered in an automobile crash four years ago. The judgment is against Chase Manhanntan Automotive Finance, the lessor of the vehicle. To repeat, the company that financed the purchase of the car that injured Judith Oliveira just lost twenty eight million dollars when one of its leased vehicles was involved in a crash.
I suspect that if is not overturned then within a few years you either will not be able to lease a car in Rhode Island, or lease prices will include a serious up-charge to cover the financial risk of facing personal injury suits in Little Rhody.
Sunday, August 11, 2002
That wacky bastard just might win if he runs from prison.
[And yes, I'm whoring this graphic over at CafePress.com...]
Friday, August 09, 2002
"Remember what I told you that first day?" said [Underperformin',] Norm. " 'You know the rules. Go by the book.' "
"I went and bought the book," I said. "The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. They had it at the airport newsstand and, boy, thanks for the tip. It's got a lot of great dating advice and, for those of us at the metal detector, it sure helps while away the mid-afternoon lull when they're boarding the flight to Riyadh."
Are they hoping to turn the Peachtree into a leaning tower of Pizza? I suppose it is easier on the attendees to be at a hotel where nothing is too far from the elevators, as opposed to planning the meeting at a sprawling center like Opryland, where lots of walking is required.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but taking on the safety risks of having to evacuate a bunch of mobility limited lardasses out of a high rise hotel just does not make sense. (Aside: Disturbing mental image of cramming into an elevator with a bunch of these NAAF'ers, who would assure you that everyone will be more comfortable if you just put your elbows down and let their flab lay on top of you during the elevator ride.)
My sources in the city regularly report to me their sightings of double parked vehicles outside of fancy restaurants, vehicles protected by city issued placards for the police department & child welfare services. My sources' upper west side sightings include seeing Land Cruisers, Range Rovers, G-Wagons, various other Mercedes and, even a Lamborghini once, double parked while displaying city issued parking passes.
(They are unsure if the passes belonged to the vehicles, or perhaps to some of the restaurants. Either way would be dirty, but so long as the pass went with the eatery we wouldn't have to deal with the implied problem of city employees driving quarter-million dollar cars.)
All governments, even city hall, hate facing competition. If someone wants immunity from the parking laws in NYC, they should have to pay the bribes just like everyone else. The gall on these diplomats, thinking themselves above having to kick into the local graft kitty.
Thursday, August 08, 2002
We had some friends over tonight for dinner. They brought over some beer and muchies, in which I found a game piece for the Frito Lay "Find Real Cash" summer promotion. When I went over to the Frito Lay game website to see if I we had won anything, I found myself confronted with a bunch of nosy demographics questions that were required just to find out if I'd won anything, AND I had to choose a username.
Not looking forward to any return visits to this travesty, I chose a UserID based upon how their questions made me feel. Unfortunately for me, someone had already taken my chosen name. Fortunately for me, Frito Lay was kind enough to suggest another available nickname:
[I searched and searched for the still version of the "15 of 19" flag, but I could not find it. I want to give credit to the blogger who first came up with the idea, so if any reader knows the creator's name, please let me know.]
I used to mock our neighbors to the north after hearing stories about women crossing the border having tiny, revolver-shaped earrings confiscated by Canadian customs under the Canuck's "weapons" laws.
I am reminded of an old Mel Brooks line: "We mock the things we are to be."
We are all doomed.
[This all begs the question of how tiny does a toy firearm have to be to pass through security? The first (reported below on 8/5) GI Joe disarming involved a toy 2" in length, this one a toy 1" in length. Would a Star-Wars action figures 3/4" accessory get confiscated? How about a toy light-saber? Not only is it a fictional toy weapon, it is based upon a fictional weapon. How about a comically over-sized weapon, something like what Elektra assassin carried?]
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
- Music Industry Sinking From Internet Piracy, Shitty Music
- Tom Cruise's 2010 Love Muffin Preps to Enter 8th Grade
- Arrogant Prick Think Tank Announces Solution to All Problems
- Titanic to Restate Seaworthiness
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
(Rev. 3 - Adds "C i t i" elements)
Update inspired by a Washington Times article about Imus savaging Lieberman. Imus was still talking about Lieberman's loss of character this morning, and Bernard was savage. Good stuff, good stuff.
UPDATE: For many, many months now I have called the different versions of the image above "Naming Rights of a Politician." Imagine my surprise and delight at this snippet of transcript from Imus' questioning of Sen. Lieberman.
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman said Friday that he couldn't remember the exact amount of campaign cash he'd accepted over the years from Citigroup, whose chairman Robert Rubin he has yet to call to testify before his Enrongate probe.Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman said Friday that he couldn't remember the exact amount of campaign cash he'd accepted over the years from Citigroup, whose chairman Robert Rubin he has yet to call to testify before his Enrongate probe.[Transcript courtesy Newsmax, found via DayPop.]
During an interview with radio host Don Imus, the Connecticut Democrat acknowledged accepting $2,000 in contributions from Enron, prompting this exchange:
IMUS: Well, what did you get from Citigroup?
LIEBERMAN: More, but I couldn't tell you the amount.
IMUS: Was it, like, $10,000?
LIEBERMAN: Ah - I honestly don't know. I'd say it was ...
IMUS: How about a million?
LIEBERMAN: Oh, no. It was definitely somewhere between $10,000 and ...
IMUS: Was it a million and a babe?
LIEBERMAN: (Laughing) A million and naming rights for some building here on my compound.(End of Excerpt)
In fact, over the past six years, Citigroup gave Lieberman $59,256, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The hefty sum makes Robert Rubin's firm by far the single largest contributor to the Connecticut Democrat's campaign coffers since 1996.
Asked whether Rubin will be appearing before his committee, Lieberman said he hadn't made a final decision. "My intention is to end these hearings in September or October," he told Imus, indicating that if Rubin was called it would be before the November election.
When pressed why he refused to commit to calling Rubin, Lieberman protested, "Hey, this is not political."
The response prompted audible guffaws from Imus and his crew.
Monday, August 05, 2002
Near the end of the second full-scale pat-down he and his wife, Grayce, had undergone by Transportation Security Administration guards, just steps from boarding a 7:30 a.m. flight they had almost missed, he saw the screener poking into his wallet.We are all doomed.
Having been a first lieutenant in the Army and owner of his own metal-plating business for 25 years, Hubbell said he is used to speaking his mind. Sometimes, he admitted, it has got him in hot water.
"I said, `What do you expect to find in there, a rifle?'" he said. When the trooper asked me, `Do you think that was an appropriate remark?' I said, `I do.'" That's when Hubbell was taken into custody by Trooper Wayne Foster.
Dana Cosgrove, head of the federal security force that moved into Bradley last week, sees it differently.
"What he said [regarding the wallet] was, `You better look at it real good; there may be a rifle in there.' And all that the people around him in the waiting room heard was the word `rifle.'"
Sasha writes, "If you don't see a revolving cylinder, it's a semi-automatic."
This is a bit of an over-simplification of matters. There are several types of handguns whose actions do not fall into his artificially limited categories. Familiar to cowboy action shooters today, and real frontiersman of days long gone, the derringers have just a single shot (per barrel, up to four barrels being common). As in Thompson Contender pistols, the pistol is reloaded by manually removing the spent shell and placing another shell into the breach. Remington manufactured a single shot bolt-action pistol called the XP-100, used primarily by hunters and long-range target shooters.
Another type of action is represented by the Semmerling LM-4, which cosmetically appears to be a semi-automatic, though it is in actuality a manually operated repeater.
And strangest of all has to be the Mateba Auto-Revolver, a revolver that advances the cylinder by using the energy of recoil.
That's all I can think of for now, though if anyone can come up with others I will update this post.
[Link from The Buck Stops Here, whose archives are not currently functioning.]
My tiny contribution to this discussion is to remind everyone that there are more unique identifiers out there by which your purchases can be tracked than mere discount cards.
- Credit card numbers and debit card numbers provide a wonderful cross-merchant way to track your purchase habits.
- Individually serial-numbered coupons and discount vouchers provide a useful tracking mechanism. Web coupons, checkout-printed coupons, and direct-mail delivered coupons often have unique identifiers by which merchants can track who purchased what. It is not inconceivable that house-level tracking could be instituted even for sunday-paper delivered coupons.
- Surveys: I've noticed that whenever I pay cash for groceries at my local Target Store the end of my receipt contains a survey/contest that makes me eligible to win a (single) prize of $1,000 for answering a bunch of intrusive questions over the phone or on the web. I have never received one of the surveys when I paid by credit card, and I have received the survey each and every one of the more than ten times I've paid cash there in the last 6 months.
- It is not outside the scope of reality that a store could correlate purchases with the license plate number of the vehicle into which the purchase is loaded. This one has not yet happened, so far as I know, other than at land based duty-free shops, which require the license plate of your vehicle to complete purchases.
1) The headline should read, "Man Sues Airline For Being Seated Under Obese Man," because if this was bad enough to sue over it is likely that the fatty spilled over onto Mr. Shafer.
Man Sues Airline For Being Seated Next To Obese ManDelta Spokesman Calls Man's Lawsuit Trivial
August 1, 2002
ASHLAND, Ohio -- An Ashland man is suing Delta Airlines because he was seated next to an obese man during a two-hour flight last November.
Philip Shafer said that Delta breached its contract to provide him with a full seat and reasonable comfort. Shafer claims he suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress from the flight.
"I think these large people have a responsibility to take control, either to get two seats, or talk to the airline," Shafer said. "The airline has a responsibility to take care of this problem. The last person who should be worried is the innocent passenger."
An attorney for Delta called the suit trivial and said that it is not a legitimate issue. The case is set to go to court in mid-September.
2) I am amazed that the Delta attorney would dismiss the suit as trivial. Would the lawyer have said this about a suit brought by a fatty complaining about tight seats or challenging the two-seat requirement?
Thursday, August 01, 2002
No one could tell her why she gasped for air, until she got a letter in the mail inviting her to take a free lung test at the Carthage Health Department.
Redman later would learn that more than 30 other workers at the Gilster-Mary Lee popcorn plant suffered symptoms of the same rare lung disease, known as bronchiolitis obliterans - literally, obliteration of the lung's airways.
Federal health officials believe the workers contracted the disease by breathing fumes from a thick, yellow butter flavoring mixed into popcorn. In a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators found that workers at the plant had 3.3 times the rate of lung obstruction seen in the general population. Curiously, non-smokers at the plant developed lung obstruction at 10.8 times the normal rate.
A slight problem with the theory, however, is presented in Illinois, where an angry mob beat the occupants of a van to death after the van ran over a curb and into pedestrians, injuring three.
[Link from Airliners.net's news update email service.]
Al-Jazirah quoted eyewitnesses and officials at King Khaled International Airport as saying the cobras escaped yesterday after a customs officer insisted that the man, who had flown in from Cairo, open his suitcases for a search.
Mohammad al-Dakheel, head of the airport's customs, said the snakes were killed in cooperation with the ministry of agriculture.
He declined to say how many the snakes had slithered free, but eyewitnesses estimated it at around 300.
It was not immediately known why the passenger, whose nationality was not disclosed, was carrying the snakes. No injuries were reported.
The paper did not say if the man was arrested.