Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Falsely Marketed Baby Videos Have Odd New Fan: President Bush

Bush is happy to see six month old babies staring at a TV screen.

Don't have to worry about leaving any children behind if the rest of them never go anywhere.


From Mothering Magazine;

The following is the statement of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in response to President Bush using his January 23rd, 2007 State of the Union address to promote the Baby Einstein video series. During his speech, the President lauded Baby Einstein's founder, Julie Aigner-Clark, as an example of "the heroic kindness, courage and self-sacrifice of the American people," and described the success of Baby Einstein in detail. In 2006, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Baby Einstein (make sure this link remains active) for false and deceptive marketing; that complaint is pending.

"It is extremely disappointing that the President used his State of the Union address to provide a free infomercial for a company built on false and deceptive marketing. Despite its claims, there is no evidence that watching Baby Einstein videos is educational for babies and toddlers.

The President claimed that Ms. Aigner-Clark "represents the great enterprising spirit of America." We respectfully disagree. We don't believe that preying on parents' concerns about their children's well-being; deceiving customers about a product's benefits; or exploiting our youngest and most vulnerable children should have any role in the American marketplace. Research suggests that —for babies—TV viewing may be harmful. It's been found to interfere with cognitive development, language development and regular sleep patterns. The more time babies spend in front of TV, the less time they spend engaging in two activities that really do facilitate learning: interacting with parents away from screens, and spending time in creative play.

TV viewing can also be habituating. For older children, hours of television watched are linked to bullying, poor school performance and childhood obesity.

Despite these concerns, more babies are spending more time in front of televisions than ever. They do so, in part, because well-financed sophisticated marketing campaigns insure that we've all heard of Baby Einstein. Meanwhile, only 6% of parents are aware of that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two.
More here

Monday, January 29, 2007

‘Fat police’ put children on abuse list

Okay,I'm trying to get to bed, my baby is almost done nursing, my dogs have been out, kids are asleep and the damned U.K. keeps taking crazy pills.

Seriously, I was just going to scan the headlines once more, my head still reeling from the X-ray camera stuff, and I see this.

Just make my last comments a double order and super size them.


SOCIAL workers are placing obese children on the child protection register alongside victims thought to be at risk of sexual or physical abuse.

In extreme cases children have been placed in foster care because their parents have contributed to the health problems of their offspring by failing to respond to medical advice.

The intervention of social services in what was previously regarded as a private matter is likely to raise concerns about the emergence of the “fat police”.

Some doctors even advocate taking legal action against parents for illtreating their children by feeding them so much that they develop health problems.

Dr Russell Viner, a consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond Street and University College London hospitals, said: “In my practice, I can think of about 10 or 15 cases in which child protection action has been taken because of obesity. We now constantly get letters from social workers about child protection due to childhood obesity.” More here

U.K. Wants to See You Naked

What is going on in the

In the past I've joked about them becoming
Teletubby Land, with the disembodied voice telling passers by to pick up their dog poop, but it just keeps getting crazier.

I mean, would you wear a motorcycle helmet twenty four hours a day because it might keep you safer?

How about just a big, foam, bullet-proof suit and maybe have an "authority figure" from the government live with you just to make sure you're following all the proper governmental guidelines and to make sure you're not terrorist?

And what kind of a
freak wants to do this to people?

It's like they watched all but the last fifteen minutes of
V for Vendetta and thought it was suppose to be an instructional for governments.

Cassandra's been singing the same song for a long time.

No terrorists could confine and conform so many people for so long.


X-Ray Cameras om Lamppost Plan

The Government is considering installing X-ray cameras on lampposts to spot armed terrorists and other criminals.

According to a leaked memo seen by The Sun, "detection of weapons and explosives will become easier" if the scheme drawn up by Home Office officials is adopted.

However, officials acknowledged that it would be highly controversial as the cameras can "see" through clothing.

"The social acceptability of routine intrusive detection measures and the operational response required in the event of an alarm are likely to be limiting factors," the memo warned.

"Privacy is an issue because the machines see through clothing."
More here

Wife Clubs Mountain lion to Save Hubby

People always freak out about bears-but bears only attack if you startle them.

A mountain lion will stalk your ass in your own front yard. And these guys are everywhere.
When I was a teenager one showed up in a front yard, in the middle of Las Vegas (during a drought year).
Of course, with subdivisions going up all over their territory this will happen more often.

I like the way the husband micromanages the rescue; telling wify to reach into his pocket for a pen to stab kitty's eye.

Dude, leave the woman with a club alone. She's beating a lion to death for you. Imagine how in debt this guy will be to his wife. I would not want to be him if he screws up Valentine's day again this year.


Nell Hamm first saw the mountain lion when it had her husband’s head in its jaws.

The lion pounced on Jim Hamm at the tail end of the Hamm’s 10-mile hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Wednesday. The 70-year-old man was trailing behind Nell when the big cat attacked, pinning him face down on the trail.

His 65-year-old wife did all the right things. She approached and screamed at the lion. Then she grabbed a branch and began beating it on its back.

“It wouldn’t let go, no matter how hard I hit it,” Nell said in an interview at Mad River Community Hospital Thursday, where her husband was in intensive care recovering from surgery.

Jim, who was trying to tear at the face of the cat, told Nell to grab a pen from his pocket and stab the cat in the eyes. She did, but the pen broke.

“That lion never flinched,” Nell said. “I just knew it was going to kill him.”

Nell picked up the branch again and this time slammed it butt-end into the cat’s snout.

The lion had ignored Nell until then. Finally, she had its attention. The cat stepped back, pinning his ears at her.

“I thought he was going to attack me,” Nell said.

Instead, the cat slipped into the ferns and disappeared.

Terrified that the cat might come back, Nell told her husband that he had to get up and try to walk from the Brown Creek Trail to the Newton B. Drury Parkway parallel to U.S. Highway 101 to find help. He was losing blood quickly. It was about 3 p.m. More here

I put a pit bull label on this because it is another reason to own one(or two or three).

Friday, January 26, 2007

School Requires Silence During Lunch

One of the great things about homeschooling is socialization.

People always ask about it (ten years ago they wanted to know about eduction, but now that it's known that homeschoolers kick ass, they've move on to this) and what I usually say is school is suppose to be for learning.

So when it comes to socializing, what schools teach is that socialization is to be done illicitly. With the exception of lunch, and running between classes (or recess) they are not even suppose to talk to each other.

When my kids socialize that's all they do. They talk, they laugh and they do it without looking over their shoulder.

When we have a meal everyone competes (me included ) to talk next, we never run out of things to say.

When they play they are uninhibited. They YELL, they run and jump on stuff, they chase each other. They wear out multiple groups of kids on the playground. And when they study they study. They really do max out their brains-there is no busy work here.

So these schools which were left in the dust academically and had only the socialization buzz word to hold on to are now showing themselves for the failures that they are in that as well.

Several elementary schools are now banning running on the playground and now-I kid you not- these people (stupidity is not limited to public schools) want to ban conversations at meal time. And the reasoning is even crazier than you think.

They're afraid someone might choke!

School Requires Silence During Lunch

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) - The chapel isn't the only place where silence is expected at one Rhode Island Catholic school. The Saint Rose of Lima School in Warwick has new lunch rules that require students to remain silent during lunch.

The move comes after three recent choking incidents in the school cafeteria.

All three students are fine -- but school Principal Jeannine Fuller said in a letter to parents that "the school's priority is the safety of each child."

The letter says all students must remain silent during lunch. Students who don't follow the policy will receive a lunch detention.

Providence Diocese spokesman Michael Guilfoyle says the school is enacting a temporary safety measure. He says the school doesn't expect complete silence but enough quiet to keep students safe. My Way News

Orphans Reunited after 50 years

This is the sweetest story, but also sad. The attitude toward fathers, just fifty years ago, is unbelievably appalling.

I'm not sure why they (the former orphans) didn't Google (or Alta Vista or whatever is was back then)each other ten years ago. Maybe it was one of those subconscious things, they didn't want to find the other still married to someone else; better to just hold a nice memory.
IT was all in the smile. And a bond that had begun in a bleak orphanage 50 years ago would blossom again in a busy shopping centre.

Alan Brogan had heard someone call his name, spun on his heels - to come face to face with Irene Kinnair, the woman he had loved for ever.

Alan says: “I know it sounds strange, but I just knew it was her, I could never forget that smile. And she was exactly the same… she said she knew it was me the minute she saw me standing in the street.”

Irene says: “I think the whole of Sunderland heard me shout! He just held me in his arms and I thought he was never going to let go. He told the friend I was with, ‘I’ve loved this lady all my life.’”

Not all - but most of it…

Their amazing story, which will end in marriage in May, began in 1959 when they were thrown together in the same children’s home following the death of their mothers.

Kindred spirits, aged just seven and nine, they quickly formed a bond and became the best of friends.

Alan was just four when his mother Eileen died of cervical cancer. Split up from his three brothers, he had already lived in two care homes before arriving at the Rennie Road orphanage in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear at the age of seven.

When Irene’s mum Greta died of TB, relatives took her three older sisters in, but as the youngest she was sent to the children’s home.

“It was a very old fashioned system and they just assumed that the father couldn’t look after the children once the mother had gone,” explains Alan.

“I know my dad tried to get us back, but it didn’t work.

WHEN Irene and me saw each other for the first time we felt like we knew each other, there was an instant connection. From that day we were inseparable.”

Irene, now 56 and a fitness instructor, adds: “I had nobody. So when Alan came along, we clung on to each other. We weren’t alone anymore. He looked out for me and made me feel safe.

“We’d sit by the stream or run through the woods. Whatever we were doing we wanted to be together.”

“She was indescribable, still is,” says Alan, now 54. “We think like each other, we finish each other’s sentences, there’s an unbreakable bond. Something inside me glows whenever I look at her. And it’s always been like that with us.”

But their friendship infuriated staff at the ultra-strict Rennie Road home which forbade the boys from mixing with the girls. Alan was soon packed away to another home and never even got to say goodbye.

Knowing that fraternising with the opposite sex, no matter how innocent, was not allowed, they had tried to keep their friendship under wraps. However, at the home’s annual holiday to Whitby, their cover was blown.

Alan says: “We were playing and having fun, chasing each other round the camp. We ended up rolling around on the ground. One of the staff came out of her hut and blew her top. She screamed at us to get inside.

“We were just a couple of kids playing, but it wasn’t the done thing. Irene got a belt round the lug and told to be more ladylike and I was told I’d be dealt with later, but to expect big trouble.” Alan weekly chores increased. He could never have predicted what actually happened.

On returning to Sunderland, he was stopped from leaving the home to go to school. He was kept in the playroom until a big black car pulled up and he was bundled inside.

Heartbroken and terrified, he was taken to another children’s home on the other side of Sunderland.

“Irene was my only friend in the world and they’d taken me away from her,” he remembers. “The one person I felt close to.

“I had watched her walk off down the road to school. That was the last time I would see her for more than 40 years. I never had a chance to say goodbye. I’ll never forgive them for that. The anger stayed with me for many years.”

His unsuccessful attempts at running away to be reunited with Irene eventually led to Alan being sent to a school for disruptive children in Stanhope, Co Durham where he stayed until he was 15. More here

Thursday, January 25, 2007


People will do whatever they can to keep or gain power. It doesn't mean it's a big conspiracy. It's just that we humans are a bunch of school yard bullies.

But, man, when I read about this voting machine stuff, it gives me goosebumps(in a bad way).

Both sides hack these things.I haven't heard of a libertarian doing it yet-we're all up on our computers too late at night-no time to go catburglering.

It's almost too depressing to read about. If voting is lost then what is there to even debate?

The hackers at Princeton are doing their part to make Diebold look just idiotic.


Princeton University Computer Scientists Confirm 'Secret' Key For Every Diebold Voting Machine 'Revealed' on Company Website!
[UPDATED TWICE] Shutting the Barn Door After Horse Has Left: Diebold Removes Photo, PLUS: Receives Certification for U.S. Homeland Security Contracts...NOW BAIT & SWITCH: Diebold Puts Digital Key Online Where Mechanical Key Was Previously!

Ed Note: Several important updates now added to the end of the story...

Good lord in heaven. How dumb are these guys at Diebold?! Can you believe the United States has actually entrusted them to build a security system for the original U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?!

After everything else... now comes this.

It was revealed in the course of last summer's landmark virus hack of a Diebold touch-screen voting system at Princeton University that, incredibly, the company uses the same key to open every machine. It's also an easy key to buy at any office supply store since it's used for filing cabinets and hotel mini-bars! That is, if you're not a poll worker who already has one from the last time you worked on an election (anybody listening down there in San Diego?).

The Princeton Diebold Virus Hack, if you've been living in a cave, found that a single person with 60 seconds of unsupervised access to the system, who either picked the lock (easy in 10 seconds) or had a key, could slip a vote-swapping virus onto a single machine which could then undetectably affect every other machine in the county to steal an entire election.

But the folks at Princeton who discovered the hack (after our own organization, VelvetRevolution.us, gave them the Diebold touch-screen machine on which to perform their tests) had resisted showing exactly what the key looked like in order to hold on to some semblance of security for Diebold's Disposable Touch-Screen Voting Systems.

But guess what? Diebold didn't bother to even have that much common sense.

This idiotic company has had a photograph of the stupid key sitting on their own website's online store! (Screenshot at end of this article.)

Of course, they'll only sell such keys to "Diebold account holders" apparently --- or so they claim --- but that's hardly a problem. J. Alex Halderman, one of the folks who worked on the Princeton Hack and tried to keep the design of the key secret for obvious reasons, revealed Tuesday that a friend of his had found the photo of the key on Diebold's website and discovered that was all he needed to create a working copy! Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Different brains; Spendthrift or Tightwad

Finding something I've been looking for at really good price is almost as good a high as a triple latte and it's true, it used to practically kill me when I had to buy diapers in Connecticut. I 'd always rail and lament the price that was usually twice the amount as buying the same in southern Nevada or Arizona.


The difference between a tightwad’s brain and a spendthrift’s brain.

Now that scientists have spotted the pain and pleasure centers in the brain, they’ve moved on to more expensive real estate: the brain’s shopping center. They have been asking the big questions:

What is the difference between a tightwad’s brain and a spendthrift’s brain?

What neurological circuits stop you from buying a George Foreman grill but not a Discovery Channel color-changing mood clock?

Why is there a $2,178.23 balance on my January Visa bill?

This last question isn’t yet fully answered, even after I stared at said Visa bill while lying inside a functional M.R.I. machine at Stanford University. But scientists are closer to solving the mystery. By scanning shoppers’ brains, they think they’ve identified a little voice telling you not to spend your money. Or, in my case, a voice saying, “At this price, you can’t afford not to buy the mood clock!”

For convenience’ sake, economists have traditionally assumed that buyers make rational choices: I think, therefore I shop. You pass up the George Foreman grill because you sagely calculate that the money would be better spent on, say, your child’s college fund. Or at least the mood clock. You choose to forgo one good in exchange for something better.

Even the most rational economists, though, realize that the shopper’s mind is more complicated. The brain’s “impartial spectator,” as Adam Smith warned, has to duel with “the passions.” Last year, after surveying shoppers’ passions, behavioral economists at Carnegie Mellon University developed what they call the Tightwad-Spendthrift scale.

But this kind of survey reveals only what shoppers choose to confess. To find out more, the economists teamed with psychologists at Stanford to turn an M.R.I. machine into a shopping mall. They gave each experimental subject $40 in cash and offered the chance to buy dozens of gadgets, appliances, books, DVDs and assorted tchotchkes. Lying inside the scanner, first you’d see a picture of a product. Next you’d see its price, which was about 75 percent below retail. Then you’d choose whether or not you’d like a chance to buy it. Afterward, the researchers randomly chose a couple of items from their mall, and if you had said yes to either one, you bought it; otherwise you went home with the cash. More here

Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk

I have never voted anything but libertarian on a presidential election but,of course, I would happily vote for Ron Paul if he were to get the nomination.I would like to think the libertarian party would back out for a round if Paul were to run. Here is his weekly column.

Can We Achieve Peace in the Middle East?

January 22, 2007

Former President Carter’s new book about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine has raised the ire of Americans on two sides of the debate. I say “two sides” rather than “both sides,” because there is another perspective that is never discussed in American politics. That perspective is the perspective of our founding fathers, namely that America should not intervene in the internal affairs of other nations.

Everyone assumes America must play the leading role in crafting some settlement or compromise between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But Jefferson, Madison, and Washington explicitly warned against involving ourselves in foreign conflicts.

The conflict in Gaza and the West Bank is almost like a schoolyard fight: when America and the world stand watching, neither side will give an inch for fear of appearing weak. But deep down, the people who actually have to live there desperately want an end to the violence. They don’t need solutions imposed by outsiders. It’s easy to sit here safe in America and talk tough, but we’re not the ones suffering.

Practically speaking, our meddling in the Middle East has only intensified strife and conflict. American tax dollars have militarized the entire region. We give Israel about $3 billion each year, but we also give Egypt $2 billion. Most other Middle East countries get money too, some of which ends up in the hands of Palestinian terrorists. Both sides have far more military weapons as a result. Talk about adding fuel to the fire! Our foolish and unconstitutional foreign aid has produced more violence, not less.

Congress and each successive administration pledge their political, financial, and military support for Israel. Yet while we call ourselves a strong ally of the Israeli people, we send billions in foreign aid every year to some Muslim states that many Israelis regard as enemies. From the Israeli point of view, many of the same Islamic nations we fund with our tax dollars want to destroy the Jewish state. Many average Israelis and American Jews see America as hypocritically hedging its bets. More here

Men, rub coffee on your heads!

I'm not so sure of the accuracy of this article. I sense a vast feminist conspiracy (and rightfully so) of women round the civilized world hoping to gain a little dignity back from the days, which will never quite disappear-thanks to old movies- of women lathered in cold cream and decorated like a Christmas tree with pink foam curlers. I think I read in another scientific journal (wink) that the coffee is more effective if frothed in foamy milk before application.


Coffee could hold the secret to curing male baldness, according to new research.

Scientists have discovered caffeine stimulates the growth of tiny follicles in the scalp in men who are starting to lose their hair.

The finding could lead to new treatments for a condition that affects half of all British men by the age of 50.

A recent survey of five European countries found that British men are unhappier about being bald than most of their European counterparts, but are too embarrassed to do anything about it. More than half said going bald made them feel old and less attractive.

The new study, published in the International Journal of Dermatology, found that caffeine works by blocking the effects of a chemical known to damage hair follicles.

But drinking plenty of coffee may not be the best answer. More here

The State of the Union: A Libertarian Response

Normally I don't steal entire articles and post them but the site this came from was brought down by heavy traffic-so here it is . . .

My fellow Americans,

Earlier this evening, America listened as President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress, fulfilling his Constitutional duty to report annually to Congress on "the state of the union." Shortly thereafter, Virginia Senator Jim Webb delivered the Democratic Party's response to his report.

I am not privileged to address you tonight over broadcast televison or radio; my party's opinions are considered unworthy of coverage by the "mainstream media." A response, however, is required, and I accept the responsibility for making it as an American, a presidential candidate, and hopefully a worthy, although not official, representative of my party.

The union, President Bush tells us, is strong. And he may be right. What he does not admit is that the union is weaker now than when he took office.

As evidence for his claim of national strength, he cites an economy which thrives in spite of, not because of, the ministrations of his government ... and proposes additional "help" of the type that weakens rather than strengthens it.

As proof of the bright future before us and the care which we take to leave our children a better world, he points to his "No Child Left Behind Act" -- an act which props up a disintegrating public education system with more of the federal interference that, until only a few short years ago, his party had pledged to eliminate at the first opportunity.

Addressing himself to the question of national defense, he defends to the very last his failed experiments in foreign military adventurism which have stretched America's armed forces to the breaking point, alienated our friends, empowered our enemies, and left us less, not more, secure against attack or invasion.

Turning to issues of energy independence and environmental sanity, he recommends more subsidies and more regulation, rather than smaller government and more innovation.

Like President Bush, I believe that the union is strong. Unlike President Bush, who attributes that strength to nebulous, undefined but government-enforced "courage, kindness and self-sacrifice," I and my fellow Libertarians understand what really makes America strong.

We understand that every dollar in taxes taken out of your paycheck makes America weaker, and that every dollar left in your pocket makes America stronger.

We understand that one-size-fits-all federal programs -- even Republican programs -- for public education make America weaker, and that real parental control and real individual choice in education make America stronger.

We understand that "bring'em on" and "mission accomplished" and "surge" make America weaker, and that a foreign policy based on "friendship and commerce with all nations, entangling alliances with none" makes America stronger.

We understand that immigration has always made America stronger, and that "temporary guest worker" programs, fences and border militarization are poor substitutes for a truly open society in which peaceful people enjoy freedom to travel and to trade.

We understand that corporate welfare makes America weaker, even when it's disguised as a tax cut "for health insurance," and that getting government out of health care makes America stronger, more free -- and more healthy.

We understand that government subsidies to Big Oil and Big Agriculture make America weaker, that unsubsidized competition makes America stronger -- and that only the innovation fostered by a truly free market will allow us to meet the challenges of pollution, climate change and future fossil fuel scarcity.

The union is strong -- not because of the efforts George W. Bush and his fellow politicians, but in spite of them. And in their clutches, America can only continue to become weaker ... because the strength of our union, my fellow Americans, is freedom.

The notion that government exists only for the purpose of securing our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, bequeathed us by our nation's founders, is the foundation upon which every worthwhile American accomplishment rests. The Bush adminstration, the Congress, and their predecessors in the White House and on Capitol Hill, have gone at that foundation with a sledgehammer.

The cracks they've produced in that foundation are visible all around us. The Patriot Act. The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless searches and wiretaps. No-knock raids. Detention without charge, counsel or trial. As a nation, we now imprison more of our own than any other. One in thirty of us are trapped in a "justice" system that has long since ceased to represent justice. The rest of us are subject to reams of arbitrary and capricious edicts concerning what we may say, how we may worship, which political candidates we may support (and how much we do so financially), what arms we may carry in our own defense, what medicines we may use, even whether or not we can play cards on the Internet.

America as we know it -- everything in it worthy of our devotion and allegiance -- stands at the edge of cliff, below which the darkness of totalitarianism awaits. Whether or not our union is strong enough to step backward from the precipice is a question only time will answer.

Over the next two years, I'll watch with you as the new Democratic Congress wrestles with the problem of restoring freedoms that a corrupt and lawless administration has robbed us of. If history is any guide, the Democrats will choose instead to go to work with their own sledgehammers.

In the meantime, I urge you to join with me in support of America's last, best hope for a better tomorrow: The Libertarian Party. Even as we speak, hundreds of Libertarians toil in elected and appointed office or as volunteer party activists, working to protect your freedom. With your help, we can elect thousands of new local officials, hundreds of state legislators, dozens of US Representatives and Senators and, yes, a President, who understand what makes America strong and are prepared to act on that understanding.

Let freedom grow!
Steve Kubby
Libertarian for President

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fairfax county thinks eating out of a dumpster safer than a home cooked meal

Pictured above: The Rev. Keary Kincannon's in his unauthorized kitchen

John Stossel: Government rules don't feed anyone

Syndicated columnist and host of ABC News' "20/20"

Mary Baker and Ruth Neikirk love to cook. What's more, they love to cook for poor people. They do it frequently, preparing meals at home and bringing them to their church in Virginia.

"I love it," Mary says. "I can take a little bit of something, like a soup bone? And I can make a whole pot of something. Tastes good. With some cornbread you got 'em a meal!"

The people they cook for love it, too. But there's a problem. It was "criminal activity." The Fairfax County health department points out that Mary and Ruth are actually preparing food and serving it to people! Without a license!

That's not safe, said the health department. What if there's food poisoning? Hundreds of pages of regulation say that if you want to serve food to the public, you need a food-manager certificate, a ware-washing machine (with internal baffles), drain boards, ventilation-hood systems, a sink with at least three compartments, as well as a hand-washing sink, can openers with removable parts, and much more, for page after page.

The county health department wasn't being capricious. It was just enforcing its rules. There had been a complaint. No one had gotten sick, but an "advocate for the homeless" noticed that church kitchens, which appeared sparkling clean to my ABC team, didn't meet "code."

"You've got to be kidding, give us a break," the Rev. Judy Fender told us. "We can fix a nice meal here, but we can't serve it!"

The health department said it was just looking out for the homeless. But did the officials ever think about where street people eat when they don't eat at these churches?

"They've never stopped me from eating out of a Dumpster or a trash can," says James, a homeless man who understands Henry Hazlitt's "economics in one lesson," namely, look for the secondary results of government policy. The government can close down church kitchens, but that'll only send the poor to the garbage cans. Is that better?

"Some of them take their jobs just a little too seriously," said James. "They got nothing better to do than sit around and write legislation." More here

Good old Tom Crow of the Fairfax Health Department. Keeping homeless people safe. It's amazing how clumsy and intrusive government agencies can be even at the county level. What was this guy thinking? Just following orders-"Well it says here this is the rule and we have to follow it-it's too bad people have to starve to death and eat out of trashcans and such, but rules are rules. And I wouldn't want to get into any trouble at my little job."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Montana Lawmaker wants DNA samples from those CHARGED with a felony

Ralph Heinert-He looks a little like Hermann Munster-I'd call that probable cause

HELENA (AP) -- A bill requiring individuals charged with a felony to submit DNA samples is meeting resistance from civil liberties advocates and law enforcement agencies.

Rep. Ralph Heinert, R-Libby, told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he was sponsoring the bill to help police do their job.

But Jim Kembel of the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police said his organization couldn’t support the bill until questions about expenses were resolved. The state’s budget office has not yet determined the cost of the bill.

The attorney general’s office had similar concerns. Bill Unger of the Forensic Sciences Division said the workload for the state crime lab in Missoula would nearly double, to about 350 DNA cases a month. He said the lab would need two additional forensic scientists, each with salaries of $75,000 a year, to handle the extra work.

Scott Crichton of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana said he’s worried about potential violations of civil liberties.

“Innocent people do not belong in a criminal database,” Crichton said. The bill, he said, created the potential for “population surveillance” by the state.

But Heinert said in an interview after the meeting that the bill had sufficient safeguards. A DNA sample would be taken from a suspect only if a court decided there was probable cause. More here.

I moved to Montana to get away from this kind of thing.

And usually these kinds of people (by "these kinds" I mean idiots) at least try to click the ratchet in a particular order.

This guy went for the triple dog dare right after the double dare (you'll remember this is a breech of ettiquette) by not even trying to claim it's necessary for convicts- just flat out saying anyone who is charged.


Found the comment below on a Montana blog

Finally, this one caught my eye: HB246, which requires a DNA sample if you are charged with a felony.

Not convicted, mind you. Charged.

Check out this clause: “(6) A biological sample taken pursuant to this section for the purposes of DNA testing may be retained for use in the DNA identification index without a further proceeding and without further notice to the person from whom the sample was taken.

Wow. So much for that presumed innocence thing.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iwao Takamoto animator who designed Scooby-Doo died last week

Everything below has been swiped from Wikipedia; Click here to read it there.

Iwao Takamoto (April 19, 1925 - January 8, 2007) was a Japanese American animator, television producer, and film director. He was most famous as being a production designer for Hanna-Barbera Productions and the artist/character designer for Scooby-Doo.

Takamoto's father emigrated from Hiroshima to the United States for his health.
He returned to Japan only once, to marry his wife.
Takamoto was born later in 1925 in Los Angeles, California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Takamoto's family, like many Japanese-Americans, were sent to an internment camp. They spent the rest of World War II in the Manzanar internment camp. It was there that Takamoto received basic illustration training from a couple of friendly co-internees.

Takamoto first entered the cartoon world after the end of the war. He was hired as an assistant animator by Walt Disney Studios in 1947. Takamoto eventually became an assistant for the legendary Milt Kahl. He worked as an animator on such titles as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp.

Iwao Takamoto (April 19, 1925 - January 8, 2007) was a Japanese American animator, television producer, and film director. He was most famous as being a production designer for Hanna-Barbera Productions and the artist/character designer for Scooby-Doo.

Takamoto left Disney in 1961 and joined Hanna-Barbera Productions shortly thereafter. He worked in several positions there, but is arguably best known as a character designer. He was responsible for the original character design of such characters as Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons' dog Astro, and Penelope Pitstop. He worked as a producer at Hanna-Barbera, supervising shows such as The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey, and Jabberjaw. He directed several feature length animated films, including Charlotte's Web (1973) and Jetsons: The Movie (1990).

Takamoto was Vice-President of Creative Design at Hanna-Barbera, and was responsible for overseeing H-B's many product related merchandising. In 2005 he received the Golden Award from the Animation Guild, to honor his more than 50 years of service in the animation field.

He died on January 8, 2007 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a massive coronary.

His last words were reported to be, "I would've lived longer if it wasn't for those meddling kids."

I'm guessing that last part is a joke.

National Geographic to Air HEAD TRASPLANT Show

Two headed dog above

Hidden deep in a Russian forest, and guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot intruders on sight, the medical research laboratories on the outskirts of Moscow were one of the Soviet Union's best-kept secrets.

So the carefully-vetted journalists who were allowed past the forbidding perimeter fence on a cold February morning in 1954 were both apprehensive and curious about what lay ahead. Led to a courtyard outside an austere brick building, they waited in the bright winter sunshine to find out why they had been summoned. For a few minutes, only the sound of birdsong and the rustling of leaves filled the air but then a door slowly opened to reveal experimental surgeon Vladimir Demikhov - accompanied by the strangest looking animal they had ever seen.

Blinking unhappily in the daylight as Demikhov paraded it on its lead, this unfortunate beast had been created by grafting the head and upper body of a small puppy on to the head and body of a fully-grown mastiff, to form one grotesque creature with two heads. The visitors watched in horror and fascination as both of the beast's mouths lapped greedily at a bowl of milk proffered by Demikhov's assistants.

Resembling something dreamed up by Mary Shelley's Dr Frankenstein, it seemed literally incredible. But as the Soviet propaganda machine informed the world, this canine curiosity was both very real - and a scientific triumph.

As revealed in a National Geographic documentary to be screened later this month, the creation of the two-headed dog was the first step in an astonishing race by Cold War scientists to achieve the seemingly impossible - the first ever human head transplant. In pursuing this medical goal, Vladimir Demikhov - and his American rival, Robert White - may seem to be the epitome of immoral scientists who ignored all ethical considerations in their pursuit of scientific advance. But in their own minds, they were brilliant pioneers prepared to think the unthinkable for the greater good of mankind.

Whichever view you take, they cannot simply be dismissed as gruesome fantasists for, as the programme warns, the obstacles which held them back from their ultimate goal are fast being eroded by modern science, and we may have to confront the reality of the first human head transplant much sooner than we care to think. More here

HHmmm-Poor doggy. What do these scientists do when no one is looking? This guy's wife must have been terrified of her own freezer.

Text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream" Speech

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Music Executives Admit That CD's Suck

This is a really interesting article from the Houston Press on the death(Thank you-Jesus!) of the CD.

I have always hated the CD. For one thing I cannot keep them from getting scratched. Right now I have a towering pile of of naked CD's on our library stereo, CD's just laying on the dashboard of the car and a few more on the computer brain-all just laying there. I remember some 13-14 years ago a friend of ours had these little CD's (remember them?) they contained as much music as the crappy CD's we all have now but like the old "floppy disks" they were encased in plastic and the disk only came out of it's sleeve inside the player. You could shake a playing mini disk with all your might and feel triumphant if you could get a single skip out of it. I quit buying CD's when I saw that. I figured I wait until the price of players came down and the market switched over to the mini disk.

And then nothing. Oh, that's right they don't scratch and fall apart after a year or so.Can't have that.

When I was a teenager and the local Las Vegas radio station (92.3 KOMP) was getting ready to make the switch. They made a big hoopla about announcing the exact time that they would march into the future. We were about to listen to the crystal clear sound of a new age. The song came on, sang one line and started skipping. Well, that about sums up the age of the CD
I am thinking about hunting down a turntable and picking up some vinyl. Well, my personal rant in over for today. This article from the Houston Press is long but says pretty much in print what you've been thinking about music for a few years now.

Sales of CDs are falling faster than you can say iPod

By John Nova Lomax Article Published Jan 4, 2007

Last month, EMI Music Chairman and Chief Executive Alain Levy walked up to a podium at the London Business School and told an assemblage of bright-eyed young titans of tomorrow something that, in all likelihood, they already knew full well.

"The CD as it is right now is dead," he said. As usual, the big brass at the very pinnacle of the industry seemed the last to know. Levy's remark came towards the end of a year in which the 89-store national retail chain Tower Records went bankrupt and announced that all of its stores will soon shutter. Online giant iTunes cracked the top ten music retail outlets for the first time ever, and the only places CDs actually sold well were stores like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

And yet it remains too early to say that the CD is dead, as in buried in a casket underground. It's certainly terminally ill, condemned, a dead medium walking. Indeed, sales of CDs still dwarf digital sales, to the tune of $6.45 billion to $945 million worldwide. But CD sales are sliding, a little faster and steeper every year. People tend to buy less music as they grow older, and the CD audience is pretty much exclusively aged 30 and up. Very few teenagers buy CDs, and what's more, just about every music retailer will tell you that those who do will end up burning that CD for a few friends.

CD sales fell a further 4 percent from 2005's numbers in the first half of 2006, according to figures cited in the UK newspaper The Guardian. "We figure the value of CD sales will be 50 percent less in three years than it is now," said Ged Doherty, the UK head of the Sony BMG label group. "We predict digital growth of 25 percent per year, but it is not enough to replace the loss from falling CD sales. By 2010 we will be 30 percent behind in terms of revenues. We have to reinvent."

As Fats Domino once sang, "Ain't that a shame." But the record labels brought all this on themselves. Looking back over the past 45 years, it is now plain that the move from vinyl to CD was not the bold step forward we were told it would be. CDs were not scratch-proof (as the labels had us believe early on), nor was the sound an improvement on vinyl -- indeed, most audiophiles argue that their sound is inferior. Jewel cases were ridiculously brittle -- they were rendered useless by a drop of four feet or so -- and they were hard to open, as were the huge and idiotic long-boxes CDs were packaged in well into the 1990s. Their visual appeal was almost always minimal and yet they took up what now seems like a lot of shelf space. Read the rest here.

100 Most Damaging Wikileaks

I'm loving this list, and am very thankful to all the people who spent hours sorting and reading and sorting reading.  I copied the f...