May 31, 2003

Would you buy a used car from this guy?

Go see what Tim Blair said.

Posted by Tiger at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it about slavery reparations?

Ith went off about a new Los Angeles Law.

Why is it these "Black leaders" don't sound anything like the Blacks I work with? They certainly have a different take on the disparity between Blacks and Whites, and doesn't have anything to do with slavery. all [sic] this reparations movement is, is a shakedown. These "leaders" kick up a (bad) publicity storm, and these companies fold because they're terrified of being labeled "racist". They need to stop letting themselves be extorted, they need to stand up and say "no more!". Because if they don't, these people will never stop.

I cannot advocate condoning all that has been done throughout American History, but all of the people involved in slavery are dead . . . including the slaves. There are no victims of slavery left. Every descendant of any prior U.S. slave has had every opportunity since the day they were born to be anything any other American can be. The only impediment to their success is their unwillingness to put the past in its place and start acting like Americans.

I dislike the term African-American. American is American is American. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, as well as national and ethnic backgrounds. Black is descriptive, if description is necessary. Race is a myth. Many prior immigrants came to America under dire circumstances. Blacks, alone, did not arrive in the bellies of ships; blacks, alone, did not come to America as slave labor. Other immigrants actually sold themselves into slavery as indentured servants just to pay for their passage in the steerage of a ship to America. People came here to find a better life, if not for themselves, for their descendants. America does not provide anyone a better life, but it NOW provides everyone with an opportunity to seek a better life.

The only difference between the black slaves and the indentured servants is that the blacks came involuntarily. I grant them that. And any that want to give up the opportunity of life in America to take themselves and the bones of their ancestors back to the land where their ancestor originated, I will agree are owed reparations: the price of first-class air fare and shipping of any ancestral remains to their country of origin, provided that they agree to renounce their US citizenship upon departure. I am not sure who should be responsible for payment of such reparations, but I think there might be several organizations that would likely be willing to provide the funding.

[rave for Ith . . . the law rates a rag . . . my rant]

Posted by Tiger at 05:54 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Stand up and Oink for this one!

I am not in 100% agreement with all of this, but it is a well-written perspective on one facet of the media coverage regarding the Peterson murder case.

Posted by Tiger at 05:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Help! Help! Help!

OK, I know this is a bit stupid, but I was sitting in the living room eating some tacos I just went to get when "Will & Grace" came on. I catch bits and pieces of it all the time, but could someone please explain the premise to me? I understand that Grace is heterosexual and Will is homosexual, so why is it Will & Grace?

Posted by Tiger at 05:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blogging: is it for everyone?

I have not been blogging for long. I started this blog on April 4, 2003. However, I have found blogging to have become central in my life. Why?

  1. I am more attuned to the news and central issues that concern the people of the world than I have ever been by using any other source and am easily able to access a varied array of viewpoints on any issue.

  2. I am more easily able to put forth my thoughts, opinions and viewpoints in a format where it can be easily disseminated.

  3. I feel that I have become part of a community of socially conscious people who are genuinely concerned with the issues.
I am sure there are more reasons, but these are the ones that come to mind immediately.

One of the amazing things that comes from blogging is that you are continually finding very interesting items from the tools associated with blogging. I regularly check to see who is commenting to my posts. These comments often give me instant access into the mind set of my readers. I usually immediately visit their site to see what kind of fare they are offering their own readers. Very often, I blogroll their site. An example of one that would not be on my blogroll is this one where a blogger is so blatantly a one-sided zealot that the logic of their arguments is to suspect to be of any value. I additionally will sometimes remove a site from my blogroll if I find a valid reason for doing so.*

I use the blogroll as my personal reading list. To me, the blogroll is an extension of my personality, values and tastes. Not every site on my blogroll has linked to me, but I do not make that a requirement, as I also do not automatically blogroll every site that links to mine. The sites on my blogroll are those sites I enjoy reading. I visit them often. I link to their posts.

The trackbacks, also, are essential tools. If someone has linked to one of my posts, you can bet I want to see what they had to say about it. Such occurred when The Metal Wings of Destiny linked to this post. Although the commentary only used my post to point to a trend about which posts seemed to be getting the most comments in several blogs, the commentary pointed to this story in The Register. There was a lot of mindless drivel in the story about how the majority of bloggers were teenage girls venting their hormone induced diatribes about life, love and fantasy. I have actually visited such blogs on occasion, but do not think any are on my blogroll. I did find this excerpt, however, to be apropos:

**[B]logging is a solitary activity that requires the blogger to spend less time reading a book, taking the dog for the walk, meeting friends in the pub, seeing a movie, or reading to the kids. The reason that 99.93 per cent of the world doesn't blog, and never will, is because people make simple information choices in what they choose to ingest and produce, and most of this will be either personal and private, or truly social. Blog-evangelists can fulminate at the injustice of this all they like, but people are pretty smart and make fairly rational choices on the information they process.

Interesting people run interesting blogs, but it's remarkable how few of them there are. [emphasis supplied]

I am just not so sure that there are not more interesting people running interesting blogs than the author is aware of. And of course, it would highly depend upon what someone thought was interesting. I am sure that what I write is interesting to some, and, just as surely, not interesting to others. What I do know is that it is my blog, and although my time might be better spent walking my dog, doing my laundry, reading a book, or going to see a movie, it is what I want to do.***

This blog, although the biggest part of it currently, is still just one part of my greater Internet presence. The presentation is not all that impressive, I know, but I do not have the design skills that this guy***** has. I wish I did.

*The validity of my reasoning for doing so may not necessarily be shared by others.

**I do not want to be accused of taking liberties ala Maureen Dowd**** in deleting portions of text so as to change the meaning of the entry. The portion that was deleted was a short clause which tied this entry into the preceding dialogue. In my opinion, nothing was changed by omitting the clause, but retaining it would have accomplished nothing more than confusion in the current manner of usage.

***As I am currently single and live alone, the choice as to what I do with my free time is my own. Should this situation change, of course, I could possibly be pointed to better things to do with my free time.

****The designer and author of such site may be male or may be female. Does it matter? He/she says not.

*****This link is courtesy of Kathy Kinsley of On the Third Hand

One thing****** that does concern me, however, is not so much whether people agree with the points I attempt to make in my posts, but whether my writing style is obtuse, convoluted and confusing or smooth, literate and easily understood. Verbose is a given.

******I also wonder if the extensive footnoting is of assistance or is distractive?

Posted by Tiger at 02:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 30, 2003

I just had to pass this link along

I had pretty well bogged enough today, what with one really long post that took me a couple of hours to complete (and will likely be read in entirety by one or two people, if that many), so was lazing a bit, surfing through blogs and seeing what others had to offer for today. I ran across this link to Juan Gato's* ideas about how to increase traffic to your blog while reading Jay Solo. I just had to pass it along. CHECK IT OUT!

*Am I incorrect, or does this not translate to "Johnnie Cat?"

Posted by Tiger at 10:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

This is just too funny!!!!

This is another of those things that my aunt fowarded to me. As usual, everyone finds these great things that they love forwarding to everyone in their address book, but no one ever attributes the source. As such, I have no idea where it originated or who is the author, but this is too funny. I just have to share:

It was the first day of school and a new student named Martinez, the son of a Mexican restaurateur, entered the fourth grade.

The teacher said, "Let's begin by reviewing some American history. Who said "Give me Liberty, or give me Death?" She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Martinez, who had his hand up.

"Patrick Henry, 1775."

"Very good! Who said 'Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth'"?

Again, no response except from Martinez: "Abraham Lincoln, 1863.", said Martinez.

The teacher snapped at the class, "Class, you should be ashamed. Martinez, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do."

She heard a loud whisper: "Screw the Mexicans."

"Who said that?" she demanded.

Martinez put his hand up. "Jim Bowie, 1836."

At that point, a student in the back said, "I'm gonna puke."

The teacher glares and asks "All right! Now, who said that?"

Again, Martinez says, "George Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister, 1991."

Now furious, another student yells, "Oh yeah? Suck this!"

Martinez jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher, "Bill Clinton to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!"

Now with almost a mob hysteria someone said, "You little shit. If you say anything else, I'll kill you."

Martinez frantically yells at the top of his voice, "Gary Condit to Chandra Levy 2001."

The teacher fainted. And as the class gathered around the teacher on the floor, someone said, "Oh shit, we're in BIG trouble!"

Martinez said, "Saddam Hussein 2003."

Posted by Tiger at 12:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It does beat digging ditches!

The following is from Edward Lazarus' review of "Trial and Error: The Education of a Courtroom Lawyer," the recently released autobiography of Chicago trial lawyer, John Tucker:

Could a Young Lawyer Today Possibly Replicate Tucker's Career?

That was then - and this is now. In his book, Tucker not only recounts his own fulfilling career, but expresses, in an understated but unmistakable way, that careers like his own are now a thing of the past. Such a life in the law, he suggests, is now nearly impossible to replicate.

Why does Tucker view himself as so plainly a member of a vanishing breed? To answer that question, one need only look at what he identifies as the key ingredients of his success - and the difficulty it would take for a young lawyer now to attain any of them.

First, as a young lawyer, Tucker enjoyed the time to develop and hone his skills as an advocate, averaging somewhere between 1600 and 1800 billable hours per year.

Today, a young lawyer of the same age would bill, instead, at least 2200 billable hours - a sum requiring a total commitment of 60-70 hours a week, every week of the year. Such a schedule simply does not allow for the kind of side projects on which Tucker cut his teeth.

Second, Tucker was able to take on primary responsibility for trial and appellate cases early on in his career - in the form of paying matters that were relatively small, and time-intensive, trial level pro bono matters. The firm supported his interest in both types of cases.

Today, such opportunities at major firms are few and far between. Small business matters that senior lawyers could turn over to their juniors don't come to the firms in the first place - even associates' billing rates are too high. In addition, many of the blue chip law firms have cut back on their pro bono commitments - especially at the trial level, where a very substantial allocation of firm resources may be required.

Third, Tucker benefited from a relatively stable cadre of mentors and colleagues within his firm. They formed a cohesive group of people who shared a vision about the kind of law they wanted to practice, and the risks they were willing to run to achieve their goals.

Tucker accordingly did not have to fear that doing too much pro bono work would undermine his chances for partnership. To the contrary, his mentors and future partners respected the pro bono work he did, and counted it in his favor, not against him.

Today, the concept of firm loyalty is all but dead. Few lawyers spend their careers at a single firm, no matter how prestigious. Instead, they typically make one or more lateral moves, to other partnerships or in-house counsel positions - thus operating not too differently from free agents in the sports world, who are available to the highest bidder.

As a lawyer, I have enough information to believe that the above is true. The practice of law has changed. When I initially imagined myself pursuing a career in law, the practice of law was a high ideal, practiced by men of competence, morality and conviction. It was only after I was nearing graduation and began to examine the job possibilities that I noticed the realm of big firm lawyers had moved toward being more about how much money you could make than anything else. As such, not entirely believing that I wanted to trade 60 to 70 hours of my time in exchange for having more money than I would have free time to enjoy, I decided to go a different route.

I actually began my career prowling the halls of the Dallas County Courthouse doing misdemeanor court appointments for $150 a case. There are a lot of lawyers doing that, but if you hung around until almost noon, after most of the others had gone, you might pick up a straggler here and there. I did not have an office, just a small apartment and a phone. I made $500 to $800 a month, which paid for my up keep.

I actually did this for a number of years, although I did not practice long from my apartment, because several attorneys were eager to share empty office space for free just to have someone sitting there, or in exchange for simple leg work exercises, like standing in for pleas.

Eventually, I amassed a fairly large number of prior clients, mostly from the court appointments I had been doing. I maintained a fairly large docket in the 11 misdemeanor courts in Dallas County. My manner with clients and efficiency in handling cases was noticed by one of the top DWI attorneys in the area who hired me into his office. This was my perfect situation. We worked half a day on most days and made a good living. I personally handled about 150 cases, on average.

In 1994, that world fell apart. My wife died, and then my employer got caught up in a federal investigation and the whole operation went south. It was hard beginning again from scratch. I had completely given up court appointments, and there was a whole new generation of young attorneys who had taken over that niche in the interim. A friend of mine told me about a job that had opened up in a small Plaintiff's firm.

I got paid very little, but actually did very little. I was primarily a "hired gun." I drew a meager monthly salary to attend depositions and try those cases* that didn't settle. I was allowed to maintain my personal practice and it soon grew back to a point where I was again comfortable. Eventually I grew weary of the civil work and decided to go back out on my own.

A unique opportunity arose. Very near my house, an older attorney was needing someone to cover his office for an extended period. His paralegal was topnotch and mostly all they needed was someone with a license to prove up probate and divorce matters. The office billed for the services, I received one-half. I was able to continue to build my practice. When the older attorney returned, we were discussing how to rearrange the building so that I could move in my office furniture and establish a permanent office in the building when I got an invite from a friend of mine for lunch.

He had just been made partner in a small litigation firm and had discussed with his new partner how he would like to bring me in as "hired gun" for their firm to try cases. It sounded interesting. The firm had a very large staff and the money that was offered was good.

So I made a move to another area, and began work in that firm. Well, I soon learned that the turnover rate in that firm was high for associates. In fact, my friend, the partner, was partner in name only. He had very little control in the operations and did not make much more than I. Part of the deal was that I could not take on any more private clients, so within a few months, I was a company man. Then discussions began about cutting my salary, and then further discussions about the amount of work I was contributing. The rules seemed to change daily, and I was miserable. I was actually the most miserable I had been in all the years I had practiced law. Everyone is the office worked like dogs except the top guy, who came in about once a week and did nothing but bitch and complain about how no one was handling the cases the way he wanted them handled. And the only one actually making any money was the top guy.

It was after I had become completely disenchanted with this situation that I became acquainted with a guy who lived in this town through I newsgroup I used to frequent that met on occasion so that everyone could actually meet the other members of the group. He had heard my rants about my job and began to tell me how this town really needed an attorney. He invited me to come for a visit. I did.

notCrawford, Texas is a town of about 2500 and is the county seat of notClark County, pop. 7000. The county is small, the second smallest in the state, and is situated an hour to an hour and half from most of the Metroplex. When I visited, there were only two attorneys in the county, one older man, who limited his practice to real estate and probate, and the county attorney**. I had never seen a county seat in Texas who had no real practicing attorney available. My friend was right, this town needed another attorney.

So, this was the first of 2000. I visited a few more times, met and talked with one of the district judges who actually sit in one of the adjoining counties more than this one, the older attorney, and several friendly citizens. I decided to gamble and make the move. My plan was to stay in my position until the end of the year, save up as much money as possible and build a nest egg to finance my start up. I confided this to my friend at the office . . . who blabbed it to the big guy, who called me into the office and told me that my position would be terminated effectively on April 1.

Coincidentally, I had learned at the beginning of March that I would be needing to relocate my residence, as my landlord had allowed the house I was renting to be foreclosed upon, so I was already packing to move when I got that news. I had very little in savings, so was forced to make the decision whether to make the move to notCrawford, or to find another position or reestablish my private practice in Dallas and find another place to live. My gut told me that if I was going to make the break from Dallas, that the time was right, so I rented the only available place I could find in this area, a dumpy double-wide, hired two guys, rented a U-Haul truck and moved. It took two trips. After the expenses associated with the move, I had about $2000. I put an add in the paper and spent most of my time just visiting all the businesses getting to know everyone. I did not get a single case the whole month of April.

I was still driving back and forth to Dallas almost weekly taking care of a few cases that were still ongoing that I had assumed responsibility for after I left the firm. Thankfully, I settled out a couple of these, and under the agreement, split the fee with the firm, but I managed to survive. In fact, one of them settled in a structured payout agreement that guaranteed me $400 a month, so I was able to rent an office from the old attorney by July 1, 2000.

It has taken awhile to build up a practice here, mainly because so many people had become so used to going to a neighboring county to hire an attorney for divorces and such and the fact that the county court does most of its criminal business on a pro se basis. Tiger I am at that point now where I am busier than I can manage without help, but not making enough money to hire a quality assistant. I know, I have tested four who were willing to work for what I could pay.

Another attorney moved to town last year, and actually offices at my first location. I am actually in my third location, just recently moving after a business vacated the place I wanted on the square. We are very good friends and refer things back and forth. The legal life is fairly simple, but I have not really put a push on establishing too large a practice. After all, the County Attorney job is up for election in 2004. My ultimate goal is to be the sitting County Judge (which does not have to be an attorney because it is a state constitutionally established office) within 10 years.

What I have learned in the practice of law:

  1. You cannot win every case.

  2. You cannot satisfy every client.

  3. There are always two sides to every controversy.

  4. Everyone thinks attorneys charge too much.

  5. You are seldom adequately rewarded for burdens of others that you agree to bear.

  6. All people, including police officers, perjure themselves more often than not when giving testimony.

  7. Just when you think you know everything about the law, it changes.

  8. Every time the law changes, you have to buy a lot of new books.

  9. The only cases that get to trial quickly are the ones in the headlines.

  10. There is never enough time to do everything everyone wants you to do by the time they want it done.

*I actually had no experience trying injury cases, although I had extensive experience trying criminal cases. I asked the attorney I was replacing (a son of the managing attorney, who was relocating with his wife who was in medical residency) if he would be around when the first case came to trial so that I could observe him and learn the ropes. His actual statement to me: "You can lose them as well as I can." It seems that the ones that actually did go to trial were cases which had hardly any chance of succeeding, but the managing attorney believed everyone had their right to tell their story, so if the insurance company did not settle, the case was tried, even if it was a sure loser. I did not lose them all, however. This seemed to be surprising to many, including the managing attorney.

**One of the first people I met when I first came to this town actually asked me to move to town and to file as a write-in candidate for the 2000 County Attorney election. I will be running in the 2004 election.

***I suspect that the reason the court allows most people to appear on misdemeanor offences without benefit of counsel, is to save money for the County on court appointed attorney fees and so that there are not that many legally trained eyes peering over the shoulders of the County Attorney and the non-legally trained County Judge in the handling of these matters. Although all defendants sign a waiver of attorney, I believe that Grady v. Corbin and due process would dictate that a person could not adequately waive counsel without having the benefit of advice of counsel. In my opinion, the right to counsel is too fundamental a right to be taken so lightly. I am still awaiting the right case where the stakes are high enough and the finances available to collaterally attack one of these "pro se" convictions so as to get the procedure before the Court of Appeals.

Posted by Tiger at 12:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New to the Blogroll

I have added Practical Penumbra to the blogroll today because he she is making a good start at becoming a good blogger and linked to one of my better posts. I also added Hot Buttered Death, not only because I found his commentary to be unique, but because we share a surname: Russell. I was unaware that members of my clan were living in OZ, but it might be possible, knowing some of antics attributed to my ancestors, that some of them could have been among the earliest settlers of Australia.

UPDATE: I also added blogoSFERICS after finding his comment to this post.

Posted by Tiger at 09:10 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

This post has 9 comments?

Of all the posts in my blog, the one that is getting the most attention is this one: Michael Jackson is bankrupt? That simply amazes me. Even more amazing is that there were no comments on CG's entry at which I listed as my source for finding the story.

Posted by Tiger at 08:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The things you discover from blogging

I was perusing Lynn's recent postings on Reflections in d minor when I came across this item. It seems that while reading the comments to this post at The World Wide Rant - v3.0, Lynn had come across the word "apophallation." In her need to understand the meaning, she did a search at which returns this result: No entry found for apophallation. Thankfully Lynn located this page which adequately provides the meaning of the word through context. Now that I know what it means, I am not sure I am happy about it. For some reason, I can already envision having future nightmares about being a victim of apophallation.

Posted by Tiger at 08:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2003

What is it about blogspot?

I remember there was a reason I switched from Blogger to MT and got off of blogspot almost immediately.

Of course, I never remember my blog having ever appeared in this fashion:

That is the current view of Jen Speaks. [WARNING: clicking the link will initate an attempt to download something into your computer]

UPDATE: Of course, things are good with blogspot again, so the link is now working correctly.

Posted by Tiger at 10:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nice try - but that stuff is already easy

[I was thinking about changing the tagline to "the blog that mentions Glenn Reynolds more than InstaPundit" -- any thoughts on that idea?]

Glenn Reynolds said:

HERE'S A NIFTY MOVABLE TYPE TUTORIAL FOR BEGINNERS. If nothing else, it should reduce the apprehensiveness of people who are thinking of switching from Blogger

I had ranted about the fact that there was a very good site about installing Grey Matter but nothing similar for installing Moveable Type when I intially became a MT devotee. I thought maybe someone had seen my message and used their talents to finally do so, but alas, a check of the supposed tutorial states this in its instructions on how to install MT:

To install MT, follow their installation instructions or for $40 (payable via PayPal), MT will install the program for you [*](for non-profit personal sites). Various language packs are also available. [neither footnote nor footnote marker is part of original post]

You know, it might have taken me 3 days to figure out how to successfully install MT, but I did it ... reading the instructions that were provided by MT.

*At one point in my frustration at installing MT, I contemplated paying the fee to have it installed for me, but but was sure that the $40 price only applied to large market areas where their technicians probably lived. Since I live way out in the country**, I could not imagine that one of them would drive all the way here to install the program on my computer for $40. It literally just dawned on me when I pasted that post in this entry that since it was on my server, they could have installed the program from any system connected to the internet, provided they had the correct information to access files on the server. I do feel a bit dense at times! DOH!

**In an effort to be as truthful as possible, I do not literally "live way out in the country." I live in a small town that is "way out in the country."

Posted by Tiger at 09:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fruitlessly searching for the meaning of life

[this one is a rag because I am chiding myself for using up all this valuable space with my petty problems]

It was a grand and glorious day today. And yet, I awoke with the same melancholy feelings as usual. I have been searching for a meaning to my existence for quite some time. I am widowed and have no children. My romantic interests are centered toward changing the last fact as much as seeking a shared existence with someone of the opposite sex. As such, I am continually searching within a group of prospective mates that seldom find any interest in starting life with a man from the previous generation. I do not enjoy being in such position and can easily understand why someone almost half my age would give me only a passing glance without consideration of romantic potential.

My parents have already passed away. My brother, sister and I were left the assets that were left over at the end of their lives. It was not a large sum. As it stands now, if I was to die in my current situation, everything I currently have would go to my sister and brother. Does this give me any impetus toward wanting to be more successful than I am? Do I have reason to do more than the absolute minimum to get by?

Thankfully, I have a passion for solving puzzles; I thrive on doing things better and more efficiently than average; I have a high regard for my responsibilities; and I love observing life in all its forms. So my life has some purpose, but little more. I amass knowledge, perform duties, collect payments, pay bills, eat, sleep, get up, repeat, wipe hands on pants.

I live in a small town. A very small town. I chose this town to be my home because I felt that this town actually needed me. I sorely needed to be some place that needed me to be there, not just some place where they had space for one more body. I lived in the previous situation for too long and was stuck behind too many other bodies everywhere I went or drove.

One of the most delightful things about small town life is to be recognized by someone wherever you happen to be in town. I lived in Dallas for 15 years and knew less about fewer people than those with whom I became familiar within the first six months of living here.

There are problems with living in a small town. The utilities either are substandard or take full advantage of being a monopoly; services that are commonly available in competitive marketplaces are nonexistent when there are no real choices.

Likewise, media coverage is limited to the local weekly paper which does little more than report the last week's rainfall, give information about every car wreck, fire or arrest that was made in the last week, and, without comment, provide information about the decisions made in last City Council meeting or County Commissioners Court. There are no editorials and no "Letters to the Editor." At 50 cents, it is a small price to pay for clues to where the garage sales are for the next weekend or for something to replace the lining in the bottom of the birdcage.

Most news travels along the grapevine here. That is the delightful part of small town life: everyone knows everyone and both good and bad news travel fast. Of course, the grapevine is as likely to be as honest and reliable a source as we lately have come to expect from the NY Times. Everything you hear (anywhere, anytime) is questionable. I just watch and listen. I puzzle about what it all means. It does give me something to do while I await the discovery of the mother of my children to be.

Posted by Tiger at 05:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 28, 2003

Looking for something good to read?

I am just going to add this link to the current Carnival of the Vanities as much to tell you to peruse the fine offerings there as to provide an accessible link for myself to do further exploring myself. I might have to do a bit of self-promotion in one of such events in the future, provided I can find one solitary post of mine that I think would be worth showing off more than any of the others. [feel free to insert a note of sarcasm here]

Posted by Tiger at 11:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giving the competition a helping hand

Well, it seems that my last post assisted Reason of Voice to climb a step higher in the popularity contest on The New Weblog Showcase at TLB. My star seems to be rapidly falling in that contest, where I now stand at #15. Oh well, just keep reading ... that means more to me than winning some old blog popularity contest. If you are not Glenn Reynolds, your blog is always less popular than someone else's.

Posted by Tiger at 11:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Income Taxation 101 and beyond ... the new frontier of discovery

A few days ago, Daniel at Reason of Voice had written a good post about the Morality of Tax Cuts. It was in response to Donald Sensing's article on One Hand Clapping. However, I am saving the link, because I think you might actually appreciate his thoughts better after reading mine.

I thought expound some of my thoughts about one issue: I believe Income Tax is the most onerous system ever of taxation. Think of it this way:

You have two choices: you work to provide for yourself or you do not work and live off the labors of others. It is as plain and simple as that. No one wants to work, really, at least not as much as they do. Most of us would work just hard enough to pay our bills and buy those few trinkets of luxury that are within our realm and tastes. That is what most of us do now. Only you have to work a bit longer or harder than you would have to if someone was not taking part of your check for taxes. Now, you actually just ceded additional parts of your time and labor to the government. You worked for the government's benefit; you worked for the government. Now did you do so voluntarily? Not likely. You did it because you had to do so, because the government passed laws forcing you to do so. The government enslaved you. You likely lived in a less affordable shack than you could have afforded if you had the full financial benefit of your labors. You might eat a bit more or better if you had better financial ability to do so. You might possibly be able to afford to get your teeth fixed or actually afford a dependable car if you actually received the hourly wage for your labors.

What if you just wanted to work hard enough to pay only a reasonable amount for housing, food and medical care and no more? I heard Ted Kaczynski actually lived on $400 a year. He likely has better quarters where he is now, eats better, and has better medical care. Is that the actual answer? Just find a cave, hunt squirrels and never shave, bathe or get a haircut? How can you cease to be a slave of the United States Government?

Income Tax has not always existed. Prior to the Income Tax, the U.S. Government existed on tariffs and trade. People existed, the U.S. had successfully defeated Spain, no one had invaded the United States. Then World War I came along, and it did cost a lot of money to support and supply an Army in a foreign country for four years. The U.S. Government had debts, huge debts. Most of these debts were to its own capitalists, the big money guys, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Carnegie. They were holding U.S. Bonds. Where were they ever going to get the money to pay off these bonds? Someone comes up with the bright idea of taking a percent of income.

Now exactly what is income? "Income" was traditionally thought to be that money which was a return on an investment: the supply of capital. It was not money that was received in exchange for labor or effort or time. It was money that was made off of allowing someone else use of your money. Interest, stock dividends, and other similar matters. The efforts of labor involve the payment of "wages."

Folklore has it that the original proposal was to take one-percent of the income of the Capitalists. No one complained at that, even the Capitalists. So, being as the Constitution of the United States did not provide the power to Congress to tax the Income of the people of the United States, a Constitutional Amendment was proposed. Some dispute whether it was ever effectively ratified, in accordance with legal provisions. But look at the words of the Amendment that was passed:

Amendment XVI.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Who in their right mind would believe that those words were ever believed by anyone to encompass the power to enslave the people of the United States that has subsequently occurred. Either the government has overstepped the power to tax that the people of the United States intended to give when they voted to ratify the Amendment, or our ancestors were more ignorant about things than I ever imagined was possible.

My position is that We, the People can vote to give the power, we can also vote to take it back. We did it before:

Amendment XVIII

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.


Amendment XXI

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.

I say we do it again. But, if we do it, we also have to do a bit more deciding. How do we provide enough money for the government to do the job we ask it to do? I will save that discussion for another time, however, Donald Sensing did do a wonderful job of getting the questions we have to answer out in the open.

Posted by Tiger at 09:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Where oh where did all the bloggers go?

It appears that a lot of the top bloggers have their blogs hosted by Hosting Matters. It also appears that there was a fire in the building where some of their servers are in New York. It has been suggested that Hosting Matters in working on getting everything fixed soon. Nearly every blogger has already reported the story, but Kathy Kinsley at One the Third Hand has done the most extensive job of following up on how things are going.

Glenn Reynolds is currently posting from blogspot for all of you InstaPundit addicts. [click here]

Posted by Tiger at 06:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2003

Blogeriffic News

Does it make you ecstatic to find that one of the blogs you read on a daily basis links up to yours? TalkLeft does a great job of keeping up with all the legal news and is updated very often. I check it frequently during the day so as a good source of the day's legal news. Well, I have found that ***: Raggin' & Rantin' has been added among the list of "Blogs We Like," on that site.

I am unsure if the linking came from trackbacks or from the publicity I got from submitting my May 21 post Left, Right, Middle - Who has the Ball? to the NEW WEBLOG SHOWCASE at The Truth Laid Bear. If not, the publicity has done wonders. I picked up 4 links since yesterday. Hopefully that is 4 more readers also.

However, it does appear that the New Weblog Showcase is also a popularity contest, and I have already fallen to 6th place. While I am not expecting any monetary gain from winning the contest, I do expect that making a good showing will prompt others to visit. I do hope to do well.

As a last bit of news, though this bit is not so blogeriffic, it does seem that my internet connection is going to be disconecting and reconnecting about every 5 to 10 minutes again today for whatever reason, I suspect this would be a great night to do anything that was not connected with use of the Internet. As such, I probably will not post anything further this date. I will not make any promises, though. I actually might be able to find a good connection later and there may just be something I find that I just have to share with all of you. Either way, I do so much appreciate your readership, and wish each and every one of you to know that!

Posted by Tiger at 06:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The true evil in the courts

[no links in this story] If God Commanded one to not bear false witness against one's neighbors, is it possible that while one person might be punished for that which he or she did not do, that those who falsely accused such person are true vestiges of evil?

Would the same reasoning apply to jurors who did not take seriously their oath to only convict if they believed "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the defendant was guilty, but despite having a reasonable doubt or two, they voted to convict the defendant due to believing it was more likely than not that the defendant was guilty?

In actuality, perjury probably occurs more often than not in court. Hardly anyone tells the absolute truth about an event. They always slant the facts to fit whatever viewpoint of the event they favor.

Often, they may not even be aware that they are doing so, or that when they actually viewed the event, they were seeing things as they wanted them to appear, not as they actually appeared. I am a firm believer in the tenet that "Truth is relevant to perception."

However, I am of the belief that it is a rare occurrence when someone does not know when he or she is stretching the truth. This rampant perjury is not confined to lay witnesses. It is more prevalent in the ranks of testifying police officers. It is almost like police officers get personally affronted when someone chooses to plead not guilty to a charge. "Oh, so you are saying I didn't do my job right, huh? Well, just let me tell this jury just how perfect I was and how bad you really were."

Is all this rampant perjury and disregard of oaths such a big deal? To wrongfully convicted persons, it is. Is it all that important to God? I guess the answer to that will await Judgment Day.

Posted by Tiger at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2003

Is Bush more like Woodrow Wilson or Theodore Roosevelt?

Neither, says Times Online reporter, Tim Hames.

If Mr Bush should be compared with anyone it is Harry Truman. Truman was a slightly accidental President (he took office on the sudden death of Franklin Roosevelt), widely mocked by American and European elites. He was swiftly confronted with the end of the Second World War, the invention of nuclear weapons and the emergence of the superpower struggle. He had to shape foreign policy on the hoof, invent institutions at home and abroad to match new circumstances, set precedents and draw lines in the sand. Substitute the chads of Florida, religious terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and it is not a bad (if imperfect) fit.

Pretty intuitive for a Brit. Although I have always admired Louisiana's former Governor, Huey Long, as my favorite politician, Harry S. Truman was always the President I admired the most. He was never afraid to make the hard decisions and never stood back and let others take the blame. Bush would do well to walk in the footsteps of a man who showed no fear of wearing the mantle of President of the United States even when it meant he got stuck with the dirty work.


Posted by Tiger at 09:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Maryland just says "NO" to Bush

It appears that despite the objections that the Bush Administration had for a bill that decreased the penalties for using marijuana for medical use, the Maryland governor, Robert Ehrlich, a Republican, signed it into law this past Thursday. [full story]

attribution: TalkLeft

Posted by Tiger at 09:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Telling the truth or stretching it as a scare tactic?

It appears that the Texas Legislature has passed a bill requiring counseling prior to receiving an abortion. However, one of the items that is to be included in the counseling is a warning that an abortion might lead to breast cancer.

That link, however, does not exist, according to the American Cancer Society and federal government researchers, and critics say the law is a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate, frighten and shame women who are seeking an abortion.
Proponents say they are merely trying to give women as much information as possible, and argue that research into the alleged link between abortion and breast cancer remains inconclusive.

I have to side with the critics. If there is not absolute data showing that such warning is true, the only purpose of such could only be usage as a scare tactic. If it was true, then I would agree that such warning should be given. Are our legislators really so guilded to think that people would not care, or did some special interest pull the wool over their eyes. Why don't you decide:

After years of failed attempts to outlaw abortion outright, social conservatives across the nation are now finding success in limiting abortions by requiring so-called counseling of patients. Among the most aggressive tactics is the attempt to link abortion with breast cancer, a move that many conservative organizations have undertaken, but rarely with the success they have found in Texas.

I personally believe that abortion should not be a choice of birth control, as there are so many other ways to stop conception during sex. However, I am also of the belief that such is a moral decision and it is not my job to judge the morals of others. As I have said before, I think such should be put up in a Constitutional Amendment and allow the whole nation to decide whether such should or should not be allowed by law. BUT MOST OF ALL---I do not believe the government should ever mandate the passing of information if there is no basis for the truth of such.

attribution: The Liquid List

Posted by Tiger at 08:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is the War on Terror going well?

According to the sources for this story, those in charge think they are doing well.

America's frontline agents in the war on terror have hacked into foreign banks, used secret prisons overseas, and spent over $20 million bankrolling friendly Muslim intelligence services. They have assassinated al Qaeda leaders, spirited prisoners to nations with brutal human-rights records, and amassed files equal to a thousand encyclopedias.

Of course, they are combining all their efforts on the al Qaeda organization, but they claim their efforts are paying off. The story details the efforts and results obtained since 9/11 by the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

attribution: Country Store

Posted by Tiger at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2003

What is Memorial Day?

I was sitting, surfing channels, mostly between a Memorial Day Symphony Celebration on PBS and a Tribute to Bob Hope Turning 100. Already, I had already heard Bob Hope's name mentioned, with John Cole at Balloon-Juice wondering if it was legally possible to bury Bob Hope in Arlington National Cemetary. To take nothing from Bob Hope, Memorial Day is not about Bob Hope. There was mention in the PBS show about remembering those who fell on 9/11 and those we recently lost in the Challenger incident. Both severely tragic events, but such deaths are also not what Memorial Day is traditionally about.

Memorial Day was created in 1865 to honor the dead who had fallen in combat. It began with remembering those soldiers who had fallen in the Civil War and has come to include those who died during all following years.

Bob Hope has been magnanimously supportive of all overseas troops for years and years. He deserves utmost honor and respect for having done so. But is his sacrifice the same as those for whom we set aside this holiday to remember?

Is the "War on Terror" actually a war? If so, maybe those fallen soldiers at the Pentagon were soldiers who had died during a war. The Challenger Astronauts are mostly officers in some military unit, but that tragedy was not associated with a war.

Maybe drawing lines and saying who you are supposed to remember on Memorial Day is a bit petty, but is it not wise to be cautious about diluting the real meaning of the Day? Do we necessarily allow today's topics to shield our thoughts of those who gave their lives for this country in combat fighting for our way of life.

Posted by Tiger at 08:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 24, 2003

Michael Jackson is bankrupt?

Well, supposedly Michael Jackson's financial advisors are claiming he is near bankruptcy. However, this revelation comes from a suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, by Union Finance and Investment Corp. of South Korea who are claiming that Michael Jackson owes the firm $12 million in fees and expenses, plus interest. If he was really bankrupt, this matter would be able to be abated until his bankruptcy action was settled in Bankruptcy Court. As there was no sign of such action being filed in Bankruptcy Court, is this just someone trying to blow smoke up the ass of his creditors?

The story states:

Forbes Magazine last year estimated that Jackson has $200 million in debts but a net worth of $350 million.

If those figures are correct, then MJ is not bankrupt. If he is bankrupt, then he is an idiot for not being able to manage his money better than he has. Even if he is not bankrupt, he is still an idiot, but that is only my opinion.


Posted by Tiger at 10:07 PM | Comments (39) | TrackBack

Mad Max is back

Well, it seems that Mel Gibson has decided it is time to play Mad Max again. He intiated the role in 1979 with the low-budget, Austrailan movie "Mad Max". The role was reprised in "The Road Warrior," a 1981 classic movie, in my opinion, and by far better than the original and the next installment, made in 1985, the poorly plotted "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." It appears that the same writers, director, and production company that were responsible for the last three movies are on board for this one. Here is hoping it worth seeing.

Posted by Tiger at 09:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More news about Identity Theft

It appears that Identity Theft has become so rampant that consumer groups are working hard to get legislation passed so that more of the burden is on the backs of the credit card providers and credit bureaus than on the backs of the consumers whose identities have been stolen.

The legislation that victims and consumer groups are pushing has three themes. They want:

• More accountability from credit bureaus and creditors. Some contend creditors are too quick to issue credit because they are motivated by the sale that might be lost by delaying approval.

• More help from law enforcement agencies that face jurisdictional issues when the victim lives in one city and the theft has occurred in another. Victims often track down thieves themselves.

• Credit bureaus to be more careful with information and more diligent at resolving disputes. It can take years to clear mistakes from credit reports.

I have represented a few clients who were having problems after getting their identity stolen. I understand the headaches that credit companies and credit reporting agencies put you through in any attempt to clear things up. Yes, I agree, it is time to put the burden on the right shoulders. If the companies would work harder to strengthen up strategies so as to stop this dilemma from going on and on, then maybe the dilemma would fade away. I bet if they had to shoulder the burden in these fraud situations, you can bet the bottom line of profitability would cause them to find solutions.

Posted by Tiger at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Update on how I am doing

Well, the mega-dosing technique that I use to get over the flu is working as usual. I feel pretty well after having stayed in bed for almost 24 hours, except for getting up about every four hours to take another dose of NyQuil. Of course, this is the point where I am not sure if I am over the symptoms or whether I am still under the influence of the medication. Since I feel much better than I did, I am glad either way. I will still keep the medication dosing going for one more day at least.

Posted by Tiger at 08:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Interesting essay on the current need for copyrights

Erica, author of the fine blog Sperari wrote:

We no longer need copyright to ensure that artists can simultaneously continue to create and also feed themselves and their families. Copyright may not be obsolete, but the original reasons it was needed are dead--at least here in America.

So where does this leave our Middlemen? Scrambling to find ways to get back to the golden days of controlled music distribution, the days before widespread use of simple copying and distribution technologies. In ways, their dilemma looks a lot like the tech boom and subsequent bust of the late 1990's, played out in slow motion. The incredible sums of money made almost overnight; the gold rush toward the industry; the grasping at straws to save an idea or a system that just didn't work anymore. The massive case of denial that accompanied the tech bust had only one major difference from the current fall of the media cartels: when tech busted, everyone could at least admit that the insane inflation in the field could have never been sustained.

This is just a short excerpt from her essay. I do recommend you read the entire piece.

Posted by Tiger at 08:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 23, 2003

New day, different verse

What I suspected yesterday was a summer cold moved from my head to my chest overnight last night. I awoke this morning with a high-grade fever and upper respiratory infection. I called to reset my one case in court to next Tuesday morning. As I explained, I was not only unable to think clearly, but I was also highly infectious. The Court readily agreed that I should not come to court today.

I likely have the flu or upper respiratory infection or both. I did consider SARS but I am so familar with the symptoms I have right now. I am secure in my belief that it is nothing serious.

I have been mega-dosing medications almost all day and laying in bed, half in and half out of sleep. What a way to begin a 3 day weekend.

I am very hopeful that I do feel much better tomorrow. I am even more hopeful that what just occurred as I was typing this never happens to me again for the rest of my life.*

*You really do not want to know what occurred.

Posted by Tiger at 07:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 22, 2003

Some days you feel like a nut, some days you just feel bad

No, I have not given up. I just woke up with a most severe dripping nose, sore throat, and low grade fever, and despite anything I have done, this summer cold does not seem to want to fade away.

My head is fogged and I seem to be thinking less than clearly. Everytime I get a good thought in my head, I sneeze and blow it across the room. As it is invariably spattered with some of the bodily fluid ejected in the sneeze, I was not about to try to pry them off the wall. Those thoughts may never find their way into my brain again. They may not want to try.

I really hate feeling badly, and I have not a clue where I might have downloaded this virus that is hampering my natural processor. I hope to be back to my regular self by tomorrow, but I might have to imbibe a goodly part of a bottle of bourbon to kill this bug.

Oh, Jeez, all over the screen. That one surprised me and caught me without a handy tissue.

Posted by Tiger at 09:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2003

Left, Right, Middle - Who has the Ball?

Jane Galt really started something over at Assymetrical Information when she announced her postulate:

Jane's Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

I wonder if this is not the inherent difficulty by having only two parties. If you are not of one, you have to be of the other. Competition: "The Old Team Spirit." But are we really all so cohesive behind each party's political lines?

I stand right behind the Republican line when it comes to family values. However, I think everyone has an opinion on abortion and it should be put up for Constitutional Amendment and let the issue be publicly decided once and for all. Of course, unless the swing turns the other way, and the populous again has to pass a subsequent Amendment to Repeal the previous Amendment.

I also believe in lowering taxes, although I think they could do more about lowering the taxes on the lower paid workers than those at the top of the food chain.

I want to see the sick, poor and injured cared for, but think charities are more able to provide effective and cost-conscious assistance to these groups than government bureaucracy.

I also would like to see jobs, real jobs, come back to America. How did we become a nation of McDonald's and Walmart employees? Where are the factories, the massive building projects? The country's infrastructure could use a major overhaul.

How do I stand politically? Am I Republican or a Democrat? YOU TELL ME? I suspect all authority save the 10 Commandments. What was written by the hand of God, I will not question.

If God thought it so important that you not envy or desire those things that were your neighbor's after already saying you were not allowed to steal them; if He were to counsel us to have sex only with those to whom we were married; and if He dictated limitations on the very things we were not allowed to say, if he had not wanted people to drink and do drugs, would He not have mentioned that?

I voted for Perot, both times. I just had this gut feeling that when he got into the White House and took the reigns of the Executive Branch that he was going to downsize and streamline the bureaucracy. Somebody needs to do that. We have too many people in this country sucking at the Federal tit.

[In my best Ross Perot imitation, and people say I do him well] 500,000 people in the Social Security agency? Anyone here that don't think we could not do that with 200,000? Somebody get on that, find the best 200,000 of them and get rid of that other 300,000.

One could dream, couldn't they? I call myself a Libertarian, but what I actually am is a person who wishes he lived with the freedoms of 150 years ago, before Income Tax, before the Industrial Revolution, before the population of the country was bursting at the seams. I really feel oppressed by the current level of Federal power. I love Texas first and the US second.

I like Bush. I wondered what kind of Governor he would make after it was evident he had a poor head for business. I started not to vote for him because of the way he ran the Texas Rangers. But I did, and I thought he did a surprisingly good job as Governor.

I did not like Clinton. He had scandals following him into the White House, he was surrounded by buffoons, and his credibility was suspect long before the perjury was uncovered. Hillary sat mum, and did not draw my admiration for standing by that bum. Gore did very little either to distance himself.

For me, the Presidential election was an easy choice. But that does not necessarily make me a Republican.

Posted by Tiger at 11:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What am I doing here: just wasting my time?

Entries: 235
Comments: 19

A ratio of less than one comment per ten posts is pretty pathetic. It makes me wonder if I am just spinning my wheels here. Am I just duplicating other's better efforts, or what?

Is there something about this blog that you do not like? Is my writing style obtuse and convoluted? Are my ideas better suited for episodes of the "Twilight Zone?" What is it? Is no one reading this blog? I read other fine blogs and link to them so as to send readers their way. however, if no one is reading mine, then I suppose I am not sending anyone to anyone else's blog either.

I love blogging. I love spreading the news. Blogging has assisted me in keeping up with news all over the world. Should I keep it up, or am I just wasting my time?

Is there any way to make this blog better? Anyone have any ideas?

Posted by Tiger at 03:48 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

May 20, 2003

Osama is not too happy with the latest developments!

OK, our friend Steve at Little Tiny Lies has invented a Fict-U-Lizer which allowed him to listen in on a conference between Osama Bin Laden and a couple of his newest henchmen. This is just too funny!

On the Third Hand spotted it first.

and yes, I have Little Tiny Lies blogrolled, do you?

Posted by Tiger at 08:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Will "The Practice" survive?

One of the few lawyer based TV shows that I actually avoided watching*, "The Practice," almost bit the dust as ABC fought with creator David E. Kelley about the cost of the show. Kelley, also, was not happy with ABC's decision to move the show from Sunday night to Monday night. Well, according to the latest news, the show will be back for its eighth season.**

In an effort to pull the long-running, Emmy-winning legal drama back to budget, creator David E. Kelley has announced that a half-dozen key players--Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Chyler Leigh (news) and Marla Sokoloff (news)--will not be back in court.

McDermott may be back for a four-episode guest stint, but his $300,000-an-episode-and-rising price tag worked to eliminate him from full-time 2004 employment. In fact, only legal eagles who will be back for certain are Steve Harris (news), Camryn Manheim (news), Michael Badalucco (news) and a few Practice newbies, like Jessica Capshaw (news).

In a statement, Kelley blamed the departures to "economic and creative realities," citing the need to bring the show back on budget and get viewers interested in new, exciting story arcs.

"It hurts, professionally and personally," said Kelley. "This is perhaps the finest group of actors and people one could ever hope to work with. I hope for all of them to recur if possible, and if I'm lucky, I'll get to work with them on future projects as well. I'm indebted to each and every one of them."

Hey, maybe it will be worth watching now. Maybe, but not sure I will even be turning the dial to find out.

*Another lawyer based show that I did not see very often was Ally McBeal. Partly this was due to the fact that it was on FOX and I get horrible reception on the FOX station in my area. Also, the time slot conflicted with something I liked better. I am hopeful that this show will go into syndication soon, and I can watch it late night on one of the other stations.

**It has been on for 7 seasons already? Unbelievable! I bet I have only seen two episodes of it.

Posted by Tiger at 08:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can we have the real story?

OK, what is it about the integrity of our news reporters any more? I trusted the BBC when I shared John Kampfner's report that the Jessica Lynch rescue was staged. However, subsequent to that report and my report, John Kampfner was asked:

Is it your belief right now based upon your investigation that this rescue of Lynch was in any way a staged event and not real?

He answered "no."

The Americans had a legitimate right in getting Lynch out of the hospital in Nasiriya. They had no way of knowing what her fate was, whether she was being well or badly treated.

So, I guess when you made your original report, this was actually unconfirmed:

Witnesses told us that the special forces knew that the Iraqi military had fled a day before they swooped on the hospital.

Add that to the Jayson Blair fiasco or CNN's admission that firing demonstrations it had televised in a story about assualt weapons were deceptive and it paints a pretty bleak picture of the integrity of journalism. Soon, someone will be reporting that all the stories in the Weekly World News are entirely factual.

attribution: I began with InstaPundit

Posted by Tiger at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US-VISIT: DHS will be watching who comes and goes

The Department of Homeland Security has announced its US-VISIT program. The ACRONYM stands for Visitor and Immigrant Status Indication Technology system and "is designed to make entering the U.S. easier for legitimate tourists, students and business travelers, while making it more difficult to enter the U.S. illegally through the implementation of biometrically authenticated documents."

Undersectretary Asa Hutchinson said that the first phase would work like this:

By January 1st of next year, if a foreign visitor flies into Dulles or JFK or LAX or another international airport or arrives at a U.S. seaport - the visitor's travel documents will be scanned. Then, once a photo and fingerprint are taken, the person will then be checked against lists of those who should be denied entry for any reason - terrorist connections, criminal violations, or past visa violations.

The information requested will include immigrant and citizenship status; nationality; the country of residence; and the person's address while in the United States. Incomplete information will no longer be good enough.

In 99.9 percent of the cases, the visitor will simply be wished a good day and sent on their way. But with that small percentage of "hits," our country will be made much safer, and our immigration system will be given a foundation of integrity that has been lacking for too long.

When that visitor departs, we will verify his or her identity and capture their departure information. This tells the Department of Homeland Security if that person entered legally may have stayed illegally as the 9/11 terrorists did. Currently, there is no way to know when or even if our visitors leave - but under US VISIT, that will change.

US VISIT will not be a static system, but a dynamic one, able to track changes in immigration status and make updates and adjustments accordingly.

Hmmm, it does remind me of those old movies I used to see, where the SS was always demanding to examine someone's papers before allowing them to board a plane or a train. So, why does this not bother me? I suppose because it only involves foreigners entering and exiting the US, and that the system is primarily designed to ensure that those that enter and exit are the people whom they are claiming to be. I guess the profilers and drug sniffing dogs are less concerned by who you are than they are about what you might be trying to sneak in the country.

more: DHS Fact Sheet: US-VISIT Program

Posted by Tiger at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I am not a weasel

It seems that the Pentagon started something with its deck of "The 55 Most Wanted Iraqis" deck. Now has designed its Deck of Weasels.

You’ll laugh out loud looking at the faces of the world’s greatest weasels – each wearing the beret of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard – now dubbed "Saddam’s Weasel Brigade."

Under each photo is each Weasel’s quote revealing his anti-American, pro-Saddam ranting!

Thankfully my face is not a part of the deck, although I have called into question the criticism of Iraqi military tactics during the early stages of the war. Of course, I was not making a pro-Saddam ranting, just making a point about what is fair in war: everything.

attribution: Feste...a foolsblog

Posted by Tiger at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All you ever wanted to know about the Patriot Act

James Bovard, in an article entitled "Surveillance State" in the May 19th issue of the American Conservative outlines the problems and loss of freedoms dictated by the passage of the Patriot Act following 9/11.

Within days of the Twin Towers' collapse, Ashcroft began strong-arming Congress to enact sweeping anti-terrorism legislation—and Americans seemed ready to trade a measure of liberty to restore their shaken security. The month of the attacks, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 78 percent willing to have Internet activity monitored. The administration took this as free rein, moving swiftly to enact the Patriot (Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act. Some of its provisions were simply updates to existing law. As. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), the only senator to vote against the act observed, "It made sense to stiffen penalties and lengthen or eliminate statutes of limitation for certain terrorist crimes." But the Patriot Act goes far beyond "good government" amendments.

It empowers federal agents to cannibalize Americans' e-mail with Carnivore wiretaps*, allows federal agents to commandeer library records, and requires banks to surrender personal account information. It also authorizes federal agents to confiscate bulk cash from travelers who fail to fill out Customs Service forms disclosing how much money they are taking out of or into the U.S. and allows the attorney general to order long-term detentions if he has "reasonable grounds to believe that the alien is engaged in any activity that endangers the national security of the United States." Last year alone, Ashcroft personally issued 170 emergency domestic spying warrants, permitting agents to carry out wiretaps and search homes and offices for up to 72 hours before requesting a search warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Just what does the Patriot Act allow?

Last January, an FBI agent entered a branch of the St. Louis Public Library and requested a list of all the sign-up sheets showing names of people who used library computers on Dec. 28, 2002. Even though the FBI agent did not have a warrant or subpoena, the library quickly surrendered the list of all users. The FBI acted because someone phoned in a tip that they "smelled something strange" about a library patron of Middle Eastern descent.

I wonder what smelled strange about him, his aftershave? Or maybe some citizen was concerned because someone of Middle Eastern descent had sufficient knowledge of computer operations as to actually use one? And the library just turned over everything without a fight? Was it this type of behavior that has them working to overturn portions of the law?

James Bovard says there was not any real necessity to pass the Patriot Act, that if the agents of the government were doing their job, there were already laws in place that could have assisted in detection of the activities that resulted in the 9/11 attack.

The government could have done a better job of tracking the terrorist suspects, but the feds had all the relevant information to detect and block the conspiracy to hijack four airplanes. The Joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee observed that the FBI's negligence "contributed to the United States becoming, in effect, a sanctuary for radical terrorists." Its investigation concluded, "It is at least a possibility that increased analysis, sharing and focus would have drawn greater attention to the growing potential for a major terrorist attack in the United States involving the aviation industry."

But the administration rewarded failure by the FBI and intelligence agencies with bigger budgets, more power, and presidential commendations. There is nothing in the Patriot Act that can solve the problem of FBI agents who do not understand the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or solve the shortage of CIA and National Security Agency employees who can read intercepted messages in the languages of prime terrorist threats. Neither does the legislation compensate for lackadaisical federal agents who failed to add promptly the names of al-Qaeda members to terrorism watch-lists or of analysts who ignored the cascading warnings of terrorists using stolen airplanes as flying bombs. The success of the 9/11 hijackers was due far more to a lack of government competence than to a shortfall in government power.

Patriot Act II is under consideration. James Bovard shows that the provisions are much broader than what Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo described as "filling in the holes" in the Patriot Act.

As a good Libertarian, almost any erosion of civil liberties disturbs me. What is peculiar is that this story was in the American Conservative, and not some liberal, leftist rag. When Conservatives get rankled over laws dealing with police powers, is that not a good sign the government might have stepped a bit too far on our rights?

attribution: TalkLeft who attributed: Buzzflash

*Almost immediately after the passage of the Patriot Act, I personally observed in several different groups that I visit here and there, that there would sometimes be posted a graphic that appeared to nothing but something written in Arabic. I did htink it might have been a way to get around Internet monitoring systems.

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May 19, 2003

At the tone . . .

Thanks to Lynn S. at Reflections in d minor for the pointer to this hilarious list of Star Trek answering machine messages.

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Everyone is raving about this

It seems that Steve over at Tiny Little Lies is writing a book. He previews a portion of the book and it is some funny stuff. Go see for yourself.

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Oops, I guess I made a "boo-boo"

On April 24, 2003, I reported on a kid who dropped marijuana while in court on a traffic matter in Carlsbad, NM. Well, I heard on one of our local radio a few minutes ago that someone in misdemeanor court in Weatherford, TX pulled some type of controlled substance out of his pocket while trying to retrieve item he wanted to show the court, and is now in jail on felony charges.Get it though you heads, dummies. Leave your drugs at home when you go to court.*

*I have always said that if absolute stupidity was a defense to criminal activity, about 80% of my criminal clients would likely be found not guilty.

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May 18, 2003

Parenting 101: Your kids are YOUR responsibility

In my profession, you see mostly the bad in life on a regular basis. People do not generally consult an attorney until their relationship is in shambles, some dispute that could not be handled amicable arises, or someone is facing criminal punishment for their misdeeds.

Through the years, I have represented many juveniles charged with crimes. Some of the crimes for which they are brought before the court seem to be so petty that I often wonder why they were not handled more like they were when I was a kid. If someone in my generation had busted out windows or defaced public property, the police did not involve the courts to deal with your misdeeds, they brought you home in a police car . . . knowing that your parents would provide the corrections necessary to rectify your misdeeds, including adequate punishment.

But does my generation parent the same way? According to this article, today's kids are spoiled.

Even their children level the charge at the baby boomers: that members of history's most indulged generation are setting new records when it comes to indulging their kids. The indictment gathered force during the roaring '90s. A Time/CNN poll finds that 80% of people think kids today are more spoiled than kids of 10 or 15 years ago, and two-thirds of parents admit that their kids are spoiled. In New York City it's the Bat Mitzvah where 'N Sync was the band; in Houston it's a catered $20,000 pink-themed party for 50 seven-year-old girls who all wore mink coats, like their moms. In Morton Grove, Ill., it's grade school teachers handing out candy and yo-yos on Fridays to kids who actually managed to obey the rules that week. Go to the mall or a concert or a restaurant and you can find them in the wild, the kids who have never been told no, whose sense of power and entitlement leaves onlookers breathless, the sand-kicking, foot-stomping, arm-twisting, wheedling, whining despots whose parents presumably deserve the company of the monsters they, after all, created. [emphasis supplied]

Yes, been there, seen that, too many times. And if their parents were going to be the only ones tormented by that kid's behavior, I would believe they were adequately punished for raising their kids however they want to do so. But . . . these very same kids take those very same attitudes to school and into the social arena. We all have to deal with these children on a daily basis. In a few cases, we have to be afraid of them - very afraid.

The historians and psychologists have lots of theories about how we got here, but some perennial truths persist: every generation thinks the next one is too slack; every parent reinvents the job. Parenthood, like childhood, is a journey of discovery. You set off from your memories of being a kid, all the blessings, all the scars. You overreact, improvise and over time maybe learn what works; with luck you improve. It is characteristic of the baby boomers to imagine themselves the first to take this trip, to pack so many guidebooks to read along the way and to try to minimize any discomfort.

Am I the only one who thinks Dr. Benjamin Spock was on the wrong track? Beginning with the release of his book, Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, in 1946, the popular belief that it was wrong to spank children began to take roots. What does Dr. Spoke believe is the alternative?

Imagine that your six-year-old has taken a toy from a friend's house without asking. This form of stealing is not the sign of a future criminal career, but it is a sign that he has not yet learned an important lesson about property. When you tell your child that what he did was wrong, you would like him to feel a little sorry or a little guilty. These uncomfortable feelings can resurface, when needed, to remind him that stealing is wrong.

Suppose instead that you give your child a spanking. Afterward, he is more likely to feel resentful and angry at you. In the future, when tempted, his only thought will be to avoid being caught. If the spanking is hard enough, he might also feel afraid of you. None of these feelings will help him, in the long run, be the kind of person you want him to be.

I suppose what irks me so much about anyone's book is that anything suggested is supposed to work universally for all. But, although this may be a revelation to many, we are all different, each and every one of us. I still think there were quite a few of us mischievious boys who got a good lesson from a butt busting. Some of us began to understand that the best way to not get more of the same was not to be caught doing something that deserved it, and the best way not to get caught was not to do it . . . even if we really wanted to do it. I am sure that others got nothing from it, except a sore spot to think about when they were seated.

I am going to go anecdotal for a spell. I once had primary responsibility for the care of two children, one a male and one a female, the male being almost exactly one year older than the female. This period of supervision lasted from the time that they were two & one respectively, until they were six & five. In my opinion, they were well-behaved children, but there were times that misbehavior became an issue that required action. Now, their personalities were very dissimilar. The boy was boisterous, active and curious; the girl was reserved, played quietly by herself, and very self-absorbed. (She had a bout with spinal meningitis as a baby, and was just beginning to recover her physical abilities at age one. Without physical therapy, she worked hard ot recover her strength, and by two surpassed most of her toddling contemporaries.) The punishment that worked for one of these children did not always work for the other.

The boy was eager to stay active, so spanking him did very little good. He just shook off the experience and went back to doing whatever it was he been doing. If given a simple spanking, he never would have understood the reason for the punishment. His punishment was initially standing in the corner. He hated it, fidgeted immensely and cried. He was required to stand in that corner until he was able to explain to me what it was that he was being punished for and why it was wrong to do that. However, after a period of time, I found that the same results could be achieved by using spanking as the punishment.

The little girl was seldom punished. When she was, it was usually because she got involved in her brother's hi-jinks. The first time she was put in the corner, she stood there for the longest period of time without making a peep. She had merely gone to sleep. But if she was throwing a tantrum, just the mere suggestion that she was going to get a spanking would shut her up almost immediately. I found, that if I acted too rashly, that it was possible to get carried away when spanking a child. I developed this scenario:

  • Child's misdeed is discovered.
  • "Kid, come here!"
  • Kid complies.
  • "Why did you do that?"
  • "I don't know."
  • "Did you know it was wrong?"
  • Here you might get an affirmative or negative answer.
  • "Well, when you do something wrong, I have to spank you, you know that, right? You also know that I do not like to have to spank you?"
  • Crying, "Yes."
  • "Let's talk about what you did, so that we can make sure you understand what it was that you did wrong and why you are not supposed to do things like that, OK?"
  • Crying, "OK."
  • Hereafter the discussion, not lecture, where the child and I would discuss the situation in adult terms.*
  • After I was sure that the child had gotten some understanding of the nature of its wrong, "OK, you are going to get N licks for that, go get that belt."
  • I wait as the child would take the longest trip of the day up the stairs and into my bedroom to retrieve the cloth dress belt that hung on the closet doorknob and return with it.
  • I bend the child over my knee and whack that butt N times with that cloth belt.

Now to tell you the truth, that spanking probably had only a minimal degree of physical pain, if any. But the entire scenario was played again and again, and repeated mistakes were more uncommon than not. A good rounding slap across the bottom with a bare hand was utilized often to bring them quickly back to their senses when their minds began to stray toward thoughts of mischief.

I have never been a big believer in coddling toddlers. I believe in being in their lives like a drill sergeant: sneaky, prying and demanding absolute obedience. But I also believe that it is important that you leave a great amount of control over certain aspects of their lives as they show the ability to do so. I find that being dictatorial is less effective than allowing choices, just always making one choice so rationally better than the other choice that the child chooses the one you want it to choose, ie.,

You have a choice, you can either go clean up your room or you can go over there and sit in that corner until I tell you that you can get up. It is your choice, what do you want to do?

Sometimes the child would actually choose to sit in the corner, but not usually more than once, as making the wrong choice might mean an unknown long period of sitting in the corner as I cleaned that room and did several other chores. Also, until they have developed enough dta to begin to understand the relationships between like acts, I usually only punish a young child for something they have been specifically told not to do. It is kind of like a "one-bite" rule, you really do not think they would ever have the inclination to do anything like that until they do.

Someone might wonder now how you ensure the child would stay in the corner**, unobserved. Not doing so would be considered a "misdeed," and the child was well aware of the consequences of a misdeed. And the child would never be unobserved for long. I would insure that. Remember, I said I stay in their lives like an Army Drill Sergeant. I seldom let 10 minutes pass during any period in which I had supervision of a toddler that I have not made them aware of my presence and that I am always watching. It is actually not all that difficult to do.

But do not just watch them, interact with them. Praise them if they are doing something worthwhile. Answer their questions, truthfully, even the hard ones, to the best of your ability, and those you can't answer, assist them in locating their answer. I used to actually hate it when I would ask my own mother or father something and get an answer such as "because I said so." Even a young child does not buy that. Tell them why, you might be surprised at the reason yourself.

I do not have a Ph.D. in child psychology, and yet, almost universally, kids gravitate toward me in every setting. Me, a disciplinarian? Why? Because I am usually the one who they believe is truly interested in them, because I probably am. My weapon: common sense.

The absolute stupidest saying that was ever stated is "children should be seen and not heard." I do not believe this. They do need to learn not to butt into adult conversations, but they need, also, the freedom to express themselves. Children are one thing: "humans moving toward maturity." They are individuals and cannot be grouped into a huge class where what works for one, works for all.

Is there such a thing as a "bad seed?" Sure. It is readily apparent to all of us that know that large normal local family with the one rebellious black sheep member. I also believe that you can likely identify the "bad seed" during toddler years. The antisocial tendencies are already apparent, if you choose to observe them.

Why is their such an incidence of adolescents and teenager who do things like this:

[T]he 1997 murder of a mother, father, young daughter, and the severe wounding of their baby boy, and the conviction of six Kentucky teens for the heinous crimes. . . . [from article by Eric Olsen reviewing a documentary, Six, by Kentucky Psychologist, by Dr. Helen Smith. Another contributor, Dawn Olsen [do I suspect some relationship there?] interviewed Dr. Smith and gets the attribution.


13 people were murdered and 23 wounded at a place considered safe, Columbine . . . . [full story]


[H]e launched a deadly attack that left two Pearl High School students dead and seven others injured. If convicted of killing his mother, Woodham could get life in prison. That is also the maximum sentence he could get if convicted of the school shootings . [full story]

Dr. Smith established blame with everyone for having failed the six teenagers from Kentucky.

"We will always have parents in our society who cannot or will not take responsibility for their children. Of course, we saw some poor parenting with all of these kids but some of the parents were mentally ill themselves. With little help available, they struggled as best they could. Madonna Wallen was diagnosed herself with bipolar illness. The schools simply ignored the kid's problems or overlooked them.

"At one point when Natasha reached out for help from the principal, he called her a freak. This only left her feeling more vulnerable and like there was no authority or adult in charge to help her or guide her in life. Her mother could not do it and now the school would not help. At one point when her mother tried to kill herself, Natasha went to school and told her teachers what was happening. They ignored her. The community did not accept the kids, as they were different and had little money.

"Certainly, the mental health systems did not help. The hospital that took Natasha Cornett knew she was dangerous but released her anyway. This is a daily occurrence. Medicaid, which is federally funded, will not pay for people who have mental illness to stay in the hospital. This leaves the burden on the states. Medicaid does pay if the person is placed out in the community, so the state lets them out.

"However, 'community' help has never really materialized. There was no one following up with Natasha and her mother after the hospital. She was assigned a psychiatrist who told Natasha (at age 14) to call her when she felt she needed to come in. Again, the authorities did not take charge and Natasha was left to her own devices.

"Law enforcement contributes indirectly to these problems by not providing proper monitoring of problem kids. Natasha had been on probation for writing forged checks at 13, but they never even sent anyone to talk with her or to supervise her. This lax supervision leaves kids with the feeling that they can get away with anything.

"Finally, Jason Bryant's father knew that Jason was leaving with a group of dangerous kids. He called the police and informed them that Jason was on probation and they needed to pick him up. The state police never even bothered to put the information out over the wire so that the trooper who stopped them for speeding could have been alerted. Of course, this trooper was afraid of the kids and did not ask questions or do anything.

See, I am right! No one was listening. Why do they always wait to long to listen to the children and learn who they are?

*My father used to ask me how I expected a one year old child to understand me when I spoke to them like an adult. I told him that if they had not understood me the first time, sometimes they understood the second time, or sometimes they did not understand until the fifth time, but everytime they did the same thing, they got the same speech. Kids understand much more than a lot of people give them credit for understanding.

**I was once entrusted with the care of a two-year-old who could sustain a screeching tantrum for very long periods of time. When he would begin one of these, I would put his chair in the corner and sit him in it, with the instructions that he would be required to sit there until he stopped the needless noise. He would get up, and I would sit him back in the chair. We played this game for 1 and a half hours the first night, about an hour the second night, 30 minutes the third night, 15 minutes the fourth night, and by the fifth night, just my action in retrieving the chair to put into the corner shut him right up. It does sometimes take a little effort to instill into children the belief that they do what they are told to do.

These are the causes of why are children are in trouble:

  • No one listens to them, or gets really involved in their lives.
  • The mental health system is not adequately dealing with the mental health of its citizenry.
  • Lack of consistency in their household, as families constantly seem to fail without real reason.
  • Single parenthood halves the adult supervisory power within the family unit.
  • Glorification of violence in the media and the fantasy that no one really dies.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Lack of any meaningful emplyment opportunities.
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May 17, 2003

The Mavs move on!

It is true, the Dallas Mavericks are in the conference final! The Dallas-Morning News story

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And now you know "the rest of the story"

BBC reports that the Jessica Lynch rescue was a staged drama:

Witnesses told us that the special forces knew that the Iraqi military had fled a day before they swooped on the hospital.

Dr Uday was surprised by the manner of the rescue. "We were surprised. Why do this? There was no military, there were no soldiers in the hospital," said Dr Anmar Uday, who worked at the hospital.

"It was like a Hollywood film. They cried 'go, go, go', with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital - action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan."

attribution: TAPPED via TalkLeft

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Who ya gonna call?

Supposedly if you call 1-800-CRIMINAL, you get connected with this lawyer.


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Just where can someone buy one of those?

Did TalkLeft actually mean to say:

Ed Rosenthal, convicted of cultivating marijuana in federal court despite having a state license to do so . . . .
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Now what is this?

Ravenwood's Universe has a story about how the cameras set up at intersection in LA County may have been set up to issue bogus tickets.

It all began in August 2000, when county officials placed cameras at the busy intersection of Whittier and Atlantic boulevards.

So he* went to the scene, armed with a video camera. He taped the light and took the tape home for analysis — a practice he said he has used at other intersections throughout the area in the last few months.

He said he complained repeatedly to the California Highway Patrol. County Department of Public Works officials went to the intersection to check his claims. They discovered that the light stayed yellow for 3.5 seconds.

Because the camera started snapping after three seconds of yellow, more than half of the 5,063 tickets issued over the cameras' 42 months of operation were invalid — the drivers had been "caught" while the light was still amber.

Superior Court Judge David Sotelo ordered the county to refund fines paid by 2,014 motorists — a ticket that cost $271 before Jan. 1 and $321 since.

Unfairly convicted motorists may also be eligible to recoup costs for lost work time, increased insurance premiums and traffic school, said Miguel Santana, a spokesman for county Supervisor Gloria Molina, who represents the affected area. [full story]

*The he in this story was not identified by name, but was only described as a retiree who publishes this website: Neither whois data nor a search of the website discolosed his identity. Is this a job for The Smoking Gun?

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If you are a ***, never lick a 2 year old girl in the face

You work years and years getting used to people, then just one little lick on a cute toddler's face and people get hysterical? Who will ever understand people? This Tiger continually tries, but not all ***S have my constitution for remaining calm in the midst of the chaos.

attribution: KBCI-CH2 in Boise via FARK

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What is the biggest problem in Saudi Arabia?

Would you believe it is a shortage of Saudi taxi drivers? ArabNews

attribution: FARK

Excuse me Agent 99 while I answer my shoe phone.

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A battle of the nit-wits?

Professor Volokh, at The Volokh Conspiracy, presented a side by side analysis of the attack on Neil Cavuto of Fox News by Paul Krugman in his New York Times column.

Krugman eloquently accuses the post-Clinton? media of kow-towing to the the Bush administration in portraying a decidely patriotic twist to the war coverage. He particularly called into point a statement made by Mr. Cavuto.

Mr Cavuto expressed his offense at being chastised for his expression of opinion and retorted like a mudslinging thug.

It was a very interesting read.

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May 16, 2003

We live in an oppresive police state, and didn't even know it!

I found this story on talkleft who had gotten it from PatriotWatch. It concerns a lot of literary people, like librarians, booksellers, and such having some opposition to some of the current provisions of the Patriot Act:

Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, passed in October 2001, a secret court can authorize the FBI to inspect or seize bookstore or library records without showing probable cause. Further, the law provides that the bookstore or library is forbidden to disclose that the inspection happened.

There is a counter-measure going through Congress to modify such provision. The government sees nothing wrong with the law as it is now:

People who come in to use the library have lost a lot of the privacy that they expect.'' Barbara Comstock, spokeswoman for the US Justice Department, yesterday said the opposition to the Patriot Act is misplaced. ''All Section 215 says is that when someone who is not an American citizen or is identified as a terrorist comes to a library to use a computer, we can go into the library and see what he is doing on that computer,'' Comstock said. ''The hysteria about this is due to a lack of understanding that a court order is required. There is no interest in a general sense in knowing what people are reading.''

Hmmm, is this still the same United States government that sold us this idea about passing an amendment allowing income taxation with this story about how they were only going to tax 1% of the income of the top 1% wealthiest people in the country. Even the top 1% of the wealthiest could go along with that idea, especially with all those bills from WWI. I am thinking that maybe the Patriot Act is just a bit more oppression we have to watch out for in our daily lives from our oppressive government.

Are we free? Or are we only as free as our government allows us to be? Think about it? Think of the things that you are not free to do because your government says you can't do them.

I believe the government is not involving the people in the process any longer. When it looked like the majority of people did not think we should sell or drink alcohol in the US, they passed an Amendment. When the majority of people thought they made a mistake to stop allowing the selling or drinking of alcohol, they passed another Amendment. I am thinking we need an Amendment vote on whether people think drugs should be criminal, or if abortion should be allowed, and to see if people wanted to withdraw that income tax thing.

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Five years is a stiff sentence for killing a cat

It has been a few days since I posted about some idiot who got arrested for something really stupid, but:

Andrew J. Castor, 14, [address snipped] was arrested on charges of felony cruelty to animals, feeding a gator and the theft of the cat.

It seems that Andrew took a sleeping 12 year-old cat off a chair on his neighbor's porch, kicked it a couple of times, then threw it to an alligator living in a canal near his house.

“Twelve years he’s been with me,” said Maldonado, 48. “He was like family. He was like my son.”

Castor’s father said his son deeply regretted his actions.

“The boy’s never been in trouble in his life,” said Patrick Castor, 38. “And yes, he does feel bad about it. He’s been crying over it ever since last night.”

The cruelty to animals charge is a third-degree felony, since it involves a cruel death or an excessive infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.

If tried as an adult, Castor could get a maximum sentence of five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

The state attorney's office hadn't decided what charges to pursue Friday or whether Castor would be tried as an adult, said spokeswoman Chere Avery.

Now I am pretty sure that this cat was not involved in the shooting I reported about before. [see also]

attribution: via A Gaggle of Girls

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I got the poster I was looking for

Remember the post on April 11, 2003, when I described the young lady who was burned badly in a DWI accident that had been on TV and was on posters seen at the Law Enforcement offices? Remember on April 12, 2003, when I said I had changed my mind about displaying it here on the Internet because I thought there would be those that would abuse the reason I would have posted the photo? Well, I happened to mention to a Sheriff's Deputy that I know that I wished I had one of those posters so I could hang it in my office, and he came through for me. It still amazes me when I think that such a young, beautiful little lady whose physical beauty and abilities were destroyed like that, has such an angelic voice and no shame showing her face or using it to hopefully assist others not to end up the same way.

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Update to: A wise prosecutor sees the light

The deal between the parents of the 2 year old Pakistani girl in Michigan has been approved by the Court and the Guaridan appointed for the child.

The dismissal was signed Wednesday by Oakland Circuit Judge Martha D. Anderson. It requires Noshin to visit the doctor at least once a month and the parents to obtain all necessary medical treatment for her.

Attorney Paul Baker, the court-appointed guardian for the child, said he was satisfied with the dismissal.

"I hope for the best and I'll keep the child in my prayers," Baker said.

attribution: AP via FindLaw

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May 15, 2003

Blog changes and other things

I have played and played with the categories, trying to decide how to do them. My initial plan was to categorize them by subject, but how was I to limit the subjects? Law, Crime, Justice and Other? Most of the posts would fit into more than one of those categories. I thought about more extensive categorization, identifying posts by what Constitutional Amendment, or whether it dealt with Health Issues, etc., and actually attempted to implement that system. I had categorized about 40 posts when I noticed I had 25 categories. Serious or Humorous? Only two categories? Why categorize? Anyway, I attempt to put a bit of humor even into my serious posts. Finally I looked back at the title to my blog: ***: Raggin' & Rantin' and came to the conclusion that there is a difference between Ragging and Ranting, and that not all of my posts qualified as either a Rag or a Rant. I analyzed my posts, and saw that along with Rags and Rants, I also have Raves, Remarks and Reports. So, I decided to categorize my posts by what type of a post it is:

  • RAG: this is a post where I am actually pointing out something that someone did that they should not be so proud of themselves for doing
  • RANT: this is a post where I have some strong ideas about the subject and freely shared my opinions about such in the post
  • RAVE: this is a post where I thought something said or done was impressive or praiseworthy
  • REMARK: this is a post where I reported on something primarily because I had a simple remark to make about the subject
  • REPORT: this is a post where I want solely to pass along some news I found or about myself or this blog

I have categorized about half the posts in the blog and am working on getting them all categorized. As such, that is one of the reasons there has not been all that much posting done here lately.

I thought about changing the name of the blog to ***: Raggin', Rantin', Ravin', Remarkin', & Reportin', and decided the name was fine the way it was. I do more Raggin' and Rantin' than most anything else anyway on this blog.

Now, the other things: I just wanted to share how I do a few things with regard to this blog and my blogging actions. First of all, I do read all of the blogs in my blogroll. How I choose which one to read and when depends primarily on one major factor. I try to connect to my blog when I have time: to check if there are comments to which to respond, something else that might need my attention, or because I use it as my homepage mostly because of the number of links to sites I visit regularly being found on the blog. If I have some free time to go blogging, I I usually click on whatever blogs show to have been recently updated on my blogroll.

How do I select sites for my blogroll? I check the site of any person who posts a comment on my site or trackbacks to one of my posts. If I like their content, and to tell you the truth, there are very few whose content I do not like, then I add them to the blogroll. I also find others because they were referred to in a post on a blog I was reading, or showed to be updated on someone else's blogroll. I also reciprocate links if I happen to find a blog that has put me on their blogroll, provided I like their content.

I am not sure how anyone else does it, but that is how I do it. I just thought I would share my methods of madness with you all.

Posted by Tiger at 06:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 14, 2003

A personal "Homer" moment

Actually this one might cover a whole episode of "The Simpsons."* [Oh come on, surely you can find that link without my help?]

I have been personally ranting here these last couple of days because I was sweltering and sweating sitting here in the house while the lousy heat pump system ran full time providing no relief.

I decided an hour ago that if it was not doing a damn** bit of good, I might as well save my electric bill and turn the system off. Well, I discovered that when I got up in the middle of the night three days ago, at the start of this spell of hot, humid weather, I had not turned on the cooling, as I had planned. I had only turned on the fan. So I have been sitting here for the past few days, sweltering and sweating, cussing the climate control system, when, in actuality, it was my own human error to blame.

*If this becomes the central story in any future episodes of "The Simpsons," please contact me for information on how to send my royalty payments.

**I used some much coarser language referring to my supposed inoperable climate control system these past few days.


Posted by Tiger at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OK, so I will support BSA directly

[Note: if you have heard my rants about my Internet connection, you will understand how I am feeling right now having to recompose this whole post because my Internet connection died as I was saving the last attempt!*]

A United Way agency in Florida discontinued its funding for Boy Scouting programs, Tuesday. Why? The BSA reneged on a deal to assist young gal males to cope with their sexuality. The United Way used the US Government's tactic, so that the BSA succumbed to the pressure of withheld financial assistance, just as the states succumbed to the Federal pressure to lower their speed limits and make seat belts mandatory.

Now I am not a gay basher. I try not to concern myself with what people do on their own time. I have always thought that sexual activity between two consenting persons of the same gender provided the absolute best means of birth control. I am admittedly of the opinion that there are too many people on this planet, so any method of eliminating future growth trends is beneficial in the grand design. Although my only data for the following is what I have overheard in conversations between teenagers and from my day-to-day observations of their activities, such should be considered as reliable as any social study, survey or poll. I am of the opinion that this generation of teenagers has no shame in their sexuality, are totally unconcerned about who slept with what person or persons, and are, for the most part, bisexuals. They are in the midst of a mega-revival of the "free sex" revolution in the 1960's, only this time with AIDS and Herpes and many other sexually transmitted diseases. This generation shows very little real concern over the risks of spreading STDs.

Tony, at I Am Always Right had this to say:

I was in the Boy Scouts and I just don't remember "helping gays cope with being deviant" among the literature they use to promote themselves.

I, too, was in Scouting, and have always thought it provided a great foundation upon which to build my life. Scouting taught us to rely upon ourselves and to assist others. There were no lessons on chasing girls or chasing boys. Sexual discussion was implicitly understood to be taboo by everyone involved.

Was there any sexual discussion or activity in Scouting? Sure, but no one admitted it. All I saw was confined to boys in tents, several curious boys sleeping in close quarters. There might be episodes of penis comparison from time to time, or even public masturbation, by more than one actor. I suppose a couple of the boys might have taken a mutual stroll in the moonlight, but no one thought twice about it. No one understood their sexuality during those years, and Scouting did not include such in the agenda they offered to adolescent males. They did not teach or promote sexuality of any sort: hetero-, homo-, bi- or a-. Why should they do so now? If they are looking for an organization that works diligently in assisting young men to discover their sexuality, send them to the Catholic Church.

*I got smarter the second time I had pasted my story in my word processor and saved it before attempting to save it. Good thing, too, because the second attempt crashed.

Is this punishment for successfully fighting to keep gays from being Scout Leaders? The Supreme Court said they have an absolute right to do so, but do they not also have a moral obligation to do so? Do we not expect an organization in which we trust the care of our boys to use "reasonable caution" in selecting the men into whose care these boys are entrusted? When it comes to deciding whether to allow a person who by their own sexual choice finds the body of males to be sexually exciting or one who does not, I believe it is reasonable caution to restrict the selection those who do not. There are likely plenty of gay males who would make good Scout Leaders, but there are some who we, including gays, all know, would be predatory in such a setting. There is almost no chance of a heterosexual male being sexually predatory against another male of any age.

Posted by Tiger at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I heard you had to be rich to buy a pack of smokes, also!

When I see stories like this, I am so glad I live in a small town. It seems that in NYC, there has been a law for 40 years that says you cannot have a company logo or phone number on your awning. The story did not make it apparent if the city has previously been enforcing this ordinance, but they seem to be doing so now. Can you imagine being fined $12,500.00 for placing a logo on an awning?

This is too bizarre. What is the justification for such? That people will gawk at all the nice logos as they are driving down the street or be trying to write down the phone number? No wonder New Yorkers always seem to be in a foul mood. It seems that the city is pretty unfriendly with its occupants, and I guess it rubs off on them.

I am sure that if that happened to me, even an easy going Texan like me would be grumpier than a bear in Yellowstone Park who could not find an unguarded picnic basket after an all day search.

attribution: Plum Crazy

Posted by Tiger at 07:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oklahoma Governor refuses to extradite Texas Dems

Over at Little Tiny Lies, it has been suggested that there may be some drastic actions taken of the Texas Democratic Legislators hiding out in Oklahoma do not surrender soon. It is suspected that a member of their own party may be put in charge of smoking them out. See the story!

Posted by Tiger at 06:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2003

It is on SpinCycle, but where is it going?

It seems MS is denying responsibility for the release of stories about its development of the Iloo [the world's first Internet-ready toilet]. However, all reports seem to point to the fact that the British side of the company was and is developing such a product. Unless, of course, the Boss in Seattle flushes the whole idea . . .

attribution: The Gate via The Accidental Jedi

You can groan now!

Hey, does than make me a pundit?

Posted by Tiger at 10:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is having a "terrorist" rubber stamp too much?

It is not often I would quote the whole post from another blog. And, in doing so, I am going to commit the cardinal sin of newsgoups. I am not sure how it goes over with blogging. Fritz Schranck had this to say (and I am inferring all the words are those of Fritz himself*, except those bits which seem to be quoting code):

You assassinate a few leaders, fire off a couple mortar attacks at some others, and all of a sudden somebody thinks you’re a terrorist organization. What’s up with that?

Sometimes you can only marvel at how some folks can be so morally obtuse.

Reading between the lines of a DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision [Fritz supplied the link] issued last Friday, it looks like the appellate panel shares this sense of wonder.

The Secretary of State has the power to declare certain qualifying entities as “foreign terrorist organizations.” This declaration carries with it some serious consequences, such as blocking access to U.S. financial institutions, criminalizing any support given to the organization, and denying entrance into the United States to any of the organization’s representatives.

On at least three occasions, 1997, 1999, and 2001, the Secretary made just such a determination about The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). In so doing the Secretary relied upon both classified and non-classified information, as permitted under the statutory and administrative scheme that applied to this process.

PMOI appealed these designations to the DC Circuit. The primary basis for the appeal centered on the fact that classified information was part of the decisional mix used by the Secretary, and that the Iranians had no ability to access the information and no right to respond to it.

If the terrorist designations were based solely upon the classified record, perhaps the courts would have been faced with some interesting separation of powers issues.

In this case, however, PMOI had been given access to the unclassified record, and in fact contributed to it with its own submissions to the Secretary. As the Circuit Court found, there was more than enough damning information in the unclassified record to convert any legal quibbles about the classified documents into harmless error at best:

By statutory definition, "terrorist activity" ... involves any of the following: ...

(III) A violent attack upon an internationally protected person (as defined in section 1116(b)(4) of Title 18) or upon the liberty of such a person.

(IV) An assassination.

(V) The use of any … explosive or firearm (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property…[citation omitted].

By its own admission, the PMOI has

(1) attacked with mortars the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office; (2) assassinated a former Iranian prosecutor and killed his security guards; (3) killed the Deputy Chief of the Iranian Joint Staff Command, who was the personal military adviser to Supreme Leader Khamenei; (4) attacked with mortars the Iranian Central Command Headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Defense Industries Organization in Tehran; (5) attacked and targeted with mortars the offices of the Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, and of the head of the State Exigencies Council; (6) attacked with mortars the central headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards; (7) attacked with mortars two Revolutionary Guards Corps headquarters; and (8) attacked the headquarters of the Iranian State Security Forces in Tehran.

Were there no classified information in the file, we could hardly find that the Secretary's determination that the Petitioner engaged in terrorist activities is "lacking substantial support in the administrative record taken as a whole," even without repairing to the "classified information submitted to the court." 8 U.S.C. § 1189(b)(3)(D).

The civil appeal by these unambiguously uncivil litigants was therefore dismissed.

To be blunt, on this record it’s a mystery to me how the Iranians thought they could win this appeal in the first place.

I guess what was so remarkable to me, was not that the Court did not give the PMOI any relief, but that it was assumed it was a waste of time to challenge an ignorant law. Although the record of the activities by the PMOI is terrible and extensive, all the acts described therein were internal Iranian affairs. They sound more like revolutionaries than terrorists. Is this not a step beyond attacking a country to dethrone a dictator? Are we now dictating who can even attempt to gain power in a foreign country, or how they go about it, by the use of the word "terrorist?" Maybe we are becoming a very imperialistic country while we are looking the other way?**

Oh, Hell, if that is the way it should be, then Semper Fi!

*I do not know Fritz, or whether Fritz is truly named Fritz, therefore the gender assignment, I admit is an assumption due to the name. I could be or possibly might be wrong. There, I can say that!

**Max Boot says we are imperialists, but what does he know, he is a Canadian? Chris at The Nobel Pundit has a different opinion.

That story had been waiting on my desktop for almost 24 hours ... old news?

Posted by Tiger at 09:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The race for the $10M is on!

I reported on April 20 about aircraft designer Burt Rutan unveiling of his secret high-atmosphere released vessel. Well it seems that some Canadians want to beat him to the $10 million X Prize:

A Canadian group of space enthusiasts claims to be leading the quest for the famous X Prize, a $10-million (U.S.) award for whoever can invent a better way of blasting off the planet.

The team announced Tuesday that it plans to launch from a remote airstrip near Kindersley, Sask., and claimed to be the first private group anywhere in the world that has applied for permission to launch a human into space.

You know, maybe I need to read up on that X Prize. I wonder if you have to return alive in order to win? Of course, if you didn't, it would be hard to personally collect, but would your team be eligible to collect?

attribution: via On The Third Hand

See what I wrote at On The Third Hand's comment board.

Yeah, I know, I always ask the hard questions.

Posted by Tiger at 08:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A wise prosecutor sees the light

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - Prosecutors are expected to drop their fight to override a family's wishes and order surgery for a 2-year-old girl with brain cancer.

Jala and Shaheda Hoque, immigrants from Bangladesh, took their daughter Noshin to a doctor because her left eye wandered and she was having trouble moving her left arm and leg. Specialists found a tumor pressing against the girl's brain stem.

Doctors disagreed on whether surgery would help but agreed it was risky.

The Hoques instead sought help through homeopathic treatment in Canada. After the family's pediatrician told the state Family Independence Agency, the agency got the prosecutor's office to intervene. [emphasis supplied]

Heartless as it may seem, there do seem to be times when it is best to let nature take its course. If all the doctors are saying that surgery is risky, but cannot agree whether or not it will help, that would seem to be one of the times you step back and say, no, let us just let nature take its course. Maybe the couple was just lucky enough to draw a sympathetic prosecutor, or maybe the truth turned him around. Whatever, I think he is making the right decision:

[W]ith her condition worsening, he is now dropping the petition for surgery and instead asking the parents to see that she has the medication she needs to fight the pain . . . .

May God, or it may be Allah in this case, comfort the poor little child and her family through this crisis.

attribution: AP via FindLaw

I am entirely grateful that I am not in the position to have to make this choice with regard to a child of mine. Such a heavy decision would tend to wear heavy on one's heart.

Posted by Tiger at 07:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

But he never lied under oath about it

JFK Had Affair With Intern, Author Says

NEW YORK (AP) - President John F. Kennedy had an affair with a 19-year-old intern who traveled with him on official trips, according to a new biography of Kennedy.

"She had no skills. She could answer the phone," Robert Dallek, author of "An Unfinished Life," told "Dateline NBC" in an interview that aired Sunday. "Apparently, her only skill was to provide sexual release for JFK on those trips and maybe in the White House."

Somehow there is nothing in this story that surprises me.

attribution: AP via FindLaw

Posted by Tiger at 06:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2003

Wake up Blogosphere! The truth is told!

The Metal Wings of Destiny has to be one of the nicest designs for a blog I have ever seen. While it is not in conformity with my tastes, which, as you can see, are a little more simple and as graphicless as possible. However, I do love great design work.

I did not start this post to discuss blog design, however, but to discuss the purpose of blogging. Metal Wings of Destiny came into the picture because AstreaEdge posted the following on that site:

You want them to be diverted to your site, even though you have nothing that they are looking for, because you only need 3,126 more hits until you break 50,000, or because your massive ego leads you to believe that your content is so damn good that they will keep coming back, again and again. That's right! Blogging isn't supposed to be fun mental exercise or a way to get things off of your chest or a way to meet other interesting people. No, it is all one giant popularity contest.

"Look at me! Look at me! The Instapundit linked to me! I am so, like, god of the blogosphere!"


"OH. MY. GOD. The Instapundit delinked me! ME! Glenn Reynolds is so an unmitigated, motherf***ing bastard!"

Can you honestly say that the "Blogosphere" isn't chock full of idle chatter and useless brown noise?

I suppose if I ever get blogrolled by instapundit, I may have actually found a use for blogging. I just do not worry about it all that much. I still am not worried about page hits. I do not even run a counter, so have no idea how many hit the page, but I am able to see how many comment and how many trackbacks I get.

I know my readership is small, but I do hope it will grow. Is all of my content Pulitzer Prize material? No, but neither is everything in the Washington Post or New York Times. Is there some good stuff to be seen in my posts? I certainly think so, but then what I think are good are my ideas. That is why I blog, to share my ideas and who I am with those who read what I write.

Do I do it for fun? Maybe, but just because it is entertaining does not necessarily make it fun. I do find it to be entertaining, however, and I occupy entirely too much of my time blogging.

So what is the purpose of blogging? I suppose it is several things to many different people. Some bloggers actually do a very good job of reporting the news on selected subjects from a myriad of different sources. Some use it as a method to deliver tantalizing tales of their daily exploits for the pleasure of their friends and associates. Others use their blog to push a political agenda or promote a special interest. A lot of people just post .... what? whatever! I am still waiting to see the advertisers come knocking on the blogs trying to buy all that valuable space. I have a lot for sale.

Actually, I would rather become recognized by one of the big news sites and get paid for my unique insight into the ways of the world. Yeah, like that is ever going to happen.* I think I will just stick with my day job. Now, If I could just quit blogging long enough to get anything done.

*But seriously, I could write for the Weekly World News. They just make that crap up anyway.

Posted by Tiger at 06:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Hitting the nail on the head

Professor Volokh has posted and posted and posted regarding the controversy asking to rename the University of Massachusetts teams from the "Minutemen/Minutewomen" to "Gray Wolves."

This isn't a First Amendment issue -- a university is entitled to decide to change its team name, even in response to public reactions. Moreover, universities should in some measure care about public reactions, both as a matter of civility and good business. I'm not therefore inherently bothered by people calling for changes to mascots and team names.

I agree with that statement and it is good, but this one is much, much better:

More broadly, for women to succeed in many walks of life, they should draw their role models from men. To become great soldiers, women have to emulate other great soldiers -- who were men. To become great scientists, women need to draw inspiration from Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and others -- overwhelmingly men. (The same is in large measure true for many racial and ethnic minorities in many fields.) The lack of women role models may often be due to past sexism; but this lack is indeed a reality. And if girls and women really do conclude that the men of the past can't serve as inspiration for them, then they (girls and women) will be the ones who suffer as a result. The solution is for people to be taught to value, respect, and emulate worthy people, such as the Minutemen, whether or not one's gender matches theirs -- not for people to be taught that one's symbols, models, and team names must be sex- and ethnicity-appropriate.
Posted by Tiger at 03:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A cure for my insomnia?

RealAge Tip of the Day:

Computer Rules for Snoozing

Taking small breaks from your computer may help you sleep more soundly.

A recent study revealed that people who spent more than 5 hours per day in front of a computer screen were more likely to experience sleep problems compared to other people.

Taking small breaks to stretch, relax, and rest your eyes may help you get more quality shuteye tonight.

Posted by Tiger at 02:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It is not a joke

Under the title to this blog it reads "tied to the world solely by a low-band connection through a third-world phone company, one man reports on law, crime & justice." While that appears to be humorous, it is the truth. I live in a small town populated only be approximately 3000 people. We are held hostage by a third-world phone company: Valor Telecom.

I hate Valor Telecom. They're one of those crappy little companies that got a crumb or two from the deregulation that screwed everybody else. They don't have any support, they don't have any engineers, they don't have any infrastructure. What they do have is a billing system, and a bunch of minimum-wage phone-answerers and that's it.

This is what the Fat Guy said almost a year ago, on May 31, 2002. The last comment to this entry was made on March 3rd of this year. Those of us held hostage by this company are none to pleased about it. I asked about DSL as soon as they took over from GTE, about the time GTE became part of the Verizon system. They told me they would have DSL in 6 months. THAT WAS THREE YEARS AGO!

I have inquired about DSL often, every time I find some Valor Telecom employee. Of course, the answer never changes: "six months."

So, no DSL. Cable is on its way, but they keep having this or that technical problem, but I suspect they will be here before Valor makes DSL available. Someone did institute a wireless network here last year, but the installation costs $600. I need it in two locations, people, and $1200 is a bit pricy. All satellite alternatives have similar installation costs.

So I am stuck with connecting to a dialup network in a town twenty miles away, which is on a different phone system. Provided that Valor does pay the fee for connecting to that phone system (which they have failed to do on at least one occasion, though they denied that), the crappy static filled lines between my office and the server allow me connections at the blazing speed of 31.2kps, if I am lucky. I have actually gotten connections as low as 4.2kps. I have never figured whether it is due to the amount of static on the lines or the fault of the ISP, but I get dropped connections more often than subscribers to AOL. By the way, AOL does not have a local number here, so even AOL subscribers have to call into a town 20 miles away.

I do get a bit better connection at home, usually 46.6 or 48.0kps. I suspect that the lines are newer at the house. I also seem to get dropped less often, though it comes in spurts. I am generally connected at home during peak use periods, and am connected from the office during the day, when use is slower. I am also paying business rates for the phone service. As such, why is it so continually aggravating just to check my email SPAM?

Dialup service in neighboring town: less than $20.00
Crappy Valor Telecom phone service: approximately $50.00
Stable low-cost high-speed internet connection:PRICELESS
Posted by Tiger at 12:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blogroll reduced by one

Amish Tech Support was deleted from the blogroll today. Although Laurence's posts are often filled with his own unique humor, I sometimes find that he shows very little compassion for others. I forgive some of the animosity displayed for those of Islamic faith, as it is evident that Laurence is Jewish, but I could not conceive of any reason for the last comment in this post.

The stupidity of the young lady resulted in her death. While the episode might be a good lesson for others, the pain felt by her friends and family is "real." They do deserve our compassion.

UPDATE: Laurence ragged a bit about my having publicly announced deleting his blog from my list of "QUALITY BLOGS." As the link had been listed for a lengthy period, I thought I owed my small readership, who might have noticed that the top link was missing, an explanation.

Another Update: Ravenwood - 05/12/2003 04:15 PM

De-Link Whoring

If I'm ever hard up for an Amishlanche, I'm going to consider publicly delinking Amish Tech Support. I noticed that last time Laurence featured me on a post, I got a good 150 visits out of it. Laurence's rant about recently being publicly de-linked is sure to net the offender 300 or more hits. Is he simply link-whoring? I'm not sure, but he trackbacked both the originial post, and Laurence's reaction.

Perhaps I could try a daily de-linking, and see how long it takes the law of diminishing returns to kick in. One of these days, I'll take the initiative to try that with Instapundit. Assuming Glenn would notice, I might get an Instalanche worth thousands of visits. Of course, the resulting hate mail might be a bit annoying, but there is no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Posted by Tiger at 11:32 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tobacco tax wars get ugly

Lorillard Tobacco Co. has begun to battle back against the continued increase of taxes on cigarettes. They have begun to run a series of ads on radio, in newspapers and upon the billboards dotting the sides of the highways in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

One ad featured a picture of a scowling, beefy man wearing a pinstriped suit and a pinky ring, posing next to a black sedan and a suitcase stuffed with cash. "The mob, smugglers, and other street criminals are making a fortune selling illegal cigarettes while legitimate small businesses are forced to cut jobs," the ad reads. The ads specifically take aim at New York City's taxes, saying they created a market for smugglers who make knockoffs of name brands or buy cartons in other states and resell them.

William V. Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, says the ads are initiated in hopes of lowering the price for a pack of cigarettes.

"Maybe we shouldn't have laws against drug use either, because people are going to go out and smuggle drugs?" John Kirkwood, chief executive of the American Lung Association, said. "The reasoning is fallacious."

Uh, people do smuggle drugs because there are laws against drug use, just as they smuggled liquor when there were laws against alcohol use. Governmental restrictions and control have always fed the coffers of organized crime. Who controls the bulk of the business in gambling, prostitution and the smuggling of contraband? Logic dictates that if a product is very expensive in one marketplace and very cheap in another marketplace, someone will use any means, lawful or otherwise, to make a profit by transporting the product from one marketplace to another.

[full AP story] via FindLaw

Posted by Tiger at 10:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2003

Accomplished a lot today, and yet nothing

Well, thankfully, I was able to resolve that width problem with the post listing. And, after a bit more review, I found that I could actually import all my prior BLOGGER entries into the new system, and did so. MT actually does a pretty good job at it, but for some reason it rewrites titles to all the prior entries, all of which had perfectly good titles. As such, all prior 172 or so entries were imported with duplicated titles. Well, not entirely duplicated, as MT made a guess at to what it thought the title was, or took just so many letters from the writing on the blog, because the titles are seldom what I originally entitled the posts. As such, I have had to do editing on all of the previous posts to correct these titling mistakes. In addition to the corrections, I am extensively categorizing prior posts. I am still unsure what I can do with the categorizations, but I will make that discovery when I get there.

My most irritating dilemma at this point is that all of the links on the archive pages do not point to the blog. They point to index.html, where the program assumes the blog exists, but which is not the location of the blog. In fact, if there is anything currently at index.html, it is the BLOGGER composed entries. I had to upload them onto the server into some file, and as I knew index.html existed on the server without an actual purpose, I saved me having to create another file for BLOGGER to write those entries into.

I am hot and tired. My back hurts. I have been sitting in this chair continuously for a number of hours. I am going to have to take a break from blog revsion for a while. I do have a couple of feelers out for at fix to that index.html problem, but if any of you MT users have an answer, I would appreciate you dropping me a line in the comments.

Posted by Tiger at 05:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Solved another problem

I was having a devil of a time trying to get the blog entry width changed. It was so wide, even at my high resolution setting, I had to scroll to the right just to see the end of the lines. Cascading Style Sheets and DIV tags have come a long way since the last time I had studied HTML. I searched and searched for some way to change the width of the blog entry. I finally figured out that I had to add a line to the style-sheet after several hours of research late last night and most of this morning.

As my monitor is set to 1024x768 resolution I am not sure all of the rest of you are not still having to scroll right. If so, let me know what browser, including the version, and what resolution you are using, so I can get some idea how to make whatever changes are necessary. I do want to cater to my readers

Posted by Tiger at 01:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 10, 2003

The new look is coming together

Well, this is the first post in the new Moveable Type driven blog. I think it is an improvement, although I am still having some trouble tinkering the templates so as to make it look just like I want it to look. I suppose I have a bit more reading to do. But at least I got the program running.

It took me forever. I read and reread the installation directions, and it was like they were written in Greek. I could not seem to make much sense of most of it, but what really plagued me was that they did not specifically tell you exactly where to load all those files onto your server. Or so I thought.

I was looking everywhere for the answer. I posted a message on the support board at Moveable Type. When another blogger offered to help, I asked for help. However, sometimes getting away from things clears one's mind. After leaving for awhile, I suddenly arrived at the solution. I needed to think like an attorney instead of a techno-idiot. Where the instructions specifically said to load two directories and a file into one directory, by legal rules of construction, the inclusion of those directories and files in one list, excluded them from the other. As only one other directory where files were to be loaded was mentioned in the instructions, it necessarily meant that the specified directories and file were the only file and directories that were not to be loaded into the alternate directory. After fiddling with the configuation and adding permissions to several files and folders, I was actually able to intiate the program.

However, it was a very short-lived victory. As you were given a default user name and password to access the program, I immediately added my profile and erased the default one. However, I did not associate my new profile with the only blog that was currently named in the program. When I signed back in, I had no access to edit or create any blogs. So, I had to delete most of the files off of the computer, reload from the original zip folder and reconfigure the whole mess one more time. I am actually getting the hang of it.

Posted by Tiger at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2003

Time to take action

OK, time to do it. I am either going to figure out how to install Moveable Type, or just stick with Greymatter, but the change is happening. There will be a new look by the time I next post, but the archives will stay the same. I am not deleting any of them, and they were fully archived up to this post. Do not point to this one, just in case I am unable to archive just this one. I am just attempting to be a bit more bloggerific.

But before I go, I want to leave you with this link to Amish Tech Support, where you can find the scoop on the big change to the English Court system and some of Laurence's quips about some possible changes might affect the Court. Follow that to Vorokh Conspiracy, where Eugene finds a parallel in the American court system. I was unable to locate the supposed Oxblood post on the story, but I sometimes find our British friends' prose a bit too obtuse and flowery for my feeble brain.

Posted by Tiger at 05:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh my, what did they do?

It appears that no one is happy with the ruling by the Federal Court last Friday which struck down some of the campaign finance law. [what I said]

The court ruled unconstitutional a provision barring a number of interest groups, including those financed with corporate and union money, from airing issue ads mentioning federal candidates in those candidates' districts in the month before a primary and within two months of a general election.

It upheld fallback rules that bar the same groups from airing ads that promote, support, attack or oppose a candidate at any time. It's unclear how far interest groups can go when featuring candidates in ads because the law doesn't say what it means to promote, support, attack or oppose a candidate. The court's ruling leaves in effect a ban that stops the NRA (National Rifle Association) from airing an advertisement urging Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to vote for legislation blocking lawsuits against gun dealers.

The NRA has asked the Court to stay its decision.

The Justice Department has joined with the Federal Election Commission in requesting a stay, also.

"Until the Supreme Court has an opportunity to consider the important issues presented by this case, the statutory scheme established by Congress should remain in place," the government said in its filing to the court.

"Allowing the decision in this case to go into effect during an appeal would have tumultuous consequences for the nation's federal electoral system," it said, noting that the campaign finance legislation "substantially amended" laws governing the financing of federal elections.

"Supreme Court justices are expected to decide quickly so politicians will know whether the law will be in effect while raising money for the 2004 presidential and congressional elections."

There had been no major revision of campaign financing laws for 30 years, and it took more than seven years of debate before this legislation finally passed and was signed into law. Most Americans agree that there needed to be some changes made to campaign financing laws. Let us hope that the Supreme Court quickly defines what acts the legislature can control and those which it cannot control when it comes to political advertising.

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Inmate executed after 30 years on "Death Row"

Carl Isaacs, 49, the longest surviving death row inmate in America, was executed May 6, 2003 at 8:07 p.m. EDT in Georgia. He was the supposed ring leader of a group of men that robbed and killed 6 people in rural southwestern Georgia in 1973. He was the only one of the four people involved with the killing who was unsuccessful in fighting execution. Two other members of the group were originally sentenced to die, but had their sentences reduced to life. One other member, a jovenile at the time of the crime, turned "State's evidence" and received a reduced sentence.

attribution: Reuters via FindLaw

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4th Amendment: Border searches

In US v. ELLIS, No. 02-50556 (5th Cir. May 08, 2003) the Court reinterated what it had held in US v. Portillo-Aguirre, 311 F.3d 647 (5th Cir, 2002) that once Border Patrol agents have completed a programmatic immigration check of bus passengers, those agents may not continue to detain the passengers, absent individualized suspicion, to look for drugs. [full opinion is here (PDF)]

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No same sex marriage in Indiana

A judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging Indiana's ban on recognizing same-sex unions, ruling that state law clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Why does this not surprise me?

Such a law, the ruling said, "promotes the state's interest in encouraging procreation to occur in a context where both biological parents are present to raise the child."

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union said it would appeal.

Of course they will.

I am not sure how I feel about a ban on same-sex marriages. I do not embrace homosexuality, but do not find the practice so morally abhorrent that I condemn homosexuals to second-class citizenry. I believe that the institution of marriage has lost most real meaning in today's American society: all the laws punishing adultery have long since been repealed; divorce is granted without any true cause needing to be shown; and there is no longer any shame attached to birthing or being a bastard. It does seem quite ridiculous to place such a high premium on the institution of marriage.

attribution: AP via FindLaw

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What's Your Fame and Fortune?

***, you're likely to find fame and fortune in the Creative World.

Talk about ideas! You're the type of person who's always coming up with a new way to look at things --- wherever you are. And more than most, you're probably able to better express them in a multitude of ways --- through writing, acting, sketching, jamming, painting, dancing, sculpting, filming, get the picture.

found at: emode

[my emode profile]

Posted by Tiger at 11:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Democrats whine about President's stunt

The Democrats:

. . . Democrats on the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee estimated that costs of Bush's visit could top $1 million. They included delaying the USS Lincoln that was steaming from the Gulf to San Diego, an extra day of air patrols, keeping the crew at sea, presidential security and flying Bush to the ship.
Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the House Government Reform Committee's top Democrat, called for General Accounting Office investigators to examine the costs of the event.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd said of the event: 'I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan.'
The White House response:
[White House Spokesman Ari] Fleischer said it was not more expensive for Bush to fly a S-3B Viking jet as opposed to a Marine One helicopter. He said the Viking is $7 more expensive per hour to fly -- $6,559 an hour compared to Marine One at $6,552, but that it took the Viking less time to fly to the carrier.
Even though the ship was close to shore, 'it doesn't mean the ship could have pulled in a day earlier. Imagine what would have happened to families who were waiting to come in the next morning, maybe not even arrived yet into California, if the ship had pulled in early,' said Fleischer.

What I guess I would like to know is the difference between the costs of the President's landing on the USS Lincoln and the costs of the China that Hillary chose when the Clintons occupied the Whitehouse.

attribution: Reuters

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4th Amendment: Secret Search & Wiretap Powers expanded

A thoroughly well done report on the expansion of the Patriot Act powers in legislation passed by the Senate can be found on TalkLeft.

Could this be the beginning of an attempt to pass the provisions of Patriot Act II piecemeal, thereby avoiding the controversial label "Patriot Act II" ?
The Schumer-Kyl bill was originally introduced on January 9, the same date on the draft of Patriot Act II. A coincidence?

Now surely the Senate would not be playing any shenanigans, trying to pull something over the American people, would it? This legislation would extend the powers granted under the Patriot Act beyond scrutiny of those who fit the definition of "foreign powers" to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor foreign terrorists who, though not affiliated with a group or government, pose a serious threat to the people of the United States.

Posted by Tiger at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 08, 2003

Did Virginia execute an innocent man?

Roger Coleman was executed on May 20, 1992. Some thought he was wrongfully convicted.

Questions persisted among those who doubted Coleman's guilt:

-- Why was there no coal dust on McCoy's body when Coleman's clothes were covered with it that night?

-- Why didn't Coleman's lawyer mention a bag of blood-soaked sheets, two shirts and a pair of scissors found near McCoy's home after the murder?

-- Why did Coleman's clothes lack bloodstains and why were there no fingernail scratches on his body if McCoy struggled as the evidence at trial suggested?

A group which has worked to free 26 people sentenced to death, requested an updated DNA test to for evidence of Coleman's innocence. The Virginia courts have denied the request, and so has the Governmor. The group believes that if the DNA analysis establishes Coleman's innocence, a new look at the "death penalty" might be prompted.

attribution: Reuters

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SARS Update: US prepares

U.S. health officials said Wednesday they are taking several steps to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome, including preparing for a larger outbreak in the country, as the World Health Organization said the disease could become much deadlier than previously thought.

Although the death rate from SARS initially appeared to be as low as 4 percent of all people infected, a more detailed analysis of the latest data indicates it probably is much higher -- around 14 to 15 percent -- the WHO said in a written statement.

The fatality rate could reach 50 percent or more in elderly people, but remain close to 0 percent among the young and healthy. "Based on data received by WHO to date, the case fatality ratio is estimated to be less than 1 percent in persons aged 24 years or younger, 6 percent in persons aged 25 to 44 years, 15 percent in persons aged 45 to 64 years, and greater than 50 percent in persons aged 65 years and older," the international health agency said.

To date, SARS has infected 6,903 people and killed 495 in 29 countries. China, Hong Kong and Taiwan continue to struggle with the disease and all have reported new cases and deaths.

attribution: UPI

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The History of the Internet

THIS is too funny! Do not miss a visit to!

attribution: instapundit

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Will WWII soon be a faded memory?

May 9th, 1945. On this day the German fascist regime collapsed 58 years ago - the regime that had brought so much suffering, bloodshed and destruction to many European countries. In the USA, sociologists ask a question to elementary school students from time to time: "Which country did America fight against in WWII?" The majority of American schoolchildren say that it was the Soviet Union. This answer was given this year as well. Furthermore, they all think that it was the United States that won the war. It seems that there has been a lot of effort to pervert historical facts and falsify the truth about the war.
But this is not a story about how little American kids have no idea about WWII, it is a story about how little Russian kids also have no idea about WWII. I do agree with this, though: "For some reason, the Battle of Stalingrad is immortalized in many other countries, and it never occurs to anyone there that all those names are connected with the name of Joseph Stalin. So why is it forbidden in Russia to keep the memory of the battle that determined the outcome of the war?" [Full Story]

attribution: FARK

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Did you see what Tony wrote?

Did you see what Tony wrote? Tony, at I Am Always Right, read this story about McDonald's and Burger King being sued by obese people because of their food supposedly being addictive. Tony had this to say about who is really to blame.

Posted by Tiger at 04:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Everyone is talking about how to get more readership for your blog

It seems that Electric Venom started it. Then Dean's World added some thoughts. And I found that Amish Tech Support added a few things he recommended you not do.

I have been at this for too short a time, and my readership still seems a bit slow for me to claim any expertise at improving readership, but I do have a couple of points I would like to share. If you are using Blogger, please archive often, as this is the way to get the permalinks working. Secondly, if you find a blog that you like to read, add it to your links, whether they ever link you or not. To me, the links you do have say a lot about you.

Posted by Tiger at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does she know that kid is overweight?

Actually when I first saw this story, I was sure this was a big problem. It starts like this:

KIDS are losing the battle of the bulge - and moms aren't helping.

and it ends like this:

Maynard's team speculates that some mothers may genuinely not recognize that their heavy children are overweight, while others are reluctant to admit their children are fat.

but in the middle, it says this:

Sixty-seven percent of mothers correctly identified their overweight children, but 32 percent of mothers classified their overweight children as "about the right weight."

Among children who were not overweight, but heavy enough to be considered at risk, only 14 percent of moms reported their sons were overweight but 29 percent said their daughters were overweight.

I somehow imagined to percentages would be much higher than that. Just a week or so ago, I reported on a story from New Zealand that stated, "One in seven primary school children is obese." Now, if 14% of the children are obese, and 67% of their parents know they are obese, does that not say a lot about the quality of parenting out there. Now go get a piece of candy and shut up!

attribution: Jane Galt, of that most excellent blog: Asymmetrical Information.

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May 07, 2003

The "Next One" on the list is revealed

Howard, author of Oraculations found the clues to the next target in the War on Terror: those pesky Basque Separatists. [SPELLING POLICE: please check that last word, please? redundancy, anyone?]

Posted by Tiger at 08:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Even an idiot can come up with a pearl

Margaret Drabble goes on and on with all the "I loathe America" blather, saying nothing good about America, but says this: "I detest sentimental and violent Hollywood movies that tell lies about history." I have to agree with that one ... I can live with a bit of dramatization to make the story a bit more palatable, but "Titanic" was crap! And don't forget Disney, you have already been warned about trying the change the "Alamo" story. warning! This could be strange: (And all of you "Titanic" worshipers, this is just my opinion, OK. So keep the hate mail. I will claim it is a "hate crime of passion" and file it with the proper authority which is .... oh, never mind, they don't have an authority established to deal with "hate crime of passion" emails. It seems to be below "do something about SPAM" on the list of their priorities. )

attribution: instapundit who reviewed this story a bit differently.

Posted by Tiger at 08:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The "little guys" love to support Sen. John Edwards

It seems there have been numerous maximum level ($2,000) contributions to Senator John Edward's presidential campaign fund. Most seem to come from lower level employees of large law firms, most from California, and, what is really weird is that several of the employees in the same firm send in their maximum contributions on the same day. Even stranger, is that most of them have not voted for several years or had ever contributed to anyone's political campaigns before. Another thing that seems a bit funny, is that most of them are registered as Republicans, but Sen. Edwards is Democrat.

According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, contributions by an individual or entity to a political campaign in the name of another person are prohibited. Both the named and concealed donors are liable. The campaign is also liable if it knowingly accepts conduit funds.

There is no direct evidence that the pattern of giving in this article constitutes improper or illegal activity on the part of any individuals, law firms, or the Edwards campaign. Legal support staffers who spoke to The Hill said they neither expected nor were promised reimbursement for their contributions. The law firms did not return calls seeking comment.

Nevertheless, the seeming pattern of contributions by many low-level employees has raised concerns among several campaign finance watchdogs.

“It seems on the surface very suspicious,” said Bill Allison of the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity. “I think it is somewhat questionable that people who have never donated before would suddenly donate $2,000,” he said.

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, also said the pattern of donations is surprising. “When you see groupings of contributions being given by office workers who are not among the highest-paid, and you see them maxed-out and their spouses maxed-out, then questions get raised,” he said.

Usually, when you smell a skunk, that is a good sign something a bit smelly is going on nearby. Keep an eye on this situation as it definitely seems to have a distinctive odor hanging over it.

attribution: Country Store > The Hill

Blog note: ***: Raggin' & Rantin' to has added to Country Store's blogroll, and I feel very honored to be included in a list with so many of the best blogs in the blogosphere.

Posted by Tiger at 07:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bus Driver arrested for mistreating boy with Down syndrome

"Lately, when his mother would say it was time to go to school, he would reply, 'No. Stay here,' she said. When asked why, he would just say, 'No' or shake his head." Also, the boy's parents had been getting a lot of notices about their son's conduct for months.

"We never had this problem with him before, which is why we decided to put the tape recorder onto the bus to see what was Jacob's actual behavior," she said. "And, shockingly, we found out it wasn't Jacob's behavior. It was the bus driver's."

On the tape, recorded April 29, Mutulo [Rosemary Mutulo, the boy's mother] said, the driver can be heard shouting at Jacob repeatedly during the approximately 45-minute ride because the boy is making bus engine noises or yelling. At one point, she said, the driver stops the bus and can be heard moving toward the boy, followed by what sounds like a hand slapping clothing.

The Mutulos brought the tape to officials' attention, and on Saturday night police arrested the bus driver, a 28-year-old Milwaukee man, at his home on the south side. According to the arrest report, the recommended charges are physical abuse of a child and disorderly conduct.

The driver's father is on record as saying his son would never hurt kids, and that the charges are a "big, outrageous lie."

attribution: I Am Always Right and the author of that site, Toney Rosen was a big angry over this ordeal as he has a niece with Down syndrome. [full story]

Posted by Tiger at 07:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fraudulent claims made by telemarketers are actionable

"The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can press fraud charges against telemarketers or other fund-raisers who deceive potential donors about how much of a contribution really goes to charity."

Lower courts had held that prior Supreme Court rulings had established such activities on the part of telemarketers fell under the free speech protections of the Constitution.

"While bare failure to disclose that information directly to potential donors does not suffice to establish fraud, when nondisclosure is accompanied by intentionally misleading statements designed to deceive the listener, the First Amendment leaves room for a fraud claim," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court.

In a unanimous ruling the Court agreed that Illinois may maintain an action against a telemarketing firm that raised more than $8 million for a Vietnam veterans' charity but pocketed 85 percent of the donations. Fund-raisers do not necessarily have to disclose the costs of running a charity drive. However, they may not lie about it, as in this case where would-be donors had been told their money would go for food baskets, job training and other services for needy veterans, with no mention that the great majority of the funds were actually retained by the telemarketing firm.

In actuality, this one appeared to be a "no-brainer." I have not read nor reviewed the opinions of the lower courts, however. I am sure that there was some very compelling precedent that controlled their findings, and that the Supreme Court was able to distinguish in reversing that supposed "First Amendment" protection. [full story]

Posted by Tiger at 01:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Supreme Court criticize tactics of Houston Officers

In an unsigned opinion, the US Supreme Court said that the January 1999 confession of a 17 year-old, who was roused out of bed at 3:00 a.m. and taken to the murder scene clad only in his underwear, probably should be thrown out. "They shined a flashlight in his face, pulled him from bed and handcuffed him. They took him away without allowing him to put on clothes or shoes." Kaupp v. Texas, 02-5636 [full story]

Posted by Tiger at 01:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2003

Preparing children for the life ahead

I ran across a very good story in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

A new attitude: Help your children change the way they think

Cox News Service

When parents encounter discipline problems with their children, they typically consider various systems of rewards and punishments. Consequences influence behaviors.

That approach is simple, reasonable and generally helpful. But in addition to changing how children behave, it is also important to focus on how children think about themselves and the world. The way we think has an important influence on the way we act.

Children, as well as adults, develop all kinds of faulty belief systems. One of the most common is the notion that "I have no control over the things that happen to me." They attribute the good things that happen to them as due to luck. When bad things occur, it is someone else's fault.

In working with these youngsters, it is crucial to help them change the way they think and feel, as well as the way they behave.

How can you help your child change from victim to victor?

• Timing is everything. The time to challenge your child's faulty belief system is not when she is upset. If your 9-year-old just had a fight with a friend, don't lecture her on her bossy attitude.

• Talk about choices. At the appropriate time, help youngsters appreciate that every action involves a choice on their part. Help them in developing lists of alternatives about how to handle a situation. Don't criticize any choice, but help them think through all the possible consequences of each course of action. With younger children, it is helpful to write down various options on a large piece of paper. Older children may wish to keep a journal.

• Start early. Develop a language of empowerment with your preschooler. Talk about choices, control, options and consequences. Don't do so, however, when you are correcting young children's misbehavior. Inappropriate behavior should be handled with immediate consequences. The time for talking is after their behavior has been firmly corrected.

• Don't lecture. Directly challenging a faulty belief system is rarely successful. Be subtle. Ask questions. Listen. Paraphrase back what your child says to you. Help her think about things in different ways. But never accept the answer, "There is nothing I can do about it." "I don't know" is usually a child's way of saying "leave me alone" or "I'm too lazy to think."

• Don't assume responsibility for all your child's real or perceived problems. Let your child develop his own solutions. It's OK for your child to fail. Recovery from failure teaches children a valuable lesson about their own emotional resilience.

• Focus on positives, not just problems. The goal is for your child to see his accomplishments as generally due to his ability and determination, not chance. If your child brings home a good report card, don't simply compliment the grades. Mention that you've noticed that she has been working harder on her homework.

Posted by Tiger at 06:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Texas House votes to require Pledge of Allegiance in School

The state's 4 million public school students would be required to pledge allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags and observe a minute of silence each school day under a bill the House tentatively approved Monday.

The minute of silence would allow the students to reflect, pray, meditate or engage in any other silent activities, according to the bill, which passed the Senate earlier.

Students not wishing to recite the pledges would be excused with written permission from a parent or guardian.

There was little debate on the measure.

I suppose, whether "under God" will be part of the daily Pledge of Allegiance will depend on the ruling by the Supreme Court as to whether such is unconstitutional. What surprises me most about this story is that I was under the impression that saying the Pledge of Allegiance was already required in all of our schools. As one of the state legislators, Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, said "It sets up a tone of seriousness that I think will make our schools and institutions more reflective and more reverent."

attribution: Dallas Morning News

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May 05, 2003

I think this plan would work in the US also

Anton Kelly, a blogger in Kiwi land, who purposefully prowls the pages of the New Zealand Herald, which he lovingly refers to as the Daily Marxist found this letter to the editor:

The lead letter in yesterday's Daily Marxist read as follows:

Well, it is now official - the Government is to nationalise the family. What a disgusting, sickening thought, and we are being forced to pay $28 million for it. What a politically correct waste of taxpayers' money.

The best way the Government can help the "family" is to take the shackles off us all, stop mothering us and, above all, give us our tax money back. That way we can spend our money as we see fit and not have it stolen by control freaks and to be told how to live our lives.

The main, and probably only, reason most couples work is to pay the tax bill to feed this drooling beast called Government at the rate of $200 each a week. Reduce that and both parents wouldn't have to work so one could stay home and look after the kids.

Parents do need to take more responsibility for raising children but it is hard when so much of our incomes goes in taxes. If the Government is serious about helping the family it should give our money back and leave us alone. It is so simple really. . . .

It does seem like such a simple plan, but why can no one see clearly? This lack of vision seems endemic to "government thinking" everywhere.

Posted by Tiger at 10:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

They do post interesting items

Two more finds over the The Volokh Conspiracy. Professor Volokh fails to adequately give the answer to his title question: Where are they now? However, we do know where he is not: "In the years following the ruling, Escobedo was arrested roughly 25 times for offenses ranging from attempted murder and indecent liberties with a minor to felony possession of firearms. He was released from prison in 1978 after serving 22 years on a drug conviction." Pablo Escobedo, of 1964 U.S. Supreme Court's Escobedo v. Illinois ruling may be living right next door to me . . . or even you. Where is he, Eugene? Don't leave us hangin' The story is here. Eugene accredited Goldstein & Howe's SCOTUSBlog for the find.

However, Daniel Drezner comes up with a hit when he suggests that, under the European Union's definition of regulation involving technological research may involve un-inventing fire:

When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.

Find the story here. Daniel suggests you look here, here and here. I do not have time for that, however, but you might. Pretty amazing, though, when you think about it! It might have been possible that we would never have come up with some of the most elementary ideas and inventions over history if we had not pushed the envelope between innovation and risks to mankind on occasion.

Posted by Tiger at 09:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

50 years after McCarthy

Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Susan Collins of Maine, making a bi-partision move to finally release truth, released the transcripts of the McCarthy hearings . McCarthy flourished during Cold War anxieties, with some parallels to today's fear of terrorism. Levin said the hearings were a reminder of "tactics (that) can be used to quiet dissenters" and the need to resist "those who try to still voices of disagreement."

McCarthy flourished during Cold War anxieties, with some parallels to today's fear of terrorism. Levin said the hearings were a reminder of "tactics (that) can be used to quiet dissenters" and the need to resist "those who try to still voices of disagreement."
Anti-communist probes, sometimes camouflage for attacks on labor or early civil rights activism, dated back to the 1930s and intensified in the late 1940s with the Cold War.

Ironically, it was McCarthy and his excesses that not only gave a name to the anti-communist drive, it was also his excesses that brought about its end. "Once he was censured, the whole anti-communist issue dried up," Ritchie said.

The transcripts are available here.

Posted by Tiger at 02:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Death Penalty: I received your email

I received the following in my email over the weekend. Such is displayed exactly as it was received, including spelling mistakes and composition style.

As one of many concerned citizens in the West I must stand united with numerous other individuals and organisations within society and ask TEXANS to stand accounted concerning their unique 'sole trader' attitude to the barbaric immoral and criminal practice of executing humans rightly or wrongly convicted. While the practice of legal murder as it has come to be recognised, is a multibillion dollar business in Texas, with Tourism Small Business and the State's Corrective Services Council and Media to metnion a few, stand to gain by the callous comedy of killer burgers and the stimulation of viewing the murder take place, the State to date has long gone unaccounted for with the ongoing pattern of self-interest emerging in Fundamentalist redneck practices that condone murder on one hand and singout 'Hallelujah Brother!' on the other. The bottom line is the continued resistance to change and the absence of the recognition of both the Divine Law of God Almighty and respect for the person again evident int he mass murder of innocence in more recent events under the guise of 'war' and 'defence'. Karen J. Tonkin PO Box 9138 Slade Point Mackay Qld Australia 4740
I am confused about this message. Although Texas does have the Death Penalty, and admitted, executes people at a higher rate than any other state, I am not privy to any knowledge or can figure out how it is regarded by anyone as a multimillion dollar business. I am almost sure that it costs much more to house those prisoners for the years and years that they go through appeal after appeal than it does to actually shoot that bit of poison into their veins. I am sorry, Karen, I am a staunch defender of the rights of all individuals, but there are cases in which the death penalty is merited. I may agree that it is unfairly meted out, however, and am completely sure that the current system amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

To live in a cell for years and years having been condemned to death desperately searching for a chance that your life will somehow be spared seems cruel to me. In some ways, the way it was done in the old West was more humane: the sentence is pronounced and you were hung the next day or so. Of course, I admit that there was no review of the proceedings, and it may be that many an innocent man was hung in the streets. So, I cannot advocate immediate executions, as such, in my opinion, is a bit hasty and would likely be violative of due process.

In my opinion, as I have mentioned personally for several years, is that the death penalty procedure should be modified. In Texas, if one is condemned to death, the case is automatically appealed to the highest court having jurisdiction over criminal matters: the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, which is, in essence equal to our Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over civil matters. I like this idea that there should a review of the case by an educated and knowledgeable body who can review the case to determine if justice is served. However, I believe that it is not absolutely necessary to involve attorneys in the process, outside of those who review the case for fairness. My proposal is that the procedure be changed to dictate that each state that retains the death penalty form a body of knowledgeable and experienced people whose sole purpose is to review death penalty cases. Immediately upon a sentence of death being handed out, the complete record of that trial is to be forwarded to that body for review. If they are thoroughly convinced that everything in the proceeding was fair, that all legal rights were afforded to the defendant effectively so as guarantee justice, then the file must be immediately transferred to a Federal body, of like composition who again reviews the complete record of the case and makes a like determination. The State has six months to complete its review, and the Feds have six months to complete their review. Body shall have the power either to reverse and remand for new trial or to commute to life. The law shall be specific, however, in that if the defendant is to be executed, that such execution take place within one month, following the end of the review. If such execution has not occurred at the end of the 13th month following the pronouncement of the death penalty by the trial court, then the sentence is automatically commuted to life by operation of law.

In my opinion, such specificity and limitation remove the cruelness from the death penalty, and having two knowledgeable tribunals to review the facts and circumstances affords due process.

UPDATE: I emailed Professor Volokh, who is the main guy at the Volokh Conspiracy, which I read frequently, and asked him to check what I said about the death penalty above. He is a top legal scholar who regularly posts on legal topics. His reply: "Nope, sorry, not an expert on the death penalty, and swamped. Have to pass." [emphasis supplied] I suppose I had better take his name off of my "death penalty" expert list. However, it was very kind of him to take the time to send me a reply. I just checked his blog and his most recent post: "If you want me to read a blogpost or Web page you or someone else wrote, please include its text within the message. Yes, it doesn't take that long to just click on a link; but it does take some time, when aggregate over the dozens of such messages I get a day, and it takes especially long if I'm working from home. Including the text dramatically increases the chance that I'll actually look at the text." I read this and thought, OK, so I made a mistake and can send him another email with my last three paragraphs and maybe then he will see what it is that I am talking about. But, he said earlier that he was not an expert on the death penalty and passed on my request. I guess I will not bother a very busy man with my trivial ideas on the constitutionality of the current death penalty procedures.

Posted by Tiger at 11:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 04, 2003

Got something to hide?

Saying that there was a lot of discssions going around about how to keep stuff secret on the Internet, Brad DeLong made some good suggestions on just what to do. I agree his suggestions are a good start, but I have some things to add. If you have something to hide:

1. Do not even post anything about it on the internet in a webpage, in a discussion group, through email, or by any other means.

2. Do not store information about such on your computer in the first place or write them down at all, and if such are already on paper, shred it, put it in a box, fill it full of earthworms, and make compost out of it.

3. Do not divulge it to anyone, including your spouse, as divorces do occur and spiteful ex-spouses will tell your secrets.

I might always have something more to add at a later date.

By the way, the comments to Brad's story by a person who called himself Mike, led me on a long trip of discovery. I am yet to complete this remarkable journey, but promise to post something at the conclusion of my endeavor.

Posted by Tiger at 10:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The music industry will try anything to stop Internet piracy of songs

It appears that the music industry is set to start mining swapping programs with viruses and Trojans in order to stop the swell of music piracy on the Internet. According to this story it is believed that they might be violating the Federal Wiretapping laws, but according to Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy, to whom I attribute having pointed me to this story, there are some other laws they might consider looking into before they do so.

What a dilemma! Of course, the music industry has a right to its copyrights. They get their return on that every time someone buys one of their highly overpriced CDs. Once it is out of the store, it becomes my property to do with what I choose. Of course, most of mine sit in the CD stand and hardly ever get heard, unless I just get in the mood to hear a certain song or something. Most of the time, I listen to the radio ... the music seems so much nicer when it is interspersed with idiotic infantile banter by DJs and plus I get to hear all those commercials. But I also get to hear songs that are not in the my CD collection. I suppose I should send them a nickel every time I listen to a song, but then, wait, didn't they provide that CD to the radio station free of charge so that I would hear that song, become so enamored with the unique sound that I would run right down to Walmart and plunk down $20 of my hard owned money for my very own copy of a CD having that song on it? I do not download music off of the Internet. I have too little interest in the music to care to tie up my bandwidth to do so. I do not photocopy books either, because it costs more to photocopy a book that to buy one. If I was the music industry, what I would do is bring down the price of CDS so that they were more affordable. That might cause people to be more willing to buy the music. Then I would invest my money in the coming up with a new format for playing music at home, in the cars, and elsewhere, buy a company to make the product to play the new format, and then give the player away, so that no one would have any excuse not to have one. Oops, wait, some hacker would tear his apart, figure out how it works, figure out how to copy and distribute the new format, and publish all the details on the Internet. Well, still, even a non-music fanatic like me would buy more CDS if the price was reasonable. It seems that the biggest problem the music industry faces is dealing with its own greed.

And me, I am probably just weird, as I really am not all that concerned whether the music industry makes all that money anyway. I figure most Americans work a lot harder than most of the music industry executives just to make a living and probably should not be spending so much money on music which goes to support all those people blowing coke up their noses and pretending they are better than the rest of the world. Maybe if the price of coke went down, the people in the music industry would be less worried about how much money they make.

Posted by Tiger at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Big Money" has constitutional right to control elections

Parts of Campaign Finance Law Struck Down By Sharon Theimer
The Associated Press
Friday, May 2, 2003; 4:02 PM

WASHINGTON - A federal court Friday struck down most of a ban on the use of large corporate and union political contributions by political parties, casting into doubt the future of the campaign finance law that was supposed to govern next year's high-stakes presidential election.

The court also ruled unconstitutional new restrictions on election-time political ads by special interest groups and others. It barred the federal government from enforcing them and all other parts of the law it struck down.

The ruling clears the way for an immediate appeal by the losing parties to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court's decision will lay the ground rules for the 2004 presidential election and beyond.

attribution: The Washington Post via courreges

I lament election after election because I feel I am not given a "real" choice at the ballot box. By the time the primary roles around, the candidates left on the ballot have already been trimmed to those select indivisuals who had enough big money support to think they had a viable chance of succeeding to the next level. I am always wondering who is pulling their strings, who is going to benefit most from their election, and what kind of benefit do the big money investors hope to gain in exchange for their contributions. Are we actually voting for the Jeffersons and Hamiltons and Adamses of the new century or are we being spoon fed a selected slate of hand-picked "yes men" to do the bidding of special interests?

Posted by Tiger at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Democratic Presidential candidates debate ... and no one cares

Health care, guns, homosexual rights and homeland security all briefly took center stage during the 90-minute debate at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

ABC had sponsored the debate but felt its viewers would be more interested in seeing Gladiator. [full story - Washington Times]

attribution: Country Store

Posted by Tiger at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

President meets Teletubbies

or a very close facsimile. Jen's keen eye picked up this hilarious similarity between the Teletubbies and the colorfully clothed people on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. She even searched for and found a picture to provide the evidence to back up her claim. A MUST SEE!

Posted by Tiger at 12:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Judge Buchmeyer found wandering neighborhood

Federal Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Jerry Buchmeyer, is a name very familiar to all Texas attorneys for his monthly column entitled "et cetera" which is published in the Texas Bar Journal, and recounts all those embarrassing mistakes that attorneys and witnesses make during trials and depositions. He was found by members of the Dallas Police Department at 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning, "slurring his words, had scratch wounds on his arms and legs, and his lips were slightly purplish." He was transported to a local hospital. Another judge who visited Judge Buchmeyer on Saturday at the hospital stated that the Judge's condition had improved. Here is hoping that Judge Buchmeyer recovers fully and experiences no further difficulties.

attribution: Dallas Morning News

Posted by Tiger at 12:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Please stay tuned ... problem will be fixed soon, hopefully

I noticed that the comment links are not posting. I checked the template and the proper scripts are in place, so the problem seems to be with enetation. Not complaining, just passing along the information. All will be rectified eventually when I start using either Greymatter or Moveable Type. By the way, if anyone has a link to a simplified, how to for dummies site for Moveable Type, feel free to pass it along.

Posted by Tiger at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2003

News I missed

While scrolling through the stories on FARK, which I have not had much time to keep up with over the past two days, I noticed a couple of stories that caught my interest.

The first noteworthy story is from April 30th: It seems the Bush Administration is asking the US Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit's opinion that it is unconstitutional to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. The decision is old news, but the Administration's joining in this matter is a recent development.

Now, did not the boy who was supposedly the plaintiff in the suit that started this situation announce that he really had no problem with saying the Pledge in school? Of course, his father is an attorney, so is likely using this case solely to make a name for himself. What a crock. And, if I remember the story right, the objection to saying the pledge is because they are atheists? Why is it always the atheists who cause the commotion about anything the government does concerning religion? I might understand if it was a Muslim, but surely no one would mind if they substituted Allah when the pledge was said, after all, Allah is God, one and the same, just a different word or name for the same deity. Hindus and Buddhists might have reason to complain, but they seldom cause a stir. In fact, it is likely due to their respective religions that they are so tolerant of others' beliefs. I do not dislike atheists. I just cannot understand why they cause such a stir over the mention of the name of a deity they have no belief in anyway. Folks, pretend it is a word that means nothing, just a word that happens to be in the script. I don't know all the words to "Louie, Louie," nor what most of that song means or has to do with anything, but I usually sing along when everyone else does. It causes me no pain. It is not like you are going to Hell because you said the word "God," is it?

"The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was so far out of bounds that the Supreme Court could simply strike down the ruling without even hearing arguments on the case, Olson [Solicitor General Theodore Olson] suggested."

I do hope the Court does overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision. It is bad enough that Disney is thinking of changing Texas history, I surely would hate to think that during all those years I was in school, I was violating the U.S. Constitution because I was saying the "Pledge" with all my heart.

UPDATE: ""She says the pledge, oh yes," David Gordon, superintendent for the Elk Grove school district, said about the daughter. "Her mother is on record as supporting the pledge." - May. 2, 2003

The second noteworthy story is from April 29th: This appears to be a case of first impression, and to those of you who are not legally trained, that means courts have never considered the primary issues previously. The story involves DNA and the statute of limitations. Most crimes, except murder, in most states have a legal deadline in which cases must be brought forth, otherwise, the case is barred. The concept behind this rule is that a person should not be subjected to the cruelty of continually looking over one's shoulder for past transgressions. Also, it affords a defendant a fairer opportunity to defend against the charges if it is brought forth with reasonable haste, so that all the evidence beneficial to the defense has not completely disappeared. It is thought to be a matter of fundamental fairness to require prosecution to be brought within a reasonable period of time. There is generally no statute of limitations for murder, however, because a person should never be able to get away with murder. So, the statute of limitations for sexual assault is six years in Michigan. The prosecutors had some DNA, but were not sure of the owner of the DNA. The statute of limitations was running out, so the prosecutors filed the case against the DNA. The 1st Court of Appeals stated that the prosecutors had properly filed a case prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. "The appeals court ruled that the prosecutors had acted before the statute of limitations expired; even if they hadn't, the opinion stated, sexual assault prosecutions are important enough to allow them to proceed after the statute expires if the state has an unidentified offender's DNA." Look for this one to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted by Tiger at 11:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US removing troops from Germany ... Germans to suffer!

Now either I have been asleep, and have missed the developments leading up to this move by the US government, or this is a breaking story:

Pullout rocks Germans By Robin Gedye, Foreign Affairs Writer (Filed: 03/05/2003)

Germany reacted with dismay yesterday to America's decision not to return the 17,000-strong 1st Armoured Division to Germany, accelerating plans to relocate its troops to eastern Europe.

Roland Koch, the premier of Hesse state, where 3,700 of the 70,000 US soldiers in Germany are stationed, said the American decision would lead to the loss of 250 jobs and have a huge impact on shops and other businesses.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has repeatedly shrugged off the prospect of a withdrawal of US forces, but officials around Frankfurt and Heidelberg, where troops are stationed, are concerned at the loss of millions of dollars which the soldiers and their families bring in each year.

The Telegraph

Attributions: Country Store > Midwest Conservative Journal

I actually did a search trying to find any other news source on this story, came up empty on AP, Reuters, UPI and even FARK. However, there are several stories about how the US is going to have bases in Iraq, and this is likely a result of that decision. However, and where did I hear Bulgaria?, Iraq is not in Eastern Europe, being on the wrong side of Turkey.

I was stationed in German for brief spells in the 70's when I was in the Army with the 2nd Armored Division, and loved my time there. I thought the German people and culture were fascinating. The country was clean, the people nice, and the scenery magnificent. However, that was over 30 years ago, and since that time, I have heard rumors that the Neo-Nazis in Germany are growing more popular and their membership is growing. Was there an ulterior motive for Germany's lack of support in our efforts to free Iraq? After all, Israel does fit into the picture in middle East, and Saddam was a powerful enemy of Israel. WWIII did not take place, as was expected by some when the battle began, and maybe it was just waiting for the same country whose actions started the last two, to play their hand once again. No hard evidence to think so at this point, but then again, stranger things have happened.

Posted by Tiger at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The UN is full of thieves . . . REALLY!

>From Cracker Barrel Philosopher over at the Country Store, who accredited The DrudgeReport for bringing it to his attention, comes this story from Time. Simple story: Because there had been a change in who was in charge of the food service in the UN Building, a dispute arose over who was going to pay for vacation time for the food service employees. The employees got fed up with the run around and all walked off the job. UN diplomats got hungry and started helping themselves to everything they could lay their hands on, including the silverware.

The takers included some well-known diplomats who finished off the raid with free drinks at the lounge for delegates. When asked how much liquor was lifted from the U.N. bar, one U.S. diplomat responded: "I stopped counting the bottles."

No excuse, you morons! Dominos delivers, though I am not sure if they will bring booze with your pizza.

Posted by Tiger at 09:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Super-sized steam-blowing rant hat going on my head - Watch Out!

My fellow Texan, Laurence Simon, over at Amish Tech Support pointed me to this story: Rewriting history for big bucks at the box office. It seems that Walt Disney is planning to do a movie on the Alamo, but this time is going to say that Davy Crockett tried to surrender such to Santa Anna. Laurence is none too happy about it, and neither am I. I heard a rumor once that Davy Crockett was taken prisoner at the Alamo and transported to Mexico and later released, but never heard anything about him being involved with trying to surrender at the Alamo. I actually did research any basis for the rumor, but could find absolutely no evidence of any kind that he was captured, nor the mention of any historical account saying anything but that every member of the garrison at the Alamo died during the battle. Every school child in Texas knows the story behind the Alamo by heart. Every Texan carries a badge of honor in his or her heart because we hail from a place where 200 odd men stood their ground against overwhelming odds, men who delayed the advance of the Mexican Army so that General Sam Houston could amass an army of Texans to defeat Santa Anna.

Admittedly, the early Texans were a bit naive. They threw down the gauntlet before they had done enough to prepare for the onslaught that Santa Anna was capable of throwing against them. The men at the Alamo knew they had to hold their ground; they knew it was unlikely that any reinforcements were coming; they knew they were going to die. Davy Crockett was not in charge of the Alamo garrison. William B. Travis was in command. Davy had come with some volunteers he brought from Tennessee, and likely had their allegiance, but they were few compared to the number of Texans, both colonists who had settled in from the United States when Spain, and later, Mexico had deeded grants for settlement of Texas, and some Hispanics, who were loyal to the Texas cause.

Why, you might ask, would a government cede large portions of land to foreign colonists? Most people do not know the reason that the land grants were given to Stephen F. Austin to bring settlers into Texas? The government of Mexico wanted them there to provide a buffer from the constant Comanche Indian attacks they faced. They put the colonists there to fend for themselves against the Comanche Nation so that they could sit safe and secure to the south. Those early Texans were hardy people, they were not afraid of the Comanche Indians, they were not afraid of death, and they damn sure were not afraid of Santa Anna and the Mexican Army. Remember the Alamo! And don't be trying to rewrite Texas history, Walt Disney Co., because you will open up a can of whoop-ass you will not be able to handle. Texans are proud of our history. It is ours and not yours, and the sooner you figure that out the better. There is not one shred of evidence to back up any change to the story that every Texan carries in their heart, and you will not find any compelling enough to do so. And you can bet that if Davy Crockett did attempt to surrender the Alamo to the Mexican Army, he died at the Alamo for his efforts, because he would have been shot for cowardice by one of the valiant Texas defenders. But that didn't happen, and neither did Davy Crockett do any cowardly act there, like trying to surrender.

Posted by Tiger at 07:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sorry for the Sparsity of Posts

I am sorry I have not posted much today, but this morning I had to do a tour at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center where I volunteer as a docent, doing behind the scene tours for visitors. When I got home, I decided to try to do those graphics that N.Z Bear had asked someone to find or create for the Blogosphere Ecosystem. My creations are not perfect, but as I got paid as much as I got for spending three hours showing people animals and explaining how zoos around the world are trying hard to keep them for being extinct, I think they turned out all right. Of course, I do not know if anyone else did any, or whether they were exactly what NZ was looking for, but, what the hey, I do a lot of graphics all the time that have no purpose, so having a purpose for creating some is better than just doing it for fun.

Posted by Tiger at 07:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

1st Amendment matter: Don't preach on buses

In Broken Arrow, OK, please do not preach on the busThanks to Tony Rosen, author of I Am Always Right, I found a link to this story.

The Broken Arrow Bus Service, or BABS, regulates the behavior of its passengers, forbidding them from eating, drinking, fighting or using vulgar language while on the bus.

Such is very common on all public buses. However:

No public speech will be allowed on the bus, which may include but is not necessarily limited to religion, politics, economics or finance.

It did not take long for someone to file a suit on this matter. The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Vincenza Siano and her daughter, Lucretia Bacon challenging it. They regularly ride the bus about three times a week and enjoy discussing a wide range of topics including their religious faith during their ride.

The one thing that is a bit uncommon is that the City of Broken Arrow contracts with a local charity to operate the bus, and the city attorney said he had not had any information about the rules until the reporters started calling and asking questions. I almost believe him, because almost any attorney would have vetoed that idea off the bat.

However, I can also understand why someone might want to write a rule like that for a public transportation system. When I lived in Dallas, there were regularly street preacher, most of whom I suspected were mentally ill, who would preach to everyone at the top of their lungs all during your ride. Some people, like me, if one of them got on, would either ignore them, or would get off immediately at the next stop and catch the next bus. From the story, I suspect you might be waiting a day or more before the next bus came around, though. However, I do not think this one will go very far before that policy is thrown out the window. I can almost be the city attorney got on the phone really fast to tell the charity company to do so.

Posted by Tiger at 06:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is a Blogger a Journalist?

Both Eugene Volokh and guest blogger Daniel Drezner posted their takes about whether Bloggers were Journalists on The Volokh Conspiracy today. Both did an excellent and succinct job of describing the differences between Journalists and Bloggers. Such has become controversial as Blogger ethics have been called into question since the discovery that the author of The Agonist [link to blog omitted purposefully] plagarized material from another site. [see Noted War Blogger Cops to Copying] I do not consider myself a journalist, as I do not research the factual basis of news items. I only state what others have reported, adding some of my thoughts and comments to the subject at hand. has proposed a Blogger's Code of Ethics. I have yet to read it, but likely will at some point. However, I have always thought I was an ethical person, and will live by the standards I set for myself. If I am able to correctly attribute my source, I will do so. It may be that my source did not properly attribute it to the source from which they received it. That happens on the World Wide Web. So, what is mine are the thoughts, ideas, and comments. All other items came from somewhere else. Whether such items are reliable or not should always be speculative. All information of a factual nature is speculative, as truth is relevant to perception. People see and hear what they want to see and hear, and how they describe what they see and hear is corrupted by that mode of reception.

Posted by Tiger at 12:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2003

Political Correctness Revisited

Very much thanks to Lily Malcolm, one of the posters on The Kitchen Cabinet for pointing out this Los Angeles Times book review on "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn" by Diane Ravitch. Ravitch, former assistant secretary in the Department of Education during the Bush (Sr.) administration and on the National Assessment Governing Board, overseeing the development of voluntary national tests proposed by the Clinton administration, points out that the "political correctness" censorship is insidious and has not been imposed by the federal government. This censorship has been voluntarily embraced by textbook publishers who do so for economic reasons, so as to be adopted by schools and by states where statewide adoptions are required. Ravitch describes a strategy of "preemptive capitulation" that feeds those who would find fault with the mentioning of dolphins, peanuts, divorce, magic, ghosts, owls and dinosaurs. "Rewarding groups that complain by allowing them to censor words and images that they don't like only encourages them," she concludes. "Censorship should be stopped, not rewarded with compliance and victories." How to fix it?

In her closing chapter, Ravitch presents concrete and practical proposals for fixing what is wrong. Discontinuing the practice of statewide textbook adoptions, she believes, would open up the marketplace to competition and allow schools and teachers to choose books for themselves. She also urges "sunlight" as the best disinfectant: If publishers and states were required to publish their guidelines and allow the public to be privy to how the "bias and sensitivity" panels make their determinations, Ravitch feels confident that the public would laugh the most ludicrous of them out of existence. It would also be a help, she thinks, for journals and newspapers to publish reviews of textbooks, just as they now review trade books.

It is definitely worth a try. I think I said my piece about this subject quite succinctly below.

Posted by Tiger at 11:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Lynn "burned out"?

The author of Reflections in d minor may not be blogging for awhile. I hope she changes her mind because she has some interesting perspectives.

Posted by Tiger at 10:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Evolutionary Update

Woah, I have moved up the Blogosphere Ecosystem from being a spineless worm to being a crawdad. Wooohoo! I might be still fish bait, but at least I have a shell, so I iwll be harder for the fish to digest!

Posted by Tiger at 08:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Judge lambasts "crack ho"

and is rebuked for doing so. Thanks to antonkelly for blubing this story in his blog. Adelaide magistrate Michael Frederick told a prostitute at sentencing: "You're a druggie and you'll die in the gutter . . . ." Chief Justice John Doyle said, "The remarks were abusive. Such behaviour by a judicial officer can undermine public respect for the courts." I suspect that most "crack ho's" already lack respect for the courts. And if the witnesses are supposed to tell the truth in court, why shouldn't the judge? [full story]

UPDATE: Lest anyone who has joined thinks I am against smoking crack or prostitution, the only thing I see wrong with either, as long as no children are affected by the person doing either one, is that they are both against the law. However, smoking crack and prostitution, in the long run will, in my opinion, make likely make you end up dying in the gutter at some future date. There is too much evidence about the effects of risky sex. Being high on crack means you likely take chances that you should not take. As such, I cannot deny the truth of the judge's opinion.

Posted by Tiger at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You find the strangest things

I was over at Amish Tech Support [link on blogroll to left] reading and happened upon this entry. It seems that a Muslim in New York was sentenced to the maximum 5 to 15 years in prison for his role in an attempted firebombing of a synagogue. After dutifully reporting the story of the man's conviction for this crime prosecuted partly under New York's new Hate Crimes Statute, Laurence Simon had this to say:

Shall I be so bold as to suggest that Mohammed himself would be proud of this scum-sucking, Jew-hating vermin who bears his name?

I shall.

Muslims shouldn't be worried about Mohammed's name being dragged through the mud, you know. With those many centuries of blood encrusted around it as a result of his teachings, mud doesn't have a chance of sticking to it.

What is the actual purpose of Hate Crimes legislation? The man in New York firebombed a building. Did it make any difference that he was Muslim and the building was a synagogue when the firebomb went off? Did the legislation deter him from firebombing a synagogue? Does the Hate Crime Statute make it more likely that other Muslims who find a compulsion to do so will not firebomb synagogues? Does this legislation stop hatred? All I can really think is that it boosts the victims' self-esteem. They feel a bit better about themselves because this crime stood out from your regular "crazy individual killing innocent people" type crimes. They would not have been a victim of this crime but for the actors hatred for them as a class of victims. And, hopefully, it quells hatred of others. What is your take on it, Laurence?

Posted by Tiger at 03:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PC overload

No, I am not ranting about problems with my computer equipment again. I am talking about another story in which people seem to be going overboard with 'political correctness." I found this story while reading Jen Speaks, who has the real skinny on whether the USS Lincoln or the USS Kitty Hawk had spent the longest time at sea since the Viet Nam war. I am not going to spill her scoop by giving the details, so visit her blog.

It seems that California is going to extremes to make its new textbooks politically correct, removing all references to the "Founding Fathers," "Mount Rushmore," and "snowmen," while additionally banning any depictions of Indigenous Americans wearing braids and in rural setting or foods such as hot dogs, soft drinks, butter or sweets because they are not good nutritional items.

I think our textbooks should, to our greatest capacity, be free of any type of stereotyping," said Sue Stickel, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the California Department of Education. "We need to make sure that all ethnicities are represented. We need to make sure that both males and females are represented. We need to make sure that our materials cover the full gamut." [emphasis supplied]

What we need to make sure of is that we tell the truth in our textbooks. I am all for making the whole story available. If the person who invented the widget or discovered potash in the hills of a western territory was a purple one-legged Lithuanian hermaphrodite,* then by all means, do not pretend that he, she, it was a WASP. But do not slant the textbooks in the name of political correctness so that children are left with a false impression of history or of society. Men once were in power, women had to struggle to own property, vote and have political power. African-Americans were enslaved, and although a war was fought to free them, they remained second-class citizens for more than a century afterward. Indigenous Americans were persecuted, slaughtered, imprisoned and subjugated. Chinese immigrants were denied basic rights of citizenship until well into the last century. Mexican-Americans were struggling to gain recognition of the prejudice they faced in the 1960's. It is fact, and glossing it over in an attempt to make it "politically correct," does not change the facts. Sure, there are terms that should be avoided in our textbooks, racial and ethnic epithets that should be buried, but our history is our history, life is life and kids have to deal with it. If you hide all the pictures of hot dogs, how is a kid to know what one is or whether it is nutritious or not if he has no idea of what it is when he first encounters one. You know, maybe home schooling is not that bad of an idea after all, because if this story is any indication of what kind of kooks we have running the public schools, I am not too sure we ought to be sending our kids there.

*Obligatory "Political Correctness" CAVEAT: Nothing herein was intended as offensive, and if you are purple, one-legged, Lithuanian, or a hermaphrodite or any combination of such traits, believe that no offense was intended. Such terms were placed solely to illustrate a point and were not intended to be derisive.

Posted by Tiger at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Terrorism: A matter of perspective

Commenting on a story from the Chicago Tribune reporting a drop on international terrorism, Daniel W. Drezner properly credited the efforts of the Bush administrations efforts in "arresting" the worrisome increase of such attacks that was seen at the end of the 1990s.

While I am surely not a fan of international terrorism, and was as shocked as anyone at the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but the discussion on international terrorism brought to mind one of the stories that played on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, where, when Syria's foreign minister, Farouk al-Sharaa was asked about Palestinian militants living in Syria who send suicide bombers and missiles into Israel, insisted that Palestinians who attack Israel are not terrorists but freedom fighters trying to liberate their land from Israeli occupation. That viewpoint may have some credibility, to a point.

What is an act of terrorism and what is simply a tactic employed by a weaker force against a powerful oppressor? In my very first post, I questioned the criticism the Iraqis were getting for using guerrilla tactics at the beginning of the war. I again have to question whether every supposed reported act of terrorism is actually an act of terrorism, or whether some are, in actuality, a form of military attack against an enemy one has no other means to attack.

There is no doubt that 9/11 was a terroristic attack. I do not say this because it was an attack on America and that any attack on Americans is a terroristic attack. I am suspicious, however, that in the minds of many Americans, any attack on Americans constitutes a terroristic attack. I classify it as a terroristic attack because it targeted civilians. Let me back track, the part where the planes hit the World Trade Center was a terroristic attack, but the attack on the Pentagon was aimed toward a military target. Was that a terroristic attack? Remember the US attack on Iraq? Supposedly their attempt was to attack only military targets, and attempted to minimize destruction of infrastructure and loss of civilian lives. Is it the method of the attack that makes it a terroristic attack? Had it been a plane full of Islamic volunteers that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, would that have made it a proper military attack? Or do they have to don uniforms, announce their intentions and allow defenses against their activity to be set up before any action against an enemy's military installations can take place? As all attacks committed against the United States on 9/11 were accomplished by commandeering commercial aircraft and sacrificing the lives of those passengers in the attack, even the attack on the Pentagon was a terroristic attack. But imagine some different scenarios. From a different perspective, could some supposed terroristic threats actually be unconventional military attacks: The USS Cole bombing or the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon?

While our diplomatic agenda has been superbly used to quell international terrorism, is not our foreign policy partly to blame for the causes of international terrorism aimed against the United States? ["A 'Moral' Foreign Policy That Ignores International Law? The History and Ironies of the U.S.'s Current View of Its Role In the World" by Edward Lazarus provides a good synopsis of US foreign policy and its development since the early beginnings of the nation] We do take sides in the Middle East, rightly or wrongly. But when you take sides in a conflict, the opposition rightly sees you as an enemy. If they attack you, does it necessarily become terrorism because they are they and you are you? Terrorism is sometimes just a matter of perspective.

Posted by Tiger at 09:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2003

Did I read this right?

I saw a reference to this story on The Volokh Conspiracy: CBS News | Mob Boss 'Hit' Over Gay Encounters | May 1, 2003 11:27:08

I am a bit confused. You mean this guy was testifying in court and admitted to committing a murder? I might have to do a bit more digging, because it looked like he was not on trial, but was either there testifying against, or more likely, for someone else. I am just too tired or something, because this is too bizarre for belief, unless someone just had a wish to either spend a lot of time in prison or something.

Posted by Tiger at 11:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why I have not posted and other things

Well, after reading some comments on blogging and such, I decided since BLOGGER seems to hang up all the time on archiving, I would try something new. I wanted to try MOVEABLE TYPE and downloaded it, but when I looked at the documents, I was not sure what to do. As I was reading a couple of other blogs yesterday, I ran across another program, GREYMATTER, and was lucky enough to find someone who actually wrote an "Installing GREYMATTER for DUMMIES" page to assist some of us that are a bit dumb on such. I am so sorry that I forgot to bookmark that, so I could thank that lady for doing such. I suppose I will have to do a search at some time later to give her a acclaim for her assistance. [such has been done - see UPDATE at the bottom of the post] But not tonight, as I am tired. The only thing that kind of bothers me about GREYMATTER is that the guy who made the program said he kind of dropped working on updating it about 2 or so years ago any longer on a message I saw. Still, from what I saw, it seems to work OK, and I am not one for worrying about really updating stuff that does what I expect it to, or I would probably have a better wordprocessor than WordPerfect 6.1, which was great when I first bought it because WP5.1 didn't seem to like to operate that well under Windows3.11. (As an aside, I really was thinking of buying RADIO, but, as I work on several different computers in several different places, I did not want some software I had to download. I wanted something I could do from the web.)

One thing I will say about BLOGGER is it is really easy to use. I actually do have GREYMATTER up and working, and am working on making my BLOG look better, as I got one comment saying the colors and background on this one are hard to see on some computers. Plus, after seeing some of your other blogs, I thought so many looked so much better than mine, I needed to do an update. I am hitting a few snags though, not so much associated with the program, but more with HTML and such. For some reason, my stylesheet is not working and tables are not stretching like they are supposed to stretch on the archives. I will get those bugs out at some point, I am sure. I usually figure out what the problem is, but I have read through the script several times, and cannot figure out what the problem is yet. Anyway, if you want to see what I have done so far, it is here. I do still have some learning to do before I figure out how to move it to this page, and want to figure out how to keep my archives hooked up and such. Always doing something all the time, and seem to have too many irons in the fire. I have been actually trying to redo my whole site for ever, and only have maybe one page completely finished. And it is only the index page, which has hardly anything on it. For a site I designed 3 years ago, it is not bad, I suppose. My FLASH skills are much better now, but I still think an intro movie is pretty good, but the console is blah! (Oh, wow, the site is really messed up ... I was trying to navigate through the site to get that link and all the links were dead ... I was thinking maybe I deleted all those pages, but didn't remember doing it, and took me awhile to remember, I do not have the domain where all the links are pointing any longer. is dead, as I am now

Thanks to OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linking up to me, I have moved up the The Blogosphere Ecosystem from being pond scum to some worm crawling up the evolution ladder. Well, let me go read some stuff before I go to bed, and if anything really extraordinary catches my eye, I might post something else tonight. If not, if you are bored, there are plenty of good bloggers on the list on the left side there, and of course, FARK probably has a good list of things to look at. I am not spellchecking this, so if I made some errors, live with it!

UPDATE: Although I am now using Moveable Type, for those of you wanting that link for the "Greymatter Installation for Dummies" site, here it is. 05/15/2003

Posted by Tiger at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack