Archives for the Month of May 2006 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

Extended service

Portage County is really great about keeping our roads clear in the winter. But yesterday I think they may have overdone public service. Two trucks stopped in front of our house; somebody got out of the rear truck with a weedwhacker and cleared around the traffic sign across the street.Rusty claims she saw several people in each vehicle. Not a good use of my taxes, I think.

Farm report

Sorry (to both my faithful readers) for not blogging; I was out of town for the weekend on vacation with m'lady, and since then have been on vacation with m'lady at home, trying to catch up on the farm work. It's been a struggle because it's been so stinking hot and humid (high 80s), and because Rusty's priorities have been "pretty" while mine have been "functional", and women have a habit of making their priorities their husband's priority. Yesterday was mostly about side yard cleaning, as the ground was still wet. I took away the old pallets and made a compost bin from them, put brooder-house bedding in it and the sawdust from the spot that would grow no grass (because it was sawdust), cleaned out the open side of the barn. Rusty pulled weeds from the gravel turnaround and took up big stones from an ex-parking place that is being returned to grass (she got 5 cubic yards of topsoil today). I took a mid-day break and bought plants from Angie at Always in Bloom, and the hardware, and got wood at Paul's in Garrettsville. I lost a mess of time because the pickup decided to die 2 miles from home. By the time I got a ride and got back with my car, it fired right up; go fig. I finished out the day by rototilling the garden.

Today Rusty was mowing and weed-whacking, and working on poultry fencing for the new birds, while I was planting. Beans, curcurbitae and some okra are in. The only reason I'm writing now is that a thunderstorm hit around 3 PM and put us out of business outside. The roof got a good test; I'll check for wet spots in a bit.

First strawberries yesterday. Snow peas are blossoming. Today was the first crow from one of the Silkies. None of the potatoes I planted are up, but there's a volunteer, right in one of the rows.

The lovely thing about this vacation is that I am so out of touch with the Ongoing Collapse of Western Civilization. I'm sure that all kinds of horrible things have been happening; I just haven't had the time to find out about them, and what I have heard of hasn't pushed any buttons. Earthquake in Indonesia? riots in Afghanistan? Ho hum...

Mass last night

I helped Fred out at the Mac (Immaculate Conception) last night. Rore Missa a nota nere, Byrd Viri Galilei, Regnart Ascendit Deus, and part of a Senfl sequence setting (can't remember which; it was one axed at Trent), plus the Credo from Byrd in 3 (it was a solemn high, and they're liking to have polyphonic Credos for those now, and we didn't have the Rore Credo, or have it worked up). 5 parts, 6 singers, so a bit of a tightrope act, especially since the soprano had not been at the Friday rehearsal. We managed though, in spite of the work of the devil...which began when Fred turned the organ on for the prelude, to find a cypher. So no prelude. Then the thunderstorm hit, almost drowning out the Introit (the chant went particularly well, mybe because it was pitched a little lower than usual there.) There were some dropped cues later (we were expecting a homily, and there wasn't one). We repeated the Byrd motet as postlude; I would so love to be able to do the entire Gradualia during one liturgical year.

Nice crowd, about 75. I took a few surreptitious pictures before and after, which I haven't looked at yet. I may post them later, but I'm home for a long weekend and vacation, and uploading pics on a dialup is a bitch.

"Ain't no chains strong enough to bind me"

RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) — An elementary school principal accused of wrapping a heavy chain around misbehaving students to discipline them has been suspended without pay by the school board.

So...can somebody tell me what the problem with this is? Sure one kid is seeing the shrink...because his crazy mother thought he needed it. But really, 3 minutes in chains is cruel?

If you don't like it, don't have your kids educated at taxpayer expense.

This is not an ED drug spam

Apparently fish fillets are not the only kind of, uh, meat that scientists are trying to grow.

Ve haff vays uf tracking die vorkers

Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers. In the article and on air, Bloomberg slammed lawmakers who want to deport all illegal immigrants, saying on Fox News that "they are living in a fantasy world."

Asked in that interview whether his opinions put him at odds with his political party, the mayor, a former Democrat, shot back: "With which party?

Certainly not the NSDAP.
If either party stood for anything, they would have tossed Bloomberg out years ago.

Marry or move

Black Jack MO has a housing code limiting the number of unrelated people in a single-family home, and they're using it against unmarried parents with kids.

Whether a municipality is using law as a moral enforcing stick is secondary to this point: by what right do they tell anyone what they might do with their property?

Boortz praises statism yet again


This falls under the "even a blind pig finds an acorn" rule, but the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may be on the verge of raising the minimum driving age to 17 1/2 years. Good for them! So many other states don't have the guts to make this necessary move. We'll keep an eye on this one for you.

The irony is that he links to a Boston Herald editorial that DOES get it opposing the law. And there's no irony in the micromanaging Commonwealth doing this; it's business as usual for them.

Hey, Neal, let's assume you're right and there is a problem with young drivers. Why not drop the age to 15, but anyone under 18 has to have a parent sign off before receiving a licence? No signature, no licence. After all, who besides your parents has any real clue about how mature you are? Orphans can ask a judge.

Meat without animals

Scientists are working on growing meat in the laboratory, feeding muscle cells in Petri dishes. The advantage will be that:

scientists can control levels and types of fats (such as omega 3 fatty acids), protein and other substances and produce a product less likely to be contaminated with such food-poisoning culprits as E. coli.

"Suddenly a McDonald's breakfast sausage patty could protect you from heart disease instead of giving you heart disease," says Robert Lawrence, director of the Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

Taste may be a factor in acceptability. But nobody really knows:

Collaborator James Gilchriest, also a researcher at Touro, marinated a batch of the cultured fish — which the researchers said "resembled fresh fish fillets" — in olive oil, lemon and garlic before breading and deep-frying them.

"It smelled good," said Benjaminson, but neither researcher subjected the results to a taste-test. They didn't want to run afoul of Food and Drug Administration food safety regulations.

What a bunch of wimps! The researchers of the late 19th-century were willing to experiment on themselves. Some paid a price (e.g.,the Curies) but science was advanced. If they're afraid to eat this stuff, why should we?

I'm skeptical of this whole idea. Even if it is economically feasable and produces as good or better a product than the best current agricultural practices, it centralizes food production too much. If we're down to one breed of cow, raised only to produce cells for meat labs, what happens when (not if) society collapses? When this meat can get up off the dish, boink another dishful of meat and produce more meat all on its own, then maybe I'll feel safe about it.

And what does PETA say? If there is no consciousness to the growing protein, do they have any moral objections to eating the meat, esp. if the cells can be extracted humanely from living or naturally-dead donors?

Carjacking under color of law

Rather timely, given the morning's adventure, is this from Joe Sobran:

The other day I was ticketed, and my car briefly impounded, when a policeman noticed that I was driving with a cracked windshield. My car had passed the required safety inspection and had the required sticker before some vandal had thrown rocks at it, so I thought I was legal. I wasn’t hurting or threatening anyone; I posed no danger I could see. The cop was as polite as a man with a pistol can be, but as he ordered the car towed away I asked him quietly, “Just who are you protecting from me?” The answer was a vague mumble about “the public.”

Later I joked to friends that I’d been “carjacked.” An armed man had seized my car, I explained. Of course he had a badge, a uniform, and some sort of “law” on his side, so I, not he, was the criminal. Heaven help me if I’d tried to defend my property. Self-defense would have been an even more serious offense. By submitting to force, I confined the evil to a mere nuisance. This time.

Carjacking or impoundment? We now have two vocabularies for wrongs, depending on whether private persons or government agents commit them. This is the difference between mass murderand national defense. Between extortion and taxation. Between counterfeiting and inflation. And so on. Other examples will occur to the astute reader.

Like "stopping for a speeding warning" vs. "forced detention for inane discussions about the presumed capabilities of law officers"?

Thanks, Billy.

Covering the tats

No duh! Visible tattoos can make it hard to find a job.

You'd think people would realize this. But then, I don't have a clue about what motivates the body art thing. It seems sacriligious somehow, like the Gods didn't make you perfectly. And I have seen few tattoos that were an improvement on the beauty of the original skin.

Barn roof is done!

Here is the view from last night. The wall you see is in the process of being redone.

And here is a different angle from this morning. Note the frost, on May 23; good thing I didn't plant my sweet potatoes. Global warming, my ass.

Bad cop no donut 2: Warrensville Hts OH

Or maybe good cop, depending on your POV. Today's adventure happened to me.

There's a high school on the route I generally take to work, and of course I honor the school zone; it's the right thing to be careful around children, everyone else is slow so I can't go fast, and there's always a cop there. Unusually, today the cop was in the median facing traffic. So of course I was carefully watching my speed.

I got to the 40 mph sign and accelerated. Unfortunately, my foot was a little heavy, and I gunned the engine. That seems to have gotten his interest. He started following, and threw on his flashers. Not being stupid, I pulled over.

By the time he got to my car, the window was down. "So what's the problem?" I asked...because I had done nothing wrong. I looked the cop in the eye and face, serenely, for a long moment, while he attempted to process what it was like to encounter somebody without guilt or fear.

"You were speeding, that's the problem."

"No I wasn't. I was watching very carefully."

Another moment of silence while Officer Friendly processed this unexpected answer. "Well, I was watching very carefully too. You were doing 28. Do you think I'd go to all this trouble just to lie to you?"

"I don't know what you'd do." (which nowadays with cops is the gospel truth, though with an older guy I figured I was on reasonably safe ground).

"Let me see your licence and proof of insurance." It wasn't in my billfold, as yesterday I'd tried to use it instead of my work ID, to open a door. I finally found it in my pocket, right about the time OF was running out of patience. He didn't take a good look at the insurance card, which was from last year. "What's your driving record like?"

"Pretty darn good."

"You know, most people when they get pulled over admit they might have been going a little fast and ask for a break. 28 years I've been on this force, and you don't think I know my job? If you'd had a doctor for 28 years, wouldn't you do what he told you to do?"

"I'd get a second opinion."

"Well, you don't get a second opinion with the police."
Duh, yeah, that's what juries are for. And I would have fought this one."So do you want a ticket, or should I go easy on you?"

"You should go easy on me."

He went off to the car as I detachedly pondered the possibilities. I figured he might write me for speeding plus seat belt, maybe call in some support.

He comes back. "You had a speeding ticket in 2003. In Cleveland?"

"I don't remember." (also the gospel truth; even after having been reminded, I do not remember receiving a speeding ticket. I don't doubt that the officer was telling the truth of what was found in the records; it's just that since I don't feel guilt about speeding, it's minutiae not worth keeping track of in my busy life.)

"You don't remember something from three years ago? You're trying to play me like a cheap fiddle!"

"No sir, I don't."

He goes on with a few more lessons on the proper approach to police authority, and then announces that he's letting me go. I thank him and leave.

I really don't know what got into me. I've never done that before. It could have gone so wrong so quickly, esp. since my driver's side door won't open (I'm taking it in tonight). But every other time, they had me dead to rights, and this time I was innocent, damnit. My analysis is that the engine gunning pissed him off, but 8 really wasn't enough to go to court with (and it was obvious that I would have contested the ticket.) The bad karma is that this guy will be gunning for me. Maybe I need another route to work...or to downshift into 1st gear.

But damn, that felt good!

Now we know why Ray Nagin won:

Howard Dean and the DNC were backing Landrieu.

Bolshoye joke: Lenin comes to Piscataway... celebrate liquidation of last kulak in town.

I am laughing so hard at street theater of capitalist running-dog Logan Darrow Clements I am peeing my pants.

Site also sells Politburo-approved Rubiks Cube in all red, so all peoples can be success.

Many thanks to condemmed counterrevolutionary William J. Beck III, who is not laughing.

Rural renewal

In spite of the strange earlier 'tude, the boys are working hard, comporting themselves professionally, and seem to be doing a good job on the barn.

View picture of barn

Bad cop, no donut I

(with apologies for stealing Frank Ney's line)

Evidently getting lost coming out of Camden Yards and ending up in Cherry Hill is an arrestable offence in Baltimore:

Collins said somehow they ended up in the Cherry Hill section of south Baltimore. Hopelessly lost, relief melted away concerns after they spotted a police vehicle.

"I said, 'Thank goodness, could you please get us to 95?" Kelly said.

"The first thing that she said to us was no -- you just ran that stop sign, pull over," Brook said. "It wasn't a big deal. We'll pay the stop sign violation, but can we have directions?"

"What she said was 'You found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.'" Kelly said.

Collins said the couple spotted another police vehicle and flagged that officer down for directions. But Officer Natalie Preston, a six-year veteran of the force, intervened.

"That really threw us for a loop when she stepped in between our cars," Kelly said. "(She) said my partner is not going to step in front of me and tell you directions if I'm not."

After 8 hours in jail, they were released without charges, only to find:

Collins said police left Kelly's car unlocked and the windows down at the impound lot. He reported a cell phone charger, pair of sunglasses and 20 CDs were stolen.

I thought female cops were supposed to be kinder and gentler.

(Hat tip to WND.)

UPDATE: Wendy McElroy, linked from Billy Beck:

The following story captures one of the reasons Brad and I are spending as little time in the States as possible even though many family members live there: namely, the pervasive atmosphere of paranoia, totalitarianism and social hostility. The police response in this instance is an extreme example of what is a prevailing mood with which you must deal on a daily -- indeed, minute-by-minute -- basis when you do almost anything State-side. And I mean you must be careful of what you say about politics while standing in a fast food line...I'm talking a change that has trickled down to that level. The shift has been so incremental that I'm not sure people living in the States even notice how dramatically the culture has deteriorated toward intolerance and mandatory genuflection toward all authority. But for those of us who used to go down from Canada several times a year, it is torture to see what I truly believe was the freest country in the world become the most dangerous one to liberty...this is another example of why you should never voluntarily interact with the police. Better you should ask a hooker on the street corner for directions.

UPDATE: Taranto draws a different lesson:

Ladies, do you understand now why we never ask for directions?

Blackwell bails on the TEL

To mend fences, Kenny is supporting a legislative echo of the TEL that will be in state law rather than the Constituion and will only effect state (not local) government. But he'll need to stab his fellow activists in the back, and pass a new law to do it.

Before lawmakers could enact the new TEL, they had to find a way to remove Blackwell's plan from the November ballot.
Once that hurdle is cleared and the new plan is approved, Blackwell said he will contact the four-person committee that helped get the original TEL on the ballot and encourage it to withdraw the amendment.

And if they refuse?

Apostates against Blackwell

We Believe Cleveland has been formed to counter the Religious Right. They say they're non-partisan. But...

We Believe representatives said the group will openly campaign against Blackwell's proposed constitutional amendment to set a state spending cap. And they will promote a proposal to raise the state's minimum wage, which has not qualified yet for the November ballot.

...apparently they've never read Exodus 20:15

Randall Terry, Roman Catholic

Whoa! Randall Terry has converted to Catholicism!

I've never had much use for Terry or his cause (founder of Operation Rescue), but you've got to respect the guy for this, esp. since he joined without being able to receive Communion, since his first marriage has not been annuled.

A telling passage:

My training and experience were in evangelical Christianity with an evangelical framework theologically, but the Roman Catholic communion had a much better sociology and better stability, coupled with a phenomenal theology of suffering.
I would look at my evangelical friends, who would come and go from the pro-life movement. They would proclaim undying devotion for pro-life activism and then later disappear. Then I would look at my Roman Catholic friends who would never swerve. That had a tremendous magnetism for me.
I also found myself defending Catholics against ignorance and bigotry, and defending evangelicals against ignorance and bigotry.

This will give some people one more reason to hate Catholics...but welcome home anyway.

Spearchucker revisited

It looks like I wasn't the only one whose jaw dropped at that Sam Fulwood column. Taranto weighs in today, linking to the PD's Ted Diaduin:

In the time and place where I grew up, the word was just below the "N" word in offensiveness, synonymous with several other terms that racists used for black people. That kind of language in the wrong crowd could leave you with a bad pain where your front teeth used to be.

Fulwood didn't see it that way, and in his defense, I wonder if generational and regional issues aren't at play in how the word hits one's ears. He and several others around the newsroom who are younger and from a different part of the country than I, say that they first heard the term in the original "M"A"S"H" movie, which had a black character named Spearchucker Jones, and were not offended by it.

Fulwood says he considered the word no more volatile than spear carrier - a term I think would have better expressed what he wanted to say.

If that's the case, Fulwood is just tone-deaf. A "spearchucker" is somebody so primitive that they have to fight with hand projectiles. It's allied to the adage that "You can take the [certain ethnic] out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the [certain ethnic]". In the 60s, it was cuter than "pickaninny" and less offensive than "the n word".

It's not my place to recommend action here. If the PD readership falls off in the demographic Fulwood appeals to (guilt-ridden white liberals?), they'll do what they need to do. I much preferred Afi-Odelia Scruggs, even with her Slats Grobnik (Ebonee) in burnt cork drag. My whole point is this: had I used "spearchucker" to denigrate a black person around here, I would (if I were lucky and not fired) be sent for immediate Sensitivity Training. But it looks like the guy with all the melanin will walk. 'Sup with that?

FWIW, Neal Boortz agrees.

New chickens

We got 4 more chickens hatched last night. Here are the first 4:
And here is the brooder house with the mail chicks and Rusty's silkies:

AL AG candidate denies Holocaust

He obviously didn't get the memo. Anti-Semitism is a core Democratic Party value, but it must always be discussed in terms of "anti-Zionism" and opposition to support for Israel. Denying historical facts is not permissable. Nor is discussing "white racial awareness" as it tends to scare other people in the Big Tent. (Don't white Alabamans own mirrors, that they need to be racially aware?)

What an embarassment for them! But then, the asshat ran last time as a Libertarian, so I'm embarassed too. I'm just glad he found a party more in line with his thinking.

Dick the Knife

A friend told me about new Cleveland bishop Richard Lennon's propensity for closing parishes, and here it is in the news already. Evidently the issue in Boston was not parish closings, but which parishes...allegedly a number of thriving ones got the axe. The West Side just lost its Latin Mass, and there's concern that Latin at the Mac (Immaculate Conception) could be next... in spite of Tridentine Rite being one of the few growth areas.

Shut up, peons; it's not your money anymore

High court blocks Ohio taxpayer lawsuit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Taxpayers have no right to challenge nearly $300 million in tax breaks that Ohio's elected officials used to entice DaimlerChrysler Corp. to build a new plant in Toledo, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.

In a 9-0 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "State taxpayers have no standing ... to challenge state tax or spending decisions simply by virtue of their status as taxpayers."

Priced out of farming

Nationwide, the percentage of farmers under 35 is the lowest it's ever been, said Mike Duffy, director of the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University.

That means production is being concentrated in fewer hands, which deters innovation and makes addressing environmental issues more difficult, Duffy said.

"We'd better be concerned about it, or we're just going to lose a whole generation," Duffy said.

Farming is too important to leave to a handful of people.

Condi shakes a nut out of the BU tree

Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I quit

By Steve Almond | May 12, 2006

An open letter to William P. Leahy, SJ, president of Boston College.
DEAR Father Leahy,

I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so -- after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret -- as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

Since we're budget-cutting here at Case, let's bring Condi in and see who self-selects for losing their position, thus bringing us a more-committed faculty. After all, Case has been shilling for the administration since 2004; this wouldn't be anything new. Hell, let's book a tour and have her do ALL the commencements in Ohio.

Tie one on with George

Vox Day proposes a drinking game for tonight's speech on border-crashers:

Derbyshire doesn't grasp the possibilities:

I shall run screaming from the room if the President utters any of the following words or phrases:

jobs Americans won't do
nation of immigrants
family values don't stop at the Rio Grande
good-hearted people
path to citizenship
my good friend Vicente Fox
this is not amnesty

I, on the other hand, am happy to interpret this as the required list for Dear Jorge's Immigration Speech Drinking Game. One merely slams a shot of one's chosen poison or a healthy slug of beer - chug the whole can/cup if you're in college - upon hearing any of these phrases.

My docs won't let me drink much, and I leave the house at 6:30 AM. But you young guys be sure to tune in.

Britain's NHS: Obey or suffer

Edward Atkinson, a 75-year-old anti-abortion activist, was jailed recently for 28 days for sending photographs of aborted foetuses to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. That draconian sentence was not deemed punishment enough: the hospital has banned Mr Atkinson from receiving the hip replacement operation he was expecting.

Yeah, that'll teach the old crank! Pain like childbirth every time he tries to walk!

After we get Hillarycare or some reasonable facsimile (and we will get it, because we are raising a generation of idiots who think there is a "right" to health care, somewhat like plantation owners who thought they had a "right" to get their cotton picked for free), I suppose I'll have to quit writing this blog in order to get the medications I take.

Thank you, Mr. Taranto.

Maw, call the lawyer; we're gonna be RICH!

Phone companies that shared their call records with the government may have violated federal law and could be on the hook for billions of dollars in civil liability, some of the nation's top experts in telecommunications law said Friday.

That's because Congress made it illegal 20 years ago for telephone companies and computer-service providers to turn over to the government records showing who their customers had dialed or e-mailed.

In the first legal action to result from the disclosure that the National Security Agency may have obtained the calling records of tens of millions of Americans, two New Jersey public-interest lawyers filed a suit Friday demanding up to $5 billion from telecommunications giant Verizon.


Mothers Day on the farm

Friday we got our chicks in the mail: 25 White Rocks, 5 Ameraucanas, 5 Pekin ducks, 5 Khaki Campbell ducks. We lost one (a Pekin, at twice the price) but the rest seem to be doing fine.

And yesterday we hatched 4 eggs, our first hatch. Daddy is a buff Orpington; moms were black Australorp (2) and apparently another Buff Orpington (2). More to hatch in the next several days, we hope.

Pictures to follow...uploading on a dialup SUCKS.

Phone spying in a free market

A loonyterian from a Yahoo list (name withheld to protect the guilty) wrote:

Concerning the telephone records, this should be a contractual
matter between consumers and telephone companies. The Feds
should have to pay for the records, thus enabling companies
that shared their records to offer lower rates. If only a few
companies didn't share their records (with the Feds),
that would concentrate suspicious characters in such
companies, which would be one factor in getting probable
cause search warrants.

So it's OK to sell me down the river, as long as the sales happen in a free market? Uh-uh. Let me describe your free market, as it is. I have ONE choice of land line/internet at home: Verizon. That hurt going in, long before this, because of the way they treated Jeffrey Jordan. I've got Net at work, but my wife doesn't; she has cell, and I don't yet. So it's no phone, or play with Verizon. I could switch our LD carrier to Qwest, but it's scarcely worth it: our plan has 30 minutes of LD per month, and we usually don't use it all.

Now, let's look at "Feds paying for the records". Yeah, right. The Feds alone aren't going to make a market in phone records. They'll eminent domain them, or pay some lowball figure. If they're going to pay a competitive market rate, that will be established by ALL KINDS OF OTHER NOSY PEOPLE wanting to know who I called. And if they DO buy the info instead of stealing it, it will be because they STOLE MONEY FROM ME to do it. In short, I'm screwed out of info that is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. And why would they offer me lower rates to sell me, when most Americans DON'T CARE that the Feds are tracking their calls? Did the 1001 companies who ALREADY trade in my consumer habits ever ask permission or offer me a better deal for saying Yes?

No, this is what needs to happen: Americans need to QUIT PAYING THEIR PHONE BILLS until an independent party can verify that the corporations are not being NSA's catamites. Having their cash flow come to a screeching halt will show them who their bosses really are. It won't happen, because most don't care, and Gods forbid they might get their credit rating affected or their blab service disconnected.

And if the Commies are right and business owns the government, why did the telcos bend over anyway?

This reminds me so much of the Reagan years, when Reason magazine printed stories about all the benefits that could accrue from black boxes in our cars enabling time-sensitive pricing of toll roads. Now we've got Oregon experimenting with it to collect road taxes, and any idiot can see that the government knowing where you drive is A Bad Idea.


The usually soporific Sam Fulwood engages in some, uh, colorful writing:

Still, Powell rose higher than almost any black Republican by making the party faithful comfortable with his non-threatening and non-demanding presence on racial issues. Powell flamed out after his ego no longer allowed him to be an unquestioning spearchucker in Mr. Bush's war.

As a white boy in the sticks, I grew up with "spearchucker"...and I don't see any way that it's less offensive coming from a Black-operated keyboard.

Fulwood is right to call the conservative punditocracy on making such a big deal of Blackwell's race; it's conservatives who are supposed to stand for colorblindness and "judging on the content of character." But he repeats the canard about Blackwell suppressing the Black vote (and while he can't present evidence in the print version of the PD, hyperlinks could be available online),as opposed to the Libertarian vote, and is convinced that the Gravy Train is more important to black voters than Blackwell's social positions. That may be so. But I can't imagine that referring to the first Black Secretary of State as a "spearchucker" will help him in persuading the burgeoning Black middle class that could go for a Blackwell.

Ilana Mercer v. Kitty Mackinnon: nude mud wrestling

And Mercer wins.
Her most damning critique? That Mackinnon fights like a girl in the courtroom:

Women Mackinnon views as a besieged class of helots, men as members of a ruling elite that refuses to let go of patriarchal privilege and power. The former must fight to unseat the latter. And fight Mackinnon does – she hasn't stopped fighting since her first major legal victories in the 1980s. Unfortunately, she fights just like a woman: underhandedly, her weapon of choice being the civil law with its lower burden of proof.

I'll consider giving my alma mater a contribution when they develop some taste in law professors.

Papa Ratzi tells off Señor Chávez

Apparently yesterday's audience with the Pope was a little tense....not surprising considering Chavez' comment to the press beforehand:

"Our Bolivarian revolution is very Christian and I have a friend who isn’t Christian, but lately has said he is a Christian in the social aspect: his name is Fidel Castro," said Señor Chávez.

Theft and murder is "Christian in the social aspect" (whatever that means)?! I think somebody needs some confession and absolution before his next Communion.

Yep, we are in Redneckia

Darling Spouse is convinced that I have better uses for my time than redoing the barn roof, and is willing to pay for the labor to do it. She may be right. She is certainly undissuadable. Anyway, she was getting a quote yesterday and the fellow asked us if we had any problem with a black man working on my barn.
[jaw drops]
I should, I suppose, be offended that he assumed I might be a racist. But it's just too amazing to be enraging. I mean, what would he have done if I had said "yes"? The irony is that, between the sun and the asphalt, all roofers are black at the end of the day.

Not deaf enough for Gallaudet?

"There's a kind of perfect deaf person," said Fernandes, who described that as someone who is born deaf to deaf parents, who learns ASL at home, attends deaf schools, marries a deaf person and has deaf children. "People like that will remain the core of the university."

Let's see...perfection is to deliberately breed children missing one of their senses? What are these people, auditory Skoptzy? If deaf is a positive value in itself, then blind must be a positive value as well, right? And blind and deaf must be even better. And perfection would be people whose brains had been disconnected from any sensory input at all, like the future Skoptzy I read about in a science fiction novel once (can't remember which one or whose, Heinlein maybe, or Harlan Ellison -- it was 35 years ago) who were crazed moaning vegetables.

Yeah, yeah, I know about Deaf Pride, but I don't get it. If you are born deaf (or gay, or white, or black), what's to be proud of? You didn't do anything to get that way. By the same logic, you have nothing to be ashamed of either. And people who have blown their hearing through their own actions generally feel regret if not shame that they did such a stupid thing.

If almost all of us were clairvoyant, the few that weren't would probably develop some religious rationale for why they were better, some claim that psychism was of the Devil. This is basically irrational and religious too. There's nothing wrong with deaf people creating their own culture. But don't try to convince the rest of us that being less than all you can be is superior to being all you can be - or worse, that less is more for your children. Ot worse yet, that you have a right to breed deaf children AND we have an obligation to fund their special education. Your children are your property (not quite, but any other paradigm leads to worse results than that one), but runoff from your property onto mine is a legitimate concern.

Scott Savage censored again

The American Leninist Library Association had agreed to publish Scott's side of the OSU Mansfield kerfuffle, as written and printed here. Suddenly, they decided it had to be cut by 50%. You read it, and tell me if there's 50% worth of cuttable content. Scott's a librarian; it's assumed that he can express himself succinctly in writing. But then self-expression (of his response to the ALA's incredible lameness) was the problem. So he took it to WorldNetDaily.

If any member of ALA leadership is so bored as to be reading this, kindly tell me:
1. Just what did you want cut from Scott's piece? (I know...I just want to hear it from your lips).
2. Why should I join your little club anyway, given that I dropped my AAA membership for lobbying against my interests?

UPDATE: Here's what happens when a librarian is really thrown to the dogs.

"Hymns to the Goddess"

I was cataloging this, and I'm not sure which side of me was more offended, the Wiccan side or the Catholic-sympathizer side. Mary is not a goddess, and can only be worshipped as one by taking her out of the context of her which point is she really Mary? Calling her a goddess is just as offensive to Catholics as referring to the pagan deities as "demons" is to pagans, for the same reason.

And this is a recording of Magnificat settings; i.e., Mary's hymn to a (the) God. So the title is doubly wacked.

Weekend on the farm

Saturday, Rusty and I did up 11 chickens. It took most of the day.

I was going to take an "after" photo to go with the "before", but we were wrapping as we went, and there's nothing intrinsically interesting about seeing a bunch of shopping bags. (The roasters were 6 lbs and wouldn't fit whole into gallon freezer bags, so we wrapped with cling wrap and then put into plastic shopping bags.) And as for "during", well, there just isn't anything nice, sweet, and cute about butchering chickens (not even the pretty barn kitties dragging off the heads), and I really didn't want my office firebombed by ELF.

"Gimp" was the first to go. He'd broken a leg early on, and was about half the size of the others (harder to fight his way to the feed). We had to respect his struggle, staying alive against odds while so many more healthy chicks keeled over and died. He got barbecued for dinner Sat. night, and we said grace and thanked him for his sacrifice.

These were our mistakes:
1. Per the book, and as we did last year, we didn't feed them the night before, in order to empy their crops. Unfortunately, that didn't mean they didn't eat. Last year they were in an empty outbuilding room; this year in the chicken tractor. So they ate their fill of grass and got bloated, making things a bit more unpleasant to work with.

2. Last year we were saving feathers, and dry-plucked until it got hard, then hot-water dipped. This year we didn't save feathers, but continued to dry pluck until the last several birds. Dipping from the get-go makes things much faster. We also decided to not save gizzards this year. They're a lot of work to clean for meat that nobody really likes anyway.

3. We've been bleeding them out by holding them by their legs in a 5 gallon bucket. The problem here is that they splatter blood all over their wing feathers, which are hard enough to pull out. Next time, we'll just let them go free to do their final Chicken Dance ("taka taka taka tuh....ta ta ta taaaah ta ta ta"), morbid entertainment though it be.

4. No more Cornish Cross. With the mortality we had, I estimated our meat cost at $1/lb, exclusive of labor. While it's worth paying more for cage-free pastured birds, we lost our shirts. And examination of the entrails was unsettling: large livers, flabby big hearts with fatty deposits all over, tiny gizzards. These were not really healthy birds, and one has to wonder if it's really kind to raise such animals.

Sunday I got the corn and mangels in. For a break, I decided to mow some...and the belt on the mower broke. Fortunately, Windham True Value had one, and I got it on before my wife got home.

It's a long slow struggle getting things together...but it's happening.

Ulsamer Collegium

On the way to work, I was listening to an old (early '70s) recording of the Ulsamer Collegium doing early 17th-c. dance music, and it was like falling into another world. "What is that instrument that sounds so much like a Hammond organ? A tenor recorder with vibrato! Ach ja, sopranino rauchpfeife with gambas; that's the ticket." And there were more subtle things that don't jibe with modern performance practice: galliards too fast, a tendency to privilege local rhythmic activity over creation of a vocal line. Some people might laugh, but who knows whether our current early music performances might seem just as ridiculous 35 years from now? But the point and miracle is: these performances are not ridiculous. They're committed and energetic, and even the eccentricities are endearing (including that watery wavery recorder).

Eight months

That's all it took for Hawaii's legislature to conclude that gas price caps are a bad idea.

All kinds of folks told them that 8 months ago.

Sauce for the goose

Eminent domain is wrong.
That being said, it's hard to cry when one of its leading beneficiaries (Wal-Mart) becomes a target for a change.

Death row


Here are the meat chickens, last weekend. You can probably notice major problems with their home, particularly the roof. These will get fixed once it's vacant...which should be tomorrow afternoon.

Giving the Zoning Board a swirly

The Zoning Board in Anderson Twp. near Cincinnati decided to deny a variance to build a privacy fence. "Look and feel", and all, ya know?

Now Anderson has a new look and feel.

Cincy's been going down the toilet for a long time. If they can turn these commodes into a fence, maybe they'll stop circling the drain, tee-hee!

Chip the migrants?

Colombian President Alfaro Uribe suggested that microchipping Colombians working in the US might be a way to track them. This didn't go over real well with his citizens, but isn't really surprising, as governments generally treat citizens as possessions. What's really appalling is this:

"It sounds rather Orwellian," said John Keeley, spokesman for the Center for Immigrations Studies in Washington. "In a Star Trek-kind of future, 20-40 years down the road, we might need to consider this, but it's not germane to the contemporary immigration debate."

Like it won't be Orwellian in 20 years?

The gang that couldn't shoot straight

We captured some outtakes of Abu Musab Zarqawi's recruiting video:

The blooper tape has Zarqawi, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq and organizer of mass-death suicide bombings, clumsily trying to move a machine gun into rapid-fire mode.
"He looks down. Can't figure it out," Gen. Lynch said, identifying the terror master's footwear as New Balance tennis shoes. It was obtained in a raid of a foreign fighter safe house.
Finally, a lieutenant walks over and unjams the gun. Zarqawi fires into the open desert. The shot over, he hands the smoking gun to a group of subordinates. As they walk away, one grabs the hot muzzle, burning himself.

This may help explain why the weapon of choice in Iraq is the RPG..."where close is good enough".

Freedom Tower free of tenants

The projected Freedom Tower (on the former World Trade Center site) is having trouble lining up tenants. Apparently private companies aren't lining up to put their employees in NYC's terrorist target of choice. The Federal government is taking up some of the space (enhancing its attractiveness as a target in the process), but local government isn't interested. Federal employees who used to work there (or the there that was there before the Recent Unpleasantness) are petrified. And posh private industry considers it slumming to work in the some building as government offices. Plus, there just isn't that much demand for office space in NYC.

Here we have a building which is basically being built as a monument and polical statement. The building it replaces was an economic disaster as well. Why are we doing this?

James Taranto had an idea : made the top floors into a supermax prison for convicted terrorists. With human shields at the top, this should also help the vacancy rates of lower floors.

A modest proposal on Mexican migration

Lots of Mexicans want to come here illegally to live and work, because of lack of good jobs at home. The Mexican government is not interested in stopping them. Neither, really, is our own. Since both governments agree that the border is a sieve, why not some turnabout? We have people here too, who say they can't find a good job.

We'll find a bunch of unemployed Americans. This shouldn't be hard; just check the welfare rolls. We'll tell them about the great jobs to be had in Mexico, the inexpensive living, the cheap marijuana....anything to get them to sign on, including cutting off their benefits. If we need to dig deeper for recruits, we can free our petty drug criminals. This worked for Castro in the Mariel boatlift of the early 80s, and Castro is highly respected in most Latin American countries. England used us as a penal colony and made Georgia what it is today; we can pass the favor on.

Next, we'll have to get them across the border. The coyotes should be able to help with this. Any trucker can tell you how uneconomical one-way truck trips are. They can smuggle Mexicans, then turn around with a load of Americans.

The "undocumented workers" need to be carefully trained to do the same task they do here: suck public services. And they can stand around downtown waiting to get picked up as day labor. Of course, they will bring their colorful local customs with them, like Saturday Night Specials (guns are practically illegal in Mexico). To stop them would be disrespectful of a unique culture.

Now, it's a fair bet that if a couple thousand illegal American immigrants showed up in Mexico, they would find themselves in the hoosegow in short order, because we're the only country that is expected to not enforce its own laws. And our government would complain, because of course you don't lock up undocumented Americans. They might even be moved to crack down on undocumented Mexicans. This will lead to a Dialogue. And Dialogue is always good, right?

Note that there is nothing racist or nationalist about this proposal. It is simply proposing that Americans should have the same functional rights as Mexicans. Surely that's not too much to ask.

Another corpse

I came home to another dead chicken. It might have been dehydration, as they were out of water (though I'd filled it in the morning). It wasn't even stiff yet, but we weren't interested in salvage. They got a 5 gallon waterer this morning.

I'm losing my butt on these Cornish Cross, and the next batch will be White Rocks. Cornish are just not bred to be raised outside. They don't know enough to drink water when they're hot, or eat grass or bugs. They'll inhale all the chicken feed you want to give them. It's the only thing that motivates them; they're so like the typical American that it feels like cannibalism to eat them.

My maldesign of the chicken tractor didn't help. It needs a roof that will shed instead of collect water, a door, better wheels, and someplace to hang the feeder, which the chickens knock the top off of when it's on the ground. Almost 2 weeks ago I made the mistake of reaching over the 3-ft wall (instead of under) to pick up the detached bottom of the feeder. At one point I was almost upside down, when I heard and felt a crack...which was probably my rib. Doc wouldn't x-ray it as it wasn't relevant to treatment (which is pretty much nonexistent). I'm only now starting to feel halfway functional.

Presbys laying off

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) said Monday that 75 employees at its headquarters will lose their jobs as $9.15 million in budget cuts have forced the denomination to reorganize its mission program.

It was the third round of job cuts in four years at church headquarters.

"Presbyterians today do not want to write a check and send that money off for somebody else to make a decision on where it goes or how the mission is done," Detterick said. "Presbyterians more and more want to be involved."

Maybe Presbyterians don't trust the people responsible for this to spend their money wisely.

FORMER leading GOP candidate

McCain stepped in it, on Imus:

"He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform....I know that money corrupts....I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."

Of course, his handlers will spin this out of the universe. And really, it's a pretty unexceptional statement, given that Son of Cain's previous actions have spoken much more loudly. But such candor is refreshing in DC.

Now, would you vote for somebody so stupid as to think you can have "clean government" (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) without a vigorous 1st Amendment?

Lawyers union files a grievance

The Cleveland Bar Association is threatening to fine the parents of an autistic boy $10,000 for not hiring a lawyer when they brought, and largely won, a court case on their son's behalf four years ago.

Representing themselves was not the issue; that's still legal, for now. But they represented their CHILD, successfully, yet. This must not be allowed to happen scabbing allowed.

I guess I'll have to import a shyster from out of town, if need arises.