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

Little Capri

Capri Cafaro got from her party what she couldn't get from the voters: a political seat, Marc Dann's OH Senate seat to be exact. How long until we can vote her out?

I started a little bluesish song about her a couple years back. Maybe one of these days I'll record it...but it keeps changing.

Little Capri, little Capri,
gonna spend all Daddy's money.
Spend all his cash, all you can get;
You'll never beat Steve LaTourette.

Lttle Capri, Little Capri,
Face that looks like Hillary,
Did you ever work for a dime,
Sell your plasma just one time?

Little Capri, Little Capri,
Stupider name than Tiffany,
Got a job from Democrats,
Worker's party needs fat cats.

Little Capri, Little Capri,
Got a job from your party.
Not appointed 'cause you're cute,
Got the job because you have loot.

My, that was quick

It seems like just yesterday (actually it was the day before yesterday)that I blogged about improvements to Ohio's gun laws. Well, it's been passed by both houses, and as I suspected, Daft has promised a veto (which the legislature has already said they would override.)

Fingerbutt wins the award for most inane argument:

Sen. Eric Fingerhut, a Shaker Heights Democrat, during a floor speech, said that gun control is more imperative in urban areas than in rural areas. He chastised his Senate colleagues for pushing a bill that hurts Ohio's large cities.

"If you don't respect my constituents, you don't respect me," he said.

Well, I don't respect him, but that's besides the point. What's interesting to me is that HE doesn't respect his constituents. I haven't read the statistics, but based on observation, I'm not convinced that the crime rate per capita is much lower in the country; it just seems like there is more crime in the city because there are more people there. Po' trash is po' trash, regardless of location or color. So here's Eric saying that we need gun control more in the cities, because my constituents are more evil and irresponsible than your constituents. That's pretty typical for a liberal -- but jeez, guys, you get dissed and still elect the guy? Or is it a Shaker thing, and y'all know that Eric is trying to save you from the unwashed masses on the other side of those roadblocks?

It looks like a fine bill overall. Too bad about the journalist access provision, but we'll fix that later.

Teddy bears are no picnic

...for 4 students in Knightstown IN, whose cute li'l movie about teddy bears attacking a teacher got them expelled. Even though the county prosecutor declined to press charges, the schoold board is standing its ground, and two of the students are suing for 1st Amendment infringement.

Good on yas, Imel and Overbay families. Win your case. Then pull your kids out and homeschool them, damnit.

Yes, the GOP's a criminal conspiracy

..but constantly breaking their windows is a bit petty and ineffective. And when you don't break the windows of the other criminal conspiracy against freedom, it looks partisan as hell. So knock it off already!

OH gun laws to be improved?

It looks like the Ohio Senate has come up with a CCW/local preemption fix that the State Highway Patrol can live with. Now let's see if they can get it through before the next session, and if lamest duck Daft will sign it. Kudos to Jordan and Aslanides!

Beer as cheap as bottled water

...is a holiday tradition in Britain, where the stores drop prices to lure shoppers. Of course, not everyone is pleased:

Paul Waterson, president of the Scottish Licensed Traders' Association agreed: " This type of price-cutting just encourages people to drink excessively outside of a controlled environment like a pub.

"The supermarkets want to sell alcohol in the same way that they sell bread or eggs, but you can't. There is a moral responsibility that comes with it."

So, do low prices encourage the overconsumption of milk and eggs? Hey, people drink over the holidays. I know I consume more than usual. Cheap beer wouldn't be the come-on it is if people weren't out for it to begin with. And where does "moral responsibility" end? Will the British someday have to input cholesterol numbers in order to buy eggs?

Remember when the Mounties were nice?

Well, they've been taking dynamic entry lessons from the U.S. cops. Of course, being Canadians, they have the nice mission of "making sure you're safe", even though the homeowners TOLD them they were safe and opened the doors so they could see. "Safety" in this case involved Tasering and cracked ribs...which fortunately belonged to a LAWYER. This is going to get good.

The king's highwaymen own the game.

Did you know that "severing parts from roadkill is illegal without a permit or tag from a state game official or a police officer"?

Me neither.

I'm somewhat in sympathy with road workers; a headless deer IS grosser to pick up than a whole one. But out where I am, the only crew cleaning up roadkill are the hawks. And damnit, if I hit something and it damages my car, I want to get SOME good out of it.

Clitoris-removal not a tenet of Islam

...says a conference of Muslim scholars in Cairo.

This is not news, really. Non-African Muslims have been on this for awhile now, as it makes everyone look bad. What's tragic are the holdouts who claim, "OK, there's nothing in Mohammed's life to support this...but it's not forbidden."

Enjoy the heat while you can

Russian scientists are predicting a mini-Ice Age starting in 2055.

If they're right, and we cool a bit in 2012-25, will the Kyoto-signing governments crow and take responsibility for saving the planet? And if they do, will we be able to shoot the bastards 40 years later, which would also logically be their responsibility?

Honkies only need apply

At Boston University, the College Republicans have instituted a scholarship for which you need to be at least 1/4 Caucasian. So far there are no takers. Perhaps no self-respecting Caucasian would apply for such a scholarship. If so, where does that leave other minorities who apply for similar scholarships? You can disagree with these folks on the basis of taste, but not on principle.

The new Episcopalians: Shakers with sex lives

The new ECUSA bishopess doesn't think her denomination needs to breed to survive:

“Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.”

The response provoked this query from NYT reporter Deborah Solomon: “Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?”

“No. It’s probably the opposite,” responded Jefferts Schori. “We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.”

...eliciting this tart response:

Domenico Bettinelli, jr, former editor of Catholic World Report,... posted on his website an image of a large Catholic family at a wedding with the words “Halp us Bish-up Kate wee R Catlick”.

“As Catholics we're too busy having, raising, and especially loving our children to worry about such things, added Bettinelli. “And when my kids are paying for the good bishopess's Social Security in 30 years, I won't hold it against her.”

Given current political trends in ECUSA, it ultimately won't be a matter of policy; the only folks left in the denomination will be those practicing naturally unproductive intercourse. The last Episcopalian children will send Father's Day cards to a turkey baster.

Well, at least some Anglicans somewhere have found a bit of welly.

Happy Thanksgiving from Black Water Farm

Our travel plans got changed at the last minute due to host illness. So the project for today (besides cooking a feast for ourselves) was making bunnies be dead. We killed 3 boys; should have killed more but ran out of gumption (and the roast duck had to go in). The first rabbit was slow going as we were learning the knack of peeling the skin off. The book talks about it being like taking off your socks. Well, maybe if you haven't taken your socks off for the entire year, and your hairs were growing through them. We hung them by a bungee cord over the utility room sink to bleed out. I was surprised by how much liver they have. (over half a pint container between them). We tossed the kidneys and abdominal fat (surprisingly plentiful in the older one; yes, Skydiver is no more.), wasteful beings that we are; the hearts went into today's dressing. I've salted down the 3 pelts and we'll see if I can make them be OK. They're in the only cool dry CAT-FREE place I could think of, my truck. We packaged up 4 packages of 2 lbs or so big pieces for the freezer. We took all the backs and cooked them down...got 2 pts of loose meat, and the stock. This rabbit tastes better than any commercial rabbit I've eaten.

Just got done with dinner: tossed salad, molded salad (the only disaster; I set it in to loosen and forgot about it), cranberry orange relish, broccoli, sweet potatoes baked in pineapple juice, duck with stuffing. Made a pecan pie and a squash/sweet potato (don't open a can, clean up the leftovers instead). I added extra pecans to the pecan, which may have been a mistake, as 1 1/2 cups was enough. It's lighter than the usual, and sugar free. Dressing was made from day-old that Rusty buys for the chickens.

19 eggs today! Yet one more thing to be thankful for, that and nice weather today.

Sweetie, a rescue cat, used to be somebody's inside pet, and is a regular cuddle glutton. She likes to follow when we're doing chores, but she's been forbidden by Rusty because she used one of the laying boxes as a litter box. Well, why not, that's what they are. "But Mommy, I did the right thing; why are you mad at me..."

92 year old drug dealer (NOT!) gets what's coming to her

At least she got some hits in. You've got to die of something when you're 92, and if the virus that gets you has two legs and pretends to think, well, that's the breaks, eh? It's probably just as well they got her; it would be hard for a woman that age to be Cory Maye in a dress. ("Hey, we're going to put you on Death Row!" "You twit, I'm 92 effing years old; I'm already on Death Row!") Maybe the War on Drugs can save Social Security, by killing off enough old people.

Of course Balko is on it.

More on hunger in America

The prize for My First Liberal Troll goes to the commenter from Adelphia-Cable-6:

I got the picture. "Let them eat cake.", right? Food is cheap? Where do you shop? For a variety of reasons, many children arrive at school HUNGRY and food programs are the only substantial meal they receive for the day.

"Let them eat cake?" Well, that's a lot of America's hunger problem right there...they DO eat cake, cheap cake yet, instead of real food.

Where do I shop? Lots of places...Aldi and Save-a-lot and Marcs on one end, the Co-op and Mustard Seed Market on the other. I DON'T tend to shop at place requiring loyalty cards in order to get "sale" prices higher than other people's.

Is food expensive? OK, quality food is expensive. If you want to live on grass-fed beef and organic produce, it's going to cost you. But the majority of non-hungry Americans don't do that, and nobody expresses shock about it. In 2004, the average American household spent 10% of their disposable personal income on food, the lowest percentage of any industrialized country.

Is food cheap? Well, it depends on what you eat. Whole grains are incredibly cheap. White rice is cheaper yet, but if you're poor, you can't afford to go without the vitamins and fiber. Beans and eggs are cheap sources of protein, as is canned mackerel. There are consistently inexpensive fresh vegetables (onions, carrots, cabbage) and fruits (apples), and frozen vegetables in bulk are a good buy, as are canned tomatoes. And that's even before we discuss foraging possibilities, like the nutritious and tasty purslane. (Yeah, now you're going to say that I said, "Let them eat weeds." Well, I do, and I can afford not to. So that's exactly what I'm saying; deal with it.)

One problem with food is that many people insist on hiring servants when they aren't working themselves. If you are poor, you can't afford to have somebody cook for you. This includes McDonald's. You can buy a loaf of bread and half a pound of bologna for the price of 2 items off the McD dollar menu, and it will go farther, and be of equal nutritional value.

"For a variety of reasons, many children arrive at school HUNGRY". Bullshit. There is only ONE reason for children to arrive at school hungry: parental neglect. Well, maybe two: parents who figure they can foist off the responsibility for serving a good breakfast onto the school...which is still parental neglect, but neglect enabled by the schools. Now, 'scuse me, but if parents are neglecting their children, why are we enabling them instead of taking the children away and putting them in foster homes? If the government is going to act in loco parentis, why not go all the way? If the parents have money for drugs, they have money for food, and if the food money goes for drugs, take their kids away. And if they really can't afford food, they can't afford to make babies. I'll bet you're pro-choice; well, the flip side of choice is responsibility for your choices.

Now, here are my credentials: unlike Marie Antoinette, I've been there, done that. I've run punch presses with illiterates from temp agencies for minimum wage. I was even (mea maxima culpa!) for a short time on food stamps. I always had some left over at the end of the month, and I ate better than I did when I was working. I've even been known in the past to dumpster-dive. And I've never had cable, something that probably can't be said of most of the "hungry" in America. So spare me the crocodile tears "for the children."

Cleveland borrowers will have to think...

...now that the Ohio Supreme Court has decided that state lending law trumps home rule. A good decision, it was. But why does that sow Resnick think that "predatory lending" is even a valid concept? Any party in a financial deal will seek their own advantage. If a borrower doesn't examine their deal carefully, whose fault is that?

Art too much for Oberlin

It's kind of a hippy-town thing to regard store windows as a venue for edgy art. My girlfiend, Dianna Talley, was pushing the envelope in Ann Arbor in the late 70s. And in Oberlin, evidently caroler-bashing snowmen and kids making meth with their chemistry sets are OK.

But even Oberlin has its limits. And the edge in Oberlin is...gingerbread Nazis.

Now me, I think it's healthy to regard Nazis as a bunch of crumbs stamped out of the same mold. It's a pity that they're sweet, to be sure. And I haven't seen (and now can't see) their context in the window. I suspect that the same people who say "Never again!" don't want to be reminded that it happened once before. Which is fine, except that things shoved down the historical memory hole tend to come back up. And as a response, it validates shock-art, because, well, somebody was shocked.

The hardware store owner won't be inviting the window dresser back. Understandable I guess. But what did all that weird stuff have to do with hardware anyway?

Americans no longer hungry

The USDA has finally admitted that there are no hungry Americans. "Anti-hunger advocates" are of course outraged. But this should have happened long ago. Food is so plentiful and cheap in America that there is no excuse for anyone to experience physical hunger if they don't wish to...well, maybe if you're a quadriplegic who has been abandoned. Food prep and storage is hard for the homeless. And there's much malnutrition. Most of that is deliberate (if the word can be used for "choosing not to think"), but not all. An intelligent person can eat a very nutritious diet on almost nothing, but the intelligent generally aren't poor either.

The formerly hungry now experience "very low food security."

Profs, don't force your students to lobby

When I first read about this case, I didn't blog about it. It was so self-evidently monstrous that I really had nothing to add. In spite of that, I didn't have much hope for Emily Brooker. I figured the admin would stonewall, the case would grind through the courts, and end 3 years from now with an official apology from Missouri State and a slap on the wrist for Prof. Frank G. Kauffman.

Well, evidently Missouri State felt that its good name had been besmirched, and an investigation was in order. And on completion of that investigation, the U. announced its "official apology": that it

would "clear Brooker's official record," and pay damages of $9,000. It also agreed to "waive academic fees at Missouri State University, or in lieu thereof, reimburse an amount equal to two years of degree work toward a Master of Social Work degree" at costs estimated at $12,000, "plus Brooker will receive $3,000 per year in living expense for two years of graduate education."

The "slap on the wrist"?

The school's answer was to ...require Kauffman to resign from his administrative duties. He also was ordered onto a non-teaching leave for the rest of the semester,

Wow...they take academic freedom seriously at MSU.

Hey, Clay...

If Hoyer v. Murtha was a "landslide", what was Boehner v. Pence? Besides just sad?

H. Res 288 and freakout in the dextrosphere

rightwingprof brings my attention to H Res.288, which carries Muslim water by tut-tutting over bad things said about Islam and the Koran. Evidently 7.62mm Justice and Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler are also upset. RWP refers to it as "legislation to destroy the 1st Amendment."

OK, whackjobs, let's get a couple of things straight here:

1. It's not legislation. It's a resolution. Nowhere is this document is there any specific infraction tied to a specific legal penalty. This thing does not have the force of law. The only force it might have would be to collect a few more Muslim votes. If Conyers wants to kiss Dearborn booty, it's no different from anything Christian congressmen have been doing for years...and I haven't heard yelp one out of y'all about THAT destroying the 1st Amendment. I agree that it's a violation of the spirit of the Establishment Clause. However, the law doesn't deal with spirit, but with facts.

2. This is very old news; the thing was introduced 18 months ago, and has apparently gone nowhere. I don't stay up at night worrying about what flaky crap Dennis Kucinich has attached his name to. Neither should you.

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: Edwards wants a Playstation

OK, I'm going to take John Edwards at his word: that he didn't ask a volunteer to get a Playstation 3 for him, let alone get one from Wal-mart.

So...is his internal political education really that crappy? Was the kid really that clueless? Or, since he wanted one for himself, did he figure that using John Edwards' name would facilitate that? Since he did this all on his own, if he had been successful, would John Edwards' Playstation have gone to his kids instead? Did he figure that Wal-Mart was big and bureaucratic enough that it wouldn't notice suce a thing?

If I were Edwards, this guy would be volunteering for somebody else. But if I were Edwards, I wouldn't be picking on Wal-Mart either. Well, heck, I wouldn't be Edwards...though the looks and the money wouldn't hurt.

UPDATE:
This line from Taranto (re "the young kid")is too good not to include:

So have a little sympathy for the populist John Edwards. After all, these days good unpaid child labor is hard to find.

Friday humor: writing God for money

A little boy wanted $100 for a new bike. He prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. Finally, he wrote a letter to God asking for the money, addressed it, "God /USA", stamped it and put it in the mailbox.

A postal worker saw it, said "Who is more like God than the President?" and forwarded it there. A worker in the White House mail room opened the letter and thought it was cute, so he sent a $5 bill to the kid's return address.

The boy was thrilled to receive the money, so he sat down immediately and wrote a thank you letter to God.

"Dear God: Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you sent it through Washington, DC., and those jerks deducted $95.00 in taxes."

Uncle Miltie's dead

this one, not this one.

If Friedman had done nothing else, writing one book that had an effect on one man in one country would have been enough to ensure his place in history:

"I had read only one book on economics — Milton Friedman's Free to Choose. I was so ignorant at the time that I thought that what Friedman wrote about the benefits of privatization, the flat tax and the abolition of all customs rights, was the result of economic reforms that had been put into practice in the West. It seemed common sense to me and, as I thought it had already been done everywhere, I simply introduced it in Estonia, despite warnings from Estonian economists that it could not be done. They said it was as impossible as walking on water. We did it: we just walked on the water because we did not know that it was impossible." -- Mart Laar, former prime minister of Estonia.

Fighting to save Christmas from Mano Singham

Mano's getting all worked up over the movement to celebrate Christmas, as opposed to something else."Most of the people who are out earnestly looking for anti-Christian activity are pretty stupid and have little else going on in their lives," he says.

Look, I'm a Wiccan. I suppose that I "should" get all worked up about Americans wanting to celebrate their holiday, as opposed to some generic season. But I'm not. I live in a Christian culture (though not, thank Goddess, under a Christian government), and I like it when people practice their cute folk customs. That's part of that diversity thing, ya know...appreciating what other people do. And this is Christmas, which in spite of its name has for many Americans no more to do in practice with Christianity than Halloween has to do with All Saint's Day. It's a potlatch, not a holy day (hey, let's get rid of all holidays; they're religious by definition).

And I do Christmas. What's not to do? I can hang with my family and do the traditional family things. I make springerle, and stare at the little boat and fruit patterns on the springerle pin and think, "I don't see anything here about Jesus, do you?" I hang lights to tell the sun to come back; when you leave for work at 6:30 and get home at 6:30, the time of sunrise and sunset is a major issue. I suppose, symbolically, I could do that any time from Halloween on, but that's too weird, so they go up around Thanksgiving, just like everyone else's. I won't burn them much past the 25th, because that's when the sun starts to return, and it would be impious to keep telling it to do so. But if I were celebrating the Light of Christ, I could logically keep them going until Ash Wednesday, though most cut out after Twelth Night.

And last year, I put up a manger scene. It totally faked my stepdaughter out, who said, "That can't be Mom's house!" and passed by it 4 times. I did it because I was really tired of looking at gaudy inflatable snowmen, candy canes, and lighted-wire reindeer. Creches were common in people's yards while I was growing up; now you only see them on public squares with Stars of David and ACLU lawsuits hanging around them. So I figured that if the Christians wouldn't, I'd do it for them. Besides, I like to keep the neighbors guessing. And why not celebrate the birth of Jesus? It's usually good for some musical work on Christmas Eve; getting paid is always cause for celebration.

The Merry Christmas Movement isn't about wanting everyone to be like Christians, it's about allowing Christians to be themselves. It never would have happened if corporations hadn't gotten a politically correct bone on about not offending people. Why should I be offended at somebody else blessing me on the occasion of their holiday? On the other hand, when you go to Wally World and see the same folks you saw at church saying "happy holidays", you know something's wrong. Most people have a pretty good sense of what's proper behavior in their communities, and it's not the same for everywhere in the US, or even for every person; if a woman in a hijab comes through the door, "Merry Christmas" is probably not the most appropriate thing you could say (though I don't think it would be INappropriate either). Having a corporate policy about saying "Merry Christmas" is just as bad as one about saying "Happy holidays", and the problem was not that the corporate policy was anti-Christian, it's that it was anti-HUMAN.

As for - ohmygod- Keith Ellison swearing his oath of office on the Koran, I probably slum around the dextrosphere a lot more than Mano does, and I haven't heard anyone making a stink. Nor should they. If Ellision really is a devout Muslim, then you WANT him to swear to defend the Constitution upon his holy book....especially since by many interpretations, to defend the Constitution would be to disobey the Koran. Better still would be for him to "testify" by swearing on his testes (with the penalty for perjury being removal), as they did in ancient times. Most people take sex more seriously than their religion; some even take it seriously in the name of their religion (usually not in the good-old-fashioned pagan way though). Maybe that way we could save our freedom from theocrats and secular humanists both.

Terrorist necking

Yes, those smiles of pleasure could bring a plane down if JHVH in His displeasure should lob a thunderbolt at it. Reason enough to give them 20 years in the pokey. That IS why we passed the PATRIOT Act, wasn't it?...to show societal disapproval to the hot-to-trot?

Tacoma cops busted

Via Balko, a beautiful tongue-lashing by Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court. The cops thought they were not required to have a warrant to break into a home and terrorize the home's owner. The jury thought otherwise. The cops appealed, claiming immunity. Kozinski was so not impressed:

..a jury made up of seven members of the community heard the evidence and unanimously ruled in Frunz’s favor. By not only finding defendants liable, but also imposing punitive damages, the jury determined that the officers acted in reckless or malicious disregard of plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Only the most misguided optimism would cause defendants, and those who are paying for their defense, to appeal the verdict under these circumstances. Surely, the citizens of Tacoma would not want to be treated in their own homes the way the jury found officers Stril, Morris and Alred treated Frunz and her guests. A prompt payment of the verdict, accompanied by a letter of apology from the city fathers and mothers, might have been a more appropriate response to the jury’s collective wisdom.10 AFFIRMED. 10 Defendants and their counsel shall show cause within 14 days why they should not be assessed double costs and attorney’s fees for filing a frivolous appeal. Fed. R. App. P. 38.

Major withdrawl

Hammer of Truth has been down "for major upgrades" since Election Day. Come on, guys (and Michelle); we need you.

Gumby Dental Care Ltd.

Gordon Cook can't find a NHS dentist. So he's been gluing his loose crown on with Super Glue. It holds for about 2 months. He's been doing this for 3 years now. I'd be hesitant to introduce anything called CYANOacrilate into my mouth (It's bad enough that my dentist has me swabbing my mouth out with industrial waste). But "'es not dead yet!"

What's a bit bizarre is the lack of reading comprehension of most of the American commentators on this story. Cook wasn't being offered a new crown for £100; that was the price for gluing the old one on. I recently had exactly that procedure done. Assuming no fracture or other problem of the base preparation, it's about a 5 minute job: clear the old adhesive out of the crown, put new in, dry off the tooth base, and stick it on. I can't tell you exactly what it cost DenteMax, as I had a cleaning and checkup done at the same time (I may have it on a sheet at home), but I remember a billed cost for all of about $160 (I was out of pocket $26). In any case, ca. $189 for the proper adhesive and the expertise that a security manager could have seems steep to me.

Well, if the incoming Senate leadership has its way, we may find out such things sooner than we wish to.

RIP John Bassette

...dead at age 64, heart failure. His mind is mellowed out now...

I knew John from the Starwood Festivals of the early 80s, at Whispering Winds in Southern Ohio. A warm, peaceful guy, and an accomplished performer, someone who really stood out (epecially in generally-melanin-deprived early '80s witchiedom ;-) ). I was sorry to hear of his illness and destitution several years ago,and hope that, wherever he is, it's an improvement.

"I want to be a hedon
and have too much of everything.
I want my very own island in the sun
and I don't even want to have to sing."

Glod's Gypsies out-gyped

Another bunch of folks out to shake the American money tree:


Nicolae Staicu, leader of the 1,670 Gypsies, or Roma, who eke out a living in one of the most impoverished corners of Romania, said he and other officials would meet with a public ombudsman on Wednesday to map out a legal strategy against Cohen and "Borat" distributor 20th Century Fox.

Staicu accused the producers of paying locals just $3.30-$5.50, misleading the village into thinking the movie would be a documentary, refusing to sign proper filming contracts and enticing easily exploited peasants into performing crass acts.


Like:
"These people are poor and they were tricked by people more intelligent than us," he said. "They took one of our 75-year-old ladies, put huge silicone breasts on her and said she was 47. Another man they filmed to look like the poorest person in the world, and one of our men who is missing an arm had a plastic sex toy taped to his stump."

"They made us put a cow in our living room, and they made it defecate and urinate in the house. Everyone's angry because they didn't pay them the way they should have," she said.

"They're making a lot of money — but they've made us a laughing stock."

"They made us...they made us..." This is not a matter of intelligence, folks; it's a matter of pride. These folks did stupid and disgusting things for $5. Whose fault is that? They have $5 they didn't have before. It's not like the Roma never cheated, stole, or tricked. And now they're looking for a lawyer so they can join the big time con.

Somebody gets it, though:

Sorina Luca, 25, excitedly described how she was given $3.30 to bring a pig into her home and let the producers put a toy rifle into the hands of her 5-year-old daughter for one scene.

"I really liked it," she said. "We are poor and miserable. Nothing ever happens here."

Hsieh WHAT?!

NoodleFood has been a bastion of sanity in the blogosphere, but of late, I really think the Hsiehs are losing it. First there was the whole big thread of assent and support to Leonard Peikoff's notion that Objectivists should vote Democrat because theocracy is a bigger threat than socialism. Sorry, don't see it, at all. It can certainly be argued that the GOP has sold out its libertarian wing to the Religious Right..and Nov. 7 showed what that got them. Americans, even screaming-in-tongues, snakehandling nutjobs, are not at core theocratic. OTOH, socialism is as omnipresent in modern American thought as air is in the sky, to the point that the highest ranking elected Republican espouses socialist policies. Even ceding the tactical advantages of blocking the theocrats first, one is left with the recommendation to compromise with evil. What would Rand do?

In any case, rational voting as a concept is pretty much a non-starter. The Duopoly appeals solely to emotion. That's why they try to kick minor parties out of debates: because the outsiders beat them. Information is filtered, and presented in little emotion-stirring snippets. I'm not sure fear of Hell is any worse a reason to vote than fear of Social Security cuts. It's hard to get enough information to make a rational decision. that doesn't mean one shouldn't try. But to expect the electorate to revamp their decision-making process is hopeless. Ain't gonna happen in our lifetimes, even if St. Ayn comes flapping down from the clouds with little Athena-wings.

Then there's Paul, trying to find a new term to cover waterboarding, because evidently instinctive panic at perceived threat of death is not the same as excruciating pain and is therefore not torture. I suppose that, since he doesn't believe in angels, he can't argue about hom many can dance on the head of a pin, so he has to make this argument instead. I don't see him lining up to experience this non-torture, so somewhere his mind knows that a spade is a spade. It's fairly benign and non-destructive as tortures go, and sometimes torture might be a lesser evil. But there's nothing to be gained by avoiding reality.

It's kind of ironic, given the whole anti-religion thing, that the dictonary definition of "torture" that Paul cites uses the word "excruciating". I guess that if you didn't actually nail Jesus to the cross, and took him down whenever he became too weak to raise himself up to breathe, that wouldn't be torture either.

Two from DeCoster

Here, dealing with the Easy-Bake Oven making the National Toy Hall of Fame.

EBO was a great toy. But we quickly worked our way through their crappy mixes, so there was a limit to what non-food our parents were afflicted with. (We tended to pig it down ourselves in any case.) We warmed Vienna sausages, we made hot fruit compotes, we baked up Jiffy mixes (along with Karen, another great thing from Michigan). We tried to invent chocolate pizza, but never quite got it down. Pretty soon we graduated to The Real Thing.

Then, along with a lot of other libertarians, she's doing the Gridlock Dance. That would work, if we had divided government. But on domestic policy, the differences between Mr. "Compassionate Conservative" and the Dems are pretty minor. And Karl Rove must have stolen his veto pen, and only gave it back once (Well, why not? Rove gets blamed for everything anyway. Since the Diebold machines are all rigged, Rove must have engineered a Democratic vitory to discredit the Democrats for 2008.)

The Republican's problem diagnosed

...by rightwingprof, who notes how Christian conservatives have driven libertarian Republicans from the party. As usual, he minces no words:

We're at war, and the President has God knows how many judicial appointments waiting in the wings and any number of other pressing issues that are crucial — and Bill Frist thinks it's a good idea to fight the evil internet gambling menace instead.

What a mouthbreathing, drooling moron. And who, again, are the idiots who elected this dickhead?

Worth the read; most of it is a lot more reasonably-phrased.

Elton John: let's ban religion

"From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."
Well, gee, Elton, lots of people out there want to ban gayness completely. Since you assent to the principle, that must be OK with you, nicht wahr? And if it's a matter of voting in armed thugs to do the job of exterminating religion for you, there are a lot more religious than gays. Leaving principle aside, it's not wise to start a fight you can't win.

Guns N' Roses vs. Oktoberfest

Email from my dad:


Read your blog and if freedom means you can perform for an audience while breaking the law and while being soused, inspite of the majority opinion. Then I want no part of Libertarianism either.

Evidently their fans have no problem with GNR being soused, and they're the only ones whose opinions matter. As for "the law", it's a red herring here. What business is it of the State if people choose to drink onstage? Seems like the only ones with a legitimate interest are the audience, the band, the promoters hiring the band, and the owners of the venue. Everyone else needs to butt out. Certainly "majority opinion" has no relevance here; if that's the moral and legal arbiter, why don't we just shut the band down? What we're dealing with here is a Christian blue law. I would also add that YOUR SON has drunk onstage many times, had open beer cups, lifted them up to "Ein prosit". Different state laws and social context here, but BY THE LAW (which is what you're considering sacred), the Joe Wendel Ensemble, doing an Oktoberfest in Maine and doing their usual Oktoberfesty things, would be CRIMINALS. Now, as a German-American, do you think the state has a legitimate interest in stamping out German-American cultural expression?

And while I'm picking on that email:

It scares the beJesus out of me to see Bush kissing up to Pelosi and Reed.

That was a foregone conclusion back in '99...you Pugs should have ran from that "compassionate conservative" crap the minute it left his mouth. IN PRINCIPLE, Bush is as Commie as Pelosi; he's just more "moderate". He still thinks your money is there to help the disadvantaged (or to be more precise, our children's money). It might be marginally better to be raped with 5" rather than 9". but it's still rape, and it's not conservative.

Shut down those dark Satanic (puppy)-mills!

"There are hundreds of puppy mills in the state, close to a thousand, and many of them operate underground to avoid regulation," Hughes said.
And Mr. Hughes thinks the solution to this is...more regulation?

I don't approve of inhumane dog-breeding farms (less perjorative term than "puppy mills"). But I really don't see how they are a legitimate concern of government. And when a legislator's view of the problem is as diffuse as this, the likelihood of the innocent being persecuted increases.

Michael Schiavo kills again

OK, maybe that's a little unfair; there's no evidence that Schiavo's campaigning for pro-euthanasia candidates cased them to die of starvation actively hurt their cause. But it's worth noting that they all went down to defeat.

Guns N' Roses to nanny state: see ya

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Guns N' Roses canceled a performance in Portland, Maine this week after being told by state officials that the band could not drink on stage.

I'm not a rock fan, or a fan of lubricated performance. But to the state fire marshals, I can only say: what's it to ya?

As for GNR...I don't know if they ended up stiffing anyone other than the civic center, but aside from that consideration, I say "Good on 'em". Governments need to be told "Non serviam" on a regular basis.

Frat boys sue 'Borat'

The young men "engaged in behavior that they otherwise would not have engaged in," the lawsuit says.

No. They engaged in behavior they would not have engaged in in front of anyone but their friends, and as long as the movie was only going to be shown overseas, it was fine. They could make Americans look bad; that was OK. But themselves?

This isn't about "loss of reputation"; they gave that away. This is all about the Benjamins.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I want to.

Another vendor off the list

Last night, I was listening to WCPN, and heard one of those "advertisements that is not an advertisement" (since public radio doesn't have advertisements, don't you know?), this one for "Great Lakes Brewing Co., the ecologically and socially conscious maker of Christmas Ale."

I turned the radio off.

Now, what was that supposed to mean? Anyone who has been reading here for very long knows that I am "ecologically and socially conscious.", though the exact content of that consciousness would probably appall the typical NPR listener. And why should I care about that more than that Great Lakes is "conscious of brewing traditions" (which I can taste) or conscious of anything else?

There are a few things which GLBC does that are "ecologically conscious", I suppose, which I approve of. Making spent brewing grains available to small farmers is one of those. I don't have the science to say with certainty whether those deals are of ecological net benefit; intuitively it would seem so, but it depends of the energy costs of the entire transaction, including growing the grain again for feeding straight, transport, etc. I can be fairly certain, though, that if that did not make economic sense, it would not be happening. Spent brewing grains have nutritive and thus economic value, and both parties must find the deal attractive in order to participate.

And "socially conscious"? Some people might consider a socially-conscious brewer to be an oxymoron, though GLBCs pricing shows a concern with keeping their product out of the hands of street people. How can one brew in a socially-conscious way? They're producing a product. They may treat their employees better than the average business (and given the skills needed from a brewmaster, they'd best treat theirs well), or they may practice charity. But again, these are business decisions, and really aren't relevant to the beer I drink.

But really, I am treating this expression as if it were meant literally, as an attempt to impart information. It's a slogan, not a statement. If we parse it connotatively rather than denotatively, it says, "We're a cool, hip bunch of Green Commies." "Social consciousness", like "social justice", means "Willing to rob one to support another."

Now, actually, I don't have a problem with GLBC holding this position. I don't have to know somebody's politics in order to do business with them. Their product meets my needs, or it doesn't. But, strangely, the only product information offered was the announcement of their seasonal brew. And that was offered after their political statement. Apparently, their politics is more important than their beer.

All right, then. I'm in the market for beer instead of politics; it'll be a long 2 years, and alcohol will help. There are lots of brewers who brew as well (or better!) as Great Lakes. So...thanks for the effective advertisement, and good-bye.

Losers at the Supreme Court

A day after voters defeated abortion restrictions in three states, hundreds of protesters gathered in the rain outside the court. Anti-abortion advocates curled up in the fetal position along the wet sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to step over them as abortion rights groups chanted and held signs nearby.
Considering who won yesterday, looking like a fetus is the last thing I'd want to do. I mean, if there's an absolute right to an abortion, is it still active in the 200th trimester?

I'm glad the Religious Right got their butts kicked. I'm sorry that it took a huge turnout of commies, cheese-suckers and economic illiterates to do it. But that's what happens when you try to run other people's lives: you inspire a backlash. If these folks spent half the time spreading the Gospel that they do lobbying for laws, we wouldn't need anti-abortion laws, because nobody would be getting abortions. They need to live their lives, teach their truths, and make babies. In 30 years or so, the culture will change.

Disheartening evening

It isn't the Democrats winning...we expected that. They will of course claim to have a mandate, when they didn't win election so much as the Republicans lost it. And so they will overact, and find themselves tossed out.

It's the general trend of minding their neighbors' business, with the minimum wage hike, Smoke Free Ohio, and the Cleveland arts levy. I always want to believe that The People are wise, not that The Masses Are Asses. But democracy is the modern version of the Divine Right of Kings, and every once in awhile you'll get an electorate which is the equivalent of the worst syphillitic rotters of Renaissance Europe.

I had Peirce and Fitrakis together at 5-6%, and they're doing about half that. I thought Strickland would eke out a win, and it's been more of a blowout. Thus far, Portage has been doing better for Peirce than the state as a whole (2.5% vs. 1.8%), which is a comfort.

There's both hope and disappointment at http://www.lp.org/. Apparently the 'Pugs were successful in training their idiots to write in the Hyphen Lady for DeLay's old seat. It's Too Early To Tell, but Lampson is ahead. And the margin of victory is about that of Smither's total. Which means that Libertarians will be blamed again for not supporting theocracy, warmongering, and Socialism Lite, as if we somehow owed the Republicans our votes.

And in a moment of madness, I made an 8:30 dental appointment, so I won't be torturing myself much longer.

Kinky and Hell

Oh horrors! Texas governor Perry (and all of orthodox Christendom) thinks that all those who do not find salvation through Christ are going to HELL!

"He doesn't think very differently from the Taliban, does he?" Kinky Friedman, an independent candidate for governor, told the Morning News.

"Being obsessed with who's going to heaven and who's going to hell is kind of a pathetic waste of time," he said.

There's something even more pathetic: being obsessed with whether people think the unshriven dead go to a small town in Michigan. (Cool! The zip code of Hell ends with 13x13!). Seriously, trying to make points from a passing comment at a religious event is just bad politics, especially in Texas.

Eminent domain, military style

The Army wants to steal another 418,000 acres to add to the 235,000 acres at Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.

Army officials said the base needs to have "a dynamic, fully integrated battlefield environment" to train soldiers who are able to operation in smaller units and still control "significantly greater battle space."

I thought we used other countries' land for that.

Most of what's wrong with my current home town, Windham OH, is attributable in one way or another to the creation of the Ravenna Arsenal, and its subsequent closing. And the less-populated West is a much more fragile economy.

Another young mind destroyed by publik skool

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Tyler Stoken was a well-behaved fourth grader who enjoyed school, earned A's and B's and performed well on standardized tests.

In May 2005, he'd completed five of the six days of the Washington State Assessment of Student Learning exam, called WASL, part of the state's No Child Left Behind test.

Then Tyler came upon this question: ``While looking out the window one day at school, you notice the principal flying in the air. In several paragraphs, write a story telling what happens.''

As a question, this looks like a trap. There are very few contexts in which a principal can fly through the air, and none of them are good for the principal.


The nine-year-old was afraid to answer the question about his principal, Olivia McCarthy. ``I didn't want to make fun of her,'' he says, explaining he was taught to write the first thing that entered his mind on the state writing test.

In this case, Tyler's initial thoughts would have been embarrassing and mean. So even after repeated requests by school personnel, and ultimately the principal herself, Tyler left the answer space blank.

For which he got a 5 day suspension and this congratulation:

`Good job, bud, you've ruined it for everyone in the school, the teachers and the school,'' Tyler says McCarthy told him.

...with this result:

Now, Tyler blows up at the drop of a hat, his mother says. ``They created a monster. He'll never take that test again, even if I have to take him to another state,'' she says.

Tyler's attitude about school changed. He became shyer. He's afraid of all tests and doesn't do as well in classes anymore, his mother says.

There's a lot going on here. First is the perverse incentive that NCLB creates, to see the child as working for the school rather than the other way around. Next is the absolute fear of saying anything negative about the principal. We can't definitely attribute that to school; Mommy might have had a real concern with teaching Tyler to Play Nice. But when we see a kid behaving in a way that would be reasonable in a totalitarian dictatorship, it's reasonable to assume that he's experiencing a totalitarian dictatorship. He had to write the first thing in his mind, because that's what he was told to do; remember, he was a model student, which meant above all that he was good at following orders. But he couldn't write the first thing, because it was uncomplimentary to the principal (though what's wrong with witches on broomsticks anyway, asks the Wiccan). That might have been from respect, or from fear; we don't know. But, perhaps inspired by Mommy saying "If you can't say something nice about somebody, don't say anything at all", his way out of Catch 22 was to write nothing.

I hope Tyler gets appropriate help, and a good learning environment. McCarthy just doesn't get it, and probably can't independently integrate the results of her actions, so a career change is probably in order. This could be a great stepping-stone for her, but it probably won't be, so she'll sink.

Everyone in NY is a drunk.

In the Vampire State, they're so anxious to punish drunk drivers that they forgot to read the fine print.

Now you can be arrested for the amount of blood alcohol your body produces naturally.

Prosecutors say they won't enforce the law until it's fixed. A good thing, too, because, as Beck points out, by the standards that The Powers That Be suggest we use to nark on possible drunk drivers, 85% of the people on the road are obviously plastered. This law would just create a tool for conviction. Think of how safe we would be if the entire population were behind bars. Oh wait...maybe we are.

They so want air time

PuffHo has a script to use so that Democrats can take over talk radio today.

Knock yourselves out, guys. I want to hear all the Democrap talking points loud and clear today. Take all the rope you want; the tree is over yonder.

Beautiful weekend of music

The service at St. Stan's went well...not perfectly by a long shot, but nothing broke down, and a few things approached the condition of real music. Afterwards we (boir and priests) had cassata and just enough wine, and I tumbled into bed at midnight.

Sunday was the Fretwork concert, and the Composers Guild.

Fretwork reminded me what a good composer Thomas Lupo really was, and presented a marvelous new work by Orlando Gough, Birds on Fire. I'm not generally fond of new pieces for viols, or Holocaust pieces (it's a narrow path between "Never again!" and "Get over it!") But this went over well, both with me and the rest of the audience. Imagine Shostakovich taking up minimalism, and writing the score with a quill on parchment, and you'll have some vague idea of the piece. Of course, Chapel Court and Countryside had to add a propaganda piece for the Soak the Bums for Art tax (issue 18) to the program bundle, so we couldn't even escape electioneering by diving into the 17th century.

Afterwards, I thought there was an Indian restaurant on Coventry, but I'm behind the times, so I ended up at the Japanese place on the corner. Among other things, I had a natto roll. Natto is fermented soybeans, and since they are controversial and supposedly quite healthy, I had to try them. Well, it was just as nasty as you might imagine, but I ate it all; there was a biggish glob of wasabi on the plate, and given enough wasabi one could even eat poodle poo sushi...the bright light in your head would obliterate all thoughts of disgust.

The Composer's Guild concert was glorious. I had been very pleased with the dress on Saturday, but this was twice as good. I couldn't stop grinning all through the piece. It was a full, if small house. All the pieces were worth hearing. And, most shockingly, Bill Bolcom and Joan Morris were in attendence (brought by Loris Chobanian, who had them in at Baldwin-Wallace for a week's residency). Bill remembered me, and liked my piece. I got fan raves, particularly from Cleve Svetlik, our recording guy, who has some of my choral music on his Ipod for when he does his cardio workout. It's hard for me to imagine doing a workout to that music (unless he's preparing his soul for the risk of keeling over), but if it works for him, I am more than happy about it. I want my music to be useful to people.

OMG! There are Christians in England?!

And they are finding some balls? Amazing!
I'm positive now that once Charles is King, the Church of England will be banned as a subversive organization.

Thought for the day

I think about the history of ATMs when I hear all the nervous Nellies wetting their pants over electronic voting machines. I believe those worries are totally misplaced. Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a 100% chance that the voting machines will get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?

--Scott Adams

Thanks to Claire Wolfe.

Which principles?

Rick Santorum is perhaps the most principled elected politician in Congress...

So says rightwingprof, after a laundry list of flagrant thefts of taxpayer dollars and federalization of power attributed to Santorum...all of which he apparently thinks are good things.

So tell me, Dr. Bond: just what principles does Rep. Santorum hold? Or did you really want me to deduce them from the evidence presented?

Jeffrey's personal voting guide

Here are my recommendations and comments for Tuesday, if anyone cares:

Continue reading "Jeffrey's personal voting guide"

Three-monkey Republicans opening the senses over Internet poker

"I've been a loyal Republican for over 30 years, and I'm quitting the party I once loved," said Jim Henry, 55, who lives outside San Francisco. "Not because of the Mark Foley scandal or Middle East policy. But because the Republican Party wants to stop me from what I love to do: play poker over the Internet."

Well, I'm glad you're seeing the light, Mr. Henry, now that it's your ox being gored. But tell me, how many times in the past 30 years have you supported laws to stop somebody ELSE from what they love to do? For example, where do you stand on the War on Drugs?

My Republican adventure

Last night's Wendel gig was in a church rental hall in Fairlawn, an Oktoberfest for...the Summit County Republican Party. I knew I was playing for the 'Pugs, and didn't figure that my personal opinions should get in the way of my professional duties

It almost didn't happen that way though.

Continue reading "My Republican adventure"

Corsi's getting better

At last Jerome Corsi is giving us some dirt on Ted Strickland more relevant that whether he's into forgiving those who flash children. The residency and voting-frequency issues are absolutely legit. Of course, he has to poke his nose into Strickland's marital living arrangements, and mention that Strickand has never been in business for himself (trie of many politicians). And most bizarrely for a conservative, he writes:

The one consistent feature of Ted Strickland's career is that since his first try in 1976, he has been running for Congress from Ohio's southeastern 300-mile Sixth District that runs along the Ohio River bordering Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, a district that has consistently been ranked as among the poorest in America despite Strickland's nearly 12 years in office.

Does he actually think that politicians create wealth?

Busy week for music

Lots of stuff happening musically here.

Monday morning I finished a flute sonata for the talented and charming Allison Ballard to play. (My apologies to the rest of my talented and charming flutist friends; it was a matter of proximity more than preference. You're welcome to play it too). I'd set myself a deadline of end of November to finish, but with the farm work largely done, I got cranking on it, and the 2nd movement took me only 10 days (ca. 25 seconds a day, fast for me). As it seemed possible that I'd have it done for the submission deadline for the February Guild concert, I spent all Saturday on it. I'm a bit nervous about sending it around before the ink is dry; I'll probably tinker with it a bit yet. It's 10 minutes long, in two movements, "Depressive" and "Manic", which share material.

Next is a trio for alto sax, violin, and piano, for the Cleveland Duo with James Umble.

Tonight I play the last gig of Oktoberfest season, Gott sei dank!

Saturday night, 7:30, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Slavic Village, the Mac choir is doing their annual memorial/Compline/late quasi-All-Soul's service. We're doing English music this year (aside from the obligatory Polish piece): Fayrfax, Tallis, Parsley, Byrd. I generally sing bass, and I find this stuff taxing, as one never gets out of the basement, and I'm singing all these low Fs I really don't have. But we have some good people singing, it's coming along, and worth the listen if your faith inclines you to such things.

Sunday night at 8, the Cleveland Composers Guild hosts the Cleveland Chamber Collective at St. Paul's Episcopal at Fairmount and Coventry. Among other worthy works by Margaret Brouwer, Loris Chobanian, Dana McCormick and Katharine O'Connell, there will be my Divertimento in C. I heard them Sunday night; they have the style, and with another rehearsal to woodshed the evil 1st movement, it will be perfect.

After that, a couple of Collegium concerts, and a Boar's Head run. Speaking of which, any Renaissance music players out there looking for a gig 12/5, 8, 9? My address book is getting a little thin.

Bye, Aaron

Aaron Shaffer, the guy who got me blogging, is leaving Case for greener pastures. The Tech Team is betting on when he makes his first million, and Tom Hayes reminded him to remember Kelvin Smith Library when he does. I'll second that...and add that I take commissions.

So, if you don't like my blog...blame Aaron. :-)