Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Isn't someone supposed to keep me informed about these things? 

Alias gets cancelled.

I blame Affleck.

Line of the day... 

That would be Larry, for this touching paean to Cong. Norman Dicks:
I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Norm Dicks. As Bush’s numbers continue to slide and we draw closer to the 2006 elections, Dicks will continue to speak out against this pointless and illegal war for oil. And Congressman Norm Dicks will be right there beside them.

What if they gave an election and nobody came? 

The one guy who showed up would claim a huge mandate, of course. That guy being Hugo Chavez. This election is apparently going to have a re-written Venezuelan constitution as an end result, which will have that term limit thing removed, permitting the President to run for re-election as many times as he wants. (This is fair, because anyone can run for President repeatedly, not just Chavez.)

Tip - and more info - Publius.

Monday, November 28, 2005

What the hell kind of a name is Tookie? 

That's the first question.

Second question - should the Governator grant him clemency?

Stanley "Tookie" Williams is the founder of the Crips, a career criminal, and a convicted multiple murderer who has never expressed any remorse for the killings he was convicted of. He is also an author of children's books, a Nobel Prize nominee, a crusader against gang violence, and a dude who effectively combines the biceps of Triple H with the hair of Pippi Longstocking. Oh yeah, he also says he was framed by a racist prosecutor in front of an all-white jury for a crime he did not commit.

First question - innocent, or not? Here's the state of the case presented against Tookie from the perpsective of the defense:
The case rested on the testimony of claimed accomplices and admitted informants, including a notorious jailhouse informant, all of whom were facing substantial prison time and even death for various offenses, and all of whom received either freedom or vastly reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony. The only physical evidence against Stanley Williams was a shotgun in the possession of one of the informants, but registered to Stanley Williams. The prosecution's gun expert found the initial tests he ran comparing the shells from this gun to a shell taken from the scene of one of the murders to be inconclusive. Even after being asked by the prosecutor to run additional tests, he testified that only 2 of 18 test shells had similar markings to the crime scene shell.
This is taken from the clemency petition itself. There is also a "fact sheet" available, that restates the claim that a cabal of thieves, knaves, and murderers were the only source of evidence against the Tookster. (Oddly enough, the fact that Williams' book club and Sunday School class were nowhere to be found doesn't register. It's not like criminals tend to associate only with criminals, right?) Also, it was an all-white jury who tried the case, and the prosecutor is a well-known racist. All of these claims have recently been made by Williams himself in a recent interview.

The DA has posted their response to the clemency petition, which does radical things like cite the trial transcript, and if it is accurate, Williams' version of the facts is...shall we say, incomplete. It is pointed out that the jury was advised of every deal and every shady background of Williams' accomplices and friends, that multiple details of the accomplice/informant testimony is corroborated by witnesses without this baggage, that Williams gave an incriminating statement he later tried to disavow, and as to the supposedly shaky ballistics:
At trial, a firearms expert testified that the expended twelve-gauge shotgun shell that was recovered by investigators at the Brookhaven Motel, trial exhibit 9E, was fired from Williams’ shotgun, trial exhibit 8, to the exclusion of all other firearms. (TT 1522-1523).
That's for one murder - here's the take on the other:
Although these two shells lacked sufficient identifying characteristics to be conclusively matched to Williams’ shotgun, the firearms expert testified that they were consistent with having been fired from that weapon. (TT 2301-2310). Moreover, the firearms expert did not find any dissimilarity that would exclude trial exhibits 9C and 9D from having been fired from Williams’ shotgun. (TT 2301-2310).
Also, the all-white jury thing isn't true either.

You also may have heard Jesse Jackson opine on the subject.
"His reputation as a gang leader was on trial, not the evidence," Jackson said.
That's one theory. Here's another.
His lawyers were able to keep all of his prior gang affiliation out of court...In the late 1970s, when these crimes occurred, the Crips were still a relatively small problem. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s when crack cocaine hit, that the Crips and Bloods became known in Las Angeles and it wasn’t until the late 1980s, that anyone outside of Los Angeles knew who the Crips and Bloods were.
Long story short...OK, too late for that, long story not as long as it could have been, the case for Williams' guilt is much stronger than his defenders have been inclined to admit.

OK, so he did it, and he won't own up to it. He's still done a bunch of stuff since. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize every year since 2001. Of course, virtually anyone can secure a nomination, and Yassir Arafat actually won the damn thing, but hey, I haven't been nominated yet, so let's give the man his props. He has written and spoken out against gang violence, and apologized for...well, not too much specifically (some of those statutes of limitations can be long), but for his role in the creation of gang culture and encouragement of violence. Many, many people have said Williams' words have changed their lives. (Of course, let me just say, if his execution sparks a riot, maybe his message didn't take as much as he'd like us to think it did.) Still, his words have had an impact, and if left alive, he could continue to have an impact - a positive result, even if you think he's human sewage for his refusal to own up to the acts that put him where he is. Of course, one should remember, every instance where Williams is portrayed as heroic or courageous is salt in the wounds to the families of Albert Owens, Thsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang and Yee Chen Lin, who get to hear that the guy who killed their loved ones is really a good guy now, and doesn't have to pay the price a jury gave him (and appellate courts have affirmed over and over again), even though he refuses to even address the suffering he caused. (Remember, he's innocent. He's the victim here.)

Williams' clemency bid is helped by his claims of innocence - weighing on the very real fear of executing an innocent man. Such things, of course, cannot be undone. (BTW - the whole idea that Tookie's refusal to apologize shows he's innocent, because it hurts his clemency bid - B.S. An apology at this point (or any point in the last several years) would appear contrived and have no credibility. Also, this way, he can claim every possible reason for clemency - remorse (albeit for different crimes), rehabilitation, and the possiblity of innocence. Every condemned killer should practice asserting their innocence with a straight face - even the ones caught on video.)

On a somewhat related matter - could someone remind me - Kenneth Starr is a hack who puts partisan goals ahead of the pursuit of justice, right? In any event, he's an effective one. Someone should see if he's available.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has scheduled meetings with Williams' lawyers, prosecutors, and victims' families for Dec. 8. Williams will be executed Dec. 13 unless something happens.

Tips - Volokh; Malkin; Dunphy (NRO)

Update - since the link from Ace means people will actually be reading this (gracias), I fixed a link to the Tookie fact sheet. Let it not be said that both sides are not presented. (OK, maybe one side will be presented with snarky asides, and one without, but the point is, they're both presented.)


Now entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

We like Poland. 

Polish newspapers join in a protest of Belarus' crackdown on dissent.

The pictures are amazing.

Diplomacy successes continue... 

House arrest of Aung Sung Suu Kyi to be extended by Burmese junta.

Every story that mentions her name should also mention that she is the legitimately elected Prime Minister of the freaking country, which makes everything Than Shwe and Co. do treason of the highest order.

Last. Girlfriend. Ever. 

A 15 year old Canadian girl dies after a kiss from her boyfriend, who had just been eating a peanut butter snack, apparently triggered a fatal allergic reaction.

I just wonder how long it will be before that guy ever asks another girl out. And how long after that before one says yes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

But didn't they fix the problem? 

San Francisco issues body armor to toll collectors.

Of course, nobody in San Francisco needs body armor. Didn't you hear? They outlawed handguns.

Tip - Right Moment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Yeah, that's about right... 

You scored as The Terminator. The Terminator can be good or evil. It just depends on who's manipulating his circuits. When he's evil, he's a killing machine. When he's good, he's---well, a killing machine. He often comes back in time to protect certain human beings from other Terminators. He has no sense of stealth or subtlety and will do whatever it takes to accomplish his mission. He has a curious penchant for sunglasses and seems to enjoy mimicking human slang.

The Terminator


William Wallace


Indiana Jones




The Amazing Spider-Man


Lara Croft


Batman, the Dark Knight


Captain Jack Sparrow


Neo, the "One"


El Zorro


James Bond, Agent 007


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Tip - Batman.

And I'm not just saying that because you paid me a retainer... 

Teacher who had sex with 14 year old student pleads guilty.

She managed to avoid prison. Fine, if that's what everyone agreed on. Although I'm not sure I'm crazy about this line of argument:
Fitzgibbons said in July that plea negotiations had broken off because prosecutors insisted on prison time, which he said would be too dangerous for someone as attractive as Lafave.
That's right, she's too hot for prison.

She's certainly attractive, although if USA's "Up All Night" teaches us anything, it's that she wouldn't be anything special in the big house. Still, I wonder if Gary Glitter is weighing that particular argument.

I think it might fly.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Review - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire... 

You can't appreciate the movie unless you've read the book. That said, if you've read the book, the movie will disappoint.

It's hard to cram 700-pages into a film, even a 2 1/2 hour one. Everything prior to Harry and the gang arriving at Hogwarts gets stuffed into about twenty minutes, and a fair amount of plot points are condensed too much to appreciate. Miranda Richardson is great as Rita Skeeter, but her role is very small relative to the book. Ron's jealousy about Hermione's relationship with Viktor Krum gets cut to the point that he just looks like a jerk, and not someone who's had his girl taken away. Brendan Gleeson, as Mad-Eye Moody, gets a lot more time, and he's probably the best thing in the movie. The movie ends with them still at school, which is disappointing too, since the train ride back has a couple of my favorite spots in the book.

It's well made, and everyone does a good job with what they have. But if you haven't read the books, I suspect it will look disjointed and jerky. And if you have, you'll have a problem with what's missing.

Better than Chamber, several orders of magnitude short of Azkaban. See as your conscience/wallet dictates.


Lileks gets it way wrong.

Not that Vonnegut's brain hasn't been eaten by fleas. It pretty clearly has. The error is in the last line.
Vonnegut is described in the article as a “peace activist.”

As a wise giant said in “The Princess Bride” – “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Dude - it wasn't the giant!

Inigo Montoya Award for Kurt Vonnegut, solely in the interest of historical accuracy.


Why does O.J.'s self-serving ignorance qualify as news?

But if O.J.'s lawyer really never explained the concept, here's a quote from one of many many cases discussing it:
Helvering v. Mitchell, 303 U.S. 391, 397, 58 S.Ct. 630, 632, 82 L.Ed. 917 (1938), likewise observed that "[t]he difference in degree in the burden of proof in criminal and civil cases precludes application of the doctrine of res judicata."
In any event, I think O.J. and Robert Blake are the stars of your next mis-matched buddy comedy.

The Georgia Squirrel Revival 

With apologies to Ray Stevens.

OK, the mighty warrior (that's me) arrives at his castle (that's my house) Friday evening after a long week of jury trials. The dogs, who have been cooped up in their crates all day, are eager to get out - but when I release the hounds, they don't go outside. Instead, they follow Koshka to the front window, where she is barking furiously at...something.

(Cue ominous music)

Something has gotten into the house - and it's scrambling around behind what my wife wants to make sure I remember are very expensive curtains. A cautious (yet brave, as we are mighty warriors here) inspection leads to the conclusion that our castle has been invaded by a squirrel. This does not sit well with the Wolverine. She barks furiously, causing the squirrel, who rightly fears her wrath, to hide at the very top of the curtains, where he cannot be safely reached without endangering what my wife wants to make sure I remember are very expensive curtains. I call to advise the spouse of the situation. I suggest there is an easy solution to this problem.

Me: I get a heavy object, I aim for where the squirrel is hiding, and WHAM!!! By the way, you'd need to get some Forumla 409 on the way home.

Spouse: NO!
Fine, we gotta be diplomatic about this. (Note - the Republican half of this marriage is in charge of removing the interloper without loss of life or significant property damage. You should be hearing the Looney Tunes music playing as you continue to read.)

So I try to be nice. I try to lure the stupid thing out with a banana. (I actually bought the house, and I don't get a banana. I have to offer it to the invader. This is why Republicans prefer to just bomb stuff.) The task is made more difficult by the offers of assistance I recieve from Koshka and Otchki. Every time the squirrel acts like he wants to come out - one or both of the dogs starts barking - Koshka with murder on her mind, the Nugget...well, he never has anything on his mind, but he's enjoying the hell out of the whole show.

Finally, our stealth and patience pays off - the invader shows himself - the mighty warrior (me, in case you'd forgotten) approaches then without warning - a leap to the side!


...is what a lesser man might say. My pack of mighty hounds springs into action, as the squirrel may have lept away from me, but his course will take him right by all three of my vicious guard dogs in succession.

If I may make a quick aside, let me just state that domestication has left the average dog with very few of their natural predatory instincts, and those that remain have atrophied greatly. Just saying.

Anyways, what follows is a Road Runner cartoon with not one, but four separate Wile E. Coyotes. (Or is Wiles E. Coyote?) The dogs run into each other, walls, and me, while the squirrel leaps over tables, runs across the kitchen counter, knocking a box full of leftover Halloween candy to the floor. Otchki gets distracted by the candy. I get distracted by having to stop the little idiot from Kit Katting himself into an early grave. (Chocolate is bad for dogs, don'tcha know.)

When I have saved Otchki from digestive disaster (and the Nugget really can't remember when he's had more fun), the squirrel is gone. Spouse returns home - this apparently qualifies as "funny." Spouse locates squirrel, hiding behind the microwave. If the squirrel had just gone in the microwave, this would all be over. Anyone see Gremlins? Battle stations are manned. Mighty warrior (me) mans squirrel driving station. Spouse mans Rubbermaid bin/Squirrel prison. Squirrel is driven towards spouse (which, in my defense, I want noted is exactly what we discussed and planned.) Spouse's response set's women's rights movement back 10 years. Squirrel takes off yet again. And this time, both Otchki and Koshka have decided that the squirrel has been in the house long enough to qualify as a family member, and decline to give chase.

So now five of us are competing on our home turf against an opponent with a brain the size of a peanut. And losing. Yet, when things appear their darkest, and we are torn between getting the gun, and just naming the thing and buying Squirrel Chow, when none other then Mishka, the oldest, most decrepit member of our family, spots the squirrel and chases him into a corner near the back door. While Mishka keeps watch on his trapped quarry, the back door is opened, and with careful precision (that nevertheless sets Women's Rights back yet another decade), the squirrel is herded out into the backyard! VICTORY!

Me: AND STAY OUT! (Door slams)
And with that stirring defense of hearth and home, the mighty warrior and his lady were off to buy a dining room table and watch Harry Potter.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Double Heh... 

George Ryan upset that former Senator Phil Gramm compared him to a prositute during his testimony.

What Gramm was ultimately allowed to say to the jury:
"With friendship or support, it's not something you buy. It's something you earn by who you are and what you stand for," Gramm said, avoiding the prostitution reference. "I think to buy somebody's support would do more than dilute the value of their endorsement. It would dilute your character."
What George Ryan told reporters, and presumably will tell the jury at some point:
"I was paid about $11,000 ... as a consulting fee, and I earned every penny of that," Ryan said.
Simmer down, George. No one's saying hookers don't earn their money. They earn every penny.


OK, it would probably start at least a riot, and maybe a war - but this idea to respond to Iran's president calling for Israel to be wiped off the map by kicking Iran out of the World Cup and giving their spot to Israel - not bad.

More on Eddie Guerrero... 

Bob's post on the subject is worth reading. To sum up - if you're a wrestling fan who has cheered and supported the "extreme" style of wrestling that's come in vogue recently - Eddie's death is on you too.

He's right. Time was - truly brutal and dangerous spots in wrestling were parceled out very sparingly. Two I remember growing up involved Ricky Steamboat. In one, Randy Savage appeared to smash Steamboat's throat with a ring bell. It looked horrifying (and Steamer sold it like he was going to need an emergency tracheotomy), but if you know something about how wrestling moves are delivered, you can tell that Savage protected Steamboat from any serious impact. Another famous one involved Jake "The Snake" Roberts hitting Steamboat with a DDT on the concrete floor. (Again, a move that looks worse than it really is, if everyone involved knew what they were doing.) Each time, the fans were horrified, and each instance resulted in Steamboat disappearing for a couple months, allegedly to recover from his serious injuries. (I believe each leave of absence actually concerned his wife giving birth.) Superfly Snuka's legendary leap off the top of a steel cage is now repeated night in and night out somewhere in wrestling - and not as a one-time capstone to a lengthy feud, but as a routine move that fans expect every time they watch.

And Bob's also right that the other kind of wrestling is pretty much disappearing. Could anyone sit through a Bob Backlund-Bret Hart match today? Their 1994 match was a masterpiece of storytelling - but would today's wrestling fans sit through a 30 minute match of holds and counters with no chairshots or suicide dives? Would it matter to know that Hart and Backlund (and anyone else capable of that kind of wrestling, including Eddie Guerrero) could have wrestled that match five nights a week for a year and stayed healthy?

Bob also notes that the wrestlers themselves will do what it takes to stay on TV and make money doing it. If it doesn't require them to kill themselves - fans need to let them know.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More actual law stuff... 

Law firm sanctioned by Florida Supreme Court for featuring pit bull in ads.
"The advertisements "demean all lawyers and thereby harm both the legal profession and the public's trust and confidence in our system of justice," Chief Justice Barbara Pariente scolded a unanimous decision."
The ad is also not protected by the First Amendment. The whole decision is here.

No word as to any ruling on a companion case, filed by the Humane Society, claiming the ad was demeaning pit bulls by comparing them to lawyers.

House of Saud acting like House of Saud... 

Saudi prince in school here in U.S. gets drunk, kills a guy. And, of course, after receiving a deal that victim's family considered outrageously lenient, surely this scion of the keepers of Islam's holy places at least tendered an expression of remorse worthy of his family?

Of course not. That's why people have lawyers.
Al-Saud did not acknowledge Ramos’ family during sentencing proceedings today. His attorney, Michael DeMarco, apologized to the Ramos family on behalf of his client.

”From the bottom of their hearts, they’re profoundly sorry,” said DeMarco.
I mean, come on. He killed a landscaper. That sort of thing hardly rates any kind of personal statement.

Well, at least we can say his behavior was worthy of his family.

Tip - Brian Maloney @ Malkin.

Just to reassure people... 

In Georgia, it is only permissible for a child molester to marry their victim if one of them is knocked up.

I hope everyone feels better now. And I also hope that child molesters who plan to toss their condoms and replace them with engagement rings remember that marriage is a sacred institution. I further hope that people who want to make snippy comments about Georgia passing a ban on gay marriage because they were so freaking concerned about threats to the institution of marriage go right ahead and do it, because frankly, this state (and whichever state issued Britney Spears and Kevin Federline a marriage license) has that one coming.

Did the judge have to issue the license? The judge issued a statement explaining Georgia law relevant to marriage. She didn't specifically say, but she also must have noted they weren't both dudes. Cause that would be wrong. The laws in question deal with the pregnancy exception to the age and consent requirements, and those laws do support issuing the license. And while I am not a domestic lawyer, I did come across one law that someone needs to ask a question about. A valid marriage in Georgia requires "Consummation according to law." And consummating this marriage could fall under the definition of child molestation. (Note - GA's statutory rape law has an exception for "sexual intercourse" between spouses. The child molesation law is silent on spouses, and bares any "immoral or indecent act" or acts that physically injure the child or involve an act of sodomy. If the child molestation law still applies to child spouses, this would greatly limit the range of...shall we say, options, the happy couple has. Someone should probably clear that up for the kid before he decides to go forward.) In any event, I'm not sure they can legally consummate the marriage, which could make it void.

Next question - does he have to testify? As Grant more or less noted, your average teenager who managed to nail the local hot mom is the sort of thing you'd normally have trouble getting him to shut up about. Of course, when talking about it risks getting said hot mom decades in prison, one might explore questions of privilege.

The wife's lawyer accurately cites Georgia's privilege statute in saying that one spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other. They can if they want to, but if they don't, the state can't make them. However, the D.A. points out one exception to the law - when the defendant is charged with a crime against a minor. Guess what? Oh, and I love how the D.A. puts it:
"NOT speaking specifically to this case, but speaking generally about the laws in Georgia," Darragh said. "Such a child can be compelled to testify even if he is spouse of the alleged perpetrator."
He's just saying, is all. And my humble opinion is he's right. Says so right there in the code and everything.

This'll be a fun one, and it'll probably take a little while to resolve, because there's lots of juicy legal issues, plus probably a complicated civil court case running alongside it, as the child's guardian tries to get the marriage annulled. But any Georgian aghast at the negative publicity that will envelop our fair state during the course of this case can take comfort in one simple fact:
At least they weren't both dudes.
Disclaimer - none of the above was offered as legal advice, and should not be taken as such. Should you need legal advice on any matter, please consult an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant jurisdiction. Should you need legal advice on any of the matters discussed above, please consider consulting a psychiatrist as well. Thank you.

Some people get it... 

For instance, you know who gets the UN's effort to assert more control over the internet?

Robert Mugabe. He's totally on board.
ZIMBABWE is concerned that information communication technology (ICT) continues to be used negatively — mainly by developed countries — to undermine national sovereignty, social and cultural values, President Mugabe said here yesterday.
Cause when you absolutely, positively, have to come up with a way to ensure equal access to the wide range of information and opinion posted online, you just have to involve Zimbabwe, Cuba, and China.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

There can be only one... 

The final three spots for the 2006 World Cup were settled today.

The complete list of 32 teams is here. All the usual suspects are accounted for (Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France). Australia and Trinidad & Tobago are surprise appearances, and Africa has a new crop of qualifiers - familiar faces like Nigeria and Cameroon didn't make the cut this time around.

Groups will be drawn Dec. 9. The USA has been performing better in soccer every time out (we'll pretend, for the sake of argument, that 1998 didn't happen), and we should have a good chance to outlast Mexico in the tournament, which is the only thing that really matters.)

They're onto me... 

Prosecutor unmasked as sassy blogger.

Saving wrestlers 

It looks like Eddie Guerrero died of heart failure. Even though he'd put the drug use behind him, his years of abuse weakened his heart to the point that it couldn't hold up under the punishing workout and performance schedule that Eddie, and countless other wrestlers, endure in order to get or keep a spot in the big time.

Last year, when the Big Boss Man died, I remember a conversation with my wife where I mentioned how good a wrestler he was in his day. My wife wondered if that had something to do with his death - all those years of trying so hard, night in and night out, left him with a body that gave out well before its time. It wouldn't be the first time - Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman - phenomenal wrestlers all - achievements that left their bodies unable to keep going. Yet keep going they did - Pillman, Hennig, and Guerrero were all planning to wrestle the nights they died.

The nature of the business discourages wrestlers from taking care of themselves - miss time due to injury and you don't get paid, you don't appear on TV, you risk having the fans forget about you. And if you work for Vince McMahon, you miss your job somehow disappearing - just ask Andrew "Test" Martin, who reacted to the death of Guerrero by reminding everyone about the pressure to stay active, and how wrestlers will ignore their bodies screaming at them to slow down, because not only do you have to wrestle, you have to have a great match. And great matches take a lot out of you. Eddie Guerrero had hundreds of those.

One writer has proposed that the WWE adopt an "off-season." I doubt UPN would go for that - Smackdown is one of the network's most profitable shows, and it runs year round without reruns. And Vince McMahon wouldn't sign off on a schedule that makes him less money either. But what would work is if wrestler contracts were re-drawn to state that each wrestler only could work 9 months out of the year. Wrestlers could use that time to heal, re-connect with their families, and just not get the living hell beat out of them for awhile. Absences can be staggered, so there's always wrestling on TV - and there are always moments when wrestling storylines reach their conclusion, and it can be hard to plug a performer into a new plotline. Writers can plan for a wrestler's re-emergence, and put them back on the scene in a big way - hell, the WWE already does this with the Undertaker on a regular basis.

Wrestlers endure things the human body shouldn't endure even once on a regular basis. Should they ever take a break for any reason, they jeopardize their careers, especially if they're one of the replacable faces in the middle of the card. All full-time wrestling organizations, and especially the WWE, which sets the standard - have to come up with a way to ease the pressure on them.

Because otherwise, the only question is which of these guys will be the next subject of a tribute show.

To love, honor, and...LOOK OUT!!! 

Woman to marry man who shot her in the groin.

Her husband to be can now look forward to having that thrown in his face during every disagreement they ever have for the rest of his life.

Him: Honey, did you remember to pay the phone bill?

Her: What about the time you shot me in the groin?
Dawn Summers also caught this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fear me, evildoers... 

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Sun Rage
Your Superpower is Distant Attack
Your Weakness is Atomic Explosions
Your Weapon is Your Stellar Belt
Your Mode of Transportation is Roller Skates
What's your Superhero Name?

My weakness is Atomic Explosions. Doesn't pretty much everyone have that problem?

Hat tip - Squirrel Titan.

To help you start your day... 

Just a little piece of progress, that should especially cheer up Dawn Summers.

Cyborg dogs are coming.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Stuff you'd think people knew, but apparently... 

OK, just because you have a twin who looks exactly like you, doesn't mean you can send that twin to court on your behalf.

Judges tend to take a dim view of such things.

Did it take them this long to get pissed off because no one there has a TV? 

The nation of Kazakhstan has finally gotten hip to Ali G's character "Borat" - and they are not amused.
"We do not rule out that Mr. Cohen is serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way," Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashykbayev told a news briefing.
Dude, a healthy dose of paranoia is all well and good, but Ali G as part of a conspiracy to defame Kazakhstan?

Actually, it makes about as much sense as your average Cindy Sheehan press conference.
"We reserve the right to any legal action to prevent new pranks of the kind." He declined to elaborate.
Hey, give them credit for a measured response and willingness to use the civil justice system to address their concerns. Not all British citizens face such reasonable criticism.
Cohen's earlier jokes about the Central Asian state include claims that the people would shoot a dog and then have a party, and that local wine was made from fermented horse urine.
OK, but surely, Mr. Ashykbayev, we can all agree that's funny, can't we?

Or if it wasn't, surely this was:
Borat, who arrived in an Air Kazakh propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed pilot clutching a vodka bottle.
I don't care where you're from, that's funny right there.

Unless, apparently, you're from Kazakhstan.


In yet another one of pro wrestling's way-too-many premature, suspicious deaths, former world champion Eddie Guerrero was found dead in a Minneapolis hotel room this weekend.

Although Eddie had a long history of substance abuse, everyone around him said he'd been clean for four years.

Eddie was a wrestling fan's wrestler. For years in ECW, WCW, and the WWE - he would have great, show-stealing matches that opened the show, but never got the chance to wrestle in the main event, until finally, his charisma and talent were too much to ignore, and he finally won the World Title. One of wrestling's great moments came at the end of Wrestlemania XX - earlier in the card, Eddie had successfully defended his title against Kurt Angle in yet another great match, and the last match of the card had Chris Benoit winning the other major title against Triple H. Guerrero came out to celebrate with Benoit - and if you were a wrestling fan, and I mean really a wrestling fan, not just some guy who though the Rock was kinda cool - this was one of the greatest moments ever. Two guys who'd always been told they were too small, and had no mainstream appeal - who had nothing to offer but the fact they were the two hardest-working wrestlers in the business - finally got to stand up at the end of the biggest show in wrestling, and have it be about them. Sure, the matches were "fake", but the emotion was real.

Eddie Guerrero could always get the fans to play along. If he was a good guy, you wanted to cheer him. As a bad guy, he made you beg to see him get his ass beat. Whatever crowd reaction Eddie wanted, he got. He was just that good.

Eduardo Gory Guerrero was 38. He leaves behind a wife and three children.


Tip - Steve Silver.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Just Because... 

This has nothing to do with recent attempts to question my masculinity.

It just happened to be time to post another picture of the spouse dressed up as Emma Peel.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Oh, yeah, and some doof in a bowler hat.

Smartass lawyering... 

A defendant is charged with a 14-year old murder. The defense believes the delay in charging their client is prejudicial, and has made a suggestion to balance the scales.

They are requesting a 14-year continuance. For a sample of their logic:
"The 15 years since Ms. Hearn's death have therefore established an evolutionary epoch, calculating for us the appropriate time frame during which the original facts and information afforded by witnesses should lay in primordial ooze and evolve into the truth to be substituted for what was orginally said," Wolfe and Harvey say in the motion. The 14 years since Hearn's death, "have only clarified their memories as well as details of their recollections." The motion goes on to cite the Scopes "Monkey Trial," and Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.

Headline of the day... 

Man glued to toilet sticks to story.

As things to stick to go, a story is definitely a step up...


China today revealed five mascots for the 2008 Olympics.

The mascots are a panda, fish, Tibetan antelope, swallow and the Olympic flame.

The group that came in second? Tank, slave laborer, fake lama, missile pointed at Taiwan, and...well, there was always going to be a panda in the group.

Pandas are so cute.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

So...what's the problem? 

Apparently there's lots of sex on TV.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection... 

Kermit the Frog
You scored 58% Organization, 41% abstract, and 71% extroverted!
This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are mostly organized, both concrete and abstract, and more extroverted.

Here is why are you Kermit the Frog.

You are both somewhat organized. You have a good idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Kermit is also reasonably tidy. He'll even dress up for interviews.

You both are sometimes concrete and sometimes abstract thinkers. Kermit spends a lot of his time as a reporter collecting facts, but he is also the author of the dreamy song "The Rainbow Connection." You have a good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but you also aren't afraid to explore your dreams and desires... within limits of course.

You are both extroverts. Kermit gets along with everyone. Sure a few folks annoy him, but that's just because they are annoying. Kermit likes to meet new people when he does his job as a street reporter. You definitely enjoy the company of others, and you don't have problems meeting new people... in fact you probably look forward to it. You are willing to take charge when necessary or work as part of a team.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Kermit starred on Sesame Street years before The Muppet Show.

The other possible characters are
Oscar the Grouch
Big Bird
Cookie Monster
The Count
Guy Smiley

If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also if you want to tell me your favorite Sesame Street character, I can total them up and post them here. Perhaps your choice will win!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 54% on Organization

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 22% on concrete-abstra

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 79% on intro-extrovert
Link: The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test written by greencowsgomoo on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

...the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

Tip - Dave "Snuffleuffagus" Justus

France, schmance! 

Blah blah blah riots. Blah blah blah State of Emergency.

Now on to stuff that matters. Intoxicated lesbian cheerleaders. Best line in this story:
We suspect the Vikings already may have called to offer them jobs as cruise directors.
(While that's a quality line, it is not the Line of the Day. The Line of the Day is contained in this post. You'll know it when you read it.)

The arrest warrant affidavits are here. TSG also has the now-deleted bios of the two from the Panthers webpage. According to Angela, (the one who allegedly clocked a bar patron in the face for complaining about their monopolizing the bathroom), the best thing about being a TopCat is "friendships."

We can see that now.

My favorite diplomat. 

Christopher Dell, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

Why? Anyone who can spur Robert Mugabe into sputtering fits of rage is A-OK in my book.

Good work, sir. Keep it up.

Oh, and speaking of Zimbabwe, they're currently rounding up labor activists, who are simply trying to request things like a minimum wage and greater access to quality health care. Mugabe better be careful, because his crackdown risks bringing the wrath of left-wing demonstrations down on him like a...

...analogies fail me.

Half-full, or half-empty... 

First the good news...

This site is certified 58% GOOD by the Gematriculator

Of course, if you do the math, that has to mean...

This site is certified 42% EVIL by the Gematriculator

This is all according to something that combines the Bible, math, and the Finnish alphabet.

Still, for a Republican lawyer to hit 58%? That's pretty good, I think.

Tip - IMAO.

Why are America's prisons full? 

Is it because we're drowning in crime? No. It is because criminals are dumb.

For yet more proof, read this post of Karol's.

America's future is in good hands... 

...as witnessed by this actual conversation that took place in my car this morning.

Me: Today is election day. Are you going to vote for anything?

Co-Worker: Mexican food for lunch.
God Bless America.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Note to the local boys. 

I don't care how much trouble you've had with wide receivers. You don't want T.O. You may think you do, but you don't.

Best. Criminal. Case. Ever. 

This is why people seek out careers in law enforcement.
A pair of Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly having sex in the bathroom of a Tampa nightclub and getting into a fight with other patrons, according to published reports.
In what cannot possibly be an unrelated story, the Panthers are "starting to feel Super again."

Worth hearing about... 

Ahmad al-Khatib was shot by Israeli troops during a raid in Jenin searching for militants. He was 13, and he died because the soldiers mistook a toy gun for a real one.

His father, Ismael al-Khatib, donated his organs to Israelis awaiting transplant.
"We are doing it for humane purposes and for the sake of the world's children and the children of this country," Khatib's father Ismail told Reuters on Monday.

"When I donated my son's organs I did not say (they should be) for a Jewish child, an Arab child, whether Muslim or Christian."
Six different people awaiting transplants benefitted from Al-Khatib's gesture.

Ariel Sharon has personally apologized to Al-Khatib for his son's death, and has offered to meet with him to say so in person. Al-Khatib has indicated he would meet with Sharon.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Halloween 2005 

Meet the Avengers.

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And if I didn't tell you I was on the right, you wouldn't have even noticed I was in this picture, right?

Viva Italia! 

Italians rally for Israel.

One of those moments that makes you think the good guys are going to win.

Approximately 15,000 people participated in the rally, which was accompanied with chants of "viva Israel! viva freedom!" the website of the Italian newspaper La Republica reported. The rally was concluded with the singing of the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah."

Protesters included right and left-wing politicians, local celebrities and Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome.
Man, would I love to see left and right wing politicians here get together and do something like this.
Rome's Rabbi Di-Segni said, "our protest is against Iran, not against the Iranian people. We do not burn flags. The Iranian flag is respected here, and stands alongside the Italian and Israeli flag."
You can tell a lot about a protest by the lines they won't cross.
A Muslim speaker at the demonstration called Israel "a great island of democracy," and said that war on terror must ensue.
Italians rock.

OK, they rock in funny hats sometimes, but they rock.

Exceptions to the exception... 

Darren Chaker is either a magnet for police brutality, or he's a criminal and liar who routinely files false allegations of abuse to try and throw wrenches in the system when he gets caught. (He has filed at least ten lawsuits against law enforcement, and has been declared a vexatious litigant in at least one instance.)

He tried again when arrested for theft in 1996, claiming excessive force. An independent witness to the arrest, however, saw nothing of the sort. Chaker was charged, tried, and convicted under a California law making it a misdemeanor to knowingly file a false complaint about a police officer. He appeals on First Amendment grounds. The Ninth Circuit buys it. To Chaker, lying to the officer's supervisor was something he had a right to take a free shot at:
"It was up to the police department to determine if the speech was false," Chaker said. "I made a complaint against a police officer for twisting my wrist and was charged as a criminal."
(Note - he also said he was struck in the ribs and that the officer braked while he was unsecured in the back, hurting him further - in total, somehow causing $25,000 worth of damages.)

The Ninth Circuit's rationale - which you can read here - is that because the statute is silent on penalizing false statements in support of the police, false allegations of abuse are being discriminated against on viewpoint grounds. Well, malicious bullshit is a point of view, I suppose.

The 9th Circuit notes - for the purpose of discarding - that false statements against public officials are not protected by the First Amendment. The Court's problem in this case was the under-inclusiveness of the regulation - regulating false statements by the complainant while not prohibiting same by parties taking the opposite side. However, it is noted in the opinion itself that under-inclusiveness is also not barred by the First Amendment. (And since the stated problem the legislation was intended to address was an increase in false abuse allegations - the Court could have read the legislation as being narrowly tailored to address a specific problem rather than a sinister attempt to criminalize criticism of the government - but you know the 9th Circuit. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to.)

Also, the California Supreme Court had previously ruled unanimously in a separate case that the law in question did not violate the First Amendment. (People v. Stanistreet, 29 Cal. 4th 497 - can be found by searching here.)

A quick search through the blogosphere turns up a defense of the decision here.

The State may either ask for reconsideration or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Should they choose the latter - I suspect another in a long line of 9th Circuit reversals.

The Apocalypse is coming... 

...either that, or Kevin Federline's rap album is about to drop.

Either way, hell on earth will soon be unleashed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It shouldn't be funny, but it is... 

Magen David Adom - the Israeli version of the Red Cross may finally be approved by the International Red Cross. The catch - (Israel's involved, which means there's always a catch) - Israel needs to replace the Star of David symbol with something non-denominational.

Isreallycool has the proposed suggestion - and alternative proposed by the Palestinians.

Tip - PetiteDov

There goes that "soft on crime" label... 

The Mayor of Las Vegas (a former criminal defense lawyer, no less) - has proposed cutting off the thumbs of graffiti artists. Don't worry, he still cares about due process:
"They would get a trial first," he added.
And this is the Democrat talking. The Republican probably either wanted them killed, or didn't care if they got a trial first.

(You'll have to take my word for it that he's a Democrat, he's been reported as such previously. But elections in Las Vegas are apparently non-partisan, and recent media stories make no mention of his affiliation. Media officials in high places assure me there is no partisan reason for leaving out the party affiliation of the man making the crazy statement.)

Strange Bedfellows... 

Kind of an odd vote in the House on the Online Freedom of Speech Act, a so-far-unsuccessful attempt to keep the wrath of McCain-Feingold from falling on bloggers. (Thanks again for signing that, Mr. President.)

Both the support and opposition ran the gamut. Doing their part to prevent regulating political speech online were conservatives like Tom DeLay and, I'm pleased to say, my own Congressman, Phil Gingrey. (Good job, Phil. I'm almost sorry I voted for the other guy in 2004.) They were joined by liberals such as John Conyers, Patrick Kennedy, and proving some kind of broken clock theory - Cynthia McKinney.

Lining up on the bad side were conservatives such as Chris Smith and, I'm ashamed to say - Ray LaHood. Liberals Barney Frank and Major Owens took the other side as well.

The whole strange bedfellow thing works online, too. Dave Justus and Of the Mind are calling for support - and with a strong post that will reach a ton of people on the left - is a commendable effort from Kos.

Worth reading... 

Joe 6-pack on Zimbabwe.

...and South Africa's desire to emulate same.

Former NAACP President thinks it's OK to throw Oreo cookies at Rosa Parks... 

OK, I don't have a direct statement to that effect, but the arithmetic is there.

Former NAACP President/candidate for Senate Kweisi Mfune (and others), are on record as saying that racially tinged attacks (such as tossing Oreos) on Maryland Senatorial Candidate Michael Steele are understandable, or acceptable, because, as a Black Republican, Steele holds views opposed by the majority of African-Americans.

Rosa Parks once wrote Black Republican Congressman J.C. Watts, encouraging him to seek re-election.

Two and two. I'm just saying four, is all.

Plan B didn't work either... 

A Georgia State Representative who got national attention for claiming legislative immunity from his DUI arrest has had his day in court.

Verdict - Guilty.

He'll be sentenced as soon as another DUI arrest is handled.

Earlier, he resigned as a member of the committee that regulates the liquor industry. Too bad, he apparently had some expertise in the field.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Best. Headline. Ever. 

Report: Police Tasered Christian Slater off roof at Paris Hilton's Halloween bash

Informative, and it sounds like something that probably needed to happen, too.

I hate Mondays... 

Or whatever day this is. I think it should be a rule that when your spouse gets up at 4:00 in the morning, and hits the snooze button twice - you don't have to go into work.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Lies, damn lies, and stuff Congressmen do... 

Just so's I get credit for it - I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package.

My Senators do not. There was an attempt to list Johnny Isakson as being on board, based on his Coburn Amendment form letter - but as previously discussed, the good Senator's response is a less then stirring endorsement of any anti-pork commitment on his behalf.

Which brings us to the our other Senator, alleged conservative Republican Saxby Chambliss. What caught my eye was that Sax on the Beach has a really good rating from Citizens Against Government Waste, which is supposed to keep an eye on our elected legislator's spending habits. And, Saxual Healing does appear to vote against funding increases and in favor of tax cuts. But votes on the big bills tell only part of the story. Good news is, Saxy Beast himself tells you the rest of the story, because he's proud of it, and if you're a Georgia, he thinks it's a reason to vote for him.

Let's Talk About Sax has 20 items on his news section, dating back to October 19, all of two weeks ago. At least half refer to local projects he's been able to wrangle federal money for. Let's cut him some slack and say the Center for Disease Control is a legit use of federal money. But look at what else Casual Sax considers to be doing his job for America and Georgia:

Money for local firefighters in Pulaski County and Gore Area (I have no idea where or what that is).

Boatloads of local projects in the Transportation bill, including yet more support for Metro Atlanta's underused MARTA system.

Money for the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.

A concert and studio hall for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

A community center for Moultrie, GA. (There is a bike trail involved, so I'm sure Howard Dean would approve.)

A retirement center in Atlanta.

And Warner Robins continues with the federal love, as they get money for (and I'm just going to quote directly, as I have no idea what we're talking about here), a "Critical Personnel Development Program, which is designed to encourage and enhance study in scientific disciplines."

And the above project is connected with Mercer University, and God forbid our other fine institutes of higher learning be left out, so here's dough for Clark Atlanta and Georgia Tech.
You can argue about this line or that line, (and if I don't know what it is, I'll concede I'm in a poor position to argue against it), but pretty much everything there is the responsibility of local goverment, state government, or private donors.

This is, of course, how the game is played in DC today. The money is being spent, and the only question is whether or not you grab your share for your state/district. If the game were played any different, Robert Byrd and Ted Stevens would implode with rage. Which, by itself, should make it worth doing. But plenty of alleged "small-government conservatives" are able to cast themselves as taxpayers' friends while doing the same thing Chambliss is doing. (I'm running out of plays on his name. Suggestions appreciated.) It is these people who will quietly stand in the way of any real kind of spending reform - casting big, high-profile votes against "big government" while quietly shoehorning in dozens of appropriations (which don't seem big by themselves, until you multiply by 535 Congressmen), which will be quietly trumpeted to the interested parties, and ideally, no one else.

And for those wondering about Georgia's other Senator, on pretty much all the local appropriations listed, credit is shared with Johnny Isakson.

I like "Carson" as a name for a child... 

This week, my 6-1 fantasy football team played our league's other 6-1 team. And my big gun, Shaun Alexander, had a bye. His replacement was the man, the myth, Aaron Stecker. However, Carson Palmer and Tiki Barber went nuts, (especially Tiki.) And the Giants defense did double duty, as every time they stuffed Washington, they not only earned points for me, but they kept the other guy's QB Mark Brunell from doing anything. (Literally - his point count was 0.)

7-1 and counting...

Ah, Halloween... 

With all due respect to Hugo Chavez - (Which is sort of like saying "with all due Academy Awards to Steven Seagal") - another delightful Halloween has come and gone.

An improvement from last year - where I was visited by several trick-or-treaters wearing the popular local Halloween dress: Non-costumed, vaguely threatening teenager. This year, there were plenty of uncostumed adolescents at my door, but frankly, there wasn't anything threatening about them. Everyone was all smiles and "thank you" and "Happy Halloween", which speaks well of America's future, but come on, if your costume is "14 year old in a Sean John shirt", you aren't really trying.

Oh, and if the parents of the child who arrived at my door wearing a ski mask are reading, please monitor your son's behavior closely. It was probably more a last-second decision than kind of predictor of future behavior, but there's no such thing as being too cautious, I always say.


The armadillos are coming!!!

Tip - Michael C.

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