What Do You Think The ACLU Will Have To Do With This Case?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/31/2003 09:23:00 PM ----- BODY: Yahoo! News - 1996 Olympics Bombing Suspect Arrested
MURPHY, N.C. - Eric Robert Rudolph, the Olympic Park bombing suspect who became almost a mythic figure during his years on the run in the Appalachian wilderness, was arrested early Saturday as he scavenged for food behind a grocery store.
I am probably one of the most unsympathetic people there is when it comes too bombers. I was very nearly the victim of one on July 26 1970 at Camp (now Fort) McCoy, Wisconsin. I am really not enamored of them.
However, I wonder if all the protesters are going to be as supportive of him and suspicious of the government's case as they are in the cases of Muslims? Will the newspapers print the best pictures of him after he is cleaned up and well dressed? Or do you think they will use whatever will make him most look like a mad bomber. -------- TITLE:

Bad News For Democrats

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/31/2003 08:59:00 PM ----- BODY: Snoozing Economy May Be Stirring (washingtonpost.com)
Look for Democrats to try to do something, anything to slow recovery. They absolutely need the economy to be bad in 2004. -------- TITLE:

Give The Weasel Some Rope.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/31/2003 08:55:00 PM ----- BODY: Chirac Seems Intent on Challenging U.S. Foreign Policy (washingtonpost.com)
A third rate country with a failing economy, a military that has specialized in retreat for the past hundred years, and Chirac wants to play with the big boys? I think Mssr Chirac has been visiting the local vineyards a little too often.
The best thing Bush can do is give this idiot as much rope as he needs to strangle his pretensions. I believe there is a move to put French troops in the Congo.
Let them go in, but let's hold them to the same standards as they do Americans, No killing of civilians by the French, they must also prevent any killing of civilians by the various "militias", no destruction of property, and they are to be held responsible for any looting by the militias or civilians. If they manage to control the place without having to ask for American assistance, (we're much too busy with our responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan) They must instantly restore order and install a open democratic society based upon the rule of law -------- TITLE:

Bring Back The Colonialists?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/30/2003 07:58:00 PM ----- BODY: Stories like this make me wonder if the colonial governments were so bad after all. I know that Belgium was pretty brutal when they ruled the Congo, but I don't think they even approached what is going on all over Africa today.
It's probably heresy, but it sure looks like things were better with those evil colonialists.
A report from Congo
Over the past four years, Congo's war has claimed more lives than any other. The International Rescue Committee, an American aid agency, says that by the middle of last year, 2.5m people had died because of the war in eastern Congo alone. Some were shot or hacked to death; many more succumbed to starvation or disease as nine national armies and a shifting throng of rebel groups pillaged their country. By now, the death toll is probably over 3m, although this is the roughest of estimates. As one UN worker puts it: “Congo is so green, you don't even see the graves.”
Link from Andrew Sullivan -------- TITLE:

Twilight Zone

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/29/2003 07:11:00 PM ----- BODY: Some days I just want to bang my head on the desk until the New York Times start making sense.
I just read another letter in the Portland Oregonian implying that the road to economic recovery is increased taxation and the creation of more government jobs. Where do these people come from? Are they from another planet? Where do they think the money to fund all their cherished programs and projects comes from?
I have a clue. In fact I have so many clues I’ll share them with those so obviously without.
The money to fund every government program and pay every government employee comes from the same place. Private Enterprise. There is absolutely no money that didn’t originate in the private sector. Not the government employee’s wages, not the public employee’s taxes, none, zero, zip, nada.
I am amazed with how many people that I meet that do not seem to be aware of this simple truth.
I was having a discussion with a co-worker one day about some program or another that our then-governor Kitzhaber was proposing. I’m not even sure what it was, but with his record I’m sure it was warm, green, fuzzy and expensive. My co-worker was really in favor of whatever it was, but I was questioning how it would be paid for. (rotten bastard that I am.) My co-worker told me “That’s OK, the government will pay for it.”
I just about came apart from together. I explained to him, without physical violence, (I’m very proud of myself), that the government, County, State or Federal, doesn’t have any money. The only ones that have money are people. He stared at me like I had completely lost my marbles. “Of course they do.” He said, “They pay us.” We were both county employees at that time.
That’s when I realized that the end of civilization as we know it, was near.
At no level does the government generate wealth. Only private enterprise can do that. Do people think that the Feds just woke up one day and decided that X trillion dollars was the correct amount to have in the economy and put the order in to the Treasury to print that many bills? Some evidently do.
Right now all the newspapers are full of stories of legislatures trying to come up with funding to keep from laying off bureaucrats and the only thing they can do is talk about raising taxes.
Wrong approach. Everybody likes to point to the budget surpluses in the years 1996-2000. The deficit didn’t disappear because someone raised taxes; it disappeared because the economy grew faster than the politicians could spend it. But they did try, and are still trying.
The proper approach would be to see what they could do to make the State or country more attractive to private business. That would cause increased economic activity. People would have jobs, they would make money, they would pay taxes, tax revenue would go up. Businesses would make money, they would pay taxes, tax revenue would go up. The rich would get richer, the unemployed would get jobs. (all right, that’s probably not to attractive to the left.) Both would pay taxes, tax revenue would go up. What is so hard about this? This is not rocket science.
What happens when you tax things? You get less of them. When cigarette taxes were raised, people quit smoking. The cigarette tax revenue dropped, so they raised taxes some more. High taxes discourage investment too. Has anybody read the stories of how venture capital has dried up? You know all those amazing things they are coming up with in nanotechnology? They aren’t going to be built unless someone invests in them. How about all those wonder drugs and the cutting edge computer technology? Yeah, the government is doing research. Do you know what government research leads to? Research papers. Those research papers have to be put to use by someone, and it’s not going to be a government bureaucrat. In order to make something new, you must take risks and getting a government bureaucrat to take a chance would be like teaching your cat to take showers.
The Democrats are whinging to establish the kind of make-work projects that FDR had in the thirties. You know what? They didn’t work then and they won’t work now. Except that now, we would never be able to get rid of them. They would become full time, make-work, rocking chair jobs for life.
I am not an economist, nor do I play one on TV. I’m just some poor schmuck. According to my high school transcripts, I graduated with a 2.00 GPA, in other words, barely. Why does this stuff seem obvious to me and not to others, it makes me wonder if I am hallucinating or something? Am I in the Twilight Zone?
Remember, the government generated not one dollar that it spent, the money had to be taken, through taxes and fees, from an individual or company. It may circulate through the pockets of the government workers, but they did not generate it. It came from somewhere else. Private enterprise. -------- TITLE:

Fred Reed On Women Golfers. (among other things)

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/25/2003 02:21:00 PM ----- BODY: Golf And Kidding Ourselves -------- TITLE:


AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/25/2003 12:54:00 AM ----- BODY: Yahoo! News - THE FICTIONAL WAR ON TERRORISM
In Afghanistan, we paid off warlords whom we should have dropped bombs upon.
Waddayanknow, the internationally known statesman, Ted Rall, who only a short time ago was telling all that would listen (both of them) of the suffering of the Afghan people, now wants to carpet bomb the country.
Way to go Ted!
Thanks to Emporer Misha for the link. -------- TITLE:

Maybe I Was Wrong About Bush Rolling.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/24/2003 09:10:00 PM ----- BODY: After reading the posting by Stephen den Beste regarding the deal with the UN for the recovery of Iraq, it would appear that my posting saying how disappointed I was in the Bush administration was in error.
In my own defense, I did qualify that if the reporting of the Washington Post was true, it was a rollover. Stephen den Beste goes to the actual resolution and reveals that far from being a rollover by Bush, it was a total walkover of the UN by the U.S and UK.
Unfortunately I made the mistake of taking the reporting at face value. I'm sure if I had read more carefully I would have found the weasel wording that is always used. I'll try to be more careful. -------- TITLE:

Bush Lashes Out at Europe

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/22/2003 08:01:00 PM ----- BODY: Bush Lashes Out at Europe (washingtonpost.com)
President Bush today accused Europeans of perpetuating starvation in Africa by subsidizing agricultural exports and by objecting to the use of bioengineered crops, raising another grievance with Europe at a time of already tense transatlantic relations.
President Bush is just telling it like it is. The Europeans, for there own selfish reasons, tell Africa that if they accept GM food from the US that they will not trade with them anymore. The African governments knuckle under and Africans starve. It sounds like the WaPo disapproves of telling Europeans the truth. If dead Africans upset the delicacies of the Euro-weenies, So What? -------- TITLE:

Politicians Prove Resistant To Voters

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/22/2003 07:09:00 PM ----- BODY: In my local area we had the following:Albany schools' levy fails. It passed the majority test, turnout was 50.3% But it failed on the vote.
The people in Portland were sufficiently Mau-Maued by their teacher's unions to pass the brand new county income tax.
Multnomah County income tax measure passes This has a good side, if people will only recognize it. The Education poo-bahs in Multnomah County bitched and moaned and blamed all their woes on lack of funding. They assured everyone that this tax was sorely needed.
OK, now you got it. It's time for some performance.
Don't come back next year and the year after and the year after saying that you need more money. You have your funding. Deal with it. And, by the way, we want to see some performance and accountability.
Meanwhile in the little town of Sweet Home, the place that thrived on the timber industry, things are a little tight; Sweet Home library to close. Thank you Portland and Eugene, your concern is overwhelming.
And down in Salem, in the Oregon State Legislature, there is another reality. Tax votes resonate in Capitol
In a post-election meeting Wednesday morning between legislative leaders and Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Senate President Peter Courtney took the floor and stated: "We will have new revenue. Is everybody on board?"
There it is. There will be nothing done to encourage private business, create jobs, revive the economy; there will be no talk of making Oregon a place where you can do business; nothing suggested that would bring in employment for those citizens without a college degree or a high school diploma; nothing even that will encourage a business to hire the ones that do have higher skills.
The ONLY thing that the legislature will work toward is new taxes. That's it. New taxes, fees, "contributions" whatever you call it. The migration of the money from Oregon citizens into the state coffers to be dispensed "for the children" and incidentally some favored groups who weigh heavily in Mr Courtney's political universe.
At a time where the unemployment in the Portland Metro area is 8%, they are increasing the taxes on those very people who are actually making the money and providing the jobs. There may be a mechanism where this will increase employment in the area, but I don't see it and none of the proponents have deigned to explain it.
The unemployment in my area is 11.2%. That, however, does not sell newspapers in the metro areas and so is brushed aside as unimportant. Once this area had farms and timber and mills. Then came the environmental groups. Now there are two mills left. The farms used to grow strawberries. raspberries, blackberries and string beans. The canneries would run all summer with three shifts. Now there is one cannery left and it is shut down most of the time. There is only the timber on the tree farms and Weyerhauser land. The only industries that are still operating are two pulp mills and a metallurgical plant. Both are constant targets of our environmental betters in Portland and Eugene.
What are you going to do, Mr Courtney? Why are you going to concentrate on clearcutting the incomes of those earners left.
In Salem they moan constantly about the programs that will be cut, the service that will be curtailed and all the good work that will remain undone unless they have the funds. All these programs and services are undoubtedly valuable in some way to the disadvantaged. But these same programs and services can only be paid for with a strong economy. Without the means to pay for schools and social programs, they will be cut.
The answer is not "How do we raise taxes to pay for this." but it is "How can we make the economy strong enough to generate the revenue to pay for this." -------- TITLE:

Why Does The UN Need To Be Involved In Anything?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/22/2003 06:52:00 PM ----- BODY: ABCNEWS.com : Saddam Stole Billions From U.N.
United Nations officials looked the other way as Saddam Hussein's regime skimmed $2 billion to $3 billion in bribes and kickbacks from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program, said U.N. officials who told ABCNEWS they were powerless to stop the massive graft.
The only thing the UN has improved is the methodology of corruption. -------- TITLE:

This Is A Failure?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/22/2003 06:25:00 PM ----- BODY: Ad-Libbing Iraq's Infrastructure (washingtonpost.com)
It appears that neither the Iraqis or our reporting royalty has much experience with real Americans.
When real Americans see what needs to be done, they just do it.
I thought the rebuilding process was a colossal failure? -------- TITLE:

Heh, Been Smokin' Those Left-Handed Cigarettes Again?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/20/2003 06:41:00 PM ----- BODY: Move Over, Right Wing Radio - the Liberals Are Coming
Link from Neal Boortz -------- TITLE:

Blame George.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/20/2003 06:05:00 PM ----- BODY: Mr. Bush and the Middle East (washingtonpost.com)
A GRIM AND FAMILIAR series of events has played out in the Middle East during the past several weeks. An attempt to restart the Arab-Israeli peace process began with encouraging rhetoric and the tabling of a new plan, only to quickly bog down through the inaction of a weak Palestinian leadership, foot-dragging by a hawkish Israeli government and ineffective diplomacy by the United States.
What the hell are you talking about? What was particularly "ineffective" about the diplomacy that brought about the fact that there IS a Palestinian Prime Minister instead of that tired old terrorist hack Arafat?
On cue, the extremists jumped in: Just as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas met for the first time, the Islamic movement Hamas launched a wave of suicide bombings. By late yesterday there had been five attacks in less than 48 hours, killing at least 12 Israelis and wounding scores.
Exactly how is this the fault of anyone other than the Palestinians? There are certain conditions to meet on this "roadmap". Israel has expressed it's intention to make these concessions AFTER the Palestinians show that they are going to actually do something this time. I'm not sure how this bombing and the deaths of 12 Israelis constitutes "footdragging" by the Israeli government or "ineffective" diplomacy by Bush.
Mr. Sharon indefinitely postponed a much-anticipated trip to Washington, and Israeli-Palestinian dialogue dissolved into mutual recrimination. If the past two years are a guide, the diplomatic process will stop there. Israelis and Palestinians will renew the low-grade war that has consumed the past 31 months, and the Bush administration will direct its attention elsewhere.
Maybe so. What was the purpose of Sharon's trip to the U.S? Maybe there was going to be a discussion of where to go from here? All that is moot now. The Palestinians kicked over the negotiating table as they have every time in the past. Isn't it time to lay the blame where it belongs? -------- TITLE:

Where Are The Human Shields?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/20/2003 05:52:00 PM ----- BODY: Iraqis Killing Former Baath Party Members (washingtonpost.com)
Iraqis have begun tracking down and killing former members of the ruling Baath Party, doubtful that the United States intends to adequately punish the mid-level government functionaries who they say tormented them for three decades.
My God. So much crap in the WaPo today. This story I want to beleive. They probably think that the U.S. should stop them from doing this.
I think it's great! Those bastards caused untold misery for thirty years. You know what I heard clear back in the 60's? "Payback's A Motherfucker!" -------- TITLE:

Oh My God, Terrorists Can Use Our Freedoms Againt Us!!!

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/20/2003 05:41:00 PM ----- BODY: Report Finds Gaps In Firearm Laws (washingtonpost.com)
U.S. gun laws can easily be exploited by international terrorist operatives, who can obtain assault-style firearms or explosives by taking advantage of delays and loopholes in the federal gun control system, according to a Congressional Research Service report to be released today.
Of course there's a problem. We can't just have anyone running around buying guns just because they're not criminals can we? This is part of an campaign orchestrated by the "gun control" lobby and certain politicians that they own.
Read the whole thing. Hell, just look at the opening paragraph. "obtain assault-style firearms or explosives" What the hell is that? What kind of explosives are you talking about? You mean Nitrate fertilizer? Gosh, better round up all those Minnesota farmers, they might be plotting something. And what is an "assault-style" firearm? There was a whole big to-do in coming up with a list of those dangerous firearms that had things like pistol grips and bayonet lugs. Those were classified as (insert portentous music here.) ASSAULT WEAPONS. How a piece of plastic changed a regular rifle into an ASSAULT WEAPON, I'm not sure, but those gun control people can tell you, I'm sure. Now we have a new category, assault-style firearms. I guess if an ASSAULT WEAPON was just like a regular gun but scary looking, then an assault-style firearm is on that works just like an ASSAULT WEAPON but doesn't look scary.
Hey, wait a minute. Isn't that a regular (non-ASSAULT WEAPON) firearm?
The problem is, the ASSAULT WEAPONS ban is going to be allowed to expire, as it should be. This threatens a whole bunch of rice bowls in the gun control lobby industry. It would be seen (rightly) as a defeat for them and a victory for the NRA and the people that support them. You would hope that this would send the gun control lobbyists looking for honest work, but this is Washington D.C. and the drug dealers have their standards and wouldn't hire them.
What to do? Why, come out with a study that tells people that terrorists could get guns here. Never mind that most of the world's terrorists like large quantities and prefers fully automatic to the semi auto that is generally available here. Besides that, how would they get them out of the country and why? Look at the TV news pictures from Lebanon, the West Bank or anywhere else in the middle east. These guys are out in the street firing off fully automatic weapons for no particular reason at all. Why buy semi-auto weapons here and smuggle them there when they are so easily available all over the Middle East. You notice that "An al Qaeda training manual recovered by U.S. forces in Afghanistan urged followers to "train for jihad" at U.S. firing ranges and shooting clubs. " You don't need an ASSAULT WEAPON to practice firing at a range. What does this have to do with the availability of firearms? Nothing, but it sounds scary if you don't know any better.
They don't give any data about the man who was buying guns for Hezbollah at the Michigan gun show. How many did he want to buy? And, if the gunshow loophole is so large, how did he get caught?
Then you have the one close to home. The Seattle man who was setting up a firearms training camp in Oregon. Again, what does this have to do with the availability of "assault-style" firearms? Setting up a firearms training facility is not a crime either. As a matter of fact there are several in my area, at least one of which is operated by police officers and sheriff's deputies. I think there is a little more to that story that is being reported in this story.
Notice that they identify one of the problems as allowing the ASSAULT WEAPONS ban to lapse. That's fairly predictable. Others include, not adding the Terrorist Watch List to the list of those that cannot purchase guns. That one I think is justifiable and easily rectified.
They also note that the list is by name and can be circumvented by using a false name. I find it interesting that they would consider this a problem when buying a guns, where you must have ID, and not a problem when registering to vote.
The final problem presented is that John Ashcroft wants to destroy the lists of gun buyers immediately after a legal purchase and not retain them. How horrible. Of course, they don't say that this is a requirement of the Brady law.
Imagine, these people are so scared of terrorists and criminals getting guns that they would advocate breaking the law. I don't think I trust them. -------- TITLE:

Bush Administration Rolls For Axis Of Weasels.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/20/2003 04:46:00 PM ----- BODY: U.S. Offers Concessions On U.N. Arms Inspectors (washingtonpost.com)
The Bush administration sought to broaden support in the United Nations' Security Council for a resolution lifting sanctions on Iraq, offering concessions today that would ensure the immediate financial survival of the U.N.'s arms inspection agency and extend the U.N.'s authority to honor billions of dollars in contracts for products approved under Saddam Hussein's regime.
I am terribly disappointed in this. (If indeed the reporting is true.) As I read the story (which, again, is the WaPo with their history of slanting their reporting to meet a predetermined conclusion.) is that the sweetheart contracts that Saddam "negotiated" with France and Russia will be honored and give Kofi Annan the chance to enlarge the already outrageous $2 billion dollars that the UN has already stolen from the Iraqi people. In return for....what?
Lifting the sanctions? I thought those sanctions were killing children? That's the cant we always heard before the war, is it now OK to sanction the people of Iraq because the U.S. can be blamed for any suffering? And for all these concessions the U.S. gets to appoint an outside auditor for Iraq's oil. Why not have the new government set up the auditor and ignore the sanctions? After all, everyone else did it before the war. -------- TITLE:

Hey Celebrities! Dissent Being Crushed Here!

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/19/2003 06:42:00 PM ----- BODY: Tracking Hate Groups Aids Terrorism Fight (washingtonpost.com)
Armed federal agents slipped silently into place around Byron Calvert Cecchini's Leesburg home. They pounded on the door, rousing the self-described white supremacist from bed. For several hours, the agents scoured the house, loading his computer, Rolodex and files into a Ryder truck.
Agents found no weapons, but they found something they were looking for -- T-shirts with a Nike swoosh logo that substitutes the word "Nazi" for Nike. Cecchini is facing possible charges of trademark violations, said law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.
"You prosecute what you can prosecute," one law enforcement source said.
Cecchini, a former National Alliance member who broke with the group and created Tightrope, acknowledged that his views are offensive to many. He said, however, that he is not a danger to anyone and is "absolutely not involved in anything illegal."
"I don't mind being called a racist or a Nazi," Cecchini said in an interview. "I'm not offended if people don't like what I think."
Obviously these people are being targeted for what they beleive and what they say. Where are Martin Sheen, Jane Garofalo and the Dixie Chicks? I'm sure they would be there if they knew that these folks do not like George W. Bush either. -------- TITLE:

Occupation Disaster or Wishful Thinking?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/19/2003 06:16:00 PM ----- BODY: Plan to Secure Postwar Iraq Faulted (washingtonpost.com)
A month before the war began in Iraq, senior Bush administration officials said their plan for winning the peace was built upon the swift provision of basic services that would "immediately" make the Iraqi people feel they were better off than they had been under the government of Saddam Hussein.
Five weeks after the war ended, the administration is still struggling to accomplish that goal. It has failed to establish law and order on the streets and has achieved only mixed results in restoring electricity, water, sanitation and other essential needs.
I’m having problems with this. The problems isn’t with the Bush administration though, it’s with the reporting. All through the preliminaries, the actual war and, to tell you the truth, the aftermath, we have bee hearing from the reporters of the “main-stream” press that it is, or is going to be a disaster. We had the “diplomatic blunders” in the UN, the stalling and “quagmire during the push to Baghdad, the looting of the Museums and the wide-spread demonstrations against the “American invaders”.
The problem with each and every one of these stories was, while they carried an element of truth, they were not, in fact, fully true.
Bill Whittle in his recent essay ”Magic” gives the example of the person who has been seen at several suspicious fires and fatalities but was not even questioned by the police. The key point that was left out was that the person is a fireman ( person, whatever).
Based on what has come out recently, not just at the New York Times, but all the “mainstream” reporting on the Iraq War, is the fact that we cannot trust the news media to report the news.
This is actually not a new phenomena, I have worked in a position for the past twelve years, where I have daily contact with the news media. Usually, the only thing that they receive is a press release with the information that the Sheriff wants to release. The news stories when they are published sometimes have additional information added that just is not true. Sometimes it is a party that is involved giving their story; sometimes it is just someone who calls the newsroom with a good line of bull. I do know that over the years when I have been involved with incidents that were reported in the news, many times I cannot recognize that they are writing about the same thing.
Previous to 1994, I was a regular subscriber to Time magazine. I always knew that it tilted liberal, but knowing this, I gleaned much good information from it anyway. I remember an article about the 100th anniversary of the Deere plow. The article contained such tidbits as the fact that it allowed the Great Plains to be plowed which never should have happened and is a great tragedy. I noted at the time that this was opinion disguised as news, but being a reasonably intelligent reader, I just shrugged it off and ignored it.
In 1994, the Republicans gained control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.
Time magazine went berserk. They ran story after story about what bad people the Republicans were and how it was going to be the end of the American way of life. It has continued since. In 1996, Time spent most of their time explaining how great President Clinton was, how dangerous Dole was and what a disaster it would be if he were elected. The rest of the “mainstream” press has been no better. They do not report the story, they report what they think the story should be.
That’s why I have a problem with the reporting of how inept the American occupation of Iraq has been. I’m sure there are problems. I’m equally sure there will continue to be problems. How big are they? How serious are they? Are the people running the show really that inept? I don’t know. And for all the reporting by the WaPo, the NYT and the others, I still don’t know.
Because they have a commitment to reporting the story as they think it should be and not as it is.
Update: I wrote this before I started my blog rounds today. It now appears that this has occured to everybody and his brother, all of whom also posted today. Huh...and I thought I was being somewhat original -------- TITLE:

Women In Combat?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/18/2003 10:40:00 PM ----- BODY: A mile in their . . .
After learning that I was to be the Tribune's only female embedded journalist, I promised myself never to write the woman-on-the-front-lines story.
It just wouldn't be an issue. I would find a way to blend in. I wouldn't be treated differently because I wouldn't let anyone treat me differently.
It was pitch black and we were taking constant mortar fire at a checkpoint just outside Najaf, the holy Shiite city in central Iraq. I had my rucksack, which weighed well over 70 pounds, my computer and satellite phone, my gas mask container, several bottles of water and some food.
I had been bumming rides with military vehicles for a little over a day to get up to the embattled city, and both my computer and phone were out of power, so I had added to my load a battery taken from a blown-out car, hoping that, with some alligator clips and a power inverter, I could charge my equipment.
The soldiers I had met up with said I could accompany them into the city--a 4-mile hike. I didn't know whether I could hike 4 feet with all that gear, let alone 4 miles, but we set out. At about mile 2 1/2, I was about to give out. I was contemplating saying something needlessly melodramatic like, "Go ahead, save yourselves," when a soldier asked, "Ma'am, can I carry that battery for you?"
I had run a marathon not long before the war and worked out almost every day. I grew up on an Iowa farm where manual labor was part of the bargain. But I had been bested by a car battery, and when I handed my load to that soldier, I admitted that I never could have cut it in the infantry.
-------- TITLE:

Jane Garofalo Interview:

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/18/2003 09:52:00 PM ----- BODY: Andrea Harris has a link to an interview with Janeane Garofalo in The Progressive magazine. Using the amazing technique which was initially developed by Hollywood publicists and advanced by such luminaries as Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, I discovered that Jane is getting a bad rap.
Garofalo: There's been such ...democracy here, and the mainstream media is complicit in it. We are living in ...democratic times. ...Millions of people around the world were marching for ...war .... This was historically unprecedented. ...The President has openly said that he doesn't make policy by focus group. ...I ...never care about things anymore. ...I'm frequently depressed, just have a general malaise.....
I never realized what an American hero she is. -------- TITLE:

Bill Whittle

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/18/2003 07:39:00 PM ----- BODY: MAGIC -------- TITLE:

Sleazy Trial Lawyers Now "Victims"

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/18/2003 07:09:00 PM ----- BODY: Mississippi Trial Lawyers Under Inquiry (washingtonpost.com)
The Justice Department is investigating allegations of improper campaign finance practices involving prominent Mississippi trial lawyers, a major source of support for the state's Democratic Party, according to lawyers involved in the case.
David Baria, president of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, would not criticize the U.S. attorney's office. But he contended that a host of groups, including some businesses and the Republican Party, are attacking trial lawyers and creating an atmosphere that is "consistent with this prosecution."
Interesting. During the Clinton years, a lot of conservative groups were audited by the IRS. When it was pointed out that it seemed that only groups that opposed Democratic policies were audited, the administration denied any organized plan to target them saying that it was just coincidence. Well, this is probably the same kind of coincidence. Guess the Democrats can dish it out, but they can't take it. -------- TITLE:

Dowd and Sheen Revealed To Be Closet Conservatives.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/17/2003 08:08:00 PM ----- BODY: The recent Maureen Dowd column quoting President Bush as saying "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated. . . . They're not a problem anymore." when he actually said "Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore.". Recognizing that Ms Dowd is an exemplar example of news reporting in keeping with the New York Times history of truth-telling, even when it hurts (Republicans), I was inspired to do some searching of some other quotes to see if I could find their hidden meaning.
I looked at a couple of her columns and found these . surprising quotes
"Everyone thinks the Bush diplomacy on Iraq is a wreck. It isn't. It's a success ..."
and this surprising one on religion
"These tablets are a noble guide for living... [E]xhibiting the Ten Commandments has... to do with teaching the meaning or the truth or the value of them. "
And everyone thought she was against these things. It just shows what can happen when you read the paper the Maureen Dowd does
Going further afield I found that Martin Sheen is not the self centered ego maniac that he is purported to be. In connection with his remarks about the Iraq War, Mr. Sheen is quoted as saying
"Although my opinion is...valuable or relevant ...I am an actor, that fact does ... render it unimportant,"
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Way To Go, Frank!!


I Didn't Even Know He Drank.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/16/2003 06:06:00 PM ----- BODY: CNN.com - SE Asia terror alerts widen - May. 16, 2003
Thaksin told reporters on Friday with a rye smile on his face.
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Oregon Senate Votes To Delay Economic Recovery.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/15/2003 03:51:00 PM ----- BODY: Federal tax code disconnect OK’d The Senate says the move is necessary to keep Oregon from losing millions.
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that unhooks Oregon from future changes in the federal tax code, enabling the state to avoid losing $90 million to $140 million during the next two years because of pending federal tax cuts.
Proponents say House Bill 2186 is necessary to keep money for state services when slumping tax collections have left legislators with about $2 billion less to craft a two-year budget than they had available in 2001.
I like that, "losing millions", as if that money was theirs by right and the people were trying to take it away. Well, it's not theirs, it's ours, and by taking the money from us they are taking it from the private economy. This is agreeable with some politicians (mostly Democrat) because they think that they know how to spend your money better than you do.
O.K. people, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get.
From now on, we will hold you to your word. The first question any politician must be asked about any government expenditure or program is; "How is this (whatever it is) going to increase the number of private sector jobs in Oregon?
Not more bureaucracy, not raises for existing employees, not new furniture. Private Sector Jobs are the name of the game. Each and every politician of every party must be quizzed constantly on what they are doing to improve the private sector job availability.
They will try to hide behind "the children", but don't let them do it. They'll try throwing grandma out in the street with her oxygen, but only the private sector provides the revenue to pay for the public jobs and programs. If they doubt that, let them try to tax just the public sector to pay the public sector. It can't be done, you need private enterprise.
Oh, it's going to be a struggle, especially in the rural areas. The residents of the metro areas have come to view the rural areas as essentially parks, put there for their pleasure and they will resist anything that threatens to spoil their bucolic dreams. Remember one of the few bumper stickers from our side, "A Developer Wants To Build A House In The Woods, A "Conservationist" HAS A House In The Woods."
That's it, write your local representative or senator and let them know that we are watching and expect results. Now that they have taken our money, we are demanding results. They promised certain doom if they did not get the money, we should expect for things to get done if they do get the money. -------- TITLE:

"Open" Hearing Would Just Promote Theater From Race Hustlers.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/15/2003 03:16:00 PM ----- BODY: Just imagine for a minute if a newspaper reporter had to disclose, along with his story, how mush he got paid, who he discussed the story with, all of what he was told and how he determined what to print. It would be a nightmare for the reporter and probably end any reporting whatsoever due to concerns about retaliation against members of the press and those who talk with them. All our newspapers would read like a church newsletter.
Yet, this is just what would happen if a "open" hearing was held in the case of Kendra James
Death demands open hearing
Every death at police hands demands an open, exhaustive public inquiry. The death of an unarmed mother of two is bound to spark more question marks than do most such deaths -- it certainly dramatizes why such an inquiry is needed -- and James has friends and family who will vigorously pursue answers. An inquiry and full airing of a case are just as essential, however, when victims lack any advocates.
A Multnomah County grand jury is hearing testimony in this case this week, and the grand jurors will be asked to determine whether the officer's conduct was criminal. Here, as elsewhere across the country, that is excruciatingly difficult to prove, and it is therefore rare for a grand jury to indict an officer. But the point is that the grand jury hearing, enveloped in secrecy as it is, and focused narrowly on criminal conduct, is no substitute for a full public inquiry.
An officer's conduct can fall short of being criminal and still be completely unacceptable. In addition to finding out whether an officer acted recklessly or with malice, the public needs to know whether the officer followed departmental policy and his own training. And is there a need to change either one? Could this death have been avoided?
This is nothing more than a call for a witch-hunt of the Portland Police Bureau. The "activists" more properly termed Race Hustlers come out when ever there is an incident involving the police and a "person of color". It is no no mystery why they don't appear when the case involves a person of white color. The truth is they are looking for any way to solidify their control in the community as people who MUST be listened too. This makes them feel good and makes it appear that they hold real power. The truth is, all they can do is turn out enough people to make a good crowd scene when properly photographed (which the news media will gladly hep with) and a short, snappy slogan. They're pretty good at writing one line slogans too, but anything beyond that and they fizzle quickly. If you interview the "crowd" that they have provided for the TV cameras, what few coherent answers you get will consist largely of these easily memorized slogans. Try to delve deeper and you will come up dry.
What they want is access to all the witnesses and testimony. If they can get that, then they can launch a smear campaign much like was done with Mark Fuhrman during the OJ trial. They will talk to anyone and everyone that is testifying and their friends and relatives, they will be especially interested in anyone that has a grudge against any of the officers or witnesses. Their stories will make accusations backed up only by "friends" or "coworkers" of their targets and will be reported as fact on the Six O' Clock news and the front page of the newspapers.
Allowing an "open" hearing would just insure a media circus aimed at convicting the officer in the press even if it cannot be done in court. If the secrecy of the Grand Jury system is compromised then the jurors as well as witnesses will be coerced with the same technique.
It is too bad the Oregonian is no longer a real newspaper. It has become the in house newsletter for the "progressive" movement and is demonstrating why many Oregon citizens discount anything that appears there. -------- TITLE:

Phase One In The "New" Tobacco Lawsuits

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/14/2003 04:22:00 PM ----- BODY: Health Costs of Obesity Near Those of Smoking (washingtonpost.com)
Having diverted millions of dollars from the economy into their summer houses and yachts, the same lawyers and politicians eye their next target. YOU!
Yessir, forget about stopping by McDonalds or Burger King for that gutbuster burger, say goodbye to Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, after the lawyers get through you will have your choice between the salad with vinegar and oil or without.
The politicians (mostly Democrats, but with a sprinkling of Republicans) are just aching to save you from these evil fast food outlets. What? You like that stuff? Too bad, Washington knows what is good for you and wants to make sure that you get it, even if they have to stuff it down your throat. (bad choice of words.)
Anyway, between the billionaire law firms and your government agency there to help you, you don't stand a chance. Want to ignore them and eat what you want? Initially that will be OK, but be prepared to be bombarded with commercials (paid with your tax dollars.) haranguing you unmercifully, and warning labels galore. You won't be able to find McDonalds for all the warning labels.
That's OK too. After a while they'll forbid the restaurants from advertising unless there menu is approved by your local (or state) food committee. So they won't have signs anyway.
Then your children will start being used against you. Take your kids out for burgers? Prepare for a visit from Child Welfare. You're abusing them. Where I live we had a case a couple of years ago where Children's Services wanted to take an infant away from her mother because she was giving him 2% milk. Fortunately it became public knowledge and it didn't survive the "laugh" test. But the people that are concerned about children are really concerned, they'll be back with newer and better excuses. This will be one of them.
All through this the social stigmatization of those who do not go along will increase. It'll be a 21st century Scarlet Letter. People will shun you. They'll talk about how unfortunate it is that you can't control yourself. This will be your lot.
The only exceptions will be the "underclass". Get a welfare check or food stamps? Slurp it up. You are an unfortunate that cannot be held responsible for your own weaknesses. You can blame it all on the "rich", skinny people. -------- TITLE:

Watch The Democrats Howl Now.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/14/2003 03:52:00 PM ----- BODY: GOP Will Let Gun Ban Expire (washingtonpost.com)
The Republican-controlled House will not renew the federal ban on Uzis and other semiautomatic weapons, a key leader said yesterday, dealing a significant blow to the campaign to clamp down on gun sales nationwide.
I'm sure there will be pious posturing and predictions of the end of civilization, but what would response be if instead of an "assault" weapons ban it was a speech ban? Not a ban on what most people say, but just a ban on certain types of "dangerous" speech.
Things like denying you the right to defend yourself in the public arena if you are accused of something that someone else doesn't like?
Oh, never mind they're already doing that with Nike.
Well, how about if they denied you the right to live where you want?
Nuts, forgot about land use and zoning laws.
Well, I'm sure the Democrats care about our rights under the constitution. I just can't remember exactly where they demonstrate that.
I know they must, though. How? Because they say so.
(Do you think they could have found a more evil looking picture of Tom Delay to run with the story?) -------- TITLE:

You'll Have To Pry My Circus Peanuts From My Cold, Dead, Sticky Hand.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/13/2003 07:54:00 PM ----- BODY: Next On The Chopping Block: Circus Peanuts, Graham Crackers, and Marshmallow Peeps
How can anyone be against Circus Peanuts? How many of us grew us munching on them until we puked? The trick is to eat just enough so you don't puke. That way you can come back and eat some more.
After all, what other product has so many types of sugar? Checking the ingredients list on my Tub O Circus Peanuts from Target, I see the following; liquid sugar, sugar, glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soribtol, icing sugar (contains corn starch), gelatin, artificial flavor, colors.
I have to admit, I liked the old natural flavored Circus Peanuts. (Oh wait, they have always had artificial flavor.) I tell people that they are the only candy that is 110% sugar. The only way that they could improve them is to deep fry them in lard.
Love em, eat em all the time. Vegtables are what kills you. My parents and grandparents and probably my great grandparents all ate vegtables. Guess what? They're all dead! Don't tell me that's a coincidence. -------- TITLE:

Can You Imagine The Harumphing and Squealing If Republicans Did This?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/13/2003 07:24:00 PM ----- BODY: GOP Plan Prompts A Texas Exodus (washingtonpost.com)
Moving with exceptional stealth and tactical coordination, more than 50 Democratic state lawmakers in Texas packed their bags and quietly slipped out of the state under cover of darkness late Sunday and early today
From the tone of the story I would guess that this is now an accepted practice. I think that if the Democrats ever get control of either house again, that this tactic be used whenever there is a proposal for a tax increase. -------- TITLE:

Bush Leads Effort To "Brand" Democrats.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/09/2003 04:08:00 PM ----- BODY: Frist Seeks to End Nominees Impasse (washingtonpost.com)
The White House is leading a party-wide effort today to brand Democrats as obstructionists, on the second anniversary of his initial slate of judicial nominees. Three of the 11, including Estrada and Owen, are still awaiting votes.
Let's see...11 nominees...two years....no vote. I'd say it shouldn't take too much effort. -------- TITLE:


AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/08/2003 06:40:00 PM ----- BODY: Clubbeaux - Run! He's got a club!
One of the smartest things I’ve heard anyone say recently was when my friend (the atheist) Sarah Welstead said “As soon as someone starts talking about the Nazis, you know they’ve run out of things to say.”
So true. Today “Nazi,” like “Fascist,” has been gutted of any real meaning. “Nazi” no longer carries any definable reference to the National Socialism movement founded in 1919 and brought to power under Adolf Hitler in 1933 in Germany, and “Fascist” has been divorced of its reference to the authoritarian political movement founded in 1919 by Benito Mussolini, both now are simply used to designate “anyone who criticizes something I like.” “McCarthyism,” “anti-American,” “witch hunt,” many others have been abused beyond recognition and today mean nothing more important or insightful than “You jerk!”
Both words are nothing more than Meaningless All-Purpose Slanderous Insults today, two of the dozens of MAPSIs littering today’s discourse in lieu of thoughtful analysis.
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AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/07/2003 08:16:00 PM ----- BODY: I was going out to pick up pizza earlier. While on my way to Pizza Hut, (yeah, I'm a barbarian. so what.) I was listening to Victor Boc on KPAM out of Portland. He was discussing President Bush's carrier landing and speech. Victor is not exactly the right-wing ideologue that you expect, but he is fairly level headed. One of the things he does is let people talk. He only interrupts to clarify a point and he tries to do it in such a way that he is not talking down to the caller.
He had a caller who took great umbrage at the fact that Bush had gone to the aircraft carrier and made a speech to military personnel. He was, of course, harping on the complaint that it was a photo op. Of course it was. So what? It's not like any other politician goes out of his way not to look good. Clinton was a master of the photo op, remember the "paparazzi" picture of him and Hillary dancing on the beach? So that criticism doesn't fly very well except with the die-hard Bush-haters.
Another criticism he had was that Bush wore a flight suit. Well, he was flying in a S-3 Viking and that is the usual attire for that circumstance. Kind of like wearing a tank commander's helmet when you're riding around in a tank. Those were about as credible as the criticism got. He then said that the speech was not well received and Victor told him that the speech seemed to be well received by the servicemen on the Lincoln.
The caller then forgot the law of holes, the one that says "if you find yourself in a hole, quit digging." He went on to let everyone know that the only reason they liked it is because people who joined the service voluntarily are not very smart and only joined because they had no chance of making it as a civilian. Having hit rock bottom, he continued to dig. He then went on to say that they were all brainwashed too and had no ability to think anymore. As the caller descended into the bowels of the earth, he finally let him go. I could hardly drive, I was laughing so hard.
A couple of weeks ago, Victor had on a couple of the people who were responsible for the ongoing "peace" demonstrations. It was the same thing. He did not yell, belittle or cut them off. He let them speak their peace. I think it was Mark Twain that said, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
Thank you Victor, for allowing them to remove all doubt. -------- TITLE:

The Keagle and the Smoke Nazi Whine About Bush's Carrier Landing.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/06/2003 08:46:00 PM ----- BODY: Byrd Rips Bush's Aircraft Carrier Use
Waxman said Fleischer had provided conflicting accounts of the reasons for the president's trip by jet, initially indicating that the carrier would be hundreds of miles offshore, too far from land to be reached by helicopter.
Why in the world would anyone believe Waxman, the Smoke Nazi and why would anyone pay attention to Kleagle Byrd. These guys are caricatures of themselves. -------- TITLE:

All Together Now, Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier. You Vill Play! You Vill Enjoy!

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/06/2003 07:35:00 PM ----- BODY: Joanne Jacobs.com
Also, kids will be encouraged to plan their recess activities.
"Kids with nothing in mind before recess tend to get in trouble if they don't schedule their recess," (violence prevention coordinator Marcy) Spigler said
So what happens when these kids meet regular kids who just beat the crap out of them and take their stuff? -------- TITLE:

And This Is A Bad Thing?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/06/2003 07:29:00 PM ----- BODY: Jack Bog's Blog
Last interesting observation about Ferrioli: though raised in Portland, he's a born-again logger. Big time.
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If Free Speech Is Not For Corporations, Then Is It For Other Organizations?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/06/2003 04:54:00 PM ----- BODY: The Oregonian is, of course, hot on the subject of the First Amendment rights of citizens being protected vs corporate speech. Their Editorial makes this obvious.
Nike's corporate speech: overwhelming the voice of citizens
The question, then, is not just whether Nike's ads are political or commercial speech, but whether corporate speech is ever political or always commercial. The Bill of Rights was created to protect natural persons, not artificial ones. Giving corporations -- with their wealth, perpetual life and limited liability -- political speech protections defeats the purpose of the First Amendment -- debate among citizens.
Doesn't this leave corporations defenseless? Hardly. Corporations can still speak, but on condition that they be accountable for their well-amplified speech. Moreover, corporate owners can come out from behind the veil and speak for their interests personally, with full political speech protections. With 10 percent of Americans owning 90 percent of all stock, owners have no shortage of resources with which to speak; they do not need the corporate shield or the advantage of deducting the costs of speech as a business expense.
But the Oregonian forgets that for every silver lining, there is a cloud. At least I hope so. I would think that if only individual speech receives full protection of the First Amendment, then it should apply only to individual speech.
If a group of people get together to amplify their voices, {and their dollars) with the intent of making a profit, then their free speech is diminished. If, however, they get together with the idea of forcing their ideas upon others , then they maintain their full First amendment rights?
Let's have the First Amendment evenly applied. If you are a corporation, even a non-profit corporation, then the same rules should apply for you. If you are an environmentalist, you will of course, retain your full Free Speech rights, even if you are a member of the Cascadia Forest Alliance, you still retain your individual Free Speech rights. If, however, a group of like minded individuals get together to speak as a group, that makes you subject to the commercial rules the same as Nike.
If this game is to be played, then let's have the same rules all around. The same standards of truth and the same standards of liability.
Of course, this is not likely to happen. The Supremes may very well declare that the speech of corporations must be held to a higher standard than the speech of their opponents. But groups formed for political purposes retain all speech rights.
You can very well imagine the results of that. These "activist" groups will comb each and every utterance by every company and its officers for any tidbit that they might, however implausibly, claim is a lie and file suit. This would keep every company constantly in court, keep companies from rebutting the claims of these groups, which in turn will get more and more outrageous. In time, the cost of doing business will just become too great. The choices then will be reorganization or bankruptcy. Some will just fold, but most will reorganize, moving their operations off shore. Why stay when the cost is too great. This will be cheered as a victory for the activists though many formerly employed people might see it differently.
Maybe we will produce the society that these concerned activists envision. Green trees, blue water, fresh air, happy bunnies and good jobs.
Oh, maybe not the jobs part. Those corporations are gone now, and the jobs with them. But, not to worry, we can still tax those who are working to provide for those unfortunates that those heartless corporations deserted. At least, until they leave too. -------- TITLE:

Short Day Today

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/05/2003 02:50:00 PM ----- BODY: I'm probably going to do even less blogging than normal today. I have to be at work at 2AM which means that I'm going to bed very early today.
I work at one of those jobs where if someone takes the day off or is sick, someone else has to work overtime to cover. For some reason, people get upset if we shut the 911 center down due to short staffing.
I know, it's very shortsighted of them, but what you gonna do? We are a small center and are supposed to have 13 dispatchers. Right now we have 10.
I cannot believe how hard it is to find people for this job. All that's required is that you have a high school degree, pass a written test,(which has been dumbed down the past few years), pass a background check, (which basically means no felony convictions) and a psych eval. The pay's not bad and there's good benefits, but out of the last 12 people that applied, 6 didn't pass the test and the other 6 did not pass the background check. (Why in the hell would you apply for a job with a law enforcement agency when you have felony convictions? Do you think no one is going to check?)
I dunno, all the centers I've talked to have the same problem. So don't expect much today, or tomorrow for that matter. -------- TITLE:

Just In Time For The Summer Oil Company Conspiracy Season

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/05/2003 01:10:00 PM ----- BODY: 50 reasons gasoline isn't cheaper
[T]he nation's refiners face daunting challenges - and criticism from all sides. They find themselves blamed for shortages, and for air pollution.
They are accused of price-gouging, while they themselves claim they can't make enough money to build new plants. Meanwhile, summer is also smog season, and as metro areas struggle to meet clean-air laws, refiners must find ways to get 50 gas blends through a maze of pipelines to the right storage tanks without making a mistake that might cause motorists to see red.
All this has no effect on the public of course, everyone will still be sure that the gas station operators and oil companies are ripping them off. I'm sure there will be politicians promising investigations. These are both continuing signs of summer, despite the enduring lack of proof. -------- TITLE:

Investigators Find Looting Of Artifacts Claim Bogus

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/05/2003 01:07:00 PM ----- BODY: Chicago Tribune | Most museum artifacts found
The vast majority of antiquities feared stolen or broken have been found inside the National Museum in Baghdad, according to American investigators who compiled an inventory over the weekend of the ransacked galleries.
A total of 38 pieces, not tens of thousands, are now believed to be missing. Among them is a display of Babylonian cuneiform tablets that accounts for nine missing items.
The most valuable missing piece is the Vase of Warka, a white limestone bowl dating from 3000 B.C.
The inventory, compiled by a military and civilian team headed by Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos, rejects reports that Iraq's renowned treasures of civilization--up to 170,000 artifacts--had been lost during the U.S.-led war against Iraq. It also raises questions about why any of the artifacts were reported missing.
Why? It's ovious. The news reporters had to find something to use to smear the Americans. Allowing the looting of cultural artifacts was perfect. That it wasn't true was no problem. It has been so reported and now there will be a few one time stories about it not being true, which will be forgotten. The myth of the Americans allowing thousands of precious museum objects to be stolen has been established. Damn Americans. -------- TITLE:

Is Six Percent Unemployment Rate A "Grim Number" Or "Natural Rate"

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/05/2003 12:36:00 PM ----- BODY: It comes as no surprise to me that the latest unemployment figures are said to be bad for President Bush. Any number at all is held to be bad for President Bush in the small world of economic reporting inhabited by the Washington Post, the New York Times and the other "mainstream" news agencies.
Jobs and the Jobless (washingtonpost.com)
PRESIDENT BUSH used the latest unemployment figures to pitch his tax cut in California last week, but the grim new numbers must have caused palpitations back at the White House. The unemployment rate ticked up two-tenths of a percentage point, to 6 percent.
I find it interesting that the WaPo is touting the current average 6 percent unemployment rate as "grim" when the same 6 percent rate was greeted with cheers and enthusiasm in 1996. At that time it was a The Natural Rate of Unemployment
The best a nation can do is settle for the lowest level of unemployment that will not begin accelerating inflation. [Milton] Friedman called this point the "natural rate of unemployment".
Some controversy exists over what the natural rate is, because it depends partly on what markets expect inflation will be. But in the U.S. today, economists estimate it to be slightly less than 6 percent.
Evidently this is no longer considered true. Another thing that evidently has fallen by the wayside in the belief that private businesses are the engine of our economy. President Bush is still operating under the assumption that private businesses must be encouraged to grow and create jobs. He does not believe that jobs are created by hiring more bureaucrats or creating more entitlements.
This outlook is obviously in retreat in the nation's newsrooms. The prevailing belief seems to be that tax cuts, which would put more money back into private hands, is not what is needed. What they seem to believe is that what is needed is increased spending in the form of more bureaucracies, more entitlements and more regulation. Just how this helps the economy is a mystery to me, but evidently not to those who propose it.
The Democratic Party candidates had a debate in South Carolina on Saturday. It was shown in the middle of the night in most places if it was shown at all. All of the candidates agreed that Bushes tax cuts must go. What they did not reveal is their own plans to rejuvenate the economy. As I said, the reasoning that increasing taxes and bureaucracy will stimulate the economy escapes me. Maybe they'll take the time to explain it. But I'm not holding my breath. -------- TITLE:

Can Illinois or SCOTUS Be Sued For Wrongful Death?

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 11:46:00 PM ----- BODY: Subject of landmark Supreme Court ruling guilty of murder
May 1, 2003 — The plaintiff in a landmark 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a suspect's right to a lawyer has been convicted in a 20-year-old murder case.
A Cook County jury on Wednesday deliberated for about an hour before finding Daniel Escobedo guilty of killing shopkeeper Ki Hwan Kim with an ice pick in 1983. The 65-year-old Escobedo now faces a possible sentence of natural life in prison.
Escobedo was arrested in connection with Kim's murder in Mexico after his nephew told authorities about the crime.
During the three-day trial, Mitsuru Morales testified about how Escobedo recruited him to help rob and murder Kim, a fur and leather dealer. Morales, who was only 16 at the time, has since pleaded guilty to armed robbery.
Escobedo was the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Escobedo v. Illinois, in which the high court threw out Escobedo's conviction in the slaying of his brother-in-law, finding that Chicago police had violated his constitutional rights by denying his repeated requests for a lawyer.
The ruling was later expanded in the case Miranda vs. Arizona, giving rise to the Miranda warning in which police advise those under arrest of their rights, including the right to remain silent.
In the years following the ruling, Escobedo was arrested roughly 25 times for offenses ranging from attempted murder and indecent liberties with a minor to felony possession of firearms. He was released from prison in 1978 after serving 22 years on a drug conviction.
After all, if this bozo would have been convicted of murder in 1964, he would have received the death penalty and it would have been carried out thus saving Ki Hwan Kim in 1983. Who says the death penalty doesn't prevent murder? It seems like every time you turn around someone is getting sued for something similar, why not Illinois or SCOTUS? -------- TITLE:

Tommie Can You Hear Me?

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle - who bitterly accused President Bush of failing "miserably" on Iraq just before the war - has done a total flip-flop and now says Bush deserves "great credit" as war leader.
"In 21 days, we eliminated somebody [Saddam Hussein] who for 20 years has repressed and tortured his own people and posed a serious security risk," Daschle added in a conference call with reporters in his home state of South Dakota.
Sources tell The Post Daschle consultants recently conducted focus groups of rural South Dakota voters and tested their reaction to a video clip of Daschle attacking Bush on the eve of the war and all but blaming him for any deaths.
In that clip, Daschle fumes: "I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."
Polls consistently show that Bush is more popular than Daschle in South Dakota, a tiny state that, Daschle has noted, has a very high percentage of people with military service.
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Thank Goodness For The UN Human Rights Council

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 11:02:00 PM ----- BODY: A Survivor Recounts Horrors Of N. Korea's Prison Camps (washingtonpost.com)
Lee's crime was that she was hungry. After years of meager rations in North Korea, the 22-year-old woman with curly hair left her peasant family's home and slipped across the border into China in 1997, hoping to find something to eat. She was caught and sent back, handcuffed, to a North Korean prison camp -- a world of cruelty.
She was worked to exhaustion, forced to run in her bare feet as she carried heavy bricks at a construction site. Her food was a bowl of watery soup every day with cabbage and a few rotten corn kernels.
There was no escape. "I didn't feel anything," said Lee, now 28 and safe after an escape that brought her to Seoul four months ago. Beaten, starved and assaulted by horrors, "you just don't think about anything. You really have no fear of death. At that point, you're just a machine with no emotion."
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights condemned North Korea's human rights record for the first time last month, answering years of demands by activists that the world confront the abuses.
The commission expressed "deep concern" about conditions in the country, including torture, public executions, political executions, use of political prison camps and selective provision of food.
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which meets annually, focuses international attention on human rights violators. The commission can send monitors and investigators, but at its meeting in Geneva it noted that North Korea has not cooperated with U.N. investigators dealing with torture, religious intolerance, arbitrary detention, involuntary disappearances and the right to food. It urged the North Korean government to do so. It also elected to put North Korea on its agenda again next year.
Wow, that's going to be effective. Next year they plant to urge them again. Maybe they will escalate to harsh looks next year and from there the ultimate weapon. Kim Jong Il will be invited to Paris. Hey, if it works on Mugabe, who knows? -------- TITLE:

Ellen Goodman Unhappy With Failure Of U.S. To Back World Government.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 04:11:00 PM ----- BODY: Columnist Ellen Goodman has another complaint about the Bush Administration. Not only are they overreaching by invading Iraq, but they are underreaching by denying the UN the authority to make laws and levy taxes worldwide whether the countries involved agree or not. In her column A world safe for Big Tobacco, she regrets that the U.S. and that no account Dominican Republic refuse to endorse a UN plan to "ban advertising, put a hefty tax on tobacco products, and require warning labels on cigarette packages." The U.S. responds that this would "limit the free speech rights of corporations". She is highly miffed about this. Corporations should not have any free speech rights. These are only for people. As far as Ms Goodman is concerned, just particular people, ones that agree with her.
There is tolerance and , there is tolerance. Tolerance is good if it is for gays, blacks, Hispanics, fat people, crippled people and people who like Al Gore. Tolerance is bad if includes religious view, or pretty much anything that comes into conflict with the first kind of tolerance. There especially is no room for tolerance of smokers. They must be outlawed, taxed and made to shiver outside in the snow and rain. There can be no accommodation with them.
The best thing would be for the world to realize that the UN representatives that their countries ruling elite sent to New York as a reward for loyalty and to get out of the country, are ideally suited to pass laws and taxes on them.
This would also alleviate one of the funding problems of the UN. They would then have the money collected on tobacco to spend on themselves and send to their various governments to help the shortfalls in their Swiss bank accounts.
Interestingly, in this case, the U.S. government is taking the side of the national sovereignty issue that it is criticized for being against in the declaration signed by all the "intellectuals" in support of Cuba.
Obviously there is a matter of degree. Smoking is an unhealthy practice but it is not involuntary. People choose to do it and believe it or not, most people in the world actually expect to die of something. Please don't send me crap on the "secondhand smoke" studies. Those have been shown to be cherry picking advocacy studies supported mainly by those making a living in the anti-smoking industry. (Yes, it is an industry just like the environmental industry.) -------- TITLE:

Spy plane skulks through area

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 03:50:00 PM ----- BODY: Spy plane skulks through area.
Skulks? Obviously the writer is having a problem with his vocabulary, being transported on a trailer along a major interstate enroute to a museum is hardly "skulking".
As for the rarity of sightings, it was quite common to see an SR-71 either taking off or circling waiting to land at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, where I was stationed in the late 80's. It is no more remarkable than anything else. The sight of a skyscraper would be considered rare at the Pioneer Villa Truck Stop, but is an everyday occurrence in places like New York City and Chicago. It all depends on where you are standing at the time. -------- TITLE:

The School Funding Crisis In Oregon Is Over!

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 03:41:00 PM ----- BODY: Oregon ponders immigrant tuition
However, Urenda worries he won't be able to afford the cost of a four-year university, a necessity before medical school. As an undocumented resident, Urenda isn't eligible for resident tuition, although he's lived in Oregon for five years. He says the obstacle is unfair.
Evidently there is enough money in the higher education system to provide resident tuition to illegal aliens. This is good to know. Mr. Urenda may think the obstacle is unfair, but so was his families failure to go through the immigration process and jump ahead of people who were following the law. If he wants to be treated equitably, he should go back to Mexico and apply for immigration. Otherwise his presence here is illegal and he should gain no better treatment under the law than any other criminal. -------- TITLE:

Maybe A UNSC Resolution Would Have Prevented This.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 03:35:00 PM ----- BODY: UN Looted By Diplomats
The decision to make the cafeterias into "no pay zones" spread through the 40-acre complex like wildfire. Soon, the hungry patrons came running. "It was chaos, wild, something out of a war scene," said one Aramark executive who was present. "They took everything, even the silverware," she said. Another witness from U.N. security said the cafeteria was "stripped bare." And another told TIME that the cafeteria raid was "unbelievable, crowds of people just taking everything in sight; they stripped the place bare." And yet another astonished witness said that "chickens, turkeys, souffles, casseroles all went out the door (unpaid)."
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So-Called "Intellectuals" And Publicity Seeking Actors Praise Imprisonment Of Dissidents.

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/04/2003 12:47:00 AM ----- BODY: Intellectuals Launch Campaign to Defend Cuba
(Reuters) - More than 160 foreign artists and intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, have come out in defense of Cuba even as many of their peers condemn recent repression on the Communist-run island, one of the campaigners said on Thursday.
Latin American Nobel laureates Garcia Marquez, Rigoberta Menchu, Aldolfo Perez Esquivel and South African writer Nadine Gordimer, also a Nobel prize winner, have signed a declaration of support, Mexican sociologist Pablo Gonzalez said.
U.S. singer Harry Belafonte and U.S. actor Danny Glover are also among the personalities who have signed the two-paragraph declaration "To the Conscience of the World" so far, Gonzalez announced to a May Day rally in Havana.
"A single power is inflicting grave damage to the norms of understanding, debate and mediation among countries," the declaration says, referring to the United States and the war in Iraq.
"At this very moment, a strong campaign of destabilization against a Latin American nation has been unleashed. The harassment against Cuba could serve as a pretext for an invasion," it continues.
President Fidel Castro's government has come under unprecedented international criticism from friends and foes after sentencing 75 dissidents to long prison terms last month, and executing three men who hijacked a ferry in a failed bid to reach the United States.
Havana has said the crackdown is in response to a U.S. plot to topple the Castro government after more than four decades of failed efforts to do so.
Fierce criticism of Cuba's moves has come not only from Western government's such as the United States, but also from disillusioned foreign writers and artists, apparently sparking the pro-Cuba drive.
Portuguese Nobel Prize winning novelist Jose Saramago, a longtime supporter of Castro, wrote last month that, "from now on, Cuba can follow its own course, and leave me out," saying Cuba had cheated his illusions.
At the Thursday rally Castro told critics, particularly on the left, that their words could be used to justify a U.S. invasion.
The intellectuals who signed the declaration defending Cuba apparently agree, though they did not specifically express support for Castro's policies.
The declaration concludes with a call to governments and others to "uphold the universal principles of national sovereignty, respect for territorial integrity and self-determination, essential to just and peaceful co-existence among nations."
Gonzalez did not say who originated the declaration but said it would continue to be circulated among cultural figures around the world.
Funny, I have seen stories in many newspapers regarding this latest genuflection by so-called "intellectuals" to the Cuban dictator, but I have not been able to find the text of the declaration itself. I'm sure it will show up soon. Also I have seemed to miss the news of all these celebrities turning their worldly possessions over to Castro and moving into a Havana barrio along with the normal Cuban citizens. I know, they are Americans and don't necessarily want to move to Cuba. They would like to see the U.S. to reform itself and become as progressive as Cuba.
We could have universal health care. Of course, we'd have to force the doctors and other health care workers to remain on the job and not let them leave the country. I'm sure that they couldn't be compensated at a higher rate that other workers, that wouldn't be fair.
The education system in Cuba is first rate. Their literacy rate is just one percent below the U.S. rate. Their class sizes are much smaller and there is the daily lessons in love of country and defense of the revolution against foreigners. I'm sure these "intellectuals" would be happy to see us do that.
The signers of this declaration would like the world to live more in the manner of Cuba and less like the U.S. The U.S. has savaged Iraq, right now the Iraqis are digging up reminders of happier times, before the Americans came. The signers make the point that there must be a movements to "uphold the universal principles of national sovereignty, respect for territorial integrity and self-determination" even when nations engage in activities such as those mentioned on Samizdata.net. The Soviet Union was a sovereign nation, and the fact that they engaged in practices that resulted in the Road of Bones is no excuse for not honoring national sovereignty. The Vietnamese are others who should be taken to task for interfering in Pol Pot's Cambodia Year Zero. National sovereignty and territorial integrity would have helped him in achieving his goal of returning to "a peasant economy in which there would be no class divisions, no money, no books, no schools, no hospitals". The signers would have been happy to let the Killing Fields continue. They were only "gooks" anyhow.
This still holds true today. the "intellectuals bleat about the U.S. having overthrown the duly elected government of Iraq and are quite upset as the widespread museum looting (25 items at last count).
Although they are upset with Bush over Iraq for acting "unilaterally" with 40 other countries and without the blessing for France, they are now concerned that the U.S. is refusing to engage in unilateral talks with North Korea. It would appear that standards are flexible but must be in opposition to the U.S. whenever possible. The North Koreas have unilaterally violated all the past nuclear proliferation agreements after having received whatever assistance was promised from the U.S. The "intellectual" point-of-view is that Bush should make another agreement for them to violate thereby insuring that the "intellectuals" could pat themselves on the back for a while more. Meanwhile back at the Korean peninsula, the North's people grow colder and thinner, many are imprisoned in North Korea gulags and the lucky die.
I'm sure the signers of the declaration of allegiance to the Cuban dictator would agree that America is responsible for all these conditions. None of the tyrants involved, Castor, Saddam, Stalin, Pol Pot or Kim Jong Il, would have done any of these things on their own. They only became murdering despots because America made them do it. These leaders are all poor third world people who are just incapable of acting with malice. Only America and Americans are capable of that. -------- TITLE:

Strange Green Object Found in Capitol Sparks Debate

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/03/2003 09:41:00 PM ----- BODY: ScrappleFace: Strange Green Object Found in Capitol Sparks Debate 2003-04-29) -- Homeland Security Agents and Washington D.C. hazardous-materials crews were dispatched to the Capitol late today when a small piece of paper stained with a mysterious green fluid was discovered on the floor.
In wasn't until after the Capitol building was evacuated that haz-mat specialists determined the object was a one dollar bill, which had apparently fallen from the pocket of a tourist.
Senate Majority leader Bill Frist insisted that the dollar be returned to the tourist. However, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said the dollar should be given to a homeless man who sleeps on a steam grate outside the Senate Office Building.
Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-MO, offered to give the vagrant 50 cents, while placing the other 50 cents in a savings account which the man could use if he ever needed to buy an aspirin or some Alka-Seltzer.
The Congressional Democrat caucus then met in emergency session to decide what to do with their new dollar. One proposal called for Congress to give the homeless man 25 cents and reserve 75 cents for future medicine purchases and things that might be needed by other disadvantaged people in the neighborhood.
Sen. Frist, frustrated with the Democrat plan, proposed a compromise that would have returned at least 35 cents to the tourist who dropped the dollar. However, debate continued late into the night with no resolution in sight.
In the meantime, the tourist earned an additional 10 dollars by washing windshields, and spent some of that to catch a bus out of town.
by Scott Ott -------- TITLE:

Alarming Companies

AUTHOR: Just Some Poor Scmuck DATE: 5/02/2003 07:00:00 PM ----- BODY: As some of you know, and others will know as soon as I tell you, I work in a 911 center. I answer calls for Police, Fire and Medical assistance, as well as business lines for the Sheriff's office. Being dispatchers, of course we have tales that we tell and calls that we pass from one to another that are quite amazing, hilarious or disturbing. We are bound by pretty stringent confidentiality rules, so I'm not going to talk about those types of calls because I like my job.
There is one type of call I will talk about though, Alarm companies. These are the one that advertise on TV to send help when your grandma or grandpa have fallen and they can't get up, or promise that they will send the police instantly when your house is being broken into. Some also install smoke and heat detectors and will call the fire department if they detect a problem. All these thing sound and are very desirable.
There are problems though. Many, if not most, of these companies have large centers situated somewhere that they can hire a lot of people, They have a tremendous turnover. Nothing against the people they hire, but, they are usually located somewhere far way, they are usually college students or people looking for flexible, temporary employment that allows them to do other things, such as studying, while they are on duty. Believe it or not, these centers are not non-stop zoos like the 911 centers. These centers, when they detect a problem, call.....us. That's right, they don't have any secret police or fire department to call, they call your local dispatch center just as you would if you dialed 911.
When we answer we have to ask questions to make sure that we are going to send the right people, with the right equipment to the right place. The problem we run into is that the alarm companies do not always have that information. Day before yesterday we received a call from one of the national alarm companies which you see advertised on TV. The alarm operator told us "I have an Emergency alarm" and the address. This is pretty vague.
We basically have three choices. Police, Fire or Medical. She was asked what type of alarm it was and she answered that she needed medics sent. So far, OK. Pretty standard. We dispatch the fire and medics for that area so the dispatcher started taking the information. Then the alarm operator said that it was a panic alarm. That is a type of police alarm requiring a police response, not medics. We do not dispatch the police for that area, so the dispatcher quizzed her further about whether this was a police or a medical alarm. She answered that she needed the police, so we gave her the phone number of the correct police agency for that area so as to cut out the middle man. Finished. End of call.
Not quite. A few minutes later the alarm company called back again saying the number we gave them wasn't working. We were having a spate of high traffic (calls and radio) at that time and I had to put her on hold for a couple of minutes, then I gave her an alternate number. NOW end of problem, right.
Not quite. About an hour later we got a call on the business line from a lady whose daughter lives at that particular address. It seems that she was having a medical problem and tripped her "help-I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up" alarm expecting the medics to be sent. I'm sure you can see that now there is a problem. We hate it when calls go like this.
We were operating on the best information we had, and it was wrong. Luckily, the lady's daughter was not seriously ill and is fine, but it makes us look very bad and although there was no recriminations, you can bet we have dissected this call six ways from everywhere.
If you have, or you are planning on getting an alarm for yourself or some elderly relative, here's some tips.
TRY TO FIND A LOCAL ALARM COMPANY. We have one that is local and they are a dream. They keep the same operators for years, the operators know the area, and they work with the local hospital. If you are getting a "help-I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up" alarm, check with your local hospital and if you are shopping for a burglar alarm, check with your local police. This may help you in some instances, but they may be leery of making recommendations because of litigation problems. (another thing we have lawyers to thank for.) Get local references and call them. Ask about false alarms, some agencies charge for responding to them. (we don't) This can get expensive if your sensors are set wrong and trigger for phases of the moon or changes of the seasons.
MAKE DAMN SURE THE ALARM COMPANY HAS CORRECT INFORMATION. There is no central dispatch center for the world. There are a lot of local 911 centers, (at least one per county in Oregon. Some have two or more.) This is good because the dispatchers are local and know the area, but there is a lot of time wasted transferring and otherwise redirecting calls to the correct dispatch center. There are three types of dispatch centers., Police, Fire and Medical. In many places these are physically separate locations. In my center we do all three, but there are cities within our area that have their own police dispatch and in the Portland Metro area, medics are supplied by a private ambulance company. The numbers that we give out for fire and medical alarm are different from the ones we give for the police alarms. In our case, they all go to the same place, but that is not always the case.
MAKE SURE THE ADDRESS IS CORRECT. This can be a problem, with all the new construction everywhere street names are being reused. We may have houses with the same numbers on Park St, Park Ave, Park Ln and Park Way. Not to mention the ever popular Park Pl and Park Ct. Make sure the alarm co has the complete address with street type and directionals such as NE, SW or whatever. Whatever you do, don't think "Oh,everyone knows where that is." believe me, everyone don't.
In short. THINK. Imagine you were sending help to someone across town. You would want to know exactly which house and what you are going there for. As I have wanted to tell people, but haven't due to liking my job, "If your house is on fire and you ask me to send a cop, you're going to be really embarrassed." --------