Friday, June 30, 2006
litbrit, one of the recalcitrant "tormentors" over at Shakespeare's Sister, suggested in a comment (see "the curse of the female body" below) here that Janet Jackson's breast looks like "a slightly elongated tennis ball."
I think it looks very much like a shiva lingam I bought in Abiquiu, NM a few years back. You decide, and let us know.
Nice aureole on that thing, eh?? Happy Friday!
I'm also not going to post any recent pictures of him. He tends to put on a huge coat of fur in the winter which became a huge matted mess, and now he's shedding and looks like hell.
He's also an extremely jealous cat. I can't put a finger on Sweet Pea without Tiger noticing and running over for equal time.
Arkansas Supreme Court striking down the ban on gays becoming foster parents.
It appears to be a limited victory at best.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, cohabiting gay couples remain ineligible to become foster parents. The Child Welfare Agency Review Board replaced the previous ban on gay foster parents with a rule preventing unmarried couples from becoming foster parents. It took effect Feb. 17, 2005, after the rule barring gay foster parents was struck down by the 6th Judicial District Circuit Court in 2004. That policy banning unmarried couples remains in effect.
No policy bans single people from applying to be foster parents.
Yep, it's the old "but you're not married so you can't apply" rule. It'll be interesting to see what happens when a single gay or lesbian is a foster parent and then falls in love with a life partner and begins to "cohabitate". What is the state going to do? Yank the child from the family?
The Family Council, a Little Rock-based conservative education and research nonprofit group, plans to propose legislation to prevent gays from becoming foster parents in January when the 2007 Legislative session begins. The council filed a bill in 2005 that would have prohibited unmarried couples from adopting or from becoming foster parents. House Bill 1119 died in a Senate committee.
Other options include putting a initiated act or a constitutional amendment on a ballot for a statewide vote, but that could not happen until 2008, Cox said. The state should make a “purposeful and deliberate effort” to find more foster homes rather than creating a “lower standard” for foster homes by allowing gays to be foster parents, Cox said.
Most Arkansas state political candidates said Thursday that they disagreed with the court’s decision and think the Legislature should examine the issue.
Over a half-million dollar fine for the second of breast exposure is absurd.
This week's Arkansas Times has a column on this.
Earlier this month, President Bush signed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, increasing the maximum penalty for broadcasting indecent material on radio or television between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. from $32,500 to $325,000.
The National Association of Broadcasters, not surprisingly, has said that any indecency rules applied to broadcasters should apply to cable and satellite TV also. They are losing viewers to cable & satellite and I would expect this to escalate in the months and years to come. Terrestrial television (and probably radio as well) will become more like white bread to a large audience who prefer whole grain.
I've blogged on this earlier, calling it the Death of Broadcasting. Of course the broadcast networks will continue to find ways to push the envelope with innuendo rather than blatant "obscenity" (whatever that is). I believe the greatest impact is going to be on public broadcasting which is truly sad. They have a number of artistic documentaries where the language isn't used for shock value, rather it's a intrinsic part of the dialogue and setting.
Two years ago, AETN (Arkansas Educational Television Network) showed a documentary on the blues, made by the movie director Martin Scorsese, that contained some strong language. AETN got by with it. But last March, a San Mateo, Calif., station was fined for showing the same program — probably because some national organization complained. National watchdog groups generate most of the complaints, Weatherly said. (read: a half dozen or so extreme fundamentalists.*)
The Public Broadcasting System has advised all its member stations, including AETN, to edit out coarse language and to obscure the lips of the person using the language, so that viewers can’t tell what was said just by looking. PBS said it was trying to protect the stations “from the now-catastrophic financial sanctions and expensive litigation associated with FCC indecency enforcement activity.”
*Virtually none of those who complained to the Federal Communications Commission about the teen drama Without A Trace actually saw the episode in question, CBS affiliates said as they asked the agency to rescind its proposed record indecency fine of $3.3 million. All of the 4,211 e-mailed complaints came from Web sites operated by the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association, the stations said in a filing on Monday.
Feeling hijacked yet?
Had the same wardrobe malfunction happened to Justin Timerblake instead of Janet Jackson -- even if he had been completely topless, there would not have been a word said.
The death of broadcasting.
Hijacking PBS from the right.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Everything you could ever want to know about potatoes & yams in 2 minutes.
Some "Fag Facts:" (with my commentary in blue)
17% of fags eat and/or rub the feces of their partners on themselves. I guess that means gays are responsible for that expression, "shit eating grin?"
12% of fags give/receive enemas as part of sexual pleasure. That's kind of healthy actually, gets that colon cleansed. But seems kind of like busy work while you're trying to have sex.
In one study, the average fag fellated somewhere between 20 and 106 men, swallowed 50 seminal discharges, had 72 penile penetrations of the anus, and ingested feces of 23 different men EVERY YEAR. Am I understanding this? the "average fag" -- let's call him "Joe Blow" -- does it with between 20 and 106? That's quite a range! Can't they narrow it down a bit?
Many fag sexual encounters occur while drunk, high on drugs, or in an orgy setting. Oh, and heterosexuals' encounters don't? Of course in my case, it's not either/or. I like to be drunk AND high on drugs, but maybe I'm just an excessive fag. As for the orgy thing, unless you count cats who might be watching, I leave that one out.
This is just a very small sampling, I kid you not.
Here's the picket schedule for Friday, June 30. They can't seem to leave those military funerals alone.
WBC to picket funeral for Army Sgt. Jason J. Buzzard - at 12:15 p.m., Friday, June 30 - at Eversole Funeral Home, 141 Low Gap, Ukiah, California
Funeral for Marine Cpl. Riley E. Baker - at 9:15 a.m., Friday, June 30 - at Sacred Heart Catholic Dog Kennel, 350 E. 4th St., Eureka, Missouri
They also link to other websites including: Smell the Brimstone, God Hates America, Priests Rape Boys, God Hates Sweden, and God Hates Canada.
I would assume we'll eventually be blessed with God Hates Spain, God Hates Holland, God Hates South Africa. Oh screw it, just make one called God Hates the World and be done with it. Lots less work.
Sweet mother of Jesus, this is insane!
The overall cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other global anti-terror operations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will top $500 billion next year, according to congressional estimates and expectations of future funding.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said in a report that through the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the government will have spent $437 billion on overseas military and foreign aid funding. That includes the latest supplemental spending bill signed into law this month, which provided $69 billion for the war effort.
Add in roughly $1.5 billion in FY07 Foreign Operations funds for Iraq and Afghanistan; $50 billion in Pentagon "bridge" funds for the first half of FY07, plus as-yet-undetermined supplemental funds for the remainder of the next fiscal year, and total war-related costs will easily soar over $500 billion one year from now.
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday said that gays can qualify as foster parents and that barring them from parenting foster children was based on one group’s view of morality.
In a unanimous ruling upholding a lower court decision that a state ban was unconstitutional, the high court said that no connection exists between a foster child’s well-being and the sexual orientation of that child’s foster parents. Justices agreed with Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox’s 2004 ruling that the ban seeks to regulate “public morality” — something the board was not given the authority to do. And the high court said the state Child Welfare Agency Review Board in adopting the ban violated the separation of powers doctrine.
The board instituted the ban in March 1999, saying children should be in traditional two-parent homes because they are more likely to thrive in that environment. Four Arkansans sued, saying homosexuals who otherwise qualified as foster parents had been discriminated against. They contended the ban violated their right to privacy and equal protection under the state and U.S. constitutions.
Here's my earlier post with a well-written editorial from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Also a link here to yahoo news.
KUWAIT CITY - Women in this conservative oil-rich emirate voted in parliamentary elections for the first time Thursday, a vote that also inspired surprisingly vocal calls for reform and criticism of the ruling family.
MULTAN, Pakistan- Fateh Mohammad, a prison inmate in Pakistan, says he woke up last weekend with a glass lightbulb in his anus. Wednesday night, doctors brought Mohammad's misery to an end after a one-and-a-half hour operation to remove the object.
BRISTOW, Okla. - Serving on the jury in an indecent-exposure trial unfolding in this conservative Oklahoma town has been a giggle-inducing experience. Former Judge Donald D. Thompson, a veteran of 23 years on the bench, is on trial on charges he used a penis pump on himself in the courtroom while sitting in judgment of others.
And for those of you who read my post a few weeks ago about the two Texas teens who served up some
high-octane muffins to some teachers, here's the latest:
DALLAS, TX - Two teenagers were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on felony charges in connection with the delivery of marijuana-laced muffins to the teacher's lounge of a suburban Dallas high school last month. Ian McConnell Walker and Joseph Robert Tellini, both 18, each face five counts of assault on a public servant, third-degree felonies that carry sentences of up to 10 years total.
Rachel Raya, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, said that the two could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted and the court finds a controlled substance was involved.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
When I was about 12 or 13 I had my own mimeograph machine (boy, NOW I'm showing my age) and started up a school newsletter. It looked very much like the illustration above. I would use special stencil-type paper, type the newsletter (yes on a TYPEWRITER), and then I had to peel off the back and strap it onto the drum of the mimeograph, and start cranking those sheets through.
I also remember being VERY fond of the ink smell. It was probably toxic as hell. Anyone who is my age or close should easily remember getting a printed handout from the teacher. If they had just printed it off, it would still have that odor on the paper, and would feel slightly damp. I would sniff the paper like some sniff gasoline.
This was fun but I soon discovered a bigger pleasure: My very first letter to the editor was published when I was 14 and was unexpected. It was in the Los Angeles Times! My family had been on vacation in Los Angeles, it was my first visit to the city, and I wanted to write a letter expressing how much I loved LA. Someone who knew my family and was visiting LA just happened to see the letter when it was published and sent us a copy of it.
I was hooked. I began firing off letters to the editor of our two statewide daily newspapers. I focused primarily on the Arkansas Gazette which was quite liberal and at the time I was quite conservative, so I had issues to bring up. I'm not aware of any letter I submitted that wasn't published. And they were almost all unedited as well. I would occasionally send a letter to the Arkansas Democrat, the far more conservative paper. But they had a nasty habit of editing out what I felt were key points in my letters, so I stopped wasting my time after a while. [The two papers are now one, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.]
I continued to publish the weekly school newsletter until I had to transfer to a different high school where they already had a newsletter. I just decided I'd continue with mine. Bad idea. I got shut down, but I did get invited to write for the paper at the new school due to my journalistic streak. Even that wasn't enough.
I started up my own magazine outside of school called the "National Hobbyist." It was terrible and lacked focus. (Not unlike some of my nightly rants at Pam's & Shakes' place!) But at least it was mine and I was in control of all content. Plus, I would prepare the newsletter, sometimes even taping pictures in it, then send it off to a printer. About a week later I'd get 100 or so to mail out to my "subscribers." (You'd be amazed what people will send you money for when you run a small classified ad in another hobby-related magazine -- but nobody ever asked for the $2.50 refund on the annual subscription.)
That venture didn't last long and I doubt I kept it going for a full year. But it planted the seed in me that you see today. Only this is better! Total creative control, total editorial control, and instant publishing capabilities with a potential for an immediate worldwide audience. What could be better?
The only thing missing is that stinky mimeograph ink!
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld most of the Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay but threw out part, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights. The fractured decision was a small victory for Democratic and minority groups who accused Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that booted four Democratic incumbents out of office."
Full story here
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Feinstein (D-CA) (WTF is wrong with this wench?)
Reid (D-NV) (embarrassing!)
Senate supporters said the flag amounts to a national monument in cloth that represents freedom and the sacrifice of American troops.
"Countless men and women have died defending that flag," said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., closing two days of debate. "It is but a small humble act for us to defend it."
Oh pleeeeeze! Would you people stop smoking your DC crack and get down to some serious business now?
More at Yahoo >>>>>Celebrate!
And here's a good piece from the Seattle Times already on
Diane Feinstein's "flag fetish!"
Feds drop request for library records
STAMFORD, Conn. - Federal authorities have dropped their demand for records from a library computer, but not without warning the librarians who refused to release them that under other circumstances their failure to cooperate "could have increased the danger of terrorists succeeding."
Time for my little flag rant today.
I would first like to address the idiots (family, friends, acquaintances, & strangers) who have sent me emails with sh!t like this in it.
Why the hell should you even be upset about pressing "1 for English?" When you complete that task, you've only got about 18 more pressings to go before you get connected to a human (if you are lucky), and don't we know you're going to be pissed when that human happens to be in India?
What is your problem exactly? Are you just lazy, a racist or both? My apologies to anyone who may be reading who has no fingers.
And I've had similar emails coming from the same bunch advocating all sorts of nasty little things being done to illegal immigrants, and the tirades thinly mask their anger at anyone who isn't pearly white, legal citizens or not. I sometimes wonder do these people only eat "American" food? BBQ, steakhouses, McDonalds?
Thank God for our immigrant culture which gives me options for dining that I would not be happy without. Indian cuisine, Tex-Mex, interior Mex, coastal Mex, Thai, Chinese, and supposedly there's even a Chinese influenced Indian restaurant here which I must try soon.
I enjoy being around other cultures and skin colors. It reminds me of the beautifully diverse world we live in, and our country which has long been a crossroads for everyone.
I would like to print that graphic and give it the burning it so richly deserves, before it becomes unlawful for me to do so.
And now as our beloved Senate has temporarily moved on from trying to enshrine bigotry into our constitution by eliminating any options for queer folks to have any legal reconition as couples, they are taking up the issue of a constitutional amendment banning flag burning to make damn sure no one dare use their symbol (yes, that very item that soldiers die for in wars, as opposed to dying for the freedoms specified within the constitution) for any kind of protest against the policies or actions of the United States Goverment.
I am so proud to be an American. Damn, it's a good feeling to know that things in America are so ideal, our Senate has nothing better to tend to than this.
The New York Times is stirring up more stinky news with this piece on the mind-boggling waste and corruption surrounding the hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
A hotel owner in Sugar Land, Tex., has been charged with submitting $232,000 in bills for phantom victims. And roughly 1,100 prison inmates across the Gulf Coast apparently collected more than $10 million in rental and disaster-relief assistance.
There are the bureaucrats who ordered nearly half a billion dollars worth of mobile homes that are still empty, and renovations for a shelter at a former Alabama Army base that cost about $416,000 per evacuee.
And there is the Illinois woman who tried to collect federal benefits by claiming she watched her two daughters drown in the rising New Orleans waters. In fact, prosecutors say, the children did not exist.
The $7.9 million spent to renovate the former Fort McClellan Army base in Anniston, Ala., included fixing up a welcome center, clinic and gymnasium, scrubbing away mold and installing a protective fence between the site and a nearby firing range. But when the doors finally opened, only about 10 people showed up each night, leading FEMA to shut down the shelter within one month.
The mobile homes, costing $34,500 each, were supposed to provide temporary housing to hurricane victims. But after Louisiana officials balked at installing them inland, FEMA had no use for them. Nearly half, or about 10,000, of the $860 million worth of units now sit at an airfield in Arkansas, where FEMA is paying $250,000 a month to store them.
I smell ineptitude on a grand scale.
WASHINGTON - The annual cost of replacing, repairing and upgrading Army equipment in
Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to more than triple next year to more than $17 billion, according to Army documents obtained by the Associated Press.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose was arrested in Stockholm early Tuesday after allegedly biting a security guard in the leg outside his hotel, police said.
CHICAGO - Twinkies, they're not just for dessert anymore. The new "Twinkies Cookbook" has recipes for everything from a Twinkie Burrito to Twinkie Lasagna.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four pelicans suspected of being drunk on sea algae were being tested at a Southern California wildlife center Saturday after one of them crashed headlong into a car.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Thirty Cambodians suffered food poisoning after eating homemade noodles contaminated with chewing tobacco that had dropped into the batter from the cook's mouth, police said Monday.
BAGHDAD, June 26 -- A series of explosions targeting crowded markets, police officers and military patrols killed at least 38 people one day after the Iraqi government proposed a national reconciliation plan aimed at undermining the insurgency.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Here's the reply I just got from the man himself:
Dear Mr. [konagod]:
Thank you for contacting me about efforts to uphold traditional marriage. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this important matter.
As you may know, in 1996 over three-fourths of Congress passed—and former President Bill Clinton signed—the Defense of Marriage Act (P.L. 104-199). This federal law defines marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."
Under the laws, traditions, and customs of all fifty states, marriage has historically been defined as the union of a man and a woman. However, judicial rulings—and outright lawlessness by local officials in some states—have threatened traditional marriage and moved this debate onto the national stage. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas provides lower courts with the leverage needed to invalidate traditional marriage laws. And the first major assault on traditional marriage came in Goodridge v. Mass. Dept. of Health, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court—citing the Lawrence decision—overturned that state's traditional marriage law. As such, constitutional scholars on both sides of the aisle agree that the Defense of Marriage Act and similar state laws are now in peril.
I believe that judges should strictly interpret the law and avoid the temptation to legislate from the bench or color their rulings with personal ideology. During my tenure as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights, I conducted a series of hearings to determine the steps necessary to uphold traditional marriage. As a result, on January 24, 2005, Senator Wayne Allard introduced a joint resolution (S.J. Res. 1) proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I am proud to co-sponsor this joint resolution, which would allow the American people to decide on its ratification—rather than permitting traditional marriage laws to be invalidated by judicial fiat. S.J. Res. 1 has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for consideration.
You might also be interested to learn that the Texas Legislature passed a constitutional amendment (H.J.R. No. 6), which was added to the statewide ballot last year as Proposition 2. The "Texas Marriage Amendment" defined marriage as being only between one man and one woman, and on November 8, 2005, Texans voted overwhelmingly to pass Proposition 2 by a vote of more than 76 percent.
I appreciate having the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856
Well, allow me to retort!
Wait just a friggin' minute: WHO "moved it onto the national stage?" Don't pin that one on the judges. What an arrogant prick.
"The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas provides lower courts with the leverage needed to invalidate traditional marriage laws." Oh, of course, that was the sodomy law that made me out to be 2/5ths of a person, and criminal, because of something I might do in the privacy of my own bedroom with another consenting adult.
"I believe that judges should strictly interpret the law and avoid the temptation to legislate from the bench or color their rulings with personal ideology." Well, it's too f*ucking bad members of Congress can't seem to apply the same principles!
(Time out: I need to scrape away the insane ASSHATERY before I can continue. My hands are getting gummed up on the keyboard.)
"You might also be interested to learn that the Texas Legislature passed a constitutional amendment which was added to the statewide ballot last year as Proposition 2. The "Texas Marriage Amendment" defined marriage as being only between one man and one woman, and on November 8, 2005, Texans voted overwhelmingly to pass Proposition 2 by a vote of more than 76 percent. " OH, I might "also be interested to learn...?" You wad of slime, I was one of the non-76 percent who voted against that piece of homophobic fascist crap, so you are not really learnin' me something I don't know, but thanks for tryin'.
From Cornyn's bio:
Sen. Cornyn is married to Sandy, his wife of 26 years. They have two daughters.
Good for him! 26 years and even managed to procreate twice. (Did you ever engage in sodomy, John, ever?)
(konagod has been unmarried to his partner of 16 years. We have 5 cats and no legal recognition whatsoever.)
Kay Bailey Hutchinson has not yet responded to my email, but expect more of the same politispeak.
By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday in a ruling that affirmed a state death penalty law and also revealed the court's deep divisions over capital punishment. Justices split 5-4 in the term's oldest case, which was argued in December before Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement and then again with Alito on the bench.
The justices are in the final week of their term and handling some of the most contentious and important cases. They meet again Wednesday to announce more decisions.
The Kansas case was unique. The state law says juries should impose death sentences if aggravating evidence of a crime's brutality and mitigating factors explaining a defendant's actions are equal in weight.
Justice David H. Souter, writing for the liberals, said the law was "morally absurd."
But the five conservatives, including Alito, overturned a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found the law violated the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas disputed the claim by critics that the law created "a general presumption in favor of the death penalty in the state of Kansas."
The ruling affirms the court's long-held position that states should determine how juries weigh factors presented by the prosecution and defense in capital cases.
Fifteen states filed friend-of-the-court briefs, predicting that a ruling for former death row inmate Michael Lee Marsh would have required states with capital punishment to set up systems for juries to weigh evidence at sentencing.
Souter said that "in the face of evidence of the hazards of capital prosecution," maintaining a system like the one in Kansas" is obtuse by any moral or social measure."
Marsh was convicted in the June 1996 killings of Marry Ane Pusch and her 19-month-old daughter, Marry Elizabeth. Pusch was shot, stabbed and her throat was slit. Her body was set on fire. The toddler died several days later from severe burns.
In its December 2004 ruling striking down the death penalty law, the Kansas court also invalidated Marsh's capital murder conviction for the child's death, saying Marsh's attorneys should have been allowed to present evidence that someone else was connected to the murders.
No one has been executed since the law took effect in 1994 and the last execution in Kansas was in 1965.
"I'm pleased this issue is resolved, and the status of our death penalty is settled," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said. "Without this ruling, the decisions the juries made concerning the eight Kansas death-row inmates would be in jeopardy. I hope this will bring some closure to the families who have been waiting for this issue to be resolved."
Bill Lucero, the leader of a Kansas-based anti-capital punishment group, Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation, called Monday's ruling disappointing. It "just doesn't make sense" to mandate death when aggravating and mitigating circumstances are equal, he said, adding that capital cases — and the pressure they put on prosecutors to win death sentences — lead to errors.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a separate opinion on Monday to defend the death penalty and the court's ruling in the Kansas case.
"The American people have determined that the good to be derived from capital punishment — in deterrence, and perhaps most of all in the meting out of condign justice for horrible crimes — outweighs the risk of error. It is no proper part of the business of this court, or of its justices, to second-guess that judgment, much less to impugn it before the world ...," Scalia wrote.
The case is Kansas v. Marsh, 04-1170.
Never mind that the so-called "deterrence" argument is complete and total BS ! But to claim any "good" derived from capital punishment outweighs the risk of "error" (that's translated as administering a lethal injection into an innocent individual) is extreme explosive asshattery sprayage.
hat tip: Rebecca
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 26, 2006
Filed at 10:05 a.m. ET
BOSTON (AP) -- Senator John Kerry is unveiling a national energy plan today that reprises some of the themes from his 2004 presidential campaign.
The Massachusetts Democrat is calling for reducing oil imports, increasing the number of cars powered by renewable fuels and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
In remarks prepared for delivery at Faneuil Hall, Kerry proposed a hard target of reducing U.S. oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels per day by 2015. That would be an amount equal to the volume of Middle Eastern oil currently used in the country.
He says this goal could be achieved by requiring oil companies to make ethanol available at their service stations and by providing a series of tax credits to encourage the manufacture and purchase of hybrid vehicles.
Americans could do a lot more to reduce our oil usage but many drivers I share the road with seem to have little inclination to save a gallon here and there. I cannot even count all the SUVs who pass me on the highway in some mad dash to reach the red light first. What's wrong with coasting to the light rather than accelerating and then slamming on the brakes? For that 10-15 seconds of coasting I'm getting 50+ mpg while the Suburban who just passed me grasping for about 10-12 mpg.
I have an equal amount of disdain for sitting in restaurant drive-thru lanes and drive-thru banks. I would love to find a study that's been done showing the fuel wasted on a daily basis across America from unnecessary idling and racing to red lights.
Top 10 Tips for improving fuel economy.
Don't Drive Aggressively
We're not talking road rage here, but the type of driving many people do when they are in a rush. Mashing the accelerator pedal from a stoplight, braking hard and speeding all contribute to a decrease in fuel economy. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination and think "steady and smooth" as you drive. On surface streets, driving at the speed limit will give you mostly green lights, which improves your gas mileage as well as reduces the wear on your brakes. On the highway, the DOE says that every 5 mph you drive over 65 mph represents a 7-percent decrease in fuel economy.
Avoid Excessive Idling
When a car is idling, it is using fuel, yet not going anywhere. This translates to 0 mpg. When you leave your car running while you are waiting in line at the drive-thru, or as you wait outside your kids' school, you are wasting fuel. It is more efficient to turn the engine off while you wait and then restart the car. If that's not practical (like in the line at McDonald's), then park the car and go inside instead.
Good advice. Most Americans could use the exercise.
However, there were some predictable protests.
The only protesters that showed up today were from Bible Baptist Church of Conway.
A protester says, “God's plan is to be man and woman, not man and man or a woman and woman; and we believe that."
A protester says, “And we're here to let them know we don't hate them. We love them. We want them to live right. That's what the Bible says and that's what we are here to say."
Sunday, June 25, 2006
In 2005, there were at least 2,148 executions in 22 countries around the world. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States were responsible for 94 percent of these known executions. The following countries executed defendants in 2005 (most figures are only of confirmed executions):
Most Executions in 2005
1. CHINA (At least 1,770 Executions)
2. IRAN (At least 94)
3. SAUDI ARABIA (At least 86)
4. UNITED STATES (60)
EXECUTED TEXAS MAN WAS LIKELY INNOCENT
Posted: June 23, 2006
A Chicago Tribune investigation set for release this weekend will reveal groundbreaking evidence that Texas may have executed an innocent man in 1989. The defendant, Carlos DeLuna, was executed for the fatal stabbing of Texas convenience store clerk Wanda Lopez in 1983. New evidence uncovered by reporters Maurice Possley and Steve Mills casts doubt on DeLuna’s guilt and points towards another man, Carlos Hernandez, who had a record of similar crimes and repeatedly confessed to the murder. This would be the fourth investigation in the past 2 years pointing to the execution of a probably innocent man. Similar questions have been raised in the cases of Cameron Todd Willingham and Ruben Cantu in Texas, and Larry Griffin in Missouri.
All of the above was pulled from the
Death Penalty Information Center.
What I find particularly mind-boggling is the public's awareness of the possibility of innocents on death row and that not all are lucky enough to be released on DNA evidence or other proof. Check out these Gallop Poll numbers from May and you'll see just how odd public opinion can be:
"In your opinion, is the death penalty imposed too often, about the right amount, or not often enough?"
Too Often: 21%
About Right: 25%
Not Enough: 51%
"Generally speaking, do you believe the death penalty is applied fairly or unfairly in this country today?"
"How often do you think that a person has been executed under the death penalty who was, in fact, innocent of the crime he or she was charged with? Do you think this has happened in the past five years, or not?"
Has Happened 63%
Has Not 27%
konagod has to ask: how can these idiots believe the dealth penalty is applied fairly and then believe someone innocent was executed? Almost as perplexing to me is this next poll number. And the only one I am in agreement with -- it clearly does not deter murder, so why the hell are we doing this?
"Do you feel that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to the commitment of murder -- that it lowers the murder rate -- or not?"
Does Deter 34%
Does Not 64%
The following information regarding the actual cost of executions is from
Death Penalty Focus. If this alone shouldn't nudge us to abandon the neanderthal practice, then I have well & truly lost hope for America.
2005 Los Angeles Times Study Finds California Spends $250 Million per Execution
The California death penalty system costs taxpayers more than $114 million a year beyond the cost of simply keeping the convicts locked up for life. (This figure does not take into account additional court costs for post-conviction hearings in state and federal courts, estimated to exceed several million dollars.)
With 11 executions spread over 27 years, on a per execution basis, California and federal taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each execution.
It costs approximately $90,000 more a year to house an inmate on death row, than in the general prison population or $57.5 million annually.
The Attorney General devotes about 15% of his budget, or $11 million annually to death penalty cases.
The California Supreme Court spends $11.8 million on appointed counsel for death row inmates.
The Office of the State Public Defender and the Habeas Corpus Resource Center spend a total of $22.3 million on defense for indigent defendants facing death.
The federal court system spends approximately $12 million on defending death row inmates in federal court.
Sydney. Does anyone want to place bets on how long that'll last?
And this one, which is good news, but leaves the U.S. in some very sordid company indeed.
Death penalty abolished in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed a law abolishing the death penalty Saturday, giving final approval to a measure that divided many Filipinos.
Time for lunch....
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Oh, here's something interesting over at
Agape Press. Since I have some Sirius stock in my retirement portfolio, any news related to them will catch my eye.
The Sirius satellite radio network, well known for its association with notorious "shock jock" Howard Stern, is now attracting a large audience because of its addition of a Christian channel.
Scott Miller, program director for FamilyNet Radio, says the Christian channel, which features a variety of Christian talk, news, preaching, and children's programs, has already made a big impact with Sirius customers.
"It goes back to what scripture says: what the enemy intended for evil, God has used for good," Miller observes. "Sirius Satellite has been advertised as the Howard Stern radio network, and there have been people who have been buying Sirius Satellite radios to get Howard Stern that have stumbled across Channel 159 and have accepted Christ."
OK, whatever. I somehow have a difficult time believing that someone would sign up for satellite radio in order to hear Howard Stern, then stumble across a Christian channel, and suddenly "accept Christ." But we do live in an odd world. Oh, leave the world out of it, we live in an odd country! Just keep 'em paying that monthly subscription fee and help out an old pagan fag in his retirement years!
I think I prefer Sirius channel 106 instead.
Oh wait! I have found Jesus and he's bearing gifts from God! I guess Saturday night isn't going to be as boring as I thought!
Friday, June 23, 2006
Tater Tot is the newest member of our feline family. He appeared in early October and was about a year old. The boy had been abandoned or left his home voluntarily we think. He had an ugly red growth on one of his toes that would periodically bleed. I could not figure out why it would never heal.
On December 30, txrad and I were drinking tequila and txrad let Tater Tot come in the house permanently. Tater Tot slept in the bed with me all night.
The next morning there was blood on my sheets and bloody track marks in the bathroom. Another vet visit was on the agenda. I got him to the vet the next morning, New Year's Eve.
It turns out, Tater Tot's toe claw had somehow gotten damaged or torn off and a bone had actually broken. I really wish we'd taken him to the vet weeks earlier but we didn't know. The boy got the rest of his toe amputated and had to wear a purple sock on his foot for the next few days which was quite a funny sight actually.
But he's fine now and a very happy member of our family. He's a brat though. He loves to chase the girls out of the litter box and spends his days napping on his daddy's desk while daddy tries to work.
WASHINGTON - Republican senators weighing a 2008 presidential bid united behind
President Bush's Iraq policy, while potential Democratic candidates favored troop withdrawals but split over a deadline for ending the U.S. military's combat presence.
Four of the six Democrats flirting with a possible bid — Dodd,
Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Joe Biden of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana — took a middle-of-the-road approach.
Link to AP story.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Gay or straight
Just find the best parents
Consider the latest legal brouhaha surrounding the idea of homosexual couples being foster parents. The way the state’s Department of Health and Human Services now operates, pending the latest from the courts, not only are homosexual couples forbidden from adopting, but a man from Waldron is not allowed to be a foster parent because his homosexual son sometimes lives with him.
(I know: let's pass a law to keep children out of restaurants. Heaven forbid, their food might be served by an evil homosexual.)
Never mind whether or not the man from Waldron is a good parent. The law says he either has to stop being a parent to his biological son or stop being a parent to any other child who needs one. These days, the issue of homosexuals as foster parents is being back-and forthed in the state’s Supreme Court. For which we can be thankful because (a) this might finally be the end of it, and (b) Justice Donald Corbin gets a chance to ask questions. And it’s always an adventure to figure out some of the verbal tangents he takes. Justice Corbin is fast becoming our favorite quotee in the daily paper. He has, to borrow a line from Steve Martin, a certain words with way. This time, he asked the lawyer for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services: “Aren’t you assuming that homosexuals engage in sexual activity more than heterosexuals?”
Goodness, what’s that got to do with anything? Jimminy crickets, Your Honor. Don’t even go there. Luckily for the state’s attorney, Mr. Justice Corbin quickly came up with a better question. Actually, it’s the question: “What are you trying to protect against?” Turns out the state isn’t so sure. It seems to be operating on the thesis that homosexual couples wouldn’t be good foster parents because, um, well, you know . . . they’re (stage whisper) . . . homosexual.
Here’s our Solomonic solution: See that orphans go to the best foster parents available. Period. In an ideal world, yes, the best foster parents would be a mom and a dad in a stable home where the kids are given three squares a day, have limits on TV time, walk to a great school with the state’s best teachers, play in the clean and safe neighborhood park, do their homework every night and are made to wash behind their ears, which of course they do enthusiastically. But just on the chance that Arkansas—or any place else—doesn’t have an endless supply of these Cliff and Claire Huxtables and Ward and June Cleavers, we should broaden the pool of qualified candidates who are willing and able to be foster parents. And, yes, those candidates might include homosexual couples who can offer kids a loving, stable home.
Because our goal here is to take care of the kids, right? It’s not to make a political statement. It’s not to give in to fear and stereotypes. It’s not to adopt rules that exclude qualified folks on the basis of their being good, loyal parents to their natural children. Like that man from Waldron and his homosexual son. The state’s guiding principle should not be the rights of any adults involved, homosexual or heterosexual or asexual, but what’s best for the kids. Shouldn’t the state act morally, and isn’t putting the next generation first the essence of public morality?
In search of that not always simple goal, it wouldn’t hurt to apply some common sense—as The Hon. Robert Brown did when he questioned the state’s attorney, Kathy Hall. Justice Brown wondered if, before this law took effect in 1999, any problems had come to light with homosexual foster parents. Especially since—that commonsense thing again—there surely have been homosexual foster parents before 1999 A.D. Ms. Hall, bless her honest heart, couldn’t come up with problem one.
Kansas City InfoZine which I highly recommend as well.
Boots show the cost of Iraq war
Dayton Daily News.
More than 2,400 pairs of black boots lined the Ohio Statehouse lawn last week like white grave markers at a military cemetery. "Eyes Wide Open: The Human Cost of the War in Iraq" used the pairs of boots to represent U.S. military deaths in Iraq. The traveling exhibit, created by the American Friends Service Committee in January 2004 with 504 pairs of boots, visited Columbus for three days. Most boots are purchased from Army surplus stores, but some families donate the boots worn by their loved ones. An assortment of shoes represent the estimated 100,000 Iraqis killed in the war.
Senate rejects call on Iraq troop pullout.
"Withdrawal is not an option. Surrender is not a solution," declared Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who characterized Democrats as defeatists wanting to abandon Iraq before the mission is complete.
This situation is only going to worsen, in my opinion. It's been 39 months of hell, blood, bombs, and bodies. Pulling out is not "surrender" and the mission will never be "complete." I'll just go on record right now with that firmly-held belief.
It reminds me of a big mistake I made a few years ago in the stock market. I invested in the new Stratosphere Hotel & Casino -- one of the worst financial decisions I've ever made. The stock started to tumble. Refusing to believe I'd made a horrendous investment I decided to pour additional money into the stock. It kept dropping.
My rationale was this: I purchased stock at $15 per share. It was down to $5. So I figured if I bought 500 more shares at $5 it would lower my average cost per share closer to $7, and when it returned to $12 or $15 I'd really rake it in.
The stock continued the tumble down to $1.00 and even lower. I continually pumped more dough into this until at some point I was sitting on 18,000 shares. And I was naive enough to believe it would make me rich when the stock started to soar. With each $1.00 increase, I'd be making $18,000.
Needless to say, I'm not rich. I eventually sold all my shares for something absurd, like 15 cents per share. I HAD to "cut and run" because there was nothing left to hang on to. And I'm STILL claiming a tax deduction on my losses, 7 or 8 years after the fact.
There’s a great post over at MediaMatters.
Summary: As Senate Democrats debate two proposals regarding U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, news outlets have gone out of their way to frame the Democratic differences over how soon to redeploy forces as politically favorable for the Republicans while not reporting that the Democrats' position is shared by a majority of Americans, that the war supported by Republicans is deeply unpopular with the American public, and that the GOP's alternative plan appears to involve remaining in Iraq indefinitely.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
If you didn't see this, it is WELL worth the watch! And the Colbert Report had a hilarious piece on the "snake marriage" BS in India. Pam's House Blend has a clip. Us bloggers are going to have to kick it up a notch to avoid losing marketshare to Comedy Central.
|You Are 37% American|
America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!
Well apparently konagod is in yet another minority group! Honestly, I probably would have scored even lower but the questioning about sports forced me to pick one (women's basketball and soccer as opposed to Nascar and football) when in fact I don't give a crap about sports. So consider me in the 20s somewhere.
It's been a few months since I first heard a song on our local radio station by Brandi Carlile. I was in the car and when I got home I immediately went to Rhapsody to do a search. We listened to the entire album that night and have been listening to it almost nightly ever since.
Despite my current poor financial situation I was compelled to purchase tickets when I saw she was going to play a gig here in Austin. I can't even remember the last time we went to a concert but there are certain artists that I find so incredibly talented that I cannot pass up an opportunity to see them live. (Fiona Apple is another such artist-- we will be seeing her on July 6.)
We arrived at The Parish, a small upstairs club in downtown Austin, around 8:30. As expected, it was like walking into a lesbian bar. We waited about 30 minutes before Gran Bel Fisher took the stage for his opening set. He's a very talented 24-year-old with a voice that can, at times, be compared to Jim Morrison.
It was awhile between sets before Brandi Carlile appeared. We trudged through the dyke-infested crowd to take a position at the far right front of the stage which afforded a great view of everyone but the drummer, obscured from my view by a column at the stage. With a capacity of 400, the club was small and intimate enough that any position was a good one. But I do like being close enough to see facial expressions.
A woman tapped me on the back and said, "Wow, are you like the only guys here?" Obviously we weren't but we were clearly in the minority in terms of our sex, but not our orientation.
Finally, Brandi and her band appeared. Their opening number was Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a Changin" which resonated as an uplifting political statement in this crowd. For the next 90 minutes I was unable to move except for a quick race to the nearby men's room which, thanks to the crowd demographics, was always empty! What a perk for us guys!!
One very unique aspect of her band which caught me by surprise were the highly animated identical twins with shaved heads flanking Brandi -- Tim on guitar, and Phil on bass. It was quite a surreal and unforgettable visual straight from a David Lynch dream. Some of the more vocal lesbians in the crown got louder as more alcohol was consumed and there were the standard yells from the crowd between songs of "You're HOT Brandi!" and requests for her to come for a "sleepover." Txrad commented that some lesbians, when horny and drunk, behave remarkably similar to macho heterosexual men at a female mud-wrestling event.
Not to be outdone by the dyke contingent, during a short break between songs I finally shouted out, "Gay guys love you too!" Brandi immediately grabbed her bassist, pulling him next to her and said "I thought they just loved Phil." My gaydar had already pegged him as one of us.
The encore was lengthy and mostly solo Brandi on guitar. It was supposed to be Brandi and her cello player, but he was ill from a food-poisoning incident. She said she was nervous to be up there solo without her cello player but she could not have seemed more confident and delivered an overall astounding performance.
After the show I decided to purchase the newly re-issued debut CD which includes 2 new versions of a song from the intial release, plus 2 bonus tracks. After listening free on Rhapsody countless times, it was time to claim ownership of this remarkable gem. They are working on a new CD, will probably record sometime in August, with T. Bone Burnett producing. I am waiting patiently.
3rd gay-pride parade in Conway, Ark. has yet to draw protest
BY DEBRA HALE-SHELTON ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
CONWAY — The city’s third gay-pride parade is set for Sunday, so far without the protests that accompanied the first two events. Co-organizer Robert Loyd said Tuesday that he was glad the parade has become almost a nonevent when it comes to publicity. “It’s been great,” he said. “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am.”
The parade is to begin at noon outside what is known as the Pink House on Robinson Street and end at Simon Park on Front Street, which is adjacent to City Hall. Loyd and parade co-organizer John Schenck live in the Victorian-style Pink House. Joining Schenck and Loyd in planning the parade is the Little Rock-based Center for Artistic Revolution, a statewide organization that combines education, community organizing, art and cultural work, and civil-rights advocacy.
Conway has loosened route restrictions that angered parade organizers last year. This time, the parade can cross the downtown railroad tracks, pass the Conway police station and go down part of Oak Street. “We anticipate everybody being orderly,” police Chief Randall Aragon said. Loyd said that, except for two pellets shot through the front windows of the Pink House recently, no complaints about this year’s parade have been made.
“No death threats, no hate mail, no protesters,” he said. “People are getting used to it,” Schenck added. Post-parade festivities will include food vendors, bands, singers and a belly dancer. Plans for the city’s first gaypride parade, in 2004, stirred emotions to the point that a Greenbrier farmer dumped a truckload of manure on the streets around the Pink House the day of the event. Scores of people later stood along the parade route, where they prayed, sang and held signs displaying their opposition to homosexuality.
No major problems occurred during last year’s event despite the presence of some protesters, including several white supremacists.
A couple of pellet holes in a window isn't what I'd call an official "complaint."
The poll numbers are dropping for Little Ricky! His approval rating has skidded to a four-year low, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The lead for Santorum's Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Bob Casey, has stretched to 18 percentage points since early May.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The Omnipotent Poobah is worth checking out. From the blog:
Rumsfeld: "I Find It Strange the Laws Apply To Me"
The top dogs in the Bush administration operate, not in a bubble, but in a separate political solar system where the usual rules of gravity don't apply. It's a world where double-speak is the lingua franca, you can fail more times than a New Orleans levee, and say things that are patently untrue with little risk of blowback. If we held the CEO-in-Chief and his executive staff to the same standards as the faceless middle managers at GM, the whole lot of them would be out on the street begging alms for the inept.
I don't understand why there isn't more blatant outrage among Americans calling for an end to it before thousands more die for a lie, not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars WASTED by this failed and embarrassing Bush administration. Congress seems hellbent on plunging head-on into the abyss at full speed. And as each member who supported and continues to support this mayhem comes up for re-election, I want nothing more than to see them toppled from office, one by one.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The bodies of two U.S. soldiers reported captured last week have been recovered, and an Iraqi defense ministry official said Tuesday the men were "killed in a barbaric way." The U.S. military said the remains were believed to be those of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore.
CAIRO, Egypt - The new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq illed two U.S. soldiers whom the group abducted last week, an insurgent umbrella group said in a Web statement posted Tuesday. The statement, which could not be authenticated, said the two soldiers were "slaughtered," suggesting they had been beheaded by Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.
The Arabic word used in the statement, "nahr," is used for the slaughtering of sheep by cutting the throat and has been used in past statements to refer to beheadings.
The Wall Street Journal Online has a piece worth reading today.
"The administration has tried to use positive developments in Iraq to prevent further declines in public support for the U.S.-led venture by demonstrating that the war-torn country is turning a corner."
Good luck with that strategy!
Monday, June 19, 2006
If you happen to walk by a business and see a huge basil plant growing "wild" next to the building in the parking lot, is it stealing to snip off a few leaves? Or what if you are at a nursery and you see a plant spewing its seed all over the ground and you pick up a couple to bring home.
I need to know if it's stealing. I'd like some comments here. I have a site meter and I know there are visitors lurking.