BAStard !!

The Pequannock school board has nothing on THIS corporate tool.

Dear Wine Lovers of Florida,
Once again, legal, direct-to-consumer wine shipping is being challenged in Florida.
Senator Burt L. Saunders has sponsored Senate Bill 126, which if passed, will impose a complete ban on winery-to-consumer shipments from any winery or wine company producing more than 250,000 gallons, or about 100,000 cases.
The cap applies to a wine company’s aggregate production total, and because some wine companies own several wineries, the bill will remove your ability to purchase wines directly from any of these individual wineries. Many wineries will be affected, and therefore, many wine lovers will be removed from mailing lists, wine clubs, etc.

ACTION: Please personalize and fax the sample letter below to Senator Burt L. Saunders. District Office Fax (239) 417-6223
And fax a copy to Jeremy Benson, Free the Grapes! at fax (707) 254-0433.
If this sounds familiar, it is because Senator Saunders sponsored SB144 in 2006, which also included a production cap. Fortunately, that bill died in committee.
We don’t want you to be suddenly cut-off from your favorite wineries, but we’ll need your help. So please write the Senator today and forward this email to your wine loving friends!
Free the Grapes!
Jeremy Benson
Executive Director
(707) 254-1107

Sample letter in extended section.

Read more »

Maybe They’d Chill Out

…if they could loosen up.

Predominantly Muslim Pakistan, where most people are banned from drinking alcohol, is set to get a domestically produced, 20-year-old single malt whisky, an official at the company making the drink said Wednesday.
The malt whisky is due to go on sale in July to non-Muslims and its makers are not expecting huge sales.
“There is also a ban on export of alcoholic beverages abroad so this whisky will only be available to a few in Pakistan,” said Mohammad Javed, general manager at the Murree Brewery.

I give that factory about a week and a half before barrels go up in flames.
And is THIS the kind of religious mollycoddling/appeasement we have to look forward to, once Islamic cab drivers get their way?

…Muslims, who make up the vast majority of Pakistan’s more than 150 million people, have been banned from drinking alcohol in the country since 1977.
Until then, alcohol was legally available for Muslims in bars and restaurants but then prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who is said to have enjoyed an occasional drink, imposed the ban to shore up support from Islamists.

Oh, in a pig’s eye!
Throttle your bottle and shout:

“Hell NO, we won’t let go!!”

I’m Not Sure It Was a ‘Gang-Style Clothing’ Crackdown

Student Forced To Remove “Gang-Style” Gators Shirt
Two Osceola County parents said their son was humiliated at school when he was suspected of wearing “gang-style” clothing. Saint Cloud Middle School said only a handful of students were searched last week when they got a complaint.
The parents told Eyewitness News, if their son was wearing low baggy pants or a bandana, by all means he should have been sent home, but he wasn’t. He was wearing a Florida Gators t-shirt.
Robert and Sara Crosby can’t understand how their son could be connected to gang activity, especially by wearing a Gators t-shirt.

I’m sure it was just a simple gut reaction to the picture on the shirt. Like the way our dogs never have to poop during a walk until they’re in front of a lawn with a Gators flag flying. Then it’s bombs away ~ no stoppin’ ‘em. Like it’s a mission and a mandate. (In all fairness, it’s the exact same reaction when they spot FSU colors. ‘Animals are dumb and colorblind’. Yeah, right.)
So Mom and Dad ~ cut the school board a huss and put the kid in Spongebob. He shouldn’t pay for your questionable loyalties, errors in judgement and downright offensive taste.

Being a Master of ‘Fuzzy Math’, I Declare This to Be

‘fuzzy’.

Parents left in a lurch by new city school-bus routes refused to roll with the changes yesterday, with some defiantly sneaking their children onto buses and others keeping their little ones home in protest.
… “I’m not taking any chances with my children,” said Denise Neibel, one of a handful of parents in the Roxbury neighborhood, who put their kids on a yellow bus bound for PS 114, even though they were told to take public transit.
Anyone who thinks that it’s appropriate for a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old to take public transportation to school made a really bad error in judgment,” Neibel said, referring to her daughter, Isabella, and son, Sam.
… The department had estimated that the restructuring, which initially included cutting 250 routes and consolidating hundreds of others, would save the city $20 million. It has since lowered the estimate to $12 million annually based on 116 route cuts.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein defended the scheme before Queens parents last night, saying the first two days of the rerouting “went very smoothly” and that $16 million paid to the consulting firm of Alvarez & Marsal to identify the cuts was worth it.

Sure it was.

While the Pequannock School Board Is At It

…why don’t they just crawl up the randomly selected freshman a$$ to check for proof of consumed transfat laden french fries?

Students at Pequannock Township High School in New Jersey will soon be subjected to a new sort of pop quiz, one that alerts their parents if they have been drinking.
They face a random urine test for alcohol, but unlike saliva swabs or Breathalyzers, the ETG urine test can detect whether a student has had a drink anytime in the last 80 hours, so a Friday night party would register on a Monday morning test.
…Now Pequannock and several other schools around the country are using government grants to step up their alcohol monitoring, as underage drinking and driving kills about 2,000 people under the age of 21 each year.

Doesn’t this cost boatloads of M-O-N-E-Y? New Jersey schools are so W-E-A-L-T-H-Y, they have leftover cash to fund this fascist little witch hunt? (Of course, it’s ‘for the chi-dren’, so that makes it okay.) And the end is result is “I’ll call your mommy“?! Sorry, folks ~ I’m with the ACLU on this one.
We can’t get Bingley in situ soon enough.

The Devil’s

in the debit. Disclosure: I’ve never used mine ~ never felt the need to and, as time goes on, really look askance at the whole concept. The Red Tape fellow points out more things I wasn’t aware of. In the comments about the smarmy world of debit card fees there are tons of know-it-all “don’t spend more than you have/try balancing a checkbook/duh-keep track of your transactions/learn to add” one liners. They ARE common sense in a checkbook world, but they’re really not applicable to debit carding, because of what you don’t know is going on in the electronic hell energized when you swipeth.
Your running bank balance ~ however scrupulously calculated on your part ~ is rendered moot by a dirty little trick gas stations in our neck of the woods use. When you tender your debit card for purchases, they authorize a larger sum, which is NOT reflected by your receipt, or what eventually posts to your account. You THINK you’ve bought $20 worth of petrol, but they’ve authorized $35+, which stands until the ACTUAL charges have been paid. Now, that’s an additional $15 out of your account that you have no clue has been temporarily debited. So, like our starving college student Ebola did, knowing you’d only spent $20, you go buy a movie ticket or swipe your card at the Winn-Dixie and you’re overdrawn. And going INSANE trying to figure it out. And HAMMERED for the additional $30 friendly overdraft, which never REALLY was one to begin with. Over and over again. It wasn’t until a short piece our local news ran exposing and explaining the practice that we had a clue. And cold comfort to his poor wallet hundreds of dollars later, not to mention all the abuse he took from us about “Jesus, how hard can it be to keep track of?!”
I’ve also started run across this from different institutions when, as an artist, I’ve run a customer’s debit card. They’ll call me in a panic because, after checking in a day or two, the transaction has posted TWICE on their online screen. I’ve only run it through once. Their BANK posted it twice. It quietly goes away AFTERwards. But, if they hadn’t checked… And at least their bank posted both, instead of ~ like Navy Federal in Ebola’s case, for instance ~ just posting the transaction amount, not the authorized deduction.
I think that all should be illegal. It’s certainly unethical. If I’m to be penalized for an overdraft, I think I should KNOW that I’ve actually BEEN overdrawn. Gas stations (or whatEVER businesses do something this foul) should be forced to put signs on the pumps with a disclaimer that the authorized amount for your purchase with a debit card will temporarily be increased by whatever over the actual purchase, for ‘this time period’.
Where else is charging someone for services NOT rendered/delivered, with no warning ~ especially with the potential for such dire consequences for the unknowing victim ~ legal?

If It’s Easier to Put Ethanol in Your Tank

…the chicken is your pot is gonna cost more.

Tyson, the world’s largest protein producer, on Monday warned that boosting US ethanol production would spill over into higher global food prices.
The US group said consumers would bear the brunt of domestic price increases being pushed through to compensate for the near-doubling of corn costs last year, spurred in part by the competing claim on the crop to make ethanol.
Food producers have expressed concern about the effect of ethanol-driven corn prices for months but calls for a food-versus-fuel debate have grown louder in the wake of last week’s White House plan for a five-fold rise in renewable fuel production over the next decade.

I’d noticed that last week at our little natural food co-op. El pollo loco had gone up almost a dollar a pound, seemingly overnight.
When it was already at $3.49 lb, that’s a bad thing. $4.49 lb puts it in the ‘get something else’ thing.

Presented Without Further Comment

My vote for headline of the day:

Cats lose visiting privileges at women’s prison

Damn, Damn, Damn

They had to put him down.

What a big, brave guy he was and bless his owners’ hearts for doing everything they could.
We’ve all been there having to make that decision. And tearing our hearts out.

Quote of the Day

How in the world is cold air blowing on an out-of-shape sweaty dude’s genitals supposed to make you feel like drinking a lemon-lime beverage?

I give up. Ask Bingley.

Gobble-Dee

gook.

Advocates hopeful Congress will ban racial profiling
The repercussions of an airline’s decision to remove a group of imams from a commercial flight in Minneapolis could be heard in Congress this year, where newly dominant Democrats are ready to consider a national ban on racial profiling.
…”I’m convinced that once the body of evidence of racial profiling occurring in our nation is presented before the U.S. Congress and the American people, that indeed they’ll be compelled to do something about it,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau.
…Feingold’s bill, the End Racial Profiling Act, didn’t come up for a vote in the GOP-controlled Congress in the last session, and there was no House version. The bill would have banned racial profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement, defining profiling as “the practice of a law enforcement agent or agency relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion” during investigatory activities.
It included an exemption when specific information “links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to an identified incident or scheme.”
…Peter Gadiel, of Kent, Conn., president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, mocked the legislation.
“The 9/11 atrocity was committed by 19 young single men from Arab nations. If you want to hand this country over to terrorists, why don’t you say it right out front?” said Gadiel, whose son, James, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. “We don’t have to worry about 80-year-old ladies with bleach-blonde hair and southern accents.”

I dunno about that statement. Our 80 year olds here are usually from Sheboygan.
UPDATE: Like, if you look back on it, WAS 9-11 such a big deal? I mean, really? Worth all this fuss afterward?
Really, cooler heads should prevail.

…Yet as the comparison with the Soviet experience should remind us, the war against terrorism has not yet been much of a war at all, let alone a war to end all wars. It is a messy, difficult, long-term struggle against exceptionally dangerous criminals who actually like nothing better than being put on the same level of historical importance as Hitler — can you imagine a better recruiting tool? To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence.

Via Crittenden.

Sometimes They ALL

just make me sick.

Republicans feel withdrawal of troops must begin in the next six months for their party to have any chance at retaining the presidency in 2008

By God, when hanging on to the White House is driving policy ~ vice conscience, duty and honor ~ we’ve doomed ourselves.
I guess no one worries about having to live with themselves afterwards, as long as afterwards, they still get to live in Washington.

When I Get My Award For Environmental Excellence…

Will they send a private train for me, too?

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in New York from Philadelphia by private train and visited the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy.
The royal couple are on a weekend visit to the United States focusing on youth development, urban renewal and environmental stewardship.
…Earlier in the day, the couple waved to adoring fans in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as they walked to a private church service. The couple spent Saturday and early Sunday in Philedelphia.
Afterward, they boarded the New York-bound private train, accompanied by the dean of Temple University’s School of Education, C. Kent McGuire and several other Philadelphia-area community leaders.
“The prince was gracious and engaged,” said McGuire, who said the prince talked about urban redevelopment and other issues his 17 foundations address.
On Sunday evening in New York, Prince Charles is scheduled to receive an award from Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. He also is expected to give a speech on environmental issues. Last year’s recipient, former Vice President Al Gore, is scheduled to present the award.

Well, Sis might get me a bottle of Night Train to celebrate, I suppose. And I’d raise a toast to Chuck, as well, because that’s the kind of big-hearted guy I am.
Unlike these fellows:

While Charles has won kudos from environmentalists for his calls to action on global warming, British environmentalists have said the prince should have abstained from flying to the United States. In response, Charles’ office said it would cancel a skiing trip to Switzerland, a gesture that would reduce his carbon footprint — the carbon dioxide created by his travels.

The sacrifices that he is willing to make really brings a tear to my eye.
I’m too choked up to continue.

I Guess If I Were the New York Times

…and someone who worked for me had the nerve to appear on TV and say something like THIS

Times editors have carefully made clear their disapproval of the expression of a personal opinion about Iraq on national television by the paper’s chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon.
The rumored military buildup in Iraq was a hot topic on the Jan. 8 “Charlie Rose” show, and the host asked Mr. Gordon if he believed “victory is within our grasp.” The transcript of Mr. Gordon’s response, which he stressed was “purely personal,” includes these comments:
So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it’s worth it [sic] one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we’ve never really tried to win. We’ve simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think that if it’s done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something.

…I’d be compelled to whack his peepee, too.

…I raised reader concerns about Mr. Gordon’s voicing of personal opinions with top editors, and received a response from Philip Taubman, the Washington bureau chief. After noting that Mr. Gordon has “long been mindful and respectful of the line between analysis and opinion in his television appearances,” Mr. Taubman went on to draw the line in this case.
“I would agree with you that he stepped over the line on the ‘Charlie Rose’ show. I have discussed the appearances with Michael and I am satisfied that the comments on the Rose show were an aberration. They were a poorly worded shorthand for some analytical points about the military and political situation in Baghdad that Michael has made in the newspaper in a more nuanced and unopinionated way. He agrees his comments on the show went too far.

It is pretty diametrically opposed to what I’m assuming the NYT editorial staff is used to getting from him. And how dare he offer his personal opinion when asked for his…personal opinion.
What I want to know is, since his personal opinion is also based on his experience but is an anathema to the NYT and (apparently) their readers…what does that say about his reporting? Is that fashioned to suit his employers then and not a reflection of what he actually sees?

A Cautionary Tale: When Making Plans for That ‘BIG’ Weekend

…of Lounge Lizard fantasies, remember to bring a spare if things go wrong.

Mozart, an iguana with an erection that has lasted for over a week, will have his penis amputated in the next couple of days.
Veterinarians at Antwerp’s Aquatopia had sought to treat the animal’s problem, but decided removal was the only solution because of the risk of infection. The good news for Mozart and his mates is that male iguanas have two penises.
Mozart, sitting on the shoulders of his keeper as camera crews focused on his red, swollen erection, seemed unperturbed by the news.
“It doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t know what amputation means,” said vet Luc Lambrecht, adding that Mozart’s sexual activity should be undimmed by the operation.
I don’t think so. That’s all in his head.

I think that’s true of males in general.

Oh, ICK! It’s Raining

…bodies!! I don’t think I’d recover, either.

Jumpers leave workers sleepless in Seattle
A bridge over Seattle is becoming hazardous to the mental health of the dot-com employees and other office workers below, who keep seeing people jump to their deaths from the span.
Thirty-nine people over the past decade have committed suicide off the 155-foot-high Aurora Bridge — eight in 2006 alone — and counselors are regularly brought in to help office workers deal with the shock of seeing the leap or the bloody aftermath.
At least one woman, Sarah Edwards, drives on the left side of the street near her office ever since a body landed on the hood of a co-worker’s car.

I’d never sleep again.

The Islamic Version

…of “Baby Boom”?

A dramatic surveillance video released today by Scotland Yard shows a suspected terrorist placing his explosive-laden backpack next to a mother and her child riding on a London subway car.

…On the tape, other passengers on board the subway car can be seen trying to get away from Mohammed except for a fireman, Angus Campbell, who bravely stayed to confront Mohammed.
Prosecutor Nigel Sweeney told the jury, “Mohammed said not that it was a bomb but rather, ‘What’s the matter? It is bread; it isn’t me,’ pointing at the backpack.”

Set the Professor’s WayBack Machine to


1994.
Irony, thy name is “Rather”.
A warm Swill salute to Mike.

By-the-Bye, OUR Rules

are here.

In order to ensure that the additional combat troops being deployed to Iraq can achieve their objectives, we must change the current restrictive rules of engagement (ROEs) under which they are forced to operate. The current ROEs for Baghdad — including Sadr City, home of the Mahdi Army — have seven incremental steps that must be satisfied before our troops can take the gloves off and engage the enemy with appropriate violence of action.

(1) You must feel a direct threat to you or your team.
(2) You must clearly see a threat.
(3) That threat must be identified.
(4) The team leader must concur that there is an identified threat.
(5) The team leader must feel that the situation is one of life or death.
(6) There must be minimal or no collateral risk.
(7) Only then can the team leader clear the engagement.

These ROEs might sound fine to academics gathering at some esoteric seminar on how to avoid civilian casualties in a war zone. But they do absolutely nothing to protect our combat troops who have to respond in an instant to a life or death situation.
If our soldiers or Marines see someone about to level an AK-47 in their direction or start to are receive hostile fire from a rooftop or mosque, there is no time to go through a seven-point checklist before reacting. Indeed, the very fact that they see a weapon, or begin to receive hostile fire should be sufficient justification to respond with deadly force.

I feel better already.
Where’s my sandal?

Oh, Great

NOW

he decides to grow a pair.
UPDATE: In a further spin on this concept, Allah has posted on this WaPo story about the authorization to terminate Iranian agents with extreme prejudice. I would offer that, as major dad has always said, we need to understand that ALL these guys play by “Hama Rules“…

…When Syria’s Baath regime feels its back up against the wall, it always resorts to “Hama Rules.” Hama Rules is a term I coined after the Syrian Army leveled – and I mean leveled – a portion of its own city, Hama, to put down a rebellion by Sunni Muslim fundamentalists there in 1982. Some 10,000 to 20,000 Syrians were buried in the ruble. Monday’s murder of Mr. Hariri, a self-made billionaire who devoted his money and energy to rebuilding Lebanon after its civil war, had all the hallmarks of Hama Rules – beginning with 650 pounds of dynamite to incinerate an armor-plated motorcade.
Message from the Syrian regime to Washington, Paris and Lebanon’s opposition: “You want to play here, you’d better be ready to play by Hama Rules – and Hama Rules are no rules at all. You want to squeeze us with Iraq on one side and the Lebanese opposition on the other, you’d better be able to put more than U.N. resolutions on the table. You’d better be ready to go all the way – because we will. But you Americans are exhausted by Iraq, and you Lebanese don’t have the guts to stand up to us, and you French make a mean croissant but you’ve got no Hama Rules in your arsenal. So remember, we blow up prime ministers here. We shoot journalists. We fire on the Red Cross. We leveled one of our own cities. You want to play by Hama Rules, let’s see what you’ve got. Otherwise, hasta la vista, baby.”

How do we answer to “no rules at all“?

Break Out Your Bestest, Shiniest Kilt

They’re gonna be highland flinging in Philly.

Of course Bingley…

…has been left off the guest list thanks to his penchant for smirking in a ghastly and untimely fashion (check the last photo).

As Mean As He Is to Them, Should Bingley’s ‘Adventures in Art’ Ever Become Public Knowledge?

The ACLU would gladly cover his backside. Or best side.
Whatever.

A high school art teacher has hired the ACLU to challenge his firing after a video of him moonlighting as a “butt-printing artist” was widely circulated among his high school students.
The executive director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said a public employee such as former teacher Stephen Murmer has a right to free expression outside the workplace as long as it does not interfere with his job.

Is ‘ass’ a noun, adverb or adjective in this case ? (The art teacher ~ not Bingley. He‘s gonna be governor.)

When Visiting the Garden State, DON’T Drink the Water and ESPECIALLY

…don’t eat the squirrels.

New Jersey has warned squirrel hunters near a toxic waste dump about consuming the critters because they could be contaminated with lead.
It is the first time the state has cautioned Ringwood residents, many of whom are members of the Ramapough Mountain Indian tribe who hunt and fish in the area, about their squirrel intake, said Tom Slater, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Senior Services.
…“We’ve known for a long time something was wrong here, we just didn’t know what it was,” resident Myrtle Van Dunk said.


What we need in that state is a little regime change.
Toxic rodent ingestion will be allowed when Bingley gets elected governor.
I promise.

I’m Sure This is Comforting to All Concerned, BUT

…if I remember correctly, they can’t handle the ones that are already there.

Plan to tighten UK border controls
Moves to strengthen Britain’s borders may see more passengers checked by immigration staff before they even get on a plane, under new legislation.
A leading immigration expert said that he expects the Government’s UK Borders Bill to include plans to introduce more passport checks by British staff based overseas.
Similar schemes already operate on the Eurostar train service from France.
Checking that a traveller is allowed to visit the UK before they set off eliminates potential illegal immigrants from being able to claim asylum when they arrive in the country.

How About “You’re Fired”?

Man, I am so tired that this crap is still going on

In the past five years, 5,400 would-be taxi passengers at the airport were refused service for this very reason, said the Metropolitan Airport Commission, or MAC. Last May, passenger Bob Dildine says he waited for 20 minutes, and five cab drivers would not give him and his daughter a ride. He was carrying wine he bought on vacation.
…”It is expressly stated,” said Kahlid Elmasry of the Muslim American Society. “Transportation of alcohol for Muslims is against the Islamic faith, and therefore forbidden.”
Last September, airport officials sought a compromise, and suggested that distinctive lights could be put on the roofs of cabs operated by drivers who will not transport alcohol. That way, taxi starters — airport staff who direct people into cabs — could send passengers with alcohol to those drivers who have no objection.
“But the feedback we got, not only locally but really from around the country and around the world, was almost entirely negative,” said airport spokesman Pat Hogan. “People saw that as condoning discrimination against people who had alcohol.”

No sheet, Sherlock. It’s also the State forcing a set of religious beliefs upon someone, which you would think might upset someone in the People’s Republic of Minnesota. Oh, wait, those beliefs aren’t Christian.

Right now, MAC says any cabbie who refuses a passenger carrying alcohol must go to the back of the line. No small thing, given cabbies often have to wait at the depot up to three hours for the next fare.
But because MAC officials have received thousands of complaints, they’re considering stiffer penalties: a 30-day suspension for a first refusal, a two-year suspension for a second.
“We’re now at a point where the drivers may have to make a choice,” said Hogan.

Hello? They made a choice when they became cabbies: to serve the public, all of the public. They can not discriminate. They should be fired. Not ‘sent to the end of the line’.

The interview with Adan took a long time. Our fare came to $150, a very good day for him. Normally, he makes about $100 a day, so it became more clear to us that refusing a fare is a big loss. But Adan said he won’t accept the idea that in America a cab driver should allow something his religion forbids.

Well, you have to, Adan. That’s what America is about. In your private life you can do mostly whatever your religion demands. But when you are in public, especially when you are licensed by the State to provide a service to other citizens, you render unto Caeser.
However, I hear that cabbies on Mogadishu can refuse whomever they’d like.

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