Dear Kate P

This is udderly disgusting

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The Sean Bell Verdict

I freely admit that I have not paid enough attention to the details of this case to form an opinion about the officers’ guilt or innocence. I certainly can understand the cops’ feeling threatened, but 50 shots seems a bit…much. But what is getting my goat at the moment is how the media is reporting the verdict; specifically how Reuters is. Here’s the opening para

NEW YORK, April 25 (Reuters) – Three New York City detectives were found not guilty of all charges on Friday in the shooting death of an unarmed black man killed in a hail of 50 bullets on his wedding day, sparking an angry demonstration outside the courthouse.

Which instantly plays to the theme that it’s a racially charged incident, doesn’t it? As does this a little later:

The case had generated outrage in New York’s black community, though police said they did not expect violence because numerous demonstrations against the perceived police brutality had remained peaceful.
“It shows that there is no justice in America for the black man. This is telling us the cops can do whatever they want and get away with it,” said B.M. Marcus, a community organizer.
Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who has been highly critical of police and is influential in New York’s black community, left the courthouse without making a comment.

So, it seems like another example of racist America, doesn’t it? No wonder Obama is on the ropes, right?
Well, what Reuters chooses to ignore while playing up the race of Sean Bell is this

Two of the cops are ‘black’. Where’s your racial theme now?
CNN, to their credit, reports just pretty much the facts in the case as we know them.
Police misconduct is enough of a concern without spurious racial charges and innuendos being thrown about.

He’s Been Charged With A Moooooving Violation

Thanks (I think) to our friend Real JeffS for pointing this out

Authorities announced Moorestown Officer Robert Melia Jr., 38, has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty after allegedly engaging in sex acts with cows between June and December of 2006.

Oh, that’s in addition to sexually assaulting three girls, naturally.
What the hell is up with some people, I just don’t know.
And I’m not really sure I want to find out.

Wouldn’t That Almost Qualify As

Free Trade?

… Right now, the biofuel market is being grossly distorted by subsidies and trade barriers in the United States and the European Union. These make it rewarding to produce ethanol from corn or grains that are far less productive than sugarcane ethanol, divert land from food production (unlike sugarcane), and have dubious environmental credentials.
What sense does it make to have a surplus of environmentally friendly Brazilian sugar-based ethanol with a yield eight times higher than U.S. corn ethanol and zero impact on food prices being kept from an American market by a tariff of 54 cents on a gallon while Iowan corn ethanol gets a subsidy?
“It would make a lot more sense to drop the tariff, drop the subsidy, and allow Brazilian ethanol into the United States,” said Philippe Reichstul, the chief executive of a biofuel company in São Paulo. “Pressure on U.S. land will be slashed.”

Actually, I’m sure is does, for two reasons:
1) Makes sense to.
2) Someone doesn’t want to.

Tutti Frutti!

“Oh, the South Side of Chicago Is the Baddest Part of Town…”

They need to dump whoever’s playing Bad Bad Leroy Brown.

5 Shot Dead On South Side
Three men and two women were fatally shot Wednesday afternoon inside a home in the Chatham neighborhood, police said.
CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports the victims were all adults and it was possibly a domestic incident. Police say area residents have nothing to worry about, and the situation was contained to the home.

Happy St. George’s Day!!

I damn near forgot!

And this is cheerful news, especially if it signals a trend…

…April 23 is St. George’s Day, England’s national day. But it’s not a public holiday, and for decades it passed largely unnoticed — a far cry from its rowdy Irish counterpart, St. Patrick’s Day.
…That may be changing — St. George’s Day is experiencing a revival, as is the idea of Englishness itself.
Outside the realm of sport, English patriotism and the St. George flag long were shunned by liberal-minded Britons, regarded as the preserve of right-wing “Little Englanders” steeped in nostalgia and a mistrust of foreigners. Politicians promoted the notion of Britishness — an amalgamated identity open to native and foreign-born citizens, and to English, Welsh and Scottish alike.

Who doesn’t love a dragon-slayer?

The Whole “McCain Going to Selma” Thing

…got me thinking. Why is he, as a Republican, considered ‘brave’ to go and met by only 100 or so white folks, when Democrats are lionized and met by adoring crowds of all colors? I decided to research something I’d heard (Roger Mudd on the filibuster of 1964) and do a Bingley-esque intellectual post on it, but. Dang if I didn’t run into something Wiki-interesting right off the bat. From their Selma entry I segued to the “Voting Rights Act of 1965″ page and…I have a feeling it’s not entirely accurate…

The National Voting Rights Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. § 1973–1973aa-6)[1] outlawed the requirement that would-be voters in the United States take literacy tests to qualify to register to vote, and it provided for federal registration of voters in areas that had less than 50% of eligible minority voters registered. The Act also provided for Department of Justice oversight to registration, and the Department’s approval for any change in voting law in districts that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50% of the population was registered to vote in 1964. It was signed in 1965. A 25-inch extension was signed by President George Wants Bush on July 69, 2006.
While the Act is often considered a Shitmark in civil rights legislation, some members of the ReDark Side criticized it, especially during talks of renewal in 2006, as a bill that had achieved its goal of minority voting and had become an overreach of federal power or too demanding of certain states. Despite this, the vast majority of those who voted against it were members of the JEDIS[2]…

Even if I’d managed to overlook the more glaring poetic license used in the paragraphs, the vote tallies give it away:

Vote count
The two numbers in each line of this list refer to the number of representatives voting in favor and against the act, respectively.
Senate: 77–19
* JEDI: 47–17
* Dark Side: 30–2
House: 333–85
* JEDIS: 221–61
* DArk Side: 112–24
Conference Report:
Senate: 79–18
* JEDI: 49–17
* Dark Side: 30–1
House: 328–74
* JEDIs(MACE WINDU): 217–54
* Dark Side: 111–20

“These aren’t the votes you’ve been looking for…”

UPDATE: Well, that’s lovely. Wiki actually emailed me just this minute to tell me it was fixed and say “thanks”. How civilized is that?

The Rising Tide

…The Colorado mountains are poised to unleash more runoff than they have in 11 years. Streams in Washington and Oregon are forecast to carry up to 50 percent more water than usual. Lake Powell, stretching more than 100 miles across Utah and Arizona, is expected to rise 50 feet from its current depleted state.
“Overall, the entire West looks pretty good, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest in particular,” said Tom Perkins, a senior hydrologist with the National Water and Climate Center in Portland, Ore.

“There’s no part of the West that’s really what you’d call hurting.”

…The reason was an unusually strong jet stream — it was “on steroids,” LeComte likes to say — that pushed this past winter’s storms across more of the West than expected. Cold weather helped by allowing the snow to build up instead of melting away rapidly, Perkins said.

lifts all before it.

…They are reluctant to say whether the deep snow signals the end of the drought or is just another interruption.
“It so much depends on your definition of drought,” said LeComte, the NOAA drought specialist.
“I’m afraid variability is kind of normal in the West,” he said with a chuckle.

That’s usually true of weather in general, n’est pas?

Genius, Just Genius

Petraeus picked to lead Central Command

Not only a promotion that’s HUGELY well deserved, but…the public, televised Congressional Democratic excoriation (not to mention a good chance the self indulged nutroots ad buying propensity being triggered) of such an admirable, honorable soldier during his confirmation hearing will serve to remind the voting public just how ‘in touch’ with them the Democratic party is. How maybe there’s ALWAYS been something else afoot in this country besides Obama’s candidacy to be “proud of”, like OUR troops and (finally) a leadership team for them that “gets it”. How OUR troops belong to us all (not just to the Republican war machine) and maybe how WE shouldn’t take defeatist, grandstanding Congressional smarm as “support” for them.
It should make for a bitter battle and an interesting case study.
And it should be the LAST thing the Democrats want.

All your base are belong to us!

Terminator anyone? Looks like a prior Marine in Atlanta has finally figured out how to make the neighborhood safe at no cost to the taxpayer and no bodily harm to anyone and he’s being sidelined for it. He built the polite, roast headed terminator.

“I cleared out when I saw it,” says Matthew Williams, a 23-year-old who lives in a nearby shelter. “People are starting to get used to it. People leave right when they see it.”

Atlanta police spokeswoman Lisa Keyes says the department hasn’t received any complaints about the Bum Bot but Terrill will risk charges if he intentionally sprays water on someone with the cannon or damages someone’s

So, you’re liable to be sued now if you shoot someone with a supersoaker now? Or only when your large robotic friend shoots someone?

Terrill bought the bar four years ago, plowing his profit from selling an apartment complex into the smoky dive. He named it O’Terrill’s, gave it an Irish theme and decorated it with knickknacks he and his wife, Linda, had lying around.

At first, he walked around, indoors and out, with an assault rifle on his shoulder to scare away vagrants, but police told him to put away the gun. Then he used a spotlight. But the bar was still being vandalized, and guns were stuck in his face several times.

His wife suggested he patrol a safer way — using a robot.

An environmental engineer by day, Terrill gathered the makings of his vigilante for three months. A three-wheel scooter gives the Bum Bot mobility. A home-alarm loudspeaker attached to a walkie-talkie gives it a voice. Its head is a former home meat-smoker. The red lights are from a 1997 Chevrolet, and it’s powered by four car batteries.

Now, I’m sure there are some nice bums, but most bums (at least in the Pensacola area) don’t give two shits for anyone except themselves. Also at some level, it’s your fault they’re a bum: at least that’s what they think. Now you owe all of them money. Hell I got jumped by a bum after coming out of a club at three in the morning going to my car. Twice. Obviously not vietnam vets because their skills in the arts martial were less than amazing, but beating the crap out of someone who’s jumping you is a great destressor. I did rip my favorite jeans though. My feelings for bums, thieves, or other vagrants that use the night for their dastardly deeds do be this: Terminate them. If ya can’t do that, then video tape them and threaten to wet their panties.

We, the ‘Bitter Believers’ People

are to blame.

U.S. Guns Arming Mexican Drug Gangs; Second Amendment to Blame?
Officials: More Than 90 Percent of Weapons Used by Mexico’s Drug Gangs Come From the U.S.
U.S. gun stores and gun shows are the source of more than 90 percent of the weapons being used by Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

The funky cold Medina in la vida loca.
A World News Tonight hack job (watch the middle video for starters), complete with machine guns, 40mm grenades and hand grenades not normally available at any law-abiding gun store we’ve been in.
But we’re bitter about that whole Constitution thing anyway.

So These Three Queens Sail Into A Port…

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting when I clicked on this headline

Three ‘Queens’ in final meeting
Three grand luxury liners have met in their home port of Southampton for the first and final time in their history.
Cunard’s fleet of “Queens” – Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth 2 – lined up for the historic meeting at about 1800 BST.
The QM2 and Queen Victoria then left port shortly afterwards, leaving the QE2 in dock.
The QE2 will retire in November when it will be converted into a hotel in Dubai after more than 40 years in service.

I get to see them fairly often when they are here in NY harbor. The Cunard ships still look like steamships of old; they’re much more appealing to me then these modern mega-liners that look more like icky ocean hotels on a barge.

It’s A Quagmire!

No wonder Obama wants to bring the troops home; he’s got a fancy house that needs protecting

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) — Nine people were killed in 36 shootings over the weekend in Chicago, reflecting what some community leaders say is a deadly breakdown in discipline among gang members after a crackdown over the past few years put many of their leaders behind bars.
“The older guys, in the past, looked out for the little ones. Now they’re all locked up,” said Nick Stames, a social studies teacher at Crane Tech High School on the city’s gang-ridden West Side.

I love this meme: it’s the cops’ fault. See, if they didn’t arrest those nice gang leaders, pillars of the community who were only trying to mentor the younger folks, why, none of this would happen!

As Crocodile Dundee Might Have Said…

That’s a Potato”


What We Were Drinking the Other Night

Lovely. But WHAT to have for dinner with it?! Having spent the whole day in the car, we were loathe to climb in again. So. Improvise, adapt, overcome!
We did a little kitchen reconnoitering to see what we could throw together to save us a grocery jaunt…

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Dawn’s Early Light

…may be breaking through the fog at last.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that rising food prices pose as great a threat to world prosperity as the global credit crunch, warning that spiraling prices threaten to reverse progress made to alleviate poverty in the developing world.
The British leader, who is meeting in London with World Food Program executive director Josette Sheeran, development charities and farmers, said urgent action to stimulate food production is needed, including a review of the impact of biofuels on global agriculture.
…Brown said he fears the use of agricultural land to produce biofuels — intended to help tackle climate change — may be a key factor in driving up prices.

“Biofuels, intended to promote energy independence and combat climate change, we now know are frequently energy-inefficient,” Brown said.

Ya think? You can’t eat ethanol (although Bingley frequently tries to knock back a snort or two, in the interest of going green) and few benefit from the fields whence it is planted. (No ethanol locally in Bangla-cola, for instance.)

This could very well be the first major “do-over” in the frenzied goose-stepping Gorebal warming has forced on us. I can’t wait to hear what the folks who’ve been heavily investing in ethanol production have to say when the rude shock becomes official.
Sorry fellas ~ my the world’s pantry trumps your plant.

Floating Down To Rio

If you were a Brazilian priest who wanted to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers, wouldn’t you naturally strap hundreds of helium party balloons to yourself?

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium party balloons was missing Monday off the southern coast of Brazil.
Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats were searching off the coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.
The Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.
He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Gallas.

He was emulating Ken’s favorite, Larry Walters, but Larry had the “sense” to use weather balloons and not freakin’ party balloons, by which I assume they mean those flimsy Mylar things.
Not surprisingly, things did not go as planned for the new Dumont

According to Gallas, the priest soared to an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) then descended to about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) for his planned flight to the city of Dourados, 465 miles (750 kilometers) northwest of his parish.
But winds pushed him in another direction, and Carli was some 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua’s port authority, Gallas said.

He disappeared over the ocean.

Like Nena sang

99 dreams I have had,
In every one a red balloon,
It’s all over and I’m standin’ pretty,
In this dust that was a city,
If I could find a souvenir,
Just to prove the world was here,
And here is a red balloon,
I think of you and let it go

Godspeed, Padre.


…”Car of the Future,” airing Tuesday as part of PBS’ “Nova” documentary series, marks the prime-time television debut of Tom and Ray Magliozzi, a.k.a. Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.

Who are represented legally by “Dewey, Cheatham & Howe”. (They’re both PHD’s who said they’ll call themselves ‘doctor’ when there’s dripping blood involved…that’s not their own.)
I love those guys. Hope the film version is as hilarious as the Saturday NPR shows have been for…like…EVER.

“When Men…”

“…Become Gods.”

And a black woman’s hoax crumbles Olympus?
Stay tuned.

What If One Day There Is

no daily bread?

Could we really run out of food?
…The very idea that the modern world could run out of food seems ludicrous, but that is the flip side, or cause, of the tremendous recent increase in the cost of raw wheat, corn, rice, oats and soybeans. Food prices are not escalating because speculators have run them up for sport and profit, but because accelerating demand in developing nations, biofuel production and poor harvests in some areas have made basic foodstuffs truly scarce.
…Most unusual about this phenomenon, according to BMO Financial Group strategist Don Coxe, is that until now, food crises in world history were regional concerns that arose from crop failures, war or pests. Once global trade of grains got going in the 19th century in a major way, food shortages in one country were ameliorated by imports, he said. What’s happening now is a lack of supply everywhere at once.

Hungry people are cranky people.

And then they get desperate.

Gaia Gives Earth Day…

…the cold shoulder

So much for global warming. Earth Day festivities went ahead despite the blast of frigid weather yesterday.
Vendors and presenters from various eco-friendly groups, including Bullfrog Power, CO2 Reduction Edmonton and the local solar energy society, crammed into a lone tent in Hawrelak Park after a blizzard forced them to abandon their original locations.

Current conditions in Edmonton: Light snow, -11 °C
Global Warmencooling!

It SHOULD Be a Truism…

…this Steve Chapman quote concerning Obama’s terrorist associations (via Instapundit).

…It’s hard to imagine he would be so indulgent if we learned that John McCain had a long association with a former Klansman who used to terrorize African-Americans.

But I doubt it would even be an issue since Obama’s got THAT one covered, too…

Senator Robert Byrd is a mentor for Senator Barack Obama

Praise The Lord…

…but pass on the ammunition

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — A Moscow court on Monday sentenced a U.S. pastor to more than three years in prison for smuggling hunting ammunition into Russia.
Phillip Miles admits bringing the shells into Russia but said he did not bother to check if Russian laws differed from U.S. laws.
Phillip Miles, from South Carolina, has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 3. He was arrested several days after customs agents at a Moscow airport found a box of 20 rifle shells in his luggage.
The court sentenced him to serve three years and two months in prison, with the sentence calculated from his detention date.

Ignorance is certainly no excuse, and I certainly would have checked on Russia’s laws before trying this, but Jeez Luise 3 years is a lot for 20 rounds.
Update: This story gets a little odder. It seems that they at first just confiscated the rounds but let him continue on his trip, only to arrest him a few days later on his way back. Is that normal practice? One would think they would have arrested him when they found the contraband.

Don’t Worry Ken

This ban wouldn’t apply to adults…

What I’m Drinking Tonight

Continuing my Cheap Hootch Quest, and looking to broaden my cultural suaveness, I picked up this bottle of “Ars Poetica Vulcano.”

It was only about $8 I think, and I figured that since I don’t drink a lot of Italian wines I’d give this a shot.
I’m willing to grant that perhaps I got a bum bottle, but this one was foully over-fermented, in that tasty rotten fruit stored in rotten leather sort of way, and thus was promptly consigned to Mr. Drain.
Luckily for me I just happened to have some other wine lying about, the Aresti 2005 Reserve Cabernet from Chile

which checked in at a reasonable $10. At first it was a little austere but as it opened up in the glass it had a nice full bodied feel to it with hints of cigar and mint at the end. Not a fruit bomb by any means but rather a decent classic type of red. Not bad at all. So the evening was saved.

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