Thursday, January 29, 2009

Illinois Senate Unanimously Votes to Fire Gov. Blagojevich!

To the surprise of virtually no one, the Illinois Senate voted Rod Blagojevich out of office and barred him from running for any elective position in the state by a vote of 59-0. CNN has a report of today's action. Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn was sworn in to take over as governor of Illinois.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is Nothing Sacred? Part Deux

School District To Ditch Veterans Day
Source: WBBM News Radio 780

CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (WBBM) -- School board members in District 300 have taken away a school holiday next year claiming students don’t understand the meaning behind the day. WBBM’s suburban bureau chief Julie Mann has more from the newsroom of the Daily Herald.

Veterans Day will no longer be a day off for students in the Carpentersville’s based School District 300.

School Board members approved the school calendar for the new school year and took November 11th away from the list of school holidays and voted to seek a wavier to hold classes that day.

According to the Daily Herald, the move met with the approval of several area veterans who attending the meeting some who noted Veterans Day is an observance not a holiday.

Students in School District 300, instead of having November 11th off, will be in class and will honor veteran’s during class work that day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Passing the Torch

Picture courtesy of "Patriot Humor," a subsidiary of

Changing the subject to the soon-to-be ex-Governor Blagojevich:

Late Show with David Letterman
● So cold, that thing on Gov. Blagojevich’s head went into hibernation.
● Gov. Blagojevich is being impeached. The state of Illinois is already looking for a crooked politician to take his place.

David Letterman's Top Ten list:

Top Ten Ways Rod Blagojevich Can Improve His Image

10. Star in new television series, "America's Funniest Haircuts"
9. Quit politics and become a fat, lovable mall cop
8. Start pronouncing last name with Jerry Lewis-like "BLAGOOOOYYYYYJEVICH"
7. Offer a Senate seat with no money down, zero percent interest
6. Team up with John Malkovich and Erin Brockovich for hot Malkovich-Brockovich-Blagojevich sex tape
5. Change his name to Barod Obamavich
4. Safely land an Airbus on the Hudson River
3. I don't know . . . how about showing up for his impeachment trial?
2. Wear sexy dresses, high heels, and say, "You Betcha!" a lot
1. Uhhh . . . resign?

Late Night with Conan O'Brien

● Earlier today Gov. Blagojevich did all these interviews, and in one of them, he compared himself to Martin Luther King. Blagojevich then said, “I have had a dream, and for $100, I’ll tell you about it.”
● Yesterday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was interviewed by Geraldo Rivera. They billed it as “an interview with the most hated man in America . . . and Rod Blagojevich.”
● Blagojevich is being criticized because he recently compared his experience to that of Nelson Mandela. Which may be a stretch — but at least he got the prison part right.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

● Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said today he was considering Oprah Winfrey for the Senate. That’s ridiculous — Oprah’s way too powerful to waste her time in the Senate. She’s got real muscle.
● Although, she’s got enough money to buy it from that guy.
● Gov. Blagojevich is continuing on a media tour he’s doing. He was on “The View,” the “Today” show, “Good Morning America,” and his hair was on “Animal Planet.”

Lee Cary wrote some choice words in American Thinker -

"In a political environment these days without humor, I like Blago. He's the political bad boy of our age....

"I liked Blago when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (ever hear a reporter call him "Fitz"?) slid behind a bank of media microphones and accused Blago of political corruption. Perish the thought -- political corruption in Illinois politics! That's like announcing there's sin in Vegas. This came before Blago had a chance to consummate a deal to parlay the appointment of Obama's senate seat into some benefit to Blago's ownself. So he's guilty of wanting some reward for a political favor. We're shocked...."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stating the Obvious About Apathetic Parents

Backlash Erupts Over NV Chancellor's Comments

Republicans have sharply criticized university system Chancellor Jim Rogers' comments about parents in his State of the System address [how strange - usually Republicans are the first to call for increased parental involvement].

Rogers, who has been fighting Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons' proposed drastic budget cuts to higher education, took aim at an apathetic public in Friday's speech.

"Your only relationship with the education system is to ship your unprepared kids to school, not with the expectation of success, but with the demand that an education system, inadequately funded, develop and/or repair children that you as a parent did not prepare for school or support while your children attended school," Rogers said.

In a joint statement, Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, and Nevada Republican Party Chair Sue Lowden said it's unfair to blame parents for education failures.

Rogers, in his address, said parents might have to face tax increases and sacrifice so that their children can go to college.

"You have to take part in your child's education," Rogers said. "Your responsibility does not stop as they walk out the door to catch the bus."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inauguration Day Miracle

With nearly 2 million visitors who showed up to witness President Obama's inauguration, officials in charge of security in Washington, D.C. reported that there were no arrests, no serious injuries, no property damage, and 30 lost children returned to their parents. Source: Washington Post.

UPDATE: Aaron Brenzel of Eternity Road has a different take on what went on in our nation's capital yesterday.

Hungarian Surgeons Remove Two-and-a-Half Pound Kidney Stone

Surgeons in the Hungarian city of Debrecen, 150 miles east of Budapest, removed a kidney stone 17 centimetres in diameter (about the size of a coconut). Those who have suffered from them know that even a small kidney stone can cause excruciating pain. This story was reported by the Daily Mail and FOX News.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Are Airlines Abusing the Patriot Act? (rhetorical question)

Tamera Jo Freeman lost custody of her children after an incident on a Frontier Airlines flight. "A woman spanking her child is not as great a threat to aviation as members of Al Qaeda with box cutters," says one expert.

While everyone else is offering saturation coverage of the inauguration of President Obama, I found this L.A. Times story about something so obvious that it barely qualifies as news. Here are some excerpts from the article:

At least 200 passengers have been convicted of felonies under the Patriot Act, often for behavior involving raised voices and profanity. Some experts say airlines are misusing the law....

"I had no idea I was breaking the law," said [Tamera Jo] Freeman, 40, who spent three months in jail before pleading guilty.

Freeman is one of at least 200 people on flights who have been convicted under the amended law. In most of the cases, there was no evidence that the passengers had attempted to hijack the airplane or physically attack any of the flight crew. Many have simply involved raised voices, foul language and drunken behavior.

Some security experts say the use of the law by airlines and their employees has run amok, criminalizing incidents that did not start out as a threat to public safety, much less an act of terrorism.

According to FAA guidelines issued in 2007, "interference or intimidation of a crew member by itself is not chargeable under the [criminal] statute unless it rises to the level of physical assault, threatened physical assault or an act posing an imminent threat to the safety of the aircraft or other individuals on the aircraft."

Sept. 11, however, changed everything. Within two months of the attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, a sweeping attempt to improve the nation's defenses against international terrorism. It included broad new powers for law enforcement in such areas as electronic surveillance, money laundering and search warrants.

Included were two key provisions on airline security. The first defined disruptive behavior as a terrorist act, reflecting the seismic shift in airline security.

The second broadened the existing criminal law so that any attempt or conspiracy to interfere with a flight crew became a felony -- a change that allowed flight personnel to act against suspicious passengers even if they hadn't begun an actual assault.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Joe the Plumber Makes CNN Nervous!

Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher, known to the public as "Joe the Plumber," has been making a series of video reports from Israel for Pajamas Media. This has stirred up a lot of resentment among "professional" journalists, but we believe it is a smart career move on his part, as it helps keep the name of this potential candidate for elective office before the public.

Bush Commutes Sentences of Compean and Ramos!

In his last full day as President, George W. Bush commuted the sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents, whom many believe were being punished simply for doing their jobs. These men are expected to be released within the next two months.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beware of Conficker!

Microsoft has issued the following warning about this worm, which has infected nearly 9 million machines:

Back on Oct. 23, 2008, Microsoft released a critical security update for Windows: MS08-067. Isolated attacks existed at the time of the bulletin release and in our blog we strongly recommended installing the security update as quickly as possible. Later, a few trojans that exploit this vulnerability were found and a month from the release of the bulletin we blogged again, this time about the first worm which exploited that vulnerability: Win32/Conficker (here and then here).

Over the last couple of weeks, a new variant of this worm has been affecting customers. We detect it as Worm:Win32/Conficker.B. In addition to exploiting MS08-067, this variant also uses other propagation methods; it tries to copy itself to network shares by guessing their passwords. If the password is weak, it may succeed. It also tries to spread via removable media.

To read the Symantec report, go to

UPDATE: The Associated Press says that this worm may be a dud, and while it spread quickly, may not be as much of a threat as originally feared.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Are the Days of the Old Media Numbered?

Below the Beltway quotes Charles Martin, who wrote:

Newspapers are the first to go, because they depend primarily on classified advertising, or what might be called “nearly classified advertising” - such as the display ads for jewelry and perfume in the Style section of a newspaper. Magazines are already feeling it as well. Look at a copy of Newsweek or Time next time you’re out. They are still hampered by the fact that it’s expensive to print on physical paper. Meanwhile, their virtual competitors can deliver “impressions”: people who see the advertisements, for far less, and provide content that’s literally up-to-the minute. In response, many magazines - especially trade magazines that don’t require glossy images - are already moving to web-only very.

What then? This won’t stop. Advertising-paid television is on the same track. I don’t have any use for broadcast TV any longer, I depend on cable. And I’m one of millions. And I know people who get all their television from YouTube or Hulu, by Netflix and by download.

To some extent, the television networks are protected by the relatively high cost of production. But that won’t last. Last night I was watching Ed Driscoll’s piece “The Red Queen’s Race“. Ed appears to presents it in the sepia-toned set of a Victorian mansion, but in fact he shot it entirely in his home studio. The whole “set” is digital. Steve Green shoots his PJTV segments in his basement. Mine are shot in my office. And gives you access to an amazing variety of original content, made by semi-professional creators who will only get better with experience....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just as the Public Is Crying Out for a Hero, One Emerges

Meet the Hero of Flight 1549
By Ryan Tate, 7:06 PM on Thu Jan 15 2009

Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III was the last person to leave US Airways Flight 1549 — a true captain, he swept the center aisle twice to ensure no one else was still on board.

Sullenberger appears to have landed a plane as safely as possible on the Hudson River, as all passengers survived, including one baby. Even the airplane's manufacturer was impressed, telling the Daily News, "Ditching an aircraft is a significant accomplishment on the part of the pilot, as opposed to crashing one." In fact, no one in 45 years has crash-landed an airplane in the water with no fatalities, the tabloid said. (We're curious who pulled this off 45 years ago.)

An ABC News reporter also saw Sullenberg's work first-hand and was impressed:

Sullenberger made what ABCNews' Robin Roberts, who saw the crash from her apartment, called a "perfect water landing" into the frigid waters of the Hudson River off Manhattan.

The atmosphere in Sullenberger's cabin was notably calm, said the Daily News:

Passengers described the scene moments after the plane hit the water as "organized chaos," but also said there was little panic as they helped each other reach the exit - allowing women and children to go first.

Sullenberger, 57, has been with US Airways since 1980, and prior to that spent six years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. He was also an instructor in the Air Force, graduated from the Air Force Academy and has graduate degrees from Purdue University and the University of Northern Colorado. He lives in Danville, California.

And he has a safety consulting firm called Safety Reliability Methods, so he'll soon be rich beyond his wildest dreams, probably.

(Photo of Sullenberger via The Smoking Gun.)

Fortunately, the passengers and crew of US Airways Flight 1549 didn't have to wait long to be rescued.

Return of the Moustache

REAL men are reclaiming the mo, wearing their hirsute upper lips as a symbol of masculine pride. Stars like Nicolas Cage and Colin Farrell are leading the way.

Trend forecaster Anni Macbeth told The Daily Telegraph in Sydney that young men were experimenting with the look as a way of asserting their manliness.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"The Alchemy of Deceit"

The Alchemy of Deceit
by Teeka Tiwari
Chief Investment Officer, Point and Profit
Source: The Tycoon Report, 17 January 2009

You know who’s been rubbing me the wrong way lately? George Soros.

I give George all the professional respect in the world for what he has accomplished, it is truly remarkable. I have no problem with the way the guy makes his money, but I hate the way he has consistently called the imminent collapse of the US economy every time we stumble.

Beware the Hungarian billionaire offering you the shirt off his back ...

To hear George Soros speak, you would imagine that he is the living embodiment of munificence and all around good guy purity. For a guy with a reputed net worth north of 9 billion dollars, he sure makes it a habit of spreading around wild predictions that don’t come true.

Back in the 1980’s, 1990’s and now in the double 0’s George Soros is once again sounding the clarion call for the economic death of the United States. According to Soros we are at the end of a 60-year super bubble fueled by a supply of easy credit that has now disappeared forever.

So it’s different this time, right George?

Bah! How many times have we heard that it's different this time? Come on!

If we are to believe Mr. Soros, it would seem that all of the massive technological and industrial improvements of the last 60 years should be discounted to zero. As if industrial progress and technology-driven efficiencies had nothing to do with the global expansion of wealth. Right George, all that industrial production was fake and just engineered off an expanding money supply!

Puuulease! Give me a break George; come on ... what’s your hidden agenda? This whole altruistic "let's warn the world" act just doesn’t wash with me.

So what is the Big Man's agenda? Could he be playing the whole world false? People this wealthy don’t get that way by putting their fellow man first. (If they did, Oprah would be worth a trillion dollars!)

What I think we are seeing is masterful misdirection.

Could he be trying to drive liquidity away (or towards) certain areas of the market?

Maybe it's pure ego ... the man does suffer from self-professed messianic fantasies. For people like Soros real life is not real, it's a game. This guy looks at the world and everybody in it as a chess piece. Living, breathing, feeling human beings don’t factor into his mental abstractions.

All of the above doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is his whole altruism act. To me it smells of nothing more than advanced game theory. My point is that too many people place too much stock in the public utterances of these so-called "masters of the universe." To assume that these public figures are not above engaging in massive manipulation of public sentiment for their own ends is naive.

This is the third time that Soros has called the end of the American economy. Maybe the third time's a charm! I don’t think so, but what I do know is that typically people who believe in such bleak outcomes usually grew up under bleak circumstances.

Remember that Soros is a Hungarian Jew who grew up under Nazi and then communist occupation. His early childhood could very well have been imprinted with experiences of violence, racism and senseless death. Look, I’m no shrink, but I can imagine it's pretty tough to have faith in a better and brighter future after witnessing the horrors of both Nazi and communist rule.

Fortunately for most of us, we didn’t grow up under such conditions. Our belief in ourselves is an article of unquestioned faith. It is our faith in ourselves, in our country and in our ingenuity that will see us through the dark economic days ahead.

New credit will be sparingly given out over the next several years, but it won’t grind to a halt. In my opinion, all we are seeing is the low end of a credit cycle bust.

But the print and TV media will be singing a different tune. Don’t buy into it. The best practical advice I can give you today is to tune out the media's sensationalism.

The media’s there to gather eyeballs so they can sell more advertising. They are not an altruistic font of stock market wisdom. Your own common sense will take you far further than any sound bite from some talking head on the tube.

To say that the cycle is now permanently broken is as ridiculous as saying that stocks can’t come down when experiencing a rampant bull market. Remember the “New Era” freaks from the 1990’s? These people believed that we had entered a new era of permanent stock market growth.

Prepare yourself for the other side of that coin as the doom-and-gloomers preach a “New Era” of permanent economic under-performance. It’s coming, watch out, and when you see it I want you to laugh and laugh and laugh.

Summer doesn’t last forever, and neither does Winter. We will overcome our current economic malaise, because it is not different this time.

An Example of an Unenforceable Contract

A California man was arrested for selling his 14-year-old daughter for 100 cases of Corona beer, 50 cases of Negra Modelo, six bottles of wine, fifty cases of soft drinks and 50 cases of Gatorade. Several cases of meat were also promised.

When the father, Marcelino De Jesus Martinez, failed to receive any of these items, he called the police, who promptly arrested him AND the groom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From the People's Republic of Boulder: Chair of Conservative Studies Doesn't Have to Be Occupied by a Conservative!!

This just in from

CU's College Democrats oppose hiring of right-wing prof
Boulder campus still raising money for 'conservative thought' chair
By Lance Vaillancourt
Monday, January 12, 2009

CU leaders last year announced plans to create a $9 million endowment to fund the Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy on the Boulder campus, which long has been derided as a liberal bastion.

So far, CU only has raised $575,000 in private funds toward that goal, campus officials said Monday.

But regardless of how long it may take the university to fully fund the conservative post, College Democrats say they’re not going to wait to launch a campaign against it.

“The entire concept of a Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy politicizes academics in a way that is contrary to the university’s mission,” senior Jesse Jensen, president of the College Democrats, said Monday. “By endowing a chair in one specific political ideology, we are not promoting intellectual diversity — we are tokenizing a point of view that should be presented in all classes on political thought.”

CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said endowed chairs are nothing new in the realm of academic instruction, and the Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy has been discussed on campus for years and has received support from a wide spectrum of faculty members and administrators.

The program, supported by Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson, would invite renowned scholars in the field of conservative thought to CU to serve annual residencies and preside over the discussion of the political ideology’s role in any number of academic disciplines.

“People need to understand what this is before they oppose it in a knee-jerk way,” Hilliard said. “The concept of the endowed chair is to bring in a conservative scholar — not an activist — who has been classically trained, holds an advanced degree and has studied the impact of conservative thought on history, politics and economics.”

Opposing the chair before it’s even been endowed, let alone filled, is premature and unwarranted, Hilliard said, because there are no stipulations requiring those who fill the chair to be aligned with the right.

“It isn’t a requirement that this scholar is even conservative,” Hilliard said. “We have French teachers who aren’t from France . . . We are simply looking to improve intellectual diversity on campus.”

The College Democrats’ Jensen, however, said that if CU is looking to improve academic diversity, creating an endowed chair for conservative professors is going about it in the wrong way.

“One-sided politics have no place in the academic world,” Jensen said. “Our faculty understands that and so do our student leaders. If students want conservative thought, they need only speak up during any political science class and they are bound to find a vocal member of the Republican Party willing to offer a retort.”

Sophomore Gregory Carlson, one such outspokenly conservative member of the student body, said he supports the endowed chair as an effort to help combat the left-leaning bias he believes is prevalent in campus classrooms.

“In my personal experience, there is ample opportunity for students to see the liberal philosophy on matters,” Carlson said. “But I think it’s important for students to see every part of the picture when coming up with opinions about the world.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

Is Nothing Sacred?

Now that investment bankers, mortgage lenders, and Big Three automakers have come begging for corporate welfare payments, porn kings such as Larry Flynt and Joe Francis (of "Girls Gone Wild" fame) have gotten into the act, according to Brent Bozell III.

Skin-flick makers are a shameless and cynical bunch, so with an eye on the opening of the latest "adult entertainment" expo in Las Vegas, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" DVD king Joe Francis issued a press release calling on the 111th Congress to "provide a financial bailout for the adult entertainment industry along the lines of what is being sought by the Big Three automakers."

(In case you're wondering, yes, this is the same Joe Francis who recently left prison after serving 11 months and posting a $1.5 million bond, convicted on tax evasion charges.)

Flynt insists it is time for Congress to restart "the sexual appetite of America," and his product is more important than cars: "People are too depressed to be sexually active," Flynt laments. "This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such, but they cannot do without sex."

They are asking for $5 billion. They are also asking for a whole lot of publicity, too. Those sleazy CEO tongues were clearly in their cheeks, since the press release carried the headline "The $13 Billion Industry Is In No Fear of Collapse, But Why Take Chances?"

Francis was serious and obnoxious enough to send letters to liberal House members like Henry Waxman (his local representative) and Barney Frank (the chairman of the Financial Services Committee). Naturally, Forbes reported, "Representatives for Waxman and Frank weren't picking up their phones."

Francis also sees hope in President-elect Obama: "I bet he's a 'Girls Gone Wild' fan."

Flynt and Francis argue that their business has been hit hard by the economic downturn. They claim DVD sales and rentals have decreased by 22 percent in the past year as viewers turn to the Internet for their thrills.

Where There Is No Accountability, Abuses Result

Many members of Congress in both parties (and others as well) are anxiously waiting to see what we have to show for the $700 billion bailout package, but the Treasury has failed to provide them with specific information on what they propose to do to impose order on the housing market, forestall mass foreclosures, jump-start the flow of credit, and restore public confidence.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The U.S. Treasury has failed to reveal its strategy for stabilizing the financial system, not answered questions asked by a government watchdog, and has done nothing to help struggling homeowners, a report being released Friday charges.

In the most scathing criticism yet of Treasury's implementation of the $700 billion financial-rescue package, a draft report being issued by the five-member congressional oversight panel said there appear to be "significant gaps" in Treasury's ability to track hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

"The panel's initial concerns about the [Troubled Asset Relief Program] have only grown, exacerbated by the shifting explanations of its purposes and the tools used by Treasury," said the draft report, which found that the department has "not yet explained its strategy" for stabilizing the financial markets.

The report faults Treasury on a variety of fronts: having no ability to ensure banks lend the money they have received from the government; having no standards for measuring the success of the program; and for ignoring or offering incomplete answers to panel questions....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

PETA Strikes Again!

One of my faithful correspondents in South Dakota reports the following story, which was confirmed by a Google search:

From: From: [icon of beer mug] SoDak.
To: hammerz at hotmail-dot-com
Subject: PETA Petitions School to Change Name...
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 17:25:43 -0600

Yep, our old pals at PETA are at it again.
PETA petitions Spearfish school to change name to Sea Kitten High
By Journal staff

A Northern Hills high school should change its name, according to People for the Ethical Treatment [of Animals].

According to a PETA news release, the animal-rights organization has sent a letter to Spearfish High School principal Steve Morford urging him to change the school name of the school to Sea Kitten High.

The move, according to the release, is to encourage area residents to refer to fish and other marine animals as sea kittens.

"If Spearfish High School became Sea Kitten High and everyone in town starts calling fish 'sea kittens,' fewer of these gentle animals would be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for 'sport,' or cruelly confined to aquariums," PETA's "Save the Sea Kittens" campaign coordinator Ashley Byrne said.

"Schools strive for achievements in academics and sports, so why not add compassion to the list?"

In the letter to Morford, PETA argues that "although sea kittens might not be cute and cuddly, they are smart animals who communicate with each other, show affection, and, most importantly, feel pain."

PETA officials say the suggestion "tongue-in-cheek, which beats a hook in the mouth any day."

Here's their petition...

PETA letter seeks school name change

January 7, 2009
Steve Morford, Principal
Spearfish High School
1725 N. Main St.
Spearfish, SD 57783

Dear Principal Morford

I'm writing to you on behalf of PETA, the world's largest animal rights organization, with more than 2 million members and supporters. In early October, PETA launched its Sea Kitten campaign, which suggests a name-change for fish as a way to promote empathy for them and other marine animals. Today, we're proposing that Spearfish High School adopt a new name to reflect the gentle nature of its current marine namesake.

We're hoping that by calling fish "sea kittens," compassionate people who would never hurt a dog or a cat will realize that fish feel pain and fear, just like furry and winged animals do. In fact, neurobiologists tell us that fish have complex nervous systems that comprehend and respond to pain. Fish communicate and develop relationships with one another, show affection by gently rubbing against other fish, and even grieve when their companions die.

However, when they are dragged from the ocean's depths, sea kittens undergo excruciating decompression, often causing their eyes to pop out and pushing their stomachs out through their mouths. When they are tossed onto ships' decks, many sea kittens slowly suffocate or are crushed to death. This is no way to treat a "kitten."

Most parents would never dream of spending a family weekend torturing kittens, but hooking fish through their mouths and pulling them through the water is just as painful as hooking a cat's mouth and dragging him or her behind a car. We're hoping that this name change will encourage people young and old to start treating these gentle "kittens of the sea" with respect—and show them the kindness that they deserve.

We hope that Spearfish High School will start off the semester right by changing its name to Sea Kitten High School. Thank you for your time.

Dan Shannon
Assistant Director

Is there any more room in the Meeneesooohtah loony bin for these "people?"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

At Least He Gets to Be Called "Governor" for the Rest of His Life

In a follow-up to a story we reported on 8 December 2008, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced today that he will not be running for the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez in 2010.

An Incomprehensible Choice for CIA Director

Ron Radosh of Pajamas Media is highly skeptical of President-elect Obama's selection of Leon Panetta to be the next head of the CIA. Panetta's intelligence experience is very slender, and he did not even serve in the House Intelligence Committee while in Congress. "The problem is that especially in today’s world, chief of the CIA is a position that must be held by an individual with both intelligence and counter-terrorist experience. Instead of picking such a person, it appears that Obama put politics first..." Even many Democrats know that this key position needs to be filled by someone with a substantial background in the intelligence field. quotes Vice-President-elect Biden, who said that the Obama transition team made a "mistake" in not consulting the Senate before tapping Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Manitou Springs CO's Solution to the Fruitcake Problem

NOTE: You don't need to don medieval garb to attend this event. You can wear anything you please, as long as it's warm and comfortable.

The Colorado Springs Gazette ran the following story today:

Townspeople were armed and ready for war.
Heavy artillery lined the park. Soldiers in camouflage and reindeer ears joined forces with knights in black satin for front-line combat.
The missiles: Fruitcakes.
Projectiles were fired from a cannon, sprung from super-duper slingshots, blasted from an exercise bike.
Fling-dingers came out in droves for Saturday’s Great Fruitcake Toss.
No machinery was required. About 100 people simply used their arms to launch that much-maligned holiday dessert. Hundreds others stood in awe to witness this crumb of history being made.
What began 14 years ago as a Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce gimmick draws mad physicists and national media. This year, a crew from cable’s Discovery Channel captured the event that is oh-so Manitou Springs....

Friday, January 2, 2009

The World's 10 Worst Places to Live

Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe (left)

Much as Americans like to complain about conditions in the United States, there was no mass exodus when President George W. Bush was elected (and re-elected), nor was anyone standing in line to enter the following countries. Curiously, countries such as Haiti and Myanmar are conspicuous by their absence.

Here are 10 of the worst places to live in 2008, and the factors that made them unliveable.

Pollution: Urumqi, China

Once a Silk Road hub, the western Chinese city of Urumqi has the bad luck to be downstream of sulphurous soil dust from nearby agricultural areas, as well as deadly industrial pollutants. China's environmental scientists say it now outranks Linfen, previously named as the world's most polluted city.

Corruption: Somalia

Declared a failed state, Somalia is so violent that millions have fled their homes. But it is also at the bottom of an annual global corruption index by Transparency International, which points out that in desperately poor countries, bribery and extortion can be life and death issues if people are forced to pay extra for basic necessities.

Dictatorship: North Korea

Kim Jong-il, North Korea's ailing ruler, was named the world's worst dictator of 2008 on Parade magazine's annual list.

It says he runs the most isolated, repressive regime in the world, where three generations of a family can be punished for one member's alleged crime. About 200,000 citizens have been jailed, many tortured.

Personal security: Iraq

In spite of the much-praised "surge" of American troops, and a diminished death rate in the past year, Iraq ranks lowest on the Global Peace Index's scale as a country with easy access to weapons, a high murder rate, poorly functioning government, low respect for human rights and political instability.

Homicide rate: El Salvador

Latin America has the highest murder rate in the world for young adults, 15-24. But El Salvador tops the list of the world's most dangerous countries for the young – and has one of the highest murder rates for people of all ages, according to the Latin American Technological Information Network.

Inflation: Zimbabwe

When inflation in the southern African nation shot above 1 million per cent in the past year, worldwide cries went up for President Robert Mugabe's resignation. Now Zimbabweans carry sacks of newly printed cash to pay for a loaf of bread, and those with jobs choose between lunch and a bus ride to work. Mugabe is still in power.

Gender gap: Yemen

Greater equality between the sexes means better health, living standard and lifespan for women. The reverse is true in Yemen, where, the World Economic Forum says, lack of education, poor health care, lack of job opportunity and inability to press for change through the political process put women at risk.

Life expectancy: Swaziland

Afflicted with dire poverty and the world's highest HIV infection rate, the tiny southern African kingdom of 1 million has a shockingly low life expectancy of 32 – less than half the world's average. The royal family has a monopoly on the economy, and the majority of Swaziland's people live on about $1 a day.

Literacy: Mali

The large, landlocked West African country was, ironically, one of the world's centres of Islamic scholarship, and is believed to have founded the first university. Now, fewer than 23 per cent of men and women can read and write, according to the UN Development Program, which rates it at the bottom of the global literacy scale.

Freedom of speech: Eritrea

Since the government banned all privately owned media in 2001, things have grown steadily worse for journalists, with crackdowns on media, arrests, reports of torture, disappearances and deaths in custody. "President Issaias Afeworki and his small clan of paranoid nationalists continue to run the country like a vast open prison," says Reporters Without Borders.