Views from the Outside
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A place to ramble, cavort and endlessly ridicule.

Monday, September 30, 2002
Number One with WebCrawler!
That's right... your's truly is the number one search site on webcrawler if you happen to be looking for "obeise people in business". Will the accolades ever stop! Whooo... my head!


posted by Michael 1:16 AM . . .
. . .
Sunday, September 29, 2002

When she's not running headlong into things or pulling stuff off of shelves or eating our speakers, Rachel likes to sit around on the couch. I think she sees it as an adult thing to do. Every day now she comes closer to speaking. It's pretty exciting to watch her move from non-verbal to verbal. She points at things and says 'that'. Or she may just be calling everything she sees 'cat'. Sometimes it's hard to tell. When she's a teenager and shes screaming "I hate you!" at the top of her lungs I may look back on these times before speech with a certain fondness but right now I am really looking forward to her first official word.

And she needs another haircut. The last time we took her to the barbers was the first time she fought having her hair cut. He managed to trim the front but stopped because she was whipping her head around so much that he was uncomfortable using the scissors. We may try to cut it ourselves. If that's the case look forward to future pictures being a ragged disaster. We'll try to make sure she keeps both ears.


posted by Michael 12:04 PM . . .
. . .
Friday, September 27, 2002
A tale of Two Kitties


Left is Lady Grace-less Deforest Whitepaws Kelly the Shy and right is Sir Oliver Twist-a-lot. (Though as he has gotten older and fatter we've had to change that to Sir Oliver Twist-a-little) Grace and Oliver for short.


posted by Michael 12:40 PM . . .
. . .
Doctor's Grow Living Teeth
It appears that someday doctors will be able to grow us new teeth. Having isolated and experimented with "dental stem cells" researchers at Boston's Forsyth Institute successfully grew some pigs teeth in some rats.

Louis Terracio, associate dean for research at New York University's College of Dentistry, said the research signals that the days of synthetic dental implants -- dentures, bridges and crowns -- are numbered. "Right now they do wonderful things with implants," Terracio said after reading the Forsyth research. "Implants work pretty well but it's not a natural tooth."

You can
read the whole article here.

Okay aside from the fact that pig's teeth in rats just sounds yucky, this is pretty exciting stuff for those of us that haven't been as dilligent with our dental hygene as we probably should have. The article is projecting that in ten years the means to grow new healthy replacement teeth in humans should be possible. Of course they only mention briefly in the article that they grew the teeth in the rat's abdomen and not in its mouth which doesn't sound like such a boon to me. By the time my food reaches that area it doesn't need any more chewing done. I'm hoping they'll work that out.

The thing that bothers me about this article though is... don't these scientists realize that cancer hasn't been cured yet? We pump millions of dollars into AIDS research a year and we never seem to be any closer to a cure. West Nile Virus... already working on a vaccine. How does that happen? And now tooth replacement. Shouldn't we set some priorities for the really brilliant people doing all of this medical research? As much as I hate hangnails I urge the person with the petri dish and the genetically altered keratin proteins to put it down and go work on something else.

It makes me wonder how all of the money that is being put into cancer research and AIDS testing is allocated. How effective is it being used? Or has the organization of charities and government grants become too convoluted to get money into the hands of people that need it?

Just my opinions...



posted by Michael 10:47 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Baby Update
I’m surprised that more parents don’t just keel over dead from heart attacks. Rachel has been walking now going on two months but recently she decided to go back to crawling. Why? Because she’s discovered just how much fun it is to slide her head along the floor and look between her feet as she goes. That’s not particularly scary on its own. Sure she has a tendency to crash into things but she’s an old pro at crashing into things at this point. She barely blinks. But when she tucked underneath too far and inadvertently did a somersault, I thought I was going to die.

First I was convinced that she was going to snap her neck. And before I could get up to reach her over she went. She lay there for a moment looking startled and scared and then gave out a triumphant “Geh!” which I prefer to believe is baby for “That was neat but I’m not going to do it again anytime soon.”

Hey! I can dream can’t I?




posted by Michael 10:48 PM . . .
. . .
Our Education President!



posted by Michael 10:15 PM . . .
. . .

If the Senate Democratic Majority "
are not interested in the security of the American people" then the President is not interested in the economy and the every day lives of the people of America. Of course the President is politicizing the war. He's a politician. The Democrats are politicizing the war as well. Everything out of their mouths is political especially this close to an election. It's foolish to think otherwise.

The question we have to ask ourselves is which political track has more meaning for us.

The Senate has more issues to concern itself with then just the President's pet war. If they didn't act to better the economy that would be used against them. Because they don't want to give the President the right to be able to fire and hire as he wills with no safegards for employee rights within his "Unified Homeland Security Office" they are being painted as unpatriotic. Well, it's not unpatriotic. But it is political.

There is no road for peace. That's the thing that bothers me most about Iraq. Calling it "Bush's pet war" certainly reveals my bias and shows I'm not against spewing rhetoric of my own. But I also think it's true. Bush is determined to go to war and it doesn't matter what Iraq does. What the Senate does. What the American people say. There will be a war with Iraq.

And just like the words and rhetoric, it will be politically motivated.

Just my thoughts...


posted by Michael 2:30 PM . . .
. . .


posted by Michael 12:55 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I don't understand Israel's fascination with Arafat. Why are they wasting time knocking down buildings around his compound instead of going after the leaders of Hammas or Hezbolah. If Arafat is as irrelevent as Sharon keeps saying aren't they wasting their time? Shouldn't they be sending their tanks to circle the house of whoever it is that is claiming leadership these days in Hammas? Apparently governments like to rattle sabers and in order to continue to rattle their sabers they need someone to rattle them at. If they are going to be condemned by the international community they might as well be condemned for taking action against those that have claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks.

Just my opinion...


posted by Michael 1:00 PM . . .
. . .
By Request...
A Rebuffing of the IMF rant on J’s Notes:

Under the criteria presented by
Jason over at J’s Notes, Gandhi was a cold hearted butcher and should have stayed in bed. Didn’t he realize the food that he was taking out of the mouths of hungry British citizens? All of that standing around in the streets blocking hard working people from getting to their jobs. Inconveniencing them. Messing with their budgets. A lot of the British didn’t want to live in India... but the pay was better... and that’s where the jobs were. (and while we’re at it why do workers have the right to strike? Don’t they realize how much that inconveniences the company? Managers have to put food into their children’s mouths too. They should be grateful to even have a job. Exploitation is all in the mind.)

What is the alternative to capitalism? How about capitalism on a micro-scale rather then a macro? The globalization of the corporate economy does nothing for the individual and only succeeds in entrenching and expanding class barriers. More for the haves. Less for the have-nots. But I suppose we should be grateful for whatever crumbs or scraps happen to fall our way. I think it is a mistake to rely on corporate benevolence and assume that they’ll look after everything. They make their profit by implementing user fees in third world nations for such inconsequentials as hospital use and education. They make their profit by spoiling the environment They do not have our best interests at heart.

How about a moderated capitalism? Where governments stop giving corporations free reign and begin making them responsible for their actions and to their workers. Corporations do not exist in a vacuum. They produce and excrete (emphasis on excrete) within the country that they reside. They have an effect on culture and environment and those precious freedoms that Jason says will be trampled and done away with should we ever question our benign overlords.

What does a globalized corporate economy mean? It means that multinationals are free to exploit third world countries with slave labour conditions under the guise of sponsoring their economy. It means affecting the ecology on a scale beyond anything that we are presently experiencing without even the minimum legislation that is currently in place to act as environmental watchdog. Corporations want to do what they want, when they want as often as they want in the name of making a profit without having to answer to anyone but their bottom lines.

How about a regulated capitalism? The federal government already regulates the economy through changing the interest rate. So to say that any regulation would lead to a collapse of the system obviously isn’t true. They regulate the economy for the benefit of big business. Well... big business is doing fine. It’s the citizenry that are suffering.

What else could the government be doing to regulate business? Provide a minimum wage that is a living wage. Offer incentives to business to provide health care and day care. Things that actually benefit people not businesses. Governments are supposed to look after people. Business can look after itself. So companies make a few million less. Capitalists make that sound like the end of the world. Like Adam Smith’s invisible hand is going to bitchslap all of us back to the stone age for daring to transgress.

When business tightens its belt (if you can call the inflated creative accounting of business a “tightening”) they buy a few less paperclips. Order a lower grade of paper (and inadvertently save a few trees) When people are made to tighten their belts children starve.

J, J, J... the idea that all freedoms have the capitalist system to thank for their existence is ludicrous. We have our freedoms thanks to people who were willing to stand up and say “It’s not right that we can’t talk to who we want and say what we want”. And they were willing to die for it. Because people were willing to take to the streets and "inconvenience" others not because our hamburgers are 99 cents and stay that way because we use lower quality meat.

You’re engaging in a fallacy. A causes B so therefore B causes A. Capitalism may be a product of our freedoms but our freedoms are not a product of capitalism. And obviously there is no freedom in Belgium or Canada or Sweden or...

But this is all just my opinion of course.



posted by Michael 12:58 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, September 23, 2002
California Okays Research
Governor Gray Davis of California signed legislation yesterday that flew in the face of President Bush's stem cell research policy. President Bush announced a policy last year that put severe restrictions on research limiting any stem cell research to already established lines of cells. Critics say many of those stem cells are in poor condition and are useless for research. Others point out that the okayed lines of cells are the property of specific private corporations and not available for broader testing and experimentation.

Sen. Deborah Ortiz authored the bill that states California will explicitly allow embryonic stem cell research, and allows for both the destruction and donation of embryos.

The bill requires clinics that do in-vitro fertilization procedures to inform women they have the option to donate discarded embryos to research. It requires written consent for donating embryos for research and bans the sale of embryos.


You can
read the full story here.

I have to admit I'm pretty impressed with this move by Davis and the Californian Senate. It's a little ballsy. And it is the right one to make. Whenever the word 'fetus' appears in any issue, the Catholic Coalition and all the various Right-to-Life organizations start going through conniptions and pull out all stops to abort whatever plans might be afoot.

But this is not an abortion issue. It is being made into an abortion issue in order to press forward the agenda of reversing Roe vs. Wade and curtailing a woman's right to control her own body.

Call me heartless and call me cruel but if the use of fetal tissue that would otherwise just be discarded and destroyed might help in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or aid in regenerating nerves or other applications that could get some people out of wheelchairs then it seems more criminal to me to stand in the way of that research.

Just my thoughts...


posted by Michael 5:47 PM . . .
. . .
Sunday, September 22, 2002
No Mewes is Bad Mewes
Jason Mewes, better known as the Jay half of Jay and Silent Bob, has apparently been missing for 10 months. He missed a scheduled parole violation hearing and failed to show up for regular meetings with his parole officer tied to a possession of heroin charge. According to
Bill Zweker a Sun-Times columnist friends believe he may have fled the country.

Now this story sounds like a hoax to me but *shrugs* Who knows... stranger things have happened. Some of them even to me.

posted by Michael 5:02 PM . . .
. . .
Saturday, September 21, 2002
Naked but for Shoes
I blatently stole
this link from Laurence over at Amish Tech Support He took the story of the seven men found not guilty of public nudity as they were wearing shoes as a ridiculous loophole. I took it as basic cowardice on behalf of the Canadian government to avoid having to once again tackle the issue of legislating 'indecency'. In order to prove an indecency case prosecution would have to prove that the men were being offensive.Time and time again the Ontario Supreme Court has found that public nudity does not offend the morals or values of Canadian society

It started (at least fullblown media coverage started) with Gwen Jacobs back in 1991 who was arrested while walking home topless in 33degree heat (that Celsius of course. Think 99 F). Now I knew Gwen and I remember when the uproar started there was no talk of planned feminist action or political statement. The quote I remember clearest is her saying “I was just hot”. I also remember the 'whose got the bigger breasts competition in the Games Club office but that's another story entirely!

But of course it did become a big political statement and I don’t doubt that she recognized it as such while she was doing it. The upshot of all of this being that her conviction was overturned on appeal The Ontario Supreme Court found that she had done nothing indecent and had offended no community standard.

Fast forward a bit to February 1997 and Pereira Henson swam at her local pool without a top. She was also charged and fined and eventually exonerated.

Lest you think it is just those wacky Ontarians, Saskatchewan overturned a conviction of two women arrested for topless sunbathing.

“Men have the choice of going to strip joints and seeing breasts when they want, but women do not have the choice of uncovering their breasts. Men get to control the visibility of women's breasts."
"Breasts: The Women's Perspective on an American Obsession" by Carolyn Latte

So how does this relate to the seven gay men who marched naked at a Gay Pride Parade? Well... with so much precedence toward public ‘nudity’ being inoffensive and given the circumstance (I doubt that you could argue very effectively that the onlookers at a gay pride parade would be morally offended by gay men being proud) the Canadian government decided to avoid the whole can of worms and drop the charges. Prosecutors realized that they would have a hard time establishing indecency and if they lost it would be a new precedent toward total nudity being legal.

Just my thoughts...



posted by Michael 9:01 AM . . .
. . .
Friday, September 20, 2002
When Vegetarians Attack
Four legs --good. Two legs --bad. Four legs --good. Two legs --bad.

The folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have put a Chester County church on notice that its annual pig roast is unchristian and will be the subject of protest unless the church agrees to serve vegetarian food instead.

I keep wondering if there is a silent 'h' at the beginning of PETA standing for 'hypocritical'. If they were really for the ethical treatment of animals wouldn't they be treating people a little better? I mean we're animals too. We're certainly not plants or minerals. Don't we deserve a little bit of respect? Yet somehow we miss out on the ethical part of the acronym and go straight to the treatment section.

Take for example this planned protest at a church's pig roast: "Christians, especially, who follow the prince of peace - not the bloody butcher - should be adopting a vegetarian diet."

Now I'm no theologian but if Jesus was a vegetarian he certainly had respect for other people’s choices in eating meat. He handed out fish along with bread. He ate lamb. Don’t invoke religion to justify your political stance and if you do at least do it well and not haphazardly and in such a sloppy manner.

If the pig roast goes on as planned, "in good Christian tradition, we will probably bear witness of some sort," he said, adding, "although I wouldn't rule out turning over tables."

And here’s where we get to the ethical treatment part. I guess turning over tables is in good Christian tradition. I mean Jesus did it to the money lenders in the temple right? And the Christian Right is always trying to impose their interpretation of scripture and their moral value structure on others so maybe they do have a point here. Of course Jesus was railing against the institutionalized corruption perpetuated by the Priesthood but don’t let a little thing like context slow you down.

“Pigs are more intelligent than dogs or cats. They play video games more competently than some primates.” So maybe we should be eating dogs, cats and monkeys instead? What a horrible way to choose your dinner! How good is it at tetris?

Okay, let’s bring the pigs out, challenge them to a game of toki toki boom. Loser goes on the spit.

Ethics in action.

You can
read the story here.


posted by Michael 9:36 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
The country of Djibouti across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.
War: How we apparently learn geography here in the States.


posted by Michael 2:15 PM . . .
. . .
But is it Art?
An artist in Poland is facing up to two years in jail on blasphemy charges for the piece to the left. The penis on a crucifix is entitled 'Pasja' (Passion). Apparently Poland has no seperation of Church and State because in more enlightened countries (like the US) she'd just be brought up on obscenity charges and face two years in jail. Errr...

In Mike's perfect world there would be a little sign on the door of the gallery containing the warning "May contain penuses" or "Beware: Sensibilities threatened within" and then everybody who chose to continue forward would do so with the full knowledge that they may be facing eye-level genitalia and lose the right to be morally offended. Or rather, they could certainly still be offended. They would just have to be so quietly.

I'm torn. Governments legislate morality all of the time. They say these are the values that are important wihin the structure of our society and everyone seeking to be a member should (more or less) conform. That's why prostitution is illegal. That's why drug use is illegal. That's why we don't have same sex marriages. Moral reasons. We don't like prostitutes or junkies. (Let's ignore for the moment that we all have our addictions and we all prostitute ourselves. That is the topic for another post.) Homosexuals are disturbing and threatening in a way that it's best not to explore too closely.

At what point is legislating morality enshrining bigotry and intolerance?

Here's the problem with governments legislating morality: Societal norms are based on public opinion. Public opinion changes more rapidly then legislation and laws are always playing catch-up. They have a momentum to continue to exist well past their origin. They get standing and precidents and case history. Group morality is fluid. Laws are static. Laws want the country to stay the same as the time when the law was first passed. And darn any opinion to the contrary. Remember, it took a civil war to change the law that slavery was alright.

So maybe what we really need is somebody who can say "There are different levels of 'crime' and some things just don't need to be prosecuted" The person selling crack to minors at the edge of the school yard. Get his ass in jail. The 40 year old that smokes the occasional joint in their basement. You know what... enjoy. Different levels.

You want to decrease the deficit? License and tax and regulate the hell out of people's vices. It worked for cigarettes and alcohol.

It is not the role of government to protect my sensibilities. It is the role of government to protect my physical safety and wellbeing. So stop worrying about obscenity and start worrying about adequate medical care. If I see a painting or sculpture that offends me to the point of moral outrage I'll do what every good American would do... I'll sue.

Just my opinion...

Read
about the crucified penis here.


posted by Michael 10:02 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
It's Official... Sex Sells Everything!

When shopping for my coffin I plan to go to the site that mixes quality workmanship with softcore pornography. And that site is
http://www.cofanifunebri.it. There's something wholly life affirming and at the same time oddly disturbing about the mix. Make sure you check out the Padre Pio. I'm sure the revered soon-to-be-saint would be proud of the woman wearing the see-through top and drinking champaign who's perched on the edge of the coffin bearing his name.



posted by Michael 8:16 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, September 16, 2002

Reasons for Peace...

At the risk of becoming one of those that
Mike Sanders terms 'part of the terrorism value chain" here are my reasons against a war with Iraq.

I believe that like our court system where the onus is on the prosecution to present a beyond a reasonable doubt argument to support their opinion, the government has the burden to show why America needs to go to war with Iraq. It is not the job for peaceniks to provide reasons that we shouldn’t. Indeed if that were the case we would be spending our days supplying reasons to stay out of Sweden and Iceland and any other country that happened to catch our attention. Let’s attack Germany. There were terrorists there. The 9/11 terrorists met and planned there. There are probably still terrorists there. They have nuclar capabilty.

Now the government’s main argument for war rests in the theory of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq may be producing them. We have fairly conclusive proof that they have access to chemical weapons. (Often biological and chemical weapons are lumped together but I think it is important that they be treated separately. A biological weapon program presumes a level of research and technology beyond the chemical and I have not seen or heard any evidence linking such capabilities to Iraq. They have chemical weapons not bio-chemical.) Where have they used these weapons? On their own people. Have they used them in an aggressive way against the United States or any of its allies? No. During the Gulf War when they were firing SCUD missiles at Israel they deployed conventional warheads.

Other countries could be producing weapons of mass destruction. Like Saudi Arabia for example. They have the money. They have the technology. They certainly have the terrorists but we’re not looking twice at them. We did not go to war when Pakistan or India were developing their weapons programs and Pakistan certainly isn’t a poster child for responsible government.

Well... Saudi Arabia hasn’t violated any UN Sanctions. Not like Iraq. This is true but I think they have certainly done more than enough to jump ahead on the list. Iraq has denied entry to weapons inspectors. Saudi Arabia has been base camp for terrorist activities, openly supplied money to them and their families, and is the single largest source of known terrorists. We’ve never sent weapons inspectors there for them to be turned away.

NZ Bear dismisses the argument that there are better targets as a dodge. If it is a dodge, it is a very good one because the choice of targets points to a choice of reasons. If the government’s choice does not match their stated intention then there is reason to call the action into question.

The government wants to attack Iraq under the guise of continuing a war on terrorism. But Palestinian and Saudi actions are much clearer examples of terrorism. It seems logical then that there are other reasons for this attack other then terrorism and the American people deserve to know what those reasons are.

And the idea that the only reason that one would make this argument is to be able to appear to want to take action while actually standing in the way is an ad hominem attack casting dispersions on the person making the argument without addressing the argument itself.

The war against Iraq damages the international standing of the United States. With the noted exceptions of Israel and Great Britain every other country has said that an attack on Iraq would be destabilizing and unwise. Every other country.

When Secretary Powell points out this destabilizing of international relations to the President and the American people he is seen as bucking the party line. I have heard him called unpatriotic and cowardly when what he was actually being was honest and forthright. While the United States is the single strongest economic and military force on the planet it is still dependent on other countries for its wellbeing. We should consider carefully the effect of damaging the relations that we have in the global community and whether the gains that we might make in taking out Hussein actually measure up against the harm. I don't believe anyone has seriously considered a 'cost analysis' of this action.

In his speech to the United Nations Bush called for immediate compliance with the UN resolutions in order for Iraq to avoid an attack. The government of Iraq has made steps to comply with that demand without condition. Perhaps Iraq will harrass and hinder those inspectors when they arrive but is it right to go to war when the country is taking action which seems to comply with our conditions? And now that they have started to comply we've changed those conditions. No longer do we want an end to a program aimed at creating weapons of mass destruciton. We are demanding that Iraq change leadership and disarm unilaterally.

Finally, a war against Iraq shifts the United States from active defender to aggressor. No longer can we take the moral high ground of defending our nation. Pre-emptive is ‘before proof’ acting to assure that a potential outcome never becomes an actual one. We may believe that one possibility is likely but it is never a certainty. And once we open that door and allow ourselves to become the aggressor to “protect our interests’ from the possibility of attack, I want to know what that door opens out onto and how shallow our definition of “protecting our interests” might one day become.

Already we have sacrificed some of our moral character and our precious freedom in defense of our country through such measures as the Homeland Security Act. Before we give up more I want to know that there is an end to it. The Homeland Security Act did not come with a timetable or expiration date. Those freedoms are gone and gone forever regardless of whether we ever “win the war on terror”. I think decisive proof and an explanation of the reasoning behind choosing Iraq is the least our government owes us.

They also owe us an answer to the question “who’s next?”

Just my opinions...



posted by Michael 11:22 PM . . .
. . .
If you were a waste of time what activity would you be?
I do not understand the endless fascination of personality quizzes on the net. Okay... the actual Myers-Briggs test is interesting and insightful but “What former president would you be?” “If you were a pop song...” Come on. They’re vapid and meaningless. They give zero insight into who you actually are. They pander to the fifteen second sound byte mentality that is one of the root problems of today. And they’re not even particularly fun.

They waste your time. You’re better off
going to DarkTick and playing video games.

Now there’s something inherently narcissistic about keeping a blog. The assumption that other people are interested in my opinion on abortion or race relations. That they want to see the pictures that I find amusing or visit the websites that make me chuckle. But it’s a further step to assume that other people are even remotely interested in what colour I am or which Buffy character I would be (Willow btw) so if you do feel a particular self-loathing and a need to indulge in these quizzes why post the results? No one really cares except for the person who made up the quiz in the first place and they're only interested in you as a number and a statistic. They are not badges of honour.

Okay I know people aren’t taking these quizzes looking for actual insight but if you’re really interested in knowing something about your character look at the things you read. The things you eat and the jokes that make you laugh.

No, that does not mean taking the 20 question “if you were a book” quiz.

Ranting because i can...


posted by Michael 3:53 PM . . .
. . .
I Love These Posters!

Somebody
go here and buy me a bunch! I'll take a t-shirt or poster please.

posted by Michael 11:19 AM . . .
. . .
Give Peace a Chance Again and Again and...
First there was the kittens now you can
Masturbate for Peace. Wow... it seems I've been helping out the cause for peace for quite some time now and didn't even know it. Don't think of me as a pervert... think of me as a good will ambassador!


posted by Michael 11:04 AM . . .
. . .
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Should the Left Back Off Noelle Bush?

The question isn't should the left back off. The question is 'will Noelle be treated like every other citizen in the government's "War on Drugs" tm or will she be given a free pass'. Governor Bush has been preaching family values as the cure for all of society's ills. So, if we take him at his word and accept that responsible parenting prevents drug abuse what does that say about his homelife?

Whenever something morally ambiguous and highly hypocritical happens to someone they always want the other side to claim the moral highground. "Don't cover this story. Leave the family alone. That's the right thing to do." No, that's the less damaging thing to do. The "left" shouldn't be backing off. The "right" should be leading the attack.

Drugs are bad. Okay. Well here's their chance to show that they mean it. Where would Noelle be now if she was black or latino? Well she wouldn't be in a swanky treatment centre for one things. She'd be serving the five years mandated by law for her first offense with the fraudulent prescription. Tack onto that the extra five years for posession of cocaine.

It's too late for Republicans to start making noise about "hey, it's a victimless crime". Not unless they're willing to go back and review all the cases of everyone currently serving time in a correctional institution and change their sentences as well to reflect their newfound sensibilities. Treatment centres. Not jail time. If they truly believe that is the best way to help an addict doesn't everyone deserve it? Or will the actual "cure" be reserved for nieces of the president?

You can
read about Noelle here.

James Traficant: Not the Big House He Was Hoping For
Traficant has announced his intention to run for senate from prison. He has created a campaign committee, hired a campaign manager and will be opening two offices in his running district. One right beside his competition's offices. All this despite the fact that he is currently serving 8 years in jail on corruption charges.

I have no idea who his competition on the ballot is but you've got to think that if they lose to Traficant it is only slightly less embarrassing than losing to that dead guy. In a vote to establish their campaign slogan "Let me be your bitch." won out over "Putting the 'con' back into constituent" by a slim 5-4 margin. It's a shame that felons can't vote because 95 percent polled (+/-4%) agreed that "he sure does have a pretty mouth". You can read the story here.






posted by Michael 11:48 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, September 11, 2002


posted by Michael 4:04 PM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, September 10, 2002


posted by Michael 4:17 PM . . .
. . .
Just Who Are the People in Your Neighbourhood?
There is so much wrong
about this site but I almost gagged laughing. I just knew there was something about that Mister Rogers that I didn't trust. Maybe it was the sweater or the fact he changed his shoes so often. I dunno... but now I do!

posted by Michael 3:50 PM . . .
. . .
Britney's Virginal Charms
Amidst the firestorm of "
Is the Blogosphere Sexist?" there came an example from Dawn Olsen illustrating the double standard between males and females. She chose the attention paid to Britney Spears' sexual proclivities versus the lack of attention to the same among male artists (and I use the term ‘artist’ loosely here). I do not believe this to be a particularly good example and here is why. Ms. Spears decided to make it an issue by declaring herself a virgin. She claimed that she didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs. That she believed in God and was a virgin and saving herself for marriage. So when she is caught smoking in one picture or someone comes forward and says that she isn’t a virgin. When she is seen drinking alcohol she has only herself to blame for the big splash that the news makes. She tried to sell an image that wasn’t true. It’s not sexist to point out when someone is lying.

Further, recent efforts in image making have tried to transform her from goody-goody to more raw and sexual. It started at the MTV Awards with her choice in costuming and has continued through videos and public appearances. I would not be surprised to learn that some of the momentum in discussing Britney’s lifestyle is actually coming from the Britney camp. Is it sexist or a double standard if it is being propagated by the individual?

Perhaps where the sexism lies is that Britney feels that she must become more of a sexual object in order to continue to be popular. That there are plenty of no-talent male artists who continue to be popular without the need to ‘out-sex’ themselves. And in fact those male artists often remain popular due to the inclusion of under dressed women in their videos and so female sexuality/objectification is a tool being used by both.

Just my thoughts…


posted by Michael 11:20 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, September 09, 2002
Wanting to Make 9/11 a National Holiday
Okay, I can appreciate that people want to make 9/11 a special day of rememberance but a national holiday? So 9/11 can, in a few years, be like Memorial Day and become an excuse to have a BBQ. Furniture chains can have 9/11 Day sales. Remember the twin towers by buying the person you love an ottoman at 40% off the ticketed value. We're crashing prices!! No. 9/11 should be a day of personal reflection. Remembering uncertainty. Fear. It is the day that we all felt a little less safe.

I am already sick of the 9/11 tributes that clutter television and radio and we still have two days to go. They somehow seem intrusive. News stations and networks jockeying for ratings. Let's see who can get the biggest celebrities to recount their feelings. Sympathize with a few survivors. And show once again that second plane hitting the tower.

Yes... it is something the nation went through. But I will always remember it as the hours that my family huddled around the television and I wondered what sort of world we had brought our newborn daughter into and whether we had made a mistake. She had been home with us for less than 3 weeks. I sat holding her in my arms now uncertain where everything was heading and what I could possibly do to keep her safe.

Nothing will make me forget that moment. And nothing NBC puts on the air will ever capture it or do it justice. If they really wanted to make a statement... they'd stop broadcasting for the day. Instead we can look forward to a minute by minute breakdown with extra never before seen footage. Special guest commentary by Johnny Walker Lindh.

It'll make a great DVD some day.


posted by Michael 10:19 PM . . .
. . .
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Just One More
This is probably my favourite panel in a Chick tract.

Note the intense occult training through D&D. Well first off the word occult means secret or hidden and Dungeons and Dragons is anything but secret. You can pick up the rulebooks in Borders for pete's sake. Now if you want to talk occult training and indoctrination Borders would be a good place to start. The training videos contain subliminal messages designed to break down the will of the hardiest individual and turn them into docile sheep willing to put up with all sorts of crap. And I know for a fact that management there is in league with the devil.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons turns you into an occult expert the same way that Monopoly turns you into a Real Estate Broker and Chess turns you into a 13th Century king. Ooh... I went through 'Keep on the Borderlands'. Now I'm Aleister Crowley. It doesn't work that way and pretending that it does and trying to get people worked up and scared only underlines the idiocy of the arguement.

But look at me... I'm trying to be logical in the face of the absurd. And that doesn't work very well either. Just my thoughts...



posted by Michael 3:17 PM . . .
. . .
I Love Chick Tracts!
Sure they all tell me that I'm going to Hell but they do so with love... *blink* *blink* Take the panel to the left as an example of dogged opinionism preached as gospel. If you were to tell me that the King James Version is the most influential book in history and literature, I think you'd have a case... but the best translated? I'll just raise my eyebrows and move on. If you have some time to waste
you can click here to get to the English tract list. Apparently all you need to do to find earthly wealth and have good things happen to you is accept Jesus. Lost money? You'll get it back! Lost your house? Back! You'll be cured of cancer and receive warnings in time to avoid flash floods. Of course that doesn't explain all of the Christians currently living in poverty, suffering with diseases and wrestling with unfortunate circumstance. They just must not be very good christians I guess.



posted by Michael 9:50 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Those Canadians Are Wacky. And Now They Have An Excuse!

The wacky weed. Yes... a senate committee panel recomended today that Canada take steps toward establishing the legalization of marijuana. "Cannabis should be, from here on, in legal and of restricted use, so that Canadians can choose whether to consume or not in security," said Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin, a Progressive Conservative Party member from Quebec province.

Which of course caused blood vessels to start popping all over Washington DC.

What is surprising about the above statement is that it comes from a Progressive Conservative. For the first time ever the emphasis seems to be on the Progressive part of their name rather then the Conservative. They're not the most "right" party in the Canadian political spectrum but they are traditionally more... well more conservative. I would expect a statement like this to come from the Liberals or the NDP.

Personally, I'm for the legalization of all drugs harmful or no. Make government the supplier and tax the hell out of them. Undercut the street value with price and purity and cut the legs off of organized crime. This way the junkies know their product is as safe as injecting poison into your veins can ever be. Law enforcement can shift their focus away from victimless crime and instead focus their resources on helping citizenry. Governments can stop wasting billions of dollars on their "war on drugs" and start wasting the money on other things that we don't really need and don't benefit us in any way. Sure we could hope that they might use that money to fix the ailing medicare system or retool social security or invest it in education but let's face it... that's never going to happen.

Maybe we could all get another 200 dollar check.

You can
read the story about the Canadian decision here or over at yahoo canada.




posted by Michael 9:41 PM . . .
. . .


Rachel is falling over everything and it's giving me heart failure. Tripping, crashing into walls, almost sitting on the cats. Skinned knees and a cut on her cheek. CJ pointed out today that one of her eyes was slightly closed and watery. I have no idea when she did it even though I've been with her all day. I feel like a horrible parent. Not only am I chasing her around with an unending litany of "no no no" but she's getting injured and I'm not able to prevent it. Now she's learning how to climb up on things so she can be even higher up off the ground when she tumbles.

Grace pretends to be fed up with Rachel but secretly we know she loves the baby. She is forever plopping herself down in front of her. They are always in the same room. And she endures tail grabs and fur pinchings from questing little fingers with unflagging patience. Oliver, on the other hand, avoids Rachel during the day. He keeps a wary distance and a close eye on her whenever they are in proximity. Only when she is asleep does he come near to curl up beside her and purr and fall asleep.

When Rachel is quiet that's when we know that we're in trouble. I am happy to report that eating a lot of petroleum jelly carries no apparent side effects. We had a big container of vaseline with a screw on/pop off lid. Both of us were in the same room as Rachel. We had our backs turned for a minute or two (isn't that what everybody says "only for a minute" I used to think that this was an exaggeration used by poor parents as an excuse to cover up bad parenting choices. Now I appreciate just how much a child can accomplish in two minutes) when CJ noticed how quiet it had gotten. We turned around to find that in the space of those 60 seconds or so she had found the jar of vaseline, figured out how to open it and completely covered herself with the goop. There were little vaseline handprints marking her progress around the room and huge globs of vaseline ground into the carpet. She literally glistened.

We tried to be angry and stern but we started laughing. We were also pretty nervous so our laughter had that hysterical edge. The jar of vaseline was 3/4's empty and stabbed into what remained was a small bottle of baby powder sticking up like King Arthur's sword. There was no way of telling how much of the stuff she might have eaten. It was everywhere. When she clapped her hands together happily they thwocked and came apart with a slightly sticky sucking sound.

We ran a bath for her and tried to wash it off but the water just beaded up and ran off her. There was so much vaseline that our baby had made herself waterproof. We had to settle for scrubbing her down with towels.

So it's a few days later and no obvious side effects. I wouldn't go out and start making peanut butter and petroleum jelly sandwiches but I think we dodged a bullet. From the parenting trenches...


posted by Michael 8:04 PM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, September 03, 2002


posted by Michael 11:58 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, September 02, 2002
The Last Honest Republican?
Of course I mean the last honest Republican currently holding an office. There are plenty of honest republicans... just none in elected office. I wonder if Mr. Powell sits home at night cursing and kicking himself for stepping out of the Republican leadership race when he had the chance. What a different world we would live in today if Colin Powell was President. Now I don't agree with a lot of his views. Heck! I don't agree with the majority of his views but he has one thing that is sadly lacking in the rest of the Bush administration. Integrity. When Powell speaks you know that he is speaking from the heart. Agree or disagree with what he says but there is no doubt that he believes that what he is saying is true. No vacillation. No poll watching. He has a vision for where the country should be and does everything in his significantly limited power to move and influence things toward achieving those ends. That's the definition of a leader.

In a time of war whose advice would you rather be listening to: a decorated general who has seen combat or a man who used his family connections to avoid Viet Nam and his number two that faithfully parrots the party line?

And you know.. I'm just not convinced that Cheney isn't dead. I mean they trot him out maybe once a month to give a speech. He no longer does one on one interviews and his speeches amount to little more than "Trust George. He's doing a great job" I've seen the movie 'Dave'. I know what's going on. He'll be quietly taken off the ticket in 2004 amd two or three months later he'll have a heart attack and be pronounced dead.

And if he isn't dead already what does that say about the relative worth they're putting on the two officials. Since September 11th, 2001 Cheney has been held in secure location after secure location while the President has been allowed to mix and mingle freely. Cheney is like Punxsutawney Phil without the spectacle and with a little less hair emerging occassionally to see his shadow and declare two more months of terror.

Powell will also be gone in 2004. The private disagreements in the Bush Administration are finally spilling out into the public and the Secretary is too good of a general and not such a good little soldier. He makes Bush look like an unimaginative uneducated reactionary boob. Bush does do one thing better than Powell. He can relate to the average person in a folksy 'I know where yer coming from' way. But here's the problem with that... the average person is an idiot.

I hold my government to a higher standard.

There's this little voice in the back of my head that keeps hoping that Powell will seek the nomination in 2004. Sure Bush is the incumbent but there's nothing saying that the party has to choose the incumbent just because they always have in the past. Run. Campaign hard and win.

Just my opinions... You can
read a recent article on Powell here.


posted by Michael 10:47 PM . . .
. . .
Meet the New Wildfire Prevention Manager
Allan Fitzsimmons was appointed by the Bush administration on August 29th to run the new forestry program designed to help limit and control outbreaks of forest fires. Apparently Smokey the Bear has not been able to keep up with the times and was shipped off to some gulag where old spokesanimals go to die. He and Spuds MacKenzie sharing a beer and wondering where it all went. Well Smokey, your balls went into a soup that will serve some seventy year old as an aphrodesiac and your job went to someone who doesn't believe in the environment. Literally doesn't believe in the environment. Now I know a lot of politicians do absolutely nothing to help the environment and pander pretty blatantly to corporate interests at the expense of clean air, water, the ozone layer but they at least know that the environment exists even as they do all in their power to ruin it. Not Allan Fitzsimmons. Mr. Fitzsimmons denies the existence of environmental ecosystems. Thinks they are a fabrication.

He also thinks looking after endangered and threatened species is a waste of time and money. That nothing particularly bad would happen if we just let them go extinct. No great environmental crisis.

So this is the man that George Bush would of course put in charge of shepherding the country's forests. He sees his job as a pendulum moving between logging and conservation and that it is his duty to try and keep the pendulum as close to the middle as he can. If it slides too far to one side he must act to bring it back toward the center. Two guesses where he sees that pendulum being now. That's right... too much conservation. Now the more cynical person might realize that conservation costs money while logging makes money. A lot of money. And that since one of the roles of conservationalism is to safeguard endangered species by protecting their ecosystems and Mr. Fitzsimmons believes in neither well it's bye-bye forests. Can't have any wildfires if you don't have any trees.

You know, in times past the appellation 'fitz' meant 'bastard'. Fitzroy was literally "bastard of the king" and while it no longer has that connotation sometimes you just have to wonder...

You can
read about Mr. Fitzsimmons and his unorthodox views here.


posted by Michael 10:07 PM . . .
. . .
The Political Compass
I'm normally not a huge fan of all of the online quizes that clog up the net but I did find
The Political Compass interesting. Try it out and see where you fall.

posted by Michael 9:34 PM . . .
. . .
Sunday, September 01, 2002
No Baseball Strike? Too Bad.
It's too bad because the impending strike was set to galvinize fans in a way that little else ever could. Instead of coming together as a voice that neither management or players could ignore to remind them that the only reason they can argue about those millions of dollars is because hard working people are willing to plunk down the money to be entertained, we can now slink back into obscurity and wait for the next ticket price hike like good sheep.

And I think it was that realization that motivated them to come to terms. Not any great last minute wrangling and deal making but the understanding that if a strike happened they would lose control over the minds of the fans. Because once we understood just how much power we have to shape and change the game there would effectively be three sides at every future bargaining. They get to look like heroes for saving "America's past time".

But once we saw that it worked... the walkouts and the boycotts... watch out! Sick of five dollar hotdogs and three dollar sodas? Boycott a few games and watch the prices come down. Ticket prices reaching the point where you have to consider a loan to take the family out for an evening? Boycott.

We were on the verge of understanding that their money is our money. That we fund the outrageous salaries. That we have power and we have a say. Even more than the unions or the managers

Ahhh well... maybe next time. Go strike!!!


posted by Michael 10:52 PM . . .
. . .
Texas District Suspends Student for Wearing Pentacle
Everything is bigger in Texas.. including the breaches of personal freedom and incidences of religious discrimination. Once again we see the value and importance that this country puts on education that this school district is willing to deprive a girl of school over a necklace. The girl is probably lucky that they didn't stone her to death. Isn't belonging to a non-christian faith a death penalty offense in Texas? You can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 12:57 PM . . .
. . .
If only it was that easy...

Liberally stolen
from The Mouse Trap

posted by Michael 10:49 AM . . .
. . .



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