Friday, March 31, 2006
(kinda sorta via Beautiful Atrocities)
Two men suspected of helping smuggle cocaine to New York from Mexico inside statues of the Virgin Mary were arrested Thursday, U.S. authorities said.
Peter Matheis, 52, and Rafael Serrano, 36, both Mexican nationals, were indicted in New York and Houston respectively on money-laundering and narcotics charges along with six others arrested previously in the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
Five 3-foot-tall statues of the Virgin Mary, filled with 242 pounds of cocaine, were seized in a Brooklyn warehouse as part of the police operation.
The drug ring used the statues to smuggle cocaine worth millions of dollars, FBI agent John Gilbride said in a statement.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
No student walkouts over proposed immigration reform were reported early Thursday after three days of increasingly tougher truancy crackdowns.
"It's quiet," said Ellen Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Meanwhile, back in my neck of the woods...
Los Angeles school administrators who watched students march onto freeways and scuffle with police telephoned parents and warned them that their children faced a possible $250 citation if they marched.
Students took notice of the crackdown.
"I have to go to school today because they called my home and said I had to go to school or I'm going to get a citation," said Rene Hernandez, 15, a student at Van Nuys High School who took part in earlier protests.
On the popular Web site MySpace.com, where many students have said they look for protest information, the word was to wait until Friday for the next mass demonstration.
Carla Yocute, 14, who also attends Van Nuys High, had seen flyers for the walkout but said she wouldn't join.
"I don't want to risk it," she said.
On Tuesday, the school closed its gates and kept students in their homerooms to prevent walkouts.
"I felt like an animal in a cage," Yocute said.
The article says that only about 200 students walked out of schools in L.A. County yesterday compared to 11,000 the day before and 36,000 on Monday. The fact that someone is telling the kids to leave school on Friday is troubling, though, and I want to reiterate that there should be an investigation into who's instigating this nonsense.
This city's hoped-for bragging rights as home of America's tallest environmentally friendly building could go down the toilet.
In a city where organized labor is a force to be reckoned with, the plumbers union has been raising a stink about a developer's plans to install 116 waterless, no-flush urinals in what will be Philadelphia's biggest skyscraper.
Developer Liberty Property Trust says the urinals would save 1.6 million gallons of water a year at the 57-story Comcast Center, expected to open next year.
But the union put out the word it doesn't like the idea of waterless urinals fewer pipes mean less work. [sic]
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
LOS ANGELES Judges and attorneys have heard many excuses from people who want time off during jury service, but a man's request Wednesday in the midst of a West Covina murder case proved a novel one for two defense lawyers.
The middle-aged juror told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders that he needs Tuesday off to go to jail.
The apologetic man -- known under the Superior Court's anonymous jury system as Juror No. 8, said that he has put off serving a five-day jail sentence for a drunken-driving conviction.
He said he needs to begin the term on Friday and is due to be released Tuesday night.
Here's the kicker, though...
Asked why he replied "no" when asked along with other prospective panelists in the jury selection process whether he had ever been accused of a crime, the man replied, "I wasn't accused, I was convicted."
According to sources on Capitol Hill, U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) punched a Capitol police officer on Wednesday afternoon after he mistakenly pursued her for failing to pass through a metal detector.
Members of Congress are not required to pass through metal detectors.
Sources say that the officer was at a position in the Longworth House Office Building, and neither recognized McKinney, nor saw her credentials as she went around the metal detector.
The officer called out, “Ma’am, Ma’am,” and walked after her in an attempt to stop her. When he caught McKinney, he grabbed her by the arm.
Witnesses say McKinney pulled her arm away, and with her cell phone in hand, punched the officer in the chest.
And take a guess what she says is responsible for the whole incident. If you guessed racism, well, you've won yourself a cigar!
A statement attributed to McKinney has been released on the Internet, where she allegedly claims to have been harassed by Capitol Hill Police.The article doesn't say whether or not the "white police officer" was Jewish, but it would hardly surprise me. In fact, I bet they're all Jews.
The statement's writer says that she has been harassed by white police officers she says do not recognize her due to her recently changed hairstyle.
"Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers," the statement says.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
These kids have been running wild in the streets, sometimes blocking traffic on the freeways during rush hour traffic, and so far there hasn't been much of a police response. Thankfully, that may be about to change.
Thousands of students skipped classes and took to the streets again today to protest proposed toughening of immigration laws. But authorities clamped down, thwarting attempts to block freeway traffic, rounding up some youngsters and issuing truancy citations. Small numbers of arrests were reported.
Police issued 100 truancy citations to students in San Pedro.
I'd also like to see an investigation into who exactly is organizing all of this. The kids I've seen on TV are saying that it's being arranged through MySpace.com, but somebody is instigating this lawlessness. If it's teachers, they ought to be fired.
Mickey Kaus has been covering the protests since the weekend. Keep scrolling.
It's time to raise a glass of bubbly — the maker of the Alka-Seltzer antacid tablet has set a record for creating the world's largest buffet.
About 850 hungry customers helped Bayer HealthCare LLC, a subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical and chemical firm Bayer AG, celebrate the 75th anniversary of its heartburn relief product — known for the jingle "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" — by partaking in a massive spread at the Las Vegas Hilton.
In all, 510 dishes were set in front of the crowd Tuesday. Each one had to be certified distinct by a Guinness World Record adjudicator.
They ranged from Mongolian chicken and salmon Wellington to creme brulee and homemade apple pie.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Malaysia has opened a motorway drive-in massage parlour, with the aim of reducing road accidents by relaxing stressed-out drivers.
Drivers have to realise "the importance of stopping to have a rest", Works Minister Samy Vellu told Malaysia's Bernama news agency.
The new parlour is on the North-South Highway, which stretches the length of the Peninsular [sic] of Malaysia.
It was not immediately clear whether road users would have to pay for services at the massage centre.
Up to a third of telephone users in the Britain make calls in the nude, with men more prone to do it without clothes than women, a survey revealed on Thursday.
Research commissioned by Britain's Post Office, which offers a fledgling home phone service, revealed that 40 percent of men admitted to nattering naked compared with 27 percent of women. The results were based on a survey of 1,500 telephone users.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Some of the quotes given, though, are just laughable. Take, for instance, the following, which relates to violence between black and latino students, which erupted when the latter decided to walk out of a Los Angeles-area high school "to protest a bill passed the House in December that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally":
"It was horrible, horrible," [Chantal Mason, a sophomore at George Washington Preparatory High] said. "It's ridiculous that a bunch of black students would jump on Latinos like that, knowing they're trying to get their freedom."
Here's another gem, this time from Phoenix, where the police estimated that 10,000 people gathered to protest a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Kyl which would give illegal immigrants a leisurely five years to leave the country:
"They're here for the American Dream," said Malissa Greer, 29, who joined a crowd estimated by police to be at least 10,000 strong. "God created all of us. He's not a God of the United States, he's a God of the world."
There's plenty more at the link, including the mention of a condescending-sounding protest in Milwaukee called "A Day Without Latinos," implying, I guess, that all Latinos are illegal immigrants. And here I thought we right-wingers were the ones who engaged in all the nasty stereotyping.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
A bored Canadian bureaucrat fed up with office drudgery is seeking C$1 million ($860,000) in donations so he can quit his job and "do something that makes a difference in my life and the lives of others".
The unnamed man, who claims to have worked for a large civil service organization for over 10 years, has set up a Web site -- saveabureaucrat.com -- on which he explains he is desperate to escape his job.
"After a while it starts to sap the energy and soul out of you and you realize that you have become a true bureaucrat ... I feel like an old curmudgeon frustrated by having to deal with paper being passed around at a snail's pace," he writes.
Despite promising not to spend donations on "Rolls-Royce cars, 10 bedroom houses, airplanes", the bored civil servant has quite a way to go.
As of Wednesday morning, five sympathetic souls had sent in a total of just C$59.26.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
"We are concerned that false police statements may have tainted hundreds of cases of people arrested at the two largest mass arrests during the convention," wrote the group's attorney, Christopher Dunn.
City law officials have said the arrests were justified.
The accusations stem from a tense standoff in 2004 between police and the tens of thousands of demonstrators at the GOP convention, where President Bush accepted his party's nomination for a second term.
While demonstrations were mostly peaceful, sporadic clashes between police and protesters resulted in more than 1,800 arrests, mostly on misdemeanor charges like ey, obstructing governmental administration.
Up to 10,000 officers were deployed at the four-day event a show of force the civil liberties group called overkill and a threat to free speech. Two pending federal lawsuits claim most of the arrests were illegal.
Anyway, I thought these people saw getting arrested at a protest as some sort of honor or badge of courage or something. You know, it's a way to show your smelly hippie friends that you're just like Martin Luther King. But white. And with a trust fund.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Some 33 percent of 1,011 people surveyed face-to-face by pollsters CSA said they were "somewhat" or "a little" racist, up 8 percentage points from last year, according to an annual report by the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights.
The poll asked the question "When it comes to you personally, would you say you are ..." followed by a list of options: somewhat racist, a bit racist, not racist, not very racist, not racist at all and don't want to say.
The report, presented to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, was conducted from November 17-22, 2005, immediately after several weeks of rioting in poor suburbs around the country.
Thousands of cars were torched by youths who said they faced discrimination, police harassment and lack of access to jobs. Youth unemployment rises to 50 percent in some poor urban areas.
I can see how people would be upset about a situation like that--I know I would have been--but to accuse themselves of racismover something like that? That seems like a stretch. But then again, these are the French we're talking about.
Instead, one of our staunchest allies, a free and democratic society, prevailed, so that's great. I would have liked team USA to have come out on top, but like a man once said, you can't always get what you want. Such is life.
I'm going to be looking for reaction in the state-dominated Cuban press (if I can find it online, that is) to the loss. It wouldn't surprise me if there are complaints about cheating or meddling from US officials, since we're always the bad guys when it comes to Cuba. This is probably a good place to keep your eye on for that sort of thing.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Many of today's cars, even the economy models, can run 200,000 miles or so with proper service and care. Be not afraid. It's okay to venture forth into the brave new world of technology, as long as you aren't on a hunting trip with the Vice President. He needs a GPS on his gun.
Thus, to answer your policy direction question, America is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. Those big rigs eventually will have gasoline-electric and diesel-electric engines for even better mileage and lower emissions.
America would be moving in the wrong direction to curb consumer choice. I mean, we already have enough of that don't we -- a government that believes it can engender freedom abroad by curbing and abusing it at home. [emphases mine]
And yet, some people persist in claiming that our Mainstream Media doesn't have a liberal slant. Go figure.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I don't support conservatism in its current iteration, and I support black conservatives even less, but we cannot ignore the racial implications of this latest Republican fall from grace. Here is a decidedly white-collar black man getting clipped for a blue-collar crime associated with economic necessity, one that practically guarantees prison time for most black men in this country. (Even if he's ultimately convicted, it's doubtful that Allen will end up behind bars.)
Here is a man who, like most black conservatives, has had to do an awful lot of personal and political rationalizing to pay dues, which included apprenticing with then-North Carolina senator and habitual racist Jesse Helms and opposing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Allen, a lawyer, was also President Bush's top advisor on domestic policy in an era when domestic policy has been indifferent at best to the growing needs of the poor — the black poor especially. Bush is fond of this kind of symbolism: putting black faces in key positions in order to appear racially progressive. It wouldn't be such a bad thing if the faces actually were progressive or had a vision more pressing than being loyal to the president, but they don't.
Loyalty has been the price of admission to this administration, and black conservatives have proved to be more loyal than most.
That has unfortunately, but not always unfairly, invited comparisons to slave times, when the most loyal blacks were those who worked in closest proximity to their white masters — house Negroes, as they were derisively known. Such Negroes gained privilege but lost standing in their own community, a price that might have been reasonable if they were eventually granted the same status as the whites they so assiduously served. They weren't, of course; race has always mattered. And it matters now, though the dynamic is more subtle and devious.
It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him...After a career of always conducting himself appropriately, as his mentor Clarence Thomas reportedly advised, did he finally crack under the pressure?
I got over being amazed that major newspapers would print trash like this a long time ago, but this is just intellectually lazy and, yes, racist crap. The Times has sunk to a new low.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
•It's really funny to hear someone with a measured, professional speaking voice just totally f'n lose it. Plenty of salty language at that link, by the way.
•Now that I find out that Michelle Phillips is older than my parents, I'm a little weirded out. But still...
Now, I think the little girl should be able to say whatever she wants, so long as it's not offensive or obscene, and I don't even really care that she had only the black kids in the audience stand up and recite "The Black Child's Pledge," since this was at a Black History Month event--already a little divisive there, you might say. I'm really interested in the idea that she supposedly wrote the following stuff all by herself:
Ashante then presented her poem "White Nationalism Put U In Bondage," which rails against Christopher Columbus, J.P. Morgan and Charles Darwin: "White nationalism is what put you in bondage. Pirate and vampires like Columbus, Morgan and Darwin."
"Black lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse," the poem states. "They took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellers. They took the black women, with the black man weak."
I'm just saying that your average 7-year-old girl is usually preoccupied by things other than "White Nationalism" and J.P. Morgan--candy and unicorns come to mind, actually. Granted, 7-year-olds may know about Columbus and pirates and vampires, but J.P. Morgan? And what does Charles Darwin have to do with oppressing black people? I'm just saying that she may have written it, but somebody put those particular bees in her bonnet. Judging by the "U" in the poem's title, I'm guessing it was Prince.
On the bright side, I guess she'll be more than ready for a modern liberal arts education when she gets to college.
A Mexican couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said on Monday.
In scenes taken straight out of hit romantic comedy "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Juan Espinosa and Irma Contreras fought until their house blew up in a homemade gasoline bomb explosion, Milenio said.
Anyway, let's see if the couple can put the shattered pieces of their lives back together (literally) and reconcile.
Espinosa told reporters he was glad his wife had suffered burns, while Contreras said she was only sorry she had not "hacked off his manhood" during the fight.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Hayes, who has played the ladies’ man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.
“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.
Anyway, Matt Stone, the show's co-creator, isn't taking this lying down. He has some pretty harsh words for Hayes.
“This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.”
Stone told The AP he and co-creator Trey Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin.”
Friday, March 10, 2006
With retail giant Wal-Mart under fire to improve its labor and health care policies, one Democrat with deep ties to the company Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has started feeling her share of the political heat.
Clinton served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas. And the Rose Law Firm, where she was a partner, handled many of the Arkansas-based company's legal affairs.
Clinton had kind words for Wal-Mart as recently as 2004, when she told an audience at the convention of the National Retail Federation that her time on the board "was a great experience in every respect."
But in recent months, as the company has become a target for Democratic activists, she has largely steered clear of any mention of Wal-Mart...
Actually, the only surprising thing about this (other than the fact that an AP reporter wrote about something that could be potentially embarrassing for Hillary!) is that much of the story details efforts she made during her time on the board to enact "progressive" reforms within the company--not something you'd think she'd be shy to talk about. Then again...
"There's no evidence she did anything to improve the status of women or make it a very different place in ways Mrs. Clinton's Democratic base would care about," said Liza Featherstone, author of "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart."
Thursday, March 09, 2006
It may not be what Sharon Stone wants to discuss, but the actress is happy to confirm that, yes, she does indeed get naked in her next movie, the sequel to the 1992 hit "Basic Instinct."
In Israel to promote International Women's Day, Stone was badgered not about the fairer sex, but instead about her role as a sexed-up serial killer in "Basic Instinct 2" on Wednesday.
"People are just sitting there going, like, 'I don't care what she's saying. I don't care what she's saying. I just want to know is she getting naked? Is she getting naked in that movie? Is she naked? Nude? Nude? Naked? Do I see her boobies?"' the actress, now 48, told reporters, laughingly.
"So let's just get through to that. Yes! And now that I've cleared that up, let's just go to the next question, because nobody cares about anything else, really," she said.
The state barred workers from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch on Thursday and fined the singer $69,000 because the estate's workers compensation insurance policy had lapsed.
The "stop order" was issued after a worker reported Tuesday that a co-worker who had been injured did not have the state-required health coverage, said Dean Fryer, spokesman for the California Department of Industrial Relations.
Regulators determined coverage for 69 employees at the ranch in Santa Barbara County lapsed on Jan. 10, Fryer said.
"In effect, it shuts them down," Fryer said. "They're not permitting workers to be employed."
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
She tried to simply forget about it, but she couldn't. She was barraged with calls from friends who saw the page, and the humiliation and feeling of being violated caused her several sleepless nights.
"I always thought that it is something (that) only could happen to other people," Kim said.
Anyway, this is apparently an instance of "cyberviolence" in South Korea, which the article calls "a growing problem."
That includes anything from online insults to sexual harassment and cyberstalking, and complaints over such offenses more than doubled last year to 8,406, according to the Korea Internet Safety Commission. The most complaints were for slander, which tripled to 3,933 cases in 2005.
Oh, and you should probably stay away from sites like, say, this one.
...nothing is worse than going to an orgy and feeling like you’re surrounded by perverts.
You are entering a dimension between the kind of cool and the very disturbing. A dimension between tasty shellfish and Golden Retrievers. There's a signpost up ahead: Next stop--The Furry Lobster Zone...
Divers have discovered a new crustacean in the South Pacific that resembles a lobster and is covered with what looks like silky, blonde fur, French researchers said Tuesday.
Scientists said the animal, which they named Kiwa hirsuta, was so distinct from other species that they created a new genus and new family for it.
A team of American-led divers found the animal in waters 7,540 feet deep at a site 900 miles south of Easter Island last year, according to Michel Segonzac of the French Institute for Sea Exploration, or IFREMER.
...The animal is white and 5.9 inches long, about the size of a salad plate.
In what Segonzac described as a "surprising characteristic," the animal's pincers are covered with sinuous, hair-like strands.
via Lee at Right-Thinking from the Left Coast
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
But here's a weird quote from Geoff Todd, the manager of a London bar:
"Some people use it just because it's in the bar. Some make a special journey, maybe because they are to embarrassed to go into a sex shop," Todd was quoted as saying by Monday's The Guardian newspaper.
"The younger generation isn't phased by sex toys. They don't believe they equal pornography. Vending machines allow them to buy such products anonymously without going to a seedy sex shops to do so," [Tabooboo managing director Alan] Lucas said.
Never let it be said that I'd pass up the opportunity for a cheap laugh.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
The fact that this man was once President is a strong indication of just how serious the nation's drug problems were back in the seventies. That, and the shag carpeting.
A criminal justice professor at Grand Rapids Community College has resigned after showing a video in class of a man having sex with a pig, students and a faculty representative said.
A school administrator confirmed that Samuel Naves, 47, resigned Feb. 17, but would not comment on why he left.
However, students and a faculty leader said the resignation had to do with the video.
Faculty association president Fred vanHartesveldt said the incident occurred this year. He said Naves was known for a blunt teaching style.
"His pedagogy was to teach real life," vanHartesveldt told The Grand Rapids Press. "His classes were very earthy. Some students took to that very well, and some students didn't."
The living dead beat rhino horn to be named Oddest Book Title of the Year.
Bookseller magazine gave the award Friday to a self-help book on being haunted entitled "People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It."
In a close fight, the runner-up was "Rhino Horn Stockpile Management: Minimum Standards and Best Practices from East and Southern Africa."
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Two concert-hall ushers were shot during a show by rapper Kanye West, police said.Now it's not that I'm shocked that violence would erupt at a hip-hop show. No, I'm surprised that it could happen at all in the UK, which has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the free world. I mean, if nobody can own guns, shouldn't this sort of thing be impossible?
West Midlands Police said the men were wounded at the National Exhibition Center, near Birmingham in central England. They were taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
"Firearms were discharged and two stewards were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening," the force said in a statement.
Hm...I guess not, when you have the BBC admitting in a 2004 article that "Over the past five years the number of firearms-related injuries and fatalities have risen dramatically."
Oh, but the guys who did the shooting were probably criminals, and they wouldn't be too likely to abide by those strict gun control laws, would they? I guess that's sort of a flaw in the whole ban on guns, isn't it?
As Japanese waistlines expand, so is the market for girdles -- for men.
A new line of male underwear that flattens the stomach and lifts the hips proved so popular when introduced on a trial basis last month that some stores quickly sold out.
But back in the Land of the Rising Sun...
"Men are getting so much more fashion conscious these days that they're starting to pay attention to the lines of their body and their silhouette, just like women," said a spokeswoman at Triumph International Japan, a leading underwear firm.You're probably aware that I'm a pretty conservative guy, but what the hell is going on in the world these days? I mean, it's bad enough that men are wearing girdles, but hip hugger girdles for low rise jeans? I think I'll stick to my regular boxers and khakis, thank you. Sheesh.
Triumph marketed two different types of "long girdle" -- one from the navel to the knees, and the other a "hip hugger" version to be worn with low-waisted pants.