Thursday, February 28, 2008

Explosion at US Shopping Mall?

BBC report.

May be the big news of the day. More details as they become available.

Update. CNN Headline News reports it's a gas explosion only.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley... dead.


A slideshow on the NY Times website.

I especially like this beehive:

He Didn't Quit While He Was Ahead.

Gun owner Stanton Moretti fired two shots at a man who was threatening Moretti's wife with a knife. That's the good news.

Moretti then ran the man over with his SUV. That's the bad news, in that Moretti has now been charged with murder.

It's hard to blame Moretti, he did what most of us in his situation might have done; but a gun owner is held to a higher standard, as well he should be.

Story is here.

Don't Spay Me, Bro!

Pets in Los Angeles, California, are now required to be sterilized.

Drudge has a cute photo accompanying the story on his website, a kitten peeking over a curb, in a sort of "kilroy" pose.


Several months ago I managed to mash my left-hand ring fingernail in a sliding glass door. The nail turned black with a clot of blood, but nothing much worse than that. Since then the nail has been growing out, as nails are wont to do, and last night at work I noticed that the blackened part of the nail had separated from the new nail growth. Later, while removing a small object from my shoe, the nail caught and dragged up, although luckily I didn't tear it off.

I used nail clippers to trim the damaged portion, exposing the healthy flesh underneath. I cleaned the remnants of old clotted black blood, and inspected what I was left with: new nail growth coming up from the quick, and 25% of the old nail still attached to the flesh, with 75% of the remaining area without a nail at all, but promise of a healthy complete nail in a month or two. I have the nail covered with a bandaid; guess I'll have to get used to wearing one for a while.

USA Today Cover Story Re: 2nd Amendment

Story here.

Pretty well balanced, for a change. Pic of former US Attorney General John Ashcroft accompanies. Ashcroft is already seeing his reputation go up, after the incompetence of his successors was made obvious to everyone.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Found: Nazi Treasure?

Gold? Artworks? Who knows until a camera is sent into a hole...

DEUTSCHKATHARINENBERG, Germany - German treasure hunters were to begin digging Tuesday for what they claim to be plunder buried by the Nazis in a man-made cavern near the Czech border.

The area's mayor, Hans-Peter Haustein, and a man who found the coordinates for the buried booty in a notebook among his deceased father's belongings, maintain that a scan of the spot has revealed that a large quantity of metal is about 20 yards below the surface. They believe it to be either gold or silver, based on the scan with a sophisticated metal detector.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Even The Clintons Aren't This Duplicitous.

A congressional candidate in New Hampshire faces criminal charges after faking his own disappearance.

A former congressional candidate convicted of faking his disappearance after a crash two years ago said Thursday the verdict was heartbreaking, but maintained his innocence and said the case isn't over.

Gary Dodds, 43, was found guilty Wednesday of falisfying evidence, causing a false public alarm and leaving the scene of the April 2006 crash, which prosecutors say he staged to boost his faltering campaign. Dodds said he is considering an appeal.

Dodds, a Democrat, claims he injured his head in a crash and nearly drowned in a river before being rescued 27 hours later from the snowy woods. Prosecutors say he spent part of that time soaking his feet in cold water to make it appear he spent the night outdoors, all to attract attention to his campaign.

Dodds faces up to seven years in prison. Except for his shoes and socks, his clothing was dry when he was rescued. His feet were purple and wrinkled, but the rest of his skin was pink and dry. An expert in cold weather injuries testified that must have resulted from Dodds soaking his feet in cold water for a prolonged period of time.

Read the rest yourself. It's pretty pathetic, but hilarious at the same time. Nice to see that the AP disclosed his party affiliation.

We Know The Real Reason, Don't We?

Helena Andrews writes a Politico article about Hillary Rodham Clinton's fondness for pants suits:

Is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) doing for pantsuits what Katie Holmes did for the bob?

From her supposed cleavage on the Senate floor, to that peach blazer condemned by former presidential rival John Edwards at a debate, to the notorious “bumble bee” outfit, to her most recent public dressing-down from Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, Clinton’s love-hate affair with the pantsuit is common knowledge. She loves them, and fashion experts hate them.

Critiquing her own fashion faux pas in the pages of Us Weekly this week (specifically a seersucker ankle-length dress with white sandals), Clinton joked, “Now you know why I stick with pantsuits.”

Oh, puh-leeze! We all know what the real reason is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Swedish Mora knives, carbon steel blades and cast plastic handles:

Great little survival kit knives.

Nice Turn Of Phrase.

A commenter on Ann Althouse's blog, speaking of Obama:

Obama thinks he can parlay Bobby Kennedy Cargo Cult Mambo Dance bullcrap into a national campaign and just take the Democratic Party away from the Clintons and their La Cosa Nostra allies.

(bolding mine)

Obama as John Frum? Yah, I see it.

Linsday Lohan Apes Marilyn Monroe


She's about the right size bust-wise, but Marilyn was fuller in the hips and thighs than Lindsay is, and smaller-waisted, as well. If Lindsay truly had a body like Marilyn's she'd be hounded in the media as "fat."

Fidel Castro...

...finally took himself off the pitching mound.

Don't look for huge changes in Cuba for a while, though, especially while Fidel is still alive, unless perhaps Obama becomes President. A President Obama might be inclined to end the embargo against Cuba.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Bet It's Called "The Rock Island Mine."

Twenty-four people were killed in an explosion in China, in an iron mine disguised as a pig farm.

Which brings to mind that great old song that Johnny Cash, among others, made a hit:

The Rock Island Line

Now this here's a story about the Rock Island Line
Well the Rock Island Line she runs down into New Orleans
There's a big tollgate down there and you know
If you got certain things on board when you go through the tollgate
Well you don't have to pay the man no toll
Well a train driver he pulled up to the tollgate
And a man hollered and asked him what all he had on board and said
I got livestock I got livestock I got cows I got pigs I got sheep
I got mules I got all livestock

Well he said you're all right boy you don't have to pay no toll
You can just go right on through so he went on through the toolgate
And as he went through he started pickin' up a little bit of speed
Pickin' up a little bit of steam
He got on through he turned and looked back at the man he said
Well I fooled you I fooled you I got pigiron I got pigiron I got old pigiron

Down the Rock Island Line she's a mighty good road
Rock Island Line it's a road to ride
Rock Island Line it's a mighty good road
Well if you ride you got to ride it like you finally get your ticket
At the station for the Rock Island Line

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yahoo! Answers, Answer of the Day

In response to this question, an answer...

i had a bunny then it went all phisco pathic

...which is probably pretty traumatic.

Vladimir Putin's Favorite Monty Python Character Is...

...Tim the Enchanter, from Monty Python & the Holy Grail.

Follow. BUT! Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel, that no one has fought with it and lived! Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair! So, brave Knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength then come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

(picture found in this story.

Geert Wilders: Paul Revere? Or Hitler?

"I don't hate Muslims. I hate Islam."

A TV addict with bleached hair who adores Maggie Thatcher and prefers kebabs to hamburgers, Geert Wilders has got nothing against Muslims. He just hates Islam. Or so he says. 'Islam is not a religion, it's an ideology,' says Wilders, a lanky Roman Catholic right-winger, 'the ideology of a retarded culture.'

The Dutch politician, who sees himself as heir to a recent string of assassinated or hounded mavericks who have turned Holland upside down, has been doing a crash course in Koranic study. Likening the Islamic sacred text to Hitler's Mein Kampf, he wants the 'fascist Koran' outlawed in Holland, the constitution rewritten to make that possible, all immigration from Muslim countries halted, Muslim immigrants paid to leave and all Muslim 'criminals' stripped of Dutch citizenship and deported 'back where they came from'. But he has nothing against Muslims. 'I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people.'

I'm baffled for an answer. As an old-fashioned American with isolationist impulses, Wilders' solutions seem to make sense. But I recall that Hitler's solutions to a similarly perceived problem resulted in genocide.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Damn! That bad?

John Derbyshire just posted a piece on National Review's The Corner calling Moldova "hell on earth."

If you're familiar with the travel writings of Paul Theroux, it sounds like just the sort of place that Theroux seeks out to visit.

Admitting your limits.

I wonder how many of us are willing to admit our limits publicly, and to say That's over my head or I'm sorry, I just don't understand when we reach those limits? This is something that I'm having to confront as a blogger with a high school education. The blogs I read regularly - - Instapundit, Ann Althouse, Powerline, Protein Wisdom (when Jeff Goldstein posts) feature bloggers whose thoughts I have to admit run deeper than mine do, and who can demolish me in debate. In addition, I have problems following their arguments at times.

I don't think I'm stupid; I took an online IQ test and got a score of 127, which was described in the results as bright/near genius. Still, my mind doesn't always grasp concepts easily or quickly; I remember as a child how difficult I found learning to tell time or tie my shoes.

I don't even have a real point to make with this post, when it comes down to it. It's more a public admission of inadequacy than anything else.

Friday, February 15, 2008


David Garrett, a violinist, tripped and dropped a G.B. Guadagnini violin valued at one million dollars:

Garrett said he bought the 1772 violin for $1 million in 2003, and he is now hoping to get it repaired in New York, where he is based.

"I hope and pray that it can be fixed, but if it can't, I hope my insurance policy will let me buy another great violin," the 26-year-old musician said. He told The Associated Press that other published accounts saying the violin was a Stradivarius were incorrect. Guadagnini is believed by some to have been a student of Antonio Stradivari.

Garrett gained attention as a child prodigy. Before he was 10, he played as a soloist with the London Philharmonic, according to his Web site. When he studied at the Juilliard School in New York, he became a parttime model to help supplement his income.

Bet a lot of us will be laughing and saying Way to go, prodigy! after we read this story.

The Competent Man

Glenn Reynolds linked a story of an 80-year-old Texan who, being a gun owner, was able to fight off an attack by robbers. Similarly, Kim Dutoit linked an article about "Angry White Men," who this man is certainly a representative specimen of. They are also related to Robert Heinlein's Competent Man.

Eighty Deaths? That's More Thank Gtmo And Abu Ghraib Combined!

Eighty people have died in the last four years while in the custody of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Illinois Shooting Update: Guns Legal, Gunman On Meds.


DEKALB, Ill. - The man who gunned down five people at Northern Illinois University in a suicidal rampage became erratic after halting his medication and carried a shotgun to campus inside a guitar case, police said Friday.

Two of the weapons — the pump-action Remington shotgun and a Glock 9mm handgun — were purchased legally less than a week ago, on Feb. 9, authorities said. They were purchased in Champaign, where Kazmierczak was enrolled at the University of Illinois.

The other weapons were still being traced.

Campus Police Chief Donald Grady said investigators recovered 48 shell casings and six shotgun shells following the attack in Cole Hall. The gunman paused to reload his shotgun after opening fire on a crowd of terrified students in a geology class, sending them running and crawling toward the exits. He shot himself to death on the stage of the hall.

Kazmierczak, whose first name was earlier listed as Steven, was taking some kind of medication, Grady said.

"He had stopped taking medication and become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks," Grady said, declining to name the drug or provide other details.

NY Times Article On El Rushbo.

Startlingly even-handed for the Times.

Why the Right Feet?

Sneaker-clad human feet have been washing ashore in British Columbia.

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- For the third time in six months, a human right foot in a sneaker was found washed ashore on islands off British Columbia.

Last August, two other right feet in men's size 12 sneakers washed ashore on two other nearby islands,and the RCMP wasn't able to match DNA from any police databases, the newspaper said.

Gail Anderson, a forensic entomologist from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, told the Times Colonist it's common for hands, feet and the head to detach as a body decomposes in water but she said it's unusual for them to float.

I wonder if, somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, only left feet wash ashore?

Univ. of Illinois Shooting Follow-up.

He killed 6. There are more people in the hospital in critical condition, so the death count may go up. No real info on the gunman yet, other than no police record.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let Me Play Carnak.

I predict that Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs will publish a post later tonight (Thursday) titled UN Leaps Into Action, Scolds Saudis About Abuses Against Women.

update: Carnak blew it.

Breaking: Shootings at Illinois University.

Story here:

Northern Illinois University issued an alert on its Web site Thursday to notify students of a possible gunman on campus.

"There has been a report of a possible gunman on campus," according to the alert. "Get to a safe area and take precautions until given the all clear. Avoid the King Commons and all buildings in that vicinity."

DeKalb Police Department says there are reports of multiple people shot.


Apparently the shooter had a shotgun and a pistol. Since there are reports of woundings and no killings, apparently the gunman had the shotgun loaded with ammo more suited to game than humans, and/or may have fired it at too great a range for lethal results; a shotgun used against humans is optimally a close-range weapon. The shooter has apparently suicided, or may have been killed by responders. Details are murky as yet.


Report says two dead. Don't know if that means two victims, or the victim and the dead shooter.

Where Have All The Rabbits Gone?

Jackrabbits in Yellowstone National Park,that is:

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Wildlife Conservation Society is trying to figure out why jack rabbits have vanished from Yellowstone National Park.

The report, published in the journal Oryx, said there have been no confirmed jack rabbit sightings in Yellowstone since 1991 and only three in Grand Teton National Park since 1978.

Historical records indicate that white-tailed jack rabbits were once abundant in Greater Yellowstone, a 23,166-square-mile ecosystem that contains the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the group said Thursday in a release.

This inspires me to song (apologies to Pete Seeger):

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Rabbits ate 'em, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the rabbits gone, long time passing?
Where have all the rabbits gone, long time ago?
Where have all the rabbits gone?
Coyotes got 'em, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have the coyotes gone, long time passing?
Where have the coyotes gone, long time ago?
Where have the coyotes gone?
Starved in meadows every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the meadows gone, long time passing?
Where have all the meadows gone, long time ago?
Where have all the meadows gone?
Gone to flowers every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Of course, there's a more chilling thought: Yellowstone is supposed to be a "supervolcano" that, if it erupts, would wipe out life in much of the western US; maybe the rabbits are the "canaries in the coal mine" on this? Nah; doesn't explain why they left Grand Teton.

I just coined a word.

Obamabotomy. You figure out the meaning.

UPDATE I'm not the first. I did a Google and found it here.

I may be the second to use it, though.

Drudge Alert!

Look at the picture that Drudge just put up of Chelsea Clinton:

Is she trying to hypnotize individual voters into voting for Mom? What a strange expression!

They're not ALL useful idiots?

80 entertainers signed a statement of support for Alejandro Sanz after his criticism of Venezuelan president Hugo Sanches resulted in two canceled concerts in that country.

Naomi Campbell is reportedly "devastated."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

SecDef Fractures Shoulder.


If it'd been Rumsfeld, all the readers of the Huffington Post would be orgasming hoping that he'd killed himself.

Berkeley Backpedals Furiously

The town of Berkeley, CA, AKA Moonbat Central, has decided that their City Council resolutions condemning the US Marines as unwelcome intruders was a mite impolitic.

The nigh-universal anger that they have received probably did quite a bit to change the City Council's mind, but not as much as the threat by the US Senate, led by Sen. DeMint of South Carolina, to take government funds earmarked for Berkeley and give them to the Marines.

Hit 'em in the pocketbook. Works every time it's tried.

White Stag

White stag in Scotland.

I saw a white deer once here in NC, when I was a security guard working at a rural business park.

Imagine The Possibilities

The land next to the world-famous mountaintop HOLLYWOOD sign is up for sale.

It's the land to the left of the sign. You could come up with some good slogans, such as I HATE HOLLYWOOD, or LIBERALS INFEST HOLLYWOOD, or GOD PLEASE DESTROY HOLLYWOOD, or NUKE HOLLYWOOD.

How Florida Cops Test For Quadriplegia.

To Protect & Serve.

'Twere Best Done Quickly?

Death sentences handed down at Guantanamo for terrorists would be carried out there.

Are events down there accelerating as President Bush's term winds down? This will raise a huge stink.


Fearing for their safety and security, the Freemasons have begun a new disinformation campaign.

Nice. Valentine's Day Ruined For Millions.

Valentine's Day E-Cards may contain computer viruses.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama's Flag Controversy

About as relevant as Dick Cheney's flag controversy.

One For Hitchens

Christ takes a hit.

Sounds Better Than "Jack the Bastard."

A Kennedy Love Child surfaces in Canada.

Plot To Murder Danish Cartoonist Foiled.

Police in Denmark have arrested several people involved in a plot to murder cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, one of the infamous "Muhammad Cartoonists."

Westergaard drew this cartoon for the newspaper Jyllands-Posten as part of an article on intimidation and self-censorship by the media as a result of Muslim violence. Ironically, Westergaard is now under police protection for the same reason.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Thought About Bombings

At a certain point a country can be secure and still have occasional bombings, e.g., Israel, Northern Ireland, London at the height of the IRA bombings. We have to be able to distinguish between a government that is stable and is attacked versus a government that isn't stable and is attacked.

Russians Forgive 12 Billion Dollar Iraqi Debt.


MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Monday forgave nearly all the 12.9-billion-dollar debt owed it by Iraq and voiced hopes of increased Russian investment in the war-torn country, news agencies quoted Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin as saying.

The amount forgiven -- 12 billion dollars (8.2 billion euros) -- came to 93 percent of the mainly Soviet-era debt owed by Baghdad to Moscow, Interfax news agency reported.

So having refused all help to the US in the Iraq War, now they want to come in and profit from the peace, probably at our detriment? Typical.

Arrival From China.

Piece of turquoise, destined for a ring:

China is selling a lot of turquoise these days on eBay. According to one of the descriptions I read of a stone, the Chinese didn't really value the turquoise that highly, since they were in search of jade.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Banned From Cigar Shop.

Via Sacramento Bee.

The owner of the shop where the Governator buys his cigars has banned Schwarzenegger from the shop because of his support of a tobacco tax increase.

Real David & Goliath story, huh?

Local Teacher In USA Today.

Story here.

We've had a lot of problems in town in the past with schools, including voters who reject school bonds proposed by the county commission. I can't say that one teacher will make that much of a difference. Time will tell.

Roy Scheider, Dead At 75.

Probably the moment I remember best is when he's "attacked" by a corpse on the beach in one of the Jaws movies. I enjoyed his work in Blue Thunder, which I first saw at the base theater at Howard Air Force Base, Panama Canal Zone, back in '82, if I remember correctly. He did a fine performance as a hit man in Cohen and Tate, also.

Trivia: he was the original choice for Rambo in First Blood. Probably there would have been no stupid sequels had he remained in that role.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

No Havoc Here, Thankfully.

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that winds in the area are gusting up to 50mph and causing problems throughout the area. Not seeing much of that here; it was actually more windy yesterday than it was today, truthfully. Fingers crossed.

UPDATE: Apparently it's worse than that first report hinted, but as I said already, it's pretty quiet here. I hope everyone affected is safe and not in danger.

My First Instalanche!

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit for linking one of my humble efforts. Already the sitemeter has jumped from around 1700 to 2211 at last glance. It is truly more than I deserve.

Hillary Shakes Up Campaign Staff

Beginning of the end?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has replaced campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, naming longtime aide Maggie Williams to the top job.

Solis Doyle announced the shift in an e-mail to the staff on Sunday.

"I have been proud to manage this campaign and prouder still to call Hillary my friend for more than 16 years," Solis Doyle wrote. "Maggie is a remarkable person and I am confident that she will do a fabulous job."

The move comes a day after rival Barack Obama swept contests in Washington state, Nebraska, Louisiana.

Coke-Boy Hugo Threatening To Cut Off Oil Exports to US.

Story here.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez on Sunday threatened to cut off oil sales to the United States if Exxon Mobil Corp. wins court judgments to seize his government's assets.

"If you end up freezing (Venezuelan assets) and it harms us, we're going to harm you," Chavez said. "Do you know how? We aren't going to send oil to the United States. Take note, Mr. Bush, Mr. Danger."

Exxon Mobil has gone after the assets of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA in U.S., British and Dutch courts as it challenges the nationalization of a multibillion dollar oil project by Chavez's government.

Murtha Still Trying To Dictate War Policy.

Story here.

A top Democrat said Thursday he is preparing legislation that would give President Bush the war funding he wants this year, but on the condition that troops leave Iraq by the end of the year.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, said he’ll propose that the House vote this March on the spending measure. In addition to the troop withdrawal, he said he’ll ask for other conditions such as that all deploying troops must be fully trained and equipped.

Similar bills scraped by on party line votes in the House last year only to fail in the Senate, where Democrats hold a narrower margin of control and 60 votes are needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

Murtha, speaking to reporters following a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he’s confident this bill would pass the House, but he’s not sure about the Senate.

Return Of A Gaslight Crime

In Bulgaria, two people were attacked by having acid thrown into their faces.

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Two people were seriously injured in separate attacks involving acid this weekend in Sofia, Bulgaria, it was reported Sunday.

Police said the target of the first attack was a 38-year-old shop assistant who had acid thrown in her face by an unknown assailant. The Sofia news agency said Sunday the woman suffered serious burns to her face and other parts of her body.

Shortly after that Saturday attack, a 30-year-old man was found beaten and disfigured. He also had been burned with acid, forcing him to lose his right eye, and had his ears cut off. He underwent surgery for his injuries.

In the Victorian era, this was known as vitriolage. Sherlock Holmes fans are familiar with the crime, as Holmes mentions it at least once in passing, and the crime is, in fact, the subject of one the later stories. Similar are attacks with lye among rural blacks in the US in the early part of the 20th century; Blind Willie Johnson was the victim of one such attack, and the act was mentioned in blues songs of the period.

History don't repeat, but sometimes it rhymes, as Twain said.

UPDATE:My first Instapundit link! Thank you, Glenn Reynolds!

We Need A "Johnny Appleseed" For the American Chestnut.

Jack Betts has a fine article in the Charlotte, NC, Observer about the plight of the American Chestnut Tree, which once covered Appalachia until a blight brought about its near-extinction.

S.S. Independence Makes Her Last Voyage.

The last passenger liner built by the US, the S.S. Independence, is making what might be its last voyage.


If She's A Hot MILF, It's Not Really Harassment.

It's a sort of WTF? story. A 47-year old female Swedish teacher flashed her breasts to discourage a student from drawing obscene doodles on the blackboard.

Couple of different ways to interpret the story, which is only three short paragraphs. One is that the teacher is such a hot MILF that she promised a boob flash as a reward for stopping the doodling; the other is that she's such a hag that she flashed boob as a sort of punishment.

London Fashion Show To Require Healthy Models, Bonesacks Unhappy.

via UPI.

LONDON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- London Fashion Week is threatened by a potential boycott by skinny models who don't want to have to prove they are healthy to participate, a report said.

Clothing designers from around the world could fail to show up for the British showcase, which begins Sunday, if models are required to present a certificate of health for the event, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.

Navy Captains Lose a Perk.

Commanding Officer's Gigs (boats for personal use) on aircraft carriers are being discontinued:

Carrier skippers are losing a traditional status symbol under a Navy directive issued in January. The captain’s gig, the motorboat set aside to ferry commanding officers to shore when their ships are anchored away from land, is being phased out of the fleet.

Under a directive issued by Naval Air Forces, all 11 carriers will be required to turn in their captain’s gigs before June 30, 2009. “Removal of the captain’s gig will reduce maintenance costs and free up valuable hangar bay space,” the message reads.

Naturally enough, the officers effected aren't particularly happy:

“A gig is not simply for transporting the captain back and forth to the ship. When our ships are in port overseas part of their mission is to show the flag, to increase understanding of the capabilities of our Navy, to generate respect and cooperation,” said retired Vice Adm. Diego Hernandez, former captain of the carrier John F. Kennedy. “Piling distinguished visitors to an aircraft carrier in the local rented ferry will not quite measure up to what the U S Navy should be able to offer.”

What’s more, the captain’s gig is a worthwhile perk for a carrier skipper, Hernandez said, “whose responsibilities are incomprehensible for officers who have not commanded one, and whose compensation is, to put it mildly, modest.”

McCain: Don't Be Surprised.

Since McCain is likely to be a one-term president due to his age, don't be surprised if he goes back on his word to appoint Supreme Court justices in the style of Roberts and Alito, presuming he's given the opportunity, of course. As a one-term president he would be under absolutely no obligation to keep campaign promises; at this point he just wants to be president for the ego stroke it gives him. He could really care less about policy at this point.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cue The Banjo Music.

A cultural minister in the UK is warning of inbreeding Muslims from Pakistan that marry their first cousins, resulting in the degradation of the UK gene pool and stress on the NHS due to birth defects.

A government minister has warned that inbreeding among immigrants is causing a surge in birth defects - comments likely to spark a new row over the place of Muslims in British society.

Phil Woolas, an environment minister, said the culture of arranged marriages between first cousins was the “elephant in the room”. Woolas, a former race relations minister, said: “If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there’ll be a genetic problem.”

The minister, whose views were supported by medical experts this weekend, said: “The issue we need to debate is first cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in children].”

Woolas emphasised the practice did not extend to all Muslim communities but was confined mainly to families originating from rural Pakistan. However, up to half of all marriages within these communities are estimated to involve first cousins.

I wonder if these Pakistani rednecks tie people to trees and make them...uh..bleat like a goat?

Pot? Meet Kettle.

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, no strangers to drug use, offer expert advice to Amy Winehouse:

BERLIN -- Rolling Stones guitarist and former junkie Keith Richards has offered troubled Brit singer Amy Winehouse some free advice on kicking the drug habit.

"She should get her act together," Richards told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday at a round-table interview at the Berlin International Film Festival to promote Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary "Shine a Light."

The often-addled rocker paused, then added: "Apart from that, I have got nothing to say to the bitch."

Pappy Boyington: Still A Black Sheep.

You'd think that naming an airfield in honor of WWII flying ace and Medal of Honor winner Greg "Pappy" Boyington would be a no-brainer, right? You'd be wrong:

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's last battle was tough, but he prevailed because fellow Marines had his back.

A two-year fight to rename the airport in Boyington's hometown in honor of the troubled World War II ace ended in success last fall, but only after overcoming reservations about the Medal of Honor winner who has been dead for 20 years.

Now Kevin Gonzalez, one of the leaders of the effort, has produced a documentary about the conflict that ended with Pappy Boyington Field being added to the Coeur d'Alene Airport name.

Boosters initially assumed there would be little opposition to renaming the airport, but the effort stalled in 2006 when the Kootenai County Commission refused to vote on the proposal.

"One of the major stumbling blocks was people bringing up the fact he was a womanizer and drinker," said veteran Robert Rohrscheib, a member of the local Marine Corps League Pappy Boyington Detachment 966.

But Boyington was an authentic hero, and likely suffered from what would later be called post-traumatic stress disorder, Rohrscheib said.

When two new commissioners were elected, the veterans tried again and the change was made last August.

Luckily Britons Are Disarmed.

Myself, I'd be prone to shoot someone like this:

I'm Holding Out For A House

Half of UK men surveyed would give up sex for six months in exchange for a 50" plasma tv.

At the rate I get sex, I'm holding out for a house. A large house.

And a car.

Friday, February 08, 2008

He Was Very Quiet, And Never Bothered Anyone.

Because he was dead!

Workers responding to neighbors' complaints of a bad smell coming from an apartment in western England discovered a body that lay decomposing on a couch for years while another resident lived there, officials said Friday.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that neighbors of the Bristol, England apartment had been complaining for years about the stench and cleaning workers found the body. Neighbor Michael Stone told the BBC he assumed the tenant suffered from poor hygiene and even offered him air fresheners.

A spokesman for Bristol City Council said the body was thought to have been in the apartment for at least eight years.

The identity of the man, who was thought to be in his 70s when he died, has not been released.

Enviro-Judge Exceeding Her Jurisdiction?

A San Francisco-based (surprised?) judge extended an injunction against the US Navy's use of advanced sonar systems to territory as far away as Australia, citing concern for whales and other marine mammals.

Story here.

Another federal judge has cited environmental concerns in limiting sonar operations that the Navy says are vital for protecting its ships from enemy submarines.

Elizabeth D. Laporte, a San Francisco-based magistrate, on Wednesday said restrictions that have barred the Navy from testing a new, more powerful type of sonar system in waters off the coasts of California and Hawaii should be extended to more distant waters such as those near the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Islands and Pelages Sanctuary.

Laporte said expanding the injunction was critical because the prior agreement included mostly areas off the coast of the U.S. But other waters also have large numbers of marine mammals, he said.

“The court said the areas the Navy would exclude were too few and were largely clustered around the United States,” Jansy said. “Habitat for marine mammals is not just found off the U.S.”

Under Laporte’s injunction, federal government attorneys must now meet with NRDC representatives to come up with a new set of restrictions that are agreeable to both sides, so the agreement in the six-year old case can be updated.

Didn't know that civilian judges had so much power over the US Navy when it operated in international waters. Interesting, and I'm wondering if she's overstepping her authority and treading on Executive Branch territory?

A Beautiful Knife.

Here. It's not a knife I own, and is priced in the nice to have but I need new eyeglasses range.

(Yes, the handle is shaped like a sperm whale).

David Shuster Bitch-Slapped for "Pimped Out Chelsea Clinton" Comment.

Rush Limbaugh learned this lesson a long time ago: Don't be dissin' no Chelsea Clinton.


On Thursday's "Tucker" on MSNBC, David Shuster, who was serving as guest-host of the program, made a comment about Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton campaign that was irresponsible and inappropriate. Shuster, who apologized this morning on MSNBC and will again this evening, has been suspended from appearing on all NBC News broadcasts, other than to make his apology. He has also extended an apology to the Clinton family. NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks.

Guess he can kiss any aspirations of working in the Clinton White House goodbye.

Another thought: To be fair, the guy insulted someone on the Left for once, which means that he was either struggling to be unbiased or simply went temporarily insane.

Leprosy In Arkansas? How? Oh...Immigrants.

There's an outbreak of leprosy in Springdale, Arkansas, and city officials are blaming immigrants from the Marshall Islands, where the disease is endemic.

SPRINGDALE - The medical community is warning the public: a leprosy outbreak in Springdale could blossom into an epidemic, if something isn't done soon.

Doctors say at least nine cases of leprosy have been confirmed in Springdale. Local doctors say they would be shocked by even one case of leprosy in their entire career, so they say something must be done soon, in order to stop leprosy's spread.

They're being a bit hysterical. Only 10% of the population is even susceptible, and you have to be exposed over a long period in order to catch the disease even then.

The Worst (And Best) Of America

A traffic judge apologized to a man who had been hounded for 17 years by officials trying to get his similarly named twin brother to resolve $1,800 in unpaid tickets and fines.

Judge Willie Adams refused to look at the paperwork that showed Harris was innocent, then told him to start paying the tickets or go to jail. That prompted him to take his story to the Philadelphia Daily News.

After the column ran Monday, a different traffic judge, Bernice DeAngelis, caught wind of the story. She apologized and said the court would give Edward Harris a refund.

"I'd like the chance to look him in the eye and apologize, from the bottom of my heart," DeAngelis told the newspaper for a story Thursday. "I see what we do in this court as a sacred trust. That might sound corny, but I truly believe it. I'm sorry for everything he had to go through."

This story typifies the worst aspects of the US: bumbling, stumbling, inefficient, stupid bureaucracy and apathetic justice system. It also shows, in case we have forgotten, what makes the US great: Individuals willing to take responsibility for mistakes made, to publicly acknowledge and apologize for those mistakes. Kudos to Bernice DeAngelis.

Congress Supporting Gun Rights

It's an election year, after all.

A majority of the Senate and more than half of the members of the House will file a brief today urging the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that the District's handgun ban violates the Second Amendment.

All Senate Republicans except three -- Virginia's maverick Sen. John W. Warner was one of the missing -- signed on to the brief. Nine Democratic senators -- Virginia's other maverick, Sen. James Webb was among them -- joined the effort. The total was 55 senators and 250 House members, 68 of whom were Democrats.

Archbishop Of Canterbury: Too Ecumenical?

He's willing to accept Islamic Sharia law in UK.

Weird picture of him in the article, he sort of reminds me of someone...

UPDATE:The Archbishop Backpedals Furiously.

Backpedaling Furiously.

The Berkeley City Council and Mayor, that is.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- As six Republican senators devised a plan to yank $2.3 million in federal funding for Berkeley programs, the mayor of the famously liberal city apologized Wednesday for his hard stance against a Marine recruiting center.

Two City Council members vowed to soften their stance as well.

On the other hand, Code Pink wasn't too happy:

"I was under the impression that we have the right of free speech," said Xanne Joi of Code Pink. "To me, I thought free speech meant you get to say what you want without recrimination."


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney Suspends Campaign

Bowing to the inevitable. Wonder if Hugh Hewitt will be getting drunk tonight?

A Thought On McCain

It's not that voting against Republican issues in the Senate is so heinous; you can have disagreements with the party on issues.

It's that McCain does it seemingly with the intention of angering conservatives, like a Katzenjammer Kid intentionally kicking over his mother's prize vase; he knows it's wrong, he has no reason to do it, but does it just for the entertainment factor of the act.

Volcano Tungurahua Erupting In Ecuador

via Reuters

PELILEO, Ecuador, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Ecuador's "Throat of Fire" volcano roared on Wednesday, spurting molten rock and huge plumes of smoke that showered villages with ash and prompted the evacuation of about 1,200 people.

The volcano, called Tungurahua in the native Quichua language, is 80 miles (130 km) south of the capital, Quito. It last erupted in August 2006 and has been rumbling and belching rock, gas and ash since January.

Volcanologists expect still stronger activity from Tungurahua, which is in the middle of an eruption cycle that began in 1999.

"This is an ongoing eruption and we still don't know the magnitude it could reach," said Hugo Yepes, the head of the country's Geophysics Institute.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

She Can't Get No Respect.

Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is desperately clinging to the vestiges of her career, but isn't succeeding too well.

Voters in her new home state of California have rejected former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in her bid for the presidency on the Green Party ticket. They voted instead — by a margin of more than 2 to 1 — for Ralph Nader in Tuesday's presidential primary.

But McKinney's defeat in California is a blow to the campaign she launched there last October. California and Illinois are considered key Green Party states. McKinney declared her candidacy in December after ending a campaign swing through the Midwest with a stop in Chicago.

McKinney, 52, served six terms as a Georgia congresswoman before losing her seat to Hank Johnson in 2006. She moved to the San Francisco area last spring to attend graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.

I guess you know how this one will be filed.


Dutch military surplus rocket bag, from Cheaper Than Dirt.

Wonderful heavy canvas bag, durably constructed, double-stitched everywhere. Approximately half the size of a seabag. It'd make a pretty good golf bag for a hobbit, I suppose. Less than $20USD.

Did You Notice?

Bill Clinton appears to have been muzzled for Super Tuesday. We'll see how long that lasts.

Some personal details/interests.

Just so you know what sort of person I am.

Bald, fat, wears glasses, poor as a church mouse. Divorced, never remarried. Two grown children who by now probably can't recall my name.

Spent four years in the US Navy, the happiest years of my life. Should have stayed in and never gotten married, I'd be a much wiser and richer man if I had.

Interests include geology (volcanoes, specifically), knives, guns, history, hiking, music (have a guitar and concertina that I fiddle around with, so to speak), MMORPG's. Anything Navy-related. Politics. Snakes.

Political conservative, but moderate or even liberal on particular issues. Tend xenophobic/misanthropic.

Non-smoker, non-drug-user. Never experimented with such things much. Not much of a drinker, even. Main beverage is Diet Cherry Coke.

I live in the Charlotte, NC, area. Myself, my sister and my mother all live together. My mother is an invalid, and I spend my daylight hours taking care of her needs, my sister taking over in the evenings while I get my few hours of sleep. Family pets include a grey tabby-mix female housecat, now quite old, and a mix-breed Jack Russell bitch. I've kept snakes in the past and may do so again in the future.

I think that's enough for the moment.

Hat Tip

Thanks to Stephen Green of Vodkapundit for adding me to his blogroll.

Declaration of intent.

I'm going to be more active here than I have been in the past. The main reason for this is that I am finally becoming tired of playing MMORPG's, which have sucked away much of my free time for the last few years. I've maintained a LiveJournal for that same period, and much of my writing is there, instead of here, but my audience on LJ is so neglibible that I don't have to regret switching to over here instead. That means you'll see more personal stuff, instead of just politics, Navy, and volcano blogging.

I think I can fill a niche as a night-time blogger, since my job as a hotel clerk has me working 3rd shift, 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. I can blog on hotel work, too, since I have a good knowledge of that subject.

Blogging at night will allow me to notice stories before the day bloggers wake up, obviously.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday Reflection

Looks like McCain and his VP nominee-to-be Huckabee have managed to castrate Mitt Romney. Huckabee may end up with more wins today than Romney.

I think that Republicans and conservatives will look back on the Bush 43 presidency as one of quiet dignity and adult behavior, once we're exposed to the next president, whether it be one of the two Democrats or that insufferable prick, John McCain.

Death Photo Of Ernie Pyle Found.

Ernie Pyle, the famed war correspondent soldier from WWII who was killed during the battle for Okinawa, is in the news again after a "death photo" of him surfaced.

The photo was taken by one of his companions, who crawled under fire to Pyle's body in order to get this momento of his friend's death. It's a well-composed shot made by a quality press camera.


I bought a lanyard loop for my old S&W Victory Model .38 Special. One of the previous owners removed the original at some point in its long life. The old girl looks pretty good these days, I had her refinished from her original worn blueing to a military parkerized finish.

Here's a picture of a similar gun, not mine; the lanyard ring is circled in yellow, that is what I replaced:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Holloway Suspect Confesses.

Not knowingly, but to a friend in a secretly taped conversation. Van Der Sloot says that he and Holloway were making out, and she died of a stroke/heart attack while they were doing so.

Which is bullshit, since the first thing he thought of when she was dead was how to dispose of the body. He wasn't concerned about calling an ambulance or notifying her parents, he just wanted to get rid of the girl's body. Why? I'm guessing he raped and strangled her.

This sort of evidence would be tossed out of a US court, probably, but will probably be admissable in the Dutch Antilles.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

My thoughts on McCain

I'm a Navy vet myself, so I have a lot of sympathy for fellow Navy people. McCain, however, is the sort of asshole I used to hate in the Navy as an enlisted man: an officer who treated people like shit, scornful and sardonic. Had McCain been Army or USMC during Vietnam, he would have been the sort to get fragged by his own men.

McCain, for the last ten years or so, hasn't been reliably conservative on a number of issues, and lets emotion get in the way of common sense, which is why he voted against President Bush's tax cuts: he was resentful of the outcome of the Republican primaries and wanted to show his ass.

I didn't vote for Carter, another Navy vet who turned out to be an asshole, and I won't vote for McCain. If Hillary or Obama screw up as much as I think they will, they will be booted after four years, and I'll count on the Republicans in the congress to keep gun rights safe until then.