Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Moving Statement

Back in 2002, out in California, little Samantha Runnion was brutally murdered by Alejandro Avila. Last week, Samantha's mother Erin Runnion delivered a victim impact statement at Avila's sentencing.

Read it here.

This is one of those cases where I believe the proper sentence is life. Without parole. In general population. Where "skinners" (child molesters) are put through the sheerest forms of hell by their companions.

Let Avila spend the next 30, 40, 50 years being some big, fat, smelly biker's bitch.

And let Samantha Runnion's family find some peace, finally.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

PETA in the News...

The following story is from This is True dated 17 July 2005. It is
Copyright 2005 Randy Cassingham, all rights reserved, and reprinted here
with permission:

"Ethical" Defined

After more than 100 dead dogs were dumped in a trash dumpster over
four weeks, police in Ahoskie, N.C., kept an eye on the trash receptacle
behind a supermarket. Sure enough, a van drove up and officers watched
the occupants throw in heavy plastic bags. They detained the two people
in the van and found 18 dead dogs in plastic bags in the dumpster,
including puppies; 13 more dead dogs were still in the van. Police say
the van is registered to the headquarters of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, and the two occupants, Andrew B. Cook, 24, and
Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, identified themselves as PETA employees. An autopsy
performed on one of the dogs found it was healthy before it was killed.
Police say PETA has been picking up the animals -- alive -- from North
Carolina animal shelters, promising to find them good homes. Cook and
Hinkle have been charged with 62 felony counts of animal cruelty. In
response to the arrests PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said it's against
the group's policy for employees to dump animals in the trash, but "that
for some animals in North Carolina, there is no kinder option than
euthanasia." (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald) ...Oops, my mistake: that's
"Playing God" Defined.

In his author's notes section, Cassingham had more to say about this story:

The more I learn about PETA, the less I think of
them. The story of them killing animals isn't even unusual. According to
PETA's own filings, in 2004 PETA killed 86.3 percent of the
animals entrusted to its care -- a number that's rising, not falling.
Meanwhile, the SPCA in PETA's home town (Norfolk, Va.) was able to find
loving homes for 73 percent of the animals put in its care. A shortage of
funds? Nope: last year PETA took in $29 million in tax-exempt donations.
It simply has other priorities for the funds, like funding terrorism
(yes, really). But don't take my word for it: I got my figures from
-- and they have copies of PETA's state and federal filings to back it
up. The bottom line: if you donate money to PETA because you think they
care for and about animals, you need to think some more. PETA literally
yells and screams about how others "kill animals" but this is how
they operate? Pathetic.

And you know what I wonder? PETA's official count of animals
they kill is 86.3 percent. But if they're going around picking up
animals, killing them while they drive around and not even giving them a
chance to be adopted, and then destroying the evidence by dumping
the bodies in the trash, are those deaths being reported? My
guess: no. While 86.3 percent is awful, the actual number is probably
much, much higher. How dare they lecture anyone
about the "ethical" treatment of animals!

(This is True is a weekly column featuring weird-but-true news
stories from around the world, and has been published since 1994. Click
the link for info about free subscriptions.)

As Cassingham says, PETA's performance is pathetic. Many of my friends are active in various animal-friendly pursuits -- rehabbing and the like. They would never consider this wholesale slaughter of innocent animals.

If you really, really, REALLY care about animals, don't contribute to PETA. Send your money to the ASPCA or the Humane Society.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Congratulations... Skippy the Bush Kangaroo ; he recorded his 1,000,000th visitor about five minutes ago.

I, on the other hand, am at 14.

Of course, Skippy's been at this game for three years, I've had this blog for about four months.

Plus, Skippy's good. Real good.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"No Pal Left Behind"

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an editorial about BushCo and friends:

President Bush likes to talk about high standards, accountability and
personal responsibility. While Bush expects students, school systems and
future retirees to toe the line, his friends get an easier deal.

[. . .]

Schoolchildren, take note. There will still be high standards for you, your
teachers and your schools. But at the White House, the rule is a little
different: No pal left behind. Unless, of course, he is an out-and-out
criminal. That's quite a standard.

Read it.

This is yet another example of BushCo's "Do as I say, not as I do" philospohy. I've seen used car salesmen and door-to-door insurance reps who don't lie this much.

A TRUE Classic...

Having spent 14 years as a cop, I can tell you most, if not all, of the cops I met couldn't write a decent report to save their lives (yes, I consider myself an exception). And police blotter (or arrest book) records are usually classic "Joe Friday" efforts: 'just the facts'.

Courtesy of BoingBoing, this gem is presented for your entertainment. It starts at the bottom of page 1 and runs to the top of page 3.

And I've never heard real cops use words like "interloper" or "miscreant".

The desk sergeant must have been having a slow night. A reeeal slooooow night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sad Day (at least for me)

Just two days ago, I complimented South Knox Bubba for the qualityof his blog.

Today, there's a notice on his site that he has discontinued not only the blog, but his whole site.

He will be sorely missed.

Update: Turns out SKB shut down yesterday, the day after I wrote about him.

Monday, July 18, 2005

OK, Then.

(To quote one of my favorite blogs, South Knox Bubba). Now some people may wonder why a New Englander transplanted to Michigan would read a Knoxville-based blog. First, he's an excellent writer. Second, I lived for a while in Tennessee, so it's kinda like keeping up with things there. Third, I stumbled across his site before the election, and I liked what he was saying and the way he was saying it.

While I may not be in the same league as SKB and TBogg, or the grand-daddies of blogtopia (which I think was coined by Skippy the Bush Kangaroo) like Atrios, Daily Kos, Josh Marshall or Kevin Drum, I'd like to think that, somewhere, there might be someone who finds my writing to be interesting, entertaining, or -- if I'm really lucky -- educational.

Not that any of this has anything to do with anything happening, of course.

I heard on the radio this morning that Karl Rove was cited as the source (or maybe a source) of the Valerie Plame leak. If so, he should be held accountable. Various bloggers have pointed out the spin put on this whole mess by the White House, and have also pointed out that it merely obfuscates the true facts: she was a CIA operative, and someone outed her, apparently in violation of at least one Federal law. End of story.

A couple of people are now starting to start about applying the RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law to the Bushies. Now, I was a cop, not a lawyer, so I'm not that familiar with the intricacies of RICO, but I remember how quickly it put an end to a lot of groups ranging from street gangs to the Mafia. Maybe it should be considered. Lord knows they're corrupt enough.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Things to Come...

Now tell me THIS isn't the best dream ever....

Yes, this is sorta-kinda a repeat of this earlier post, but I figured out how to add the pictures.

I think.

"You are a traitor and you are our enemy."

Karl Dubya "Scooter" Cheney to John Kerry?

Nope. Not hardly.

It's four former CIA operatives to the Administration, in this post at TPM Cafe, an offshoot of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. It's a posting of testimony they and two others delivered on Capitol Hill in 2003.

Read the whole article, then come on back here.

[Laa-dee-dah... 99 bottles of beer on the wa---]

You're back already?

They do a pretty good job of ripping the GOP obfuscation to shreds, don't they?

John Dean was right: this bunch IS "worse than Watergate". For those who haven't seen it, that's the title of his latest book. And for the younger readers, John Dean was Tricky Dick Nixon's counsel. And if you ask who Nixon was, I'll cry.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London Bombings...

What can one say? At least 50 dead, 700 or so injured, 3 subways and a bus destroyed, and -- of course -- al Qaida claiming "credit".

I have been in the safety and security field for going on 30 years, so people occasionally ask me how a nation can prevent terrorist attacks. Short answer: you can't. No matter how closed and controlled a society may be, terrorists can find a way to perform their cowardly attacks. Don't believe me? The Soviet Union and China -- two of the most-controlled countries on earth -- have not been immune from the threat of terrorism. More open societies -- the United States and Europe, for example -- don't have a prayer. The very nature of an open society invites these atrocities.

Tony Blair said yesterday (paraphrasing here), 'these were not kings or heads of state, these were innocent people.' The same thought was echoed today by Queen Elizabeth. Our idiot leader, of course, tried to sound tough and merely sounded like a fool.

"Innocent people" are, of course, a terrorist's primary target. The terrorist believes that by striking indiscriminately, by killing innocent people, by attacking the very openness of the society he fears and despises, he will somehow 'strike terror' into the hearts of the free. He believes his actions will help free societies see the error of their ways and convert to his "true faith". He believes that freedom-loving people will be cowed into abject obeisance to his way of thinking. He feels that because his stern, hateful, loathsome "God" is on his side, he will prevail.

Don't count on it, Abdul.

These mutts attack innocent people because they are cowards. They are afraid to face trained soldiers. They are afraid to face armed men who would have no compunctions about sending these mujaheddin mongrels to their maker. They are afraid to face the results of the cowardly strikes, so they either kill themselves in the process -- what some in the security field refer to as "not-so-smart bombs" -- or they set their bombs to explode when they're safely away, "praying" in their mosques.

A week or so ago, there was a news story about the potential effects of a terrorist attack on a chemical plant here in the US. Casualty estimates ranged from 20,000 to over a million. I'm sure the Islamic extremists drool at the thought of an attack like that. But if there are any calmer heads in the Islamic movement (and that seems to be a big "if"), they'd better not try it.

Such an attack would be considered a use of a "weapon of mass destruction". American policy has been to respond with the level of attack waged. There is, of course, only one WMD in the American arsenal: a nuke. If the Islamic Jihad mutts managed to cause 20,000 deaths in a single attack, even the most left-wing liberal would say, "Nuke 'em." A MILLION deaths? Ralph Nader would cackle as the button was pushed.

Another major terrorists attack on the US would result in the total elimination of Islam from the face of the Earth.

And you know what?

No one would give a damn.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mexican Stamp Controversy Brewing

Just a note of politically-correct caution: unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, all references to nationality or ethnicity should be understood to have a "-American" attached. I'm too lazy to type out the full PC hyphenation designation each time.

CNN is covering the start of what may prove to be a real firestorm of political correctness. Mexico recently issued a series of stamps featuring "Memin Pinguin", a cartoon character depicting a black boy with thick lips, large eyes, and exaggerated, almost-simian, features. The character first appeared in Mexican comics in the 40's, and is still being published today.

The African-American population-- with justification -- is annoyed at the stereotypical image of the "pickaninny" (to use columnist Leonard Pitts' term). This comes just a few weeks after Mexican President Vicente Fox annoyed the same contingent with his comments about Mexicans doing jobs "not even blacks" are willing to do. Pitts asks, "When did [Mexico] hire David Duke as an image consultant?"

A few comments on this...

First, while the US and American citizens have a right to make their thoughts known on a subject, we do not have the right to impose those beliefs on others. Especially when the "others" in question is a sovereign nation. (Yeah, kinda like the way we don't have the right to impose our system of government on Iraq, Chimpster & Co not withstanding)

Second, maybe the Mexican goverment should have thought a little harder about using this particular character on its stamps. Back in the mid-80's, I was given a book discussing the cultural history of the 60's. In a chapter on advertising icons, the authors discussed the Frito Bandito... pointing out that Frito-Lay declined to give them permission to show the character, citing complaints from Mexican-Americans, based on the negative stereotypes portrayed. Mexicans also raised a considerable stink over the stereotypes using in creating Warner Brothers' Speedy Gonzales.

Third, the character is not intended to be the butt of racially-motivated jokes. A long-time reader of the series has this explanation:
Memín Pinguín was first published in the magazine Pepin back in 1945. Vargas Dulche had just returned from Cuba, and inspired in the kids she saw there she wrote a story and asked artist Alberto Cabrera to design him. He was a poor kid, dumb and clumsy, that spoke with a cuban accent. He lived with his mother, which looks a lot like Aunt Jemima. He had a couple of friends and got into a lot of trouble. He was teased because of his accent and color, but he was part of the gang. It was a very tender comic book, sweet and innocent. I read it as a child and flipped through an old issue a couple of years ago and I don't think the book was racist; quite the opposite, I think it had a message of integration and acceptance, it criticized racism and, like all of Vargas Dulche´s stories, tried to teach strong family values.

The United States has a long and unfortunately rich history of racial intolerance. While much of that intolerance has been aimed at blacks, a regrettably large fraction has come from blacks as well (witness Louis Farrahkan's comments the Jews, etc.).

We had Amos & Andy, Al Jolson, and Mickey Rooney all in blackface; fortunately, such egregious "humor" is pretty much gone today, although we have black actors -- primarily self-proclaimed "comedians" -- whose roles are far more stereotypical in a negative sense than anything from Archie Bunker or the actors listed above.

Blacks, of course, weren't the only ones targeted. German-Americans during World War I, Germans and Japanese during WWII, Asians during Vietnam, and Middle-Easterners (or anybody with a swarthy complection and/or headwrapping) today have all been penalized to one extent or another, simply for being who they were (or, worse, for "being" who they weren't). Poles have been portrayed as "slow" -- Wojohowicz on "Barney Miller -- Italians are all mobsters ("The Sopranos", "The Godfather"), and so on.

Intolerance hasn't been limited to racial characteristics, either. For some reason, handicapped characters have traditionally been played by non-handicapped actors. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it was a fear of handicapped actors "not being able to do the job". Marlee Matlin, Deanne Bray, and Michelle Banks -- all gifted deaf actresses -- are helping bring about a positive change, along with a growing number of actors with Downs Syndrome (one series on ABC featured a Downs child in a prominent role, as has "Law & Order - SVU").

More to the point... It's a friggin CARTOON CHARACTER. Okay, maybe some people may consider Memin Pinguin to be tasteless (despite the clear intention to promote acceptance). This ranks right up there with bitching about Sponge Bob being gay, Dora the Explorer's 'Spanish word of the day' (which has alienated the "English-first" crowd), Pepe Le Pew's French-ness (which is obviously a mortal sin in these days of 'freedom fires' and 'freedom toast'), or Bugs Bunny's "Noo Yawk" accent.

You think Memin Pinguin is racially intolerant? Fine. Next time you're IN MEXICO, mailing a letter FROM MEXICO, tell the MEXICAN guy behind the MEXICAN post office counter you want a different MEXICAN stamp. Of course, if the MEXICAN clerk at the MEXICAN post office doesn't speak English (or pretends not to), you can throw a hissy-fit over that, too.

Just remember that most nations are much more multi-lingual than the US. Many Arab leaders speak English; how many American leaders speak Arabic? Same thing with French, German, Italian, even Russian and Chinese leaders. Most Europeans have at least a smattering of English. Most Americans are lost outside of English (some Americans don't even speak English, for God's sake, never mind a 'furrin' language).

Ahhh, Sweet Justice

From The-Goddess, via American Samizdat. Both sites, by the way, have excellent graphics in their mastheads.

(And just in case Blogger is lying about being able to insert graphics, check AmSam for the picture of Herr Rove).

After three years of listening to neocon wingnuts shrieking hysterically that anyone who doesn't support the Chimpster is an anti-American traitor, it'll be interesting to see what happens now. After all, revealing the identity of a CIA agent is illegal, and during a time of war, constitutes treason. Wanna bet the tune suddenly changes?

Update: Yes, Blogger IS lying about inserting graphics. Check out the image in it's full glory at American Samizdat (link above).

GOOD For Them!

The NY Times, for July 4:

ATLANTA, July 4 - The United Church of Christ became the first mainline
Christian denomination to support same-sex marriage officially when its general
synod passed a resolution on Monday affirming "equal marriage rights for couples
regardless of gender."

This oughta drive the mouth-breathers nuts.

Good Essay at Billmon (of course)...

Billmon at Whiskey Bar is one of the blogs I check daily. After a period of being MIA, and then a period of just posting excerpts, he's back writing. And his writing is always well worth reading.

Take this essay on being American, for instance. Heck, just go to his site ( and read everything.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Oh, One More Thing... of 9:00 am (EDT), the "Republican Test" link is working again...

Happy Fourth of July...

A couple of articles worth passing on:
  • Daniel Ellsberg, on the similarities between the speeches he wrote for JFK, LBJ, and Tricky Dick, and Twig's latest (registration required, although there's probably a generic one on
  • Ellsberg -- again -- with an essay (described as "fabulously depressing") comparing Vietnam and Iraq
  • Cold Stone Creamery ice cream recall: Their ice cream is a LOT better than Ben & Jerry's, so this is unfortunate, from my point of view. (Basically, they're recalling all ice cream with cake batter/cookie dough, because of a possible link to salmonella)
  • Bushies doing the Perp Walk: One of the Daily Kos diarists -- "Dood Abides" -- has some truly wonderful "eye candy" of the Cheney Administration getting their just desserts.

In other news...

There should be a little more regular activity here, now that my wonderful wife and I have completed the move to the new digs. And gotten the DSL connected (oh, man, dial-up sucks after a year of DSL).

No, I did NOT watch any of Live8. Other than Stevie Wonder and McCartney, I couldn't give a rat's rectum about the rest of the "artists". Also on the music scene, RIP to both Luther Vandross and Obie Benson (of the Four Tops). "If there's a rock and roll heaven..."

Yes, neocon wingnuts are still mouth-breathing, Bible-thumpin, hooker-humpin, Stars-n-Bars-displayin, beer-swillin, hypocritical, self-righteous trailer-trash MO-rons.

Q: What's the difference between a neocon and a trampoline?

A: You take your cleats off before jumping on the trampoline.

Be well, folks.