Thursday, November 24, 2005

Dimbulb Thursday

What do we have to be thankful for? Well, for being not quite as goofy as some of our fellow humans:

An early Thanksgiving celebration in Eugene, Oregon, caused a big fire at a house that had just been built.

A cement worker marking the holiday set up a propane fryer inside the new house's garage. Workers took turns watching the kettle.

But the fryer's thermometer was broken. Workers said oil inside the kettle overheated, spilled onto the burner and caught fire. The flames spread from the garage up the front of the house to the second floor.

Fire officials estimated damage at about $75,000 dollars. The house hadn't been sold and was insured.

Undaunted, the workers bought a second turkey and cooked it in the backyard of a house across the street.

I can't quite imagine deep fryed turkey. It's kind of a symbol of disgusting overconsumption. Speaking of which:

A day before millions of Americans sit down to eat traditional Thanksgiving dinners, a Virginia woman grabbed the world turkey-eating title on Wednesday by gobbling down a whole roast bird in 12 minutes.

Sonya Thomas, 37, who weighs just 105 pounds (47.5 kg), beat seven men in the annual Thanksgiving Invitational: a race to eat a 10-pound (4.5-kg) turkey.

The smallest in the field, Thomas put her victory down to "swallowing fast."

"It was very dry and the skin was very dry," said Thomas, holding her trophy, a roasting pan, over her head. "I just tried to eat fast."

Venerated in competitive eating circles as "The Black Widow", the Alexandria, Virginia woman said she trained for the event, held at a delicatessen in New York, by chewing gum to get her jaw in top form.

Only in America can someone be "venerated" for being a pig. Speaking of pigs:

In the family/romantic comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours," Dennis Quaid looked forward to playing opposite screen wife Rene Russo, but found that an intimate moment with a pig was also part of the deal.
The remake of the 1968 film stars Quaid as Frank Beardsley, a widower with eight kids who marries widow Helen North (Russo), who has 10 kids. Blending the two families also means combining a menagerie of household pets including dogs, cats, a hamster and one amorous pig named Fiona.

"They smeared stuff on my lips just so the pig would find it appetizing. It was like out of a garbage can," says Quaid. "Not only that, but she had gas. After about three takes, you'd have this big pig fart. It was a low, a nadir point in my career."

Oink!

Happy thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Salute!

No surprise to see last night that House's apartment number is 221B...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush Should Try This

After frantically trying to escape reporters in China a few days ago, Dubya might want to consider this reporter-avoidance tactic:

Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says he won't answer questions from reporters until next year because the alignment of the planets is not in his favor.

"Right now Mercury ... is in a corner perfectly aligned with my star. Mercury is no good, so if it's not good, I am going to request not to speak," Thaksin told reporters Sunday.

Mercury moves slowly and will not steer clear of his star until next year, he said.

Go for it, Dubya!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Illinois Nazis

Like the Blues Brothers, I hate Illinois Nazis. And it turns out that the real ones are just as dumb and repulsive as the cinematic ones:

The second of two self-avowed Nazis was sentenced Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court to prison for a hate crime committed against two lesbians at Illinois Beach State Park.

Judge Fred Foreman sentenced Patrick L. Langballe, 29, of Lake Villa, to two-and-a-half years in prison.

The recommended sentence had been negotiated by prosecutor Erik Kalata and defense attorney Jennifer Snyder.

Hate crime is a Class Three felony and a conviction carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, but is also probationable.

Aaron C. Rush, 20, of Green Bay, Wis., had previously been sentenced to three years in prison. Rush also owes the State of Wisconsin 18 months in prison for a separate hate crime conviction.

The two men and women had met at a Milwaukee bus station June 16 and decided to go camping at the park with some other people.

When Rush made a sexual advance toward one of the women, she told him that they were in a lesbian relationship and did not like men in a romantic way, according to sheriff's reports.

Langballe and Rush told the women they were skinheads of the Nazi Nation and did not like homosexuals, authorities said. The men then took the women's clothing from a car and burned it while the women fled.

When the women came back later to return some items of Langballe and Rush, an altercation ensued. One woman sustained minor injuries to her face, arms and legs, according to reports, and Rush pulled out a knife and threatened to kill them.

As the women fled again, the men ripped a backpack away from one of the women.

The two men were arrested in the Gurnee area and "white supremacy" paraphernalia was found in their belongings.

Duh!

Nice Try, Kurt

Yes, Kurt Busch is a dumb punk.

The reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion was pulled over for driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, swerving to avoid a car and running a stop sign last Friday night on his way back to Phoenix International Raceway. He said he was returning from dinner with his fiancee.

The police report said the deputy smelled alcohol on Busch, and the driver became belligerent.

"You're only doing this because you're a Jeff Gordon fan," Busch was quoted as saying to the officer in the police report, released earlier Thursday in Phoenix.

Considering he was in Maricopa county, he's lucky he didn't end up sitting in a tent with a bunch of crackheads eating a peanut butter sandwich.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being George Bush

Deficits are exploding, disasters happening, war continuing. Dubya's priority? Of course! TAX CUTS!

The Senate passed a $60 billion bill early Friday that would extend expiring tax cuts and prevent roughly 14 million families from paying higher taxes through the alternative minimum tax.

It drew a presidential veto threat for raising taxes on oil companies.

How is it we continue to be governed by these cretins?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dimbulb Thursday

It's Dimbulb Thursday! Read and congratulate yourself for being more intelligent than some of your fellow humans. Seems as if a lot of wacky things are afoot in the Commonwealth nations this week.

Deadly Dog:

SHE may not look it, but a tiny fox terrier called Mitzi is one of southeast Queensland's most dangerous dogs.

That is according to Logan City Council, which yesterday brushed aside pleas for leniency from Mitzi's keepers to maintain her dangerous status.

Mitzi's dark reputation stems from an incident in March when she and an accomplice known as Bundy the scottish terrier dug their way out of a Waterford West back yard.

A council report said they barked at and tried to bite a 55-year-old woman. The startled woman fell over backwards and broke her wrist, but was not bitten.

A week later Mitzi and Bundy were alleged to have unlawfully gained entry to a neighbour's back yard and murdered two chickens, injuring another. The owner of the chickens said it was not the first time feathers had flown courtesy of Mitzi and Bundy, but other incidents were not reported.

Also, council officers claimed a witness stated that "both dogs responsible were regularly out of their enclosure, wandering unleashed on the roadway".

As the council net closed in on the alleged offenders, tiny Bundy, which like Mitzy is less than 30cm tall, was spirited off to a safe house and remains on the lam.

Check out the picture of tiny Mitzi. Sheesh.

Briton finds tasty treat:

STUNNED Jeanette Reinders bought a jar of gherkins from Asda — and found a nine-inch RAT inside.

She was about to use the 49p veg for a salad when she spotted the rodent and screamed in horror.
...
The supermarket in Wolverhampton centre apologised to Jeanette and partner John Small, 26.

They have been offered £100 plus a Christmas trolley dash.

Not sure what a "Christmas trolley dash" is; perhaps a British reader can enlighten the rest of us.

Fan goes nuts - or nutless in this case - for his team:

A RUGBY fan who cut out his testicles with wire cutters to mark a Wales victory is at a loss to explain why he did it.

Geoffrey Huish, 31, performed the impromptu self-surgery in February when his beloved Wales beat world champion England.

After performing the deed, Mr Huish put his severed anatomy in a bag and took them to his local social club to show fellow fans.

He collapsed with blood loss and was rushed to hospital but surgeons could not reattach his missing parts.

He was put in a psychiatric ward but has no history of mental illness and was at a loss to explain why he did it.

"I'd told my pal Gethin Probert before the game that Wales didn't stand a chance," Mr Huish said.

"It wasn't a bet but I said I'd cut my balls off if we won."

Thank God his genes will not be passed on.

The Danger Continues

More evidence, as if any were needed, that the modern Republican party is a danger to democracy continues to emerge. Newt Gingrich:

The former Republican speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, always notable for his visions, has compared George Bush in his travails to Abraham Lincoln before Gettysburg. Gingrich, who has recently written a series of counterfactual novels depicting a southern triumph in the civil war, communicated his latest flight of fancy to a longtime former diplomat. "We are at war," insisted Gingrich. "With whom?" he was asked. "The Democrats," he apparently replied without hesitation.

Dick Cheney, looking like a lunatic more than ever:

Mr Cheney resorted to language far stronger than any used before by the Bush administration, the BBC's Justin Webb reports.

The vice-president called the Democrats "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage while US soldiers died in Iraq.

"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone - but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," he said.

A claim that the administration had misled Americans before the war - was one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in Washington, the vice-president continued.

The dumbass Shrub:

In one of the most intellectually incoherent major speeches ever delivered by a minor President, George W. Bush last week blamed "some Democrats and anti-war critics" for changing their minds about the war in Iraq and now saying they were deceived. "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the President said. Yes, sir, but it is even more deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how history was rewritten in the first place.

There is danger here, and it is that Republicans, knowing in their hearts that the war is lost, are setting Democrats up for a "stab in the back" legend. The original "stab in the back" was the lie promulgated by German conservatives that their forces really won World War One, only to be betrayed by liberal politicians. It was a lie; German forces were defeated in the field, the German Navy was smashed into cowardly impotence, and German civilians were starving due to the Allied blockade. With American forces arriving in increasing numbers to aid the long-suffering French and British, the war was visibly over. But the legend could be made to serve long-term goals. The Weimar government created after the war was one of the most liberal in the history of Europe up to that time, but events largely out of its control led to unrest. And from unrest and the "stab in the back" legend came Hitler and the NSDAP.

Democrats have to be bloody careful, and learn from history - something Americans have always had a problem doing. We can't risk calling for an immediate withdrawal, although many have. As much as we'd like to put this war behind us, it needs to be done very carefully and in cooperation with as many intelligent Republicans as possible. Otherwise, the danger to the republic is great.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Going Around the Bend

Kevin Drum usefully collects a number of "Dubya's losing it" stories here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dangerous Weather

Nasty weather forecast today for much of the Missisippi valley up into Ohio. Keep an eye on the sky and the radar. Best site to check for updates is here.

Being Left Doesn't Have to Mean Being Stupid

There's been a considerable amount of discussion online in the last week over reports that US forces are using white phosphorus ordnance in Iraq, with some lefties claiming that this constitutes use of "chemical weapons." White phosphorus is not a chemical weapon; it is a common incendiary and also used to produce smokescreens. But some lefties, hostile to all things military, continue to say the stupidest possible things about these reports. Example, George Monbiot in the Guardian:

Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the internet. It's a turkey, whose evidence that white phosphorus was fired at Iraqi troops is flimsy and circumstantial. But the bloggers debating it found the smoking gun.

The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November last year: "White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

Apparently American soldiers were supposed to throw rose petals at the cowardly bastards who murder them with IEDs and hide amongst their own civilians. Monbiot continues:

White phosphorus is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It can be legally used as a flare to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".

Well, George, I hate to interrupt your little party, but using your definition, TNT is a "chemical weapon." It's a compound that, guess what, can be made to explode rather violently thanks to its "chemical action" and yes, it "can cause death, temporary incapacitation, or permanent harm."

It's a war, shithead. People die in a war. And I refuse to let our soldiers be castrated by what Orwell, no mean leftist himself, referred to as the "boiled rabbits of the left."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Puke

We have a radio station here in Columbus that last Friday proceeded to begin playing 24 hour a day Christmas music. And the right-wingers say liberals want to "destroy Christmas." After listening to sappy holiday songs for two months, anyone with half a brain would like to, at the very least, destroy this station's play list.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Comments!

As an experiment, I've decided to enable comments. Let's see some intelligent commentary...God knows most of it probably more intelligent than my posts!

Remember

Today, honor the veterans you know. Most of the men in my family have been veterans; two I'd like to mention today are my dad, a Marine Corps veteran of Korea and a retired full-time Air National Guardsman, and my uncle Ed, who served with the Marines in World War II in the Philippines.

God Plugs Ears as Robertson Rants Again

Once again, Pat Robertson is threatening part of America with disaster. Considering Pat's track record, Dover, Pennsylvania would seem an eminently safe place to live:

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city,” Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, “The 700 Club.”

“And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there,” he said.
...
In 1998, Robertson warned the city of Orlando, Fla., that it risked hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist bombs after it allowed homosexual organizations to put up rainbow flags in support of sexual diversity.

Shrug.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Welcome to "Dimbulb Thursday"

Whew, today has turned out to be "Dimbulb Thursday" in a big way. Not as cool as "Friday Catblogging," but then I don't have a cat:

Clarkstown police were astounded when they opened the trunk of a car last night and found dozens of what appeared to be half-completed money copies on hand, including $10's, $5's and $1 bills.

"I don't think I've ever seen counterfeit $1 bills," Clarkstown Police Sgt. Alan Armstrong said today.

Police were called to the Home Depot at the Palisades Center about 6:20 p.m. yesterday after a security guard alerted officers that someone had paid for a $7 six-pack of lightbulbs with a $100 bill that appeared to be phony, and they were leaving in a red Chevrolet.

Officers stopped the car in the parking lot and took the driver and a passenger into custody. The men were awaiting arraignment at 9:30 a.m. today because court was closed for the elections.

Armstrong said that when police opened the car's trunk, they found ink cartridges, razors, several apparently altered insurance cards for various vehicles, computer paper and printed sheets of half-completed bills. In all, police confiscated 42 apparently forged notes including 100s, 20s, 10s, 5s and 1s. Face value of the bills was more than $700.

Gosh, they should have forged some pennies while they were at it.

Bumper Sticker Seen

"Practice Compassionate Impeachment." Sounds good to me.

Another Sign of the Coming End?

Golden retriever has green puppy:

The little pup has been named Wasabi. The golden retriever was one of four puppies born to a dog in California last week.

His color definitely sets him apart. Veterinarians said that it's possible for a newborn's fur to be green because the placenta, which is green, sometimes rubs off at birth.

Well, maybe he'll wash out.

Scavenger Hunt Dismay

This is almost as funny as the cops in the police helicopter landing beside a donut shop incident that happened a few years back:

A man on a scavenger hunt entered a police station hoping to get a photo of an officer eating a doughnut.

What he got instead was thrown in jail.

Fruitport Township police officers Bryan Rypstra and Jon Durell heard a knock at the station's back door Saturday evening and found a man wearing a long wig and a Kiss T-shirt and a woman in a frilly pink dress.

The pair said they were on a scavenger hunt with another woman who had gone to a nearby store to buy a doughnut.

"Part of the scavenger hunt was to get a picture of a cop eating a doughnut. They wanted to know if one of the officers would be willing to get their picture taken," police Chief Paul Smutz told The Muskegon Chronicle.

The officers planned to play along, and they chatted with the man and woman while waiting for the doughnut run. As they spoke, the man, Louis Jasick, recognized Rypstra, a high school classmate who happened to be working overtime that evening.

Durell then remembered seeing Jasick's name on a flier that had been posted in the station only a day earlier. Jasick was wanted on two felony warrants for failing to pay $5,000 in child support.

Moral: if you have an outstanding warrant, don't go to the police station. Duh!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Legend Lives On

30 years ago tomorrow, the Oglebay Norton ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald broke up and sank in one of the worst Lake Superior November gales in memory. Probably the story would be remembered only around the Great Lakes if not for Gordon Lightfoot's song about the event. I lived near Toledo at the time, and the loss of the ship was a big shock there; it hit everyone hard, even people who had no relatives working on the lakes. People in Toledo still remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that the Fitzgerald had gone missing. Several of the crew, including Captain Ernest McSorley, lived in the Toledo area, the ship regularly called at Toledo during the shipping season, and often wintered in Toledo; Toledoans felt a kind of friendly ownership of the Fitzgerald. It had been years since a large lake freighter had been sunk with such a large loss of life; maybe people had the impression that somehow sailing the lakes had become safe and that accounts for the shock. But the sea, and the great freshwater inland seas, do not care for man and his works, and sometimes an awful price must be paid.

But we care. Thirty years on, we still remember, and wonder.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her....

What's the Matter with Kansas?

They're just really, really stupid, I guess. The rest of the world stands by smiling as America systematically demolishes its once unchallenged science leadership, leaving the future to others.

The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Critics of the language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.

All six of those who voted for the standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted against them.

"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat.

Supporters of the standards said they will promote academic freedom. "It gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today," said board member John Bacon, an Olathe Republican.

That last comment is especially hilarious. Darwin is not dogma, but scientific theory. "Intelligent design" is dogma.

Why?

Ohioans once again displayed their boundless tolerance for corruption yesterday by defeating four important measures that would have reformed elections in the state in which arguably the 2004 presidential election was stolen. Sad. Can we expect a rerun in 2008? Only statewide elections in 2006 hold the answer.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What Does Bush Believe?

While a lot of people are shaking their heads at Bush's claim that the US does not torture, the more important question is this: what does Bush really believe? Was he lying knowingly? Or does he believe that we do not torture because that's what he's been told?

Bush is damned on a large number of counts, but lying at the root of many of them is his sloth and incuriosity. Bush can find two hours in his short workday for exercise, but he can't find five minutes to glance at CNN or flip through a newspaper. While Cheney and the equally evil men around him drive the United States down the road of permanent disrepute and hatred, Bush is a passenger sitting in the back watching Monsters Inc. on the dvd player.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Family Values Repugs Night Out

Do as I say, not as I do:

The investigation into a late-night barroom brawl led police to three officials of the Butler County Republican Party after one of them left his credit card behind, police say.

A complaint filed with the Butler County Sheriff's Department said that central committee Chairman Quentin Nichols, of West Chester; Tim Dearwester of Hamilton, a member of the central committee; and Sean Maloney of Liberty Township, a member of the executive committee, allegedly assaulted the bartender at Putter's Tavern & Grill shortly after midnight Oct. 26.

Adam William told deputies he approached the trio about a plastic advertising sign being damaged in the men's room. He asked them to leave after one of the men threatened him with a pool stick and another made sexual remarks about the bar's owner, the police report said.

The men then jumped on William and punched and hit him with a chair before the fight moved outside at the Cincinnati-Dayton Road establishment, resulting in a bench being damaged, William told police.

Nichols, Dearwester and Maloney left in a silver or gold Hummer before deputies arrived. No charges have been filed while the brawl remains under investigation. William sustained minor injuries. Damage was estimated at $500 for the sign and the bench.

Nichols left his credit card behind and William turned it over to sheriff's deputies.

Nichols, 43, denied that the altercation happened the way William described to police. But he wouldn't discuss the details.

"It's politics. Some folks out there seem to twist the story on you," Nichols said. "It is a regrettable incident and at the time, I was genuinely concerned for my own safety as well as my companions' safety."

"Politics," huh? (via)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Brownie's Email Trail

Michael "You're doing a heckuva job!" Brown is a great little email writer, if a horrible Director of FEMA. The Smoking Gun has the emails here.

Good Riddance

With the power of the Bushies seeming to be on the wane, action can now start to begin removing Bushite appointees from the various posts they have been put into. A welcome butt-kicking is that of the egregious Kenneth Tomlinson from the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. His crusade to "balance" NPR and PBS - i.e. turn them into imitations of Faux News - is over.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the former head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was forced to step down as a member of its board on Thursday evening.

The move came after the board began reviewing a confidential report by the inspector general of the corporation into accusations about Mr. Tomlinson's use of corporation money to promote more conservative programming.

They included Mr. Tomlinson's decision to hire a researcher to monitor the political leanings of guests on the public policy program "Now" with Bill Moyers; his use of a White House official to set up an ombudsman's office to scrutinize programs for political balance; and secret payments approved by Mr. Tomlinson to two Republican lobbyists.

The move - and a statement by the corporation - strongly suggested that the inspector general discovered significant problems under Mr. Tomlinson, but officials at the corporation declined to discuss those findings. Board members who had copies of the report declined to discuss it, citing confidentiality agreements.

The statement said the board did not believe that Mr. Tomlinson "acted maliciously or with any intent to harm C.P.B. or public broadcasting." The statement also said Mr. Tomlinson "strongly disputes the findings" in the report.

Note that the statement was written with Tomlinson still on the board and able to influence its wording.

The cleansing must continue; this is only the tip of a very dirty iceberg.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Norquist Watch

Grover got a big ol' kick to the crotch yesterday, delivered by the citizens of the state of Colorado, who told Grover to stick TABOR (the miss-named "Taxpayer Bill of Rights," actually the "Flush the Government Down the Toilet" act) where the sun don't shine. Barf Bag Boy is not amused:

Two years ago, pundits touted Owens as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. At the height of the Ref C fight, they pronounced his political career dead. Republican primary voters, they reasoned, wouldn't support someone who backed what they saw as a tax hike.

If Ref C had failed, Owens might have resurrected his political career nationally by agreeing to carry out the taxpayers' wishes for smaller government, said Grover Norquist, the Americans for Tax Reform president most famous for wanting to make government small enough to drown it in a bathtub.

Owens could have run for president, Norquist said.

But since Ref C passed, the state Taxpayer's Bill of Rights "has a hole poked in it, he has a comfortable next year, it's fun," Norquist said. "But his national career is over. He could never run for president, or vice president, or be in the Cabinet."

Owens, who turned 55 last month, has never said whether he wants to seek higher political office, and he wasn't talking Tuesday.

Neither was his spokesman, who was stunned to hear that Norquist would have welcomed Owens back into the anti-tax fold if Ref C had failed.

"I am just speechless," Dan Hopkins said. "I just can't believe it after all the things Norquist has said. This has been too weird."

"Too weird" hardly covers someone whose hobby is collecting airline barf bags.

For Modelers Only

Like most plastic modelers, I'm a big fan of Shep Paine. His color diorama brochures in Monogram kits were a highlight of the 70s and his books a never-ending source of inspiration. Today he's profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times:

As a kid, Paine collected tiny 20mm tanks and dabbled with model railroading, and he built model tanks during his spare time while serving as an Army sergeant in Germany. "I had a small collection of the vehicles that were actually in our company, and I discovered that if I put these things out on display in my room, inspecting officers would come over and look at them and never notice the dust bunnies under the bed," he said, laughing.

If you're a Shep fan, check it out!

America's Shame

Arguably we've created our own little gulag down at Gitmo; turns out we're putting the real gulag back in business as well:

The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.

For "interrogating" you can probably substitute "torturing." I have no sympathy for al Queda, but this kind of insanity will only breed more and worse forms of terror against America and Americans. We are descending to the same depths as our enemies.

We used to hang people for this. Now we do it ourselves. Shame.

Pathetic

Is the fix in in the Tom DeLay case? Does that explain Bugman's smirks and smiles? Presumably now that the judge has been ordered to recuse himself over donations to Democratic causes, blacks will be able to get white judges recused, whites will be able to get black judges recused, Democrats will get Republican judges recused and on and on using this toxic precedent. While Judge Perkins' donations to various Democratic candidates and organizations create "an appearance of partiality," presumably a new wingnut Repug judge will be picked whose donations to fellow wingnuts will be partial yet mysteriously permissible. Prosecutor Ronnie Earle put it very well:

"The law expresses no need for judges to check their citizenship at the door," Mr. Earle argued. He called Judge Perkins's contributions "paltry, not a fraction what this defendant is capable of raising for his causes, including intimidating judges with whom he disagrees."

Mr. Earle said that "we cannot afford to make integrity a partisan issue," adding, "The argument made by the defendant's counsel, taken to its logical conclusion, turns us into Shiite and Sunni sectarian mobs."

Which, of course, is exactly what the Republicans want.