Saturday, July 30, 2005

The blob, underwater version

Fans of bizarre B-movies no doubt remember the movie, "The Blob," which starred Steve McQueen in his first major role and was shot largely in and around this particular part of the universe. (In fact, I know a couple of now-much-older folks who were extras.)
Well, if you believe the Red Star, the Blob, underwater style, is moving fast toward the Maritimes and Maine...
HALIFAX—The Blob is coming.
It is creeping across the ocean floor toward the Canadian border, covering one of the richest fish habitats on the continent with a thick layer of goo.
Two years ago, U.S. scientists discovered a novel little critter on an underwater shelf that is a cornucopia of sea life.
When they returned last year, they discovered the tiny sea squirt population had exploded, spreading over more than 100 square kilometres of the precious Georges Bank, about 200 kilometres south of Nova Scotia. In much of that area, a thick blanket of the tiny animals now covers half the sea bottom.
Page Valentine is one of the scientists who discovered the invasion two years ago. He doesn't like its many nicknames: the blob, the slime, the goo, pancake batter and macaroni. But he understands why the sea squirt has picked up so many horror movie monikers.
It is moving rapidly, little is known about it and it is invading an area at the economic heart of dozens of communities in Maine and Nova Scotia.
"This is a new thing on the bottom. We think it will have an impact, but we really don't know," says Valentine, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
He and others are careful not to sound too many alarms about the invasion. No one knows exactly what kind of threat the creature poses, but common sense suggests its presence on Georges Bank can't be good.
The scientific name for the invader is didemnum. It is a tunicate, a very simple animal that lives inside a skin, or tunic, has no skeleton and filters microscopic bacteria and plankton from ocean water.
There are many different types of tunicates. The ones on Georges Bank are colonial, which means millions of the things link together to form one vast blanket stuck to the seabed.
The tunicate will cover anything it encounters that isn't moving: clams, mussels, rocks, seaweed. Nothing will grow on top of it.
That means it gets between fish and their food, and may prevent scallop larvae from developing.
There is no evidence yet that the invasion on Georges Bank has hurt the commercial fishery, but that's one of the things the U.S. group will study.
Valentine is returning to the area next month to see how far the tunicates have spread in a year, and what kind of damage they have done to sea life.
"It hasn't been found in Nova Scotia, but it should like it there," Valentine says. "It may not have been found because people aren't looking for it."
Canadian officials have little to say about the tunicate explosion in offshore fishing grounds.
Neither the Bedford Institute of Oceanography nor the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have research projects dedicated to the new threat, nor any scientists who specialize in the area.
They do have scientists who have studied other types of tunicates, which have fouled aquaculture operations in Prince Edward Island and British Columbia.
Aquaculture is big business on the East Coast, a fast-rising industry that many hoped would replace traditional fishing as the focus of the rural economy. Mussels, oysters and salmon are raised around the Maritimes, and companies are experimenting with other species as well.
Mussel farmers in P.E.I., Nova Scotia and B.C. have battled tunicate invasions that took over their hanging farms. In some cases, the tunicates get so heavy on a line of farmed mussels that the mussels break off and sink to the ocean floor. In other cases, the tunicates smother the mussels, wrapping them so tightly that the bivalve can't breathe.
Even when mussels survive a tunicate invasion, they must be cleaned before they can go to market. According to Valentine, that process may be spreading the problem.
Tunicates reproduce several ways, but researchers recently discovered they can simply replicate themselves if torn apart. That means disturbing a tunicate colony could spread the colony, as the tiny particles drift with ocean currents.
That may be a problem on Georges Bank, where draggers regularly plough through the ocean floor searching for tasty scallops. Valentine says each pass by a drag boat may create a new infestation of tunicates somewhere else, as the animals are torn up and float away.

It's attacking the wrong areas. Show them the way to Hans Island, folks.
Maybe they will win the War of 2007.

On hiatus

The ocean breezes call.
Time for a holiday.
See you when I get back.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Return for re-grooving... even more

Another week has passed. It's time for another edition of Return for re-grooving.
No time to lose. Let's rock.
Hillary Clinton. The Remaking Hillary tour is well under way, with leaks to Drudge saying she will support Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr. and an appearance at the "centrist" Democratic Leadership Council highlighting her "move" toward the middle. It's a sham, amigos and amigas. Even the looniest of the left, the Daily Kos (I refuse to offer a link to that site), has seen through it (for more details, visit The Museum of Left Wing Lunacy). Hillary is hereby sentenced to a lifetime of re-grooving without parole.
Evan Cohen and Charles Rosen. They're the nitwits who allegedly took $500,000 from a Boys and Girls Club in New York City and invested it in Air Anti-America (see the post "Al Franken, Air America and kids" below). That money was earmarked for a variety of programs for kids and seniors. Jerks. Long-term re-grooving in order here.
Channoah Alece Green. She is a 22-year-old woman from Newport News, Va. According to the Associated Press, she she abandoned her 4-year-old son on the Capital Beltway during rush hour, then struck him with her car when he tried to get back in. "My mommy left me. She was angry and she pushed me out of the car," the boy told a driver who stopped to pick him up, according to a Washington TV station. That driver, in turn, notified police. The woman was caught a few hours later after she was involved in a crash near Richmond, Va., which is (give or take a few minutes) two hours away. There are no words but one: Re-groove.
Catherine Baker Knoll. She is the lieutenant governor of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She is also a moonbat of the highest order. Having the chutzpah to attend the funeral of a soldier who died in the War on Terror and passing out her business card, saying that her government was against the war is obscene. (For details, see the "Beyond Ignorant" post below.) She apologized (see "The Moonbat Apologizes"), but that just doesn't cut it. A thorough re-grooving may not be enough for this wench, but let's try anyway.
David Miller. He's the socialist mayor of Toronto. Monday night, there was a series of shootings in his city. How did Mr. Miller react? As the Bandyman from Brampton reports, "Blame the Americans! On CTV news this evening Mayor Miller said at his press conference '...50% of the guns in Toronto come from the United States and they end up involved in these violent events...' I paraphrase, but that's essentially what he said." As the Bandyman put it, "Mayor Miller needs to be reminded 'where there is no demand, no supplier is required'." Well spoken. Let's re-groove this joker.
The Professional Association of Teachers. This English group wants to ban the word "failure" from schools, preferring instead the insipid "deferred success." The word "fail" should be banned from use in classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralising pupils, a group of teachers has proposed. Reality check. People fail. You are failed. Be re-grooved.
Kripa Sekhar. She is the vice-president of a Canadian organisation called the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Seems she took off on a Saskatchewan MP for proposing a bill similar to the Laci's Laws that sprung up in the U.S. in the wake of the Laci and Scott Peterson cases. As our friend Candace reported, Sekhar accused the MP of exploiting the tragedy of a similar case earlier this month in Edmonton to "deceptively" re-open the debate on abortion rights through the back door. Ms Sekhar, get real. Get a life. Get re-grooved.
Till next time.

The War of 2007: On an accelerated schedule?

The War of 2007, an earlier post on this blog, may come sooner than we think.
At least, the war of words over Hans Island is accelerating.
Earthlink News has this report:
TORONTO - Canada and Denmark have taken their diplomatic tussle over a lump of Arctic rocks to the Internet with competing Google ads claiming sovereignty over Hans Island.
Some Canadians have called for a boycott of Danish pastries the way Americans disdained french fries when Paris declined to join the coalition forces in Iraq.
The diplomatic debate began Monday when Denmark said it would send a letter of protest over a visit to the 1/2-square-mile Hans Island last week by Canadian Defense Minister Bill Graham.
Graham stated Canada has always owned the uninhabited chunk of land, 680 miles south of the North Pole.
Denmark responded: "Hans Island is our island."

Toronto resident Rick Broadhead googled the matter and found an ad that touted Hans Island as Danish. "Does Hans sound Canadian? Danish name, Danish island."
Internet users clicking on the ad were directed to the Danish Foreign Ministry's Web site.
So Broadhead paid for his own Google ad and created a Web site to promote Ottawa's sovereignty. His Google ad leads users to a fluttering Maple Leaf flag and plays the national anthem.
Broadhead's Web site outlines Canada's argument that Hans Island belonged to the British and became Canada's in 1867. The Danes say it is closer to Greenland than Canada and is therefore Danish soil.
In 1984, Tom Hoeyem, who was Denmark's minister for Greenland affairs, caused a stir when he raised a Danish flag on the island, buried a bottle of brandy at the base of the flag pole and left a note saying: "Welcome to the Danish island."

The Danes aren't happy at all about it. They've even put an official statement on the Foreign Ministry Web site.
In a conversation today (July 25) with Canada's ambassador to Denmark, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted with regret that the Canadian Minister of National Defence had paid a visit to Hans Island without prior notification of the Danish Government. At the meeting the head of the Danish Foreign Ministry's Legal Service handed over a note to the Canadian ambassador reiterating the Danish Government's regret.
Could this be the start of something bigger?
Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Good news: Goodenow out

One dunce down, one to go...
From the Red Star:
Bob Goodenow, who announced his resignation as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association today in Toronto, said that despite criticism from some players and some in the media he has “no regrets” about the role he played in trying to avoid the salary cap that the NHL players eventually accepted in a new, six-year agreement that was ratified last week.
Of the agreement, he said, “I don’t feel it’s a failure (on his or the players’ part) at all.”
Goodenow gave a 30-minute, mostly clinical, unemotional account of the decision that led to his resignation, even though he announced last week that he intended to stay on.
Goodenow only broke down when he told reporters at the news conference that his mother had passed away last week and it’s been a trying time for him.
Goodenow said the decision to step down came after he held discussions in the past week with members of the players’ executive.
It was felt that with the new agreement coming into place, which Goodenow termed “very different” from any other previous agreement because it is so “revenue-driven,” it was time to “accelerate” the transition to Ted Saskin, who takes over his job.
Goodenow said his contract had less than three years to run and he and the players’ executive felt that now was as good a time as any to bring about the transition.

Our condolences on losing your mother, Mr Goodenow.
As for what you did to hockey, good riddance.
Mr Bettman, it's your turn now.

He's the pinball wizard

He's not deaf. He's not dumb. But he is blind. And he's a video game king.

Stash and Wash explain the Supreme Court nomination

I ran into a couple of old friends of mine, the brothers Stash and Wash, the other day on a quick sojourn north.
Over a few Yuenglings, we started to discuss the nomination of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court.
More accurately, once I asked what they thought, they went on a long discussion. As best as I can recall it, here it is (warning: some of the language is definitely not politically correct):
"I'll tell ya, Wash, I tink dis guy is da right guy for da job."
"Yeah, Stash, he's got more smarts than Joe da lawyer in town."
"Is he Irish, Wash?"
"Looks like it, Stash. I know he's Cathlik."
"Good, Wash. Good Cathlik. Just like us." (Stash makes the Sign of the Cross. Wash follows suit.)
"But, Stash, he's gonna have some problems 'cause he's a good Cathlik."
"Whyzat, Wash?"
"Well, Stash, you know what our Polish pope, John Paul da Great, said about abortion."
"He didn't like it a little bit, Wash. Good man. Polish man." (Stash raises his Yuengling in a toast. Wash joins in.)
"Now, you know, Stash, that dere's a whole lotta people dat don't think dis guy should be on da Supreme Court 'coz he follows John Paul da Great on abortion."
"You mean, Wash, like dat Shoomaker guy outta New York?"
"I tink it's Schumer, Stash. Anyway, da guy don't like anybody what has 'deeply held personal beliefs.' "
"You mean like we believe in Yuengling and kielbasa, Wash?"
"Yeah, Stash, pass da kielbasa over here, huh?"
"Here you go, Wash."
"Tanks, Stash."
"So, Wash, dis Schumer guy, what does he b'leev in?"
"I tink, Stash, he b'leevs dat him and his looney friends should have da power and da rest of us can go pound sand."
"I'd like ta pound his head in da sand, Wash."
"Good idea, Stash, but dey don't have sand in Washington, D.C."
"Too bad, Wash."
"Hey, more Yuenglings here."
"So, Stash, we want dis guy Roberts to get in, right?"
"Right, Wash, even if he is Irish."

This is too funny!

For any one of you who occasionally likes to partake of an adult beverage, this is a must-read.
Carrie Nation has been reincarnated.

Was this Osama's booty?

There's a report out there that Osama Looney Bin Laden wanted to flood the U.S. with killer cocaine. Supposedly, the Colombian drug lords turned it down, but you never know, especially with this report from Earthlink News:
VIENNA, Austria - It's one lost item that's not likely to be claimed. Police at the Vienna Airport found 53 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $16 million at a lost-and-found counter. The narcotics were in a suitcase that had been at the counter for almost a month, police said.
The suitcase had been mistakenly checked in at Mexico City along with the luggage of a 60-year-old Austrian tourist, who left it at the lost-and-found counter.
The drugs were placed in 22 bags wrapped in an oily, foul-smelling paper, in an apparent attempt to irritate police dogs specially trained to detect narcotics, police said.

Consider this, though: Wouldn't it be hell if Osama had pulled it off and all the killer cocaine wound up in Hollywood?
The survivors -- if there were any, of course -- would all blame George W. Bush.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Over the top, or on target?

Republicans in Chicago are targeting the Dumbocrat Mayor, young Richard Daley.
But are they overdoing it?
From Earthlink News comes this tale:
CHICAGO - The Cook County Republican Party is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley, whose administration has been buffeted by scandal.
"The arrogance of Richard Daley is appalling," said Gary Skoien, chairman of the county party. "We hope this reward will inspire someone with critical knowledge to come forward."
Daley's press secretary, Jacqueline Heard, scoffed at the reward. "This is ridiculous, politically motivated and undeserving of any further comment," she said in a statement.
The reward follows last week's announcement by federal prosecutors that they had charged two City Hall officials with rigging the city's hiring system to get around a court order that bars officials from hiring employees for political reasons.
The mayor, who has not been charged, reacted to the charges by proposing that municipal hiring be turned over to an independent commission.
Last week's indictments were an outgrowth of an ongoing federal investigation of bribes being given in return for jobs in a $38 million program in which the city outsourced hauling work. Twenty-one people have pleaded guilty, including some former high-ranking city officials.

Why, that court order is almost illegal! Imagine, banning patronage hiring... in Chicago! My gosh, how do you think Daley's dad, the late Richard Daley, built the Chicago machine?
"Yo, Stash, I gave you 50 bucks for your last two elections. Now you say you can't get me a job?"
"Yeah, Wash, it's that damned court. Won't let us do what they call 'political hirings.' "
"But this ain't political, Stash. I sure as hell am qualified to be a security guard for the street sweepers."
"You may be my brother, Wash, but I'm tellin' ya, it just don't work that way no more."
And so it goes...
But is a rival political party's offer of a reward just a bit over the top? Or do you think it's spot-on target?
Me, I don't know.

Al Franken, Air America and kids

I've tried to avoid commenting on Al Franken and Air America, in part because they're usually not worth the energy it takes to put forth a competent post.
That will no longer be the case. Captain Ed has the story of how Air America got a cool half a million from a Boys and Girls Club in New York and how the club almost had to shut down.
According to published reports, the allegations involve Charles Rosen, the founder of Gloria Wise who has stepped down as executive director, investing city contract funds in Air America Radio, the liberal talk radio network.
Evan Cohen, Air America's former chairman, had served as Gloria Wise's director of development.

What's worse is where that money was originally supposed to go:
...the grant money involved was earmarked for Alzheimer's patients, senior citizens, and a mentoring program.
Instead, it wound up paying the likes of Al Franken.
Now, if you haven't heard of Al Franken, he's the moonbat who first made a name for himself (Al Franken) on Saturday Night Live, where he (Al Franken) was a writer and occasional performer. The one bit I remember by him (Al Franken) was when he declared the decade his (the Al Franken Decade) and urged that everyone should send copious amounts of money to him (Al Franken).
All I'll say about his Saturday Night Live days is that the more face time he (Al Franken) had on camera, the worse the shows were.
Maybe he (Al Franken) should take some of the money he (Al Franken) received from his (Al Franken's) books and give it back to the Boys and Girls Club that he (Al Franken) and Air America ripped off.

More must-sees

My man Kermit has a great post called "What did you do..."
And JimmyB asks "Where is the left when you really need them?"
You really ought to check both of them out.

Hockey fans alert: Free agency analysis ahead

Yes, I'm into hockey now full bore. My Phillies are too lame; I don't get excited about the Eagles, mainly because everyone else around here does; and I much prefer college basketball to the NBA.
Now that the NHL is back, the "silly season" is at hand, when free agents wander hither and yon in search of primero dinero (that's big bucks, for the folks in Wapwallopen).
Here, now, either orr's look at the top of the Class of 2005 unrestricted free agents (the kind who can sign with anyone without costing the signing team anything):
1. Scott Niedermayer, D, New Jersey. He's only the best defenceman in hockey (sorry, Pronger, Blake and Lidstrom fans). He does it all. And he's had his run-ins with New Jersey's Napoleonic GM, Lou-Lou Lamoriello. Some stuff I've read has him headed to the Left Coast, which is closer to his home. Me? I think he's outta the swamps of Jersey. I know the Flyers will make a serious run at him.
2. Peter Forsberg, C, Colorado. Why isn't Forsberg No. 1? Well, he had been making noises even before the lockout about ending his career in his Swedish homeland. And he's had some serious injuries in each of the past two seasons (even last season, playing in Sweden). I think Colorado wants to keep him if he comes back to North America, but can they afford him?
3. Nikolai Khabibulin, G, Tampa Bay. He'll be in demand, he'll be tough to sign (remember, he held out for almost an entire season a couple of years ago), and he'll wind up being overpaid. Tampa obviously wants him back, but there are a lot of other teams that could use him.
4. Chris Pronger, D, St. Louis. He could be moving on, although I think he'll get a deal from the Blues that he can live with. Again, as with Niedermayer, West Coast teams seem to be most interested, from what I'm hearing and reading.
5. Adam Foote, D, Colorado. You never saw a No. 1-type defenceman going unrestricted. We've got three serious No. 1 types coming out now. Foote is likely to leave Colorado, I think, because the Avs just can't afford to come with the bucks to keep both him and Forsberg.
6. Alexei Kovalev, RW, Montreal. The mercurial sniper seemed to like Montreal after his late-season arrival in 2004. The question becomes, would he take less bucks to go back to Pittsburgh and be united with Super Mario and Sidney the Great in the city where he had his most productive seasons?
Those are the Big Six, as I see it.
There are a bunch of decent attacking defencemen coming unrestricted, such as Sergei Gonchar (Boston), Sandis Ozolinsh (Anaheim), Teppo Numminen (Dallas), Alexei Zhitnik (Buffalo) and the New York Islander trio of Adrian Aucoin, Roman Hamrlik and Kenny Jonsson (who I'm reading is likely to stay in Sweden instead of going back to the Island). Once a dynamic duo, the gloss is pretty much off Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne (Colorado), but they'll get suitors for sure. And you can roll the dice on the injury-plagued Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh (L.A.) or take your chances on a healthy, but inconsistent teammate, Ziggy Palffy. I suspect Martin Straka (L.A.) is headed back to Pittsburgh. And who knows where Eric Lindros (Rangers) will wind up (not in Philly, that's for sure)?
Buyouts have added some forwards on the downward slope (John LeClair, Tony Amonte, Brian Savage, Ray Whitney) and may add more (Bobby Holik). But I suspect Derian Hatcher and Darren McCarty won't have trouble finding work. McCarty may even wind up ahead on the deal.
The one X-factor is the fate of Jaromir Jagr. His contract is in violation of the rule that maxes out salaries at 20 percent of the cap. He's listed at 8.4 million; the cap max is 7.8 million. (He's the only one, according to numbers on the NHLPA Web site). Would the Rangers have to buy him out, since renegotiation appears to be forbidden in the new agreement?
I know I've missed some names here and there. Feel free to add, comment, etc.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Movie tag

Dear friends, Angry has just hit me with a tough one. The game is Movie Tag.
I've got to tell you a few of my favorite flicks.
Teen years: The Dirty Dozen. Great flick, great cast, great action.
University years: The Graduate. I wished...
Pre-married life: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Stop infringing on my constitutional freedoms!
Recent years: The Passion of the Christ. Say no more.
All-time favorite: Duck Soup. Yes, I am a Marxist -- of the Groucho, Harpo, Chico and sometimes Zeppo sort.
Next up as "it": Candace, Regular Ron and the American Princess.


I owe a big thanks to Steve (aka Angry in the Great White North) for a huge increase in traffic.
Monday, he posted on the disagreement between Canada and Denmark over a small island up north.
The situation inspired a post I did a while back, The War of 2007.
Well, traffic more than doubled, all thanks to Angry. So a very large shoutout.
I also owe a shoutout to Richard at the Cannuckistan Chronicles, for linking to the most recent edition of Return for re-grooving.
Thank you, gentlemen.

The moonbat apologizes

The moonbat Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania is trying to extricate her feet (all the way up to the top of the thigh) from her mouth after last week's sordid incident in western Pa.
We've discussed that in the post Beyond Ignorant. Now, perhaps being just a touch aware that her actions were totally inappropriate, she's apologizing.
From the Associated Press comes this dispatch:
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll apologized to the family of a Marine killed in Iraq for showing up uninvited for his funeral last week and giving out a business card.
Knoll went to the July 19 funeral of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32, of Westwood, who died July 10 in Hit, Iraq. Family members said she left a business card and made a remark about "our government" being against the war.
In a letter dated Monday to Goodrich's widow, Amy, Knoll said she left a card in case the family wanted to contact her "and as a sign of my willingness to help the family through this difficult time in any way I can. To do anything that was deemed insensitive was completely counter to my intent."
That didn't really pacify the family of the late soldier.
"We asked for an apology and that's what we got," said Rhonda Goodrich, Joseph Goodrich's sister-in-law, who has been speaking on behalf of the family. She said the apology was accepted, although the family had also wanted Knoll to apologize to the Marine Corps.
"Probably, in all honesty, she didn't even know she was acting inappropriately, she's so out there," said Goodrich, of Indiana, Pa.. "The business card, I will always believe, was handed out as campaign fodder."
Knoll said in her letter that she arrived too late to offer her personal condolences. That rankled Rhonda Goodrich, who said she believed Knoll came to get publicity.
"She didn't have time to be with Amy or Joe's parents, but she made time for the TV cameras," she said. "That's where I'm still a little bitter."
Goodrich said Knoll remarked to Joseph Goodrich's aunt that "our government" was opposed to the war.
Now, the attempted extrication:
"Sergeant Goodrich's service was beyond the call of duty," Knoll's letter continued. "If my regard for his family's grief was seen another way, it is thoroughly regrettable. The fact that you have been offended deserves and receives my most profound apology.
"I will continue to support our troops in my role as Lt. Governor and support our President as an American. That I somehow conveyed an impression that was interpreted as other than that will forever be saddening and upsetting to me," the letter said.
Knoll said she has attended "dozens of funerals to offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Even our governor, the illustrious cheesesteak-chomping TV football analyst, pulled himself away from his "cheese wid" to have his spokesflack deliver a statement.
Kate Philips, spokeswoman for Gov. Ed Rendell, said Pennsylvania "supports men and women serving in Iraq," and the governor hopes that Knoll's letter will put the matter to rest. The governor also planned to send a letter to Goodrich's family, Philips said.
Deniece Williams and Johnny Mathis did a song about this years ago... "Too much too little, too late."
If Catherine Baker Knoll is somehow on the Dumbocrats' ticket in 2006, Fast Eddie will be the first Pa. governor to fail to win a second term since 1970.

No thanks

In my in-box this evening arrived this little ditty...
Bottled water, movie popcorn, a gourmet muffin — each satisfying in its own way. But did you know for as low as $2.90 a week, the same price as that daily decaf grande, you could get The New York Times delivered and be nourished for a lifetime?More than just reporting the news — The Times delivers the stories of the people and places behind the headlines. Like a dollop of whipped cream on your latte, it's the unexpected that makes The Times particularly delicious. Whether it's a story on gold mining in South Africa, 10 great wines for under $25 or quakes on the moon, you'll find thought-provoking conversation starters in every section of The Times. Choose the delivery plan that's right for you — 7 days a week, weekdays only or weekends only. Then enjoy savings of 50% on home delivery for the next 12 weeks — that's as low as $2.90 a week.
First off, I don't drink bottled water -- the tap is good enough for me. Also, I don't go to movies, so I don't consume movie popcorn. Pop Secret or Orville are good enough for me. And gourmet muffins? Come on. Give me a good cornbread muffin and I'm happy as a lark.
And that latte comment? I don't know a frappuchino from a cappuchino from a Capobianco (I do know a Capobianco; he runs a store up near the homestead.). I drink maybe 10 cups of coffee a year, black with sugar.
Needless to say, I won't be responding to this advert.
And I will be reporting this as spam to my ISP.

Dumbocrats in trouble

The left really has so much hatred for the current administration that it has seriously affected its judgment.
Example 1: The Dumbocrats went after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay over some travel issues. Not smart... because so many of their own, including the mouthpieces like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, had their own skeletons uncovered in the process. End of DeLay story.
Example 2: The Dumbocrats were so hot to trot to nuke the administration over Guantanamo Bay's detention center (Club Gitmo to the Dittoheads out there) that they bought the unfounded allegations of Koran desecration and salivated over a raw FBI memo leaked on the Senate floor by Minority Idiot Richard Durbin. Two more non-stories.
Example 3: Now, the Dumbocrats thought, we got 'em. We got the Evil Genius behind Dummy Bush, Karl Rove, for leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent. Well, turns out Rove didn't leak the identity. (In fact, to me, if anyone would have used Rove as a second source, based on the comments attributed to him in various conversations with reporters involved, I would have some extremely serious problems with the nature of the reporting involved in this story. All Rove did was say "Yeah, I heard that." That, to me, a former reporter, is nowhere near sufficient confirmation to justify going to print, or even pitching the story to an editor.) But the Dumbocrats have a CIA leak worry of their own. As the wonderful E.M. reports...
If Dick Durbin ever complains about Rove being some sort of governmental leak again, he's going to have to explain what exactly is the problem there--since, Mr. Durbin himself is, apparently not entirely innocent in the "leaking information" department.
In fact, he and Senator Rockefeller, and Senator Wyden are being investigated.
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into whether Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Jay Rockefeller and Ron Wyden leaked details about a secret "black ops" CIA satellite program last December in a move that may have seriously compromised national security, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin said on Saturday.
Anything to demolish Bush?
What was the bottom line of the parable... don't take the speck of dust out of your brother's eye before you remove the log from your own?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Must-read post

Friends, if you are in any way interested in what Islam is really saying and how it's being used, you must visit the post "Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up". I can't begin to tell you how excellent and all-encompassing it is. Habamus Rodentum has skill, guts and our thanks.

RU-486 blues

It appears there are some problems with the so-called "morning-after" pill.
This from Earthlink News:
LOS ANGELES - Federal health investigators are baffled: Why have four California women died from a bloodstream infection after using a controversial abortion pill?
"On the surface, this appears unusual," said Dr. Marc Fischer, a medical epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "That's why we're investigating."
Two of the deaths - one this year and one last year - were reported last week by the Food and Drug Administration. The other two deaths occurred in 2003. All were caused by sepsis, a bloodstream infection, although the women didn't have all the usual symptoms for sepsis, such as fever, health officials say.
Only one other U.S. death linked to the drug has been reported since it went on the market in 2000, and the cause of death in that case was different.
Sold as Mifeprex, and also known as RU-486 or mifepristone, it is taken as two pills at different times. None of the women who died followed FDA-approved instructions for taking the drug, and authorities are looking into whether that may have played a role in their deaths.
The FDA said it believes Mifeprex is safe enough to stay on the market and that there is no proof it caused the deaths. However, the label will be updated to alert women and doctors in more detail to unusual, dangerous infections that are not always accompanied by fever.
More than 460,000 women in the United States have used Mifeprex since it was invented in France in the 1980s. The pill already contains a "black-box" warning highlighting the risk of bacterial infection, sepsis and death. Reports of fatal sepsis among the pill's users are rare, occurring one in 100,000 cases.
The drug's maker, New York-based Danco Laboratories, has defended the pill's record, saying there is no evidence Mifeprex caused bacterial infection and sepsis. However, the company agreed to change the warning label so patients and doctors know about the risk of rare infections.
Mifeprex is approved to end a pregnancy up to 49 days after the start of a woman's last menstrual cycle. It is a two-part treatment - one drug blocks a hormone required to sustain a pregnancy and the other, taken days later, ends the pregnancy.
The FDA calls for both pills to be swallowed, but the agency says it is aware that many abortion clinics and doctors recommend that the second pill be inserted vaginally based on studies that have shown its effectiveness in ending a pregnancy.
Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said she believes vaginal insertion is safe. Abortion clinics counsel women on making sure their hands are clean before they insert the pill to avoid infection, Cullins said.
Federal drug regulators are unsure whether this so-called "off-label use" might have contributed to the deaths, but it is one of the areas being investigated.
Health investigators also will do tests to make sure the pills weren't contaminated. Two of the infections were caused by a common bacterium called Clostridium sordelli, which can cause nausea and diarrhea, but is rarely fatal. Investigators will study whether the germ might have mutated and become more lethal.
Authorities can't rule out simple math as one explanation for the group of deaths in California: Perhaps more women of child-bearing age are using the abortion pill in the nation's most populous state. There's also the possibility that California doctors may be more inclined to file the voluntary reports of adverse effects.
Monty Patterson, whose 18-year-old daughter Holly died of septic shock after taking Mifeprex to end an unplanned pregnancy in 2003, said the pill should be pulled from the market.
Patterson has been lobbying to halt sale of the pill since Holly's death, which was the first of the four California cases to be reported to the FDA.
"This drug is not safe," said Patterson, who lives in Livermore. "Holly never thought she would take a drug that would kill her. She wouldn't have done it."
Patterson sued Danco last year for an unspecified amount, claiming wrongful death and product liability.
The other U.S. death associated with Mifeprex was a case of a ruptured tubal pregnancy in 2001. Health officials have warned that the pill should not be used in women with suspected or confirmed ectopic pregnancies.

Safe, eh?

Real friendly Canadians

More evidence that many Canadians are not our friends comes John Archibald's column in the July 10th Birmingham (Ala.) Post (if I can rediscover the link, I'll hook it):
Greg Taylor learned what it means to be an ugly American last month.
Only he's not one.
Not ugly. Not American.
Taylor and his family are Canadian. They moved to Birmingham four years ago when he transferred to work at the Honda plant. They've had a child here. That's child No. 3 for the Taylor family, but U.S. citizen No. 1.
In June the Taylors drove to Ontario, Canada, to attend a funeral and have a little vacation. It turned into what Taylor calls an "eye-opener."
Driving along Highway 400 in Canada. a driver surprised them with a rude hand gesture.
"He gave me the one-finger salute," Taylor said. "I wondered if I'd cut somebody off."
But it happened again.
And again.
Then it dawned on Taylor. He was driving through Canada with Alabama plates. With American plates. He was perceived as American, and he was feeling a kind of ill-will he'd never known.
That's not all. On June 22 Taylor's wife and children visited Canada's Wonderland, an amusement park north of Toronto. They had a good time, but were shocked on returning to the parking lot. Taylor described it in a July 4 letter to the editor of the Toronto Sun:
"My wife and family returned to our vehicle only to find a used condom wedged in the driver's door handle of our vehicle and numerous spit marks riddled the sides of the vehicle.
"Is this how Canada treats all visitors from the U.S.?" his letter went on. "If so, I am ashamed to call myself Canadian."
The episode is disturbing on several levels. As Americans, it's worrisome that our closest friend and neighbor hates our policy so - a recent poll showed 40 percent of Canadian teens see the U.S. as "evil." But that's not Taylor's point. He is upset and embarrassed that his countrymen would take that resentment and blame an innocent U.S. family. Any U.S. family.
Nobody in Alabama ever treated Taylor that way, he said. Not even those who felt Canada hasn't pulled its weight in the war on terror.

Well, well, well.
A spokesman for the Canadian Association of Tourist Traps (CATT) addressed Mr. Taylor's allegations point by point.
"That's our special wave for Americans," said Sonya Sinjh (Carolyn) Parrish, of the greetings Mr. Taylor received on the 400. "Also, we don't distribute used condoms... only unused ones. And when we see dirt on an American car, we try to help the bastards keep it clean."