The Zzzzz Word

Ralph Nader (or is it Nadir? I forget) and a henchman looking for fundraising want to impeach Bush and Cheney:

    THE IMPEACHMENT of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse.

    Minutes from a summer 2002 meeting involving British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveal that the Bush administration was “fixing” the intelligence to justify invading Iraq. US intelligence used to justify the war demonstrates repeatedly the truth of the meeting minutes — evidence was thin and needed fixing.

    President Clinton was impeached for perjury about his sexual relationships. Comparing Clinton’s misbehavior to a destructive and costly war occupation launched in March 2003 under false pretenses in violation of domestic and international law certainly merits introduction of an impeachment resolution.

Oh, boy. I don’t know how far down the line of succession one must impeach to make a distant presidential candidate president, but we’ll never get to the nadir.

Leaving aside Clinton’s military actions which coincided an awful lot with disclosures and revelations in the Whitewater investigation, we’ve got some meeting minutes which offer a secretary’s interpretations of a meeting. That, with exit polls showing a different results from the election tallies, is what the left has lef, er, remaining. Perhaps we should call them the left behind.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Lauds Forgivable Loans to Executives

So let me get out my conceptual transmogrifier:

  • Forgivable loans to executives to buy stock, houses, and so on, bad.
  • Forgivable loans to executives to buy condos in the city of St. Louis? Good!
    Mandy and Kevin Kozminske wrote out a hefty check recently as a down payment on a loft condominium in downtown St. Louis. But her employer covered their closing costs – $5,000.

    Mandy Kozminske, an assistant vice president for U.S. Bank, qualified for the money through the bank’s employer-assisted housing program. The $5,000 is a loan; it’s forgivable as long as she stays on the job – and in the home – for five years.

Hey, U.S. Bank can do what it wants to retain its employees; however, I hope it offers $5,000 in free cash to every teller, janitor, and maintenance man in its direct employ. Otherwise, the Post-Dispatch displays that its commitment to the Little Man ends where its commitment to championing the movers and shakers in the city of St. Louis government/developer cabal begins.

Musical Interlude

I don’t know if Hillary! has a theme song for her presidential campaign or not (but who could top Bill Clinton’s use of “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” with its prescient lines “I know you don’t believe that it’s true/I never meant any harm to you”), but I proffer the following (with apologies to Herman’s Hermits)

:

    I’m Hillary ’08, I am
    Hillary ’08 I am, I am
    I got married to the fellow named Bill
    He’s been president, now I’m on the Hill.
    All the Dems shout Hillary! (Hillary!)
    They don’t want a Kerry or a Dean (no Dean)
    I’m their only hope, I`m Hillary!
    Hillary ’08 I am

    Second term same as the first

    I’m Hillary ’08, I am
    Hillary ’08 I am, I am
    I got married to the fellow named Bill
    He’s been president, now I’m on the Hill.
    All the Dems shout Hillary! (Hillary!)
    They don’t want a Kerry or a Dean (no Dean)
    I’m their only hope, I`m Hillary!
    Hillary ’08 I am

    —— lead guitar ——

    I’m Hillary ’08, I am
    Hillary ’08 I am, I am
    I got married to the fellow named Bill
    He’s been president, now I’m on the Hill.
    All the Dems shout Hillary! (Hillary!)
    They don’t want a Kerry or a Dean (no Dean)
    I’m their only hope, I`m Hillary!
    Hillary ’08 I am

    Hillary!
    Hillary! (Hillary!)
    Hillary! (Hillary!)
    Hillary ’08 I am, I am
    Hillary ’08 I am

Illinois Balances Budgets on Future Pensioners

The state of Illinois is going to stop paying into pension funds because it’s strapped for cash:

    The Illinois Legislature on Sunday approved Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plan to withhold about $2 billion in payments over the next two years from the state’s public-employee pension systems to balance the state budget.

Can bankruptcy be far behind?

Let this stand as a contrast to our own governor, Matt Blunt, who has not raised taxes by shuffling budget priorities. Rod Blagjavinachek has raised taxes and cut pension funding, but he’s managing to continue spending like a drunken sailor with the captain’s credit card.

Undoubtedly, there are some people who would only knock the Illinois governor for cutting the pension payments to spend the money on fluff; undoubtedly, those people think that tax money is a renewable resource, and that there’ll always be more next year.

True and False Still Partisan

The headline identifies how the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leans: Illinois lawmakers pass bill that could add voters:

    The Democrats who control the Illinois Legislature approved a measure Saturday that could spur higher voter registration and turnout – a move that Republicans angrily asserted was designed to stack the deck in future elections.

    The voting registration bill, sent to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, on a House vote, would require that information about registering to vote be put in college registration documents that incoming college students receive. It would also allow online voter registration and would allow time off work in some circumstances to vote.

    The measure, sponsored by Democrats, picked at a traditionally partisan sore spot. Efforts to increase voting registration are generally believed to help Democrats more than Republicans, because many of those who don’t currently vote are young, poor or members of a minority group. Republicans historically have claimed that such measures expand the opportunities for voter fraud.

Of course, those of us steeped in logic understand this is a false dilemma, as it will undoubtedly do both. It will add a small number of actual voters to the rolls who will participate in the republican democracy (who will undoubtedly vote Democrat, as do most voters who need to be coaxed out of their stupors into voting booths), but it will also allow for greater and easier fraud (who also will undoubtedly vote Democrat, as do most dead people, dogs, children, and clones).

So the Republicans want to disenfranchise the lazy, the apathetic, and the incompetent?

Well, some do. Those who favor a meritocracy.

San Francisco Hires 55-Year-Old Columnist Who Writes Like Freshman

Wow, I wrote prose like this when I was a freshman and sophomore in college:

After a lifetime voting for and working for Democratic candidates and independents, I’m finally going to make the switch and become a Republican.

The reasons are many, not the least of which is age. I turned 55 recently and, having lived more than half my life, I can’t afford to worry anymore about the other guy. It’s time for me.

As a Republican, I can now proudly — indeed, defiantly — pledge to never again vote for anyone who raises taxes for any reason. To hell with roads, bridges, schools, police and fire protection, Medicare, Social Security and regulation of the airwaves.

President Bush has promised to give me more tax cuts even though our federal government owes trillions of dollars to its creditors. But that’s someone else’s problem, not mine. Republicans are about the here and now, and I’m here now.

You might think, gentle reader, that I write prose like that some decades after college, and I wouldn’t argue with you; however, I’m not a writer paid for my commentary. Which means although we write about the same, I’m not as smart or connected as the new columnist.

He’s going in with a bang that’s determined to draw attention to his new column by pretending to be a principled reflection upons one political views. Perhaps he can immediately draw notoriety by summoning the wrath of the rightward-leaning blogosphere by mischaracterizing the Republican party and its beliefs. Ha! The joke’s on him! I am the only blogger who reads the San Francisco Chronicle, and I cannot summon a blogstorm.

UPDATE: Commenter William Squire points out that this guy has written for the San Francisco Chronicle before.

Minnows More Content, But Some Kill Selves

In a study that will have no impact on human wellness, researchers have discovered….well, regardless of what they’ll actually find at the end of numerous, peer-reviewed studies, we need a headline now! Induce panic with this one: WARNING: Side effects can be severe: Common drugs are seeping into our lakes, fish and water supply.

Start the lead with an anecdote to which all of our readers can relate:

    It was barely a drop, but the effect of the drug was astonishing.

    Pointing to a digital recording of fathead minnows gasping for breath in a milky, murky stew, researcher Rebecca Klaper said: “We had planned to keep them in there for a week, but we had to pull them the next day. They were going to die.”

Unfortunately, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (that is, conceptually, someone who guards diaries) feels its readers will identify with tiny, gasping fish. But if you don’t have someone poor or disinfranchised with which you can start an article-as-call-to-action, you must make do.

Brian J. notes that you should probably question any news story about endangered wildlife whose first source had to pull minnows out of an experiment to save their lives, but Brian J. is the callous sort who thought of his own pet cats as an insurance policy against the Y2K bug.

Let’s review the experiment:

    Klaper, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Great Lakes WATER Institute, is investigating the effects of common drugs, such as pain relievers, anti-depressants and lipid regulators, on lake fish and invertebrates. Many of these medications pass through the body, into the sewer system and out to the environment largely unaltered. And because they are designed to affect the biology of a living organism – to reduce headaches, control seizures or suppress coughs – she and other researchers think they could have an impact on fish and other wildlife.

    Standing in her lab at the WATER Institute, an old tile warehouse on the banks of the Kinnickinnic River, Klaper reviewed the minnow experiment. She pointed to the fishes’ gills, which were straining open and shut in a desperate attempt to filter oxygen in the deadly murk surrounding them.

    “The water was cloudy by the time we got in the next morning,” said Chris Rees, a research assistant, recalling the day after a lipid regulator was introduced into their tank.

    But the milkiness wasn’t from the drug itself, Klaper said. It was the physical manifestation of the stressed and dying fish – a cloudy stew of mucous and other piscine secretions.

Minnows exposed to common pharmaceuticals within a small, closed system overwhelmed their environment with mucuous. Instead of publishing the results in a reputable journal, this story breaks in the Journal-Sentinel.

Give me a drop of Lipitor and let me cloud my office with skepticism. Even if the study bears snotty fruit, I’m of the mindset all the minnows in the world can perish if it means saving a number of human lives.

But I have priorities, anthrocentric priorities.

Wedding Etiquette

For those of you who are planning to miss the Atari Party next weekend for a “wedding,” remember that it’s traditional to give, as a wedding gift, a case of Guinness and a couple fifths of Jack Daniels.

Correction: In a recent post on wedding etiquette, the staff from Musings from Brian J. Noggle incorrectly identified a bender as a traditional wedding gift; in fact, the traditional wedding gift is a blender. Musings from Brian J. Noggle regrets the error.

Wireless Users to Flock to Saturn’s Orbit

A new discovery on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon:

    At wavelengths shorter than 5 microns, the spot is not unusually bright. The strange spectral character of this enigmatic feature has left the team with four possibilities for its source: the spot could be a surface coloration, a mountain range, a cloud, or a hot spot.

Expect hordes of developers bearing Starbucks and with their instant messanger statuses set to “Out of Office” or “Call My Cell” to arrive shortly.

(Link seen on /..)

The Showdown I’d Like To See

WISN radio, a conservative-leaning talk station in Milwaukee, is holding a reality-show style elimination competition for all comers to try to become its new morning show personality (now that Weber and Dolan are head to head with Charles Sykes).

You know what would be win/win? If it came down to:


Owen of Boots and Sabers vs. Sean of The American Mind

I mean, because I cannot participate. Not because I am out of the Milwaukee area; I have enough ties to the area to make my argument. No, I cannot participate because the auditions are the day of Atari Party 5.2, curse my pipes.

For more information, see Milwaukee Talk Star.com. Of course, if you’re like me, you listen to Weber and Dolan every day (for seven years running) via News Talk 1130.com and its streaming audio.

Philip Marlowe, Nigerian Detective

Nigerian scam of the day:


    ZONAL CONSULTING AGENCY.
    zonalconsultant@netscape.net

    ZONAL Consulting:Private Investigators and Security Consultants is conducting a
    standard process investigation on behalf of Deutsche Bank AG,the international
    Banking conglomerate, and we will like you to assist with this Independent
    Enquiry.

    My name is MARIO WOLF. I am a senior partner in the firm. This investigation
    involves a client who shares the same surname with you and also the
    circumstances surrounding investments made by this client at Deutsche Bank AG.

    The Deutsche Bank AG Banking client died intestate and nominated no successor in
    title over the investments made with the Bank. The essence of this communication
    with you is to request you provide us information/comments on any or all of the
    four issues:

    1-Are you aware of any relative/relation who shares your same surname whose last
    known contact address was Hamburg, Germany?

    2-Are you aware of any investment of considerable value made by such aperson at
    the Deutsche Bank AG?

    3-Born on the 1st of June 1927

    4-Can you establish beyond reasonable doubt your eligibility to assume status of
    successor in title to the deceased?

    It is pertinent that you inform us ASAP whether or not you are familiar with
    this personality that we may put an end to this communication with you and our
    inquiries surrounding this personality. You must appreciate that we are
    constrained from providing you with more detailed information at this point.

    Please respond to this mail as soon as possible to afford us the opportunity to
    close this investigation. Thank you for accommodating our enquiry.

    zonalconsultant@netscape.net
    Mario Wolf.

Well, that’s creative scamming, anyway.

More Punishment for Vaccination

Unrelated to the expert-predicted flu catastrophe and the problems with vaccine availability, another jury penalizes vaccinators: Teen awarded $8.5 million in vaccine case:

    St. Louis jury awarded a teen $8.5 million late Thursday for injuries he said were linked to a polio vaccination 18 years ago.

    The lawsuit alleged that Cortez Strong, 18, contracted polio after he received an oral vaccine as an infant. Lawyers for Strong, who lives near Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, say he has limited use of his left arm and right hand.

    Strong sued American Cyanamid Co., maker of the vaccine, and Dr. Georgia Santo-Jawaid, his former pediatrician in 1999. She formerly worked with a doctors’ group in the 3900 block of South Grand Boulevard, where Strong received the second dose of medicine when he was four months old.

Another tragedy that punishes the medical industry for an unfortunate reaction to a vaccine that protected the majority of recipients. However, as these individual awards accummulate, vaccine producers won’t continue to serve the public good by providing a product that protects many and provides a jackpot for a few.

Until they’re nationalized, of course, then taxpayers can do both with the bottomless well of tax dollars.

Outlaw Pointy Sticks, and Only Outlaws Will Have Pointy Sticks

Apparently, relegating gun possession to only lawbreakers has not made Britain safe enough. Now, doctors think that pointed kitchen knives should be banned:

    A&E doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.

    A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.

    They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.

    The research is published in the British Medical Journal.

Personally, I favor preemptive amputation of the hands, which will prevent people from strangling or beating each other the death.

The Only Good Pit Bull, According to the Post Dispatch

Thank goodness! It’s been a whole week since the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story about a pit bull attack. But the drought has ended: St. Charles police kill attacking pit bull:

    A St. Charles police officer shot and killed a pit bull after the dog attacked another officer Wednesday.

    The officers had responded to the Travelodge Hotel in the 2700 block of Veterans Memorial Parkway to investigate a stolen car. Police say that when they located the suspect and advised him that he was under arrest, he slammed the door and began barricading himself in his hotel room. The officers were able to force themselves into the room, but the suspect resisted them, police say.

    One officer fired a Taser at the suspect when the pit bull lunged at him and bit the Taser, police say. The dog continued trying to get at the officer until the other officer fired four rounds and killed it.

Of course, the officers were arresting a lawbreaker who would have no doubt had a beagle if only pit bulls were illegal.

Foam Industry Ramps Up Production; Government to Make Everything Safe

New York City has banned almost everything else, so it’s turning to another hazardous substance that is too easily available to its irresponsible, befuddled citizens: candy.

    Large mint balls, jawbreakers and other hard sweets — which can choke kids — could soon be banned for sale to children in the city.

    City Council Health Committee Chairwoman Christine Quinn yesterday introduced a bill that would outlaw the sale of what she termed “dangerously sized candy” to people under 14.

    She defined dangerously sized as between 3/4 of an inch and 13/4 of an inch in diameter.

FROM MY WARM, STICKY MOUTH!

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Nature Channels Michael Crichton or Stephen King

Nature magazine, nominally a “science” publication, runs a “news feature” that is a fictional blog account of an avian flu pandemic.

Unfortunately, instead of steamy sex with disciples of the devil or nuclear weapons going off in Vegas or bacteria brought down to earth by a secret government project, we get the payoff of the United States federal government trouncing individual liberties and transnational UN organizations saving the day. A predictable plot.

The message, of course, is that the government is not spending enough money on experts who issue warnings about flu pandemics.

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article that cuts to the chase:

    [Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md.] said that federal spending on influenza preparedness has increased to $419 million from $40 million over the past five years but concedes he is not satisfied with the United States’ current level of readiness.

Read: he’s not satisfied with the current level of federal funding. Furthermore:

    For example, even though an experimental H5N1 vaccine is being tested, the system for manufacturing it — the same system that produces millions of ordinary flu shots — is failure-prone. “Capacity needs to be built up,” Fauci said.

    Swiss pharmaceuticals maker Roche Inc. produces the entire world supply of the drug at a single European plant. Federal authorities have been negotiating with Roche to build a Tamiflu factory in the United States.

Capacity is down, but I’m sure that’s unrelated to the chronic litigation sucking life and lucre out of vaccine makers and pharmaceutical companies and the increasing regulation.

In addition to problems with capacity, the United States has too small–according to experts– stockpile of the highly-perishable vaccines, but I’m sure that’s unrelated to states banning vaccines with the preservative thimerosal (the study of which also requires federal funding, according to experts).

Of course, pay no attention to the Illinois oversupply that occurred last year, when experts and the shrieking media ginned up predictions of a dire flu season. So the governor “did something” and contracted for vaccine–a supply that went unused and undoubtedly has been discarded by now. I’m sure that the lesson is not that “when government acts according to the experts, it wastes money.”

Ultimately, I think experts agree, we have a choice: federal funding for research funneled to transnational organizations and international conferences, or we’re going to die.

(Link to Nature seen on A Small Victory.)