This Blog Violates the ADA

Once again, the Americans with Disabilities Act continues to prove itself not only to be the Law of Diminishing Returns, wherein American companies must continue to spend infinitely increasing amounts of money to placate an infinite number of aggrieved parties. The latest group to attempt to stretch the law to new frontiers: Blind patrons sue Target for site inaccessibility:

Bruce Sexton says he’s one of many blind individuals who can live more independently because of the Internet.

When it comes to shopping, for example, the 24-year-old college student doesn’t have to get to and navigate brick-and-mortar stores or ask employees for help. Rather, with the help of a keyboard and screen-reading software, he can navigate a Web site and make his purchase.

Or can he?

Sexton, along with a blind advocacy group, filed a class action lawsuit this week against Target, alleging that the retail giant’s Web site is inaccessible to the blind and thus violates a California law that incorporates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit, filed in Northern California’s Alameda County Superior Court by Sexton and the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind (NFB), claims that Target.com, “contains thousands of access barriers that make it difficult, if not impossible, for blind customers to use.”

Listen, I know what Section 508 means and I believe that making your products and services available to the widest possible audience is a good thing, but the ADA (like lots of doing-something legislation) adds burdens to businesses which drive businesses from profitablility to “why bother?”

Additionally, if the legalistic fiction of “public spaces” continues to expand, where will it end? Conversations and talks that don’t offer closed captioning or live signing limit accessibility. So do books, magazines, and papers that do not come with audio versions. How about yard sales or home-based businesses without wheelchair ramps?

The world and its litigants are completely destroying the logical fallacy of ad absurdum, turning hyperbole into a game plan and absurdity into inevitability.

Made with Real Koalas


Koala Crisps

I don’t know what sort of Birkenstock-wearing Seattlite would shush the commercial-driven sugar-craving mewlings of its larvae with EnviroKidz Organic Koala CrispTM breakfast cereal (Gluten Free! Organic Cocoa!), but apparently somewhere, someone is making money providing the product.

Personally speaking, though, if Kwicky Koalaganda poured into me in my impressionable years hasn’t turned me off to succulent marsupial meat garnished with minty fresh eucalyptus garnish, this cereal won’t banish my hankering. Come to think of it, it sends me a reassuring message. Kids, it’s normal to flash fry koalas and eat them!

In an unrelated note, with 1% of the proceeds donated directly to wildlife, what are the little rascals going to do with the Australian dollars? Do the aborigines have casinos in the Outback at which the koalas can play slot machines?

For the Love of Pete, Someone Hit Me


99,999

Today, MfBJN has tripped over into the six digits. If my sitemeter were done in Atari 2600 Asteroids, I’d be at about 20 hitz. But it’s not, and after only three years here in the blogging backwaters, I’m finally amongst the at least eliter cabal of people who have more hitz than debt.

On the other hand, it will take me until 2033 at this pace to equal the annual traffic of relative newcomers like Ann Althouse, but then again, I’m not a PILF (Professor Instapundit Links Frequently).

But I’ll keep plugging away, gentle reader, because otherwise I’d just play Civilization IV until my eyes bled.

Book Report: Pet Sematary by Stephen King (1983)

I inherited the Book Club Edition of Pet Sematary from my aunt. Or I bought it for a buck or change at a forgotten garage sale, but that would be meaningless, so I think of my aunt when I read my Stephen King novels now, regardless of the actual origin.

As one of the first of King’s prolific bursts, this book fits into that time period. That is, he build suspense and dread, but ultimately the end rushes through the climax and leaves one with the obvious lingering evil still out there. In what I’ve seen from this era (see also Christine), the victory over evil is very tenuous and it’s apparent that it will eventually catch up with the survivors of the story.

So let me continue with the beginning…. or at least the plot. Dr. Louis Creed moves his family from the Midwest to small town Maine where he’s going to run a university infirmary. In the front of the house, there’s a two lane highway used often by oil tankers. In the back woods, a burial place for pets. The family has a cat. You can see where this is going. I, owner of an aging cat whom I know won’t lie upon my lap while I read Stephen King books forever, dreaded reading this book, and I was going to put it off indefinitely until I decided to denancy my self and just push through the death of the cat and the horrors beyond. I did. At least the death of the cat and so on where handled off page fairly well.

Come to think of it, King leaves most of the gory wetwork off the page in this particular volume. We don’t get a lot of flesh peeling from the muscle, tendon, and bones kind of thing going on, but we do get the idea that it’s going to happen, and we put the book down thinking we’ve gotten a pretty gory dose of it, but textually, there’s not much there there. That’s what makes King so powerful; he builds the dread and he makes you think you’re getting gore, but it’s your own imagination splattering blood on the wallpaper.

Another thing that makes King powerful, and what draws his readers into the books, is that he doesn’t play favorites with his characters. Most writers rely on series for their long-term fiscal viability, and with every series one or more characters run through the plot in little danger. Sure, they get shot and sometimes almost die, and sometimes a major or minor character dies in a Very Special Episode. But the reader can proceed page-to-page with the comfort that the main characters will be tested and will prove true. King can spend pages making us like one or more characters in a book right before they die suddenly. The reader has to pay attention because although four main characters walk into a scene, four main characters are not guaranteed to walk out of the scene. In every moment, King’s characters risk life and limb from dark forces outside of their control. King takes this aspect of life and amps it up to make clear the tenuous hold we each have on our lives. Overall, the effect works.

Ergo, even though I didn’t care for the ending, I appreciated that the book achieved its goals in manipulating my emotions. Did I like it? Well, it was effective, and I enjoyed the writing. I’ll read more King, of course. Because I enjoy the works and, quite frankly, because my aunt (and the garage sales of past days) have left me with quite a few remaining on my bookshelves.

That Woman Who Sued Lowe’s When She Got Hit By a Bird

Case dismissed:

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a woman who claims she was attacked by a bird at a Lowe’s store in Fairview Heights.

Rhonda Nichols of Centreville claimed that Lowe’s Cos., the nation’s second-largest home improvement retailer, should have warned her of the birds.

But U.S. District Judge William Stiehl ruled Tuesday that a “reasonable plaintiff” either would have noticed the birds or understood that contact with them was possible in any outdoor area with plants.

(Original post. Thanks to Overlawyered.com for the update.)

Marketing Misfire

In an era where privacy and human rights advocates trash Yahoo! and Google for revealing information to various governments’ sundry agencies, why on earth would the new AT&T (SBC) run radio spots identifying people by name and revealing their interests and how DSL will deliver what you’re looking for quickly.

For example, Doug from (insert your market here) who likes ice dancing but is kind of embarrassed by it. AT&T has built a campaign around announcing they know what you want and they’re not afraid to share it.

Eric Mink Takes A Stand

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former television critic Eric Mink takes a stand on the violence erupting over editorial cartoons elsewhere in the world and, not surprisingly, finds a nuanced view where everyone is wrong but him:

Having made the obvious points, I can’t decide who’s dumber: those who believe that beating people and torching buildings honor Mohammed and his teachings or those who believe there’s something honorable about insulting someone else’s religion simply to prove that they can.

Atta boy, Eric.

Perhaps editorial page apologists, by saying that editorial cartoons and their commonplace commentary are equivalent to violence, burning, mayhem, and bloodshed aren’t so much trying to diminish the immorality of the latter but rather to inflate the importance and potence of their own meager scratchings on the stage of world events. Because deep down, it’s probably very gratifying to see one’s drivel have a visceral reaction and change the world. For better or for worse.

Book Report: Sea Change by Robert B. Parker (2006)

I paid this book at Borders on the day it came out, but that will come as no surprise to those of you who know me or who have read this blog for the last couple of years. I have been a strident Parker partisan for about twenty years now (see also "Meeting Robert B. Parker").

This is the fifth Jesse Stone novel, and I don’t mind telling you, I like this series least. Jesse Stone comes across as less hard-boiled and more simpering….although he’s hard enough with the bad guys and bantery enough with his police force, his issues with his ex-wife and whatnot really take too much of the book. Any of the book is too much. Unfortunately, as the snippets of him with his therapist unfold in a linear arc beginning with the first book and only advance the character when taken over the course of the series and advance the character independently of the action within the book, which means they’re ultimately superfluous.

Jesse Stone, within this book, has to deal with sleazy sex and murder among the yachting class. He and his force plod along, encountering old standards Captain Healy and Rita Fiore and making a new acquaintance with a no-nonsense cop in Florida who’s now eligible for repeat encounters in any or all of Parker’s series or perhaps a series of her own (since the whole Helen Hunt/Sunny Randall thing seems to have gone by the wayside).

Still, I enjoyed the book and read it almost in a single sitting. Parker’s dialog-laden prose is not very dense, and he hits a lot of familiar tropes, so long time readers can almost skim.

Evil Genius Tony Blair Sets Ultimatum

World has 7 years for key climate decisions: Blair:

The world has seven years to take vital decisions and implement measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions or it could be too late, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday.

Blair said the battle against global warming would only be won if the United States, India and China were part of a framework that included targets and that succeeded the 1992 Kyoto Protocol climate pact.

“If we don’t get the right agreement internationally for the period after which the
Kyoto protocol will expire — that’s in 2012 — if we don’t do that then I think we are in serious trouble,” he told a parliamentary committee.

Arbitrary deadlines and more government spending: Is there any problem that bureaucrats and politicos don’t think they can solve?

Police Want Public Uninformed, Uneducated

Experts Blame Cop Show For Educating Criminals:

When Tammy Klein began investigating crime scenes eight years ago, it was virtually unheard of for a killer to use bleach to clean up a bloody mess.

Today, the use of bleach, which destroys DNA, is not unusual in a planned homicide, said the senior criminalist from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Klein and other experts attribute such sophistication to television crime dramas like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which give criminals helpful tips on how to cover up evidence.

In addition to knocking these shows off of the air, perhaps law enforcement would also prefer that we cut education spending or perhaps actually insert misinformation into the science curricula to ensure that our population cannot adequately think to prepare for crimes or to do anything, really, without the helping or hindering hand of the government.

Good Environmental News

Scientists hail discovery of hundreds of new species in remote New Guinea:

An astonishing mist-shrouded “lost world” of previously unknown and rare animals and plants high in the mountain rainforests of New Guinea has been uncovered by an international team of scientists.

Among the new species of birds, frogs, butterflies and palms discovered in the expedition through this pristine environment, untouched by man, was the spectacular Berlepsch’s six-wired bird of paradise. The scientists are the first outsiders to see it. They could only reach the remote mountainous area by helicopter, which they described it as akin to finding a “Garden of Eden”.

This is excellent news, since it means we can continue our hobby of exterminating species for a few more years than previously thought.

Camera Keeps Deputy Safer….When Ogling

TCoast deputy fired for using police camera to tape girls on beach:

Martin County deputy used his dashboard-mounted video camera to zoom in on and record bikini-clad girls, including one showering at a public beach, a sheriff’s office investigation reveals.

Martin County sheriff Robert Crowder fired deputy Jack Munsey after the investigation, released Monday, concluded Munsey broke policy by using the video for unofficial purposes, spending on-duty time on off-duty activities and for improper conduct.

But, in the deputy’s defense, the scantily-clad women were not victims while he was watching, proving once again that using cameras to focus on women prevents crime.