Saturday, January 17, 2004

The backwards Midwest
One in ten in Kansas go hungry, and they vote Republican?

More info handed to feds by airlines
The WaPo:

Northwest Airlines provided information on millions of passengers for a secret U.S. government air security project soon after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, raising fresh concerns among some privacy advocates about the airlines' use of confidential consumer data.

The nation's fourth-largest carrier publicly asserted in September that it "did not provide that type of information to anyone." But Northwest acknowledged Friday it had already turned over three months of reservation data to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center by that point.

Northwest is the second carrier to have been identified as secretly passing travelers' records to the government. The airline industry has publicly said it would not cooperate in development of a new government computer passenger screening program because of concerns the project would infringe on customer privacy. But the participation of two airlines in separate programs underscores the industry's clandestine role in government security initiatives.

In September, JetBlue admitted that it turned over passenger records to a defense contractor and apologized to its customers for doing so. Northwest said in a statement Friday that it participated in the NASA program after the 2001 terrorist attacks to assist the government's search for technology to improve aviation security. "Northwest Airlines had a duty and an obligation to cooperate with the federal government for national security reasons," the airline said.

The carrier declined to say how many passengers' records were shared with NASA from the period offered, October to December 2001. More than 10.9 million passengers traveled on Northwest flights during that time, according to the Department of Transportation.


Man claims to have cloned embryo
A scientist named Panos Zavos says that he has cloned a human embryo. I'm always wary of nutso scientists, and this guy sure looks crazy.

Cho under Freeper attack
After Drudge posted an edited version of Margaret Cho's speech at the awards, a bunch of members got together to e-mail her in a gigantic racist orgy. Example:

Your comments were totally uncalled for. Why don't you you take your fat slant eyed head and go back to China.

Ohhhh he went there.

Drudge breaking anti-candidate stories
Has anyone else noticed that Drudge has been breaking controversial stories about candidates pretty steadily? First, the "Clark testified before Congress in favor of the Iraq war" story, now "Kerry wanted to gut the agricultural department 8 years ago." Let's see what else he has, or if this is just coincidence.

Attacks down in Iraq?
Attacks are down 22% in Iraq since Saddam was captured. What does that mean? Well, it doesn't mean that deaths are down, because they aren't. Look at these charts. The number of deaths in the 15 days before Saddam's capture? 26. The 15 days after? 30.

Bring 'em on
Over 500 dead in Iraq.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Pandagon takes on Town Hall
Pandagon takes to the (not very difficult) task of ripping Jonah Goldberg a new one.

Bush falling
Bush's approval rating has dropped 4 points - to 54%, since a month ago (about when we got Saddam).

Dean on top in Iowa?
Contrary to John Zogby's reports, it's scrolling across the bottom of CNN that Dean holds the lead in Iowa, Kerry has second, Gephardt has third, and Edwards has fourth.

UPDATE: says Edwards holds second.

Phelps leaves trailer, decides to make monument
Fred Phelps, the genius behind God Hates Fags, wants to erect an anti-gay monument in Twin Falls, Idaho. Seeing as he's a shameless bigot and probably has some kind of direct communication with Satan, Phelps has decided not only to desecrate decency, but also the town around which Built to Spill's excellent song "Twin Falls" is based (Ben Folds did a fantastic cover). Here's some photographic evidence of their idiocy:

Yes, that sign says "Thank God for Sept. 11."

No diet for America
The White House has rejected the U.N.'s obesity reduction measures. Take that, U.N.! Now we'll be fatter and wealthier than EVER!

It's anybody's game
With Dean falling behind Kerry in Iowa and losing ground to Clark in New Hampshire, is he still the frontrunner? And perhaps more importantly, where should he focus his energy?

Sources say Harris won't seek Senate seat
It looks as if the Bush administration, careful not to stir up Democratic anger in Florida, has advised Katherine Harris not to run.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Blunt smoking a few
Roy Blunt had a brilliant response to Al Gore's speech today on global warming:

"It is fitting that Gore chose one of the coldest days of the year to spread false information about the Bush Administration's record on global warming. Mother Nature didn't agree with his message and neither do I. Al, it's cold outside."

Roy, the last ice age occured because of a 10 degree shift in temperature. Global warming is said to be up to a 7 degree increase. A cold snap won't cover your ass on this one.

My new favorite story ever
The latest joke auction on eBay nearly grossed a $100 million bid before being shut down.

Kerry the frontrunner?
Zogby is saying that Kerry is pulling ahead in Iowa. If this is true then Kerry, not Dean, is now the frontrunner. Pulling a decent second place in New Hampshire and having Dean lose the Iowa caucus means that several new dynamics are in place. The Feb. 3 votes will be more centrist, with likely victories for Gephardt in Missouri and Clark in South Carolina. Now, if Gephardt pulls ahead of Kerry in Iowa and Dean comes in third, Gephardt is the most likely frontrunner. Clark could pull second in New Hampshire, upping his chances as well. The tables have turned...

Braun to drop
Carol Moseley-Braun is planning to drop the race and endorse Dean. Hopefully this will pave the way for the other long-shot candidates, although I find it unlikely.

UPDATE: It's official.

The Labor Dept. strikes back
Not too long from now we might just have to kiss overtime goodbye.

New drug tests
It seems that the feds are looking at more detailed drug tests for workers:

The federal government is planning to overhaul its employee drug testing program to include scrutiny of workers' hair, saliva and sweat, a shift that could spur more businesses to revise screening for millions of their own workers.

The planned changes, long awaited by the testing industry, reflect government efforts to be more precise in its drug screening and to outmaneuver a small but growing subset of workers who try to cheat on urine-based tests.

Some businesses have already adopted alternative testing, despite criticism by privacy advocates. But others have held back, partly awaiting government standards.

Alternative testing methods would give employers more certainty about the timing and scope of drug usage than is now possible solely with urine sampling, said Robert Stephenson II, an official with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

That could be particularly valuable in situations like investigations of on-the-job accidents, to determine not just whether an employee uses drugs but if usage occurred recently enough to be a cause.

It will also be useful in firing decent employees who smoke pot every once in a while. Good work, guys!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Blind hatred
A school administrator was reassigned after using a racial slur when explaining to students that they shouldn't use that racial slur. The irony? It was a school for the visually impaired, and the students were using racial slurs. Remarkable.

I get e-mailed sometimes...
I got a response regarding my "organ trading" post:


Thanks for mentioning LifeSharers in your blog.

You said "just about everyone will become an organ donor." I wish that was true. Only about 30% of the people in the United States have signed donor cards. Only about half of the organs that could be transplanted are donated. Thousands of people die every year because too many of their neighbors are too lazy or selfish to donate their organs.

LifeSharers doesn't force people to donate their organs. We just give people a good reason to do so -- a better chance of getting an organ if they ever need one. It just doesn't seem fair to give organs to people who won't donate their own organs, as long as there aren't enough organs to go around.

I hope you'll decide to join LifeSharers. It's free, and it could save your life.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Dave Undis

Thanks for reading, Dave. I must say that I think Dave is spinning the "force" issue, in that it isn't forcing, but it's essentially heavy-handed coercion. However, it's certainly for a good cause, and anything that gets organ donor numbers up is a good thing.

Kerry keeps up the attack
I try to be non-biased as far as the primaries go here at KtL....but I just can't stand Kerry. Here's some more hypocrisy caught by the Clark camp:

In September 2003, Kerry Said Clark Was a "Very Qualified, Very Distinguished Individual...I Will Never Say Anything Critical About Wes Clark." On September 4, 2003, Kerry said, regarding Clark, "He is a very qualified, very distinguished individual, a friend of mine, I might add, and I will never say anything critical about Wes Clark."

Well that went down the tube.

Those mortar tubes that may have had blister gas in them? Turns out they didn't. This marks the 8000th time the media has gotten it wrong.

Aldrich runs rampant
Gary Aldrich apparently thinks that grandparents should have some say in abortion:

Democrat presidential candidate Wesley Clark recently spelled out his position on abortion for the Manchester Union Leader. “Life,” General Clark proclaims, “begins with the mother’s decision.”


Can we assume General Clark is saying he would be helpless in the face of the partial-birth abortion of his own grandchild – if that horrible circumstance were present – and then we are to believe he would simply agree with it, if that’s what the women want?

Fuzzy math
$87 billion to repair Iraq, and $5 billion over five years to get to Mars and build a base on the moon? Forgive my pessimism...

Planes still dangerous
Apparently some people are concerned about other "potential weapons" on airplanes:

WASHINGTON -- Commercial pilot Fred Bates could not board the twin-engine jet he was about to fly from Dallas to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., until he passed through a metal detector. Airport screeners had to make sure he was not carrying a pen knife, box cutter or scissors.

Yet once aboard, he saw that an elderly passenger was holding a cane -- potentially lethal weapon.

From knitting needles to ball point pens, passengers still are allowed to bring on all kinds of potential weapons, Bates said.

There are even more things that can be found inside many commercial airliners -- mirrors, ice picks, metal silverware -- that could help a terrorist.

While the government has made changes aimed at tightening aviation security, some experts believe those efforts have focused too much on what passengers are trying to take on board.

Michael Boyd, an airline industry analyst with the Boyd Group in Evergreen, Colo., said nearly anything from shoelaces to hangers could be dangerous.

Is this newsworthy? Of course we can't ban everything that could possibly be used to harm someone. However, something that can deal swift, instant death (I'd put ice picks under there...who the hell needs ice picks in their carry on?) should be banned.

I should give the article credit in pointing out the following:

The Transportation Security Administration, which took over aviation security after the Sept. 11 attacks, has spent billions of dollars to hire screeners and upgrade equipment. But Boyd said little has been done to ensure terrorists cannot get near a plane through an airport's back doors.

Airport workers such as fuelers, mechanics and caterers need to be screened for weapons before they are allowed near a plane, he said. A closer eye needs to be kept on air cargo facilities. Perimeters need to be more secure.

I must say that the aviation industry has "pulled a Bush" with security; they beefed up all the visible screeners and checks while staying lax on the dangerous things people aren't as inclined to see.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Al hitting the radio
Franken jumps aboard liberal radio.

I've been thinking about the chance of liberal success.....and I don't think it'll do as well as right-wing radio. However, it will last at least until November....and I don't think I'm the only one who realizes this.

And the weak crumble

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Tuesday his account of the Bush administration's early discussions about a possible invasion of Iraq has been distorted.

"People are trying to make a case that I said the president was planning war in Iraq early in the administration," O'Neill told NBC's "Today" show.

"Actually, there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with the notion that there needed to be regime change in Iraq."

From government whistleblower to anti-Clintonite, all in one day.

Town Hall's "clog" not too intelligent
I just started reading the terrible "Clog" over at Town Hall. Holy crap, spare yourself. Anyway, this post is a great example of being inept:

E.J. Dionne, Jr.:

"It's common to describe an America divided into red and blue, the Bush states and the Gore states, the Bush lovers and the Bush haters. The split is often described in moral terms -- religion, gay rights and abortion.

It's still true that a candidate who announces support for abortion rights and gay rights will get cheers from Democratic crowds. But judging by what the candidates are saying and the response they're getting at one event after another, the red-blue divide that matters this year is a different one. It pits a stark individualism against community."

I don't buy it. I think both sides want "community." The difference is that the left wants it to be government-imposed while the right thinks it should happen on the local (community) level.

Huh? Government-imposed community? What was being brought up was the eras of civil rights and fighting poverty - in fact, they were both mentioned right before the quote he posted:

Howard Dean's recent forays into religious talk went down with a thud. But there's nothing contrived about what many of his supporters see as the most moving part of his stump speech, a reverie on the best of the 1960s -- the civil rights movement and the nation's commitment to end poverty.

I guess Town Hall thinks the civil rights movement was government-imposed...

Killer taunts victim's mother from prison
This is absolutely disgusting:

Mary Kate Gach thought she had heard the last of Jack Trawick when he went to death row for murdering her daughter in 1992.

Instead, Trawick's twisted writings about how he beat, strangled and stabbed Stephanie Gach and killed other women are available to anyone who wants to read them on the Internet. Many of the writings were put there by a one-time pen pal and admirer of Trawick's.

The killer even taunts Mary Kate Gach by name.

"I'm mad as hell," she said. "Those people don't even have a right to speak my name or my child's name. There's got to be a way to keep them from funneling this stuff out of prisons."

Around the country, dozens of U.S. death row inmates have gotten their letters and artwork posted on the Internet, a practice that torments the victims' grieving friends and relatives.

"It's going on all over," said Nancy Ruhe, executive director of Parents of Murdered Children in Cincinnati. "People say to me all the time, 'When are these (victims) going to get over it?' They can't."

Experts say little can be done about Web sites featuring the writings of killers.

"It's the First Amendment," Ruhe acknowledged

As sick as this is, I'd feel unjustified in saying that it should be stopped. It's merely offending the mother (and countless others, I assume), and without any threats it's merely a matter of talking.

Averages galore
Speedkill has a post on how Lieberman is using the same tactics Bush did in describing tax cuts.

TTLB vote
This "Flummery" blog is running away with the latest Showcase vote, and I'm afraid I must toss it a link as well. Hilarious.

Gephardt speaks on Dean's comments
In a do-or-die battle for the Hawkeye State, Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt (search) said Tuesday that front-runner Howard Dean (search) won't have much luck beating President Bush in November because of his "ludicrous" comment that Saddam Hussein's capture had not made America safer.

Now, I don't like Gephardt more than Dean or vice versa. But it must be easier to say that Saddam's capture made America safer when you stood next to the president in the Rose Garden as he announced that Congress had allowed him to use force. Right, Dick?

Fake bomb fakes out security
So the Feds planted a fake "bomb" (dark plastic bomb filled with trash) at the foot of the Washington Monument one day to see if the park security would catch it. They didn't. OK, you say. Maybe they weren't on their guard; after all, it is not that likely of a terror target, as it would be more symbolic than anything. So what day was it? September 11, 2003, the two year anniversary of 9/11/01 and the one day you'd expect all security officers to be on their toes.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Gun shop corruption
What a story:

Of the 373,006 guns traced from crimes during the five-year period, 54,694 came from the 120 stores, according to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives. The data, which surfaced in a lawsuit by the NAACP against gun manufacturers, was made public by the Washington-based Americans for Gun Safety Foundation.

The 120 stores -- located in 22 states -- made up less than 1 percent of the 80,000 individuals and stores licensed to sell guns during that period, said Jim Kessler, the group's policy director.

"There are a very tiny number of gun dealers who are associated with a huge number of crime guns in America," said Kessler, who wants a watch list of those merchants.

This is a clear case of corruption...I hope these guys are toasted.

Blair bends over
Blair has said that WMDs may not have existed in Iraq.

This contradicts some of his earlier claims - notably that WMDs existed in Iraq:

Speaking in Poland, at a news conference with Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller Blair said he had "no doubt at all" that weapons would be found in the end.

Liberal U.
Phyllis Schlafly's latest is embarassing. Talking about leftist activism on campus, she says the following:

The amount of money universities have to carry out their left-wing mission is mind-boggling. Whereas conservative and pro-American intellectual sources, such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and conservative journals may have budgets of a few million dollars, universities have billions of dollars. A great portion is taxpayer money obtained through research grants and student-financed tuition. In addition, the leftists control most student-activity assessments.

Well yeah....universities have billions of dollars....but believe it or not, it doesn't all go to kicking Bush out of office. In fact, they often need it for other things, like "housing."

Fiscal fraud
The Tribune says Cheney told O'Neill that "deficits don't matter." Well, that says a thing or two about the Bush team's intiatives to cut spending...

Pictures of Mars come home
Here's what Mars looks like, thanks to the rover:

File that under "things we didn't need a rover to find out for us."

Katherine Harris to run for Senate
I'm going to vomit.

Dust storms on the red planet
Another obstacle in the mission to Mars....perhaps moreso than the budget.

No denial from Bush
Bush's boys danced around O'Neill's accusations:

The White House fended off a slam from former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who charged that President George W. Bush was not engaged in cabinet meetings.

"The president is a strong leader. The president asks tough questions and makes tough decisions. But we appreciate O'Neill's service," spokesman Scott McClellan said on arriving in Mexico where Bush is attending a summit of leaders from North, South, Central America and the Caribbean.

People have the right to express their views," McClellan added. "Bush will be forward looking."

O'Neill also said Bush was intent on ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein long before the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Dean's word spun
There have been a lot of people criticizing Dean on this. A voter in Iowa told Dean to stop "mean mouthing" Bush, and he snapped back. corrente tells us the story:

"It's not the time to put up any of this 'love thy neighbor' stuff ... I love my neighbor, but I'll tell you I want THAT neighbor back in Crawford, Texas where he belongs." [Dean said]

... Dean lambasted Bush for trying to cut overtime pay, calling it another reason he had "differed with the gentleman over here so vociferously."

"This is the president of the United States," he said. "I don't think that's being a good neighbor to ordinary working people."

Damn straight.

Anyone who isn't angry isn't paying attention, and doesn't have the temperament to be President.

Space program cost: not expensive
So the Bush space initiatives won't be too expensive, we're told. Here's how NOT to reassure someone:

"Whatever the program is, however big it is," Evans said, "it will be within a responsible fiscal budget."

What he's saying is that we have an infinite amount of money. Phew. I thought we were in debt.

Organ traders
Is this right? I can't decide:

EVERY 90 MINUTES somebody in America dies waiting for an organ transplant. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are about 84,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, a number that grows by about 12 percent every year. Meanwhile, the number of organ donors, both living and dead, increasingly fails to keep pace.

Since HHS secretary Tommy Thompson launched the "Gift of Life Donation Initiative" in April 2001, the federal government and the medical profession have spent millions of dollars and countless hours debating the best strategies for boosting the number of available organs. But while doctors and officials strategize, David Undis, a retired Nashville insurance executive, has been promoting his own solution -- a donor network ruled by the premise that in order to get you first must be willing to give.

LifeSharers (, founded by Undis in May 2002, is a group that gives its members first dibs on each others' organs, should they become available. Becoming a member is free, and involves simply filling out an online consent form and then signing a membership card, as well as form letters for doctors and family members explaining LifeSharers' conditions. So far, more than 1,900 people have joined up.

To some observers, LifeSharers is an ingeniously simple way of encouraging more organ donations. But to others, it's an unworkable system that turns its back on traditional medical ethics

To me, it's a little bit of both. On one hand, just about everyone will become an organ donor...on the other, it's not supposed to be something that is forced upon the population. It's a usual case of balance: can the government reduce the freedom of choice that we have to ensure a healthier population?

KtL returns
The downstairs has attained heat! Sadly, my Chiefs lost and with two minutes left in the 3rd the Eagles are down 7.

Sorry about the lack of posting, but I've been trying to get out of my freezing house. I'll be back posting soon (i.e. when the temperature in my house rises above 40).