Monday, January 31, 2005

What, Did He Die Or Something?

Just about a has been?...

“DiCaprio Gets Lifetime Achievement Award”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 10:09 PM
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There Goes That Argument

Back to the drawing board…

The origins of homosexuality in individuals is oft debated.  It’s nature, it’s nurture, it’s a lifestyle choice, etc.

Well, it’s coming to light that homosexuality is probably not genetic.

“University of Illinois team, which has screened the entire human genome, say there is no one ‘gay’ gene.”

“Non-sex genes ‘link to gay trait’”

The University of Illinois should probably share their research findings with the group which generated this headline.

“How homosexuality is ‘inherited’”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 09:14 AM
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What Is Being Taught To Kids In School?

This is frightening…

“One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.”

Read the above, and consider pulling your children from the public brainwashing school system.

“U.S. students say press freedoms go too far”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 07:59 AM
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Ramsey Clark Is Full of Shit

Talking a good line…

Ramsey Clark writes that this is the reason he has decided to defend Saddam Hussein.

“That Saddam and other former Iraqi officials must have lawyers of their choice to assist them in defending against the criminal charges brought against them ought to be self-evident among a people committed to truth, justice and the rule of law.”

A statement not without truth.  But don’t be fooled by Clark’s cluck, clucking about “truth, justice and the rule of law.”  Clark isn’t defending Hussein for those reasons, he’s defending Hussein because he craves noteriety and reins of power in his hands, not to mention that he can have a very tall soap box to stand on to demonize Bush for, as Clark states, Bush’s “demonization of Saddam.”

“NO TO VICTOR’S JUSTICE In defense of Saddam Hussein Iraqi dictator has been demonized”

Yeah, Saddam isn’t a bad guy, ya know, he’s just misunderstood.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 07:34 AM
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Stains On His Boots

A reminder…

“It’s not a story about the Marines’ courage in combat, although I could tell plenty of those. Instead, it’s a small story, one that might seem insignificant in the larger scheme of things, but one that to me sums up the dogged, day-to-day determination and dedication that has kept the Marines going back into the combat zone - and in the process has helped make today’s election possible.”

Go read the rest of the story here.

A salute to PrestoPundit for the link.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 07:27 AM
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You’ll F*#k, and You’ll Like It

Zieg Heil…

The State has no business in business.  Here’s an example of why.

“A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services’’ at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.”

Do you think Nick Kristof will be buying the freedom of any of the German girls?

“‘If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits’”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 07:17 AM
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

But It’s Just A Story, Right

Dig this…

The Bible.  Some swear by it.  Others take each word literally, and think every one else should too.  Still others think it’s nothing but a story with a few historical references thrown in for good measure.  I think it’s an interesting read, but, just like sifting wheat from chaff, one must toss some of what is written in said book aside.

Be that as it may, I read this today and found it interesting.

“Canadian archeologist Russell Adams’s interest is in Bronze Age and Iron Age copper production. He never intended to walk into archeology’s vicious debate over the historical accuracy of the Old Testament—a conflict likened by one historian to a pack of feral canines at each other’s throats.

Yet by coincidence, Prof. Adams of Hamilton’s McMaster University says, he and an international team of colleagues fit into place a significant piece of the puzzle of human history in the Middle East—unearthing information that points to the existence of the Bible’s vilified Kingdom of Edom at precisely the time the Bible says it existed, and contradicting widespread academic belief that it did not come into being until 200 years later.”

“Archeologist unearths biblical controversy”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 03:47 PM
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Honey, Throw Another Bag of Corn in the Furnace

Biomass fuel…

Alot of corn is grown in the United States, some of it is even good to eat, think of freshly picked sweet corn purchased from some small farm’s roadside stand, where you grab a dozen ears and leave four ($4) bucks in the pail because it’s self serve.  Think also about the boondoggle of the ethanol program, a pet project which always seems to rear its expensive head, every four years, when presidential candidates visit Iowa to promise millions to corn famers if they’ll just vote for them.

Here’s a new use for that Iowa corn, that shouldn’t require four (4) year cyclical bribes.

“Neeley uses a corn burning furnace in his 1,024 square foot shop area with 14-foot ceilings and the corn burning boiler to heat his entire house. The boiler is set up in the garage and the exhaust is vented directly outside. Pipes carry the heated water underground 20-feet to the house to supply the old farmhouse radiators. Neeley said these units work great for people for people who have installed in-floor heat systems.
The LDJ A-Maize-Ing Heat biomass furnace and boiler come in two sizes, 100,000 and 165,000 BTUs. All heat output is measured in terms of BTUs. One BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree. The BTU content of shelled corn will vary between 8,000 to 10,000 BTUs per pound and for peak efficiency only corn of 14 percent to 15 percent moisture content should be used.
For Neeley, the corn burners were a pretty sweet deal. “I take out the middle man,� he said with a grin. “I produce it (corn) and I consume it.�
Neeley added, “There are alternatives out there and people need to be aware of what they are.�

I’m going to check this out for when I build my cabin.  Feed corn is dirt cheap.

“A-Maize-Ing renewable heat source for homes”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 03:28 PM
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Angling For Any Pretense, Now

Going to the dogs…

Are we more free?  I doubt that very much, especially after reading about a recent Supreme Court ruling (6-2) in the case Illinois v. Caballes.  The case revolved around a routine traffic stop in the State of Illinois, wherein a motorist was stopped for driving six (6) MPH over the speed limit.  While the citation issuing cop was writing up a speeding ticket, for the unlucky motorist, another cop, who just happened to be passing by with his drug sniffing dog, decided to let the pooch have a sniff around the stopped motorist’s vehicle.  The dog alerted, and the cops found about a quarter mill worth of pot in the driver’s trunk.

Here’s a portion of what The Kinston Free Press has to say about this case.

“Perhaps it’s not the stuff of massive outrage. But a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued Monday - which allows drug-sniffing dogs to sniff a car during a routine traffic stop - represents another small erosion of privacy and personal freedom. Freedoms are generally lost little by little, often by giving authorities just a little more latitude in difficult or ambivalent circumstances. We fear Illinois v. Caballes, which reversed the Illinois Supreme Court, will come to be seen as another small step in the slow but steady erosion of privacy.”

How can this not be the stuff of massive outrage?  These supposedly small nips at the remaining liberty we currently have are exactly what we should be outraged about.

“Court’s drug dog ruling takes a bite out of freedom”

You can read the Un-justices’ opinion here.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 03:02 PM
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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Tsunami Disaster Prevention Disaster

It’s my warning center - No, it’s my warning center…

Leaving aside, for the moment, the feel good aspect which a tsunami warning system would provide to the teeming masses, not to mention the chest thumping of the politicos as they falsely congratulate themselves for caring for “the people,” the following illustrates exactly why politicos are all show and no go.

“Representatives from more than 40 countries have failed to agree on the location for a new tsunami and disaster warning center for the Indian Ocean. Thailand’s case to host the center faced strong resistance from rivals Indonesia and India.”

“Thailand Meeting Fails to Choose Host Country for Tsunami Warning Center”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/29 at 11:26 AM
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That’s One Expensive Mouse

Lifting their skirts…

First read this paragraph, which is the final paragraph in an article reporting on the Preble meadow jumping mouse.

“Builders, landowners and local governments have spent as much as $100 million by some estimates protecting the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse since it was added to the federal list in 1998 as a species whose survival was considered “threatened.”

Now read this paragraph, which is the first paragraph in the article.

“The Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, once seen as a costly impediment to development, is now viewed by the government as a critter that never really existed — and is no longer in need of federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.”

So, how did a mouse, which evidently never existed, come into existence, for a time anyway?

“...The Preble’s mouse has been considered a distinct subspecies based on a 1954 study that looked at the skulls of three mice and the skins of 11 others.”

$100 million, wasted, to protect a mouse that never existed.  Great.

“Jumping Mouse Loses Federal Protection”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/29 at 08:48 AM
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Friday, January 28, 2005

Enterprising

Beer me…

“A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.”

I can’t verify the validity of the story, but I sure enjoyed reading about it.  Give that man a beer.

“Man peed way out of avalanche”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/28 at 05:32 PM
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Economically Speaking

Going about it the wrong way…

The government should step aside and let the markets work.  That’s the basic premise of Robert Wright’s op-ed in The New York Times this morning, and having faith in this premise.  He also points out the utter failure of government imposed economic sanctions, as noted in this little barb.

“Given that involvement in the larger capitalist world is time-release poison for tyranny, impeding this involvement is an odd way to aid history’s march toward freedom. Four decades of economic isolation have transformed Fidel Castro from a young, fiery dictator into an old, fiery dictator.”

It’s an interesting read.

“The Market Shall Set You Free”

You can use “nytimesoops” as the login name, and “nytimes” as the password to access the op-ed.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/28 at 07:42 AM
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Update On the USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN 711)

Fortunate to be alive, and solid damage control actions…

Here’s a link to just released photos of the damaged USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN 711).  Take a look at this one and this one.  The men on that boat are indeed fortunate men.

The blue tarp is in place to cover the actual sonar listening array.  I’ve been in that, while at sea.  Damn.  I still know the interior of that class of submarine like the back of my hand.  It’s a fine boat, damaged though it is.

Update: Repaired links.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 08:45 PM
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May As Well Go All The Way

Awaiting the clarion call for a new civil right…

Is the State of Michigan becoming Californian?  Just the other day I noted the Michigan company, Weyco Inc, instituting a new anti-smoker policy. Each Weyco employee is subject to testing to determine if they smoke, and, if they do, they can be fired.  Even if they are smoking on their own time, in their own home.

Now, Kalamazoo Valley Community College has announced that smokers need not apply for work at the college.

As I alluded to in the title to this post, why not just go all the way, then, and not allow students who smoke to attend, refuse to purchase from vendors who allow smokers to supply the school, schedule daily random urinalysis tests for students and faculty, etcetera?  Be bold fools, instead of just fools.

“Smokers need not apply COLLEGE’S HIRING POLICY ‘BEYOND THE LIMIT’”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 08:11 PM
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