May 31, 2002

Kansas Prosecutors Told To Play Nice

from the no-using-the-'L'-word dept.

I missed this story when it first came out, but figured it's still timely enough for posting: Appeals courts in Kansas are increasingly overturning convictions on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct when prosecutors go too far in their closing arguments. Repeatedly calling the defendant a "liar", for example, is apparently a no-no, even in cases where the defendant admitted lying to police during his own testimony.

Posted by jbc at 02:24 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 30, 2002

Lance Bass Cleared for Space

from the extraterrestrial-tourism dept.

N'Sync member Lance Bass has been cleared to go into space, moving him one step closer to blasting off on a Russian rocket for a trip to the international space station. When I was a kid watching the Apollo moon landings, imagining the glorious sci-fi future I'd be living in in the 21st century, I never thought of this particular scenario. But here it is: welcome to the future. Who will be the next celebrity in space? Michael Jackson? Britney??!!

Posted by jbc at 01:57 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 29, 2002

Goshute Tribe Seeks To Open Utah Nuke Waste Dump

from the sovereign-means-sovereign dept.

Some of the Goshute Indians, a smallish tribe in Utah, are apparently seeking to open a nuclear waste dump on the tribe's land, which would both provide an interim storage location while Nevada's Yucca Mountain facility is being prepared, and would make many of the impoverished Goshute fabulously wealthy. All kinds of stereotypes being stood on their heads here; as usual, reality turns out to be messier than the "all Indians are Iron Eyes Cody, solemnly crying over highway litter" circuitry some of us have hardwired into our brains. Anyway, links: the goddamn-registration-required (cypherpunk/cypherpunk) L.A. Times story, and a shorter, but in some ways more informative, piece from Alternet.

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'Liar' Byers Ousted From British Cabinet

from the trains-not-running-on-time dept.

So, Stephen Byers, former transportation secretary for British prime minister Tony Blair, has been forced out of his cabinet post, apparently in response to the really bad publicity accompanying a string of gaffes and misstatements. The principal event in his downfall, as near as a typically self-absorbed yank can reconstruct it, was when he failed to fire an underling spin doctor, Jo Moore, in the wake of an email she sent on September 11, advising recipients that it would be a "good time to bury bad news."

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May 28, 2002

5-year-old Expelled From Church-Run Kindergarten Over Mom's Lap-Dancing

from the never-too-early-to-teach-hypocrisy dept.

The Telegraph has the story of Christina Silvas, a 24-year-old single mother, who has been forced to quit her job as a lap-dancer in order to allow her daughter to continue attending a kindergarten in Sacramento, California, that is run by the Assemblies of God, a fundamentalist Christian church. Despite her doing so, however, the school has announced that the child will not be allowed back in the school in the fall, due to her mom's former occupation. Note the interesting factoid late in the article: Attorney General John Ashcroft's father is a senior minister in the Assemblies of God.

Posted by jbc at 07:38 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Attack of the Clones Racist, Says Panel

from the in-a-reality-far,-far-away... dept.

a_stupid_box writes "I found this story via and read halfway through before I was so disgusted I had to stop. Remember, folks -- these are ADULTS pointing this stuff out. It'd be SO amazing if those who are arguing for racial equality think for two hours and 22 minutes that someone ISN'T being racist...It must be frustrating for an actor/actress (don't want to be sexist, after all) to get a part because they're the best person for it, and then have to put up with all this crap about ulterior motives of their being cast because of their skin color." Actually, I think the PC term for a gender-unknown member of the acting profession is just "actor." Otherwise, though, I agree that the charges seem pretty over-the-top.

Posted by jbc at 07:35 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scheer: Time For Ashcroft To Go

from the religoius-fanaticism dept.

Arguing that the Attorney General is a dim bulb fanatic who was only appointed as a sop to the religious right, Robert Scheer says it's time for John Ashcroft to be replaced. (Stupid registration required at the L.A. Times site, dammit. 'cypherpunks/cypherpunks' works for now, at least.)

Posted by jbc at 02:14 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2002

Crowd Boos Claudia Schiffer at Wedding

from the show-us-your-dress dept.

A crowd of photographers and obsessive fans assembled outside the church where Claudia Schiffer was about to be married booed the big-lipped supermodel when she entered the church concealed by blanket-carrying security guards. Schiffer was marrying British film producer Matthew Vaughn, who reportedly won the 31-year-old's heart by giving her a tortoise.

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Paramedics Treat Sickened Filmgoers

from the dinner-and-a-movie...-and-oxygen dept.

French firefighters administered oxygen to 20 people who passed out during a screening at Cannes of Gaspar Noe's film Irreversible, which features a graphic rape scene. Two hundred fifty audience members walked out of the screening, but those who remained (and remained conscious) gave the film a 5-minute standing ovation when it ended.

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May 24, 2002

Teacher Gets Probation For Affair With 13-Year-Old

from the lapse-in-judgement dept.

Pamela Diehl-Moore, a 43-year-old New Jersey teacher who pled guilty to sexual assault after she had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old former student, has been sentenced to five years' probation. The judge is catching heat for his lenience from a Republican state senator; meanwhile, I'd have to think that lawyers for Tonya Hadden, the southern California teacher who was recently apprehended in Vegas with her own youthful Romeo, will be trying to figure out how they can take advantage of the ruling at her trial.

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Tool-Using Chimps

from the so,-exactly-what-is-it-that-makes-us-so-special? dept.

Reported today in the journal Science is the story of a band of West African chimpanzees that use stone hammers to open a coconut-like nut. The chimps have apparently been using the tools for up to a century, teaching their offspring to carry on the practice.

Posted by jbc at 12:44 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Kournikova Takes Title... As 'Sexiest Woman'

from the will-pander-for-page-views dept.

Professional tennis player Anna Kournikova, who has yet to win a major tournament yet still pulls down a reported $30,000 a day in endorsements and modelling jobs, came out on top in British men's magazine FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll, published today.

Posted by jbc at 12:27 PM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome

from the silent-epidemic dept.

From Janus comes this cool scientific paper correlating college student examinations with the unexpected death of those students' grandmothers. Scary stuff.

Posted by jbc at 03:50 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Ashcroft's Pre-9/11 Terror Stance Questioned

from the 20/20-hindsight dept.

The Guardian Unlimited has an interesting piece on Attorney General John Ashcroft's resistance to putting resources into anti-terrorist efforts in the months leading up to the September attacks. Oops.

Posted by jbc at 03:18 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Research Demonstrates Precognition

from the irreproducible-results? dept.

From WiredNews, via Hiro, comes this cool story about the Nature of Time workshop, currently being held in the Slovakian town of Tatranska Lomnica. The best part is at the end, where it describes an experiment conducted by Dick Bierman of the University of Amsterdam, in which test subjects exhibited a measurable physiological reaction several seconds before viewing a randomly displayed image - but only in cases when the image to be displayed was disturbing or sexually explicit. No reaction was seen prior to the display of benign images.

Posted by jbc at 01:56 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 23, 2002

Contracting Cancer to Cure AIDS?

from the weird-juxtapositions dept.

No, I'm not just running a Reuters photo of a not-quite-topless woman with flaming nipples because it's May-sweeps month in blog-land (though you're welcome to link to and boost my googlerank regardless). No, I'm commenting on the irony of the other woman in the photo, the one smoking a cigarette she has lit from the first one's flaming hooters. See, the photo is from a charity gala intended to raise money to fight AIDS. I guess the Reuters censors wouldn't let them run the photo of the person contracting AIDS in order to fight lung cancer.

Posted by jbc at 05:17 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Escaped Canadian Prisoner Didn't, Actually

from the not-quite-freedom dept.

From Reuters Oddly Enough (via Yahoo News) comes the story of Raymond Tudor, a Canadian double murderer serving time in the Drumheller medium-security prison in Alberta (guess he didn't murder anyone too important). Two months ago Tudor disappeared, and authorities assumed he had escaped. Turned out he hadn't, though; he was hiding out in the prison's ventilation ducts (shades of Star Trek: The Original Series). He lost 30 pounds over the course of his almost-but-not-quite escape. I can't help but wonder what sorts of conversations he had with himself during that time, as to the philosophical nature of freedom, and the extent to which he was actually experiencing it.

Posted by jbc at 04:05 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Synthetic Video Demonstrated

from the last-chance-to-kill-your-TV dept.

So, the propeller-heads at MIT have come up with a demonstration of how to make videos of people saying things they never actually said. Prepare yourself for the intelligent-sounding dubya.

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May 22, 2002

Army To Use Video Games As Recruiting Tool

from the bang!-you're-dead! dept.

Struggling to compete for the attention of the crucial late-adolescent-male demographic, the U.S. Army has announced a new tool in its recruiting efforts: a "sanitized" version of Unreal Tournament that puts players in the role of an army soldier getting headshots on terrorists and so on and so forth. Sign me up!

Posted by jbc at 03:04 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Silly Sony; Music is for Hax0rs!

from the dept.

a_stupid_box writes "So it seems that Sony's awesome encryption, meant to curb the "piracy" [ed. note: LIBERATION in the circles I converse with] of music from CDs, can be circumvented by spending less than the cost of a bag of Gummi Worms... and that's not even PER DISC!"

Posted by jbc at 03:03 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Justice Dept. To Investigate Florida Vote

from the delayed-reaction dept.

Justice Department officials told a Senate committee yesterday that they intend to file lawsuits in three Florida counties. The suits charge the counties with voting rights violations in the 2000 presidential election, and are intended to correct the irregularities in time for the 2002 midterm elections. Nice response time, eh?

Posted by jbc at 02:54 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 20, 2002

IWC Meeting Commences in Japan

from the people-eating-tasty-animals dept.

The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission has gotten underway in Japan, and the Miami Herald has an interesting article on the early results. IWC meetings have always been a colossal lie-fest, and this year's is shaping up nicely in that regard, with much of the fun centering on Japan's (so far failed) efforts to get the organization's ban on commercial whaling overturned. (Not that that stops anyone from engaging in commercial whaling; it just requires that the offending country claim the killing is for aboriginal subsistence or for scientific research, as is done by Russia and Japan, respectively.) I like Japan's denial that they are using promises of foreign aid to get poor countries to join the IWC and vote as part of the pro-whaling bloc; the latest countries to jump on that particular bandwagon are Benin, Gabon, Palau and Mongolia, traditionally uninterested nations that have all joined the IWC in the last few months and are voting in lockstep with Japan.

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May 19, 2002

Carter Exposes Bush Administration Lie on Cuba

from the last-honest-President dept.

Geov Parrish, writing for the Working for Change web site, has a nice piece on the contradictions between what dubya's undersecretary of state for arms control, John Bolton, said in a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation, and what ex-President Jimmy Carter said he'd been told by the Administration in briefings prior to his Cuba visit. Specifically, Bolton said "the United States believes that Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological-warfare, research-and-development effort," and that Cuba was selling biological weapons to Iran, among others. Carter, on the other hand, said he had been told by dubya's terrorism experts in the State Department and the White House that there was no evidence Cuba was exporting terrorism. The piece goes on to put the flap in the larger context of the U.S. government's history of lies on Latin America.

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May 18, 2002

Kermode: Why I Hate Cannes

from the Hell-looks-a-lot-like-the-south-of-France dept.

From BBC film critic Mark Kermode comes this cool piece on why he doesn't do Cannes.

Posted by jbc at 05:10 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kaiser Gave Bonuses for Denying Care

from the take-two-aspirin-and-don't-call-us-in-the-morning dept.

Here's one that should resonate with anyone who's ever had to deal with a big, uncaring HMO: Kaiser Permanente, California's largest health maintenance organization, has acknowledged that it paid bonuses to call-center employees who kept their calls with patients short and managed to talk the patients out of scheduling doctor visits. Note that these call center employees were high-school graduates with little or no medical training. Slick. With the money the company saved it was able to run lots of TV ads showing caring "doctors" handing teddy bears to cute little girl "patients," and still had a tidy profit left over for the shareholders. Cha-ching!

Posted by jbc at 02:20 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 17, 2002

The Barbie Pill

from the miracles-of-medical-science dept.

From Wired, via Hiro, comes news of Melanotan, a drug that tans your skin, suppresses your appetite, and increases your sexual arousal. Move over Viagra; baby's got a brand new drug. So, are we officially living in a dystopian sci-fi future yet?

Posted by jbc at 07:03 AM | view/comment (67) | TrackBack (0)

Abraham: Yucca Mountain Inadequate

from the glow-in-the-dark-desert dept.

In addition to offering no practical solution for the long-term storage problem represented by our radioactive garbage, the Administration-backed Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste storage facility will be too small to hold more than a fraction of our projected nuke waste, according to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. Abraham was being grilled by pissed-off Nevada Senators at a hearing yesterday. In more upbeat news, ymatt pointed me to this cool photo of Yucca Mountain: The Ride, a theme-park-style attraction designed to offset operating costs at the facility by taking visitors on guided tours, complete with animatronic tourguides and faux "accidents," with flashing lights and alarms. Take the whole family!

Posted by jbc at 03:52 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Schroeder Wins Hair-Dye Case

from the methinks-he-doth-protest-too-much dept.

Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has won his battle against German news agency DDP, with a Hamburg state court issuing an order that the news agency stop running stories alleging that Schroeder dyes his hair. I'm sure we'll all sleep better now.

Posted by jbc at 03:47 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dubya Goes On Defensive Over 9/11 Foreknowledge

from the blood-in-the-water dept.

Lordy, what a mess. Like sharks that smell blood in the water, Democrats, the media, and yes, even some Republicans are getting uppity with dubya over his revelation that he was warned of possible al Queda hijackings prior to 9/11. What did he know, when did he know it, yadda, yadda. The L.A. Times: Bush Team on Defensive in Threat Inquiry. Washington Post: An Image of Invincibility Is Shaken by Disclosures. Guardian Unlimited: First Lady Defends President Bush. Finally, ABC News: It's a Guaranteed Four-Day Story. Whew.

Posted by jbc at 03:34 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2002

Jesus of the Week

from the hooping-it-up-with-Christ dept.

From the ever-helpful ymatt comes a pointer to Jesus of the Week, including the current Jesus, a $19.95 figurine from that depicts the Messiah pulling down a rebound over a couple of undersized white kids.

Posted by jbc at 09:43 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Juked: Life In The Navy

from the anchors-away dept.

From Juked, courtesy of Janus, comes a sordid-enough-to-be-true account of life aboard a fighting ship in the U.S. Navy. Yo ho, yo ho, and all that.

Posted by jbc at 09:04 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Stench That Is Attack of the Clones

from the overhyped-cinema dept.

As a fan of the original three Star Wars movies, and a vicious enemy of the putrid heap of dung that was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, I am very much keeping away from the latest installment, which opened in a galaxy insufficiently far away from you sometime shortly after midnight. But if you'd like to read about it, here are a few choice Lucaslinks: a transcript of Ebert and Roeper, Salon's Stephanie Sacharek with a really delicious negative review, and, somehow missed by me last November when it first ran, another Salon piece on the Phantom Edit, in which a disgruntled fanboy improved Attack of the Clones by exactly 15%, that being the fraction of its footage he removed.

Posted by jbc at 06:35 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 15, 2002

The Nightmare Project

from the ooh,-scary dept.

More fun from Janus: The Nightmare Project, where you can share your darkest dreams with several million strangers.

Posted by jbc at 10:32 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

John Malkovich Wants to Shoot Scottish Politician

from the just-testy-'cause-his-recent-movies-suck dept.

The BBC has the story of actor John Malkovich's recent comment that Glasgow Kelvin MP George Galloway is one of two people he would most like to shoot, apparently because of the latter's criticisms of Israel and of the West's sanctions against Iraq.

Posted by jbc at 03:16 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABC Gives 'Millionaire' the Old Heave-Ho

from the thank-God dept.

ABC, reeling from a 23% drop in its ratings over the past year, has instituted a major shakeup in its just-announced fall schedule, including cancelling "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire," the Regis Philbin-hosted primetime game show whose precipitous ratings plunge was a big part of the network's overall drop.

Posted by jbc at 02:07 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Not-Quite-Kournikova Photographer Tearfully Apologizes

from the who-says-I-don't-cover-sports? dept.

Frank Ramaesiri, a St. Louis jewelry salesman who likes to bring his camcorder to the beach and stroll around in Bermuda shorts and dress socks taping all the young flesh, testified in the New York lawsuit against Penthouse magazine yesterday. Dabbing his eyes, he acknowledged that, upon further review, he was mistaken in believing that the topless blond whose images he sold to Penthouse was tennis star Anna Kournikova. A key issue in the trial is whether Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione was as confused as Ramaesiri, or whether he knew the photos weren't of Kournikova, but chose to run them anyway in a shameless ploy to boost readership. In his own testimony, Guccione claimed he had spent "nearly a week" repeatedly examining the images before concluding that they really were of the tennis star. "I wanted to satisfy myself," he explained. Hey, tell us something we don't know.

Posted by jbc at 01:41 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Christians for Cannabis

from the strange-bedfellows dept.

How did I go so long without hearing about Christians for Cannabis?

Posted by jbc at 12:22 AM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

May 14, 2002

Condensed Baseball

from the watching-grass-grow...-faster dept.

ZDNet has a story on Condensed Baseball, a pay-per-view net service that lets you watch selected major league baseball games on your computer, but with a difference: every pitch that doesn't result in a play has been edited out. Which sounds weird to me. Is that really watching baseball? Anyway, good buddy Bundar says there isn't enough sports on, so here you go.

Posted by jbc at 08:20 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Burden of Innocense

from the user-confessions dept.

a_stupid_box writes "I'm considering dating a friend of mine, and in so doing, talk with her quite often about rather revealing subjects. One of the thingers that keeps coming up is honesty. Now I'm a VERY honest person -- in fact, as far as I know, I'm the most honest person I know. I make an EFFORT not to lie, even about small things, and have been doing so since I was 16. I can honestly say I don't lie. When I told my friend this, she seemed a little reluctant to believe it (though she does now), and I was totally floored. Has lying become so commonplace in our society? I used to lie like a damned rug, and I expected it of others. Is the only reason I'm suprised by her doubt because I've STOPPED lying myself? Scary to think of all the B.S. people could be telling me on a daily basis, and the only reason I believe them is because I expect them to believe me because I actually tell the truth..."

Posted by jbc at 08:19 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Japanese Finance Minister Makes $499,950,000,000 Mistake

from the billion,-schmillion,-whatever dept.

Speaking to the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Shanghai on Saturday, Japanese finance minister Masajuro Shiokawa caused hearts to race when he announced that Japan would be making a $500 billion contribution to a regional poverty fund. Except that when the prepared text of the speech was distributed, the actual number turned out to be $50 million. Oh, well.

Posted by jbc at 04:53 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Panty-Check Teacher: My Career Is Ruined

from the will-freak-for-food dept.

Rita Wilson, the Rancho Bernardo High School vice principal who made headlines by lifting dance-goers' skirts (in full view of onlookers) to make sure they weren't wearing thong underwear, has begun speaking out to the media, saying her career has been destroyed because of the public's misconceptions about her panty-checking stunt. It's really a must-read interview; proof again of that old adage: better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

Posted by jbc at 02:01 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

I lost them...almost all

from the user-confessions dept.

Another in a continuing series of user submissions. Truth value: unknown. Spelling: pretty good, actually. Anonymous Coward writes "I had the 2 most bestest friends in the whole entire world. Then after a couple of months I started to realize that they were getting closer, and closer. I was like the third wheel. I always felt leftout, and stuff. So I started to talk about them behind their backs, and when they confronted me about the stuff I was telling people, I denied it. I lied to their face. The guilt is inside me eating me away. Eventually I told them the truthand that I was sorry. But that didn't help. They hate me and it's my fault. But they knew that they were leaving me out. I'm only 16, I should have a best friend, but now I don't. I have a boyfriend, but I need a girl to talk to. It sucks."

Posted by jbc at 02:00 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 13, 2002

Pope Blesses Internet

from the not-sure-if-he-has-a-position-on-Pokey,-though dept.

Pope John Paul, speaking in his weekly address in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, focused on the Internet, giving his blessing to the net after previously having warned that it was a cesspool of moral decay. "We shouldn't be afraid to put to sea in the vast ocean of information," the pontiff said. "This new medium makes it possible for us to reach many more people with the word of God. I myself have been in communication via email with the widow of the former finance minister of Nigeria, and understand that the Church will soon be receiving a generous donation in return for its help in transferring a large sum of money out of the country."

Posted by jbc at 02:24 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lion Bites Off Zookeeper's Arm

from the nice-kitty.-nice,-BIG-kitty. dept.

A twenty-one-year-old zookeeper had her arm bitten off by a 350-pound male lion at Tampa's Busch Gardens yesterday, leaving the woman in serious condition, with doctors unsure of whether the severed limb could be reattached. Scary story, with mental visuals conveniently available via my recollection of that gruesome scene in the Nastassja Kinski/Malcom McDowell remake of Cat People.

Posted by jbc at 01:52 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pavarotti Cancels Appearance; Rookie Steals Show

from the passing-the-baton dept.

Scheduled to appear in the Metropolitan Opera's final event of the season, in what had been billed as the final performance of his career, Luciano Pavoratti called in sick Saturday, so a 33-year-old Sicilian named Salvatore Licitra sang the role of Mario Cavaradossi from Puccini's Tosca in his place - and brought down the house. Who says stuff like that only happens in the movies?

Posted by jbc at 01:34 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vanunu in Court Appearance

from the nuclear-secrets dept.

Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear technician who is serving an 18-year prison term for treason because he gave photos of an Israeli nuclear reactor to the Times of London in 1986, made a rare court appearance today to request that he be allowed to speak with his British lawyers, and that sealed documents from his case be revealed to the public. The part that intrigues me is the mention of the Israeli government's policy of "nuclear ambiguity," under which it doesn't confirm what everybody in the world knows already: that it both possesses nuclear weapons and is crazy enough to use them.

Posted by jbc at 01:13 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2002

John Balzar on Enron Guilt

from the enough-for-everyone dept.

John Balzar has an op-ed piece in today's L.A. Times that talks about how dumb we were to buy into the energy-deregulation scam. His main point: the bad guys appealed to our greed (as with any con, pretty much), and we fell for it.

Posted by jbc at 07:31 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2002

McSweeney's List: Names of Squash That Also Make Good Terms of Endearment

from the give-me-a-hug,-you-large-turban-you dept.

So, I hang out in this MUD all day, and people post the interesting URLs they come across, many of which wind up as stories here. Lately, Janus has been posting lots of weird lists from, including this one: Names of Squash That Also Make Good Terms of Endearment. It's cool, in a Pokey-esque kind of way; a reminder that the world is a big, wacky place, containing lots of people who think differently than I do. At least, that's what I take from it.

Posted by jbc at 01:54 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kato Kaelin's 'Houseguest' Show in Development

from the be-afraid.-be-very-afraid. dept.

Famous O.J. Simpson houseguest Kato Kaelin is reportedly working on his own TV show called Houseguest. "It's a show where I go across America, I knock on doors of the unsuspecting and invite myself in to spend a weekend with the family," says Kaelin. Right. Then a former-athelete friend of his shows up in a ski mask and cuts everyone's throat.

Posted by jbc at 01:44 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Ambrose's Love Song to America

from the one-last-book dept.

Historian Stephen Ambrose, a celebrity both for his popular accounts of such subjects as World War II and the Lewis and Clark expedition and for the plagiarism charges that surfaced in recent years, is dying of lung cancer. Now he is racing against time to complete his most personal book yet, A Love Song to America. The L.A. Times has the story.

Posted by jbc at 01:16 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2002

Dan Quayle Praises Osbourne Family Values

from the okay;-maybe-NOW-I'll-watch-it dept.

Dan Quayle has apparently joined the ranks of those who love The Osbournes, the MTV reality show that focuses on the wacky home life of Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne. The poor-spelling veep from the elder Bush's presidency praised the show during remarks to the National Press Club yesterday, then explained afterwards, "In a weird way, Ozzy is a great anti-drug promotion. Look at him and how fried his brains are from taking drugs all those years and everyone will say, 'I don't want to be like that.' Which I can totally relate to; I can't tell you how many wealthy, academically indifferent white kids have contacted me over the years to thank me for saving them from pursuing a career in politics."

Posted by jbc at 07:40 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Motorboat Racing Woman Re-enters Competition As a Man

from the motorboat,-motorboat,-go-so-fast dept.

From Reuters comes the story of 39-year-old Hiromasa Ando, who began his professional powerboat racing career as a woman, but who was diagnosed with a gender identity disorder and underwent surgery to make him a man last December. Ando, who was competing for the first time as a man, came in fifth out of six.

Posted by jbc at 07:30 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Elderly Brit Travelers Turn Up Safe and Sound

from the screw-this.-let's-go-somewhere-else. dept.

Three elderly British vacationers, who left for a French resort last Saturday and hadn't been heard from by their friends and family since, turned up none the worse for wear today, after an increasingly frantic manhunt in France, Spain, and Britain failed to locate any sign of them. It turns out they didn't like the stairs that led to their originally booked accommodations, and ended up staying in a different town, nearby, without bothering to tell anyone. This has "lighthearted romantic comedy" written all over it, don't you think? With quick cuts back and forth between the stressed-out relatives and their pleasantly vacationing elders, and with any number of homey messages at the end. I'm seeing Meg Ryan as the daughter of one of the missing, and Colin Firth or Hugh Grant as the son of another, with them initially worried sick and blaming each other, but with wedding bells by the final reel. Ron Howard will direct.

Posted by jbc at 07:30 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Washington Post on Maryland's Death Penalty Moratorium

from the disproportionate-application dept.

There's an editorial in today's Washington Post that makes some good points in favor of going beyond Maryland's newly announced temporary moratorium on executions, and just going right to abolishing the death penalty altogether. An interesting statistic it mentions is that although 80% of murder victims in Maryland are non-white, 9 of the 13 people currently on death row in the state are black, and all but one of them was convicted of killing a white person. Advocates of state-sponsored killing are encouraged to offer their defense of such practices via the site's comment system.

Posted by jbc at 07:10 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

How Enron Helped Create the CA Electricity Crisis

from the white-collar-crime dept.

From the New York Times, via Yahoo News, comes a nice write-up of the various ways Enron made money from us stupid Californians during the state's electricity crisis last year. Includes some cool quotes from the various "smoking gun" memos that have come out lately. As someone who got to experience the rolling blackouts firsthand, I'm glad to know I did my part to help enrich dubya's buddies at the now-defunct energy-trading firm.

Posted by jbc at 12:05 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2002

Artist Modifies Freeway Sign; Commuters Benefit

from the taggers-take-note dept.

The L.A. Times has a story about Richard Ankrom, an artist who spent two years planning and installing an unauthorized work of art (consisting of the word "North", the symbol for the 5 freeway, and an arrow) on a freeway sign above the northbound Harbor Freeway near downtown L.A. The best part? After nine months, authorities still hadn't realized the addition was unauthorized. After reading the story, I remembered using that offramp, and being grateful to Caltrans (I thought) for the well-thought-out sign; it's a tricky offramp, and Ankrom's addition really helps.

Posted by jbc at 04:25 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 08, 2002

Brunching Shuttlecocks' Back Page Ads

from the make-$$$-working-from-home dept.

From Janus comes a pointer to the latest feature over at The Brunching Shuttlecocks: The Back Page, a send up of all those silly classifieds you find in the back pages of throwaway weekly newspapers.

Posted by jbc at 08:00 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Tabasco Challenge

from the not-to-be-viewed-at-mealtime dept.

From the extremely odd people at comes The Tabasco Challenge, in which a fine example of American manhood attempts to drink an entire bottle of Tabasco sauce and then not throw up for 30 minutes.

Posted by jbc at 05:20 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hanson on Hating Israel

from the good-Jews,-bad-Arabs dept.

A nice example of the sort of whip-up-the-anger-on-both-sides rhetoric that flourishes in times like these is Victor Davis Hanson's piece in the National Review Online, On Hating Israel. Those poor, plucky Israelis, perched on the edge of destruction at the hands of those vicious, anti-Semitic, uncivilized Arabs, just trying to find a few yards of ground to call their own after the unique horrors they suffered at the hands of those vicious, anti-Semitic, uncivilized Europeans during the Holocaust. I mean, really; why can't the rest of the world just understand and sympathize with the suffering of the Jewish people?

Posted by jbc at 02:34 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oil Rig Rams Ship

from the I-(heart)-headlines dept.

I'm linking to this one only because I liked the headline: Oil rig evacuated after collision with ship. It joins such previous memorable stories as, "Fire hydrant appears out of nowhere and collides with drunk's car" and "World Trade Center collapses after smashing into hijacked jets."

Posted by jbc at 02:15 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Republican Party Sues Over Campaign-Finance Reform

from the money-equals-speech dept.

Now that a suitable interval has passed during which politicians were able to bask in the glory of their righteous vote to limit soft-money contributions, the political machine has shifted into gear to dismantle campaign-finance reform. Arguing that they have a constitutional right to buy politicians, the Republican National Committee filed a federal suit yesterday seeking to overturn key provisions of the recently enacted measure. Not to be outdone, Democrats crossed the aisle to join a state-court lawsuit in California that is aimed at overturning state- and local-campaign fundraising limits in the same law.

Posted by jbc at 02:06 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kournikova Files Her Own Penthouse Suit

from the anyone-else-want-in-on-this? dept.

Apparently deciding that all this free publicity was too good to pass up, tennis player and famed email-virus bait Anna Kournikova has now filed her own lawsuit against Penthouse magazine, a few hours after the magazine publicly apologized for running topless photos of Judith Soltesz-Benetton and mistakenly identifying them as being of Kournikova. As reported here yesterday, Soltesz-Benetton had previously sued, and obtained an injunction blocking further distribution of the photos. Tune in tomorrow for the class action suit on behalf of the magazine's readers.

Posted by jbc at 01:54 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Giraffe's Medical Records Sealed to Protect Its Privacy

from the um,-okay dept.

Lucy Spelman, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington, has rejected a reporter's request for the medical records of a recently deceased giraffe, Ryma, saying that to release the records would violate the dead animal's right to privacy. Legal experts want to know what she's been smoking, though it seems likely, given the circumstances, that she'd view that information as private, too.

Posted by jbc at 01:26 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 07, 2002

Count Dracula Declares Kingdom in Germany

from the no,-seriously dept.

I think you just have to read the story, over at Yahoo News, courtesy Reuters Oddly Enough: Count Dracula Stirs Row with His 'Kingdom' in Germany. Then you can go visit the Count's web site, at As befits his ultimate-evil nature, his site uses frames, hard-to-read navigational links, and the following warning: "This site is optimized for browsers with Internet Explorer 5.0 or better and screen resolution of at least 800 x 600. Best results are achieved with Internet Explorer 5.5+ and 1024 x 768 screen resolution." Oooh, very evil.

Posted by jbc at 08:42 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Penthouse Sued Over Topless Not-Quite-Kournikova Pics

from the see-if-you-can-follow-this dept.

A U.S. District Judge in New York has issued an injunction requiring Penthouse magazine to stop distributing its June issue, and to refrain from posting on its web site a series of images allegedly showing tennis player Anna Kournikova topless. The injunction comes in the wake of a suit filed Monday not by Kournikova (who denies the pictures are of her), but by 28-year-old Judith Soltesz-Benetton, daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton, who says the pictures are of her. The part that has me wondering is Soltesz-Benetton's motivation: I can see her being upset that photos snapped of her flashing her rack on Spring break in Florida (or something; I'm not clear on the circumstances) had found their way into the magazine, but wouldn't it maybe have been better, at least from the icky-publicity standpoint, just to keep quiet about the whole thing?

Posted by jbc at 08:08 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Myanmar Opposition Leader Released; State-Run Media Silent

from the maybe-if-we-ignore-her-she'll-just-go-away dept.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released after 19 months of house arrest by the country's ruling junta yesterday, and was reportedly mobbed by supporters during her first day of freedom. Interestingly (well, at least to someone raised outside the realm of state-controlled media), Myanmar's government-controlled newspapers studiously ignored any mention of the event, as Malaysia's The Star Online reports.

Posted by jbc at 07:52 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Karmi's Palestinian Narrative

from the seldom-heard-voices dept.

From the Jordon Times (as reprinted from the Web-hostile login-required Chicago Times web site) comes Omar Karmi's explanation of the post-1948 Palestinian experience, and of the national yearning for the right of return that is the result. It's a calm, measured, succinct statement of the Palestinian position - which makes it amazing that it appeared in a U.S. newspaper. I'm sure Congress will act quickly to condemn the heresy.

Posted by jbc at 07:29 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scheer on the Saddam-9/11 Non-link

from the can-we-bomb-him-anyway? dept.

Robert Scheer's column today calls NYT columnist William Safire to task on the latter's wholehearted embrace of the Mohammed-Atta-met-with-Iraqis story, first floated by the Czech government and widely cited by the Bush Administration as justification for taking the War on Terra to Iraq. Except that it turns out pretty much everyone now agrees that the meeting never took place, and the FBI and CIA, despite plenty of effort, have basically concluded that there simply isn't any evidence linking Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attacks. I like Scheer's closing thought: "Bush's foreign policy is based on a fairy tale, the persistent if childish hope that all of our problems can be solved by one solid blow to the latest Evil Empire, now found in Baghdad. Someone needs to read the president a better bedtime story."

Posted by jbc at 02:25 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Convicted Murderer Acquitted at Retrial

from the another-narrow-squeak dept.

Thomas H. Kimbell Jr. is a free man today, four years after he was convicted of the brutal murder of a woman and her three children. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously ruled that his original trial judge erred in not allowing the defense to present testimony raising doubts about his guilt. As a result, Kimbell had been convicted despite the fact that there were no eyewitnesses and no physical evidence linking him to the crime. After a two week retrial, Kimbell was found not guilty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, this represents the 101st time that a person has been exonerated and released from death row since the death penalty was re-instituted in this country in 1973.

Posted by jbc at 01:59 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Escape Artist Outfoxes Israeli Security

from the myth-in-the-making dept.

Abu Jamous is a master burglar with a string of successful heists. He's also a Palestinian, one who has been accused of working with Yasser Arafat's Fatah group to help Palestinians elude Israeli security. Captured once, he escaped as he was being brought to court. A special police unit formed to recapture him eventually succeeded, but now he has escaped again, this time from a fortified police bus where he was secured with handcuffs and leg restraints, accompanied by two other security vehicles and guarded by 10 elite prison guards. Wow.

Posted by jbc at 01:45 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Celebrity Prank Calls

from the guilty-pleasures dept.

With my posting obsession temporarily hijacked by an obsession of another sort, I appealed to the folks in the Ishar mud for a suitable item to post today, and this is what they came up with: Celebrity Prank Calls. Enjoy.

Posted by jbc at 01:33 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2002

Dubya Clowns at the Correspondents Dinner

from the anti-gravitas-presidency dept.

This past weekend the White House Correspondents Association held its annual dinner bash, at which Presidents are encouraged to drink and act silly in front of their Fourth Estate adversaries. Say what you will about dubya, he's never been one to back away from a challenge like that. Anyway, Reuters has some details of the edgy hilarity that ensued, including a slide show during which dubya displayed a photograph of Dick Cheney peeing on the door to the Oval Office. That's my dubya.

Posted by jbc at 02:58 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

NZ Herald on Jenin

from the devil-in-the-details dept.

The New Zealand Herald is running a detailed story on events in Jenin, and whether the Israeli Defense Forces there were guilty of war crimes. Based largely on the report issued by Human Rights Watch, the story focuses on the evolution of IDF tactics over the course of the operation. There is also an interesting quote from Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst for ABC News, who says, essentially, that this is just how urban warfare works. Not mentioned explicitly, but underlying all this, is the Sharon government's assertion that it actually should be praised for the restraint it showed in Jenin, that it was their concern for Palestinian civilians that prevented them from doing what they very well could have done, which was to just shell and bomb the entire camp, with its 14,000 civilian inhabitants, from a distance. Like we Americans did to Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in World War II, for example, or to North Vietnam in the early 1970s.

Posted by jbc at 02:06 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 04, 2002

Funny Dubya Images

from the say-cheesecake dept.

I started off thinking it was funny, in a startling kind of way, but as I went through the images, looking at the way they'd married a particular memorable dubya expression with a particular model's body, I found it even funnier, if disturbing. I didn't RFLMAO, but I did LOL. The images actually come from a different site, as per the original creators' overlaid URL.

Posted by jbc at 05:50 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

How to Lie (er, Spot a Liar) in 10 Easy Lessons

from the NOW-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

Got this one in an email spam. Have I mentioned how much I hate spam? I do. Anyway, here it is: Learn to Detect Deceit in Everyday Life - if you're lucky, you'll learn to detect it before you send them your $34.95.

Posted by jbc at 03:18 AM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

God for Idiots

from the how-blessed-are-those-who-cannot-read dept.

Again from the L.A. Times comes a story about the Rev. William R. Grimbol, author of the latest work in the "Idiot's Guide" series: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Life of Christ. It joins such other venerable crossover titles as The Complete Idiot's Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Raising Your IQ.

Posted by jbc at 03:08 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hadden to Times: Relationship With Boy Not About Sex

from the love-makes-the-world-go-'round dept.

Providing another example of her extraordinarily bad judgement, soon-to-be-ex teacher Tanya Hadden gave a jailhouse interview to the L.A. Times yesterday. In the course of the interview she "scoffed" at news reports that she and Richard Pena, the 15-year-old with whom she ran off to Vegas, had been having sex, though she apparently stopped short of giving a denial more explicit than "that's so not what this is." Interesting stuff, in a depressing sort of way.

Posted by jbc at 02:45 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2002

Reality Check on Jenin

from the backing-away-from-the-m-word dept.

The L.A. Times has a story today titled Massacre at Jenin Doubted. It focuses on whether or not Israeli soldiers committed an indiscriminate massacre of civilians in Jenin, concluding, on the basis of interviews with investigators from groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, that they probably didn't. Instead, it seems likely that the civilian deaths (22 of which have been documented so far by Human Rights Watch, along with an additional 30 Palestinian and 23 Israeli deaths) were side effects of the Israelis' overwhelming-force approach to rooting out Palestinian combatants in the camp. Still unclear, according to the story, is the extent to which Israeli soldiers committed various other war crimes, such as using civilians as human shields and blocking access of emergency medical personnel to the dying.

Posted by jbc at 12:48 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hadden and Pena Apprehended in Vegas

from the science-lesson-over,-for-now dept.

The 33-year-old high school science teacher who ran off with her 15-year-old student was apprehended at a Las Vegas hotel yesterday. Now the teacher is in custody and the boy is back home with his parents. The article includes a nice summary of earlier, similar cases.

Posted by jbc at 01:44 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

CA Supreme Court: Biz Lies Not Protected Free Speech

from the corporate-rights-trampled-again,-darnit dept.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a business making public statements must comply with truth-in-advertising laws if those statements are commercial in nature. This represents a higher standard than that used for evaluating statements made by non-commercial entities, who are presumed to have a First Amendment right to free speech (though they can still get in trouble for libel or slander). The case involves allegedly false claims Nike made about factory conditions in the firm's southeast Asia operation; a lower court had thrown out an activist's false-advertising suit, saying Nike's press releases weren't an ad, and so weren't subject to truth-in-advertising laws. Now the state Supreme Court has disagreed, saying that the statements had a significant commercial impact. The ruling means the original suit can go forward again, though Nike, with support from the ACLU, says it is planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, these days at least, seems likely to be friendlier to the idea that a corporation should be allowed to lie in pursuit of profit.

Posted by jbc at 01:04 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2002

Britney Caught Smoking?

from the all-Britney,-all-the-time dept.

The New York Post is running a photo that they claim shows Britney Spears smoking a cigarette on the balcony of her hotel in Australia. (See, along with saying she wouldn't have sex before marriage, she's also been quoted as saying she wouldn't smoke.) I dunno; it's not a very clear picture. But I think I've found my new poll question.

Posted by jbc at 08:45 AM | view/comment (13) | TrackBack (0)

Britney Not a Virgin!?!?

from the finally,-some-REAL-news dept.

Justin Timberlake has reportedly said that Britney Spears, the famous "no sex before marriage" sex goddess, is in fact not a virgin. I don't know about you, but personally, this just blows my whole image of her. Say it ain't so, Joe.

Posted by jbc at 05:57 AM | view/comment (8) | TrackBack (0)

Clinton Pursues Talk-Show Gig

from the help!-he's-feeling-our-pain-again! dept.

Ex-Commander-in-Chief Bubba is apparently getting tired of the $250,000-a-pop public speaking grind, and is exploring the possibility of hosting a daytime talk show. Word is he has being doing meetings with NBC, and is asking for $50 million a year. Note the leading choice in the poll at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution site linked above for the person we'd most like to see as his guest: a certain big-haired former intern.

Posted by jbc at 05:18 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teacher Runs Off With 15-year-old Student

from the springtime-is-for-lovers dept.

Tanya Hadden, a 33-year-old high school science teacher, has apparently lit out for Canada with Richard Pena, one of her freshman students, after suspicions were raised about a possible "improper relationship" between her and the boy. I feel a movie of the week coming on.

Posted by jbc at 05:10 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Critical Path's Rocky Road

from the would-you-like-fraud-with-those-options? dept.

Another L.A. Times story is this extended feature on the fraudulent accounting practices used by all-but-washed-up Critical Path. Lots of detail on the sorts of jiggery pokery the company's executives used to keep the stock price nice and high while they extracted their millions.

Posted by jbc at 05:06 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mandatory Life Sentence Overturned

from the second-chance dept.

Here's a scary one: Theresa Wilson was a first-time, nonviolent drug offender. Basically, the 34-year-old mother of two tried to sell some prescription medication to an undercover police officer for $150 to pay an overdue electric bill. Her mandatory minimum sentence, under Alabama's strict narcotics laws: life in prison. On Wednesday the state Supreme Court upheld an appeals court's reversal of the original sentence as "grossly disproportionate." She's now a free woman. Um, could our friends in the legislative branch please stop playing "dicklier than thou"? These are people's lives we're talking about.

Posted by jbc at 04:39 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Surveillance Store

from the Hi.-I'm-Big-Brother.-Do-you-need-help-with-anything? dept.

From the L.A. Times comes a story of the Once Famous boutique, where shoppers get to browse an eclectic selection of tony merchandise, while hidden cameras, microphones, and one-way mirrors are used to track their every comment and gesture. There's a sign at the entrance that informs shoppers that they are actually market-research guinea pigs, but most don't bother to read it. Kinda creepy.

Posted by jbc at 04:33 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 01, 2002

Israeli Mood Turns (More) Hostile

from the us-vs.-them dept.

The Christian Science Monitor has a nice piece that looks at Israel's return to isolationism in light of the world's reaction to recent events. Note the "crawling back into the womb" metaphor offered by author Tom Segev - makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the earlier Arutz Sheva metaphor about Israel's birth pangs.

Posted by jbc at 11:25 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Douglas Police Dealing Drugs?

from the more-heat-than-light dept.

A loyal reader, Shadowwalker, submitted the following story. I normally wouldn't run something without a link, but in this case the story itself is interesting enough to serve as a nice break between my incessant Israeli-Palestinian postings. At least that's what I decided. Follow the link below, or scroll down, to read the story itself, which, as near as I can tell, is a fictional account of nefarious goings on in the Douglas, Wyoming, police department, as reported by someone with truly atrocious spelling.


Posted by jbc at 11:18 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Let's See Those Thongs

from the rats.-no-AP-photos... dept.

hossman writes "I couldn't believe this quote I saw on SFGate: "It's not their right to know what kind of underwear
these kids have.
" -- A parent of one (of several) high school girls required to lift their skirts to verify what type of
underwear they wore to a school dance ... in public, in front of other (male) students waiting to get into the dance."

Posted by jbc at 11:14 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sharon: No U.N. Investigation of Jenin

from the will-these-hands-ne'er-be-clean? dept.

The Scotsman, among others, has the story of Ariel Sharon's apparently-final rejection of the U.N. investigation into the conduct of the Israeli military in Jenin. Given the bad light in which this puts him, one can only wonder at what worse outcome Sharon feared if the investigators were actually allowed into the camp.

Posted by jbc at 04:24 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arutz Sheva on Israel's Birth Pangs

from the invoking-God dept.

The Rabbi Eliezer Waldman has an editorial running in Arutz Sheva (a far-right Israeli news outlet) deploring, among other things, the scandalous way in which Israel's current government has been pressured to abandon their righteous principles by dubya and Colin Powell, who are working, we are told, on behalf of the Saudi crown prince. Lots of talk about the 5-year-old girl murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Adora on Sunday, and an extended metaphor about how the Sharon government's latest violence represents the "birth pangs of Israeli redemption."

Posted by jbc at 03:47 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ashcroft Slapped for Rights Violation

from the pesky-Bill-of-Rights dept.

The L.A. Times has the story of a federal judge's dismissal of perjury charges against Osama Awadallah, a Jordanian college student, and the judge's ruling that the FBI erred in holding numerous innocent people in jail (in Awadallah's case, for nearly three months) as "material witnesses" in its 9/11 investigation. John Ashcroft, speaking at a press conference in Washington, criticized the ruling, saying, "I'm the Attorney General of the United States, for Christ's sake. I'll jail whomever I damn well want to. If Judge Scheindlin doesn't watch herself, next time there's a terrorist attack I'll throw her ass in jail."

Posted by jbc at 01:47 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ghitis on Mideast Rage

from the oh-yeah?-take-that! dept.

The L.A. Times has an opinion piece by Frida Ghitis titled Weapons of Rage Are Fed With the Ammunition of Suffering. It's a pretty good discussion of the emotional underpinnings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focusing on how the current leadership is caught firmly in a seemingly unbreakable cycle of suffering and revenge. The one criticism I'd make is that it suffers itself from a selective historical myopia, managing to recall the mistreatment of Jews by Nazis in World War II, but leaving the events that made the Palestinians a nation of refugees shrouded in the mists of time. Still, it offers a fairly balanced view, something increasingly hard to find these days.

Posted by jbc at 01:25 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)