Archive for April, 2002

Student Sues Over Drug-Humor Suspension

Friday, April 26th, 2002

from the don’t-make-me-come-over-there dept.

Joseph Frederick, in addition to suffering the stigma of having two first names, was suspended from his high school recently after he hoisted a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” at an off-campus event. Now he, along with the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, are suing the school for violating his free-speech rights. Among the things the suit alleges is that the school’s principal doubled Frederick’s 5-day suspension to 10 days after the boy quoted Thomas Jefferson to her.

Get Your War On

Thursday, April 25th, 2002

from the why-am-I-always-the-last-to-know? dept.

I realize it’s very much old news to anyone with half a clue, but I just discovered Get Your War On, and have been ROFLMAO as a result. Those who are offended by harsh language need not apply, though something tells me those of you who fall into that category wouldn’t enjoy it much, anyway.

Bull Semen Collection 101

Thursday, April 25th, 2002

from the animal-husbandry-(or-maybe-wifery) dept.

My weather-obsessed acquaintance Imagery slid this one my way:’s interview with Dr. Steve Wickler, a Cal Poly prof who teaches courses in collecting semen from bulls. It’s a big, freaky world out there, people.

IWC Meeting Opens in Japan

Thursday, April 25th, 2002

from the would-you-like-blubber-with-that? dept.

Japan is reportedly pushing hard for a resumption of commercial whaling at the just-opened annual conference of the International Whaling Commission. This would allow an expansion of Japan’s “harvesting” of whales beyond the 400 to 500 they currently kill each year for “scientific research” purposes. Japan’s IWC representatives claim that whales are becoming so numerous that they pose a threat to the world’s fish populations. I was going to invent an absurd quotation on that, but then decided there wouldn’t be any point. The whole thing is thoroughly depressing, anyway.

French Fries, Potato Chips Carcinogenic, Study Finds

Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

from the would-you-like-cancer-with-that? dept.

A new study carried out at Stockholm University has determined that deep-fried and oven-baked carbohydrates contain dangerously high levels of acrylamide, a “probable human carcinogen.” Not to worry, though; the researchers determined that the carcinogens are not created when the same foods are prepared by boiling. So, boiled fries, anyone?

Dubya’s Earth Day Imagery

Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

from the day-late-and-a-dollar-short dept.

I realize Earth Day is so two days ago, but I can’t stop turning over the images in my head: dubya with an axe, dubya with a hammer, and wondering: is that really the message he wanted to send? I mean, most politicians try to plant a tree on Earth Day, not chop one down and turn it into tract housing. Yes, I realize that’s not what dubya was actually doing during the photo op; he was “building a trail” and “repairing a bridge,” but still, that’s the image he conveyed: Earth Day = dubya wielding an axe and hammer. And after mulling those images over for a while, I’m convinced that yup, that’s exactly the message he wanted to send. He was making a statement, aimed directly at Al Gore and his tree-hugging friends: conserve this, conservationists. So, while I disagree with the message, definite style points for dubya.

Atlanta Police Consider Buying Segways

Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

from the stop-or-I’ll-scoot! dept.

From CNN comes this story about various groups in Atlanta that are considering buying Segways, the pricey scooters that fueled widespread speculation as to their nature (when they were just a rumored society-changing invention) and then a collective head-scratch (when they were actually unveiled). The Atlanta PD actually isn’t one of the groups listed in the article, but the accompanying photo shows two police officers testing Segways, and I’d already written my headline, so I just said fuck it, and left the headline unchanged. Don’t you hate me sometimes? Oh, and I also like the comment late in the article about how the Georgia state legislature has passed a law limiting Segways, which have a nominal top speed of 15 mph, to no more than 7 mph when traveling on sidewalks. The new law joins earlier laws, still on the books in Georgia, limiting horseless carriages to the average speed of a horse-drawn cart, and limiting flying machines to flying no higher than an adult man can jump from a standing start.

Elmo Testifies Before Congress

Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

from the symbolic-on-more-levels-than-one dept.

Sesame Street’s Elmo, the perpetually three-year-old Muppet with no impulse control, testified before Congress yesterday, telling the House’s Education Appropriations Subcommittee that funding for children’s music education was an important issue. As ymatt, who brought the story to my attention, observed, “I guess Congress is used to having puppets give testimony.” I also like the nice angle the photographers got as Elmo tried to eat his microphone; makes a nice followup to yesterday’s photo of Christie Kerr kissing her golf trophy, don’t you think?

The Onion on Events in the Middle East

Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

from the the-new-Onion’s-here,-the-new-Onion’s-here! dept.

It’s always a joyous occasion for me when a new Onion comes out; the latest features a very cool post-mortem on recent events in the Holy Lands: Mideast Peace Process Derailed, Burned To Ground, Shoveled Over With Dirt. (In case you hadn’t noticed, wants very much to be just like the Onion when it grows up.)

Israel Retracts Agreement to Jenin Probe

Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

from the had-my-fingers-crossed dept.

Less than a week after Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said his country would welcome a U.N. fact-finding mission in Jenin, proclaiming that “Israel has nothing to hide regarding the operation in Jenin…our hands are clean,” Israel has retracted its agreement to the probe. After a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an Israeli government spokesperson explained that “when the Israeli government said it would welcome a probe by a U.N. commission into events at Jenin, that should not have been taken to imply that we would actually welcome a probe by a U.N. commission into events at Jenin.”

Play Based on Saddam Hussein Novel to Open in Baghdad This Week

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2002

from the what-he-really-wants-to-do-is-direct dept.

A romantic novel widely believed to have been written by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been turned into a play that will open this week in the Iraqi National Theater. The novel, titled Zabibah and the King, is the story of a king who falls in love with an unhappily married woman. The woman in the story is raped on January 17 – the same day the U.S.-led attack on Iraq began in 1991 – after which the king captures the rapists, restores the woman’s honor, and dies. Although the novel was published anonymously, the enthusiastic reviews it received in the state-controlled Iraqi media left most observers convinced it was actually written by Saddam.

Painting Fuels Speculation That Shakespeare Was Gay

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2002

from the much-ado-about-not-a-hell-of-a-lot dept.

From Reuters comes this story of a 16th-century portrait, long believed to be of a British noblewoman, but now believed to show a foppish male friend and patron of William Shakespeare, leading London tabloids to speculate that The Bard was actually light in the loafers. Asked for comment on his supposed outing, Shakespeare would only say, “The course of true love never did run straight – er, smooth. Never did run smooth.”

Moussaoui Trial Opens with a Bang

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2002

from the one-out-of-two-ain’t-bad dept.

The trial of suspected 9/11 collaborator Zacarias Moussaoui opened in Alexandria, VA, yesterday, and things immediately became interesting as the Moroccan-derived Frenchman asked to be heard, then launched into an hour-long diatribe against his jailers, the prosecution, his defense lawyers, the judge, prospective jurors, the U.S., Israel, and Russia. Claiming he could not be represented properly by his non-Muslim court-appointed defenders, he asked to be allowed to use the $30,000 he has in the bank (currently frozen as suspected al Queda assets) to hire a Muslim lawyer, or, barring that, to be allowed to represent himself. He also asked for a computer and better lighting in his jail cell. Finally, he asked that he be allowed to waive trial by jury, instead having his case (and potential death sentence) decided solely by Judge Leonie Brinkema. Brinkema said okay on the computer and better-lighting requests, ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine if Moussaoui was fit to represent himself, and said she’d get back to him on the waived jury thing.

Gates Keeps Cool in First Day of Testimony

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2002

from the who-do-you-want-to-snow-today? dept.

Projecting a meek, mild-mannered image, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates testified in the company’s antitrust trial yesterday, impressing observers with his failure to even once accuse the judge, the prosecution, or his company’s competitors of being idiots. In a move that turned out badly in terms of the hearing’s entertainment value, Brendan Sullivan did not conduct the nine holdout states’ cross-examination, leaving that instead to antitrust expert Steve Kuney. Bummer. Gates will continue testifying today.

Dr. Richard Paley on Evolutionist Propaganda

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

from the chmod-666-and-pray dept.

Awesome person Janus brought the following to my attention: Dr. Richard Paley’s essay pointing out the evil, Satanic influences in both PBS’s current “Evolution” series and the OS X operating system from Apple Computer. It’s hard for me to decide if Dr. Paley is serious, or is just out to yank our collective chain. I suspect he might himself be serious in trying to save us from godless evolutionism and Macintoshes, but is being made fun of without his realizing it by the people feeding him his information. For example: “According to one of our readers, the new MacOS X contains another Satanic holdover from the ‘BSD Unix’ OS mentioned above; to open up certain locked files one has to run a program much like the DOS prompt in Microsoft Windows and type in a secret code: ‘chmod 666’. What other horrors lurk in this thing?” What horrors indeed.

Christie Kerr Kisses Her… Trophy

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

from the no-comment dept.

From Yahoo News comes this interesting photograph of golfer Christie Kerr celebrating her first-ever win on the LPGA tour at the Longs Drug Challenge in Lincoln, CA, yesterday. I’m not saying anything. Update: Damn that Yahoo News. Don’t they know that URLs are sacrosanct? Anyway, here’s another (smaller) version of the same photo.

Bill Gates to Testify Today

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

from the kinder,-gentler-Microsoft dept.

So, today’s the big day for Bill Gates, who will testify in person for the first time as part of the marathon antitrust proceedings against Microsoft. He’ll be cross-examined by Brendan Sullivan, the lawyer who represented Ollie North during the Iran-Contra hearings, and who famously remarked, when being told to let Ollie object for himself, “I’m not a potted plant. Iím here as the lawyer. That’s my job.” This could be good.

Brownstein on Dubya’s Heart/Mind Battle

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

from the I-think-the-mind-is-outgunned dept.

Ronald Brownstein has a nice piece in today’s L.A. Times that focuses on the ongoing struggle between dubya’s heart (which wants to listen to hawks like Cheney and Rumsfeld, and just start blowing shit up in Iraq), and his head (which wants to listen to folks like Colin Powell, who says we need to work for a diplomatic solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict first).

Dubya, Gore to Deliver Dueling Earth Day Speeches

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

from the round-one-of-the-rematch? dept.

As described by this story from SF Gate, dubya and Al Gore will both be delivering Earth Day speeches today, providing a cool opportunity to compare the presidential candidate who won the popular vote with the one who won the vote in the Supreme Court. Speaking of the upcoming verbal duel, dubya spokesman Ari Fleischer said, “The president has a strong record on the environment, and the environment is one of the reasons he defeated Al Gore in the election of 2000.” Really.

Attempt to Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes Fails

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

from the what-doesn’t-kill-you…-raises-your-speaking-fees dept.

In an interesting followup to the story I posted the other day (on how Henry Kissinger’s lies on Angola and Cuba have recently been exposed), a British activist has been denied in his bid to have a court issue a warrant for the arrest of Henry Kissinger. Kissinger, who is due to address a gathering in London’s Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday, was the chief architect of U.S. foreign policy during the period when the Nixon administration conducted indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; human rights activist Peter Tatchell says that’s a violation of the Geneva Convention, and wants Hank arrested. District Judge Nicholas Evans declined to act, however, saying Tatchell needed the backing of Britain’s Attorney General, something he currently lacks.