Thursday, March 30, 2006

On Culture, Flags & the Boundaries of Propriety

Students at a Houston, Texas, USA, public high school are sporting the flag of Mexico as they join coordinated protests of pending federal immigration legislation. But to top it off, the principal of their school flew the Mexican flag (along with the flags of the U.S. and Texas) on Wednesday. This set some people off. We understand why.

Houston Chronicle writer Jennifer Radcliffe had this quote in her story.
Some Reagan students said they will try to raise a Mexican flag again today. They said they want it to fly at least above the Texas flag on the pole.

"Just because you're in the country doesn't mean you can't show your culture," said Lewis Ramirez, 16, a sophomore at Reagan High.

Granted, Master Ramirez is only 16, yet his view is shared by tens of thousands of others who are much older, so let's deal with it.

The national flag of Mexico is not culture. It's the standard of a nation with its own laws and requirements. It is the flag to which a good Mexican patriot should pledge allegiance, symbolic of those things for which he should be willing to risk his life, his liberty, and his sacred honor. It's a good flag. For Mexico.

The flag of the United States of America is also a good flag, a grand old flag that is symbolic of all that has gone before, and of the promise of what may yet be. In its red, white and blue glory the flag of the United States calls to its patriots in every generation to defend with their lives, their liberty and their sacred honor the freedoms which permit persons of different cultures to co-exist in a nation governed not be men of culture, but by laws of fairness, truth and justice.

A national boundary is not just a river, or a line across the sand. One does not lightly wave a national flag over foreign soil. Done improperly, it is a declaration of disrespect, hostility or worse. There are permissive moments, as when sports teams compete, where permission is given to fly foreign flags. There are strange moments, such as when the South Koreans planted their flag on the pitchers mound at Anaheim Stadium after an emotional win over team Japan in the recent World Baseball Classic, that can usually be excused.

When people take to the streets in civil disobedience (and school truancy is a civilly disobedient act) and wave foreign flags while objecting to U.S. legislation, and through language and signs advocate the reconquest of the American Southwest, the act is not designed to foster peace, love and understanding. As St. John Lennon once wrote, "If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow."

It's in that sort of category anyway.

Let us review: a national flag is not a display of culture. It is much more important than that.

We appreciate Mexican people and Mexican culture. Enjoy being around it, sometimes even prefer it.

But we have no desire or reason to ever wish to live under the rule (or even the influence) of the laws of the Nation of Mexico. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. We are patriots who understand that some things are worth fighting for, if that's what it takes.

UPDATE -- The Washington Times chimes in with this, "Room But for One Flag."

How do you find common ground with this?

Man divorces wife in his sleep
NEW DELHI - Village elders ordered a Muslim man in eastern India to leave his wife after he accidentally divorced her in his sleep, a news report said Tuesday.

Aftab Ansari uttered the Urdu word for divorce, "talaq," three times in his sleep, prompting his worried wife to discuss the matter with her friends, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Under Islamic law, a husband need only say "I divorce you" three times to secure a permanent end to his marriage.

The aforementioned village elders decided, in their collective "wisdom," that the letter of the law bound Ansari.

Muslim leaders in the couple's village in West Bengal state found out and decreed that Ansari's unconscious utterances constituted a divorce, PTI reported.

But 30-year-old Ansari said he had no intention of leaving his wife of 11 years.

"I have not given talaq. When I uttered talaq three times I had taken medicines to help me sleep," he was quoted as saying in the report.

Thus we find ourselves a modern Muslim, capable of thrusting out with the old "my Nyquil made me do it" defense.

Fine, said the village elders in a rare moment of conciliation.

The religious leaders said that before remarrying, the couple would have to be apart for at least 100 days and that the wife, Sohela, would also have to spend a night with another man and then be divorced by him.

Human nature being what it is, you can be damned sure any one of those village idio ... er ... elders were glad to volunteer to help the woman with her extra-marital assignment.

PTI reported that the couple has been ostracized because of their refusal to abide by the decision of the village leaders.

Good for them. Somebody, at least, did something sensible.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What the MSM didn't want you to see

Chances are good that you have not seen this image, courtesy of students who were supposed to be in class in Whittier, Calif., but instead saw fit to protest proposed immigration reform by adding a new flag and denigrating an older one.

Here's another view, so you get the full drift of the situation:

Michelle Malkin (from whom we stole the pix) has much, much more. She's predicting that this stunt by the students will be enough to kill the proposed guest-worker program.

We doubt it. Americans no longer seem to have the ability to think in terms of right/wrong, good/bad, survival/extinction.

The mainstream press seem not to care too much to stir things up, else you would have seen images like this on the evening news.

We are about one night's worth of overturned and burned cars away from being France.

But the "Sopranos" are back, "24" is smokin', and it's "CSI" everywhere. Life is good if you stick to reality TV and ignore the reality outside your window.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How not to defeat an enemy

The Anchoress has a gloomy post on the growing crisis of Iran in which she postulates that perhaps it is too late, and the politics of the moment too inextricably linked to political correctness, to avoid a tragic war.
Is it possible that the “end” could be brought about - finally - not by those who scream “war, war,” but by those who have cooed, “peace, peace” and have displaced the moral certitude which centered past crisis-points (and which is required in order to take any action) with a nebulous theory of political correctness and “sensitivity” that has left us crippled, and unable to make a move for fear of…of what? Of being called a name by the rest of the world?
She quotes Charles Krauthammer and William Butler Yeats, and then delivers her final summation. It's so good that we insist you go there immediately.

Why are you still here?

Why bank regulation authors will get the lowest circle in hell

A Burger King restaurant tried to correct a whopper of a mistake on a debit card charge, but of course, banking rules take priority over swift justice. As explained in this AP story:

Four burgers at his neighborhood Burger King cost George Beane a whopping $4,334.33.

Beane ordered two Whopper Jr.s and two Rodeo cheeseburgers when he pulled up to the drive-through window last Tuesday. The cashier, however, forgot that she'd entered the $4.33 charge on his debit card and punched in the numbers again without erasing the original ones _ thus creating a four-figure bill.

The electronic charge went through to George and Pat Beane's Bank of America checking account and left the couple penniless. Their mortgage payment was due and they worried checks they had written would bounce, Pat Beane said.

Not to worry, said Burger King. We'll refund the money to your account.

Not so fast, said the bank.

Terri Woody, the restaurant manager, said Burger King officials tried to get the charge refunded. But the bank said the funds were on a three-day hold and could not be released, Pat Beane said.

The hold is designed to prevent customers from spending money that no longer is available in their accounts and to let the bank confirm a transaction is legitimate before transferring funds, said Bank of America supervisor Joel Solorio.

Nevermind that Burger King was willing to vouch for the legitimacy of its actions. But at least the story ends well.

Burger King did not charge the Beanes for their meal, and the couple got their $4,334.33 back on Friday.

"For those three days, those were the most expensive value burgers in history," Pat Beane said.

The "three-day hold" rule has got to be the most asinine, consumer-unfriendly regulation on the face of the earth. Don't even want to hear about how the regulation originally was designed to correct some problem or another. It's archaic, it gives the bank three days of interest-free money it can play with, and it's just plain wrong most of the time.

Adding fuel to the fire

It's beginning to appear that everyone these days plays fast and loose with the Constitution.

WASHINGTON – For anyone who took fifth-grade social studies or sang “I’m Just a Bill,” how legislation turns to law always seemed pretty simple: The House passes a bill, the Senate passes the same bill, the president signs it.

“He signed ya, Bill – now you’re a law,” shouts the cartoon lawmaker on “Schoolhouse Rock” as Bill acknowledges the cheers.

But last month, Washington threw all that old-fashioned civics stuff into a tizzy, when President Bush signed into law a bill that never passed the House. Bill – in this case, a major budget-cutting measure that will affect millions of Americans – became a law because it was “certified” by the leaders of the House and Senate.


After stewing for weeks, Public Citizen, a legislative watchdog group, sued Tuesday to block the budget-cutting law, charging that Bush and Republican leaders of Congress flagrantly violated the Constitution when the president signed it into law knowing that the version that cleared the House was substantively different from the Senate’s version.

The issue is bizarre, with even constitutional scholars saying they could not think of any precedent for the journey the budget bill took to becoming a law.
Republicans, who passed the budget cutting law, are citing an old 1890s precedent. Democrats are howling unconstitutionality, which only proves that even blind pigs find acorns once in awhile. Imagine, the party of the "living document" in defense of the text as written!

How can conservatives insist that we must be a nation of laws, not of human whim, when they would take an egregious shortcut even in a good cause? Stunts like this only heap fuel to the fire for the moonbats.

After witnessing what is being offered by the U.S. Senate as so-called immigration "reform", we're beginning to think there's barely a salvageable member of Congress from either party.

May God preserve the Republic. We certainly don't seem to be getting the job done.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Americans want illegal entries stopped today

Does anyone smell the winning side of an election year issue?

Forget the numbers of protesters which, impressive as they are, are miniscule on a national scale. Besides, the people who are in favor of enforcing immigration limits do not normally attend protests, so their numbers are hidden.

Most people in the United States think illegal immigration is a serious problem. A solid majority oppose making it easier for illegal immigrants to become legal workers or citizens.

Some findings in recent polling:

_ Some 59 percent say they oppose allowing illegal immigrants to apply for legal, temporary-worker status, an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found.

_ More than six in 10, 62 percent, say they oppose making it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Nine in 10 in that poll say they consider immigration to be a serious problem _ with 57 percent of those polled saying very serious.

_ Three-fourths say the United States is not doing enough along its borders to keep illegal immigrants out, a Time Magazine poll found.

For all you politicians who need a poll to give you backbone, here it is.

Do something right for a change.

Let's not argue about ooh killed ooh

There might be evidence, and we might just not want to know.
US not probing Russian war role cited in Iraqi memos: Pentagon

The United States has not opened an investigation into Iraqi documents that said Russia passed information to Baghdad on US military movements during the 2003 invasion, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman would not say whether the documents -- one of which indicated that Russia had a spy in the US military command in Qatar -- had been previously investigated.

But he cautioned reporters not to "drill down into one particular document and make it more than what it is."

"What it is" is apparently something we don't want to talk about.

It goes right along with the blinders we wear against looking at our illegal immigration problem, our balance of payments deficits, our reliance upon foreign oil, our increasingly worthless fiat currency, etc.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rising to a Point of Order

Noted in a story about high school students walking out of class and protesting new immigration proposals:
A Montebello High School student, Jeannette Garcia, 15, said she participated to "make sure the Mexicans get their freedom, their rights."
Your protesting the wrong country, young lady. Mexican freedom and Mexican rights should be guaranteed by Mexico.
The march Saturday is being organized to protest proposed federal legislation criminalizing illegal immigrants and erecting a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
This sentence from LA Times reporters Anna Gorman and Michelle Keller prompt us to ask if, uh, gee, isn't it true that being in this country illegally is already a crime?

Of course it is. The new legislation is seeking to enforce existing regulations. That's what's unacceptable to so many people. Shame on these reporters for either not knowing the truth, or attempting to create a new reality that, frankly, isn't true at all.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Barry Bonds - Steroid Cheater & Dumbass

Barry Bonds might have a lot of home runs on his record, but he could've used a little more common sense.

Having read the teaser excerpts from the new book, "Game of Shadows," at, we are eager to read the rest as soon as we can get our hands on one. If the teaser is truly illustrative of the book, drawn from insider interviews, federal grand jury documents, and other sources, Bonds' life - and Major League baseball - may be forever changed.

For the better.

Today comes news that Bonds' attorneys have gone to federal court not to block the book's release but to prevent its authors from making a profit because, they contend, it contains information obtained illegally, from docs that were supposed to be kept secret (and sealed).

Good luck, gentlemen. Leaking grand jury documents is routine business in this country, like it or not.

But what are the attorneys actually saying? They are confirming the material as accurate. They are not disputing the truth of the info, just the legality of its airing. It's possible, we suppose, that they are only doing Barry's bidding, but if this was their idea, he should fire them immediately.

Further, if Bud Selig ever needed one more factoid to review before deciding whether to initiate a full-scale probe of the San Francisco cheat, er, slugger, this was it. Mr. Commissioner, the Bonds Squad has given you all the ammunition you need to declare an investigation under way. If you had true moxie, you would suspend him from playing until the results of the investigation were known.

In the excerpts, Bonds comes across as petty, jealous and vindictive, which is pretty much what his friends and enemies have been saying about him for some time. Unhappy that merely being an excellent ballplayer wasn't getting him the kind of attention paid to Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire, he allegedly decided to go for broke the modern way: he would blind the record books with science. Nevermind the dangers to his body, and the changes to his moods.

If you are in the slightest degree interested in the integrity of baseball or the Bonds story, read the excerpts for yourself. See if there isn't a ring of truth in there.

This is not to say that Bonds was alone in what was done. It's just to say that, if the allegations are true, he's done more damage to the integrity of the game than any other player.

And it's time to clean up the game.

Or was that a rhetorical question?

Reporter Bob Aaron of WCHS TV-8, reporting on the results of a trial of a 37-year-old Toni Woods, a 6th grade teacher in Braxton County, West Virginia, for having sex with four students, notes that she received 4-to-20 years in prison.

He then asks:
Debra LaFave, a Florida teacher facing similar charges avoided prison this week. What was different?
Well, Bob, let's review the visual record, and then you answer this one yourself, if you can:



Is there are double standard at work?

Most certainly.

It also doesn't hurt when the victim won't testify against you.

(This free lesson provided courtesy of the Oklahoma Institute for the Elimination of Brain Flatulence in Active Journalists - the OIEBFAJ.)

Not surprising; not inexplicable

Editor & Publisher is amazed that the New York Times has acknowledged two huge journalistic faux pas this week.
NEW YORK For the second time in less than a week, The New York Times today admitted to a serious error in a story. On Saturday it said it had misidentified a man featured in the iconic "hooded inmate" photograph from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Today it discloses that a woman it profiled on March 8 is not, in fact, a victim of Hurricane Katrina--and was arrested for fraud and grand larceny yesterday.

As it did in the Abu Ghraib mistake, the Times ran an editors' note on page 2 of its front section, along with a lengthy news article (this time on the front page of Section B). Again mirroring the Abu Ghraib episode, the newspaper revealed a surprising and inexplicable lapse in fact-checking on the part of a reporter and/or editor.
The latest goof: a long article on a Hurricane Katrina victim who, it turns out, wasn't a victim at all, and is now fighting charges of welfare fraud.
"... the newspaper revealed a surprising and inexplicable lapse in fact-checking on the part of a reporter and/or editor."
(We repeat this quote because it's the money quote.)

Not surprising. Not inexplicable. There are many of us who believe the Old Gray Lady is in her Alzheimer's years, no longer capable of believable journalism.

E&P noted that the editor's note was written by the same reporter who authored the original story
"(w)ithout saying that he wrote the first story". E&P does not tell us whether that is a good or bad thing.

E&P also does not say whether the Times actually apologized to its readers.

Ingratitude is Not a Christian Response

Earlier today coalition soldiers, led by Americans, freed the surviving three members of the Christian Peacemaker Team that had been taken hostage in Baghdad by the so-called "Swords of Righteousness Brigade" back in November.

Joyful families released a statement, including the following bits:
Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been safely released in Baghdad. Christian Peacemaker Teams rejoices with their families and friends at the expectation of their return to their loved ones and community. (...)

Harmeet, Jim and Norman and Tom were in Iraq to learn of the struggles facing the people in that country. They went, motivated by a passion for justice and peace to live out a nonviolent alternative in a nation wracked by armed conflict.

"They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers.

"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
Not only no word of appreciation for the people who actually freed the men, there is continued condemnation. And to make sure that we don't miss the point of who they consider to be the real enemy, there is this:
"With God's abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies.
With the love of Christ, we will resist all evil.
With God's unending faithfulness, we will work to build the beloved community."
It is Christian to love your enemies. We can respect that. It's a hard teaching, and bonus points to those who master it.

But this Chicago-based group considers the United States government, and to a lesser extent the British government, to be its enemy. An enemy to resist. Here their logic is faulty. The U.S. did not declare itself against Christianity. The U.S. did not single out members of their group for imprisonment or oppression.

Instead the group has sought to make an enemy of the U.S. government (and by extension the people of America) for the decision to unseat Saddam in a pre-emptive war against a mostly Muslim country.

It is one thing to oppose a war: that's an American right (although we have to point out that the survivors include two Canadians and a Brit; the lone American among them died).

It is another to declare your country an enemy and seek to subvert its mission in the theatre of combat by giving aid and comfort to its real and declared enemies. This is treading up against the definition of treason.

It is most definitely not evangelization, as there seems to be no effort on the part of the Christian Peacemaker Teams to convert Muslims.

The fruits of what we see are radical leftist political actions, which explains why there is no gratitude for the rescue. Christians are supposed to be people of gratitude, giving thanks to God for their lives and His blessings, and extending thank-yous and blessings to those who come to their rescue.

Do you suppose Joseph, sold into slavery into the Pharoah's household, was ungrateful for the opportunity to continue to live? Instead, he blessed his captors by becoming Pharoah's chief adviser and right hand man. Egypt, surely not a people of the same God of Jacob and Joseph, prospered because of Joseph's gratitude.

How much peace promotion is there when, after three of your brothers are released from captivity and the possibility of death, your gratitude is so miserly that you cannot even bring yourself to acknowledge - with even a tiny thank you - the people who freed them? How much would it have cost your movement?

Or are you so set in your way of thinking that you pridefully cannot change?

Another good reason to eat at home

Sarpy County Sheriff's Deputies Poisoned
Two Sarpy County Sheriff's Deputies were apparently intentionally poisoned with methamphetamine in their food. Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis tells KPTM that the deputies became sick after eating food at an area restaurant last week. He also says that one tested positive for methamphetamine today. Three deputies were eating at that restaurant, two of the deputies were in uniform at the time.
Fortunately the men have recovered.

Care to take bets on how long it takes the sheriff to find the perp?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The U.N. is at it again - Racism begins in the womb?

The United Nations "expert" on racism says that it begins "in the womb." No kidding. Also no explanation of how that is possible.
Racism and racial discrimination are on the upswing and becoming widespread throughout the world, with the current global situation confirming the worst expectations that man's worst tendencies are created in the womb, a United Nations expert on racism warned today.

While racial discrimination used to be the province of extremist far right political parties, it is now becoming a regular part of democratic systems, being blended in for example with the fight against terrorism, Doudou Diène, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance told the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva.

Mr. Diene (sorry, we don't bother with the silly accent marks) goes on to describe the horrible "racist" actions taken in the "political context" of Denmark, basically saying that the Danes have a horrible culture. (He's on the side of the cartoon jihadist rioters, naturally.)

Racism and xenophobia are coming out of the closet, in a sense, and gradually creeping into the policies of mainstream political actors, Mr. Diène said. That fact is manifest not only in the backing away from cultural diversity manifested by many States, but also in restrictive policies regarding immigrants and asylum-seekers.

Speeches against immigrants, foreigners and asylum-seekers are becoming popular and intellectual legitimization is being granted to those currents, he added.

Referring to the recent controversial depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspaper cartoons and the violent reactions, he said the cartoons illustrated the increasing emergence of the racist and xenophobic currents in everyday life. But the political context in Denmark was what had given birth to the cartoons.

It was one in which an extremist political party enjoyed 13 per cent of the vote and had formed part of the governing coalition. The development of Islamophobia or any racism and racial discrimination always took place in the context of the emergence of strong racist, extremist political parties and a corresponding absence of reaction against such racism by the country's political leaders, Mr. Diène said.

Who are the Special Rapporteurs of the U.N.?

Special Rapporteurs, who are unpaid and serve in a personal capacity, receive their mandates from the UN Commission on Human Rights.

And the UN Commission on Human Rights includes Syria, among other noteworthies.

What a worthless waste of taxpayer dollars, of whatever countries who contribute.

ADDED BONUS - Check out the new UN campaign against racism, and try to figure out what cartoon slams against Islam have to do with racism.

Only You Know & I Know ... Tax Info Outrage

How would you like H&R Block or Turbo Tax to sell your tax return information?

The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers.

The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action."

The IRS says it would require the preparers to get your signed consent - which is not something most people would give - but we can see where that's not good enough. It's hard to predict how and how often the abuses would start taking place, but they most surely would. Here is one example:

Critics call the changes a dangerous breach in personal and financial privacy. They say the requirement for signed consent would prove meaningless for many taxpayers, especially those hurriedly reviewing stacks of documents before a filing deadline.

"The normal interaction is that the taxpayer just signs what the tax preparer puts in front of them," said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America, one of several groups fighting the changes. "They think, 'This person is a tax professional, and I'm going to rely on them.' "

What holds the system in check now is fear: tax preparers generally are just as afraid of running afoul of the IRS and federal prosecution as individual citizens. Leaking privileged data is a huge no-no. While we're no fans of the current income tax system, at least on the issue of privacy it works pretty well.

What is hacking at the root of the system now, we're afraid, is the desire for some companies to make an extra buck or two selling information. It's just too tempting for them not to try to subvert common sense by getting the IRS to change the rules. Profits before privacy; profits before people.

There is only one part of the proposed changes that makes sense.

Taxpayers would also have to give their written approval for companies to "farm out" (or "out-source") the computation of their taxes by overseas personnel.

The last thing we'd want is to have some 19-year-old gal in Bhopal doing our tax work.

Which is why we still do it the old-fashioned way. At home.

Win, lose or draw, when your butt is on the line anyway, take charge of your own affairs.

Good news in the world

The first ever World Baseball Classic ends on a classy score: Japan 10, Cuba 6.

Both teams acquitted themselves well in the tournament. At first some of the Cuban officials accompanying the team had to get used to the up-close and personal nature of the media coverage and the crowds, including some "Down with Fidel" signs, but even that calmed down as the sport took precedent over the politics.

The next World Baseball Classic is scheduled for 2009, and then repeated every four years (perhaps the odd year is to keep it from conflicting with the Olympics).

Our only question is whether it should be held in March. So many of the players from the involved countries are involved in Major League Baseball in the U.S., which means that most are not at the top of their game. This is part of the reason the U.S. didn't do so well.

More reasons are that many U.S. players a) weren't that keen on the WBC to begin with (their mistake) and b) are under contractual obligations to get healthy and stay healthy for the 2006 season. Yet another is that when you are competing for a position during Spring Training, disappearing for four or five weeks to play in the WBC, no matter the prestige involved, can cost you your job. Daddy's gotta put bread and milk on the table.

So maybe the WBC should be after the World Series, or held in warm weather venues during January before Spring Training begins. Some have suggested shortening the tournament and lengthening the All Star break in mid-summer, which might be a possibility.

The world tournament was a showcase for a great deal of talent, a lot of national pride for many nations, and some good, clean sportsmanship the likes of which we do not often see in other sports. Baseball crowds do not riot; they have more important things to do, like fill in their scorecards, drink Bud and down a "dog." It is a sport combining speed, power, agility, and intelligence.

If more countries were playing baseball there would be greater mutual respect and a decreased need for war. Or at least that's what we'll continue to believe until proven wrong.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Meet the New Boss (Same as the Old Boss)

With apologies to Pete Townshend for ripping into his lyrics on "Won't Get Fooled Again," a song still viable after all these years.

To wit: A man who converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago is on trial in an Afghanistan court for this trangression against the laws of his country. He believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of the One True God, the Messiah who bore the sins of the world so that anyone who believes in Him might have eternal life.

The penalty if convicted? Death.

Chances of acquittal? Not very good. The defendant, Abdul Rahman, freely admits his guilt. The prosecutor is out for blood and the judge, Mawlavizada, has already commented publicly that the law holds that Rahman must die.

You can read about it HERE, and Michelle Malkin, ever on top of things, has more THERE. Michelle's best question is this:
What do Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Bush have to say about the monstrous possibility that Rahman may be executed for professing faith in Jesus Christ and possessing a Bible?

So far, nothing.
Our question: why is George W. Bush spending most of his "political capital" - and a great deal of our national treasury, present and future - to promote decent, democratic governments in the lands of Islam, without some sort of guarantee that Christians are going to get a fair shake? This is not the promotion of the American ideal; it is a mockery of it.

If the only difference between the Taliban and the new Afghan government is that they won't cooperate with Osama and al Quaida, and in every other way turn out to be as repressive as the regime they replaced, we're not sure it's worth the cost in dollars, and the priceless cost of the lives of the American men and women who fought to give the Afghans freedom.

Some will argue that America cannot go to bat for Christianity as that would be favoring the establishment of a state religion (but in another state). We would argue that the cause is the same whether it's Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, atheist or whatever. Nobody should be put to death because their religious beliefs conflict with those of the people in power. Not in Afghanistan, or anywhere else.

Surely that's one thing upon which most Americans could agree.

It was a dark and stormy night ...

... that would chill your body and thrill your soul.

Two Point Three Five Inches and still comin' down.

Whether it's enough to break the statewide Burn Ban in Oklahoma is doubtful since we are a long way from catching up to all the missing moisture, but it's enough to give us some respite from the threat of wildfires, and hope that perhaps the Men in the White Lab Coats at NOAA will be wrong about our drought predictions for the spring and summer.

About the only downside we can foresee is that it's going to cut into our practice time with this year's baseball team. We've got about a week left before the pre-season tournament and the team is not nearly ready. Yet that's probably true of the rest of the team's in the league, so let it rain. And no, the Oklahomilist is managing, not playing. Youngest son is now in the 15+ league. It's a great bunch of young men, the survivors of the many years of learning the game. They didn't quit because they love to play. It is truly a joy to coach them.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Forty thousand guests who won't leave

What comes to mind when you hear that China will not accept 40,000 of its own citizens back, people who are in the United States either illegally or past the expiration of their visas?

The US has accused China of refusing to take back almost 40,000 Chinese immigrants who have been denied permission to stay in the country.

The United States Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described the situation as "intolerable".

He said although China had taken back 800 citizens last year, that only made a small dent in the numbers.


According to the Homeland Security Department, the American government has spent an estimated $667m in detention costs on the Chinese, AP reports.

Mr Chertoff said other countries were also refusing to take back their citizens but said the numbers from China far outweighed those from other nations.

He suggested that financial decisions and a lengthy process could be behind China's reluctance to take back its citizens, but also blamed "a low priority" by the Chinese authorities.

Now let's take a quiz based on Mr. Chertoff's assessment. Which of the following answers do you most agree with?

A) Financial decisions and "lengthy process" are to blame for China's foot dragging.

B) Chinese authorities have given the matter a "low priority".

C) None of the above.

If you answered "C" then you, like the Oklahomilist, are probably a paranoid but patriotic protector of the American borders. China has the money, it doesn't have the "want to." And rather than being a "low priority," we would suggest that China believes keeping more of its nationals in the U.S. is a "high priority."

There are many potential reasons, ranging from outright sinister (embedded agents?) to fairly mundane (China has enough trouble-makers on its own turf?).

These reasons are irrelevant. A nation that cannot protect its own borders is a nation that isn't going to be featured much longer in the history books of tomorrow. That's why the current administration's myopia on policing the borders (and all other points of ingress) is so hard to figure. Immigration control is fundamental.

Personally we have no beef with individual Chinese. Well, that's not entirely true. We frequently enjoy several beef dishes down at the China Star restaurant, and we bless the day the owners of that bistro came to our shores.

But there are only so many restaurants required, unless there are a lot more Chinese on the way.

A modern horror tale with a happy ending

There's a serial blog entry you must read if you have kids at home, or if you are thinking about selling your home. Sean Gleeson of Oklahoma City writes of the siege of his family.

An excerpt:
For four harrowing days, which just ended yesterday, our home was besieged by a sociopathic real estate agent, the Okahoma City Police, and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. I would not blog about these events while they were occurring, but now I can share with you our true filthy tale of lies, greed, stupidity, obesity, abuse, guns, and the kitchen sink.

It began on Tuesday, March 7, when we were given a new lawn ornament.
The lawn ornament was a "For Sale" sign. Beyond that we will not spoil the story, nor give away what happened, other than this:

Thank God our children are nearly grown. There are some really sicko people out there.

Seriously, it's a great story. Read it now.

(Hat Tip: OkieDoke)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A early peek at a freak show

Somebody please pinch us and tell us to wake up, that we're just having a bad dream.

Dallas movie 'guns for Travolta'
John Travolta and Jennifer Lopez have reportedly been offered the two lead roles in a movie remake of the 1980s television series Dallas.

Travolta, the star of Pulp Fiction, has been asked to play the show's villain, JR Ewing, according to Variety.

The industry newspaper also says singer and actress Lopez is being sought for the character of Sue Ellen.

Please! Stop. The. Madness. Before someone really gets hurt.

John Travolta isn't even fit to spit polish J.R.'s boots (and aside from his Scientology goofiness, we actually like John Travolta ... for some things).

J-Lo as Sue Ellen? Puh-leeze!

But as we read the BBC report, the news got worse. Luke Wilson is being propositioned for Bobby Ewing, and, travesty upon travesty, Shirley MacLaine is being wooed as Miss Ellie Ewing.

The only sentence in the whole report that gives us any hope at all is that it is reported that none of the actors mentioned have accepted.

How about Matthew McConaughey as J.R.? Or Bobby? For crying out loud, at least he's a real Texan. Billy Bob Thornton as Ray Krebs, perhaps? Dana Delaney could do a good Pamela Barnes Ewing. Richard Gere has possibilities as a J.R. We'd even accept Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sue Ellen if she can fake an accent, but we'd rather see the producers go on a talent search, maybe cast unknowns in the parts in the search of the right combination.

There have been precious few remakes that have done well in recent years. Most of the time mediocre is a compliment. For those of us who lived and breathed "Dallas" during its heyday, anything less than a perfect effort is an absolute disaster.

No more "Bewitched!" mockeries. For the love of all that's human, do Dallas right!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sunday night in tornado alley: some observations

We spent a couple of hours following the path of this storm Sunday night, after it first brushed by southern Tulsa County (pre-tornadic and with precious little moisture).
Eight residents from the Twin Oaks area and two Colcord residents suffered minor injuries a Sunday night tornado. (...)

Twin Oaks, a rural farming community about five miles west of Kansas, OK, and northeast of Oaks, was hit hard. The tornado first was spotted about 9 p.m. Sunday near Peggs. It moved north-northeast past Twin Oaks, Oaks, Kansas and Colcord before ending near Bentonville, Ark.

An unconfirmed report indicated the tornado was between an F2 and F3 and cut a half-mile to a mile wide path for 25 miles, from Rose to the Arkansas state line, said Gary Metcalf, Delaware County Emergency Management director.


The twister uprooted hundreds of 40-foot trees, leaving 10-foot diameter holes where century-old trees once stood.


Residents are likely to be without electricity, telephone service, and water for several days. Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative reported 96 utility poles down.

"With most of the ponds dried up, people here depend on their wells," said Larry Barnett with the Delaware County Sheriff's Department. Water is pumped with electricity, and "It's going to be rough with no water."

That's an understatement. The well-prepared rural resident should have a portable electric generator, or an option hand pump, on his well.

But preparation apparently isn't a priority: Many of the 67 homes damaged were of the mobile variety. We will never understand their attraction, other than their purchase price. Sooner or later, if you live in tornado alley, you will encounter a twister. If you take a direct hit from a big one, it doesn't matter what you live in, but the trailer homes don't even handle a close encounter well. Prudence would dictate another type of dwelling, or at least a hardened shelter close by.

An interesting feature of this tornado is that it was very quiet, missing the freight train roar so commonly described.

"I didn't hear that roar people talk about," Delaware County Sheriff Jay Blackfox said.

Blackfox's home had roof damage, and he lost two barns in the storm. His parents lost their home and his neighbor's home was destroyed.

"It was real quiet and eerie when it hit," Blackfox said. "My brother-in-law opened the door and there it was." (...)

"I was watching the news on TV with my family," Joe Snell said. "The next thing you knew, the house was shaking."

Snell and his family have lived in their Twin Oaks home for almost two years.

In the short time it took Snell and his family to get in a car to flee, the tornado struck, he said.

"We were real scared," Snell said. "It seemed like it was following us."

A neighbor got out of the family's mobile home just before it was lifted off its frame, slammed into an abandoned house, then sent flying over the top of Snell's home. Snell said the family members were taken to the hospital.

And you wondered why they still call them "mobile" even after the wheels are taken off?

Frist contracts testicular fortitude

From Drudge:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to push Democrats for a vote of censure against President Bush!

After facing down Senator Russ Feingold's censure bill on Monday and seeing Democrats of all ranks fold, Frist thinks it's time to call Democrats on their antics, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"He pushed them to the mat today, and they blinked," said one Frist associate. "He dared them to vote, and Democrat Leader Harry Reid looked like he was going to be sick as he said 'No.'''

Frist is going to continue to dare Democrats to vote on censuring the President.
If the majority leader has caught some disease that is making him bullish and machismo toward the dems, let's hope he forgets to wash his hands and spreads it to the rest of the GOP senators.

This is long overdue.

'I pledge allegiance to the WTO & the den of thieves for which it stands ...'

Quiz: What year did the United States give up its sovereignty to the World Trade Organization?

No, we don't know the answer to that one either, but obviously it happened as THIS STORY reports.

The European Union advised the World Trade Organization on Tuesday that it would reintroduce trade sanctions against the United States in two months unless Washington complies with a WTO ruling condemning tax breaks for U.S. companies operating overseas.

The 25-nation EU said, however, that it is still offering the United States ways to end the long-standing dispute without having to incur sanctions on lists of targeted products, including everything from textiles and foodstuffs to automotive parts and steel.

The announcement comes 30 days after a WTO panel upheld a decision condemning the tax breaks, affirming previous judgments that the so- called Foreign Sales Corporation, or FSC, law breached global trade rules by giving illegal subsidies to some U.S. businesses.

The law gave tax exemptions on part of the income of more than 6,000 U.S. exporters, including companies such as Microsoft Corp., Boeing Co. and General Electric Co.


U.S. officials in Geneva were unavailable for comment, and the United States' statement to the dispute settlement body was not immediately circulated.

Washington has repealed the FSC law and claims it has fallen into line with previous WTO rulings, but the appeal body in February upheld that transitional provisions under the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act were still against the commerce body's rules because they allow tax exemptions to continue for a transition period through the end of this year and potentially longer.

In 2002, the WTO authorized $4 billion in sanctions by the EU, although Brussels decided to impose only $300 million and suspended them after Jan. 1, 2005.

(Highlighted emphasis: DTO of OTB)

Forget the arguments that deal with the double taxation of companies both at home and in the countries where products are sold.

Forget history in which economic sanctions of the order discussed were enough to trigger a worldwide depression.

Pay no attention that the United States came about, among other good reasons, as a result of unfair trade practices of European nations.

All hail the World Trade Organization.

Constitutional right to flash the middle finger?

A motorist in Pennsylvania, irate over traffic delays caused by construction, let a worker know of his displeasure with a choice hand gesture. The worker notified a nearby policeman. The motorist got a citation for disorderly conduct. The charge was eventually dismissed.

Naturally, the motorist has filed a lawsuit for malicious prosecution, arguing that he has a right of free expression that includes flippin' the bird.

The "finger gesture was not accompanied by any verbal threats, taunting or communication and was never visible to anyone other than the workers," the lawsuit states. "The gesture, albeit insulting, had no sexual meaning, did not appeal to anyone's prurient interest, and did not create a public disturbance or breach of peace."

The chief of the police department that cited Burns _ in Center Township, Beaver County _ declined comment Tuesday, saying he hadn't had a chance to discuss the case with the department's attorney.

In recent years, Pennsylvania courts have ruled that the gesture doesn't automatically constitute disorderly conduct, because it is not "obscene" as defined by the law, unless it is used in a clearly sexual context.
Naturally the AP report shifts the context from a provocation to sex. (What do they teach in J-schools anymore?) The issue isn't whether the motorist was trying to be obscene. The issue is whether he was trying to share his anger and disrespect with the construction crew. In other words, the motorist was trying to provoke a response from the workers.

In the golden days when civilization was robust and social mores were less delicate, the construction crew would have hauled the driver out of his vehicle and beaten the crap out of him. A judge would have ruled that the beating, while unfortunate, was provoked and that would provide a mitigating circumstance. Fines would be assessed to all concerned and the man would recover from his injuries, never again to flash the fickle finger at anyone.

Not a perfect system, perhaps, but preferable to the sissy litigiousness of today.

Today the motorist gets away with his insult, pays no fine, serves no jail time, and will probably be several thousand dollars richer (and his lawyer even more so) when all is said and done.

But, oh, aren't we civilized?

Monday, March 13, 2006

UN begins CYA in Slobodan's death

We never thought Slobodan Milosevic was an angel. We have also had serious reservations as to whether he was anywhere close to the personification of evil that he was painted during the years of the Bill Clinton's Great War in the Balkans.

Now that he has died in prison, in what has been years of confinement while supposedly being tried for his many war crimes, the "We Hate Milosevic" crowd says it feels cheated out of justice.

What excrement.

The most punishment the International War Crimes Tribunal could impose was life imprisonment. That's exactly what Milosevic wound up with.

More likely the IWCT is worried that people are going to suspect that someone knowingly did Milosevic in. In fact, there were worries about this as far back as three years ago, according to the BBC, at the time:
Legal affairs analyst Jon Silverman say that, from the court's point of view, the worst thing that could happen would be for Mr Milosevic to die, as it would then face accusations that it killed him. jan 13 2003 BBC
As a matter of fact, there are some questions that could use answering.

A day or so ago, Milosevic wrote that he feared he was being poisoned. A week earlier he had learned that a foreign medication had turned up in his lab work. It turned out to be a powerful antibiotic that would interfere with his high blood pressure meds, and may have led to his heart attack.

So what are our dear friends in the U.N. saying this evening?

Expert says Milosevic Died in a Drug Ploy

THE HAGUE , March 13 — A top toxicologist in the Netherlands said Monday that he believed that Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader, had been manipulating medication to fake a medical condition, a ploy that contributed to his ill heath and may have played a role in the heart attack that caused his death.

That theory was advanced by Dr. Donald Uges, professor of clinical and forensic toxicology at the University of Groningen, who suggested that Mr. Milosevic had been seeking to demonstrate that Dutch doctors could not cure him and that he should therefore be allowed to seek treatment, and freedom, in Moscow.

Or as we've heard it said back home, Milosevic died "of the most determined case of suicide."

Of course the NY Times, which gushed over the Bill Clinton/Wesley Clark "war for peace" in Kosovo, is lending its experienced hand at spinning the former Serbian president's death into something that would exculpate the United Nations. (The very fact that part of the damaging testimony against Milosevic came from Wesley the Weasel was partly what caused us to begin to question the prevailing wisdom.)

The logic used by the doctor in the Times story is specious beyond belief ... for those who want to take the time to actually analyze what he's saying. At a couple of points the doctor simply invents new "facts" - such as he first assumes that Milosevic is medicating himself -- and then he uses that to justify the next step in his logic:

He said Mr. Milosevic was getting sophisticated advice.

"The provider had to know what the effect of rifampicin was on other drugs, that it is not normally detected in toxic screenings, unless you look for it," he said. "He had to know what dose to give, sufficient for it to be effective, but not too high because you get a so-called red sweat: your saliva becomes red."

And you have to know how to get it to the patient, he continued, " because you have to take a capsule of it every day to keep your blood pressure high."

"It's like a James Bond story," Dr. Uges said.

Yeah, James Bond all right. Total fiction. In fact, if Dr. Uges were playing himself in the Bond movie, you'd have to suspect right then and there that he knows too much. If anyone could have been supplying the rifampicin at just the right dosage, and had access, he would qualify.

Now we're not suggesting that. But what we are suggesting is that so many people had painted Milosevic as a monster that there probably is no getting at the real truth of the matter anymore. And maybe that's why someone decided to end the matter, the prolongation which was becoming an embarrassment.

Perhaps Milosevic was as evil as they say. If that is true, then he will have to deal with God's justice, and there is nothing that humanity can do to Slobodan that is any fairer, or more final, than God can.

There's the slightest possibility, we believe, that Milosevic was the fall guy for a foreign policy in the Balkans that failed to intervene in a brutal conflict soon enough, and then very possibly picked the wrong side, perhaps for reasons of political correctness. (Muslims versus Christians, NATO and the West back the Muslims, and it got us what?)

If Milosevic was not as evil as depicted, then God in His mercy will right the wrong.

We're satisfied with that. Too bad the NYT and the Milosevic haters aren't.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Real World 101 - No good deed goes unpunished

While we don't think it was particular wise for the Christian Peacekeepers Team to send a group to Iraq to protest what they believe is a "U.S. occupation," (nor do we agree with them), you can't help but be saddened by the news today that the body of one of the four, Tom Fox, was found dumped as garbage.

He deserved better than that.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - American hostage Tom Fox has been killed and his body, showing signs of torture, left at a garbage dump in Baghdad, police said on Saturday.

One of the policemen who found the body said the 54-year-old peace activist, wearing a gray tracksuit, appeared to have beaten with electric cables before his death. He had a single gunshot wound to the head and his hands were tied behind him.

Fox, who had been in Iraq to campaign against the U.S. occupation and to work for the release of Iraqis held by U.S. forces, was taken hostage with three colleagues in November by a group calling itself the "Swords of Truth."

"Swords of Truth" members do not care if you are liberal or conservative, hawk or dove, Democrat or Republican, as long as you are an American and are an available target.

If the "Swords of Truth" could arrange it, they'd be doing business within the borders of the United States. In very fact, they hope to be someday, as soon as they can arrange to oust the Americans from Iraq.

With or without the help of our dovish fellow citizens.

This idea that if Americans just play nice, give up our weaponry and renounce for all time violence, and the rest of the world will become our friends is a beautiful thought, a great dream, a wonderful fantasy. It will never happen because human nature has not changed, and will not change until God's kingdom comes.

Human behavior can change, and must change, if we are to have relative peace. If you cannot change human nature, then you have to work on human motivation. Protesting "occupations" in the middle of a terrorist-infested recovery zone does neither.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Now that's a coat of arms!

Whilst looking for an image of the revised national coat of arms for Venezuela, where the horse that once looked right is now, appropriately, looking left (as befits the white horse of a confirmed leftist), we were surprised to find that the #7 result in the Google image search on "Venezuela coat of arms" turned up this:

Zoraya Villarreal
from Venezuela

True, we don't see much of her coat, or arms, but we've seen enough to know that maybe Google knows something Hugo Chavez does not.

Argument No. 2,332,412,017 for the 2nd Amendment

From the Gulf:

Illegal Alien Accused of Stabbing Couple with Pitchfork
A Jefferson County Grand Jury Thursday handed down an indictment for a man police say stabbed two people with a pitchfork inside a Port Neches home.

17-year-old Ivan Barraza-Alonzo was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigators tell Hometown News he busted into a home in the 700 block of Avenue C in Port Neches back in February and stabbed the homeowners with a pitchfork. The husband and wife were able to fight Barraza-Alonzo off.
Fortunately the two victims will survive, but how much better for them had the intruder been forced to ply his pitchfork against Mr. Smith and Ms. Wesson?

Some might say that this isn't a very Christian attitude, and perhaps they are correct. We choose to believe that, while martyrdom for the Kingdom is a very fine thing, getting whacked for your spare change and keys to the Merc is spiritually unedifying and, in any case, not martyrdom. Sad and preventable is more like it.

The Billionaires' Club - Friend of the Little Man

The 2006 list of the world's richest dudes and dudettes is out today, and no doubt you breathlessly scanned the list as we did, looking for that magic "connection", that special someone with whom you might correspond online and pour out your heart's fondest desires and your life's sweetest aspirations, knowing that they will merely snap their fingers and have someone wire your account instantly.

But even though we were teased with the news that the billionaire list had grown by 15 percent (to 793) we were disappointed that we still don't know a single one of them. (One guy on the list is from Oklahoma, so we are not without hope that help is on the way).

Greatest anomaly is the large number of mostly new Russian billionaires (33, and mostly oil monied) who between them have $172 billion of wealth, compared to 11 Saudi billionaires with $68 billion. As we gauge things the possibilities include a) the Saudis do a better job of spreading the wealth (and we would be most happy to help them); b) the Russians are selling more oil, or c) someone somewhere is telling fibs.

Truth is, we don't really care. We just know in our heart of hearts that some billionaire somewhere wants to make the Oklahomilist a healthier, happier, World Class blogger through a one-time grant somewhere around seven figures.

We're just waiting for the good word.

Porridge returns to the Brit breakfast table

Sale of Porridge 'Nearly Double'

The British are coming back to their hot morning oats, or porridge, something like American oatmeal, we are told, but not exactly oatmeal either.

The BBC story used this captivating photo as enticement, we suppose.

We're thinking porridge might be better deep fried, with bits of bacon stirred in before hand, and maybe topped with cheese, onion and picante sauce.

Better yet just skip the porridge, whisk some eggs and get on with the Southwestern omelette.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Caution: Legislative Assembly in Session

The New Jersey Assembly convened today to consider legislation to prohibit "false or defamatory" messages from being posted anonymously on the internet.
Specifically, it requires that the legal names and addresses of anyone posting a defamatory message must be made available to any parties who claim to have been damaged.
What part of the First Amendment do some New Jersey lawmakers not understand?

While we're not exactly thrilled with a lot of the stuff posted on the internet, the definition of "false or defamatory" can be a rather squishy concept, and Jersey politicians aren't our first choice among those volunteering to do the defining.

The explanation for the photo, by the way, is found HERE.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's open season for tattoos in Oklahoma

For all of us who wonder where (not to mention why) people were getting their tattoos, Okiedoke has at least part of the answer.
There’s a nasty rumor that Oklahoma is the only state in America where you can’t legally get a tattoo. Not so.
The post from the Ada Evening News explains that tattoo artists are moving into the state because ...
According to Oklahoma State Law, a tattoo is defined as “a permanent indelible mark” that is created by a needle. But since tattoos can now be removed by lasers, they are no longer considered to be as permanent as once thought.

“They kept telling us they were going to regulate tattooing, but that never happened,” he said. “A judge in Tulsa finally realized that, since you can remove a tattoo with a laser; it’s not a permanent mark, so that’s true. Given that’s the case, the way the law is written in Oklahoma, we do not fall under that law right now.
This was enough to give Okiedoke the juice to run two interesting pieces of art, one which we shamelessly replicate here. The other you'll just to to wander over to his place to see.

It captures the imagination

One of the best reads on the 'net is MosNews, the Russian online gazette. Not necessarily because of its accuracy or reputation - on those issues we neither know nor care - but for its imagination. Consider, for instance, this headline and this illustration:

Bird Flu Virus May Infect One Third of World’s Population — Russian Expert

This gives you a sweeping sense of the historic perils that await humanity in the path of the H5N1 virus ... the pigeon that poops on your porch may be the instrument of your deliverance from this mortal coil.

And perhaps it's merely a matter of translation, but the same dramatic scope permeates the writing, as in the first two paragraphs of the story:
One-third of the world’s population might become infected with bird flu in a short period of time, Director of the Russian Academy of Science’s Virology Research Institute Dmitry Lvov said, according to Interfax.

“Any pandemic (flu) virus appears as a result of crossing between a human virus and a bird virus. A highly pathogenic monster emerges and it can affect up to one-third of the world’s population in a short period of time,” he said.
Pathogenic monster! That's good enough to name a band after.

It's Amok Time in Emu Land

Beware of the Emu!

JAY (Okla.) - A rogue Emu threatened neighborhood pets and residents Wednesday in the Big Hollow area of Zena. Delaware County Sheriff’s deputies were called when a resident reported a “large bird” had attacked the family dog.

Upon investigation, it was determined that a male Emu had been sitting on a next full of eggs when it became agitated and ran off, heading west toward the Big Hollow area. According to the owner, male Emus sit on the eggs in order for them to hatch after the female has laid them.

The Emu is a large, flightless bird native to Australia. It is second only to the Ostrich as the world’s largest bird.

The owner of the Emu claimed the bird was not aggressive and she has no idea what caused it to leave the nest and run amok.

This particular emu was "domesticated," which doesn't mean much. What the story does not say is that there are scores of emu wandering wild in northeast Oklahoma after having been released on their own recognizance, so to speak, after owners finally gave up trying to a) deal with their odd behavior and b) make any money raising them.

The Brother of the Oklahomilist was explaining this a couple of nights ago: how the emu craze began with wild promises of thousand-dollar or more emu eggs, and how there would be developing markets for meat, feathers and, of course, more eggs. Alas, like most get-rich-quick schemes, this one had its own harsh reality, and so there are itinerant emu reinventing their own portion of the American wilderness. Not even the resurgent coyote stands a chance against the emu's flailing talons!

This is necessary background information in order to understand the next couple of paragraphs of the story:

She asked authorities if they could catch the bird as she had no way of doing so herself. Officers told her they had no means of securing the bird, and the owner then gave them permission to “shoot him."


Authorities reported the bird was still at large Thursday morning after eluding police, and it is their hope that he will return to his home. If not, they will be forced to shoot the bird should he continue on his rampage. The owner pondered the fate of the bird, should he be destroyed. Her hope was that his death will not be in vain as “Emu meat is not only nutritious, but very delicious if cooked properly.”

Sounds like a sales pitch to us.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Why Would a River Change Its Name?

When a state legislator decides that it has more economic viability.

Okiedoke reports that Rep. Kevin Calvey is having to swallow his disappointment now that the House turned down his proposal to rename the North Canadian River as the Oklahoma River. Despite the obvious historical rapaciousness of the idea, it only lost 54-40. Our favorite quote:
When asked by fellow legislators about his appreciation for history, Calvey responded that he appreciates economic development.
Calvey sounds like the type of guy who would rename and tatoo his kids for economic reasons. Wonder what his asking price is to brand “Knuckle” on his forehead?

No one knows the server troubles we've seen

This is for those of you who might have stopped by after failing to access our other web presence, Oklahomily ... not the blog.

We're having some server problems, obviously, and we hope that they are resolved before noon on Saturday. (We haven't actually been promised that they will be fixed by then ... we're just saying a prayer or so periodically and hoping for the best.) The servers were down for about 24 hours early in the week, and today we've been unable to update the site. By 9 p.m. the server was totally down and so is our web site.

And it's no consolation at all that there are several other clients of our hosts similarly affected.

In a tragic case of "too soon old, too late smart," we also realized that our Oklahomily The Blog banner with "the waving wheat (that) sure smells sweet" is an inadvertent victim too, as we were hosting the banner ourselves. We should be smart enough to figure our way out of this one, but it's been a long day and we're not going to worry about it tonight.

All of which brings us ever closer to the day when we'll have our own servers, with redundant backup.

'I am the Seal Pup'

Sir Paul McCartney and his animal-rights activist wife took to the ice in northern Quebec to protest the killing of baby seal pups.

You'd think a compassionate, leftish Canadian government would just pay those maritimers the $14 million plus change that they'll earn on this year's hunt in order to save these little guys. Even the mean ol' US of A won't allow seal pup furs to be imported (and hasn't since 1972), so guess who's feeling morally superior now?

The fishermen switched from Atlantic cod to Artic seal pups when the cod fishing dried up about 20 years ago.

But cod are fish, kind of cold and who cares if a cod becomes a tasty morsel on the dinner table. If a cod looks at you imploringly, who could tell anyway?

Ah, but a seal, a fellow mammal, only hangs around the water to eat fish (perhaps even the occasional cod) like we do. And when the baby seal looks at you with those big round eyes ... and says, "you ain't seen nuthin' yet, b-b-b-baby," (perhaps we're just imagining this Canadian-soaked conversation) ...

Well, you just gotta admit the little fellow is pretty cute. Cuter than a walrus.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tulsa's Mayoral Soap Opera

The primary is less than a week away and things just continue to heat up next door.

We've been particular impressed with Democratic candidate Don McCorkell's ability to entertain the electorate with bits of trivia on various opponents, particular the stuff on fellow Dem Kathy Taylor.

Seems records show that Mrs. Taylor voted in the 2000 presidential election in both Florida and Oklahoma. At least it's a dead certainty she voted in Florida, and she admits as much. But she testily glides around the issue of whether she voted in Tulsa. "Why would I do that?" is her basic defense. Election officials can't supply the original signed ledgers because, for storage reasons, they are destroyed after two years, but they can say that a mistake is about a 1% possibility.

Which would mean that there is a reasonably paltry, slim chance that Mrs. Taylor is telling us the truth as she issues her non-denial denials.

But Michael Bates shouts, "Whoa!" as he trots out the best evidence yet that would take that 1% and shrink it to something like "snowball's chance in Hades." We recommend reading the whole post because it's entertaining, as he fisks Taylor's denials and frisks the records for the truth.

The short version (for you lazy folks) is that there were four Taylors listed in her precinct in 2000, and ALL OF THEM are credited with voting. That means it is highly unlikely that an election worker attributed to Kathy Taylor another Taylor's vote. Michael has a better explanation of why.

There will be no charges in connection with this because the whole point of the elections is moot, the one piece of evidence no longer exists, and no one is that interested anyway. Taylor is Democrat, and if she voted for Al Gore twice, then she's a double loser. Why make her feel worse? Oh, yeah. She's running for mayor of Tulsa. That's a good enough reason for Mr. McCorkell, the recently clean-shaven one, who may or may not have been responsible for ...

... a recent article in Tulsa's daily dinosaur speculating on an improper relationship between candidate Randi Miller and a Tulsa city official. This newspaper offers itself online to subscribers only, and is mighty darn finicky about fair-use quotes (and links), going so far as to try to take BatesLine to court a year back. Bates, in discussing the newspaper's sliming of Miller, thinks she may have been subject to pressure to keep the matter secret.

The other public policy concern is blackmail. An official with something to hide might make a decision or avoid a decision in order to pacify someone who has an interest in city policy and information about the official that could be damaging. An official fearing for her reputation will have a hard time being bold in the face of harsh opposition.

Miller was pretty tough when she first came on the Council in 2000, and she was willing to buck the Mayor and the city establishment when it mattered, but over time she seemed to become more interested in going along to get along. Lately there's been a fearfulness about her.

Interesting take, and sad if true.

Gonna be a real interesting set of primary elections next week, that's for sure. Almost glad we live in BA and don't have to pick a horse to ride in this one.

UPDATE -- MeeCiteeWurker wonders why Don McCorkell's linkage to the failed Great Plains Airlines has yet to come up in the campaign season. With this prodding, we took a look back ourselves at some of BatesLine's posts on the matter. The most relevant one is HERE. If we read it correctly, McCorkell was hip-deep as an investor and an adviser. Since the issue is far from settled, the propriety of McCorkell sitting on the Tulsa city council seems questionable.