2/27/2006

'Pizza pope' builds a Catholic heaven

"A FORMER marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a...plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles. "

Outsourcing Medical Care?

"Do you know who's doing your 2005 income taxes? Or who's reading you CT scan or MRI when you visit your doctor's office? We are used to the idea that the voice on the other end of the bank or computer helpline is likely thousands of miles away at a call center in India, but quickly American accountants, hospitals and other businesses are outsourcing more, highly specialized jobs to Asia's other rising economic star. "

2/24/2006

Hurtt Prize: Should you be worried?

"'If you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?'
- Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt


Harold Hurtt has suggested that surveillance cameras be placed 'in apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes', according to this story in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. In response, I hereby found....

The Hurtt Prize



The Hurtt Prize is a $1595 (and growing) reward for the first person who can provide definitive videotaped evidence of Houston police chief Harold Hurtt committing a crime, any crime. This evidence will posted here and forward to the Houston Police Department along with a demand that action be taken. "

2/21/2006

States Curbing Right to Seize Private Homes - New York Times

"In a rare display of unanimity that cuts across partisan and geographic lines, lawmakers in virtually every statehouse across the country are advancing bills and constitutional amendments to limit use of the government's power of eminent domain to seize private property for economic development purposes."

2/20/2006

MyBillofRights.org

"Mission Statement"

"Our mission is to promote awareness and respect for the Bill of Rights as the foundation of our individual freedoms, our laws, and the American system of justice, through the design and crafting of Bill of Rights displays to be placed on public lands throughout America, beginning with those sites where displays of the Ten Commandments are currently found. "

Behind The Music - The Chipmunks

I tried to think of something clever to say, but nothing I could come up with lives up to the video. Just watch it.

Frontier Psychiatrist

"This is a music video for The Avalanches' song Frontier Psychiatrist. "

Weird. Cool. Not for those subject to acid flashbacks.

2/17/2006

What Kids Do For Fun These Days

"Member Says Nobody Would Actually Have Sex With Goat "

"Some Bowling Green, Ky., police officers found more than they bargained for after stopping by a Western Kentucky University fraternity party early Thursday.

The officers discovered a live goat stuffed into a storage room of the Alpha Gamma Rho house with no food or water, standing in its own urine and feces, according to WBKO-TV in Bowling Green.

Some of the students told police the goat was going to be used in a hazing ritual.

Brian Peyton, the president of Western's Alpha Gamma Rho chapter, said the goat was brought in as a prank, to make some pledges think they would have to have sex with it..."

Happy Anniversary to me!

Today is twenty-six years of not eating any animals that are bigger than me.

2/16/2006

3D Painted Rooms - 2Loop.com

"These rooms are painted so that, when looked at right, optical illusions will appear."

Fats Domino, Dylan to Headline Jazz Fest

"Fats Domino, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon will join Keith Urban and Yolanda Adams at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as it celebrates this city's music and culture in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Many other big acts will grace the festival, such as the Dave Matthews Band, Lionel Richie and Jimmy Buffet.

The festival is scheduled to take place April 28-30 and May 5-7.

The festival will feature, as always, many of Louisiana's favorite musicians. They include blues guitarist Walter 'Wolfman' Washington, singers Charmaine Neville and Clarence 'Frogman' Henry, clarinetist Michael White, voodoo rocker Dr. John, pianist Allen Toussaint, the Rebirth Brass Band, clarinetist Pete Fountain, singer Marcia Ball and the Dixie Cups. "

Keith Urban? The country singer from New Zealand/Australia?

2/15/2006

Meter-Long Monsters That Smell Like Lilies

"As soon as she saw the white flash, Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon knew her shovel had turned up an important discovery. Although others had searched for decades, Sanchez-de Leon had succeeded where they had failed.

She had found a giant Palouse earthworm. "

He loves the smell of gunpowder

VICE PRESIDENT Dick Cheney accidentally shot documentary filmmaker Michael Moore yesterday as Moore was walking out of a Manhattan Denny's.

A spokesperson for the vice president said that it was a 'complete accident' and that Cheney felt 'horrible.' The White House released a statement saying that the shooting was 'just bad timing. Vice President Cheney, who is well-versed in firearms safety, was merely sitting in a shrub, wearing camouflage, outside of a Denny's frequented by Mr. Moore.' The statement went on to say that Cheney had been in the shrub for 'several days.' Moore is said to have suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital."

There's more linked above. Via an email from my friend Martha.

State Sues E.P.A. for Files on Household Pollutants - New York Times

"State Sues E.P.A. for Files on Household Pollutants

By DANNY HAKIM
Published: February 15, 2006

ALBANY, Feb. 14 - As New York and other states grapple with the gradually tightening requirements of the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to turn over records detailing the levels of smog-causing compounds found in common household and industrial products like paints and varnishes.

The Cost of Pollution Such volatile organic compounds are not only significant contributors to smog, but they have also been linked to a variety of health problems, including the rising asthma rates in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

After trying for two years to obtain the records, New York State sued the E.P.A. on Tuesday, saying that the agency has violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying the state's repeated requests for the records. State officials say they need the records to draw up a plan to comply with strict new rules on smog-forming pollution being phased in under the Clean Air Act. The records are submitted to the E.P.A. by manufacturers of paint products.

New York and California, as well as some other states on the East Coast, have stricter regulations on volatile organic compounds because they have worse summertime smog problems than other states.

In refusing to turn over the records, the E.P.A. appears to be siding with paint manufacturers, which have been battling in court to prevent state attempts to regulate their products. And the paint companies have been aided in the past by at least one influential friend, Senator George V. Voinovich, an Ohio Republican who personally appealed to the E.P.A. on behalf of Sherwin-Williams, based in Cleveland.

A letter he wrote in October 2004 asked the agency to heed the industry's objections to allowing some states to tighten their regulations of volatile organic compounds.

Now states are having trouble determining even what the levels of such pollutants are. Companies like Sherwin-Williams are stating that the information about the pollutants in their products, which they submitted to the E.P.A., is proprietary and represents trade secrets, an assertion that the agency has supported, according to New York's court filing.

New York officials say the information should be made public, arguing that the agency, despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act, has not made a sincere effort to determine, as required by law, whether companies were making valid claims that the data was a trade secret.

One of the few documents that New York has received from the E.P.A. indicates that paint producers are often using a loophole in the regulatory system to pay their way out of reducing the pollutant levels of their products. Sherwin-Williams paid more than $5 million in 2002 to avoid fully reducing its levels of volatile organic compounds to required limits, according to the document. The amount was more than 15 times the noncompliance fee paid by any competitor.

In a statement on Tuesday, New York's attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, said that "the state is entitled by law to this critical information so it can effectively implement its clean air programs to preserve public health."

He added, "The E.P.A. has no grounds on which to deny such a request."

Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, is suing on behalf of the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, a branch of Gov. George E. Pataki's administration.

An E.P.A. spokesman, John R. Millett, said in a statement on Tuesday that the agency's intent "is to provide New York with all the information it is entitled to. The agency is looking into the matter in order to provide the state a final response to its request."

Conway G. Ivy, a senior vice president at Sherwin-Williams, said a great majority of his company's products complied with the regulations on volatile organic compounds, though not the specialty products like paints used on roads or for industrial maintenance. "Our customer base indicates they would prefer the performance of these noncomplying products," he said.

The stalemate is the latest in a series pitting states, including those like New York and California, which have Republican governors, against the environmental policies of the Bush administration. In one battle, automakers, with the support of the E.P.A., are suing both New York and California over state plans to aggressively regulate emissions of carbon dioxide from cars and trucks. The Bush administration has rejected such state moves.

Last year, Mr. Pataki and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California wrote a letter to President Bush asking him to preserve their ability to set stricter environmental rules.

The new lawsuit comes as the Bush administration has come under criticism for restricting the flow of information on issues related to smog-forming pollutants and global warming emissions. Last month, a top NASA scientist said that Bush administration officials were trying to censor his views on climate change. Last year, the administration delayed the release of a report on the gas mileage of cars and trucks until after the voting on the energy bill.

S. William Becker, executive director of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators, an association of state and local air quality regulators, said the disclosure that 75 companies like Sherwin-Williams were paying fees in lieu of at least some of their required pollutant reductions was troubling.

"What E.P.A. is doing is allowing the industry to buy their way out of federal regulations," he said. He added that states would be forced to regulate similar pollutants from the small businesses that cannot afford such fees, like bakeries and auto body repair shops."

A Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price That Many Can't Pay

"Doctors are excited about the prospect of Avastin, a drug already widely used for colon cancer, as a crucial new treatment for breast and lung cancer, too. But doctors are cringing at the price the maker, Genentech, plans to charge for it: about $100,000 a year. "

Ohio Board Undoes Stand on Evolution

"The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 Tuesday to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan, dealing the intelligent design movement its second serious defeat in two months."

Out of the retail rat race / Consumer group doesn't buy notion that new is better

"While many people will spend countless hours this year lining up at Wal-Mart and maxing out their credit cards at Nordstrom, a small Bay Area group has declared it will do just the opposite.

About 50 teachers, engineers, executives and other professionals in the Bay Area have made a vow to not buy anything new in 2006 -- except food, health and safety items and underwear. "

Willie Nelson's new topic: Gay cowboys - Feb 15, 2006

Country music outlaw Willie Nelson sang 'Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys' and 'My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys' more than 25 years ago.

He released a very different sort of cowboy anthem this Valentine's Day.

'Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)' may be the first gay cowboy song by a major recording artist. But it was written long before this year's Oscar-nominated 'Brokeback Mountain' made gay cowboys a hot topic.

...the song features ...Nelson's deadpan delivery of lines like, 'What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?' and 'Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out.'"

2/14/2006

The Final Word on the Cheney Hunting Incident

"Dick Cheney represents all that is reprehensible about the sport that is hunting.

In case you're one of those people that would rather paper-cut their eyeballs than read a newspaper (i.e. 98% of the American population), Dick Cheney 'accidentally' shot a lawyer-buddy of his on a hunting trip in coastal Texas this weekend. The dude's not gonna die or anything, but he won't be competing in any ironman triathlons anytime soon, either (mostly due to his age, completely irrelevant to this story).

So why am I pissed off?

Because Cheney was simply hunting for sport. From what I've heard, he had no plans to eat the dude or even make lawyer-jerky out of his remains; he just shot the dude so that he'd have a trophy to put over his fireplace."

Timmy put the proper spin on it.

Gun don't shoot people. Vice-Presidents do.

The Nattering Nabob: "The Bushites have committed the cardinal sin: they dissed the press. They can lie you, me, all 300-million-or-so citizens and the entire WORLD all they want to, and our intrepid reporters could not care less. But Lord Almighty, when you bullshit a reporter, you are doomed."

Iggy.

'Aunt Jemima' Sues After Council Meeting Ban

"UPDATED: 10:23 pm EST February 13, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An activist arrested after disrupting a City Council meeting dressed in an Aunt Jemima costume and banned from attending meetings until the end of March has filed a lawsuit claiming her rights were violated."

2/13/2006

US group implants electronic tags in workers

"An Ohio company has embedded silicon chips in two of its employees - the first known case in which US workers have been "tagged" electronically as a way of identifying them. "

Nowhere to Call Home

"The worst natural disaster in modern United States history has turned into our collective national shame. When the most powerful nation on earth cannot find long-term housing for its own hurricane victims in almost six months, there is no other word to describe it."

You'll need a NY Times account to read this.

Mohammed Dance

Mohammed Dance

How Products Are Made

"How Products Are Made explains and details the manufacturing process of a wide variety of products, from daily household items to complicated electronic equipment and heavy machinery. The site provides step by step descriptions of the assembly and the manufacturing process (complemented with illustrations and diagrams) Each product also has related information such as the background, how the item works, who invented the product, raw materials that were used, product applications, by-products that are generated, possible future developments, quality control procedures, etc.

For example, you can find here descriptions of Air Bag, Air Conditioner, Artificial Snow, Automobile, Battery, Blue Jeans, Chewing Gum, Coin, Compact Disc, Credit Card, DVD Player, Fireworks, Hologram, Jet Engine, Laser Pointer, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Nuclear Submarine, Paint, Popcorn, Refrigerator, Telephone, Television, Temporary Tattoo, Vaccine, Vacuum Cleaner or Watch. "

2/10/2006

KELOLAND.COM: News, Weather and Sports for Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa

"SD House Approves Abortion Ban
The South Dakota House has passed a bill that would nearly ban all abortions in the state, ushering the issue to the state Senate.

Supporters are pushing the measure in hopes of drawing a legal challenge that will cause the US Supreme Court to reverse its 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

The bill banning all abortions in South Dakota was passed 47-to-22 in the House.

Amendments aimed at carving out exemptions for rape, incest and the health of women were rejected.

The bill does contain a loophole that allows abortions if women are in danger of dying. Doctors who do those abortions could not be prosecuted."

Gay and Lesbian Olympics: Gay Games versus Outgames

"The Gay Games were originally called the Gay Olympic Games. But a few weeks before the opening, the United States Olympic Committee obtained an injunction in federal court prohibiting the use of the word 'Olympic'.

The organizers fought this in the courts, but eventually lost, even though the word Olympics is used by numerous groups including: Special Olympics, Police Olympics, Nude Olympics, Dog Olympics, and many others. "

2/08/2006

Delosis - Musical Listening Test

Musical Listening Test
Welcome to the Musical Listening Test
We are interested in studying musical perception ability in the general population. The following test, developed by Isabelle Peretz (University of Montreal), takes less than 10 minutes. It involves listening to pairs of tunes and deciding whether they are the same or different. We will give you your score at the end."

Disclaimer: I haven't taken this. No idea what it's like. It's from a university.

On a blue note

"Cactus Music & Video, one of the few remaining large independent music retailers in the country, will switch off its neon lights for good March 31. "

Well, this sucks!

BUSH BASHED BY FORMER PRESIDENT, REVEREND

"'This commemorative cermony this morning, this afternoon, is not only to acknowledge the great contributions of Coretta and Martin, but to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over. We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi,' [Jimmy] Carter said, the rest of his sentence drowned out by loud applause. 'Those who were most devastated by [Hurricane] Katrina know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans. It is our responsibility to continue their crusade.'"

Straight Outa Arkansas

"Sometimes a chicken does have lips, just not her own. Marian Morris saved her brother's exotic chicken, Boo Boo, by administering 'mouth-to-beak' resuscitation on the fowl after it was found floating face down in the family's pond.

Morris, a retired nurse, said she hadn't had any practice with CPR in years, but that she was interested to see if she 'still had it.'

'I breathed into its beak, and its dad-gum eyes popped open,' Morris said. 'I breathed into its beak again, and its eyes popped open again. 'I said, 'I think this chicken's alive now. Keep it warm.'' "

ABC News: Payola Focus Turns To Major Radio Conglomerates

"Spitzer says record company documents obtained in the investigation of Sony Music and Warner, both which have settled with the attorney general, reveal payments for songs that became major hits, including Jennifer Lopez's 'I'm Real' and John Mayer's 'Daughters.'

Other artists whose songs are named in the documents Spitzer has obtained include Jessica Simpson, Celine Dion, Maroon 5, Good Charlotte, Franz Ferdinand, Switchfoot, Michelle Branch and R.E.M.

Spitzer says much of the money went directly to corporate bottom lines, unlike payola scandals of previous decades when individual disc jockeys and program directors received the money."

New info on an old story.

2/07/2006

New Species Discovered in Indonesia Jungle

"Scientists exploring an isolated jungle in one of Indonesia's most remote provinces discovered dozens of new species of frogs, butterflies and plants as well as mammals hunted to near extinction elsewhere, members of the expedition said Tuesday. "

The End of the Internet?

Jeff Chester

"The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online. "

2/04/2006

Brokeback to the Future

The touching story, of a love that could never be. The hilarious trailer for "Brokeback to the Future" from chocolatecakecity.com.

2/02/2006

Stuff On My Cat

"Do you like to put stuff on your cat? So do we, show us some love and head over to our submissions page to find out how to send us a picture. If your submission meets our 'rigorous' standards in the fields of quality and awesomeness we will put it up for all to see."

"The Lego Suicides "

" a photoset on Flickr"

American Book Review

"100 Best First Lines from Novels"

Spell with flickr

"What is this? Spell with Flickr is a small program that lets you type in whatever you want, then goes to flickr and grabs pictures for each an every letter! It also allows you to change the images that you see, so you can find better images for your word or phrase!"

Kind of neat.

2/01/2006

Pay Attention, Alanis!

"Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.
It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity. "

So, as the Bush administration disregards our First Amendment rights, the right-winger who's been posting annoying comments on my blog this week is losing the right to do so.

I have disabled the anonymous comment ability.

Isn't it ironic?

Police Remove Sheehan From Bush Speech

WASHINGTON Feb 1, 2006 — Cindy Sheehan finally got her invitation to see President Bush again, but before she set eyes on him at the State of the Union address, Capitol Police removed her from the gallery overlooking the House chamber.
The offense: her shirt, bearing an anti-war message and other "unlawful conduct," police said.

What the hell happened to the first amendment? And why isn't the media outraged by this? Why aren't the American people outraged by this?