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March 31, 2008

Visitors of the day -- 3/31

Name a person who talks and is a shoo-in and a person who talks in a shoe.



Well, some people say he stinks as a candidate...

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March 30, 2008

Milestones in the Hillary for President campaign

Jan. 20, 2007 Hillary announces "I'm in, and I'm in to win."

Jan. 3, 2008 Hillary finishes third in Iowa caucuses.

Jan. 8, 2008 Hillary rebounds to win in New Hampshire.

Feb. 21, 2008 Obama wins his 11th straight primary.

Mar. 4, 2008 Hillary wins in Ohio and Texas but still has no way of winning without superdelegates.

Mar. 29, 2008 Hillary rejects calls for her to withdraw and announces she'll fight on until the convention.

Aug. 28, 2008 As Democratic Convention closes, Hillary vows to fight on.

Jan. 20, 2009 Hillary continues to vow to fight on.

Jan. 20, 2011 Hillary announces, "I'm still in (the 2008 election)."

Aug. 22, 2032 Hillary laid to rest, still vowing to fight on.

Jan. 20, 2035 Hillary announces, "Remember me? I'm still in."

July 9, 2088 Oldest surviving voter in 2008 election dies.

Jan. 20, 2091 Hillary vows to fight on.

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March 29, 2008

If Barack Obama were Jewish, instead of the Second Coming of Jesus, Part 4

Obama (shouting into his cell phone): . . . no, Rabbi . . . Rabbi . . . no . . . I . . . I didn't say I was leaving the shul . . . I . . . I was speaking . . . it was a double hypothetical like . . . like the gemara . . . you know? . . . but Rabbi, you really . . . you really can't talk that way . . . you know I'm running for President . . . you know people are watching . . . I mean, her people are scouring . . . they're scouring your website . . . you know that, so you can't say . . . no . . . you can't say those things about the goyim . . . you can't . . . no . . . yes . . . yes, I know the history, Rabbi . . . I know the history . . . yeah, the goyim have been kicking our asses for 3,000 years . . . yeah, I know that, but Rabbi, you can't . . . no . . . no . . . no, the jokes are OK, rabbi . . . uh huh . . . uh huh . . . uh huh . . . yeah, that's a good one . . . that's good . . . and this one, too . . . yeah, so a Gentile calls his mother . . . you've heard that one? . . . OK, a Gentile calls his mother and . . . and he says to her, "Mother" . . . he says, "Mother" . . . that's how Gentiles talk . . . "Mother, I'm sorry, but I won't be able to come to your house for dinner on Thanksgiving" . . . and . . . and . . . she says, "OK, I understand" . . . yeah, you like that one, huh? . . . but Rabbi . . . Rabbi . . . you gotta stop saying those things . . . those things about the goyim . . .


More here.

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March 26, 2008

Bill Clinton gives an interview

Good morning, Mr. President. My name is Maddie. I work for the student newspaper at Lakeside Elementary School.












Wait a minute. This was supposed to be an interview with college journalism students.












Mr. President . . .














No, I said, you wait a minute. How old are you, anyway? Five?













Six. I was six on January . . .














I don't give a damn when you were six. What the hell am I doing talking to a kid who probably still wets her bed at night? Hmmm? Oh, never mind. What's your question?










My question is what's it like going around trying to help Hillary be President?













I think maybe what you meant to ask me is this: When you've been President yourself, what's it like campaigning for someone who has a deaf ear for politics just so you can avoid being humiliated when she loses?









....














Ask me. Ask me that question.














OK, when you've already been in charge of . . .














No, no! Ask me the exact question. "When you've been President yourself, what's it like campaigning for someone who has a deaf ear for politics just so you can avoid being humiliated when she loses?"









OK, uh, when you've been President yourself, uh, what's it like campaigning, uh, for someone who, uh, has a deaf ear for politics just so you, uh, can avoid being, uh, humiliated when she, uh, loses?










That's a totally outrageous question! I am so sick of people who focus on the negative all the time. Do you understand how hard Hillary has worked for 35 years to better the lives of all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income? The media just won't let up with all their negative stories about her.






But . . .














I'm asking you, Do you understand that?












But I was just asking . . .














Don't tell me what you were asking. I heard your loaded question. And I'm not going to play into the media's little games of trolling around for answers they can try to turn into a scandal.








....














Because they do that, you realize.














I have one more question.














Holy . . . Oh, all right. What is it?














I was just wondering whether Hillary's credibility was hurt by her handling of the Monica scandal.













That's IT!! I am so OUTTA here! Hillary, if you're listening, I don't need this s--- any more. No more trudging around to every dips--- school to answer some lame-ass questions to help your stinking, incompetent campaign. "We were under sniper fire." "I have a lot of experience from working in the White House." What the f--- is WRONG with you? That's IT! You're toast! I'm gonna support that black dude.





For previous Clinton photo comics:

Hillary engages in some racial healing

Bill Clinton evaluates HillaryCare II

Bill Clinton supports Hillary's cleavage

Bill Clinton grabs some contributions for Hillary

Hillary responds to Kate Michelman

Hillary begins a conversation

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March 25, 2008

Hillary returns from the Chappaqua 7-Eleven

Thanks for the link, Ace. I really feel like a moron now.


Hillary: When we drove up, we were nearly blinded by police lights flashing in the parking lot. We could hear sniper fire. In the distance were muffled explosions. Plumes of smoke beyond the hills were illuminated by the moon.

Hillary: They told us to keep down and make a run for it without stopping. I managed to slip in the door, safe but totally winded, but one member of the group took a nasty fall on the way before he body-rolled to the door, where we dragged him inside. I looked out one of the panel windows into the parking lot. Medics were carrying off a man who'd been hit, his limp arm dangling from the side of the stretcher.

Hillary: It was eerily quiet inside. Just then, sounds of gunfire erupted, and shattered glass was flying everywhere. I dived behind the beef jerky display.

Bill: Yeah, Hill, OK. But did you remember the Doritos and onion dip?


Video here at HotAir, with more here.

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March 24, 2008

The Inquiring Photographer: Leaving your place of worship?

The Inquiring Photographer asks:

"Have you ever thought about leaving your place of worship because of something your clergyman said?"


"Yeah, the damn preacher couldn't stop talking about the Ten Commandments and whatnot. I kinda felt he was lookin' at me when he talked about adultery. Or maybe he was just lookin' at that hot brunette sitting behind me."

Bill Clinton, Arkansas







"Haaaaaahahahaha!! I would have expected that kind of question from someone like you."

Hillary Clinton, New York








"In all the years at my church, I actually never listened to the pastor. But in any event, I can no more criticize my pastor than I can criticize Michelle. That is, if I want to live to tell about it."

Barack Obama, Illinois






"I don't know where we came up with that old imam, 'cause, man, he was, like, we're in America, and we don't have to do that jihad s--- against the kafir. He's not with the mosque any more, if you know what I mean."

Keith Ellison, Minnesota








"Oy, we had a real problem with this rabbi we used to have. He'd give us total meshugas. Like he'd say, if you're on an airplane and the line to the restroom is too long and you can't wash before motzi, it's OK if you use one of those towelettes. Which has no halachic basis whatsoever. What a putz!"

Joe Lieberman, Connecticut





"We actually had a schism in our church, because the minister used to give provocative sermons, like once, he said that the account of creation in the Bible is mysterious."

Mike Huckabee, Arkansas









"We had a gentleman who used to say that Christianity was a cult."

Mitt Romney, Massachusetts








Previous: The Inquiring Photographer: Where will you invade?, The Inquiring Photographer: How did you propose?, The Inquiring Photographer: What form of torture?

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Moronosphere blogroll

Thanks to doubleplusundead and Conservative Belle, there's now a moronosphere blogroll, which I've added to the sidebar, if you scroll down.

As I've mentioned, I'm really only an honorary member, but I'm on it, which is what counts.

Click here to read more . . .

March 23, 2008

Advocacy the Montgomery County way

Is it just me or is it somewhat odd for a parent to be arrested (second item) when discussing his kid's elementary school work with school officials?

I don't know. I've lived for over 20 years in Montgomery County, where helicopter parenting takes on a whole new meaning, and yet this still seems a little out of line.

Scott Rogers, an outspoken Damascus parent who is well known on parent Internet lists, has been banned from his son's elementary school for a year following an incident that he describes as a protest arrest this month.
And here's the funniest line of the month in the Post. I can't even tell whether it was meant to be funny, because the writing on education matters is so totally dead serious, just the way you'd expect in this county.
School system officials often disagree with parents on whether a gifted child is properly challenged, but such disputes seldom end in arrest.
But school officials apparently didn't see the humor; rather, they went promptly into lockdown mode:
According to Principal Linda Goldberg, Rogers raised his voice, pointed his finger at staff "in a threatening manner" and pursued them loudly into the main office, leading school officials to put the campus on Code Blue, an emergency procedure.

When Rogers refused to leave, police were summoned. According to an arrest document, the 6-foot-4 Rogers "stood up, cupped his hands around his mouth and screamed very loudly, 'I am Rosa Parks. I will not ride on the back of the bus.'"
So Mr. Rogers had to take his cardigan to jail, and while he was there, the next Rosa Parks probably followed Martin Luther King and wrote a letter from the county jail.

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 29th edition

Welcome to the biweekly Carnival of Maryland, which is a production of the Maryland Blogger Alliance, an eclectic group of Maryland bloggers. If you're interested in joining us, check our FAQs at that link.

We have a lot of interesting writing for you. I usually try to keep things pretty tightly grouped by topic, but I'm going to be a little looser this time, because I want to start out by featuring two of our newest members.

Our newest member, Donna Whicher, has scientific evidence (her own perusal of travel brochures) that proves the name of her blog -- Chestertown, the Quaintest Town in America. Or as she puts it, The Quaintness-O-Meter Results Are In!

J.C. Nemecek, of On the Red Line, tells us a story of life on the Metro's Red Line in A Metro Moment. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the conductor forgot to open the doors before the train went into the tunnel at Grosvenor on its way to heading back to Washington? Wonder no more. By the way, J.C., I used to spend a lot of time on the subways in New York, and you're probably right that the riders wouldn't have been as polite.

And now, on to our regular programming.....

Nature

We have some great photos for your viewing.

Swamp Thing, who writes River Mud Blog, has some photos of flowers in early spring at Early spring.

The Ridger, at The Greenbelt, who's our resident nature photographer, has two photographic entries for us: Here comes the sun and Some little birds. She writes, "Spring is the sun - spring is also the birds." True, that.

In the non-photo category, we have Audubon Arrivals, a post about book reviews in the current issue of Audubon magazine at Pines Above Snow.

Arts and Music

Clark has a post called Cab Calloway: Mini the Moocher at Clark's Picks. I confess I didn't realize this, but Cab Calloway was raised in Baltimore.

Charlie Dowd, of C. Dowd: Artist and Provocateur, has posted an Easter drawing, Happy Easter, which (if you check his comments section) has received quite a bit of attention.

Personal

On the subject of Easter, Stan Modjesky has a post called Easter Stew at blogger1947. It's a little bit of miscellany, but I was particularly interested in knowing that this is one of the earliest Easters in a long time. In the Jewish calendar, we have a leap month this year, so Easter and Passover are almost a full month apart, something that rarely happens.

Also on the same general subject, Mike Netherland has an unpleasant experience with his assistant pastor's Palm Sunday sermon. Take a look at Jeremiah Wright in Severna Park posted at Mike's Nether Land.

On a different subject, I got a submission from Anthony McCune, now living in Ohio Oregon, who once lived in Baltimore. He sent in an amusing story about getting an extension on his federal taxes during his Baltimore days: Resumania - Installment 1. Anthony, by the way, has another blog that features photos from people's windows. It's called What I See Out My Window, and he's asked that you send him your photos.

Humor

I don't know where else to put this, but anything having to do with fake testicles deserves a place in our Carnival. Click here for a tale from mad anthony, called Scenes from Relay For Life, nuts edition....

Sports

Did you realize that Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray are selling wine for charity? I didn't, until I read Brooks and Eddie Immortalized On Wine Bottles over at Oriole Post - The World of Baseball and Beyond.

Public Policy

Jeff Quinton discusses whether there really is a war-related ammunition shortage for law enforcement in Baltimore County PD claims war-related ammo shortage at his blog Inside Charm City.

Matt Johnston, of Going to the Mat, writes about the need for scientific research on education to test whether what we're doing actually works. The post is called Debating the Achievement Gap.

Eliot Spitzer

If you've read this far, you're saying to yourself right now, "What????" What's the former governor of my former home state got to do with Maryland?

I don't know either, although one of our submissions takes a crack at it. But what really got me was this: We had three submissions about him this week, and in my own tour of the Alliance, I found two more.

Not to mention my own wisecrack about what kind of dog Eliot Spitzer would be if he were a dog. (My answer: "My guess is a beagle. The beagle is number 9 in the list of least intelligent breeds, and Spitzer was Client 9, although that's obviously a coincidence. What I'm thinking is that beagles are considered to have an 'independent and willful nature.' Which describes Spitzer quite well.")

We'll start with Bruce Robinson at GOPinionPlus, who makes a connection between Spitzer and our own Governor O'Malley: O’Malley and Spitzer: Comeback chances compared.

Bruce also posts about Spitzer's hypocrisy in A fair shake of the stick. On that point, it seems, we have some agreement across the political spectrum, from both Stephanie Dray (Eliot Spitzer: Disappointment of the Decade posted at Jousting for Justice) and David Gerstman (Irony and the nyt posted at Soccer Dad).

Kevin Dayhoff writes about the lessons of the Spitzer incident in New York Governor Eliot “Mr Clean” Spitzer redux, at Kevin Dayhoff - Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies. Kevin says, "Governor Spitzer mercifully resigned on March 12 and ended a sensational 48 hours of salacious melodrama of position, power, greed, and human failings. It has probably ended the career that was considered so bright that his name was being bantered about as a 2012 or 2016 presidential candidate. There are many lessons to be learned by this sad, sordid saga."

Politics

First, we have to highlight Cheryl Taragin's interview of Phil Noble (the internet politics guy, for people like me who didn't know) at The Spewker. Cheryl says about her post A Rogue Interview with Phil Noble, Politics Online, "Attending the 2008 Politics Online Conference in Washington, D.C., I managed to snag a rogue interview with one of the political newsmakers of our time."

Now, on the local side of politics, we have The Patriot Sharpshooter lamenting the Washington County Board of Education's budget of $226.9 million ($10,800 a child) in So what if they can't read, write or add?, which he posted at Common Sense.

Two of our Annapolis-based members respectfully disagree about whether a homeowner in the Historic District should be allowed to use fiberglass for porch columns, instead of wood. The yes argument is found in Historic Construction at Annapolis Politics, and the no argument is found in Here's a Real Column for You....First It Was Bags, Now It's Porches at Capital Punishment.

Moving to state politics, Kenny Burns, the force behind Maryland Politics Today, makes the argument for a legislative ban on hand-held cell phone use in And You Thought Common Sense Had Returned?

Michael Swartz of monoblogue reminds us in Does the phrase 'do without' ring a bell? that spending cuts should be considered instead of only tax increases.

Soccer Dad says that the General Assembly has way too much time on its hands, if it's getting involved in all sorts of matters it shouldn't be involved in.

Bruce Robinson is indignant about the way Governor O'Malley has handled the budget and pay raises. He offers Fame & Fortune through Immorality and Corruption at GOPinionPlus.

Chester Peake, at Maryland Chesapeake Blog, writes ICC to be held hostage by EnviroMENTALists?. "A global-warming hearing on the ICC. 'Let's see... thousands of cars idling on (and therefore polluting) existing roads in back-ups, or being swiftly sped on their way, when (once at their destinations in a more reasonable time-frame) they can be turned OFF, thus cutting their greenhouse emissions! Hmmmm... what if they found out that building the road would actually help the environment?'"

As for national politics, I couldn't find a Maryland angle on this, but I found it interesting, anyway, so I pulled this post from The Hedgehog Report, called Could Ralph Nader Hand Election to McCain?

So long until next time. The 30th edition is scheduled for Sunday, April 6, to be hosted at Creating A Jubilee County.

Send in your submissions by using the Blog Carnival form.

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March 20, 2008

The obligatory "How'd your baseball fantasy draft go, Attila?" post

All winter long, I've been inundated with emails telling me that if I order some pills, I can strengthen and prolong my fantasy . . . baseball team. One ignores this type of email at one's own peril. I ignored it. And I drew the 12th pick in our 12-team league.

We have a straight 5 x 5 league, with no salaries. You just pick any guy who's available when it's your turn. I call it "wussy rules," but it's all anyone in my league is willing to do, and really, it works perfectly well. It's just not for alpha males. With us, the order of selection snakes around, which means that in Round 1, the teams pick 1st through 12th, but in Round 2, it's 12th through 1st. For me, as the 12th man, that means I pick back to back. I get picks 12 and 13, 36 and 37, 60 and 61, and so on.

There's something very mellow about this. When you have someone picking in between -- say, you're 11th and you pick 11th and 14th -- it can be stressful. Which of your two guys do you pick first? If you wait for one of them, will he still be there three picks later? But when you're 12th (or 1st), you just make your two picks and grab a beer while the others are sweating.

The other thing about picking last is that you don't have to sweat your first-round pick. Obviously, A-Rod won't be around, and you don't have to worry about David Wright vs. Jimmy Rollins vs. Matt Holliday. There'll be someone pretty good still around when you pick, and it'll be pretty obvious who it is. Me, I picked Prince Fielder, 1B-Milwaukee, who led the NL last year with 50 homers, to go with 119 RBIs and a .288 average. Not bad for last pick.

My strategy, as I've written before, focuses on pitching, and specifically on WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched). So for each of the first four double picks I got, I would take one pitcher and one hitter. My own preference list for pitchers was based in large part on WHIP, so with Johan Santana going in the 11th pick, I chose Fielder followed by Jake Peavy. My next three pitchers were C.C. Sabathia (pick 36), Takashi Saito, a reliever (pick 60), and A.J. Burnett (pick 96). I added Clay Buchholz in Round 13 and Shawn Hill in Round 19. All in all, I did pretty well in pitching for a last-pick guy.

As for hitting, it's hard to complain too much. Everyone I picked has pretty good power and most have a decent batting average. I didn't get the cream of the crop, because I was focusing on pitching, but everyone has some pop in his bat. I got Chipper (Larry) Jones and Dan Uggla for my infield and Brad Hawpe, Aaron Rowand, and Ken Griffey, Jr., for my outfield, with probably Pat Burrell playing utility (essentially a DH). Each had at least 27 homers last year and 88 RBIs. (Hawpe had 116 RBIs.) Even my two most mediocre starters (Varitek at catcher and Peralta at shortstop) are passable.

I failed in two ways, both of them from lack of preparation. First, in years past, I'd made a list of players in order of preference at each position, and I'd noted how many stolen bases each one had. I didn't pick Juan Pierre types -- all steals, little else -- but I was able to piece together a team where most players had a decent number of steals. I didn't bother this year, and it hurt me. If I don't do something quickly, I'm going to be dead last in that category.

My second failing was with relief pitchers, who are mostly useful for the saves category. Instead of bringing with me a list of likely closers, as I've done in the past, I used last year's list. Two relief pitchers I drafted won't be closers this year. I discovered this when I drafted them and everyone else laughed at me. (These in-person drafts with people you know tend to involve the mockery gene that's attached to the Y chromosome. A couple of guys mocked me for picking Lastings Milledge -- in the 16th round. I said, "Yeah, I guess I wasted my 16th-round pick on him.") I ended up with two real closers, getting Brian Wilson of the Giants in my final pick, but I'm going to have to fix things.

The final thing I should mention about picking 12th is that this lowers the bar for success. As the last-place guy, I can invoke the survival rule that seems to operate in the Middle East. Remember the 1991 Gulf War, when we destroyed almost the entire Iraqi military with overwhelming force? Well, Saddam Hussein personally survived that onslaught, so in his own eyes, he won. The same will work with me this year in fantasy baseball. With the 12th pick, I should finish dead last, but I plan to be in contention, anyway. At least, if I can get some steals and a better second closer. And if I don't finish dead last, I've won.

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March 18, 2008

Tuesday linkfest

Once again, I'm here with the extra links I've been saving for no particular reason. Some of them are, in internet terms, pre-historic. But I'll let you make the judgment.

1. Before I begin, I want to mention doubleplusundead, the latest addition to my regular, non-Maryland blogroll. DPUD is a moron. (You'll understand what I mean by that if you read Ace, who's a self-described moron-blogger.) In fact, DPUD has a frequent feature of "links from around the moronosphere," covering the other morons. Since I'm an idiot -- but also an honorary moron -- I've been included a couple of times. Check DPUD frequently, because there are a lot of amusing posts over there.

2. While American forces are doing the hard work, the folks in Prescott, Arizona, are singing kumbaya and erecting a peace post at the fifth anniversary of our intervention in Iraq: "A new monument stands in Prescott - a simple wooden pole bearing the same phrase in four different languages: May Peace Prevail On Earth." (via SondraK, who has a mouseover making fun of this)

3. The Daily Show goes to Berkeley, home of anti-Marine radicalism. Hilarity ensues.

4. Enthusiastic about voting for John McCain? No, but you'll force yourself to do it, anyway? Here's your next stop: The Reluctant Voter (hat tip: fee simple)

5. Eliot Spitzer isn't the only rich dude who uses high-end escort services. "'With the wealthy,' Mr. Prince says, 'it's all about power and control and new experiences.'" (via Fark)

6. Going on a date in China? Looking for a restaurant? Here's my recommendation: "There are several varieties of steamed, roasted and boiled penis at Beijing's quirkiest diner." (via HotAir)

7. Ten great inventions for St. Patrick's Day. Sorry I missed posting this yesterday. Save it for next year. Or consider it on Purim, which falls on Thursday night.

8. "Neocon" transportation policy? (via Heh, indeed.)

9. Shelby Steele on Barack Obama on race bargaining: "And yet, in the end, Barack Obama's candidacy is not qualitatively different from Al Sharpton's or Jesse Jackson's. Like these more irascible of his forbearers, Mr. Obama's run at the presidency is based more on the manipulation of white guilt than on substance. Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson were 'challengers,' not bargainers. They intimidated whites and demanded, in the name of historical justice, that they be brought forward. Mr. Obama flatters whites, grants them racial innocence, and hopes to ascend on the back of their gratitude. Two sides of the same coin."

10. In my family, we have a running joke about enraged bees. There was a story some years back about a truckload of bees that overturned near the Tappan Zee Bridge, which runs over the Hudson River near where I grew up, and the article referred to "enraged bees." ("When the trailer overturned on the westbound exit ramp leading to the Thruway at 8:35 A.M., millions of the enraged bees emerged.") Today's story of an overturned truck carrying bees comes from California: "Millions of swarming honey bees were on the loose after a truck carrying crates of the insects flipped over on a California highway." This article doesn't mention enraged bees, but it refers to "bee wrangling": "Bradley said several beekeepers driving by the accident stopped to assist in the bee wrangling."

UPDATE (3/19): 11. Too good to pass up. Feminist Marianne Williamson (video): "Well, first of all, I'm not going to vote with my vagina."

12. Ten people to avoid at the ballpark. (via MetsBlog) Some of the comments are better than the post.

Click here to read more . . .

March 17, 2008

Letting it all hang out

I used to run an occasional feature called "Naked News," in which I'd link to stories involving naked people who were doing strange things, given their state of undress. I always said that I was doing this in a shameless effort to increase site traffic. For quite a while, I've been trying to go straight, but this news story from Amish country, Lancaster, PA, just couldn't be passed up.

It turns out some naked dude went berserk at the Willow Valley Resort in West Lampeter Township on Friday. Someone called the police to report a "naked male tearing up the hallways and lounge at the hotel." But the rampage continued for over a half hour after the call came in.

Before the end of the rampage by the unclothed man, identified by police as Nicholas Hadzick, 28, of Freeland, some office space at the resort would be trashed and a forklift would be driven into an interior wall, damaging some overhead sewer pipe as well. Hadzick would then cross the street to run amok at Darrenkamp's in the Willow Valley Shopping Center, causing more destruction.

"He was under the influence of something," said Blaise Holzbauer, Willow Valley executive vice president and general manager. Holzbauer said Hadzick was a guest at the resort, and apparently went on his spree after attending an off-property party before returning to his room, falling asleep, and waking up.

Hadzick's rampage "really went undetected," Holzbauer said, until the forklift striking the wall set off a smoke alarm, which alerted security. The forklift was on the premises as part of an ongoing renovation at the resort, Holzbauer said. Police said at least one witness saw Hadzick gain access to a maintenance garage under some guest rooms to get the forklift.
The timeline is a little unclear to me. The story says that the police learned of this at 10:52 p.m., but the rampage continued until Hadzick drove a forklift, naked, into a wall and set off a smoke alarm. Even then, he was able to cross the street, naked, to trash a store called Darrenkamp's at a shopping center. Apparently, in Eastern Pennsylvania, a naked guy crossing a commercial street on a Friday night attracts little attention.

Hazdick wasn't arrested until after 11:30.
But as police searched Willow Valley for Hadzick, it quickly became apparent the incident wasn't over. Units were dispatched to Darrenkamp's for reports of Hadzick causing damage in that store.

After apparently gaining access through a rear loading dock door, he accomplished a lot in a short time, said Joe Darrenkamp, company president, who was called into the store around 11:30 p.m. The store is open 24 hours.

"He wasn't in the store long," Darrenkamp said. However, "he was on a mission."

Darrenkamp said Hadzick threw chairs in the market's cafe area, tossed a 300-pound pizza oven to the floor, as well as three scales, valued at about $7,000 each. "One was totaled," Darrenkamp said. Also damaged was a $90,000 meat-wrapping machine, Darrenkamp said, several soda coolers and the windshield of a delivery truck.
There's actually a security video you can watch. I would give you a content warning, except that the video uses an ovoid shape to cover the man's ovoid shapes, so you can be pretty sure you won't accidentally be confronted with any thingie-dingies. (There's also a short news video here.)

Meanwhile, I have to highlight two amusing aspects of this story. First, the female aspect.
Becky Bednar, front-end supervisor at Darrenkamp's said she didn't see Hadzick at first from her office, but saw chairs flying across the floor. "That's when I called 911," she said. Bednar said customers remained calm, moving out of line when Hadzick told them. She added that staff remained calm as well, knowing not to agitate him. As for her own recollection of the incident, Bednar joked, "It was more fun than a girl should have."
Second, the journalist aspect.
Telephone messages left at three separate listings for a Nicholas Hadzick in the Freeland area were not returned by press time.
In other words, the editors felt it was important to note that at least two totally innocent Nicholas Hadzicks in the area (and the third was possibly innocent, too) didn't return some dopey reporter's phone calls, as if this proves that the actual naked dude was given a chance to respond to the story. Really. The reporter would have been a lot better off contacting the naked dude's lawyer. He would have been the guy in a three-piece birthday suit carrying a litigation bag.


Marginally related: On a grimmer note, a naked dude with a knife threatens some folks in Camden, NJ. The results aren't good: "Camden cop shot, nude man dead." (hat tip: Soccer Dad) There's a news video at the link, too. How is it that people on the street who are interviewed always manage to say things like, "I don't know what transpired prior to that," which is an actual quotation from the news video? They probably watch too many cop shows on TV.

Click here to read more . . .

March 15, 2008

A wedgie ad campaign

When I was in college, a woman I knew told some friends of mine that she thought I should go into advertising. We all found the idea ludicrous at the time, and a couple of years later, I ended up in law school.

But I'll tell you this: If I had gone into advertising, I probably would have come up with a campaign to advertise women's underwear that's "wedgie-free."

As Dave Barry would say, I'm not making this ad campaign up.


If you'll notice, the ad mentions a website at Hanes, which I didn't really want to go to, but despite my own feelings, I did it, anyway. It was for you. That's just the kind of guy I am.

The first thing I learned at the site (which redirects to wedgiefree.com) was that some chick named Sarah Chalke used to suffer from embarrassing underwear wedgies. It turns out Sarah Chalke is an actress or something, which may explain her talent for re-enacting embarrassing underwear wedgie scenes, like this (from the site):

The wedgiefree.com site has some useful videos of ol' Sarah prancing around until she gets a wedgie and tries to correct it. In my opinion, the best video is the one taken by a "security camera." All of this being conveniently unstaged, mind you. She's only an actress.

As far as I can tell, not being a person of the female persuasion, an underwear wedgie is sort of like what happens when men have the need to rearrange their personal regions in public. You women readers, we men call this Code Blue. You may think we're just digging and scratching, but we're not. We have really serious business to take care of.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. If you visit the site, you'll find what might be called the Wedgie Monologues, if you catch my drift. It's actually called The Wedgie Stories, but we all know what they're talking about, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, right? It's a "book" where you can read Sarah's personal wedgie story: At the Emmys, she twisted around in her four-inch heels trying to unwedgie it (I'm pretty sure that verb is found in the Oxford English Dictionary) but tore her dress doing so. You can also read the wedgie stories of something like 25 other unfortunate women. For example, the board room wedgie, the air cadet wedgie, the rainy day wedgie.

But my truly favorite feature of the site is, if you click on "Wedgie-free Wednesdays," you can send an e-card to your friend, which will arrive on Wednesday. I'm totally serious, by the way. Try it for yourself.

What's troubling to me, however, is that if you want to send an e-card, you'll have to agree to the terms and conditions posted there, which include this: "I also agree that my submission does not contain defamatory, obscene, threatening or otherwise unlawful material . . . ."

It would have been a lot simpler if they had just made you agree that it's not that time of the month.

Previous underwear ad campaigns: Bras that do tricks, Thank goodness it fits.

Click here to read more . . .

March 14, 2008

Visitor of the day -- 3/13

Yesterday's visitor of the day comes from the Naval Academy, which apparently is looking for housekeeping help.

Click here to read more . . .

Another environmentalist plans to destroy the economy

Ho-hum. Another day, another Ivy League dean with plans to destroy the economy.

James Gustave Speth, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, explains why we need to control human activities to protect the environment. By doing what? Well, here's a hint: The title of his article is "The problem with capitalism."

Typically, when we're warned of a major environmental catastrophe, we aren't told how much it will cost to avoid. How many prophets of catastrophic climate change will divulge the economic and human costs to be incurred in what they see as an effective response? Pretty much no one does. Either the subject has never crossed their minds, or the costs will be so astronomical and the disruption to the lives we're used to leading will be so profound that it would detract from their prophecy.

So I give Dean Speth some credit for letting the cat out of the bag.

It turns out, he says, that capitalism works too well: "The capitalist operating system, whatever its shortcomings, is very good at generating growth."

Because even the poor are destroying the Earth.

Most basically, we know that environmental deterioration is driven by the economic activity of human beings. About half of today's world population lives in abject poverty or close to it, with per capita incomes of less than $2 per day. The struggle of the poor to survive creates a range of environmental impacts where the poor themselves are often the primary victims -- for example, the deterioration of arid and semi-arid lands due to the press of increasing numbers of people who have no other option.
But if the poor are not blameless, it's the rich who really are destroying the Earth.
But the much larger and more threatening impacts stem from the economic activity of those of us participating in the modern, increasingly prosperous world economy. This activity is consuming vast quantities of resources from the environment and returning to the environment vast quantities of waste products. The damages are already huge and are on a path to be ruinous in the future.
And what's to blame? Well, you know the answer already: Capitalism.
These features of capitalism, as they are constituted today, work together to produce an economic and political reality that is highly destructive of the environment. An unquestioning society-wide commitment to economic growth at almost any cost; enormous investment in technologies designed with little regard for the environment; powerful corporate interests whose overriding objective is to grow by generating profit, including profit from avoiding the environmental costs they create; markets that systematically fail to recognize environmental costs unless corrected by government; government that is subservient to corporate interests and the growth imperative; rampant consumerism spurred by a worshipping of novelty and by sophisticated advertising; economic activity so large in scale that its impacts alter the fundamental biophysical operations of the planet -- all combine to deliver an ever-growing world economy that is undermining the ability of the planet to sustain life.
Got that? We improve our lives but harm the environment. Better medicine and longer lives? Bad. Better hygiene and better health? Bad. Greater comfort? Bad. Increased ability to produce useful goods? Bad.

The solution for Dean Speth can be summed up in one phrase: "long-term solutions must seek transformative change in the key features of this contemporary capitalism."

This is the final line of his article, so we are left to wonder what changes he has in mind. Central control? Probably. Population reduction? Probably. And the result we can surely predict. Less innovation, less research and development of medicines and medical treatments, a stunted economy.

But the Earth will (by assumption) be happier. Which is far more important, anyway, isn't it?

Click here to read more . . .

March 12, 2008

Stuck

I have to say I still think this whole story is a hoax. It's so inconceivable that it just can't be true. But toilets are really important to us at Pillage Idiot, so I did a little research.

The story I'm referring to was aptly described by Allah at HotAir as follows: "Dude. I say again, dude."

Sheriff: Woman sat on toilet for 2 years
By ROXANA HEGEMAN Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 03/12/2008 10:20:26 AM MDT

WICHITA, Kan.—Authorities are considering charges in the bizarre case of a woman who sat on her boyfriend's toilet for two years—so long that her body was stuck to the seat by the time the boyfriend finally called police.

Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the 35-year-old Ness City woman's skin had grown around the seat. She initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.

"We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital," Whipple said. "The hospital removed it."
Which is far worse than the last stuck toilet seat I wrote about.

There's more to the story, of course, but first I have to tell you that Editor & Publisher apparently believes this story because some dopey journalists heard a tip that a person had been found stuck to the toilet seat, dead.

CHICAGO The strangest and likely most e-mailed story in many parts today -- on a day when the governor of New York resigned because of a call-girl scandal -- belonged not to New York City's tabloids, but The Hutchinson News in far western Kansas.

"Oh, I knew this one would get picked up," Newsroom Editor Jason Probst said with a laugh.

* * *

The story was a classic phone tip, Hutchinson News' Probst said.

"One of our reporters got a tip from someone who said he'd heard about a woman found bound to the toilet," Probst said. "Everyone here was operating on the idea that she was dead. You get that sometimes, someone in an abandoned house."

But when the reporter, Edie Hall, called the Ness County sheriff, he didn't want to release any information, Probst said. Eventually he laid out the story to assure the reporter the woman was not dead.
Sure, this is in the somewhat remote locale of Ness City, Kansas (population 1,299), about 50 miles north of Dodge City, but how could it possibly be true?

The ASS-ociated Press (sorry!) has an article about this incident that provides hope that someone will be able to verify it.

Whipple said investigators planned to present their report Wednesday to the county attorney, who will determine whether any charges should be filed against the woman's 36-year-old boyfriend.

"She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body," Whipple said. "It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself."

He told investigators he brought his girlfriend food and water, and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom.

"And her reply would be, 'Maybe tomorrow,'" Whipple said. "According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom."

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that "there was something wrong with his girlfriend," Whipple said, adding that he never explained why it took him two years to call.
"Something wrong with his girlfriend?" I'll say! She has a boyfriend who leaves her stuck on the toilet for a couple of years.

The AP article, by the way, has this stunning scoop from a neighbor:

The case has been the buzz of Ness City, said James Ellis, a neighbor.

"I don't think anybody can make any sense out of it," he said.
But getting back to the helpful information in the AP article. Here it is:

Police have declined to release the couple's names, but the house where authorities say the incident happened is listed in public records as the residence of Kory McFarren. No one answered his home phone number.
Now, when a name is mentioned in a story like this -- at least, one that involves toilets -- I run to do a Google search. There's a single entry for "Kory McFarren" (with quotation marks), a listing for him at classmates.com under -- get this! -- Ness City High School. If you scroll down to his name, you notice he attended NCHS from '86 through '90, which would make him about 36 years old now, as the AP article stated.

Also, you can look him up on an online phone directory, and even find his address, although I suspect by now that he's not answering his phone or his doorbell, even assuming he's not in custody.

If I were a journalist, I would pick up my phone right now, just in case. But I'm not, and besides, I feel kind of sorry for the guy. Because there sure seems to be something just a little odd about him.

I'm still expecting this to turn out to be a hoax. If it isn't, Mr. McFarren's got some 'splainin' to do.

UPDATE: A random walk through the blogs on this story shows (a) an interesting photo concept; and (b) one of the better headlines for a story crying out for smartass or immature headlines.

UPDATE (3/13): If this is a hoax, there are a lot of people in on it. It's real, sadly real. And here's the video, via HotAir. Not what I expected Kory McFarren to look like, but I guess it's really the guy. The woman, who's obviously not seen there, is named Pam Babcock.

UPDATE (3/13): Via charles, in the comments, the sheriff is now saying it was about a month: "The sheriff said that judging by the woman's condition — she had open sores on which the toilet seat would stick — it appeared she likely sat on the toilet continually for at least a month." C'mon on, charles, ya gotta give me the link so I don't have to find it myself.

UPDATE (3/21): Now, McFarren has been charged with mistreatment of a dependent adult. The County Attorney: "I looked at the statutes and spoke to the attorney general's office. This was a very unusual set of circumstances, and this is the law that most closely applied to the situation." Well, given the nature of this case, someone's got to say it: "The law is a ass."

Click here to read more . . .

March 11, 2008

A Harvard professor goes to the movies

Prof. Orlando Patterson: I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw Macauley Culkin, that pasty blond boy in "Home Alone," defending his house, I immediately thought of the son of the plantation master keeping the slaves out. You see the black faces lurking in the bushes . . . and don't tell me those burglars are white, 'cause it don't mean s---. What's important is the image, and the image is of white America in gated communities keeping the black man down and locking him out.

Prof. Orlando Patterson: Yeah, and don't even get me started about the way they treat O.J. in "Naked Gun."

UPDATE (3/12): Double or nothing from the prof.

Click here to read more . . .

March 10, 2008

Charles Murray for dogs

There are about a gazillion doggie IQ tests -- you can find 'em by googling -- but only one of them found its way into an article in the New York Post. I don't know what's involved in that test, making it so special, because I was unwilling to spend $79.99 On Sale Now! Just $49.99 to buy it.

But it's no great loss, really, because you can get another doggie IQ test for free from Ace, so long as you're not too offended by some Anglo-Saxon language and (im)mature content (consider that your content warning). Here's a sample from the True/False section:

3. This nasty old rotting canvas sneaker I just pulled out of the mulchpile tastes like that dog's ass, which in turn tastes like my own genitals, which themselves taste like strawberry waffles.

4. Toilet water tastes much like maple syrup.
That's not even the best part. Ace really had me laughing in a guilty way, so if you can deal with the language, you should definitely read the whole piece.

On a different note, what breed of dog is Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic Governor of New York? My guess is a beagle. The beagle is number 9 in the list of least intelligent breeds, and Spitzer was Client 9, although that's obviously a coincidence. What I'm thinking is that beagles are considered to have an "independent and willful nature." Which describes Spitzer quite well.

Click here to read more . . .

March 09, 2008

Kicking the tires

Here's what's bothering Rashi:

When you return to the dealer after having taken a 3,800-mile test drive (some say 2,000 miles) in a Honda Accord, what do you say to the salesman? "I think I'll need the V6 engine, because the car was having a little trouble taking the hills"? "I liked it, but it has too many miles on it"?

I mean, how do you explain your five-day absence? "Really, I figured you probably didn't want to spend five days with me on the highway not stopping for the bathrooms"?

Because, of course, the only thing worse than being stuck with a guy who's taking a 3,800-mile test drive is being the customer stuck with the salesman for five days. By the end of the second day, you'd go totally nuts listening to pitches about options, car loan rates, extended warranties, and especially undercoating.

I suppose that could explain why this Australian dude didn't wait for the salesman to get in the car before patching out of the dealership.

Once Mr Luu was in the driving seat, the salesman knelt at his side to show him the instrumentation, then walked to the other side.

“As soon as the salesman stood up to get in the other side, the driver planted the foot and took off,” Ian McKenzie, the dealership's principal, said.

The salesman grappled with the door handle as the A$40,000 (£19,000) Honda Accord sedan lurched forward but the door had already been locked.
But the answer to my original question seems to be that you simply don't go back to the dealership. This Luu guy was arrested somewhere in the middle of Australia after having failed to pay for a tank of gas.
He said the man was arrested without incident at a road block on his way north to Darwin after he failed to pay for fuel at a hamlet.
So when he was at the hamlet, did he say to himself, "To pay or not to pay? That is the question?" Personally, I doubt it, but it really makes me wonder how long he could have eluded police if he'd simply paid for the gas.

They always say ("they" being your grandmother) that you should always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident. Apparently, the same holds true if you take an extended test drive; it's always good to have a change of underwear in case you're arrested: "Mark Nash, acting senior-sergeant of Tennant Creek police, said that the man had packed belongings, including clothes and toiletries." Including a toothbrush.

Which is also a good thing to have with you in case you're going to jail.

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 28th edition

The 28th edition of the Carnival of Maryland -- our special "Daylight Saving Time"* edition -- is up at Crablaw's Maryland Weekly. I thought of calling it the "opinionated" edition, because Bruce, bless him, is never shy in expressing his opinion. What makes him special, of course, is that neither right nor left is safe. Nice job, Bruce.

The 29th edition is scheduled for Sunday, March 23, to be hosted here at Pillage Idiot, unless another Maryland blogger decides to volunteer to host it instead.

Send in your submissions by using the Blog Carnival form. No matter who ends up hosting, I'll have it set up to send your submissions to the right person.

-----------------
* I was brought up calling it Daylight Savings Time, plural, but then again, I grew up in the New York area. We spoke a different language there. Fuhgeddaboudit.

Click here to read more . . .

March 06, 2008

How did we get here?

This is one of the funniest presidential campaigns in my memory.

It was only a year ago that Hillary announced she was running for President and wanted to begin a conversation. She was inevitable. I did a photo comic that began with her saying:

"As you already know, I'm going to be your next President. It's inevitable. But first we need to begin a conversation. Usually, when there's a conversation, people talk and listen to each other. But consider this... I'm a Yale-trained lawyer who lived and worked in the White House for 8 years. This is my 7th year as a senator. And what have YOU done? Clean toilets in an office building? So tell me: Which of us should do the talking and which the listening? Hmmm? Good, now let me begin that conversation."

But, of course, I turned out to be wrong about the inevitability. I also turned out to be wrong about Obama. I quoted him last June in one of my Inquiring Photographer posts saying, "It's nice of you to think I'm running for president. Since I'm only going to end up as Hillary's running mate, maybe you should ask her."

How little did I know!

The battle between the two has become pretty vicious, but totally hilarious for those of us who don't intend to vote for either of them this fall.

The latest is that Hillary keeps repeating that she has a lifetime of experience, that Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, and that Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002. Video here.

Not to be outdone, Obama's foreign policy advisor, responding to Hillary's ad about who's ready to take that call at 3:00 in the morning, says on TV that "they're both not ready to have that 3 a.m. phone call." Video here.

So how did we get here? Anyone have an answer?

I don't know, myself, but I'm planning to start popping that popcorn now. It'll be a fun spring.

Click here to read more . . .

Anniversary of a bombing

Via Ace, there's a very good post at Something...and Half of Something about today's 38th anniversary of the Weather Underground bombing at the Greenwich Village townhouse in 1970. The members accidentally blew themselves up instead of soldiers at Fort Dix.

Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, two members who weren't at the house at the time, seem to be thriving today. And even possibly caught up in the audacity of hope.

Click here to read more . . .

The Million Mile High Club?

You adventurers who are planning your first space mission have probably got a few questions.

* How long does the training take?

* What's it like to be weightless?

* Can I have sex in space?

I don't know the answers to the first two questions, but if you believe this article in Pravda, the answer to the third question is Yes.

Now, I know that those of us who grew up in the Cold War were trained not to believe Pravda. There was an old saying among the dissidents that "Pravda (Truth) has no news, and Izvestia (News) has no truth."

But that article is too good to check.

“While a lot of scientists all over the world are busy searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, astronauts plan a more earthly contact, that is conceiving a human baby at the orbital station,” Rostislav Beleda, a Candidate of Medical Sciences said. Mr. Beleda worked as the chief sexologist at the Central Aviation Hospital for 14 years. “The biggest problem is how to conceive, because liquid cannot be spilt under the condition of weightlessness,” he added.

“But they do not need a bed in space. They can love each other in the air.”

“And what will come out of that? As soon as he touches her, she will fly away in the opposite direction. A bed or at least some fastening device on a wall is more likely to be used.”

“Is astronauts’ sexual need taken into consideration during long-term flights?”

“Certainly. In space men exercise on treadmills. In addition, they can theoretically masturbate too. But they should not forget about condoms or other containers, otherwise drop of sperm will be flying chaotically in the cabin and they will have to collect it. As a matter of fact, humans are not eager to make love in space. ***”
I hear you thinking very loudly right now: "Too much information!" But you asked for it, and I provided it.

As for the answers to your other questions, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Click here to read more . . .

That's an actual job description?

Headline: "Breast fondler keeps his job."

His excuse: "He later blamed stress and 'cultural differences' for his conduct, which spanned three-and-a-half years between 2001 and 2004."

Click here to read more . . .

March 05, 2008

Deathright Palestine

Still in search of an original idea -- about anything -- the Palestinians have decided to adapt the concept of Birthright Israel, which was created "to send thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants' personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people."

So now we have the Birthright Palestine program (hat tip: Son of the Right Hand), from an organization that modestly hopes to repeal the 1948 borders -- that is, to eliminate the entire State of Israel. Or should I say the "State of Israel"? Number 3 in the 10 reasons for the program is this:

Returning as a Means of Resistance: David Ben Gurion, Zionist pioneer and the founder of ‘Israel’, said in 1949, “We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinians] never do return… The old will die and the young will forget.” Thus, simply coming back to visit the land that your parents or grandparents were forced to flee from, is a form of active non‐violent resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation. This is because this simple act opposes everything that the ‘State of Israel’ was founded on (the idea to ethnically cleanse the Holy Land/Palestine of all Arabs, so as to create a purely Jewish State).
And as the Jerusalem Post notes, "the program does not support a two-state solution, offering trips to 'all of historic Palestine, which includes both the 1967 territories (West Bank, Gaza Strip - OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories]) and [the] 1948 territories, which some people refer to as "Israel."'"

Yes, some people refer to it as "Israel." And some people refer to this program as "Deathright Palestine." Thomas Friedman could not be reached for comment.



More from Daled Amos over at Soccer Dad.

UPDATE (3/6): Well, that didn't take long to prove my case.

Click here to read more . . .

March 04, 2008

Top ten Obama bumper stickers

Now that I've done one serious post on Obama, I can get back to the stupidity.

Herewith, the top ten Obama bumper stickers.

10. OBAMA - Befriending Our Enemies Since 2004

9. Barack And Michelle - Buy One, Get One Free

8. It's Hussein - What's YOUR Middle Name, Smartass?

7. OBAMA '08 - Because Experience Is Not An Option

6. OBAMA - Getting Beyond Race, Honky!

5. B.O. - Not Just Another Aroma

4. OBAMA - Criticize Me AT YOUR OWN RISK!

3. OBAMA - A Savvy Leader * / * Note: Does Not Apply To Real Estate

2. OBAMA = JESUS / But With A Happy Ending

And the Number One Obama bumper sticker is:



Latest story here.

Click here to read more . . .

Short linkfest

I have another post coming up tonight, so this is just a short linkfest.

1. Moses on drugs? Yeah, that Moses. Well, it sure explains a few things, like that red heifer stuff.

2. I'll leave this one to Ace: "Japanese Model Gets Off Due To Large Breasts." (That's the real headline of the news item, by the way, not just of Ace's post.) To encourage you to click through, let me say that, yes, there is a photo at Ace's, plus another at the link at Ace's post, plus a larger version of the latter at a link at the link. Follow that? I don't know anything about the Japanese legal system, but the idea that you can show off your breasts to prove you couldn't fit through a hole is bizarre. It reminds me of this video of a game of Japanese human Tetris.

3. Yes, Hillary did put the media in the men's room next to the urinals. The video proves it.

Click here to read more . . .

March 03, 2008

Visitor of the day -- 3/3

Now I can see what our next generation of underqualified presidential candidates from brand-name universities is up to: scientific research. Would you like some, er, froth on your espresso?

Click here to read more . . .

March 02, 2008

Obama and the Jews

I've been getting a bunch of visitors lately through searches for phrases like "Obama and the Jews." But I've never written on the subject before, and my visitors have ended up at one or another of my three gag posts called "If Barack Obama were Jewish, instead of the second coming of Jesus." The gag is that a Jewish Obama is shouting into his cell phone, either at his obviously difficult mother or, in one case, at Bill Clinton. Ha, ha. Get it?

But the issue of Obama's potential relationship with Jewish voters seems to be a very hot topic these days. An article in the Washington Post on Thursday. An article in the New York Times on Saturday. Tim Russert asked Obama at a recent debate what he thought of Louis Farrakhan's endorsement of him. Obama has met with Jewish leaders (whatever that means) in Cleveland.

Ed Lasky has two articles going through the concerns that Jews might have with Obama and the connections he has with anti-Israel policy-makers. Both are very much worth reading.

But I'd like to try to address this issue a different way. When I started Pillage Idiot, I wrote fairly often about the Jewish vote. For instance, I tried to explain why Jews are overwhelmingly liberal; why we need a new benchmark for the Jewish vote; and why the exit polls in the 2004 election did not accurately measure the Jewish vote for Bush.

Jews are predominantly liberal politically, but they are conservative in the sense that they do not adapt easily to political change. The political landscape has changed to the point that the political left, where so many Jews reside, is the current locus of not only radical anti-Israel views but outright anti-semitism. (Surprise! I've written about this, too.)

Jews aren't likely to budge, however. So I'd like to make two very basic points here, directed to my fellow Jews. I'm going to keep the points very simple, so that a people suffering from ideological vapor lock can understand them.

1. By and large, politicians of both political parties are going to be essentially friendly toward Israel. Sure, there are exceptions -- James Moran, Jimmy Carter, people like that -- but mostly, politicians will say they support Israel and will express generally reassuring statements about it. Cynical though I may be, I tend to accept these declarations of support as genuine. In a superficial sense, these politicians do indeed support Israel. And in this superficial sense, I have yet to see any identifiable difference between Hillary and Obama.

But this superficial support is not terribly relevant, and it should not be the basis of the decision of an individual Jew concerned about Israel.

2. Israel's security does not depend on superficial support from American politicians. It depends on American power. A strong America indirectly benefits Israel. A weak America, an America that that is constantly running away from confrontation, indirectly hurts Israel. (It directly hurts America, but that's a topic for another day.)

Think of it this way: The United States has a security umbrella that protects itself and its allies. Israel benefits from the American umbrella. If the United States lowers its umbrella, Israel's security suffers. And as far as I'm concerned, both Hillary and Obama will lower the American umbrella. We can quibble about how far each will lower it -- I tend to think Hillary is distinctly better on national security, and if I were a Democrat, I would choose her over him -- but both of them will lower it. If your vote turns at all on the security of Israel, it's important to focus on this point, and not on the candidates' superficial friendliness to Israel or on who their advisors may be.

I look at the Jewish vote, and I see consistent support for politicians who rail against the use of American power, who want to scale back American presence overseas, and who even want to cut the military itself. Fine. If that's your world view, sei gesund, but then don't obsess over Obama's anti-Israel advisors, because they really don't matter. What matters is their approach to American security.

In a world in which the United States refuses to act unilaterally if necessary, in which it feels it should get the approval not only of our sometime allies but also of the whole run of dictatorships that constitute the United Nations, in which it tries to get other countries to like us by withdrawing suddenly from a war that it has a good chance of winning, Israel will have precious little security.

If you support candidates who have that world view, don't blame Zbigniew Brzezinski or Anthony Lake. Blame yourself.

Click here to read more . . .