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May 30, 2008

Attention Pillagemail subscribers

In the past month and a half, I've had a surprising number of readers -- i.e., more than one or two -- sign up for Pillagemail, my (almost) daily automatic email of my posts. See the form at the top of the left sidebar.

Thank you for you interest, but I need to tell you -- by which I mean not you but the other guy -- that you have to activate your subscription through the email that is sent out in my name by FeedBurner. If you don't activate, you're not going to receive Pillagemail. That's the way FeedBurner operates (and I think it's a good idea, too, for obvious reasons).

So for the several of you who signed up this month but didn't activate your subscription, go back through your mail to find it. It probably has a subject line something like this: "Activate your Email Subscription to Pillage Idiot." Also, you should certainly check your spam folder. If both of those methods are unsuccessful, you can re-subscribe and activate through the new email.

Finally, in case you'd like to have another look at my informal privacy notice, you can click the link immediately under "Get your daily Pillagemail."

Thank you.

Click here to read more . . .

May 29, 2008

More dangers of externomingent acts

I really didn't think I'd be writing about the dangers of externomingent acts again so soon after the story about the unfortunate dog.

But I am. This tip, if you'll pardon the expression, originally came from HotAir headlines, but the article linked there is not as good as the one at Fark, so I'm going with the latter. Nevertheless, I'd advise you to read the comments at HotAir after you learn what the story is about.

If you ever visit Australia, keep this in mind. For him, it's a story he can tell his children, assuming he's still able to have them:

A ROADSIDE toilet stop ended in pain, embarrassment and almost death for a tourist when a highly venomous snake bit the end of his penis.

The deadly brown snake slithered between his legs and lunged at his manhood as he crouched on a roadside near Laura, 300km northwest of Cairns, about a month ago.

Details of the incident only came to light yesterday after they were confirmed by a paramedic, reports today.

"It certainly had a swipe at him," an ambulance spokesman said yesterday.

"But it didn’t envenomate him.

"As it came through it must have got a bit of a shock."

The snake beat a hasty retreat, leaving its victim with a scratch, vomiting and abdomen pain.
It got a bit of a shock? Maybe the guy got a bit of a shock, but the snake? The only way it would have had a bit of a shock is if the man's penis had been electrified, which somehow I doubt it was, unless he was making the usual mistake of urinating on an electrical power generator at the same time the snake attacked.

Fortunately for the guy, the ambulance spokesman showed some profound guy-like sensitivity to his predicament:
The ambulance spokesman described him as "lucky", given his near encounter with one of Australia’s most poisonous snakes.

"I think he was a bit shocked and embarrassed," he said.
I'll bet he was lucky. Every day, I bemoan my misfortune in not being bit in the choyl ha-moyed by a poisonous snake.

Click here to read more . . .

May 28, 2008

Backstop for the children of fallen soldiers

I sometimes get frustrated with the catcher on my fantasy baseball team, Jason Varitek, but the guy seems to have his heart in the right place.

On Memorial Day, Varitek wore specially designed camouflage equipment in support of the troops and is auctioning the equipment to raise money for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, which raises funds to allow the children of fallen soldiers from that state to attend college.

There's a fan site for Varitek, called, where you can see some terrific photos. Try this and this for starters.

And be sure to check out the auction site, in case you have a hankering for some slick catching gear and want to help a good cause.

Click here to read more . . .

May 27, 2008

Put it on and keep it on

Underwear: Can't live with it, can't live without it.

"Employees counting donations at a popular Hindu shrine in southern India will no longer have to take off their underpants at work after the local human rights commission intervened."

"Officials say visitors to a southwest Ohio jail can't wear plunging necklines, Spandex or see-through garb. The Hamilton County jail said the new dress code also requires guests to wears shirts, shoes and underwear."

And in somewhat distantly related news, you know those unlicensed performance enhancement drugs you bought? Well, you should probably keep your underwear on.

And in even more distantly related news, here's another in our series of stories about the dangers of externomingent acts, this time the canine edition. Dog to lamp post: Take that! Lamp post to dog: Bzzzzzztt! (via Fark)

Click here to read more . . .

The last refuge of patriotism?

Here's a great Memorial Day story from, of all places, New York in, of all places, the New York Times.

The flagship store of Lord & Taylor, one of the great old department stores, begins each day by playing a recording of the Star Spangled Banner. The former chairman of Lord & Taylor began this practice during the Carter Administration, when the Iranians took over our embassy in Tehran and held hostages.

Playing the national anthem each morning has become a ritual at Lord & Taylor. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the same whether it’s a Wednesday in mid-March or a holiday like Memorial Day, which honors those who have died in service to their country.

* * * * *

The morning routine at Lord & Taylor is probably the longest-running daily ritual that can be traced to the 444-day Iran hostage crisis that began in 1979. The situation in Iran cast the United States in an unaccustomed role — a superpower that was powerless — as the administration of President Jimmy Carter could not win the release of the 52 Americans taken captive in Tehran.
Despite recent "re-branding" of the store, it has maintained this tradition, which goes something like this:
Five minutes before the store opens, the lights come up. On the public address system on Tuesday morning, a jazz combo was gliding through the Gershwin tune “Somebody Loves Me.”

That faded down, and out. There was a respectful pause before the orchestra struck up “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then the sound system went back to soft jazz as the shoppers streamed down the finally open aisles.
It's a small thing, perhaps, but in an age when people are sometimes uncomfortable with expressions of patriotism, it's a good one.

And you have to read the article to the very end before the inevitable New York doubt creeps in. The last person interviewed for the story says it's inappropriate in a commercial venue.
But Patty Kahr, on her way to check on alterations to a dress she had bought to wear to a wedding, said it was “inappropriately patriotic for a commercial setting.”

“I think that kind of patriotism should be voluntary, not enforced,” she said. “You expect it at a sporting event, but when you’re going shopping for clothing?”
Because, as we all know, it's OK to be patriotic when 300-pound linemen are crushing the quarterback, but we certainly wouldn't want it to interfere with shopping for a dress.

Click here to read more . . .

Ending the moratorium on the death penalty

Capital punishment in Maryland has been on a see-saw of late. With Governor O'Malley in Annapolis, it's tended to be a little more saw than see.

Kenny Burns writes that Governor O'Malley is about to take steps to restore the death penalty. O'Malley is not enthusiatic about it, but he's proceeding, anyway, which is far more than I expected.

Kenny cites a report on WBAL that explains:

Governor Martin O'Malley says he will reluctantly move forward with getting Maryland's execution protocol approved.

Maryland's highest court ruled in late 2006 that the state could not hold another lethal injection until a legislative committee gives proper approval to the rules about how executions are carried out.

O'Malley is adamantly opposed to capital punishment, and has waited to see how legislation to repeal the death penalty fared in the General Assembly. Repeal legislation has failed two years in a row.

O'Malley says he won't stand in the way of the law and will direct the state's corrections agency to start developing the new protocols.
Of course, actually carrying out the punishment is all somewhat theoretical, because Maryland has few inmates on death row, and the largest jurisdictions in the state are reluctant to bring capital cases. There have been only two executions in Maryland since 1998 (and one in November 1998).

Click here to read more . . .

May 25, 2008

Note from the underground

I know no one's surprised that I haven't posted anything over this three-day weekend. But I wanted to let you know that, aside from socializing today, I was busy formatting the hard drive on one of my computers and reinstalling Windows XP.

If you've never formatted and reinstalled, you don't know the pleasures you're missing. Why, just this evening, I had a chance to speak to Microsoft's representative in Redmond, India. I love the Indians, but he was just a little hard to understand. See, I had to call to activate the Windows software. My Dell restoration CD didn't boot, so I used a freestanding Windows CD I'd bought for another computer. When I tried to activate using the Windows key for the computer's OEM installation, it didn't work. It took me a while to explain this to the Microsoft guy, but finally, he read off the nine sets of six digits that allowed me to activate. Approximate elapsed time: 12 minutes. But a mere fragment of the time needed for the overall project.

I've given up for the night. Tomorrow morning is software installation time, followed by restoring my settings, followed by restoring my backed up files. All I can say is that I once had to restore a clone of my drive to a new hard drive, and it was a heck of a lot easier.

UPDATE (5/26): With time off to go the baseball game today (and get sunburned as all get-out), I'm about 95% of the way to restoring the computer. So I guess that means posting will resume soon.

UPDATE (5/27): Finally done with the tinkering. Let me say, though, that the unsung hero of this was Acronis TrueImage, a backup program that lets you clone your hard drive. I did a clone before formatting, and TrueImage allowed me to pick and choose what I wanted to restore. You still have to install software from scratch (assuming you're not simply reimaging your drive, which would defeat the purpose, anyway), but being able to select some file and not others, including the image on my wife's desktop out of gazillions of others, was a blessing.

Click here to read more . . .

May 22, 2008

Obama and the condo wars

Right after the 2004 presidential election, I wrote a piece that discussed the fact that a surprising number of Jews seemed to have voted for Bush but were keeping quiet about it. It was called "The hidden Jewish vote."

An article in the New York Times today (hat tip: Son of the Right Hand) makes me wonder whether things are getting even more complicated this year. Quoting a number of older Jewish voters in Florida, the article talks about the problems Obama may have with these people, especially because of fears about his views on Israel.

Ace is really peeved about it, by the way. He makes the valid point that the article minimizes the Jewish voters' concerns about Obama's foreign policy and blames the negative views toward Obama on racism and false rumors about him. I would not deny, of course, that there are some older Jews who hold unfair negative opinions of blacks. But in fairness to them, it's based on fear and the generalization of particular experiences, rather than on conventional hatred. The man in the article whose mother was "mugged and beaten by a black assailant" is a good example. (I'm not trying to explain it away, just to explain it.)

But I look at the article through a different lens.

If you read the piece I wrote on the hidden Jewish vote, you'll see a discussion of what Judith Weiss called "the condo wars." In 2004, this same group of older Jewish voters was fighting with each other, and the hostility directed at Bush voters was boiling over. Some of these Bush voters decided to shut up about it to avoid the hostility.

What interested me about today's article is that these older Jewish Floridians were more willing to discuss in public the possibility that they would commit heresy by voting for the Republican. And one line, directed by one woman at her daughter, an Obama supporter is even more interesting:

“Aunt Claudie will kill you!” hissed her mother, Linda Poznak, 47, who said she would vote for Mr. McCain.
So now we have family pressure to vote for a Republican? Wow! It's all the more surprising, because the Democrat is (or likely will be) a black man. Bradley Effect, anyone?

I suspect, though, when all is said and done in November, most of these folks will vote for Obama. It's just too difficult for them to change.

The Times article concludes by mentioning their congressman Robert Wexler's vow to "convert voters one mah-jongg table at a time." Wexler is an Obama supporter. But the article finishes on a note that's too optimistic for me: "Still, Mr. Wexler admits, he has not yet been able to persuade his in-laws to vote for Mr. Obama."

It doesn't say they're supporting McCain, just that they're not supporting Obama.

UPDATE: Soccer Dad shares Ace's annoyance.

Click here to read more . . .

May 21, 2008

Remaking TV dinners

With HDTVs now selling for upwards of $1000, it shouldn't surprise you that in some places TV dinners can sell for $30. (via Fark)

At least, they can if you eat at a toney restaurant at the Regency Hotel in New York. (Of course, in New York, it can cost you more than that to park your car for three hours, as I found out last week. So $30 is downright cheap for dinner.)

Now, you're probably thinking: "This sounds fantastic. I've been dying to eat a TV dinner since about 1964. I loved the gravy that came with the turkey, because I used the leftovers for wallpaper paste. What would I get for my $30?" Well, here's one option:

Pot Roast slow-cooked in Burgundian Pinot Noir. The eye of the roast is served with a trio of baby potatoes, including purple Peruvian, Russian banana and red bliss. Side dishes: Red cabbage made in a blend of red vinegar, brown sugar and fresh steamed broccoli. Dessert is Vahlrona chocolate pudding with a touch of whipped cream.
You can see the two others by clicking here and clicking on the other images at the bottom.

If you want to reminisce about the Swanson's TV dinners of the 1950s, try the official website here. And this video is apparently a Swanson TV commercial, though I'm not sure from when. I'd guess well after the 1950s.

Click here to read more . . .

Visitor of the day -- 5/21

I thought the man wrote only nine symphonies. As my grandmother used to say, "This I never heard of."

Click here to read more . . .

May 20, 2008

Terribly sorry

A relative of mine who undoubtedly would prefer to remain anonymous sent me a link to this e-card site called ""

I'd never heard of it, so I had to check it out. You know, e-cards are actually good when you're too late (or, in my case, too lazy) to get a real card. (If you asked Mrs. Attila, she'd agree with that analysis. She does the card shopping, even for my side of the family, and tells me with regret that she's an enabler.) E-cards are also good to send to people in other countries, like my anonymous relative.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yeah. When I went to the site, the first card that popped up was in the category of "confessions." It said, "I did shameful things at the Gay Pride Parade." Yeesh!

When I went back to the site, however, I came upon the category "apology." If you click on the category, you get a bunch of options. My personal favorite was: "Sorry my orgasm terrifed your neighbors."

Although I have to admit that "Sorry you were wrongfully convicted and jailed for 15 years" was a close second.

Finally, before posting this, I had to check out the "breakup" category. Not as good as I'd expected, but I did like this: "I know we haven't met but I think we should stop seeing each other."

Click here to read more . . .

May 19, 2008

Follow-up: The Woodstock of the 21st century

If the New York Times article is accurate, yesterday's vegetarian march in New York did not turn out to be the Woodstock of the 21st Century, as its organizer claimed it would.

But at least there was no violence.

The parade’s participants wended their way peacefully through Greenwich Village to Washington Square Park, led by a seven-foot-tall pea pod and an outsize carrot, who would later marry onstage in a faux ceremony. A giant pink replica of a human colon, replete with polyps and a sullied colostomy bag, brought up the rear.
That's funny; usually it's the gluteus maximus that brings up the rear. Anyway, it was supposed to be a celebration, but somehow, these guys are always the victim.
The parade arrived at Washington Square Park about 1 p.m. Vegan jerky sticks were passed about, and a costume competition was held. One of the winners was Bex Vargas, an artist who lives in Queens and was dressed as a head of broccoli. Ms. Vargas, 26, had brought the costume in a bag. Once offstage, she admitted that she was exhausted and yearned to go home, but feared that her costume would invite harassment on the subway. "I don’t know if I’ll even fit through the turnstile," she said.
But for me, the highlight was the appearance of vegetarian Bernie "Make My Day" Goetz appealing for kindness to animals: "Mr. Goetz said he lamented people's 'distant, shallow and bad' attitudes toward animals. 'The world is a deader place because of mankind's relationship with animals,' he said."

Thus, the image of the day, from the Times's site:

The caption reads: "Bernard Goetz, right, who was known as a subway vigilante in ’84, helping a fellow vegetarian." How dumb does the Times think we are if it feels it has to tell us which one is which?

Click here to read more . . .

Maryland blogger profile: Blogger1947

[Editor's note: This is the first of what I hope will be a series of profiles of members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance. For those of you who are old enough to remember, think "Dewar's Profiles."]

Blog name: Blogger1947

Location: Gwynn Oak, Maryland

Handle: Stan M

Real Name: Stan Modjesky

Age: 60, but feeling like 18

Political Orientation: Rabidly libertarian (lowercase "L," please!)

Favorite Major Blog: Page Nine (Alan Korwin as The Uninvited Ombudsman)

Favorite Philosophers: L. Neil Smith; Jeff Cooper; Eric Hoffer

Favorite Musician: Every great trumpeter in history

My Drink: Rum, the darker the better. Beer, ditto.

Favorite Foods: Anything spicy

Automobile: 3/4 ton Chevy Suburban, unapologetically

Hobbies: Music (trumpeter for 50+ years--traditional jazz is my favorite style); RV travel; target shooting

Reason for Blogging: To retain my sanity. There is more room outside my head for this stuff than inside. Once something is in writing, I can quit obssessing about it and go on to some new obssession.

Top Three Blog Posts: "Some Chuckles from the County Courthouse," "Obama sucks-up to George Soros," "Bally Fitness Bankrupt?"

Third-Party Quote about Me: "Often irritated, never duplicated." (courtesy of Don & Meg Jernigan, Shreveport, LA)

Approach to Life: Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.

Click here to read more . . .

May 18, 2008

Barack Obama responds to the Gettysburg Address

Obama: I'm appalled at the fear-mongering that Lincoln is using to pursue his dishonest and divisive attacks. When he says "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," is he suggesting that if I were elected, I would somehow end government of, by, and for the people? Well, let me say this. If Mr. Lincoln wants to have a debate about his abuse of governmental powers, and his continued pursuit of failed policies in this illegal and unconstitutional war, I'm ready to have that debate right now and every day until the election. And I will win that debate. [ * ]

UPDATE: Obama responds to Winston Churchill following the British evacuation from Dunkirk.

. . . and I'm particularly outraged by his statement that "we shall never surrender." It is completely unjustified to suggest that I am in any way in favor of surrender . . . .

UPDATE: Obama responds to FDR.

Obama: . . . and isn't it more than ironic that Mr. Roosevelt says that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," when at the same time he's ratcheting up the fear by speaking of "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance," all the while implying that my election would lead to an increase in terror . . . .


EXTRA: I remember that one. (It reminds see-dubya of an old Bill Cosby routine.)

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 33rd edition

The 33rd edition of the Carnival of Maryland is up at The Greenbelt. There are quite a few interesting posts, so click on the first link to see.

The 34th edition of the Carnival is scheduled for Sunday, June 1, to be hosted at Baltimore History Examiner.

Send in your submissions by using the Blog Carnival form.

Click here to read more . . .

May 15, 2008

The Woodstock of the 21st century?

I was in New York City today, and I back now, so regrettably I won't be there on Sunday to see the first Veggie Pride Parade through Greenwich Village, which I read about in the NY Sun.

In a kind of irrational exuberance I attribute to an out-of-control PR team, organizers are referring to this as the "Woodstock of the 21st Century." Or perhaps I should say "organizer" -- a woman with the very veggie-appropriate name, Pamela Rice. "Give Peas a Chance," she's saying. (That's not my joke; it's hers.)

If you're in the New York area on Sunday, I recommend you go there to watch the festivities, even if they're not quite Woodstockian in scope. Here's a sampling:

After speeches and awards for best slogan and costume, the afternoon will culminate in a wedding of two mascots: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’s orange-clad Chris P. Carrot will marry VivaVegie Society’s 7-foot-tall Penelo Pea Pod. Ms. Rice said Chris P. Carrot was "finally settling down." She mused whether the pair would need a marriage license.
Whatever you do on Sunday, don't miss the music.
One specially prepared tune will be "Get Your Green On," which she described as a rock song with a "funk disco vibe." The official song for the event, it begins: "I like vegetables/ I like fruits/ Their sexy colors/ And their healthy attributes."
If you think this kind of wackiness can't be topped, I'd advise you to consider what the marchers might be chanting as they march: "What do we want? Vegan options in our schools! When do we want it? Now!" It's got a certain rhythm to it, doesn't it?

But please, do cut them some slack. I remind you, beer is vegan.

UPDATE (5/19): A follow-up.

Click here to read more . . .

May 14, 2008

Ball four

Good news for the Orioles: Governor O'Malley has signed a bill declaring that walking is the official state exercise of Maryland.

Bonus question: Is the official "state" exercise of Ontario jay-walking?

Bonus question number two: After you've partaken of the official state dessert of Maryland, don't you need a somewhat more strenuous form of official state exercise to work it off?

Bonus question number three: Shouldn't corruption be the official state exercise?

Bonus question number four: If the Maryland legislature spent more time passing bills like this, and less time raising our taxes and interfering with our lives, wouldn't we all be better off?

Click here to read more . . .

May 13, 2008

Yale goes to court

I'm not sure why, but I find it amusing that our high-minded solons of academia -- those in the Ivy League, in particular -- speak of grand ideals, yet when push comes to shove, they're not above playing a little hardball.

Some quick background: In 2005, a Korean woman named Shin Jeong-ah was hired in the art-history department at Dongguk University in South Korea. When officials there got a little nervous about her bona fides, and especially about her Yale degree, they sent a letter to the Yale Graduate School, enclosing a purported letter from Yale that attested to her degree, and they asked Yale for confirmation that Shin had actually received a doctorate. The reality was that she had not; the letter attesting to the degree was a forgery. For some reason, however -- Yale now calls it an "administrative error" committed in reliance on the forged Yale letter -- the associate dean of the graduate school faxed back a confirmation that the degree was valid. (There's a little more background in a short piece in the Yale Alumni Magazine. My favorite part: Yale denied that its own confirming fax was authentic until the associate dean discovered a copy of it two months later.)

Fast forward: In March, Dongguk filed a $50 million lawsuit against Yale, with the main damages being loss of reputation.

Last week, Yale moved to dismiss the complaint. Although the AP account of Yale's court papers is not terribly clear, the article leads with this statement:

Details of a sex scandal involving a top South Korean official and an art history professor, who lied about having a Yale degree, will be used by the Ivy League school to defend itself against a federal lawsuit filed by the South Korean university that hired the professor.
Don't mess with Yale.

Here are Yale's arguments, according to the AP article:
In court papers Thursday, Yale said the scandal involving Shin and a former aid to South Korea's president goes to the heart of those charges. Yale is seeking to get the lawsuit dismissed.

A South Korean court sentenced Shin, 36, in March to 18 months in jail for faking her Yale doctorate and embezzling official museum funds, a court said.

Shin was convicted for using her fake degree to become an art history professor at Dongguk and acquire financial support from businesses for an art museum she was working for, said Kim Myung-su, a spokesman at the Seoul Western District Court.

The court also handed down a suspended one-year jail term to a 59-year-old former presidential aide, Byeon Yang-kyoon, with whom Shin was romantically linked.

Shin and Byeon made headlines last year after Byeon allegedly used his influence to get Shin hired by Dongguk University. He was forced to step down as an aide to then-President Roh Moo-hyun because of the scandal.

Byeon was ordered to conduct 160 hours of community service for exercising his influence to provide state tax benefits to a Buddhist temple founded by a former Dongguk University official who helped hire Shin as a professor, according to Kim.
Yale insists that Dongguk kept Shin on until way past her story's sell-by date: "Dongguk fired Shin on July 20, 2007, 'long after Shin's lies unraveled,' Yale's attorney, wrote in court papers."

The moral of all of this is: If you ever hear someone say "it's all about sex," don't believe him. Yale knows better: "Yale says Shin's fraud, 'Dongguk's involvement in it and reaction to it' and Byeon's conviction 'will be at the heart of this case.'"

Click here to read more . . .

May 12, 2008

Trends in bakery goods

Mmmmm, braaaaiiiiinnnnns!!! In bread shaped like bruised or battered heads.

Click here to read more . . .

Not enough and too much

Don't blame me for mentioning this plastic-surgery stuff. Blame ABC News (which assigned it to its "ABC News Medical Unit"). And Fark.

Before you click on the first link, read all the way through. Here's the key paragraph from the ABC News report:

"Every night I was taking three extra-strength Tylenol because my back was hurting so bad, and by the middle of the night I'd be sore again," she recalls. "I wasn't sleeping because I was hurting so badly. And in the morning I had to get two children together and get myself ready for work. And I'd get to work, and by two my back hurt so badly I could barely sit at my desk and work."
This is the way ABC News tries to make a serious story out of all of this. And I hope you'll excuse the gratuitous photo that ABC News has placed strategically near the top of the first page.

Oh, yeah, in order to get my flurry of Google hits, two words: Sheyla Hershey. They happen to be the first two words of the ABC News article, so it turns out even the big guys are trying to suck in traffic.

UPDATE: Oh, my! I just read this, and that last line is awful. I didn't mean it that way. Really. The big guys are folks like ABC News, and suck in traffic means writing about things that will pull in links and hits from search engines.

Click here to read more . . .

May 11, 2008

When rich, elitist, out-of-touch New Yorkers vote

When rich, elitist, out-of-touch New Yorkers have a summer home, it's as often in the Hamptons as not. So it will not surprise you that a local boutique in East Hampton, which sells plastic cups embossed with presidential candidates' names on them, is keeping a vote tally based on cup sales.

Since the photo at the left was taken, the tally has been revised to Obama 637, Clinton 329, and McCain 89. Yes, you have that right. It is the Hamptons, after all.

McCain is actually doing even worse than it appears among the REOOTNY set:

Jane Maynard, a supporter of Senator McCain, did not like the look of the numbers last weekend, so she bought 26 McCain 2008 cups.

“I thought McCain needed a boost,” she said. “There are a lot of limousine liberals out there.”
This is a point on which everyone seems to agree. As the article explains:
On Saturday afternoon, Jean Vanderbilt, the third wife of the late Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, dropped in to invite Valerie Smith, an owner of the shop and Ms. Hoagland’s daughter, to a Kentucky Derby party. Ms. Vanderbilt said she had sent some Obama cups to her friends Benjamin M. Rosen, a founder of Compaq computer, and his wife, Donna Rosen. “This is strong Obama country,” Ms. Vanderbilt said.
It is. No doubt, it is.

Click here to read more . . .

May 09, 2008

Visitor of the day -- 5/9

Yes, it happens to the best of us when we get older, and to some of us sooner than others, if you catch my, er, drift.

Click here to read more . . .

May 08, 2008

The Hillary indictment, second time as farce

Back in 1996, when the Clinton re-election campaign was about to start, there were rumors that Hillary was going to be indicted in the Whitewater affair. Needless to say, I lurched into gear and started making jokes about it. What was the re-election campaign slogan going to be? "Buy one, set one free." How about this: "My husband went to Washington, and all I got was this lousy ankle bracelet."

I repeated the whole routine almost a year and a half ago here.

All of us pulling for Hillary now -- whether as part of Operation Chaos or just in our own private operations -- are fully aware that she's as crooked as a three-dollar bill. No big dealie. She's still better than Obama, hands down.

So this morning's news that "[a] decade before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton admitted fudging the truth during the presidential campaign, federal prosecutors quietly assembled hundreds of pages of evidence suggesting she concealed information and misled a federal grand jury about her work for a failing Arkansas savings and loan at the heart of the Whitewater probe, according to once-secret documents that detail the internal debates over whether she should have faced criminal charges," is not really news.

The only interesting thing about it is this:

Ordinarily, such files containing grand jury evidence and prosecutors' deliberations are never made public. But the estate of Sam Dash, a lifelong Democrat who served as the ethics adviser to Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr, donated his documents from the infamous 1990s investigation to the Library of Congress after his 2004 death, unwittingly injecting into the public domain much of the testimony and evidence gathered against Mrs. Clinton from former law partners, White House aides and other witnesses.
And according to this, via HotAir, it appears that some of this information is contained in the 1,200-page opposition research on Hillary prepared by the Republican National Committee.

I suppose it's increasingly unlikely they're going to have the opportunity to use it, but never fear -- their book on Obama is 1,000 pages long.

Click here to read more . . .

Bad karma

Public service announcement: If you're a motorcycle rider and you crash into a police car, it's wise not to have just (a) flipped the bird at a police cruiser and (b) popped a wheelie before speeding off, especially when your (c) motorcycle is unlicensed.

For beginners, we recommend no more than two out of three.

Click here to read more . . .

Productive aging and unproductive speaking

The Jewish Council for the Aging had its annual dinner last week, honoring Phil Donahue with the "Productive Aging Award."

Now, if you have even a clue about Donahue's career, including the fact (announced by JCA at the link above) that he was "the Executive Producer of Body of War," a documentary about "Tomas Young, a severely disabled Iraq War veteran and his turbulent postwar adjustments," you might think it would be appropriate for a non-political organization to ask the man to keep his speech non-political.

Then again, in the Jewish community, as in so many sectors of the left wing in this country, no one has ever spoken to a person who didn't agree with the whole litany of left-wing dogma. It's the old virtual echo chamber out there.

So Donahue did what any sentient being would have predicted: He used his speech at JCA to deliver a 45-minute tirade against Bush, the war, and today's leadership generally. The news article in the Washington Jewish Week is not online, but here is the key paragraph:

In his remarks, Donahue decried President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq, blasted those who call war critics and other dissenters unpatriotic, lamented that news media have cut foreign news bureaus, complained that the Jeffersonian ideal of democracy is "running off track" and wondered if today's leadership would support the Bill of Rights.
The article says that Donahue received a standing ovation when presented with the award, but "mild applause" at the end of his tirade (possibly because the people in attendance were impatient for dessert). The article also portentously notes that Donahue "did not mention the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

The other cute little nugget in the article is that Donahue traced his awakening to a 1960s meeting with Noam Chomsky, "who told him, 'Never trust the state.'"

So the question is: Negligence or recklessness on the part of JCA? I vote for the latter. I figure what most likely happened is that they decided to honor Donahue, and no one worried about the politics, because they all are in basic agreement with him. But they probably just didn't expect him to say publicly at the dinner what they all say privately.

From my perspective, as a minor contributor to JCA, there are plenty of organizations out there in need of money that don't give honors to loud-mouthed left-wing fools. And I intend to give the money that I used to give to JCA to one of those organizations.

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May 07, 2008

Bill Clinton responds to the New York Times

UPDATE (5/11): Bill Clinton takes no responsibility for Pinch Sulzberger's separation from his wife.

For previous Clinton photo comics:

Bill Clinton gives an interview

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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May 05, 2008

Goooood eeeeevening!

Via the indispensable InventorSpot, we learn of one of the oddest ways to furnish your living room: Coffin couches.

On its Web site, the company states: "Our niche happens to be 18- gauge steel coffins which we collected from local funeral homes primarily in Southern California. It is a health and safety law that funeral homes cannot resell used coffins to the general public. We approached funeral directors with the attitude of recycling. These coffins are not used for burial due to slight cosmetic inconsistencies. They are reconfigured and modified resulting in a finished product - a unique one a kind coffin couch."
There are a couple of these couches pictured at the link, plus more at the company's own site. My personal favorite is this one, not because the Dodgers are my team, but just because:

Here's the rear view, just so you have the coffin image in mind:

Pall bearers cost extra.

Bonus: Also from InventorSpot: "Bizarre Breast Puddings From Japan Come in Boob Shaped Cups."

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May 04, 2008

Carnival of Maryland -- 32nd edition

The 32nd edition of the Carnival of Maryland is up at Inside Charm City. Check out the most recent Maryland posts by clicking the link.

The 33rd edition of the Carnival is scheduled for Sunday, May 18, to be hosted either here at Pillage Idiot or at another member blog to be named later.

Send in your submissions by using the Blog Carnival form.

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A new plan for reforming government

Any of you getting cranky about a bloated government unable to be reformed? Feeling frustrated with your inability to do anything about it? Losing hope because your efforts to bring government back down to a reasonable size have failed?

Consider this idea:

It was a highly public version of a drama that has touched many families. Former Maryland governor William Donald Schaefer, 86, famously stubborn and growing increasingly frail, refused to move out of his Pasadena townhouse.

After a fall in March, some friends and associates worried that he was no longer safe living on his own.

So longtime aide Lainy LeBow-Sachs devised a ruse. While she kept Schaefer busy over a long lunch at a restaurant last month, movers descended on the townhouse, packed up all his belongings and reinstalled them in an apartment at the Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville.
Has anyone got John McCain's phone number? And no, I was thinking of giving him advice, not of moving him to a retirement home. (We'll do that after the election.)

Note: Schaefer's friends must have read Christopher Buckley's The White House Mess.

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May 01, 2008

Drinking their breakfast

This is truly a two-DUDE story.

Nine students were caught yesterday in the gymnasium of a Montgomery County middle school in possession of a noxious brew, police said: vodka, wine, tequila and rum, mixed with various fruit juices and concealed in water and soft-drink bottles.
Of these nine students, eight of them seventh-graders and one a sixth-grader. So they were what? 11 or 12 years old?

That's the first DUDE.

Now, get this: They were caught drinking this brew the first thing in the morning.
[Carol] Weiss [the principal] said two students alerted her at 7:40 a.m. that they suspected that a group of students were drinking alcohol in the bleachers while waiting for classes to start. She rounded them up and alerted police.
DUDE the second.

That's some pretty serious stuff to be downing before classes start. The principal has recommended suspension or expulsion. I'd throw in a little A.A. for good measure. These kids have some serious issues they'd better deal with right away.

(Note: If you don't know what the "DUDE" thing is all about, you're obviously not reading HotAir often enough.)

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