Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Outrage Over Craig Arrest is Misplaced

As pressure mounts on Larry Craig to resign and two republican Senators seeking re-election make a show of giving his donations to their campaigns to charity, it seems everyone is washing their hands of the Senator from Idaho.

He's accused of behavior unbecoming a member of the Senate but what behavior is that? The police officer that arrested Sen. Craig says he exhibited signs that he was soliciting sex in a public restroom. Did the police officer ever say that Craig asked him for sex? No. He didn't wait for that.

Let's examine what led to his arrest. Police Sgt. Dave Karsnia said Craig exhibited behavior in the men's restroom that was "often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct". What behaviors are these?

Craig placed his suitcase near the stall door. Sgt. Karsnia said Craig's foot touched his under the stall and that Craig's hand came down below the stall and he moved it about.

Then of course, he must have approached the officer or asked him for sex, right? Nope. At that point the officer showed him a badge and told him he was under arrest.

I don't know what Senator Craig was doing in the stall or what any of this behavior may or may not mean. No-one can know that, the officer didn't wait to find out, he simply arrested him based on his opinion of what Craig was doing. That's alright, isn't it?

They don't arrest prostitutes until they actually proposition an undercover cop, do they? Is standing on a street corner in tacky clothes enough to arrest a woman for soliciting? No, it isn't and neither should the placement of your luggage or someone observing your hand by the stall floor be enough to arrest someone for soliciting sex.

Think about it. They arrested a U.S. Senator for solicitation in an airport restroom. Face it, if the police could have made the charge of solicitation stick, they would never have agreed to a charge of "disorderly conduct".

Maybe Senator Craig did mean all those things as signals for sex, maybe and maybe not. It doesn't matter. There isn't enough proof here to convict anyone. So, where is the ACLU? Where is the outrage that anyone could be arrested on such flimsy and circumstantial, not to mention subjective, evidence?

Well, those people who cry out against the violation of civil rights don't show up for Republicans. Or didn't you know that?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Home Improvements Land Man in Jail

A California man has been given a jail sentence after completing some home improvement projects. The city said he failed to get final permits and a judge has sentenced him to six months in jail.

This article tells the tale. You won't believe this.

It all started with a fence in disrepair behind Francisco Linares new house. He asked the city of Rolling Hills Estates, CA to repair it but they told him that it was on his property and his responsibility. After Linares completed repairs, the city changed its mind and told him that the fence he built was on city property and so had been built illegaly.

Then the city started in earnest, citing Linares for violations for plumbing, building a retaining wall and other home improvements. Linares says he filed applications for permits, the city says they were incomplete and because they didn't get the city's approval, Linares is going to jail.

Celebrity bimbo Linsdsay Lohan serves one day for DWI and Nicole Ritchie serves about an hour. But if you are a law-abiding citizen trying to provide a decent home for your family and get caught up in red tape, you get six months.

It's a sad commentary on the justice system, the system that limits property rights for homeowners and just some really baffling and punitive decisions from the city.

I guess that it is still true - you can't fight City Hall.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Iran Bans Fashionable Hairstyles

Iranian officials are cracking down on crimes of fashion, closing down beauty salons and barbershops who provide decadent western haircuts and tattoos to their patrons.

This follows the recent dress code enforcement by police against women whose head scarves and clothing are too revealing. The rules are explained to women who violate the code by female police officers who direct them to a bus that will take them for educational instruction.

Iran's young men though, seem to be taken with heavy metal, rap and the newest fashions in hairstyles, sporting spikes and mohawks. They say they find the styles on the internet or in magazines.

But the police are not impressed with the new generation's sense of style. Per a directive from the police to the barbers' union enforcement of the uni-brow look is underway with the banning of eyebrow-plucking for men. The directive also bans gel, long hairstyles, spiky hair and any use of cosmetics.

Watch this clip of a reporter asking young Iranian men about their hairstyles. The images of KISS in the background are accompanied by a narrator's voice telling the viewers that the hairstyles and makeup originate with devil worshippers which are supported by the capitalist US government.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Is the Internet Dead?

If you're reading this, you are obviously far behind on the news. The Internet is "dead and boring" according to entrepreneur Mark Cuban in an interview with

Cuban made millions with Internet-based businesses then sold out and bought some less technical holdings like a basketball team. He is currently launching his newest venture, HDnet, a high-definition television network and a company called 2929 Entertainment, that distributes movies and owns a chain of theaters.

Cuban is a smart cookie, no doubt. A smart cookie knows that if people spend too much time on the Internet, they spend less time watching TV and going to the movies. But is the Internet dead, or is Cuban just trying to kill off its appeal so that his ventures make more money?

Just one important note: the interview with Cuban is on the Internet. Doh!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mattel to Blame for Tainted Toys Claims Chinese Official

China is blaming Mattel, Inc, for being partially responsible for the recall of millions of toys tainted with lead paint. Li Zhuoming, executive vice chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Toy Industry Association said that Mattel did not do its job in quality inspections.

Basically then, what he is saying is that Mattel didn't watch them closely enough, otherwise they never would have got away with using cheap leaded paint in the manufacture of the toys.

Considering the number of recalls and problems with Chinese imports here and around the world, it seems there aren't enough watchdogs to go around. Animal food laced with melamine, blankets treated with formaldehyde, poison pyjamas and tainted toothpaste from China have all made the news recently.

Rollo expects a revised list of companies that failed to keep a close enough eye on Chinese production methods any day now.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hundreds Show Up to Melt Swiss Glacier

Nearly 600 protestors, at the behest of Greenpeace and photographer Spencer Tunick, showed up on a Swiss glacier to highlight the dangers of global warming.

Tunick is the photographer who has become famous for gathering crowds of nude people in public places and taking photos of the spectacle. They are calling this art. There used to be another name for it. And a fine.

Tunick directed the crowd to formations, including lying down on the glacier. Think about that, hundreds of warm bodies lying down on something made of ice. Hmmm... maybe humans are causing the glaciers to melt.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is PETA Insane?

The people at PETA are completely delusional. Ignoring the blatant militant message of a children's show whose message is violence and martyrdom, they are protesting animal cruelty. The show is on a station run by Hamas, the ruling faction in the Gaza strip.

The Hamas children's show "Tomorrow's Pioneers" features a sweet-faced 11-year-old girl who proclaims she would like to be a martyr. For several months the show featured a character who looked and sounded very much like Mickey Mouse and spouted militant viewpoints. Farfour the mouse is no longer on the show since an episode in June that featured him being beaten to death by an Israeli interrogator. Great children's fare, huh?

Farfour's replacement is Nahoul, a huge but somewhat plush bee. Nahoul has got his share of attention for a recent episode where he throws rocks at lions in a cage at the zoo and swings cats by their tails. The young host of the show says not to do as Nahoul, but PETA doesn't think that is a strong enough warning.

PETA spokesman Martin Mersereau said that animal abuse should not be overlooked even in places where violence against humans is common.

The little girl hosting the show encourages children to resistance and violence and speaks of the glories of being a martyr. The animal characters on the show spout militant messages and promote violence against other humans. But PETA ignores all that, all that is alright. The real problem is that the militant bee character mistreated a kittycat.

Nevermind that the point of the show is to teach jihad to children and encourage them in violence. That's okay, just don't tease any animals.

Does anyone else think the people at PETA are insane?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Man Kidnaps, Tries to Rob Nun

Some people are too stupid to be criminals.

Police in Madison, WI, say that an armed man broke into a nun's home and tried to rob her. The nun, who lives on St. James Catholic Church property, tried to explain to the perpetrator that she was a nun and had no money. Nevertheless, the man made her drive him around in her car for an hour before he realized he wasn't going to get any money from her.

The 61-year-old nun dropped the man off after he gave up on his attempt to rob her. Local residents assisted police in locating the suspect, who apparently didn't know that nuns have no worldly possessions.

Source WMTV

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eggplant Contains Message from God

Sometimes, the news is a religious experience.

Felicia Teske, a God-fearing woman in Boothwyn, PA, got a bit of a surprise when she cut open an eggplant for supper and found a message from the Big Guy.

Spelled out in the seeds of the eggplant slice were the letters G-O-D.

Felicia found the message consoling at a time when she is mourning the passing of some family members.

It must be very comforting to have the creator of the entire universe personally take note of your sufferings. And like any creative artist, He's bound to give in to the urge to sign something now and again, just to let us know He's still around.

But an eggplant?

Why not the Grand Canyon or a perfect rose? How about laying claim to the elegant stealth of the panther or the fact that bumblebees can fly in spite of the law of aerodynamics that proclaims they are just too heavy for their wing span?

Guess God works in mysterious ways.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

China Eyes the Moon

China has announced its intention of mapping every inch of the moon. The next phase of their space program will launch a lunar orbiter from which they will take 3D photos of the moon's surface. The orbiter will also carry a vehicle that will traverse the moon, charting its surface.

This makes Rollo wonder if China has plans to claim the moon just as Russia has recently claimed the North Pole. Uninhabitable places appear to be high on the list for acquisition these days. The future is not in real estate, it seems, it's in mineral rights.

Canada and Denmark are both scrambling to dispute Russia's claim to the North Pole and establish their own. Canada appears closest and I think has a better claim to it but Denmark has a long history of tenacity in colonizing uninhabitable places. Look at Greenland. Russia might still just be stinging over that Alaska deal and trying to make up for that fiasco.

But the moon hasn't proven to be a gold mine of important minerals or resources and it isn't the easiest place to colonize since there's no air or water. So why is China so interested? Maybe it has something to do with their experiments in blowing up satellites with missiles.

Rollo thinks that since we landed there first, the US should claim the moon. After all, we've already established a golf course, haven't we?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Obesity Puts Strain on Mortuary Facilities

Australia is facing an epidemic of large proportions. In 2007, one third of corpses in Australia were classified as obese. The rise in the number of bodies classified as extra-large, is putting a strain on mortuary workers and causing concern about possible safety hazards.

Obese bodies are hard to move and too heavy for the standard trolleys and lifting hoists. Mortuary workers could suffer more on-the-job injuries as a result. Australia may find itself having to build "plus size" mortuaries.

As Rollo sees it, the problem has only two possible solutions: reverse the trend by encouraging healthier weights and lifestyles; or, prohibit fat people from dying.

The second solution, of course, presents numerous difficulties. Since fat people are at higher risk for ailments such as diabetes and heart disease, it might be impossible to prevent them from dying. And even if you could, it might be construed as discrimination and there would be groups of overweight citizens demanding to be allowed an equal right to die.

The first solution then, sounds ideal - but is it? Healthier people are less likely to leave an overweight corpse behind, but then, they are also less likely to die in proportionate numbers. Mortuary workers would find their sales dropping off and the few corpses they did get in would be of the less healthy, large variety.

The one thing that the health officials seem to have overlooked is that everyone dies. Those who choose to work as caretakers of the bodies of those who have "passed over" must be prepared to keep the customer satisfied, regardless of size.

"Dying is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down."
Woody Allen

Obese Corpses Put Squeeze on Mortuaries

Monday, August 06, 2007

Rollo Joins myLot

Rollo did something unusual, he joined a community. That's a big step for someone who is generally a loner. But there are two things Rollo likes to do best, share his opinion and make money, and on MyLot he can do both.

MyLot is a community of people from all over the world who participate in discussions on hundreds of topics. Whatever your interests, you are sure to find people who share them.

MyLot pays participants for comments left on discussion threads and for discussions they start. Will you get rich? Probably not. But if you are like Rollo, you love to give your opinion and getting paid to do it makes it all the sweeter. Payments are sent via PayPal each month. Just for posting comments you can make a little pocket money, although if you put in the time, it might just be more lucrative.

Where else can you get paid to post your questions, thoughts and opinions? Check out MyLot. It might be for you.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

China Bans Reincarnation

The Chinese government not only wants complete control over the lives of its citizens, it wants control of their afterlives as well. China has instituted a new ban to prevent Tibet's living Buddhas from reincarnating without government permission.

The ban is aimed at preventing the reincarnation of the exiled Dalai Lama as well as limiting the number of living Buddhas, or tulkus, in an attempt to lessen the influence of religion over Tibet.

The Chinese government actually sent officials in 1995 to oversee the discovery of the true reincarnation of the last Pinchen Lama. The boy chosen has since disappeared.

Although the aim is prevent the promulgation of the buddhist religion inside Tibet and destroy its influence, the Chinese government, by regulating reincarnation has actually admitted that there is an afterlife, a position that would seem to be in conflict with the official atheist stance of the communist regime.

Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama. As such he is the Tibetan Head of State. He has been in exile since 1959.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Mind Reading for Babies

Italian scientists have discovered the amazing ability of infants to read minds. The Association for Psychological Science reports on the studies of Luca Surian, a psychologist at the University of Trento in Italy who conducted highly technical experiments utilizing 13-month-old infants and animated caterpillars.

Yes, that's right. Scientists deprived infants of regular fare like Sesame Street in favor of animation of caterpillars trying to find food behind one of two screens. In the animations, a human hand would place either a piece of cheese (yuck) or a red apple (yummy) behind a screen for the caterpillar to find. Quizzical looks on the faces of infants watching caterpillars going to the wrong screen (you dummies!) and ending up with the wrong food, clued Surian in right away.

See, the babies expected the caterpillars to watch for the hand and then know just where to go. This expectation that the caterpillar would utilize all information available to it, shows that babies develop a way of predicting behaviour at a very young age. These puzzled looks on the babies' faces were not, as you may suspect, indigestion or an editorial on the quality of programming available in the science department (where's Big Bird?) but rather is a rudimentary form of mind-reading. I suppose that reading a caterpillar's mind is rudimentary, as they tend not to have scintillating thought processes.

The truly amazing thing about this study is that it wasn't conducted at some prestigious US university and funded by our tax dollars. This is the kind of stuff the government loves.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Office Hazards

The big news for office workers this week is about the possible lung damage they can suffer by being exposed to laser jet printers. Apparently, the ultrafine dust of the toner can be emitted from the printer into the air and for those breathing it in, it's as dangerous as cigarette smoke.

A less noticed hazard at your desk could be the very real danger of being electrocuted by your computer. Most of know that our computers are powered by electriciy and should know not to take off the cover and work on it while it's powered on. But a student in Shanghai serves as a shocking warning to anyone foolish enough to go playing around the guts of the computer while 380 volts of electricity are coursing through its intestines.

Because he didn't want the computer to overheat, and he didn't want to run the air conditioning, this 20-year-old student removed the cover to the machine to help it cool more. Not running the air conditioning was a problem on more than one level. It was leading to both the computer and the student overheating. When his sweaty leg came in contact with the wiring, it sent a deadly charge through the man, which killed him.

So, some simple office safety rules:
1. spend the few bucks to keep the A/C on,
2. get your seat moved as far away from the printer as possible and/or don't breathe when collecting your printouts,
3. if you fail to observe #1, don't take the cover off your computer when you are sweating.
4. Take up something less dangerous than office work, like coal mining.

Sweaty Chinese Man Electrocuted by Computer

Particle Emissions from Laser Printers Might Pose Health Concern