Saturday, November 16, 2002

Food poisoning, courtesy of the United Food and Commercial Workers

Remember the UFCW? They're campaigning to unionize Wal-Mart.

They're also the creeps who endangered public health in their campaign to unionize the Food Lion grocery chain, with complicity of the ABC television network.

In view of that, shouldn't food processors that employ the UFCW be forced to disclose this fact? Perhaps we should boycott all food processing chains with UFCW labor in the name of public health.

At least we should be aware of the stakes. We know that the UFCW has shown that honesty and consumer health are secondary to their special interests, and that at least one TV network is willing to let them get away with it.

More corruption in the Nixon administration

Old news, right? You might have thought that the corruption was mostly in the Justice Department, but it ran far deeper. In particular, it reached Nixon's own creation, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

From here:
DDT was banned by an EPA administrator who ignored the decision of his own administrative law judge.

Extensive hearings on DDT before an EPA administrative law judge occurred during 1971-1972. The EPA hearing examiner, Judge Edmund Sweeney, concluded that "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man... DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man... The use of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."

[Sweeney, EM. 1972. EPA Hearing Examiner's recommendations and findings concerning DDT hearings, April 25, 1972 (40 CFR 164.32, 113 pages). Summarized in Barrons (May 1, 1972) and Oregonian (April 26, 1972)]
Overruling the EPA hearing examiner, EPA administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972. Ruckelshaus never attended a single hour of the seven months of EPA hearings on DDT. Ruckelshaus' aides reported he did not even read the transcript of the EPA hearings on DDT.

[Santa Ana Register, April 25, 1972]
After reversing the EPA hearing examiner's decision, Ruckelshaus refused to release materials upon which his ban was based. Ruckelshaus rebuffed USDA efforts to obtain those materials through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming that they were just "internal memos." Scientists were therefore prevented from refuting the false allegations in the Ruckelshaus' "Opinion and Order on DDT."
Wow, who would think even the Great Satan Richard Nixon would sink to this. Who did he think he was, Bill Clinton?

Much more is available at Jeff Kahane's Highered Intelligence, which does so have permalinks.

No, I've never kippled

But I do like Kipling (and reviving ancient jokes). And this Kipling poem, posted by boy wonder Ben Domenech, is a keeper.

Art criticism

By now I suppose everyone has seen the painting of the "martyr".

Suicide killers are a legitimate subject of art of course. But they should be presented in a way that is worthy of their conduct. Say, on all fours with his head in a just-used toilet in a Jewish prison while being sodomized by a pig.

Far be it from me to advocate violence. But it wouldn't bother me a bit if someone blew that picture up.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Any excuse to write about breasts

Another strange Google hit - "atomic power plant breasts". Two of my favorite things rolled into one. Hmm, maybe those nasty public relations problems would go away if nuke plants had breasts.

If you've driven through the north side of downtown Atlanta, you may have seen Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum just to the west at 10th Street. It is in the form of a flattish dome, with a cupola at the peak and another smaller cupola on top of that. Some years back the big part of the dome was painted an off-white color and the two other cupolas were a brownish color. No wonder some Tech students called it "the tit".

Woody Allen's movie "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)" had a sketch with a gigantic disembodied breast terrorizing the countryside.

Now I've provided a weird Google hit myself - I decided to see how big whale breasts are. They're mammals, doggone it, and imagine what a rack you could have with the water to support them. No luck. The closest I came was a reference to how strong the milk is - according to this a nursing calf gains 9 lbs per hour. According to a footnote in Moby Dick the stuff tastes pretty good too.

Enough - even I have to sleep sometime.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Jane Galt, dominatrix?

The Blogosphere's favorite MBA could easily have turned out differently:
"It's about having a good sense of humor, no matter what the situation," said Sandi Longhurst, 28, the Arizona State MBA who became a dominatrix for nine months.

Longhurst graduated from ASU in the spring of 2001 and was set to begin her job as a business and systems analyst that July. But before she started, the company went south, laying off numerous employees and pulling offers it had handed out. Longhurst's was among them.

So she moved to New York, enrolled in bartending school and hit the pavement interviewing. When that proved fruitless, she tried something … different.

"I started joking around that I would become a stripper," said Longhurst, who now lives in Salt Lake City and works for a radio station in sales and marketing. "Instead, I became a dominatrix. I thought it would be really funny. I figured, I'll just do the trashy adult industry."

She worked at a place called the Dungeon, making $80 to $210 an hour plus tips helping people live out their fetishes and S&M fantasies – though there was no sex involved and it was more theatrics and dirty talk than anything else, she said.

"That was my post-MBA experience," she said. "It was actually a lot of fun."
If Ms. Longhurst considered blogging or the Foreign Service, apparently she wasn't prepared to tell us.

Dollar games

Once in a while in my change I'll get a dollar with a message written or stamped on it. It beats a message in a bottle I guess, but I don't think it'll catch on with advertisers for a while.

Hmm. Imagine advertising on currency. I wonder how much marketers would be willing to pay for something like that. I'm sure someone would do it. I'd think the main substantive objection would be about potential for counterfeiting.

Maybe nanotechnology would provide a way around that. Imagine images changing on the currency, powered by the heat of your hand. Or have I read too much science fiction lately?

Down a few rungs on the technology/currency/entertainment hierarchy is Where's George. I found out about this one when I got a marked-up dollar bill in my change. Anyway, the idea is that you're supposed to go to the site and enter the serial number of a bill and where you found it. Then you turn it loose and see if anyone reports on it again. Don't hold your breath on that one, but the site claims that $141M worth of currency serial numbers have been recorded, and one particular dollar bill has been found and entered 13 times. If you ever run into a singleton numbered C04549318H, it was in St. Louis on 11/13/02. (You're writing that down, right?)

Other strange things get written on bills. My favorite was one that claimed that my dollar wasn't "real" money, and pointed me to the Constitution for details. There have been many others, but I can't think of any good examples right now.

Of course you can have fun with money just as it comes if you know how to play liar's poker. I learned it on construction sites - at one, the minute there was a break all the steamfitters would whip out their wallets and start playing. Some of them kept special dollars with oddball numbers around to "stack the deck".

So now you know what you can do to entertain yourself on a rainy day. May it never rain that hard.

Did he talk them out of it?

NRODT quotes Bill Clinton on Black Entertainment Television:"I've been terribly concerned that a lot of younger people who didn't go through the civil rights movement might have been so turned off by what happened in all the black votes that weren't counted, that they might just throw up their hands and say 'What difference does it make?'"

Well Slick, you're part of the gang that's spreading this nasty fable. Wouldn't that be funny if the Dems talked a lot of their black voters out of going to the polls?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Will the real Blogs of War please stand up?

The traditional? Or the newbie?

Welcome back, Dr. Frank.

Snuffles the dog

A few days ago several of us were wracking our brains trying to remember this cartoon dog. All I could remember was that if you fed him a dog biscuit he would float up in the air and slowly float back to the ground.

I asked several people if they could remember the name of this character and nobody could help. I was about to ask my highly exclusive readership if they knew when I gave it one more chance. Voila - I present you Snuffles.

We don't all have uncles, you know

If you have any money left over after visiting Bill Quick, you can check out Modest Needs. If you need a few bucks, send him an email and a story and he might send you the money. Or you can donate money for him to distribute.

Does anyone remember Percy Ross?

Sometimes a very small amount of capital can make all the difference (sheesh, I even needed a few bucks to start when I got my paper route eons ago). To address such needs there's a practice called microlending, pioneered by Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. If you're interested, there are a number of related links here.

Grameen Bank apparently is having some problems with repayments. Of course lefties are dying to prove that microlending can't help the poor, so it's no surprise if the bank is criticized. But even if they go bust tomorrow, IMO they'll still have done more for the poor with the money they lost than the same amount of govt giveaways would have.

Monday, November 11, 2002

This deserves a better title

The North American Wife-Carrying Championships. You can't miss the pictures.

Such a great target, and here I am without a snarky comment or even a worthy title. Help!

Monday night isn't complete without Dennis Miller

Relax, this isn't about football:
We gotta assassinate Saddam Hussein. Why have we taken assassination off the table as a viable political tool? And yet they'll tell you the collateral damage of civilians is acceptable. But you're not allowed to assassinate the main pain in the ass. My theory is if you have trouble with your conscience, pretend you're trying to kill the guy next to him, and think of him as collateral damage, alright?! If that will allow you to get to bed at night.
From the Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard is recognizing the elections by making all Articles and Features open to the general public for this week. If you're not a regular, you're missing something.

Don't take my word for it

Not if you can get the same thing from James Lileks:
I am not religious myself, but people who are don’t bother me in the least. Sometimes I envy their conviction; sometimes I wish I could lend them my doubt, and I flatter myself to think we would each profit from the exchange. I’m more comfortable on this side because the people who take emotional satisfaction in trashing religion just annoy the piss out of me, and I want nothing to do with them. I’m not talking about atheists - at least they believe in something. I’m talking about those preening sneerbots who lack the capacity for spiritual contemplation, and think that anyone given to theosophical disquisitions is akin to a small boy expecting Superman to fly through the window and help him tie his shoe.
There's far more, and I didn't begin to do it justice - read it all.

Justice begins at home

William Sjostrom recalls the Emmett Till murder and says "The South needs the Klan purged" (despite the fact that there was no evidence of Klan involvement).

That's all right as far as it goes, but I have to ask: Mr. Sjostrom, have you ever lived in the South?

I lived there for quite a while - most of the 70's and early 80's. In all that time I met one person who supported the Klan (and he was a teenage wannabe). Whether the Klan has been "purged" there or not, I never saw any evidence of their influence. And I lived in a number of places in the South, including Scottsboro, AL, a fine town which was the site of a gross miscarriage of justice 70-odd years ago. And Lake County, FL, home of Willis McCall.

The Klan was found throughout the US. In the 1920's the membership got up to 4,000,000. There were even auxiliary organizations for the women and girls - see this describing New York.

Of course the Klan isn't the only hate group. has maps of hate group distribution, such as this one for Massachusetts.

And where is Mr. Sjostrom writing from? Ireland. Gosh, do you suppose they have any hate groups over there?

We all need all of the hate groups purged. And we'll do a better job of it if we attend to our local problems first.

Mail Call

One of these days you might check out the History Channel's Mail Call series. R. Lee Ermey plays your standard over-the-top Marine DI caricature and answers emails about military topics.

Here's a sampling: Making arrows American Indian style. Semaphore flags. Shooting a mortar. Refueling an F-16. What's better - straight swords or curved swords? Personal effects carried by WWII soldiers. Land mines. Machine guns. Daisy Cutters. Crossbows. Combat rations/MREs. And about anything else you might think to ask, complete with demonstrations.

Got a question, maggot? Visit here.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Casting call in St. Louis

From KTVI:
Filmmakers are holding tryouts right here in St. Louis for a shot at a main role in a major motion picture. The movie, "Game of their lives", is the true story of the 1950 U.S. World cup soccer team. That team consisted of just eleven players five of them from St. Louis. The producers are looking for men between 18 and 30 with sufficient soccer skills. If you're good enough, you'll be asked to come back for an audition. Tryouts are Wednesday November 13, at the Soccer Dome, but you need to register first. You can call toll free at 888-507-4263.

Another good cause

From here:
You can assist the NFL, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Ladies Auxiliary VFW in bringing American troops around the world closer to home for the holidays.

Join the NFL in helping the VFW provide pre-paid phone cards to America's Armed Forces stationed all over the globe.

What we're fighting for...

This one probably isn't work safe. Anyway, Robyn and a number of other blogging women are raising money and more for breast cancer research. Most of them clearly don't need our support (you too, Yvonne), and they certainly aren't flat busted, but send them some money anyway.

Call me dense, but I looked in vain for a way to donate on the site. But you can donate to the designated charity, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund, right here.

Congratulations to Katherine Harris...

...for winning her House seat in Florida. You might recall that she was the target of a vicious slander campaign by Al Gore's goons in their attempt to steal the election in Florida in 2000. She's doing well, and you can read more about her here. Or you can buy her book, "Center of the Storm", here.

Biodegradable shape memory polymers

Shape memory alloys have been around for a while - you may have heard of nitinol.

Likewise polymers that can be absorbed by the body have been around for a while, for use in sutures.

But now we have shape memory polymers:
It sounds like an attraction from a circus sideshow: It can morph into virtually any shape, squeeze freely into tight spaces, and even pull a disappearing act. But the miraculous performer here is not a person. It is a novel type of plastic, technically a biodegradable shape-memory polymer, which could literally change the shape of tomorrow's medical instruments.

Materials with shape memory have been studied since the 1950s, and absorbable polymers that slowly dissolve inside the body have been approved for medical use since the 1960s. But now Robert Langer, a biomedical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his former postdoctoral student Andreas Lendlein, who now teaches at the University of Potsdam, Germany, and is the managing director of mnemoScience GmbH, have combined the two attributes into one material.
File this one away for future investment.

Why I need an editor, part 2409

Boing Boing is subtitled "a directory of wonderful things". And from all those, I picked these:

"Sphincterine". I wish I knew this was a put-on. Perhaps it will sell well with ex-Gitmo prisoners, who have been known for their innovative use of toothpaste.

German condom market researchers have descended upon Kenya and determined that light-brown vanilla-scented condoms are most popular there:
Standard white latex just didn't do much for his African testers, it turns out.
I suppose a good lefty would say that it reminds them of their colonial oppressors. IMO it just makes them look smaller.