Tuesday, August 28

A gas for drivers / Price wars break out in Fresno, which posts the average fuel cost in the nation A gas for drivers
Price wars break out in Fresno, which posts the average fuel cost in the nation

Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Report Tuesday, August 28, 2001

For one brief, shining moment, California has the distinction of being home to the city with the cheapest gasoline in the United States.
Gas in Fresno, where some stations are charging a refreshingly retro 99 cents per gallon, is rock-bottom for the nation, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.
In fact, up in raisin country, where forecasters expected it to hit 108 degrees yesterday, the thermometer is showing bigger numbers than the gas stations.
Here's a way for big oil to silence those California fuel critics!! Just 'buy' their loyalty and silence with cheap gas!

Monday, August 27

iMarketingNews.com | News | Article Man Plans to Webcast Amputation of His Feet

Aug. 24, 2001

By: Christopher Heine
Associate Editor

Perhaps no other medium could help conjure images of the French Revolution, jack-o'-lanterns, prosthetic limbs and millions of dollars at the same time.
Savor the Internet era.
Here's Paul Morgan, paralyzed from the ankles down, preparing to have his feet cut off by guillotine on Halloween night on a Webcast that costs $20 per subscription. After completing a credit card transaction at his site, www.cutoffmyfeet.com, subscribers can visit a chat room to discuss Morgan's amputation and enter comments in a virtual suggestion box. The site also has links to send information about the Web site to a friend, about advertising on the site and on how to make donations.
Happy Halloween!!

Friday, August 24

Salon.com Politics | The Chung and the restless The one thing you can say for Condit's creepy behavior is that, perhaps, an attorney got him alone in a room early on and said he was in legal danger and talking about it might really get him in trouble. (His defenders on the talk shows make the point that there are a lot of innocent people in jail who spoke too much at the wrong time. The only problem with this argument is that none of them are U.S. congressmen.)
The contention that it's just about a person's private sex life, and beyond public purview, is wrong for a number of reasons. For the first, he's already been caught. We all know what he was doing; it's an insult to our intelligence for him to stonewall.
Second, he's a family-values politician who's supported sticking the Ten Commandments up in classrooms. And is there any better image of Christian hypocrisy than a Bible-waving pol shtupping at least two women not his wife?
It's the hypocrisy, stupid!!

Thursday, August 23

Salon.com Technology | Fingered by the movie cops Fingered by the movie cops
Under today's copyright laws, you are guilty until proven innocent. I know -- it happened to me.
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By Amita Guha
Aug. 23, 2001 | One recent Monday, my boyfriend and I returned home from a long weekend away. As usual, one of the first things we did was check our e-mail, only to discover, to our dismay, that Time-Warner Cable, our Internet service provider, had cut off access to our account sometime around midnight the Friday before. My boyfriend, a software engineer who takes his e-mail seriously, called the tech support line and was transferred to several people that evening, none of whom could help. All he could find out was that the account had been suspended for "security reasons."
The next morning, we received an express-mailed letter from Time-Warner Cable, which stated that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had accused us of distributing copyrighted material. The MPAA had determined that someone, supposedly with an Internet protocol (IP) address assigned to our computer by Time-Warner at the time, had distributed the material on July 4. The part that got me was the second paragraph: "In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 512, (ISP name) has removed or disabled access to that material."
That DSL option is looking better and better every day, at least until the phone company absorbs Time Warner, or vice versa.

Wednesday, August 22

Lustful Priests Sign Here / A huge molestation settlement against the Catholic church, and some embarrassing new rules Thou shalt now imagine a new and unsavory piece of paper, an unsightly little legal agreement, one the Catholic church recently agreed to foist upon some of its beleaguered priests regarding molestation which said priests must now sign before taking the proverbial priestly reins, and which we can imagine must go something like this:
"I, (enter priest's name -- and no more cute nicknames like 'Big Daddy' or 'Muffins' or 'Uncle Salty'), do solemnly pledge to uphold the duties of my largely unhappy and sexually neutered and probably borderline alcoholic station in life, as outlined in the Fun 'n' Immutably Heartless Catholic Doctrine of Our Lord, circa 1297.
"And furthermore, I extra-super promise not to allow my profession's rather obvious and well-documented levels of sexual repression and amative angst to manifest themselves by way of coming on to or openly molesting any youngish males with really cute smiles who come to me for advice or counseling or the URLs to really good adult sites."

Tuesday, August 21

The Media Must Demand Truth From the Testers Now the truth is coming out. Last week, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the missile-test organization, acknowledged that we don't yet know how to hit a missile with another missile, let along distinguish enemy warheads from decoys without radio aids. We are a long way from a national missile defense and a testing program that focuses on the problems that such a system must overcome.

But the Pentagon has staged a series of show-biz events that have been rigged to appear successful when, in fact, they prove next to nothing. Who benefits from such deception? Not the president. Not the defense secretary. Not U.S. allies. Certainly not the American people, who are no better defended against a missile attack than they would be by holding a cheap umbrella over their heads. The only clear winners are the missile-defense system's principal contractors--Boeing Co., Raytheon Corp., TRW Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.--and those among our enemies and detractors who might seek to alienate the United States further from the rest of the world.

Monday, August 20

New York Daily News Online | News and Views | Opinion | Editorials: George Bush's Fuzzy Math The reason is that the Congressional Budget Office has lowered its forecast for the nation's surplus to $160 billion from $275 billion. The drop was caused by lower tax revenues, extra spending by Congress and the mass mailing of $38 billion in tax rebates.
Because of the misguided tax cut, the Treasury Department announced two weeks ago that it will have to borrow to assure there is enough for the rebates. So instead of paring $57 billion from the national debt, as promised for the quarter, Treasury must borrow $51 billion. That's a $108 billion swing from black ink to red.
Borrowing to distribute political bequests to the citizenry is not smart policy no matter how you spin it.
Ronald Reagan left the country with a crushing debt burden after he handed out tax cuts to the wealthy. That helped lead the U.S. into a recession. In this respect, the Republican borrow-and-spend approach is no better than the tax-and-spend policies for which Democrats are rightly condemned.

Tuesday, August 14

Malaria drug used to treat mad cow cases / Results so encouraging human trials on fast track An obscure drug once widely used against malaria is showing such early promise against the brain-killing particles that cause mad cow disease that San Francisco doctors are already trying the drug on the first desperately ill patients.
Experimenting with an unproven drug in humans is usually considered unethical before clinical trials have even started. But doctors said this is no usual case: The patients have no other options, and the malaria remedy, called quinacrine, has been on the market for decades.
Disclosure of what could be the first drugs to fight the infectious particles prompted a flurry of excitement in Great Britain, where a reported 105 people have contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of mad cow disease, after consuming infected beef.
Dr. Bruce Martin, a neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco, confirmed yesterday that the first two patients, both suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, had been started on quinacrine in late July.
Mad Cow Disease is present in THE UNITED STATES. Why didn't I know this? I thought it was confined to Britain. Wanna bet that the beef industry has been helping keep it quiet over here?
Blacklisted / G8 protestors and performers remain detained in Italy

"The US is conspicuous by its absence in the list of nations that have protested to the Italian government over ... the behavior of the Italian police in their handling of the protests in Genoa," Susanna Thomas' father, Rick Thomas, writes on the family's Web site. Backed by their fellow Quakers, Thomas' parents have contacted Italian officials and two US senators in an effort to secure their daughter's release. So far they've encountered only blank, bureaucratic walls.
"We're doing all we can," a spokesperson for the US Consulate in Milan insisted in the New York Times. Which translates to: not much, you Quaker freaks. What did you expect? George W. Bush to appear on the news every night, calling the Italian government on the carpet for its heinous treatment of US and European citizens? He's too busy gutting Alaska and scolding homeless Palestinians to worry about the human rights of a few juggling, black-bra-wearing peaceniks who probably didn't vote Republican, anyway.
Pop-Quiz Question: If it were a military spy plane being held hostage in Genoa, instead of four young pacifists, would the US government then feel the need get involved? The question, of course, is rhetorical; we all know the answer. Home of the brave, indeed.

Thursday, August 9

Salon.com News | Piety on parade Piety on parade
Could Bush's very public prayer circles be preparation for his announcement on stem cell research?
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By Arianna Huffington
Aug. 9, 2001 | Did you see the shocking, scandalous and utterly offensive photo on the front page of the paper Sunday morning -- in full color and above the fold? No, I'm not talking about Gary Condit running the 100-yard media dash or Madonna writhing on the back of a mechanical bull. I'm talking about the disturbing picture of the president and his Cabinet bowing their heads in prayer.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not opposed to prayer. In fact, I'm all for it, particularly when the supplicants are so clearly in need of divine guidance. No, what shocks me is that some paparazzo, no doubt an agnostic one, had the temerity to intrude on this private moment.

"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them," admonished Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. "And when you pray you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men ... When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Unless I'm missing something, Jesus didn't leave a lot of wiggle room.
HoustonChronicle.com Area hospital board cuts illegal immigrants' care
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle
CONROE -- Fearing criminal prosecution, Montgomery County Hospital District trustees have reluctantly cut health services to more than 400 illegal immigrants to comply with a ruling by Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.
"I think it's very sad that we are denying human beings health care," board President John Sallee said after Monday night's unanimous vote.
Complaints by the Young Conservatives of Texas launched criminal investigations of the Harris County Hospital District and other public hospitals for continuing to provide nonemergency care to illegal immigrants despite an opinion by Cornyn outlawing such care.
Shining example of 'compassionate conservatism' straight from the heart of Texas.

Wednesday, August 8

Cloning clash / Rejecting pleas for caution, a group that says space aliens seeded Earth tells a key science panel it will create human copies Cloning clash
Rejecting pleas for caution, a group that says space aliens seeded Earth tells a key science panel it will create human copies
Without all the kooks (myself included?) the world would be really boring.
Swearing at police is criticism, not crime / Appeals court overturns 2 convictions Swearing at police is criticism, not crime

Appeals court overturns 2 convictions

Swearing at a police officer may be disrespectful, but it's not criminal. So said a federal appeals court yesterday in a pair of rulings overturning disorderly conduct convictions arising from unrelated incidents at Yosemite National Park.
Now you can give the cops your HONEST opinion of them the next time you get caught up in one of those speed traps! It's great to be an American!!
Salon.com News | Let Wen Ho Lee speak! Let Wen Ho Lee speak!
After being falsely accused of spying, the Los Alamos scientist is trying to defend himself but being muzzled by the government.
I hope Wen gets his justice in the media. He certainly didn't get it in the courts.

Monday, August 6

Why Bush is popular: Talk speaks louder than action This looks to me like a replay of the Reagan years, when the policy was "Borrow and spend, borrow and spend -- and blame it on the Democrats."
Under Bill Clinton, we were making pretty good progress at paying off Reagan's extravagances, but now, under the popular George W. Bush, we're starting to go into the hole again.
Hoping I'm not the only one who notices the similarity to the Reagan calamity.

Friday, August 3

Jail guards accused of urinating on several inmates through metal grate in roof Jail guards accused of urinating on several inmates through metal grate in roof

(08-01) 12:19 PDT SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating allegations that two jail guards urinated on inmates playing basketball in an indoor recreational area. Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt said the case would be handed over to the county prosecutor's office on Wednesday. He would not release the names of the guards.
Let's just hope that they RELEASE the guards from further employment. This type of brutish behavior has no place in professional law enforcement.

Thursday, August 2

Senate panel derails Bush nominee Senate panel derails Bush nominee

By Jennifer Loven, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Commerce Committee today voted against President Bush's choice to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, dealing the new administration its first nomination setback.
Looks like the pendulum is starting to swing back to the middle (at least a little). Hope springs eternal.