Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's Gone Quiet in Mayberry

'night, Barn

Sunday Morning Eye Candy

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Random 10

1.  California Child - Jesse Colin Young
2.  Warm Ways - Fleetwood Mac
3.  The Eyes of a New York Woman - B.J. Thomas
4.  I Loved You Yesterday - Lyle Lovett
5.  Rumble Seat - John Mellencamp
6.  Witches Promise - Jethro Tull
7.  Past the Mission - Tori Amos
8.  Far From Me - John Prine
9.  No Love - Erykah Badu
10. It Ain't Necessarily So - Cher*

*In my defense, it's on a Glory of Gershwin CD with various artists.

Bonus 11th track (as it doesn't, by itself, as others above might, give away my dob):

11. Mon Enfant - George Winston

Sunday, February 19, 2006

But She's Only a Step-Daughter

Rape, consensual sex, it's all the same if the victim's not a virgin.
The court ruled in favor of a man in his forties, identified only as Marco T., who forced his 14-year old stepdaughter to have oral sex with him after she refused intercourse.

The man, who has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail, lodged an appeal arguing that the fact that his stepdaughter had had sex with men before should have been taken into consideration during his trial as a mitigating factor.

The supreme court agreed, saying that because of her previous sexual experiences, the victim's "personality, from a sexual point of view, is much more developed than what would be normally expected of a girl of her age".

"It is therefore fair to argue that (the damage for the victim) would be lower" if the abused girl was not a virgin, Italian news agencies quoted the court as saying.

This means the man could now be handed a lighter sentence. [emphasis mine]

What a weekend for international disappointment. First it was the Canadians and now, with this, the Italians. Well, at least we aren't alone in the handbasket.

Sunday Morning Eye Candy

For that we visit Fletch at No Direction Home:

Fletch has recently converted his site to a strictly photoblog format which accentuates his wonderful photographic eye.

Speaking of photoblogs, the photographer formerly known as SKB (hey, if Prince can do it) has settled in, though not as prolifically so, at RViews.

But if you're like me and have a special fondness for Cardinals (of the non-vatican variety), ReddHedd over at firedoglake has a pic of a quite handsome fella introducing a totally unrelated -in fact, incongruous post this morning.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What Would It Look Like, eh?

If Canadians Ruled

And not a curling shot among them - I can't believe it.

The al Qaeda Among Us

Michael Curtis Reynolds says he’s a patriot.

Federal authorities say he’s a terrorist.

The FBI believes that the unemployed Wilkes-Barre man tried to conspire with al-Qaeda to wreck the American economy.

... Reynolds, 47, has not been publicly charged with terrorism. But a federal prosecutor leveled that accusation during a December court hearing, saying that Reynolds attempted to “provide material aid to al-Qaeda” and that the case “involves a federal offense of terrorism.”

“He was doing it as a plan to disrupt governmental function, to change the government’s actions in foreign countries, and to impact on the national debate about the war,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Gurganus Jr. said at the hearing in Wilkes-Barre.

...Described by his former father-in-law as a “John Wayne wanna-be,” Reynolds has a string of bad debts and criminal convictions - including one for attempted arson.

His last known address was Room 205 at the Thunderbird Hotel in Pocatello, Idaho.

In the FBI sting two months ago, Reynolds was drawn to a meeting with a purported al-Qaeda operative about 25 miles from the hotel, where he expected to receive $40,000 to finance the alleged plot.

The al-Qaeda contact was actually Shannen Rossmiller, a 36-year-old judge who lives in Conrad, Mont.

She was working for the FBI.”

Yes, that was me in communication with Reynolds,” Rossmiller acknowledged in a telephone interview Friday night. “But I can’t comment further.

“This is not Rossmiller’s first sting. She regularly monitors extremist Muslim Web sites, searching for potential terrorists. In 2004, she helped win a conviction against a National Guardsman in Tacoma, Wash., whom she met online.

... Since his arrest in December, FBI agents in Idaho, Montana, Utah and Pennsylvania have scrambled to piece together Reynolds’ background and gauge the credibility of the threat he posed.

...“We certainly took it seriously,” said one federal official who is familiar with the deliberations regarding whether or when terrorism charges will be brought against Reynolds.

According to Gurganus, Reynolds hoped that the attacks on the oil industry would “disrupt governmental function,” provoke opposition to the Iraq war, drive up fuel prices, and “lend to the efforts by al-Qaeda to terrorize this nation.

He needed $40,000 to carry out his alleged plot.

The day he was arrested, Reynolds’ net worth was $24.85 Reynolds was shipped back to Pennsylvania to face a single charge: possession of a grenade.

...Along with his conviction for attempted arson in 1978, Reynolds was convicted that same year of menacing, officials said. He also has unrelated convictions for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and breach of the peace - the latter a fight with his eldest son in Ansonia, Conn., where he lived from 1999 until mid-2003.

The grenade charges, however, carry greater penalties than the months-long sentences he has received in the past. Reynolds now faces three to seven years in federal prison.

Government officials believe that his crimes are much more serious than that, no matter how outlandish they might seem.

A former federal antiterrorism coordinator in Philadelphia said authorities could not afford to take such cases lightly.

Before 9/11, flying airplanes into a building might have seemed like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, but now you have to take these kinds of threats seriously,” said Joseph Poluka, who is now a lawyer at the firm Blank Rome.

“You can’t treat these things as fiction unless something sounds plainly unbelievable.”[emphasis mine]
So, a guy with less than 25 bucks to his name, holed up in a dump in Pocatello, Idaho is such a serious national threat he attracts the attention of FBI personnel from four states and a chat-room-cruising Montana judge -can one really disrupt such government (dys)function? Yes, it seems about right. This guy has clearly been having issues for decades and unfortunately his timing was all wrong. Among things the great Saint Ronnie accomplished were cutbacks for mental health institutions and services so individuals like Michael have become our homeless, our prison population and now, apparently, our al Qaeda threat. It's clear to see who's shooting blanks at Blank Rome - thank you Condi Paluka (planes, levees, Hamas ... who could see them coming).



Hurricane Katrina exposed the U.S. government's failure to learn the lessons of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as leaders from President Bush down disregarded ample warnings of the threat to New Orleans and did not execute emergency plans or share information that would have saved lives, according to a blistering report by House investigators.

A draft of the report, to be released publicly Wednesday, includes 90 findings of failures at all levels of government, according to a senior investigation staffer who requested anonymity because the document is not final. Titled "A Failure of Initiative," it is one of three separate reviews by the House, Senate and White House that will in coming weeks dissect the response to the nation's costliest natural disaster.

...The report, produced by an 11-member House select committee of Republicans chaired by Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), proposes few specific changes. But it is an unusual compendium of criticism by the House GOP, which generally has not been aggressive in its oversight of the administration.[emphasis mine]
Of course it's not final, the clue being it was blistering honest. But the White House is performing it's own study so expect the final house GOP report to correlate nicely with those findings.


Friday Random 10

1.  Tommy, Can You Hear Me? - The Who
2.  Handy Man - James Taylor
3.  Sky High - Atlanta Rhythm Section
4.  Ivory - Ray Lynch
5.  If It Be Your Will - Leonard Cohen
6.  My Rough And Rowdy Ways - Doc Watson
7.  Birthday - The Beatles
8.  Me And Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
9.  Tomorrow Is A Long Time - Chris Hillman
10. Three-Part Invention No. 8 in F Major BWV 794 (Bach) - Don Dorsey

Monday, February 13, 2006

This is What Happens When You ...

go hunting with a draft dodger.

Hey Dick, photo op or not, at least Kerry shot the bird!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sunday Morning Eye Candy

From photographer Feng Jiang. Posted at the DaVinci Institute's Impact Lab site under Amazing Photos of China.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Jurassic Jewels

Scientists in China find a Tyrannousar that lived lived during the Jurassic period.
The new species, found in Xinjiang province in northwestern China, lived around 160 million years ago. This makes it more than twice as old as T. rex, and the most primitive known member of the family.

At just 3 metres long, the creature is a small relative of T. rex, which could reach a mighty 13 metres. But its gaping, beak-like face armed with teeth, and its powerful legs, show that it too would have been a ferocious killer.
Okay, so maybe my Photoshop pic is not exactly to scale ...sue me. Here's one more to scale.

And You Thought Ted Williams Was Nuts

New clothes for coming out party ... $85

17 cans of bug spray ... $100

2 1/2 years of air conditioning ... $375

Daily maggot removal ... Priceless

Caretaking, above and beyond ...
Pope told her caretaker, Kathy Painter, she didn't want to be buried because she believed she would come back to life.

Officials knew Pope had been dead for a while. Some police wore oxygen masks in the house because of the odor. Almost a week after the remains were found, Owens pegged her death as Aug. 29, 2003.

Painter left Pope's body in a chair in an air-conditioned room on the second floor of their Davies Place home.

Investigators learned that Painter took care of Pope's body - trying to preserve it.

Owens said Painter put on gloves and removed the maggots from Pope's body daily.

He said she used bug spray when they became too numerous to remove by hand. Investigators found 17 cans of bug spray in the house, he said.

"She really took care of (the body)," Owens said.
Painter even bought Pope new clothes just before officials discovered her body.

"She bought new clothes because she thought this was the time period she was coming back," Owens said.
At least Williams had a better understanding of preservation.

Friday Random 10

1.  So Long - The Nylons
2.  Touch of the Master's Hand - Natalie MacMaster
3.  My Ship - Liz Story
4.  Court and Spark - Joni Mitchell
5.  Waiting for the Tide - The Busters
6.  Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect - The Decembrists
7.  First Light - Bela Fleck
8.  A New Flame - Simply Red
9.  Message to my Friend - John Scofield & Pat Metheny
10. There's a Rugged Road - Shawn Colvin