Ink & Paper

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Wow, some people sure get cranky when they've been had. That'll teach ya to read the small print. For the record, no guy got mowed down by a car in front of me. Of course it was a serious subject, how else would you believe it? "Oh I saw a cat riding on a dog. How magical. April Fools!" No one would have believed that and I would have to kick my own ass for being so lame. And yes, this marks year two where I managed to sucker some unsuspecting souls with my remarkable ability to lie and deceive on the blog. Onwards to politics I go.

Ah, I love April Fools Day. I also love the fact that it is April, meaning that I have a mere 2.5 months to go before I am outta here. Rock on.

I found a story that claims that the US will be no more in 2007, according to the Koran, which is the Islamic holy book. Of course, the passages that declare this to be 'true' can be interpreted any number of different ways, and the 'academic' that is quoting them is making more than a small leap in faith. But hey, what is religion without some twisting of the words to fit your personal agenda?

In other Doomsday news, one consulting company is predicting that there may be a super-spike in oil prices in the near future, with the price of a barrel of oil skyrocjeting to $105 US per. Right now oil is hovering at about $57US per barrel, which is still lower (adjusted for inflation) than it was in the early 1970s. But still, it is pretty high and with increased inability to find new sources, instability in the Middle East and Venezuela, I have no doubt that it will only continue to rise. Which means all those folks with the Ford F350 dually truck are going to be taking out another mortgage to pay for the gas. Toyota Echos, anyone? Jeff?

Laugh of the day, as well as a perfect example of why teenagers rightly think that adults are hypocritical. Can anyone say "Snohos?"

And in closing, I would like to announce that the Under 20 boys basketball team, coached by yours truly, is now 1-0-1, having won our first game and tied (yes, a tie, I know I know) today. Thus we are doing far better than last year, where they went 0-6 and lost by about 30-40 points per game. The conclusion? Canadians are far better at coaching basketball than Brits are, a point I will make very clear tomorrow to out PE Department Head, Noel, who hails from Birmingham, England and was coach of the woeful team last year. No doubt he will get made and start yelling at me, sounding like Brad Pitt in Snatch and I will just end up laughing at his murderous accent as it destroys the English language. "Cob nan ya bootknackers, yer tosser!" Yeah, uh, you can use it.

Outta here.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Well so much for my uneventful weekend.

I was walking out of the little Mac's-style store here (Tesco) last night at about 800pm, having gone there to get some bread for toast the next morning. The Tesco is across the street from our set of three buildings and I was waiting for traffic to clear enough to cross the street to go back home. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and because yesterday was the "Saturday" night here in Kuwait, the roads were pretty busy.

So I'm waiting there, watching the traffic go buy, with a couple of other guys, although I didn't pay much attention to them. Indian or Sri Lankan and not to be crude, but they are a dime a dozen over here.

Suddenly one of the guys starts to cross the street. I don't even notice him, as he was behind me and I was still watching traffic. All of a sudden there is the sound of brakes locking up, some shouting from right behind me, and then a rather loud thump. Yea, the guy got hit by a car.

I turned to see what was going on and I saw the guy land behind the car that had hit him, so he must have flipped up over the hood and over the entire car. I've mentioned that the drivers here are crazy with the speed and I figure this driver must have been doing at least 80km/hr.
Anyway, the guy lands on his back, and is promptly run over by the next car, who is also locking up the brakes. I don't know if the guy was dead when he hit the road, but he sure was dead after the second car drove over him, dragging him about 20 feet down the road.

It was pretty gross, as I could see the blood streaked road in the headlights of the now-stopped traffic. And the smell of burning rubber. I turned away quickly, but I still threw up behind a parked car. I walked over to one of the tables outside the Burger King, which is right beside Tesco, and sat there kinda dumbstruck for a few minutes, as all sorts of yelling and craziness went on as people tried to figure out what had happened.

The cops showed up pretty quickly, followed by the ambulance. They just loaded this guy in ( I looked away) and off they went. No questioning of witnesses that I could see. The car that had first hit the guy was towed away and in a matter of about 30 minutes, traffic was back to normal. The Kuwaiti police are pretty efficient at cleaning up traffic accidents. It was odd, I would think that a guy getting killed would warrant some sort of minimal investigation, and I wonder if it matters that he wasn't a Kuwaiti. They did write a small blurb up in the Kuwait Times newspaper but it mostly has to do with the traffic disruption, not the death.

I guess I can chalk this one up to life experience, although this was one that I could have done without. It still makes me queasy to think about and I didn't sleep very well last night, waking up whenever I heard tires screech outside. So yeah, that was my weekend. Hope yours goes a little better.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Good article about the influence of the conservatives on university academics. Thanks to the future mother in law for the link. And off I go...

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My brother, right or wrong...


Thought this might entertain you. We have 'Faculty Wednesdays' where every Weds me, Joel and Tim hang out. Faculty Wednesdays are usually followed by Hangover Thursdays.
Anyway, yesterday being Weds, we went to the Roadrunners hockey game. Needless to say, Tim and I boozed er up at my place first and were pretty gunned by the time we showed up at the game (near the end of the first period). Busted out the flask and proceeded to get smashed. We were heckling (well, I was heckling) the players who used to play on the Oilers, calling them scabs. It was awesome. One exchange went like this:

Jeff (to Jarrett Stoll, scab): SCAB! PASS THE PUCK YOU DIRTY SCAB!
Teenager in Seats In Front of Us: They're not scabs.
Teen (getting upset): They're not scabs just cuz they played for the Oilers!
Jeff (loudly to Tim and Joel): Uh-oh....looks like the line-crosser's getting angry.

And also me heckling the Orange Shirt Girl doing the 1st intermission game on the ice....."GO ORANGE SHIRT GIRL! I LOVE YOU ORANGE SHIRT GIRL!". Keeping in mind we were 20 rows from the ice, and there aren't many people at RR games, she could totally hear me. Everyone in our section was either laughing or giving dirty looks. Orange Shirt Girl ended up blushing and waving vaguely in our direction.

So that's what is going on in my life. And the best part is I"m hungover at work and I have a meeting with the prez and my supervisor - to discuss my work so far (they like me tho) and also about putting me on salary - in 7 minutes.
Hope life is good beeyatch

And the kicker is that he got a raise during the meeting. The lad makes me smile.

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I really need to profess my appreciation of zydeco music. It always gets me toe-tappin.

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Are fundamentalist parents creating future terrorists for Christ?
By Allen G. Breed,
Associated Press

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Scott Heldreth has been arrested numerous times for picketing abortion clinics and blocking sidewalks while praying. Now his 10-year-old son, Josh, has followed in his footsteps.Josh is one of six children - ages 10 to 14 - arrested in the past week for crossing a police line at the Woodside Hospice to take water to Terri Schiavo."God's with me," said Josh, who asked his father to bring him here from Kannapolis, N.C., to join others supporting Bob and Mary Schindler's fight to restore their daughter's feeding tube.

Demonstrators have allowed their children - some too young to truly understand why they are there - to pass out religious fliers and hold signs accusing Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, of murdering her. The children beat five-gallon buckets like funerary drums and wear shirts declaring them "Youth for Life."

On the grass outside the hospice, 7-year-old Hannah Donahue sat coloring signs while wearing a piece of red tape emblazoned with the word "LIFE" plastered across her mouth and an orange sign on her chest bearing the word "JAIL."She said the sign was for Michael Schiavo."I think they should put him in the jail," Hannah said in a tiny voice. "Because I don't think he knows what Terri wants. He's being the boss."

Her mother, Tete Donahue, of Clearwater, won't allow Hannah to go to jail for this cause. But she thinks it's appropriate to have her on the picket line."I'm not bringing her here as a symbol," Donahue said. "She's with me because we believe in life. ... She's learning we give value to life, to human beings."

Scott Heldreth, a veteran of the Operation Rescue and Operation Save America campaigns against abortion, didn't intend to join this fight, until his son asked to be brought to Pinellas Park."My wife and I, we felt like if God really put it on his heart, we should come down, to allow him to live out what God had put on his heart," says Heldreth, a carpenter.

His son walked up to sheriff's deputies, carrying a plastic cup, and ignored two requests to turn around. Deputies cuffed his hands behind his back and loaded him into a van with 14-year-old twin girls. At the courthouse, the three youngsters were photographed, fingerprinted and released. Josh said police were nice, but seemed a bit annoyed."We were smiling for Jesus and they didn't like that much," he said.

Via: Smirking Chimp

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Something I will regret saying once I get back to Canada...

"These weekends suck."

Seriously, this is dumb. I just want to put the hammer down for these next two weeks and be on my way home again. Sitting here, with nothing to do except read and blog, isn't so bad, but it gets worse as the date of departure draws turtle-speed closer. Like Christmas, except you don't feel like a dirty consumer whore afterwards.

Tick tock, hurry up you f**king clock.

The Canadian seal hunt is getting a fair bit of press in the UK, from both the BBC and the Guardian. I've seen some other similar stories in other UK-based newspapers too. Mostly balanced, but I get this subtle vibe of disgust. Now many of the newspapers I read are lefty, but they are well distributed and appeal to people who have a brain between their ears. How I ended up reading them, I don't know. But with such coverage of Canada being spread all throughout the UK, and around the world on the internet, I wonder what the average person thinks of Canada now?

I can tell you, from what I have seen while being overseas, Canada is largely ignored by the international press. Always hanging around in the background, but only being called out to play with the big boys when they are a man short. The kinda kid who you would want your daughter to date, but your daughter thinks of as only a friend.

So because Canada slips into the shadow of the US on a regular basis, when news does emerge, I suspect that it really goes a long way to forming a worldview of our nation. Unfortunately in the gore-worshipping mass media that run amok nowadays, the main news from Canada lately has been this seal hunt.

Now there are two types of news stories, in my humble opinion.

The first is the political/governmental kind that, while far more important, does not attract the average reader. A headline stating: Economy focus for election battle (BBC) doesn't grab the attention of the majority, even if it directly affects their ability to earn a living.

The second type of news headline is the water-cooler kind. Canadian waters stained red by baby seal cull (The Independent). This is the article that some joe-average guy will see as he is reading the newspaper over his morning coffee, ignoring the first example.

Now before you email me saying "Yes Jay, but headlines differ between newspapers, i.e The Calgary Sun vs. the Calgary Herald" rest assured I am aware of the political slants each newspaper has nowadays.

So when joe-average reads the headlines, he will focus on example #2. And when he goes to work, he'll mention it to his co-workers, maybe email it to a few friends with a kind of "I can't believe this still happens" theme in his subject line. And so on and so on, the modern day equivalent of the telephone game.

"Skinner says the teachers will give in any second. Purple monkey dishwasher." --The Simpsons.

So, while I still feel that the seal hunt is a throwback, a cruel way of maintaining population control, I think the bigger issue is that we as Canadians are failing to project a stable and ongoing persona to the world, something that becomes more necessary as the elephant next door to us seems to only get bigger and louder with each passing year. Canadians continue to struggle to define ourselves, the current version of being something along the lines of "Not American/Miss the NHL."

I love Canada, more so now than ever before. But we have a habit of self-congratulating ourselves for a job well done and ignoring the fact that much of the positive things we do accomplish go largely ignored in the world. We must start to not only make our noise louder, and I feel that we do have many valuable contributions to make to the world, but also increase our willingness to be self-critical, questioning ourselves harshly in an effort to become a better, more honest country. Is it the sign of a self-analysing, modern, and civilized country to allow hundreds of thousands of seals to be bludgeoned to death while the world calls a spade a spade, declaring the practice 'barbaric'?

While Canadians, by and large, are appreciated and respected in many parts (not all over, mind you) of the world, it is largely because of our actions in the past, from disproportionate sacrifices in WWII to humanitarian aid. Wonderful, these are things that we need to celebrate and be proud of. When Canada donates $10 million to clean water systems in an African country we should be proud of ourselves. But we must then take a step back and compare the amount of press we receive for this charitable action to the amount of press we received regarding the seal hunt. I suspect that the answer we get back will make us more than a little uncomfortable and we must, as a nation of educated people, be "man" enough to look ourselves in the eye and demand some tough answers to unpleasant questions.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

This is what humanity is all about. Anyone for tennis?

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I don't know what to write about today, so this might end being some pointless emo blog that I'll regret later.

I walk my dog 3 times a day, about a half hour each time. I'm sure that adds up to a lot of hours over the course of the past 7 months. It has certainly given me a lot of time to think. And I have been thinking pretty hard about some things and thankfully have come to some conclusions. Not that the conclusions are any of your business, but I am feeling remarkably upbeat considering my short-lived teaching career has totally swung sideways on me. I'm getting the other things figured out, so that makes it all ok. The toughest part is just waiting for June. Kuwait is like a holding pattern, and it is kinda hard to describe the feeling that I have over here. Neil says he has tried to describe it to people back in Canada, and even though they say they understand, Neil says "They really don't have a clue."

If I was going to paint these kids with one brush and give you a basic view of our average student, it would be something like this:

-Rich family. Mansion & Ferrari rich. Rolex. More allowance than my salary-rich.
-A designated maid for each child when they are at home.
-No physical activity at all. Less than zero. Absolute zero. Breathing causes sweat-zero.
-No accountability. "Sir, it wasn't me/my fault." Ever.
-Materialistically wealthy, but missing something that money can't buy.

I was also thinking on one of my walks that I think I would like to become a little more eclectic in the future. That is not to say that I am going to throw away my routines, which I have grown rather fond of, but instead I think I will just become a little more unto myself. I'd like to be interesting when I get older.

I was also thinking on one of my walks that Clone High is a really good TV show. Thanks Master T. "I spent all summer working on my high fives and finger-snaps." Ghandi rules.

I am on the start of my weekend here, and only 14 days away from getting on the plane, so that means only 10 more teaching days. I had a pretty big run-in over some plagarism cases (emphasis, major emphasis on the plural) yesterday with the powers that be, and that took a lot out of me, ethically, mentally, and frustration-wise. But I'm feeling kinda existentialist right now, so it all means jack squat in the long term. Especially in this country, which one teacher described as "a pimple on the world's ass." I laughed at that and then stoppped as I remembered that I was living in this pimple.

I've been listening to Van Morrison lately and was listening on my computer when one of my students told me that it was hiran or taboo to listen to music over here (I'll explain later, its all religious junk anyway). I proceeded to crank it up nice and loud. Hey, they hired me to impart some western educational practices and I figure that I can make a case for Van Morrison being poetic, thus fitting into my English class. Swish.

Plus it was some get-back for the plagarism issue. Yes I am that petty.

Marc, my roomie, had to call the plumber today, as the tub he uses to shower in is so badly plugged that he can't shower for much longer than ten minutes without a potential Noah's ark-depth flood happening in the bathroom. The plumber is off for the next week. In between Marc's cursing, it was pretty funny. I told him he has it pretty good, he doesn't really have to even wash his legs very much. He laughed, but I don't think he was overly amused.

"Dance, dance, everyone look at your pants."

I'm going to go read my book, Into the Wild by John Krakauer, who also wrote that Everest disaster book Into Thin Air. I think he needs to re-examine his title choices. But he is a good writer and this true story of a vagabond college graduate who bums around the US for a year before winding up dead of starvation in Alaska is a pretty good read. So that is what I am going to do. Away I go.

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Can't we all just let this go?

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

This is wrong and Canada looks like brutish thugs in the eyes of the world. Help put a stop to this inhumane practice. Click the link below.

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Rules I have learned from my school:

#1. Naked, in your face plagarism is not only ok, it is accepted and ignored by the administration.
#2. Arguing that plagarism is not ok will only see you hauled into a 'meeting.'
#3. My ethics, apparently, are all wrong.
#4. Parents have power directly proportionate to how many children are attending our school, a formula that can be expressed as follows: $$ x #Kids = (Teacher-Power) + Depression
#5. Teachers are only here to hand out inflated grades, not knowledge
#6. Appearance is everything, while substance, or lack thereof, is best obscured through fast talking and a liberal application of smoke and mirrors.
#7. Don't try to change things. You can't.

The result can be summed up as follows: One tired, totally defeated first year teacher who is counting the days until he embarks on a new career.

I will tell some more stories when I am safely back in my homeland.

Onward to news. Jacko is probably not a happy camper right now, and it ain't cause he knocked his nose off the nightstand and it rolled under the bed where he can't reach it. A judge has allowed past allegations to be admitted into the current case. That means that all those issues that Jacko tried to buy his way out of in the early 1990s are now coming back to haunt him and could add to the evidence already piling up. Good.

Last weekend I watched the movie Ray and found it to be pretty good. Jamie Foxx, owner of the dumbest last name ever, really impressed me. I did find the plot a little lacking, it seemed to be more of a collection of 'playing in bars' shots as opposed to a true portrait of Ray Charles's life. But overall it was good and that is why I am drawing your attention to this story. The idea of a museum dedicated to Charles is a good one, as it will far outlast the wave of success the movie is riding now.

I found a good, fairly balanced analysis of the pros and cons associated with the impending and probably inevitable drilling that will happen in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. It's nice to read an article that doesn't overtly bash you over the head with a bias. This doesn't mean however that I am endorsing the drilling, as I still think humanity is going down the pooper.

And lastly, as if you haven't heard enough about the Schiavo case, I offer a last bit of information. Master T (The Glorious Mr. T's alias) alerted me to the fact that Tom DeLay, one of the main Republican backers of the right-to-life/reinsert-the-tube drive, actually was party to the 1988 pulling of the plug on his own father. Yes, you read that right, the guy who wants Terri to live pulled the plug on his dad, or more accurately, let the doctors do it without launching so much as a fart in protest.

Now maybe I am being callous, as the death of a parent is never an easy thing. But don't you think that perhaps with this in his past, he could have taken a less absolute attitude in the current atmosphere? I am willing to slightly entertain the idea that this incident in his past pushed him hard to support right-to-life movement in later years, but if this were the case, why has he quickly slipped out of the limelight as it becomes apparent that the courts are not going to order the tube reinserted? I'm not sure if I should hammer him on this issue, but I do suggest that you look at it with a somewhat quirked eyebrow.

I'm going to la-dee-dah it up at the Hilton tonight, soaking in the hot tub. See you tomorrow.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

This is a neat, fab, or smashing site for all those people out there who like stats. All raise your hands. Hello? Hello?

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I haven't had much time today to surf the news and see if anything pisses me off. Taught all morning, lunch, then a really purposeful (sarcasm dripping onto my keyboard) staff meeting. Then dog walking, grocery shopping, man the day went by pretty fast. Good.

I'll look around for a bit, see if anything pops up on my radar, but if not I promise to have decent blog put together for Tuesday morning. I'm a slave to you people, don't ya understand? Ok, hope your Monday passes quickly. My Monday is licking her crotch.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Why aren't this kid's parents in handcuffs?

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Uh-oh the idiots are starting to gather. When the educated doctors aren't telling you what you want to hear, turn to the psychic....

Fox's psychic friend: Crossing Over's John Edward claimed Terri Schiavo is "definitely clear on what's happening now around her."

Psychic medium, author, and former television host John Edward claimed on Fox News' morning show Fox & Friends that Terri Schiavo is "definitely clear on what's happening now around her." Edward was responding to a question from host Steve Doocy about whether Edward could communicate with Schiavo.

Edward, whose website says that he has "helped thousands with his uncanny ability to predict future events and communicate with those who have crossed over to the Other Side," was on the show to promote his new book, Practical Praying: Using the Rosary to Enhance Your Life(Hay House, 2005). Edward was the host of the nationally syndicated TV show Crossing Over with John Edward which aired on the Sci Fi Channel before being canceled in 2004. In October 2001, Edwards taped a segment of Crossing Over in which he "purport[ed] to contact victims of the World Trade Center attacks," according to a Washington Post article. But the episode was canceled for fear of offending the public. According to the Post, "production house Studios USA axed the whole idea after reporters and station execs -- the two least queasy segments of society -- actually cringed."

From the March 24 edition of Fox & Friends
DOOCY: You mentioned the Terri Schiavo case. Some might wonder, "Well, you know what, I wonder if he could communicate with her."
EDWARD: I do believe that the soul, the consciousness, can communicate when they're in a state, whether it be a mentally incapacitated person, someone who's in a coma. It's a consciousness, and the soul has a living consciousness. So whether it's in a physical vehicle or not, there is still the ability to connect. Many people will have what they call out-of-body experiences, or astral dreams. Two very living people, that are healthy, could have a kind of connection in a dream state that can be validated. So why not somebody who's in this case?
DOOCY: So she may not be able to talk with her brain, but she can with her soul --
EDWARDS: But she's clear on what's going on and I can tell you that she's definitely clear on what's happening now around her.

From: Media Matters

Here is another prediction for you: I predict that people who watch and believe this crap are total morons. It's just that easy.

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Well I didn't even last until Monday before the world pissed me off enough that I was forced to write. God, no rest for the wicked...

The Florida Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from the parents of a brain-damaged woman to keep their daughter alive....Terri Schiavo, 41, has been without food or water for a week, after courts agreed she should be allowed to die and her feeding tube was removed....Her parents, who are not her legal guardians, have ended federal appeals.....The Schindlers told Florida Judge George Greer that she tried to say "I want to live" just before her feeding tube was removed.

The motion claimed Mrs Schiavo "managed to articulate the first two vowel sounds, first articulating 'ahhhhhhh' and then virtually screaming 'waaaaaaa'" when asked to repeat the phrase "I want to live".
Judge Greer, who had previously ruled against the couple, said their claim could not be believed in light of the medical evidence already considered....Supporters continue to pray outside the Pinellas Park hospice where she is being treated. Police have arrested about two dozen people, among them children, for trying to bring her water.

It looks like this debacle of justice and religion may be almost out of steam. The parents are running out of legal options and the politicians are reacting to polls that suggest that the public doesn't approve of their obvious meddling (see story below).

I think the claim that she tried to say "I want to live" just before they removed the feeding tube is total BS. It reeks of desparation and while I do feel for her parents, I think this just illustrates how much of a toll this is taking on all sides. To make an claim like that, after all the reputable doctors have concluded that she is and has been in a persistant vegetative state for the past 15 years, only further adds to this circus. Let her go, with as much dignity (if any) as she has left.

And I have seen a few pictures of kids being led away in handcuffs after trying to get through to feed Terri. It is not the kids that should be led away, it is their parents. No matter what degree of religion you fall into, I think it is a shame that you put your kids on the front lines of this gong show. Kids, who don't understand death at all and surely don't have any idea of their own religious beliefs, are being paraded by their blinders-on parents and become the epitome of the negative effects of evangelical overenthusiasm.

Furthermore, what image does this leave the kid of the police and the rule of law? I'll tell you...

Kid: I tried to help a dying lady but the policeman stopped me and told me it was against the law. But Mom and Dad say that the law is wrong. But my teachers told us that the policeman is our friend and that we should go to the police for help. But why is the policeman letting this lady die? Is he going to go to Hell? Mom says that people who want Terri to die are going to Hell, but the policeman is my friend and he seemed nice. I don't want Terri to die, but I don't think the policeman should go to Hell either. Mom says that if a stranger, someone I don't know (like Terri for instance) approaches me, I should find a policeman. But what if that policeman is one of the ones who wants Terri to die? What should I do then? I don't want to go to Hell because I didn't feed her, but I don't want to go to jail either. And I didn't feed Terri, the policeman stopped me, so does that mean that I am going to jail and to Hell?

Yeah. Baseball and apple pie, the American childhood.

In further news, remember how I said the Republican party was just trying to score some political points with the far right? Well according to the NY Times, I was dead on accurate...

Early this week, Tom DeLay assumed an uncharacteristically visible role in the Terri Schiavo case, pressing Congress to intervene, invoking God and attacking Ms. Schiavo's husband before television cameras and on the House floor. Now, with the prospect that she will be kept alive essentially dashed in the courts, he has slipped out of the spotlight.

Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, is not alone. Republican responses, including those of President Bush and Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, have become muted in the face of the legal setbacks and of polls that show overwhelming disapproval of Congressional intervention, as well as a perception among the public that lawmakers trying it were motivated by politics. A CBS News poll released Thursday found that 82 percent of respondents believed that the president and Congress should stay out of the case, while 13 percent thought they should intervene.

Yep, like rats from a sinking ship. 4 more years!!!

So the Glorious Mr. T and I are continuing to predict that there will be a draft in the US to keep the Army numbers up at invasion-level capacities. And looky here, the NY Times is copying me and T again. Those bastards...

For the first time in nearly five years, the Army missed its active-duty recruiting goal in February. The Reserve has missed its monthly quota since October. Army officials said the goals would most likely be missed the next two months as well.

Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, told Congress on March 16 that he is concerned about whether the Army can continue to provide the troops the nation needs. "What keeps me awake at night," he said, "is what will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?"

While some in Congress have raised the specter of a draft, the Bush administration has rejected that idea, saying higher skilled soldiers are needed in a high-tech age, and are best found through recruitment.
But several senior officers interviewed, including Col. Greg Parlier, retired, who until 2002 headed the research and strategy arm of the Army Recruiting Command, said the pressure on recruiters shows the policy should be re-examined, and initiatives like national service should be considered.

Some recruiters said they witnessed more "improprieties," which the Army defines as any grossly negligent or intentional act or omission used to enlist unqualified applicants or grant benefits to those who are ineligible. They said recruiters falsified documents and told prospects to lie about medical conditions or police records.

Jeff has already said that if this happens, he will buy a round for all of my closest friends. I'm getting thirsty already....

But if high school dropouts are concerned that they may be held to a higher standard of international morals if they join the Army, they want to read the following excerpt, which just goes to show you how cheap life can be when it ain't from your hometown.

March 25 - Despite recommendations by Army investigators, commanders have decided not to prosecute 17 American soldiers implicated in the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, according to a new accounting released Friday by the Army.

Investigators had recommended that all 17 soldiers be charged in the cases, according to the accounting by the Army Criminal Investigation Command. The charges included murder, conspiracy and negligent homicide. While none of the 17 will face any prosecution, one received a letter of reprimand and another was discharged after the investigations.

In one of the three cases in which no charges are to be filed, the commanders determined the death to be "a result of a series of lawful applications of force." In the second, the commanders decided not to prosecute because of a lack of evidence. In the third, they determined the soldier involved had not been well informed of the rules of engagement.

"Oh no, not a letter of reprimand! Whatever shall I do with my life after I have received this letter of reprimand??"

Are you kidding me? A letter? A discharge? They killed people! And to let someone off because they 'had not been well informed of the rules of engagement' is total garbage. Again, not a lawyer here, but damn near everyone that can tie their shoes knows that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I dunno what the punishment is for speeding over here, but if I was caught and sent before a judge, pleading ignorance probably isn't going to hold a whole lot of water.

What about the superiors that were supposed to inform Cletus that killing a prisoner was wrong? Are they going to face any investigations? Or have the hands been wiped clean, the issue swept under the rug?

Yes, perhaps Mr. Orwell was right we he wrote "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others." And if we as a society let this go without comment, as we will, then indeed we are no better than animals, no matter how often we tell ourselves the opposite.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:44 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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