You probably didn’t know that Bush apparently went AWOL (Dallas Morning News) from his Air National Guard duty in the 1970s. It was covered by a few newspapers, but the story disappeared after he claimed he couldn’t remember what happened. Right. “I can’t remember what I did, but I wasn’t flying because they didn’t have the same airplanes. I fulfilled my obligations.”�

He also apparently skipped a medical exam that required a drug test.� Can you say special treatment?

While I’m at it, both these items are mention in this article about why we’re really going to Iraq.

It Takes A Day To Read A Paper

It seems like it takes almost all day to read the Sunday paper. So, just how much stuff is in there? What if it was in book format instead of that thing that takes over the floor or couch or sometimes both?

If this Sunday’s LA Times was put into a standard size paperback book format, it would be over 2,500 pages long. And it would have a second 1,250 page supplement to cover the classified, jobs and cars ads. Yeah, there are lots of full page ads (each taking almost 13 paperback pages) that you would just skim through, but that’s still a lot of reading material. And the page count doesn’t include any of the extras like ad or magazine inserts.

The Times was made up of a 200 page main paper with another 100 pages of classified and car ads. Just a coincidence, or is it this size all the time? Stay tuned.

Eat an Animal for PETA Day

Q: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
A: Who cares, they’re both delicious!

Somebody that’s offended by PETA’s latest advertising campaign came up with this great idea for today.  Too bad I found out too late and don’t have any meat in the fridge.  Yeah, that will be the day.  They’ve even got a letter to PETA and addresses to send it.

I think it’s time to go heat up some sausage…

World’s Largest Chee-to

It’s about the size of a small lemon and weighs in at about half an ounce. I guess they really are mostly air. It made it onto CNN.

“We call it Seasoning Accumulation,” a Chee-tos Development Manager said. (Uh, why is there a Chee-tos Devolpment Manager?) “If you love cheese, this is the Chee-to for you. It’s beyond dangerously cheesy.”

Mmm, seasoning accumulation.

The article also has this trivia:

  • Chee-tos were introduced by the Frito Company in 1948.
  • Frito-Lay sells about 1 billion bags a of Chee-tos a year.
  • About 15 million pounds of cheese are used every year in making the snacks.


Posted in categories food

Forfeiture: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Forfeiture laws are great for the government: none of that messy court and lawyers stuff. Just accuse someone of a crime and take their stuff. There’s more about forfeiture elsewhere on this website. Now there’s something new being appropriated: domain names. In two separate cases last week, the Justice Department seized domains for web sites that it claimed were engaging in illegal activity.

In one of those cases, the sites were allegedly used to sell drug paraphernalia such as bongs and roach clips. Visitors are now greeted with a message from the government. So what’s the big deal? The Justice Department’s privacy policy allows it to hand over information it collects from people visiting seized web sites to “appropriate law enforcement officials” for criminal prosecution.

It’s legal to read any web site (with the possible exception of one with child porn), but in our new security-conscious climate it’s easy to imagine the Justice Department assuming the worst about an innocent visitor and not be terribly sensitive to their First Amendment rights. There are clear notices on the sites that the government seized last week. But you won’t see them if you send an e-mail, and any that is sent to the postmasters and Webmasters of those sites is now read by the Justice Department.

Read more at the ZDNet article: Police Powers Move Into Your Browser.

Insurance Profits Up, Premiums to Follow

From a Sacramento Business Journal article: Double-digit percentage premium increases continue to pay off for the three big for-profit HMOs in Greater Sacramento � their combined net profits for 2002 are up 74 percent from 2001.

I guess that explains why my insurance premiums went up over 25% in less than two months. Too bad the money isn’t going to health care. A for-profit system doesn’t make sense when it comes to medicine.

Tom Glazer died

“Who is Tom Glazer, you ask? He was a silly folk singer who wrote and recorded the classic song ‘On Top of Spaghetti’.” Okay, I didn’t know both that he died last week and that he wrote the song until today. But I did recognize this delightful ditty of his:

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where Hydrogen is built into Helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees

My good friend Rich put it on a tape that he made and now it is forever etched into my memory. Here is a low bandwidth mp3 to listen to.

You can find more MP3s of Glazer’s work (written by Lou Singer and Hy Zaret) at http://www.acme.com/jef/science_songs/.

Wear a Peace T-shirt, Go to Jail

Reuters: “A lawyer was arrested late Monday and charged with trespassing at a public mall in the state of New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall.” Link

Alvin Toffler

Almost everybody I talk to is feeling overwhelmed in one way or another. Alvin Toffler, author of the 1970 book Future Shock, says that some of the problem has to do with our inability to cope with the pace of rapid decision making. He says that people feel “that the world has become so fast that there isn�t time to think through the complexities of the decisions they need to make.”

Politicians are having the same problem. He says, “I know some elected representatives who say they can�t assimilate all the information they need to make truly informed decisions, so their staff makes the decisions on most issues. To which I replied, ‘Exactly who elected your staff?'”.

Read the a slightly old (Sept. 2000) but interesting Toffler interview by Business2.0 magazine.

Hotmail's Spam Costs

An interesting quote from the Forbes WEF article linked to in the “bcc: Everybody…” blog, below:

Hotmail, Microsoft’s free e-mail service, has 200 million users, but 30% to 40% of the cost goes to delivering messages they don’t want, thanks to an all-time peak in spam.

bcc: Everybody, & the WEF

James Grimmelmann posted an extremely lengthy but interesting piece on LawMeme about the Laurie Garrett e-mail brouhaha. It’s about a Pulitzer-winning science journalist who attended the WEF, and then sent some of her friends an e-mail describing it. She became outraged when one of those friends forwarded it, then their friends forwarded it, and so on, and so on, and it wound up all over the Net.

One line in the LawMeme article struck me: “Every email comes with an implicit ‘Bcc:everyone’ header set”. Essentially, if you write it, it might be forwarded to the rest of the world. It turns out that that isn’t what the article is really about, and he doesn’t get around to making his real point until the end, but that’s another story.

I ran across the subject of Laurie’s e-mail (and the LawMeme piece) again while I was looking for something completely unrelated. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it made me realize that I had never gotten around to reading her letter because the “cc: all” idea was more interesting to me. Whoops.

I was not really familiar with the World Economic Forum (and confused it with the WTO as being something that gets protested), but it is attended by heads of state and the economy from all over the world; among many other from the U.S., Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Powell and Ashcroft were there. This is a major event, so reading about it in something that hasn’t been cleaned up or edited for PC-ness is really interesting.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Here are a couple of things that she noted at the convention:

The global economy is in very very very very bad shape. Last year when WEF met here in New York all I heard was, “Yeah, it’s bad, but recovery is right around the corner”. This year “recovery” was a word never uttered. Fear was palpable — fear of enormous fiscal hysteria. The watchwords were “deflation”, “long term stagnation” and “collapse of the dollar”. All of this is without war.

If the U.S. unilaterally goes to war, and it is anything short of a quick surgical strike (lasting less than 30 days), the economists were all predicting extreme economic gloom … Very few economists or ministers of finance predicted the world getting out of that economic funk for minimally five-10 years, once the downward spiral ensues.

For a minority of the participants there was another layer of AntiAmericanism that focused on moralisms and religion. I often heard delegates complain that the US “opposes the rights of children”, because we block all treaties and UN efforts that would support sex education and condom access for children and teens.

I attended a small lunch with Ashcroft, and observed Ralph Reed and other prominent Christian fundamentalists working the room and bowing their heads before eating. The rest of the world’s elite finds this American Christian behavior at least as uncomfortable as it does Moslem or Hindu fundamentalist behavior. They find it awkward every time a US representative refers to “faith-based” programs. It’s different from how it makes non-Christian Americans feel — these folks experience it as downright embarrassing.

It’s not my normal political focus, but it is good reading. And scary.