Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, March 19, 2005
The Post-Dispatch Has A Big Mind

Obviously, it does not worry about consistency.

Dateline: December. Post-Dispatch fires reporter for blogging.

Dateline: March. Lead editorial: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Freedom in the blogosphere

    APPLE COMPUTER INC. - the cool dude of computer-makers, the friend of electronic innovation - has itself turned into a bully. It is going to court against Weblog writers, or "bloggers," who leaked inside information about company innovations to Apple's cult following of techies.
Make no mistake, gentle reader; this is the Post-Dispatch knocking corporations, not protecting the little man. Kinda like the Post-Dispatch trumpets labor actions by all labor unions but those striking against the Post-Dispatch.

Friday, March 18, 2005
Moose Abuse

The Milwaukee Admirals lost to the Manitoba Moose last night. The Moose backstopper Wade Flaherty won the MVP of the Calder Cup playoffs last year when he led the Milwaukee Admirals to the championship. And the Admirals had their backup goalie in, so essentially it was last year's number one Admirals goalie against the number three Admirals goalie. What would you expect?

However, in accordance with the rules of the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree, I must post the winning team's logo:

As well as a link to Your Moosey Fate, who had the foresight to pick the Moose in the jamboree.

Book Report: Star Trek 6 by James Blish (1972)

Okay I read another of these. I bought 5-10 for 33 cents each at Hooked on Books in Springfield, and they're well worth it. Star Trek 6, like the others in the series, gathers together some of the episodes from the original Star Trek series and does them in a short story format. They're quick reads as they run about 130 pages each and, as paperbacks, they fit in one's pocket.

A couple of things strike me as I read them:
  • Wow, you mean there are episodes of the original series I haven't seen? I guess they made, what, 80 of them over three years; I just assumed that through the years of syndication, I had seen them all. I haven't. Which means there's probably a TOS DVD box set in my future.

  • Man, do you remember when paperback books had order forms right in the back? Have you ever encountered a paperback book that had its order form clipped out? Me either. Do they still do that? I remember the old paperback versions of Ayn Rand's writing actually had a card glued into the middle for information about the ARI, but I haven't seen a paperback with the order form in years. Of course, I haven't bought a new paperback book in years....

Possession by Law Enforcement Is 10/10ths of the Law

In the story entitled " $3.3 million in suspect cash is seized ", we encounter a hint of another way the federal government has eroded property rights:
    Under federal law, the money was turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. If the driver can't provide proof he obtained the money legally, federal law requires that it be divided between Pontoon Beach police and federal agencies.
Understand that, citizen. The government can seize an amount of cash from you that it considers suspicious and can place the burden of proof upon you to convince them that it's your money; if you cannot convince them to your satisfaction, they get to keep it.

Sure, this story is about $3.3 million, but it includes other enumerations as well:
    "We catch people with anywhere from $5,000 or $6,000 all the way up to a half million usually," said St. Louis police spokesman Sgt. Sam Dotson.
Carry five grand in cash on your person on your way to buy a car, and the government can take it from you. Sleep tight, citizens, in the bed you have at your government's leisure.


In an article entitled "Twist and Shout: Readers nominate the most-idiotic-twist endings.", Slate's movie guy offers an editorial comment:
    One thing you can say for The Village that you can't for many of the movies with cheap reversals: !!! Whatever the film's absurdities (the redirection of flight paths is an especial giggle), the Shyamster was trying to explore, with sympathy, the age-old difficulty of separating oneself and one's family from a diseased society, be it crime-ridden, chaotic, and amoral or governed by rapacious, right-wing corporatists. (Well, the ultraconservative Shyamster didn't exactly focus on the latter, but it strikes me as the bigger threat right now.) The problem with The Village is that the Shyamster bungled the suspense and couldn't manage to come up with a cathartic payoff. Audiences felt rooked.
Dear movie guy: I don't give a pawn what you think about politics. I clicked the article because it looked like an interesting pop culture read. Your beliefs in politics, particularly your insertion without comment or development, matter not a whit to the story you're writing. It is gratuitous and doesn't make me think well of you at all.

But it does put you on Eric Mink's career path--from television critic to editor of the op-ed pages.

Iala Iacta Est

No Stopping Global Warming, Studies Predict

    Even if people stopped pumping out carbon dioxide and other pollutants tomorrow, global warming would still get worse, two teams of researchers reported on Thursday.
Well, there you have it. Kyoto's useless. We're all doomed. Everyone can mow their lawns during daylight hours now.

Thursday, March 17, 2005
Waste of a Bullet

US troops shoot dead Iraqi general: police

I mean, if he's dead, why waste the ammo?

On a serious note, we love the caption for the photo: "US troops have killed a number of coalition personnel. (Reuters)" Of all the things you could say about US troops, I guess that's one.

Not What He Had In Mind

Sure, some of us have speculated that it's how we want to go, but this probably isn't what we've got in mind:
    A French woman fatally shot investment banking mogul Edouard Stern "in the course of sexual relations," Swiss authorities charged yesterday.

Book Report: Cold Service by Robert B. Parker (2005)

I actually ordered Cold Service from Amazon, so I'm a week late in reading it. But I read it in a single night, as is my wont. It helps that the books are thick, but the print is large and the most of the book is dialogue.

The plot basically recycles Small Vices and Pale Kings and Princes in that Hawk gets shot, almost dies, and when he recuperates, he and Spenser will pit the various organized crime elements against each other to get revenge on the gang who shot Hawk and the people whom he was protecting (some bodyguard--sorry, that's A Savage Place).

The same knocks I make on Crais novels I can make on Parker in the last couple of years. The plot centers on a favor for a friend instead of a case, it features a problem and not a mystery, and it features an ethnic gang of the month (Ukrainians). Still, I was partly raised by Robert B. Parker since I read the best of the Spenser novels in my fatherless formative years, so I give him a little more leeway for the books he phones in.

Still, I enjoyed the book well enough, but I'd prefer to see Spenser work on some cases, not some guerilla campaigns against organized crime.

Warranty Violation

Imagine my horror this morning when I discovered that I opened my new toothbrush from the wrong end:

Wrong end opened

Jeez, I should have read all instructions carefully. By removing the toothbrush from the box handle first, I've not only violated the warranty, which means that if this toothbrush fails to clean my teeth effectively, I cannot return it to the manufacturer for repair, but also that I have actually diminished the effectiveness of the toothbrush whose toothcleaning power was actually activated by the upward motion of the toothbrush head through the OPEN THIS END side.

Not to mention this very blog entry will be used as evidence against me at the next hearing, making it harder for me to acquire and receive a license for toothbrushes in the future.

What a sucky way to start my day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Where'd Everybody Go?

So as I monitored my daily hits, I could have wondered why I was not getting any hits from my trackback to a VodkaPundit post in this post yesterday defending Kansas and attacking those who would attack Kansas. As Matt at Overtaken by Events discovered, the guest blogging author of the original post closed comments and eliminated all trackbacks.

Poor form, Peter.

That's One Big Insect

This headline would be much funnier with a hyphen: Family of protester killed by bulldozer-suing Caterpillar

What kind of caterpillar sues bulldozers, anyway?

(Link seen on Overlawyered.)

Preventing Carpal Tunnels

Remember, ergonomics are important. Fortunately, Ajax helps me maintain proper wrist angle:

Ajax the OSHA representative

Welcome, Fellow Felons (Unprosecuted)

Professor Glenn Reynolds, a little known blogger, writes in Tech Central Station:
    Which means, in fact, the criminalization of almost everyone, too -- if you haven't been convicted of some felony or other, it's probably because no prosecutor has tried to put you away, not because you haven't committed one, whether you realized it at the time or not.
Or perhaps legislators just haven't passed the law yet, but give them a couple of days. Certainly, someone must do something!

Book Report: The American Zone by L. Neil Smith (2001)

I saw this book last winter at the 80% off book store before I saw its predecessor The Probability Broach; however, I found the first one and read it first and finally, five months later, got to this book.

This book is a short story stuffed with Libertarian policy. A couple of crimes occur, and the heroes interview a number of authoritarian straw men and shout them down with Libertarian reason. Then, on page 250, a member of the villains committing the crimes comes forward and explains to them what's going on in the plot and how to reach the climactic shootout where the bad guys die, the good guys are only injured, and an unexpected cavalry arrives.

I guess if you eagerly bought the book, this is kinda what you hoped would happen. However, I found the book tiresome to read without a plot, although the writing was simple and easygoing enough. But it's hard to overtly root for an ideology as the antagonist.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
They Must Have Run Out of Tobacco Lawsuit Money

Newark, New Jersey, used homeland security grants to buy garbage trucks:
    Newark used federal Department of Homeland Security funds to help pay for 10 top-of-the-line, air-conditioned garbage trucks — and a group of state lawmakers think that stinks.

    Newark unveiled its new garbage trucks last month — and boasted that the financing had partly come from "Homeland Security grants."

    Republican lawmakers yesterday blasted the city for "misuse" of federal money.

    "It goes to the heart of credibility," said Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, who noted New Jersey officials have been lobbying for more anti-terror funds.

    "You can't say we're buying garbage trucks on one hand and we're not getting enough Homeland Security money on the other."

    Not to mention that it's illegal to buy garbage trucks with a Homeland Security grant, says the department.
To the lower governments, Federal tax dollars represent a fungible slush fund for whatever they want to buy. And there's always more, minus the Federal government's sizeable vigorish, of course.

More Separate But Unequal

Waiter, there's a nose ring in my soup: Wyoming may ban facial piercings in restaurants

    As if the hair in your salad wasn't bad enough, a city health inspector in Cheyenne, Wyo. said there had been "several cases" of tongue rings and other facial jewelry found in the food in the city's restaurants.

    It was enough to persuade the Governor's Food Safety Council to recommend banning facial jewelry for restaurant workers who prepare food -- perhaps becoming the first state in the country to do so.
No word on brooches, pendants/necklaces, or earrings, many of which are more dangly and eligible to fall off. No, sir, instead, we have a state government moving at lightning speed to ban something based on anecdotal "evidence."

Unfortunately, we expect nothing less.

Gratuitous Slap

Guestblogging at VodkaPundit, someone whose blog I don't bother with slaps the state of Kansas. Why? Because it's there.
    Face it, Kansas is a plain-Jane. It's "I Like Ike" and Bob Dole country. It reminds me of my mosted hated food - mayonnaise - pale, bland, uniform in consistency and boring. There's no ocean, no mountains and its population is hardly a model of diversity. And it's always going to be that way. A simply mediocre, generic kind of place, totally devoid of bathos, highs or lows.
Unwarranted. really, but undoubtedly it made the author feel better about herself and the state in which she lives.

How are you supposed to answer an ad statum attack?

Update: Dustbury's thoughts.

More Separate But Equal To Destroy

Now that a judge in San Francisco has ruled that banning gay marriage invokes the magickal separate but unequal curse, I humbly suggest some other institutions which could use a judicial takedown for promoting separateness but equalness:
  • Juvenile courts, which provide separate justice for youths which should have equal weight to adult punishment somehow.

  • The Chinese New Year, which presents a separate numbering system and celebration that's almost like the Gregorian celebration.

  • State governments, which present different laws based on geographic location. All laws should be standard across the Fatherland.

  • Gender-restricted bathrooms, which although numerous laws have mandated that facilities offer equal numbers of pots to piss in for men and women, women's bathrooms often have lines out the door. Certainly, separate but unequal; oyez, oyez, all bathrooms shalt be unisex or boththesexes from this day forward throughout the land!

  • Salary caps in professional sports, which enforce parity on sports teams, but a parity of pay, not of skill or performance.

  • Political news coverage, which has proven to be three times friendlier to Kerry than George W. Bush. So it must be eliminated as it's separate and unequal. Or made separate and equal under the divine guidance of the judiciary.

Unleash your inner Diana Moon Glampers!

Monday, March 14, 2005
Another Surveillance Camera Triumph

Remember, friends, cameras cannot keep you safe; they can only provide prosecutors and law enforcement officials with leads and evidence after the bad guys do bad things. Control desk failed to notice assault on camera:
    A video camera, which is supposed to be monitored by two guards in a command post, shows the two arriving in the holding area between two courtrooms, according to a law enforcement official who viewed the tape.

    The video shows Hall guiding Nichols, whose hands are still handcuffed behind his back, face-first into one of two open cells.

    Hall releases one cuff and turns Nichols around to unhook the remaining cuff, which is dangling from his wrist. She uncuffs him so he can change from a jail jumpsuit into street clothes.

    The muscular, 33-year-old Nichols then lunges at Hall, knocking the petite, 51-year-old woman backward into another cell. Both disappear from camera view.

    Because there is no audio recording with the camera, it is unclear whether Nichols shot Hall or caused her severe head injuries by hitting her with his fist and knocking her to the concrete floor.

    Two to three minutes later, Nichols emerges from the cell, holding Hall's gun belt and police radio. He picks up her keys from the floor and locks her inside the cell. Nichols then goes into a nearby cell.

    A couple of minutes later he emerges, dressed in civilian clothes. He locks the door behind him and saunters calmly out of the holding area, carrying the gun belt, according to the law enforcement official who viewed the tape. Nichols appears to know exactly which key to use to unlock the holding area door and enters a vacant courtroom on the eighth floor.
The camera silently recorded it all. Remember this whenever your local law enforcement tells you that its new cameras will make your community safer. They will not.

What Good Is a Criminal Record?

San Francisco has determined that having convictions on your record might make people think less of you. So they're all in favor of removing criminal convictions:
    A young woman arrested for prostitution shared a harrowing tale of leaving her suburban home in the Bay Area and working for a sadistic pimp.

    She escaped when her pimp was sent to prison. Now she is back with her family, working part-time and attending college. The poised and articulate 23- year-old wants her criminal past cleared so she can enter the field of her dreams: nursing.

    A San Francisco program called Clean Slate may be the answer.

    Using a little-known state law, the Clean Slate program run by the San Francisco public defender's office got more than 1,500 criminal cases cleared last year. Another 2,227 are being processed.

    The cleared cases -- all committed in San Francisco -- range from lesser charges such as prostitution and petty theft to more serious offenses including attempted rape, drug dealing, assault and vehicular manslaughter.
No harm, no foul. Harm? Eh, no foul either.

Today's DotCom Boom Punchline


Sunday, March 13, 2005
Too Little, Too Late

Sen. Paul Sarbanes won't seek reelection

Too damn little, too late. When your name has been attached to a piece of legislation designed to hobble corporations and to transfer wealth from publicly-owned companies to accounting firms and the government, you've been in office too long. When your legislation is used as a perjorative amongst well-informed people (SOX you!), your retirement comes too late.

That McCain-Feingoldin' Federal-power-mad, doin'-somethin legislator. May he retire in piece and not inflict current legislators with his lobbying.

Because They Already Memorialized Dead Homeless People Last Week

More feature writing from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Whatever happened to Evelyn West?, which eulogizes a famous stripper in St. Louis from the 1950s:
    Officer William Comeford filed his report - death apparently from natural causes - and returned to business as usual.

    He ignored the clues that this 83-year-old woman once had been famous. They could be found in the stacks of provocative photographs all about her quarters; three bedrooms stacked with boxes that made it impossible to walk through the rooms. Some contained the outfits she donned backstage and then discarded onstage to the cheers of hundreds each night.
So last Sunday, it was sepia-toned love for homelessness. This week, it's a page on an old, forgotten stripper. What's next for the hard-hitting reporters at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch?

Missouri Citizens Have Too Much Power, Missouri Legislator Determines

Bill would forbid ‘harassing' requests for documents:
    A bill introduced last month in the Missouri House would, if approved, allow government officials to reject so-called harassing requests for public documents.

    But a loose definition of the bill's wording by government officials who process the requests could hurt even well-intentioned residents, some say.

    House Bill 391, the proposed change to Missouri's Sunshine Law, would allow a public governmental body to refuse any "vexatious" request for documents.

    The bill defines a vexatious request as "any request for documents which is frivolous, repetitive or unreasonable and made for the primary purpose of harassing a public governmental body or any member of a governmental body."
In other words, any requests by citizens who oppose the goings on on the government.
    The bill's sponsor, Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, did not return repeated phone calls from the Journal for this story.
Of course not. The whole point is that the plebes cannot understand the subtleties of ruling them, so why confuse them with information or argument?

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."