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Friday, September 30, 2005

AdvoCare Followup 

Back on Monday, DadTalk posted (note that I correctly linked this time) information about AdvoCare's KickStart Spark drink, a kid's "nutritional supplement" that includes caffeine as one of the "nutrients." I posted some additional information here in this blog (plus some other junk which is of minimal interest to my above-average readership).

Well, DadTalk has returned with a new commentary, in the form of a response to AdvoCare's response to the New York Times article that started the brouhaha in the first place. Here's a sample (go here to read the entire response). AdvoCare's comments are italic, DadTalk's are bold.

[C]affeine is not a banned substance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the International Olympic Committee or the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It is a regulated ingredient, and AdvoCare fully supports such regulations.
If caffeine is regulated, why should we be giving it to kids at all?

The Sarasota Herald Tribune has more to say:

The company's marketing materials describe the drink as a way to kick-start the morning for children as young as 4. The company Web site, adorned with a picture of an elementary school wrestler and a gymnast, says its drink can help a child "develop fully as a high-performance athlete" and fill nutritional gaps "in a sport that is physically and mentally demanding."...

Despite the promotional materials, Sidney Stohs and Rick Loy, executives with AdvoCare International of Texas, which makes the products, said Spark was not devised or marketed for children's athletic performance but rather for their overall good health....

Many of AdvoCare's customers say they love the products, but pediatricians, medical experts and others involved in youth sports express strong concern about the levels of caffeine and the idea of encouraging children to use performance-enhancing products, especially at a time when professional athletes are under scrutiny for using stimulants and muscle builders....

Frank Uryasz, president of the National Center for Drug Free Sport and administrator of college drug testing programs, said young athletes should avoid caffeine and other stimulants.

"I am concerned that they are gateway substances," Uryasz said in a telephone interview. "I think it develops a mind-set especially among young athletes that they have to take something - a powder, a pill, a liquid - to improve their performance, when actually study after study shows that almost all of these products add no value to a young person's athletic performance."

Although many companies sell highly caffeinated drinks - Jolt and Red Bull are examples - for adults and children, Uryasz said AdvoCare concentrates on child and teenage athletes more than the other companies....

Angela B. Foster, whose 12-year-old daughter, Taylor, is featured in another endorsement for AdvoCare products, said in a telephone interview that Spark was safe and helpful for not only Taylor, who practices 20 hours a week and is hoping for a college scholarship in gymnastics, but also for her 11-year-old brother, who plays soccer and runs track, and her 7-year-old sister. "We use Spark for all of them," Foster said.

The Foster children use the teenage and adult version, with 120 milligrams of caffeine, even though it is labeled as not for use by children. "They don't use the kids' stuff," Foster said. "They said it tastes too much like Kool-Aid."

In her endorsement for AdvoCare's children's products, Taylor said: "I have more energy and I like them a lot. I would suggest that anyone try them!"...

Pharmaceutical drugs containing caffeine are required to have warnings saying, "Do not give to children under 12 years of age" and "Limit the use of caffeine-containing medications, foods or beverages while taking this product because too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness and, occasionally, rapid heartbeat."

No such caffeine warnings are required of dietary supplements, which are considered foods, not drugs, under federal law....

AdvoCare has about 60 other products that it says help users with nutrition, energy, weight loss, muscle-building and skin care. It has 175 adult athlete endorsers, including Drew Brees of the San Diego Chargers and Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans. Some of its products contain synephrine, a stimulant regarded as safe by the Food and Drug Administration but banned by the N.C.A.A. and the World Anti-Doping Agency, and creatine, a muscle builder banned by the N.C.A.A. Both chemicals are legal and marketed by many companies. Stohs said such products were not for children....

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Or you could throw gamblers straight into prison (But We Must All Adopt One Political Philosophy Or The Other One. It Is Commanded So.) 

Rut roh:

The White House on Friday criticized former Education Secretary William Bennett for remarks linking the crime rate and the abortion of black babies....

Bennett, on his radio show, "Morning in America," was answering a caller's question when he took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is up.

"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," said Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues."

He went on to call that "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

Well, the Communists weighed in:

William Bennett has clearly shown that not all racist pigs in today's society feel the urge to don white sheets or bear swastikas on their arms.

And this person, by not completely condemning Bennett, is obviously a baby seal clubber:

An author argues that a high abortion rate will lead to a lower crime rates....Bennett agrees that this basic correlation exists: there would be fewer crimes committed in this country if we killed all of those who were young, poor, and black. But Bennett also says that to do such a thing would be "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible".

So what exactly are we getting mad at Bennett for? In the first part, Bennett is simply stating a fact, a statistical correlation that seems likely to be true. Correlation does not imply causality, however; to state the fact that African Americans are more likely than whites to be convicted of crimes does not mean that there is any direct correlation between being black and having a predilection to commit crime.... And we certainly wouldn't be getting mad at Bennett for saying that to actually encourage abortion of African Americans would be an evil thing to do.

It seems to me that we are mad at Bennett for exposing the skeletons in our own closet. His comments evoked memories of a time in this country where black sterilization actually occurred; where it was a common thought among certain segments of white America that we could eliminate the race problem in America by simply eliminating the black population in America. Sort of a genocide in slow-motion. His comments also remind us that our racial problems are not a thing of the past; that white and black Americans act differently and are treated differently, in ways that are hard to measure and for reasons that we don't understand. Republicans want to ignore race as a problem and hope it goes away, while Democrats want to push affirmative action programs whose time has seemingly past. Neither solution is a good one, and we have yet to come up with a set of reasonable alternatives.

Unfortunately, this isn't analysis that you are likely to get on the news. It's all too easy to simply crucify Bennett as a racist for saying things that he didn't actually say, and then to go on ignoring the problem....Bennett's comments make for fabulously terrible headlines ("Former Education Secretary Says We Can Reduce Crime By Aborting Black Babies"), and so that's all you're likely to get.

But this baby seal clubber doesn't stick to the script:

...[A] friend of mine recently tipped me off to the fact that the House Majority Leader is Tom Delay, the House Majority Whip is Roy Blunt and one of the House Majority Deputy Whips is John Doolittle.

So, the republican leadership can be summed up as delay, blunt, and doolittle....

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Bill - Hope - Cheats on you with Fat Women! 

Jason Cage, a radio deejay at Little Rock, Arkansas station, has asked female listeners to call in and contribute names to a "Do Not Date" list. Here are some samples:

Justin L - Hot Springs - Cheats on you with your own SISTER!

Steven S. - Little Rock - Thinks a night out means going to his moms house.

Hunter T. - North Little Rock - Never Showers


Tyler H - Little Rock - Loves the freshman girls even though he's 26 and not in school!!!

In Little Rock, are there 26 year olds who ARE in school?

Joe F - North Little Rock - MAKES LIL KIM LOOK LIKE A VIRGIN!@!

Sam - Conway - Hooks up with 6 women at one time (CAGE NOTE : Sam is my new hero)

Dustin - Sheridan - He's a Stupid Redneck!

As opposed to a smart redneck.

Cody W - BeeBe - Makes out with his SISTER!

Chris – Little Rock – Tries to control everything you do

Ricky – Little Rock – Still wets the bed

Anthony – Pine Bluff – Pulled an R Kelly

Jason also has a website called feedlindsay.com.

And Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me" was number 18 in his station's top 20 songs of 2004. ("Ya Ya" didn't make the cut.)

From the Ontario Empoblog

(3) comments links to this post

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thank you, Sirlinksalot 

My Adelphia cable lost Channels 4 and 7 last night at 8:20 pm, so I missed a good chunk of Martha Stewart's Apprentice show. Via sirlinksalot.net, I discovered a Martha Stewart Apprentice blog and read the results here. Here's part of what I missed:

After realizing that most customers were having "sticker shock", Primarius removed the prices from their displays and flowers started moving.

In the end Matchstick Sales were brisk, but had sales of less than 1/2 of Primarius'....

Primary Factors in the loss:

Chuck's lack of leadership and Jim's controlling manipulations....

Conference Room: Matchstick- Chuck with Jim and Dawn....

Jim repeatedly lied, boldly, saying that Chuck didn't have a melt-down and didn't quit. He very aggressively attacked Dawn about her lack of contribution to the team....

Fired: Chuck -- Chuck was in over his head, recognized it, attempted to address it constructively, and was manipulated into staying. Then, due to Jim's insistance that Chuck had done no wrong, sort of manipulated into fighting to be fired. He won....

From the Ontario Empoblog

(4) comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dreier Didn't Get It (and this wasn't Martha talking) 

Abram quotes from the Washington Post and adds his own comments:

"What [DeLay] and Hastert wanted was a timeserver, someone to hold the job but with no ambitions to stay in it. And they had someone in mind. This week, an aide to the speaker approached Rep. David Dreier about his role in a post-DeLay caucus. Dreier, a congenial Californian who has loyally served the GOP leadership as Rules Committee chairman, expressed interest in helping Hastert.

"There was one big problem: When DeLay's indictment was unsealed yesterday, conservatives in the GOP caucus immediately erupted in anger over rumors that the selection of Dreier, whom they regard as too moderate, was being presented as a fait accompli."

"Too moderate"? Could be. Or that could be the polite way of saying "too gay". Or perhaps "too ethical". Or "too weak".

"As the conservatives met to vent frustrations and plot options, Hastert was changing course in a separate meeting on the second floor of the Capitol. Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), the majority whip, was making a personal appeal for the promotion. Hastert agreed, forestalling a possible revolt by conservatives, who regard Blunt as one of their own."

In other words, Hastert turned his back on DeLay. Do you think Tom DeLay would forget something like that? Do you think Hastert would have done it if Tom DeLay were coming back?...

This, ladies and gentleman, is the politics of power....Speaker Hastert is rumored to want to retire in 2008. His logical successor would have been DeLay, but now will be Blunt. And it won't be Dreier.

It will be interesting to see how many lined up against Dreier because of his support of Bush's legalization moves, or because of other reasons. Hard to tell.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Make Your Time - Meme Zig Meme 

Check this out from Geoff:

A meme is essentially a viral idea. A meme has some intrinsic property that charms/captures a host (i.e. someone’s mind) and encourages the host to spread it: for example, the All Your Base Are Belong To Us meme...had a core component of wonderfully wacky Engrish. Jeffrey Ray Roberts was so charmed by it he produced a song, and someone in turn produced a video. The video was a success; friend told friend of it, and (here’s the point) its spread could be compared to that of a virus. The more you were in contact with someone infected by the All Your Base meme, the more likely they’d tell you about it. Boom: exponential growth, baby....

You can probably see where I’m going with this by now: Christianity is a meme. A damn virulent one. Why? Let’s step through it.

Christianity is very effective in that it has lots of built in mechanisms to encourage people to join, and to spread the virus. Remember my four common components of a successful major religion. First, they demand evangelism. From a Darwinian point of view, the significance is obvious: a parasitic organism like a virus is more successful if it alters the host in some way that increases its spreading potential. Religions that don’t demand evangelism will not be nearly as effective.

Second, you have the tenet of helping others in need. Due to intrinsic systems of gratitude (it can be seen in lower primates), people helped by, say, a Christian, are likely to be more open to the faith.

Third, the random little rules. Jewish folk keep kosher, Christians limit their sexual activity, etc. If you look at the end benefit of these rules, they serve to keep the host alive longer (or at least used to)....

Finally, these memes have a component that encourages faith. Becoming an atheist would be equivalent to fighting off the meme, and so natural selection has again directed them to a vulnerable point....

From the Ontario Empoblog

(2) comments links to this post

Jeffery or Jeffrey? 

Let's look at both. This is a followup to a previous post, and another.

Let's start at WhatIfSports (credit jwelsh1023):

[S]ome creative people, we're not sure who was first - started the trend of doctoring regular Internet culture images with the phrase, and trading them among friends. Quickly, people joined suit, and a whole culture of image manipulators began designing their own versions. Some good, some great, some lame... but almost all, very creative image manipulation.

At some point, Kansas City computer programmer and part-time deejay Jeffrey Ray Roberts sampled the quote and added an annoyingly catchy dance track. "I did it for the sheer inside-joke value," he says. "Everyone was trying to one-up each other." Next came a two-minute music video, and soon "All your base!" was being yelled out of dorm windows on campuses around the country....

San Francisco State University weighed in several years ago:

Jeffery Ray Roberts of suburban Kansas has made $300 from selling 150 of his shirts. But it was his early AYB contribution that has really paid.

Back in December, the Internet developer launched the AYB soundtrack under the alias The Laziest Men on Mar. Put together on a Sunday afternoon, he looped a robot-voiced "All Your Base" vocal to a maddening happy hardcore beat and as with any dance track, requisite remixes followed. By posting his song on mp3.com, he as accumulated 1/5 of a cent per hit in playback fees, or $10,000. Now he's just hoping mp3.com doesn't go out of business before they can pay up. "They only have one advertiser," he notes nervously. If mp3.com comes through like they should, he will not only recieve $10,000 for the last quarter year, but he will continue to earn about $40 per day. With income like that, one can see why Roberts hopes AYB thrives as a modern day "Where's the Beef." And it looks like the phrase is well on it's way.

But let's look at a thesis:

For fifteen minutes in November of 2001, Greg Falcon was a memetic node.

His 'animutation' entitled "Irrational Exuberance" found itself included in the constantly changing compilation of "must see" websites. The website Memepool.com, one of the more popular weblogs (a site which posts links of interest), linked to Greg's short animated music video on November 27. Within five days, his website had been visited over 30,000 times....

The butterfly to Greg Falcon's brief hurricane of celebrity flapped its wings over a decade earlier. In 1991, a version of a Japanese arcade game entitled Zero Wing was created for the European Sega gaming platform....

More than seven years would pass before Zero Wing would begin to trickle back through the collective consciousness. In 1998, a website ("Rage Games") posted an animated GIF file of the introductory scene of the European Sega console version of Zero Wing....

From Overclocked.org, the AYB meme spread to the message boards at SomethingAwful. Throughout the summer of 2000, links to the animated GIF file as well as to the Overclocked QuickTime "Wayne Newton" dub were posted. On September 6, a poster to the SomethingAwful message boards created the first AYB photo edit. This user (going by the nickname 'Starscream') added a speech bubble containing the line "All your base are belong to us!" to a photo of Alf, an alien character from the 80s sitcom of the same name....

Interestingly, the next step in the AYB meme occurred not on one of the second generation sites (sites which were exposed to the AYB meme by way of the SomethingAwful boards), but yet again on the SomethingAwful message boards themselves. "JRR" (This was his nickname on the SomethingAwful boards. The artist of the song is listed as "The Laziest Men on Mars" on MP3.com. Do not be confused by the plural. "The Laziest Men" is JRR - Jeffery Ray Roberts.) posted a link to a mp3 file of a song entitled "Invasion of the Gabber Robots". This song is a techno remix that uses the spoken text of the intro as source material. JRR did not use the audio from Overclocked's "Wayne Newton" dub (which up until this point had been the only AYB version to have audio), but created his own....

Bad_CRC combined the original introductory images from the Zero Wing Sega console game with many of the better quality photo edits. He set this slide show to the audio of JRR's "Invasion of the Gabber Robots". On February 15, he posted this Flash animation to the TribalWar.com message boards (one of the second generation memetic carriers spawned from the SomethingAwful discussions). Although the animation contains no original work by Bad_CRC, his animation was the most successful carrier of the AYB meme....

From the Ontario Empoblog

(0) comments links to this post

Ed Sent Me 

He did, so I did. Again. Remember when I went here?

Gabber is a type of techno music that is harder, darker and faster than most, and is characterized by having unintelligible sounds. I'd never actually heard gabber until I saw this Web site, created by a group of graphic artists and musicians called The Laziest Men on Mars. The Flash presentation starts with a Japanimation-esque intro, where some evil dude with a half-metal face tells the crew of a space ship "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US" in a computerized voice. Then a song, "Invasion of the Gabber Robots," plays over a show of dozens of photos that have all been digitally altered with the evil guy's catch phrase. It's written on a fortune cookie slip, on the warning label of a pack of cigarettes ... it's lit up in giant squares as a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. You have to see it to understand it, and even then, you probably won't.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Just Another Allusion 

And I briefly mentioned Brenda Spencer in KOER also. Here's why:

Brenda Spencer, who has spent 25 years in prison for killing two people and wounding nine others in one of the nation's first schoolyard shootings, was denied parole again yesterday.

This was the fourth time Spencer, 43, has appeared before the state parole board asking to be considered for release. She was convicted of first-degree murder and assault for the 1979 shootings at Cleveland Elementary School in San Carlos. She will not be eligible for a new parole hearing for four years.

Spencer was 16 on Jan. 29, 1979, when she used a .22-caliber rifle, a Christmas gift from her father, to shoot at children from a window of her home across the street. Principal Burton Wragg, 53, and custodian Michael Suchar, 56, were killed.

Police Officer Robert Robb was shot in the neck as he, like Wragg and Suchar, tried to help the children. Eight students ranging in age from 7 to 10 were wounded.

During a hearing at the California Institution for Women, where she has been incarcerated since 1980, Spencer told two parole board commissioners that she was "deeply sorry" for the harm she caused her victims and their families. She said she remembered little about the day of the shootings, only "bits and pieces."...

At the time of the incident, Spencer told a reporter: "I just started shooting for the fun of it. I don't like Mondays. It livens up the day."

Bob Geldof said a lot about this in his autobiography, but I don't feel like typing. I'd rather cut and paste.

Brenda started practicing with a .22 semi-automatic rifle that her Dad, Wallace bought her for Christmas. Along with 500 rounds of ammunition.

Her house was across the street from the Grover Cleveland Elementary School. It was 8:30 in the morning, and the kids were just arriving. At first no one could tell what was going on, the .22 was quiet, you couldn't hear her gunshots. Students were just falling down....

Barely twenty minutes later she was done. She went inside her house and waited for the authorities. They placed a trash truck between her house and the school and negotiated with her for seven hours before she turned herself over to them.

Meanwhile the lead singer of The Boomtown Rats, Bob Geldof, was doing a radio interview in Los Angeles. During a break he saw the story coming in on the telex machine (the one that was kept so clean as it types to a waiting world). Upon returning to his hotel he quickly wrote the song, which he thought would make an interesting B-side for the band. Their label thought otherwise.

Wallace Spencer, Brenda's Dad, the guy who bought her the gun for Christmas, threatened to sue any record store in the San Diego area that carried the hit single. He would later marry and have a child with Brenda's former cellmate from the juvenile holding facility. As of 1993, but perhaps even today, he was still living at the corner house on Lake Atlin Avenue, across from the Cleveland Elementary School which was closed and opened later as a hebrew school. He doesn't talk to reporters....

Bob Geldof claims that he once received a letter from Brenda. In it she expressed appreciation for his having written the song, and that he (and the song) had helped to make her famous. She expressed an interest in meeting him upon her release. Geldof has specifically expressed no desire or intent to ever meeting Brenda Spencer....

From the Ontario Empoblog

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KWRM Controversy Down to One Day a Week 

I alluded to this in KOER, and should discuss it more fully here.

As of right now, KWRM is only scheduling its "Controversy" sports program for one day a week - Fridays from 6pm to 7pm.

I have audioblogged about this show in the past, and regret its limited schedule.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Two Year Olds Are So Quiet...They Need Something 

DadTalk reports:

Would you give your 4-year-old a cup of fully caffeinated coffee? How about Red Bull?...

If you haven’t guessed, there is NO WAY IN HELL I’d ever give [my young son] caffeine – except for a little chocolate – while he’s a youngster. But that’s exactly what AdvoCare wants me to do, reports The New York Times.

AvoCare’s drink KickStart Spark, which reportedly tastes like Kool-Aid, is an attempt to get athletes ages 4-11 to consume more caffeine in a single serving than the 45 milligrams adults receive from a single cup of coffee. Considering as an adult I can barely handle 5-10 milligrams of caffeine each day, I can only imagine what the 60 milligrams a serving does to a toddler.

Once youngsters are fully addicted, they can upgrade to Spark, a sister drink for kids 12 and up. This drink contains a whopping 120 milligrams of caffeine, which is equal to almost three cups of coffee.

“It’s not just a caffeine delivery system; it has many more nutritional properties,” comes the lame explanation from Sidney Stohs, a company vice president....

AdvoCare has responded to the New York Times:

A recent article in The New York Times (9/25/05) incorrectly claims that the intent of AdvoCare is to market high levels of caffeine to children as a high-performance stimulant – a total misrepresentation of what AdvoCare is all about....

KickStart SPARK™ Smart Energy Drink, the product most in question by the New York Times, has been carefully researched as a safe nutritional drink for children. It contains vitamins and minerals essential for children’s balanced nutrition, especially important given that only about 10 percent of children in the United States get the daily recommended level of nutrition. As one of five nutritional products in the KickStart line, KickStart SPARK™ Smart Energy Drink is the only one that contains caffeine (60 mg) – at a level far below other common sources of caffeine like coffee (from 85 mg in regular coffee to 200+ mg in specialty coffees) and energy drinks with 80 mg in a single can. Sodas, tea, frozen yogurt, vitamin waters and chocolate products, as well as pain relievers and other over-the-counter medicines, are additional sources of caffeine....

[S]ubstantial research has been conducted on the effects of caffeine, and numerous sources such as the National Institute of Mental Health have reported that “overall, the effects of caffeine in children seem to be modest and typically innocuous.” For example, one-and-a-half glasses of iced tea or two cans of diet cola contain about 100 mg of caffeine – well above the 60 mg of caffeine in just one pouch of KickStart SPARK™....

[C]affeine is not a banned substance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the International Olympic Committee or the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It is a regulated ingredient, and AdvoCare fully supports such regulations....

However, the response still doesn't explain why caffeine has to be there in the first place.

But wait, there's more:

Become a Member now. ADVOCARE Members enjoy a whole world of benefits and potential.

For only $50 a year, Members receive countless benefits and features....

Receive 20% off every ADVOCARE product purchase you make. When you become a Member, you'll get 20% off the retail price on every great ADVOCARE product you buy. That's an amazing discount on world-class products that will help lead you toward a healthier lifestyle. Once you've purchased $250 worth of retail product, you've already paid for your Membership. Plus, the more you buy, the more discount you'll receive - up to 40%! Shop smart and become a Member today....

Earn income by sharing ADVOCARE products with your friends and family. Because ADVOCARE products work, you have an opportunity to earn extra income by sharing the products with your friends and family. You can earn income by selling products at the retail price to people you know, plus you can be a part of our amazing compensation program. Whether you're looking for extra cash at the end of the month, searching for a way to pay off debt or needing an exciting opportunity to generate substantial income, becoming an ADVOCARE Member is your first step to reaching your goals.

Take advantage of our award-winning DebtBuster System. Not only does ADVOCARE give you the opportunity to earn income, but we also show you how to use this income to truly achieve life on your terms. Our award-winning DebtBuster System is an amazingly impactful system that teaches you the principles of debt, money and investing, and how to use your "Momentum Money" toward your and your family's better future. This free program for ADVOCARE Members would cost hundreds elsewhere....

This brought back very negative memories from years and years ago, when one day our friend Cam invited Daniel, Robert, and I over to his house but wouldn't say why. We ended up in an Amway presentation, hearing the same type of stuff about how Amway products will save the world, cure cancer, and promote world peace.

Someone's been drinking too much caffeine.

[OE 9/30/2005 - link to DadTalk corrected]

From the Ontario Empoblog

(2) comments links to this post

But at least her children can go to Ontario Christian 

From the Daily Bulletin:

A woman walked into a Taco Bell, stripped off her clothes in the restroom, walked out and then began throwing items in the restaurant, police said.

Police came to the business in the 800 block of North Mountain Avenue at 7:53 p.m. and took the woman to a hospital for a mental evaluation, said Ontario police Lt. John Evans....

No injuries were reported.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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David Dreier Re-emerges 

In a blog about the Tom DeLay indictment and temporary (?) resignation from his House leadership post, Michelle Malkin says the following:

Rep. David Dreier is being recommended as DeLay's temporary replacement. Left-wingers have already launched a disgusting and cowardly smear attack on Dreier (hat tip: Jonah Goldberg). Shame on them.

Breitbart says:

GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation.

Worship the Glitch has compiled Dreier ratings (emphasis mine):

Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record.
Rated 27% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record.
Rated 100% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record.
Rated 33% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes.
Rated 20% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes.
Rated 0% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes.
Rated 66% by the Christian Coalition: mixed voting record on families.
Rated 72% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record.
Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.
Rated 14% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record.
Rated 22% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.
Rated 0% by FAIR, indicating a voting record loosening immigration.
Rated 7% by the AFL-CIO, indicating an anti-labor voting record.
Rated 0% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record.
Rated 64% by NTU, indicating "Satisfactory" on tax votes.

The Hack n Flak entry wasn't a left-wing attack, but a right-wing attack:

This is a big vote of confidence for Dreier that he'll need in order to fend off a primary challenge from March next year. (March has hinted that he will challenge Dreier in the Republican primary next year because of Dreier's vote against the cessation of monetary aid to Mexico for not extraditing criminals back to the U.S. March's son, a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles, was killed by a Mexican fugitive.)

And, as expected, there's a lot of talk about Dreier's personal life. (Let's just say that Ontario Christian wouldn't allow him to enroll his children, if he had any.)

Well, the emergence of Dreier will give John and Ken something to talk about. They haven't blogged about Dreier since August:

American flags and an occasional Bush-Cheney election sticker greeted the 53-year-old as he knocked on doors north of 14th Street and slightly west of Mountain Avenue [in Upland, California].

Dreier, a powerful Republican who has served the 26th District since 1980, said he was prompted to put on his walking shoes to clear up misperceptions of his record – especially regarding illegal immigration.

“You have to go out and meet people,” he said, before heading out in the Upland neighborhood. “It’s very clear that the issue of illegal immigration and border security has been distorted, and I want to clarify my record.”

Dreier faced unusually strong opposition in his election last year after he was targeted by radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM’s “The John and Ken Show.” The duo led an aggressive campaign to oust Dreier, citing him as soft on illegal immigration.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

And I missed this bit of news 

Starting with Celebrity Smack:

Hilary Duff Looks Sick

Her skin is pale, her eyes hollow, not to mention that she has NO body to speak of anymore....

Celebrity Smack also includes a picture.

From Blue Kat:

Hillary Duff was a sweet-faced teen starlet. She had the makings of a great beauty, should she survive the usual peer pressure and teen angst to be perfect; who seemed to be comfortable in her own, non anorexic skin. Well, it seems that young Ms Duff has succumbed to just that pressure....

Blue Kat includes before and after pictures.

And then there's this post, but I can't tell if it's a parody or real:

okay the point is...at first i was thinking "at the beach im gonna forget all about this whole thing and still be worrying about my weight and what i eat but just have fun and starve" now i see it as "im DETERMINED to lose weight when i get back so i am going to be EXTREMELY careful while im there so i can have fun and stay out on the beach so i try not to worry about what i eat because i wont have time to eat, i'll be out on the beach and around the town all day. and when i get back i'll be TAN and hopefully will have dropped a few pounds....

oh OHMYGOSH how much weight as hillary duff lost! she looks SO much better! calves and arms are still a bit chunky but the rest of her looks really skinny! shes got like major collarbones now, and a lot more "narrow" face. she looks great(ish)!

there was this thing on hbo that was like in the middle of 2 shows and it was about teen anorexia and bulimia and they were saying the "warning signs" and my mom was like "natalie now im scared that sounds alot like you" and i was like "ha umm are you kidding.." and then turned the channel really quick. i think she forgot about it but WHOA i got nervous for a second.

But if this PSA is to be believed, Hillary is just eating healthy:

Perhaps this explains Hilary Duff's incredibly shrinking body: She's participating in an anti-obesity campaign to encourage kids to eat right and exercise via a PSA that will hit the airwaves in California this week.

"Even though I spend an hour in the makeup chair before each show, that alone isn't going to make me look good," the singer says in the upbeat radio message. "All the makeup in the world can't make up for poor nutrition. ... I have to stay fit and eat right because, hello! What goes inside is going to eventually show on the outside."

Initiated by the California School Nutrition Association, Duff's PSA is but one part of a campaign called "Stay fit. Eat right. Looking good, California!"....The campaign's Web site, StayFitEatRight.org, also includes healthy-meals recipes for kids as well as forums for them to put forth questions to chefs and personal trainers....

Duff, who recorded two versions nine months ago, also espouses in the PSA the virtues of healthy snacks such as fruits or vegetables, "because they love me as much as I love them," as well as eating well-balanced meals. She tells listeners they'll be able to find what they're looking for in the nutritionist-planned meals available at public school cafeterias, which is "like having your own private chef watching your diet."

Apparently the CSNA doesn't perform any research before selecting its spokespeople.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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So What Does Katie's Father Do? 

From AP/Yahoo:

Nicole Kidman says she didn't have to go far to research her role as a psychiatrist for the upcoming movie, "The Visiting."

"I have a father who is a psychologist, so my life has been research," the Oscar-winning actress told AP Radio in a recent interview.

Unlike her ex-husband Tom Cruise, who went on a rant against psychiatry in a "Today" show interview earlier this year, Kidman said she thinks psychiatry is a worthwhile profession that can help people....

So what does Katie Holmes' father do?

Katie's father, Martin Holmes, is the senior partner in a large and respected Toledo, Ohio, law firm. His son, Martin Jr., has recently joined the firm. He's a Harvard graduate. Katie's mom, Kathy, is frequently cited in Toledo for her charity work....

Actually, this one should fly. We know that Scientology likes lawyers. And they sponsor charities.

And according to Katie's uncle, Martin loves Tom:

Richard Holmes, Katie’s uncle, said her parents met Mr. Cruise a few weeks ago while in California for the premiere of Batman Begins.

“Marty [Ms. Holmes’ father] went out there and spent a lot of time with him. He [Mr. Cruise] doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t do drugs. He’s in terrific shape.”

Mr. Cruise’s mother, Mary Lee Mapother, made a fried chicken dinner for Martin Holmes and his wife, Kathy Holmes, according to Richard Holmes, who added that they also met Mr. Cruise’s sister/publicist, Lee Anne DeVette.

“There wasn’t anything about him they didn’t like,” Richard Holmes said. “It’s just like her father says — just so she’s happy.”

But don't be surprised if Tom and Katie show up at your door next month:

For those dressing-up this Halloween, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman, and the Fantastic Four will inspire the most popular television/movie character costumes, according to the survey. Shoppers ranked headline grabbers Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, Jessica Simpson, and the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes duo as the most popular celebrity costume inspirations for 2005.

Does the costume come with cold sore?

From the Ontario Empoblog

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At Least Northlake Is Upfront 

From the Philosophy page for Northlake Christian School in Covington, Louisiana:

By its Mission Statement, Northlake Christian School (NCS) "exists to assist the Christian community." With this declaration, we have affirmed that we serve not primarily as an evangelical institution but, instead, serve "Christian" families....

So it's probably no surprise that the school's doctrinal statement doesn't address the Great Commission, though it does include the following statement:

...that for the salvation of the lost and sinful man, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are essential (Rom. 3:19,2 3; John 3:16-19; John 5:24; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-6);

This suggests a question...

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Other Bloggers on Ontario Christian 


My friends, this should not be. I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle. But I also do not agree with shunning and ostracizing those who follow that lifestyle, and especially their innocent children! These school administrators should be praising the Lord that these women wanted their daughters to have a Christian education! Jesus said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor -- sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." Mark 2:17

He also said "If anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck." Matthew 18:6

I've got a good mind to mail Mr. Stob a millstone.

Mrs. Muddy:

All I can say is that this "Christian" school's administration is full of a bunch of jerks! And THAT'S putting it very nicely. I read a similar story about a year ago where a girl was expelled because her mother was a stripper!

Who cares!!! What place does *any* school have to say that someone's family does not meet their judgmental requirements! Jesus accepts all and loves all so who are they to make exceptions.

Look...it's no secret to anyone who frequents "muddysmind" that we don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle....No matter what that schools position is on homosexuality (or any other lifestyle choice), it's just wrong, vicious, and bullying to make an innocent child pay for it. Shame on you 'Ontario "Christian" School' and others like you. You make me vomit!!!! -Ed

And this from someone who follows the Kevin and Bean show:

Tina Clark, the mom of the girl who was kicked out of Ontario Christian School because parents are gay, called in. She talked about how they've always been open about their status (one daughter even previously attended the school), made sure they weren't violating any policies before enrolling their children there, and the kid is an exemplary student (cheerleader, GATE program).

Even Kevin, the conservative-Christian member of the show, was shocked by the school's act. A board member apparently told her that there is a clause in the Board of Trustees' book, which parents aren't allowed to see. Listeners called in with their thoughts, including one who pointed out that the clause that families must abide by the "morals consistent with Christian beliefs" applies, but the gang pointed out that by that standard, divorced parents would not be allowed. "It's because gays are 'icky'!"

The Sandmonkey (as cited in Dreams Into Lightning) weighs in from Egypt:

What the girl had to do with her "parents" sinful lifestyle is beyond me. What was she supposed to do, force them to seperate? Preach every day to them? She is 14.

Not to mention, Mr. Christian teacher, do you realize what opprutunity you lost yourself here? Here is someone who, according to you, lives in a sinful household. Do you reach out and try to "save her"? Nope, You kicked her out and sent her back in it. I am sure that's what Jesus would've done, no?

The Ranting Right Wing Howler has a different view:

The Ontario Christian School recently kicked a kid out because her parents were lesbians.

Works for me.

But this post from Joseph sent me over the top:

I recently talked to a friend of mine that told me that a girl was kicked out of a religious school because her parents were lesbians. This happened at Ontario Christian Academy in Los Angeles, CA....

I hope that as Shay goes to a public school in Los Angeles that the teachers and administrators will not discriminate against her....

Joseph, I hope that you're enjoying your life in Dallas, Texas. (Heh.)

P.S. My views on this were expressed here.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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More on the Great Commission 

From CARM:

[W]e need to recognize the Great Commission as something more than a recommendation from Jesus. It is not an option. It is a command....Are we being fishers of men or keepers of the aquarium? Are we being obedient or comfortable?

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Gates of Hell, Part Six - It Gets Better 

From David Sikkink:

Important differences among Christian schools are submerged in accounts that see them as organized and run simply according to religious dogma.

One reason is that the religious dictates themselves vary more than is generally understood....

It appears that the Bible can justify very different schooling strategies. For example, for deeply religious reasons, some conservative Christian schools require that parents share the religious orientation of the school, while other Christian schools invoke biblical commands to support admissions policies that do not include religious qualifications....

This was a topic of discussion in the Sharper Iron Forums:

tlangeMarch 8th, 2005, 01:59 PM
This has been a controversy for a while.

There are some that believe a Christian school should be open to anyone who meets the admission standards, etc. because there is a great possibility to reach children and families with the gospel. ( I was saved through the ministry of a good Christian school and church)

There are also some on the other side that believe that the school should only be for Christian kids or for kids within that particular local church.

My question is why exclude children from the opportunity from getting a good education and potentially learning the Bible and getting saved. Honestly I think it is limiting to any school... I know of a school where the child cannot be admitted unless one of the parents "has a Christian testimony" I am glad that my school did not impose such a restriction on me....
rickdobMarch 10th, 2005, 05:31 AM
I believe that Christian schools should be open enrollment. If someone is willing to put their child under teaching that honors and glorifies God, then that choice could lead to their child's salvation and possibly even the salvation of the family. I do not believe that allowing open enrollment is a choice that does not glorify God. Also, many "Christian" students who go to Christian schools end up getting saved some time in the future. Many younger elementary students are not even professing Christians at the time they enter a school, but their parents are. Do we limit schools then to the students being Christians, or the parents? And if it is a requirement for the parents to be saved, then what if one parent is unsaved?
GoWestMarch 10th, 2005, 12:26 PM
I am an associate pastor and principal in California. Our enrollment is just over 200. Our philosophy would viewed as open. Ken Boa wrote that the arrow of the Great Commission finds its impetus in the bow of the Great Commandment. A large amount of the young families we have in our church have come through outreach in our Christian school. We maintain open enrollment and take anyone in the K-3rd grades. It narrows in 4-6th grades (a winnowing process) until grades 7-12 require attendance each week in a church of like mind. Almost all of our seniors continue their Christian school education by attending schools like Bob Jones University and Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Some have indeed returned and labor in our ministry as teachers.

The school is the main arm of our evangelistic thrust in pioneering the Gospel (Philippians 1) in a very difficult place. I see no biblical reason to discontinue such a philosophy. Some may ask, “Are you able to give the heathen a Christian education?” My response would be, “How many heathen sit in our pews on any given Sunday?”

Additionally, some of the biggest problems in the Christian school movement have developed through the children of “church” kids or even the children of leaders. Our desire is to bring families to Christ. We provide a stimulating academic program, but our overriding concern is evangelism and edification.

Take Heritage Christian School:

Heritage Christian School has an open enrollment policy. While we are a decidedly Christian in our approach to education and evangelical in our presentation, we are not affiliated with any church or religious organization. We do not require a church or denominational membership or any particular set of religious beliefs for a student to attend. Any student may apply and be accepted as long as that student demonstrates a desire and a willingness to comply with Biblical standards and the codes of conduct, policies and requirements of Heritage Christian School. If the classes desired are available, part-time students may enroll as long as they agree to the same code of conduct and respect for Biblical standards expected of full-time students.

Enrollment priviledges may be subject to academic or behavioral probation. Students are expected to abide by Heritage Christian School behavioral standards and codes of conduct throughout their enrollment whether at home, school or elsewhere. Students who are repeatedly found to be out of harmony with the overall spirit of Christian brotherhood may be required to withdraw whenever the general welfare of the school demands it, even if there is no specific violation of policy.

No parental litmus test.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Gates of Hell, Part Five - It Gets Worse 

Forget about the "moral life" part - Ontario Christian does not want to evangelize. Take a look at this excerpt from their admissions policies:

Ontario Christian Schools actively seeks Christian and Catholic families who desire to have their student(s) taught from a Christian perspective as well as maintaining high academic standards. We do require that OCS families are attending a church regularly to complete the home, church and school triangle.

In short, Ontario Christian Schools does not seek non-Christian families who do not attend church.

Very...um...defensive. And that's not a good thing.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Gates of Hell, Part Four - Obey the Great Commission, or Run Like Jonah? 

First, let's start with an article in today's Daily Bulletin:

The family of a student expelled from Ontario Christian High School because her parents are lesbians protested in front of the campus Monday and said they are considering legal action.

About 20 people, including lesbian couple Tina Clark and Mitzi Gray, and two of their three daughters, waved signs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. challenging the school's expulsion of their 14-year-old daughter Shay Clark.

"We want to get the policy changed and bring awareness that there is a school in this community that discriminates," said Shay, who is not seeking a reversal of the decision. "The whole purpose of Christianity is to bring people into the church, not turn them away."

School officials did not respond to inquiries but released a statement saying the "family does not meet admissions criteria" because of the parents' participation in a homosexual relationship....

A number of parents said they supported the school's decision.

Georgina Reyes, of Chino Hills, said it would be hypocritical of the school to allow a child from a homosexual home to attend because such lifestyles fly in the face of the school's teachings.

"Some private Christian schools do not stand up for what they say their value system is," she said. "These are people (school administrators) who are actually living what they say their value system is."

Richard Gonzales, of Ontario, said he pays a lot of money to keep his son out of public schools, which he said are plagued by drugs and gangs.

"That's why we pay the big bucks, so we can keep them away from this contamination," he said, gesturing toward the protesters....

Although some protesters said it was hypocritical for the school to allow children of divorced parents to attend, Gonzales, who said he is divorced, said the school only requires parents to live "a moral life."...

At about 3 p.m. Monday, several students exited school and joined the protesters along the sidewalk.

"I support her," said Brooke Peterson, 14, of Shay. "She's not lesbian, her parents are. They're a normal family."...

In this post, I'll tell you why I disagree with Ontario Christian School's decision.

First, the decision shows that Ontario Christian School does not take sin seriously. Yes, I agree with Ontario Christian School's belief that homosexuality is a sin - but there are a number of other sins, including greed and slander. Apparently Ontario Christian School doesn't consider those sins important. Or maybe Ontario Christian School doesn't consider them to be sins. Sure, you can find parents who "live a moral life" - provided that you redefine morality. Sorry, but none of us make the grade there. Even our heroes and heroines have dark secrets in the closet.

Second, and most importantly, the decision shows that Ontario Christian School does not take the commands of Jesus Christ seriously. For example, take this key statement that Jesus made after Peter's confession:

[A]nd on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

However you interpret the word "rock," it's clear that Christ says that the gates of Hades will not overcome the church.

Some people, including one of the parents quoted above, think of the church as a fortress, a defensive area in which people can be protected from the world. The parent pays "big bucks" to keep his child away from the "contamination" of the world.

But that's not what Jesus Christ is saying here. In the statement above, the church is not a defensive fortress, but an offensive attacker, stalking Satan, attacking him, breaking down his gates, overcoming him.

Look at Jonah and Nineveh. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, and Jonah refused to have anything to do with the people of Nineveh. God was not pleased with Jonah's refusal, to say the least.

And if anyone still believes that Christians are supposed to hide away, take a look at this passage:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


a. Matthew 28:19 Or into; see Acts 8:16; 19:5; Romans 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13; 10:2 and Gal. 3:27.

Yes, Jesus said go. He didn't say stop. He said go.

So if a school truly wants to be a Christian school, then it should be actively encouraging the children of lesbians to enroll at the school. And it should be actively encouraging lesbians themselves to enroll. And crystal meth addicts. And drunkards. And idolators. And the greedy. And those who disobey traffic laws. And those who pencil in an extra five minutes of overtime. In short, everyone.

Gates of Hell Parts One, Two, Three, Four

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Gates of Hell, Part Three - It's Offense, Not Defense 

From the NIV (Mt 16:17-19) as found at bible.gospelcom.net:

17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.[c] 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven."


a. Matthew 16:18 Peter means rock.
b. Matthew 16:18 Or hell
c. Matthew 16:18 Or not prove stronger than it
d. Matthew 16:19 Or have been
e. Matthew 16:19 Or have been

Gates of Hell Parts One, Two, Three, Four

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Gates of Hell, Part Two - Ban the Greedy 

From the NIV (1 Cor 6:8-10) as found at bible.gospelcom.net:

8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Gates of Hell Parts One, Two, Three, Four

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Gates of Hell, Part One - Hostage Gave Meth to Atlanta Fugitive 

From AP/CNN:

The woman who says she gained the trust of suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols by talking about her faith in God discloses in a new book that she gave him methamphetamine during the hostage ordeal.

Ashley Smith did not share that detail with authorities after she talked her way out of captivity.

In her book, ``Unlikely Angel,'' released Tuesday, Smith says Nichols had her bound on her bed with masking tape and an extension cord. She says he asked for marijuana, but she did not have any, and dug into her crystal methamphetamine stash instead....

Gates of Hell Parts One, Two, Three, Four

From the Ontario Empoblog

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A necessary resignation? 

Excerpts from an AP/Yahoo story:

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tuesday after four turbulent weeks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath....

As the city slipped into anarchy during the first few days after Katrina, the 1,700-member police department itself suffered a crisis. Many officers deserted their posts, and some were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. Two officers Compass described as friends committed suicide.

Neither Compass nor Mayor Ray Nagin would say whether Compass was pressured to leave....

New Orleans evacuees at a shelter in Baton Rouge disagreed over the chief's legacy and whether he should have resigned.

"It's about time," said Larry Smit, 52, who owns a construction company. "Get rid of all of them. They ain't doing anything."

But truck driver James Dordain, 41, said Compass had been doing a good job with an understaffed department and faced with an unprecedented natural disaster.

"They pushed a good man to the breaking point," said Dordain, referring to other government authorities. "When they came, it was really too late."...

Lt. David Benelli, president of the union for rank-and-file New Orleans officers, said he was shocked by the resignation.

"We've been through a horrendous time," Benelli said. "We've watched the city we love be destroyed. That is pressure you can't believe."

Benelli would not criticize Compass.

"You can talk about lack of organization, but we have been through two hurricanes, there was no communications, problems everywhere," he said. "I think the fact that we did not lose control of the city is a testament to his leadership."

But in fact, chaos reigned in New Orleans as Katrina's floodwaters rose. Gunfire and other lawlessness broke out around the city. Rescue workers reported being shot at.

At the height of the Katrina chaos, Compass fed the image of lawlessness in the city by publicly repeating allegations that people were being beaten and babies raped at the convention center, where thousands of evacuees had taken shelter. The allegations have since proved largely unsubstantiated.

Ronnie Jones, a former Louisiana state police officer and a criminal justice instructor at Tulane and Southeastern Universities, said communication and transportation problems after the storm forced commanders on the ground to operate without any direction from above.

"In the midst of that, I think any chief would have had trouble dealing with things," Jones said. "In a crisis you have to coordinate forces. I don't think he had the resources, the radios, the communications to do that."...

Before Katrina hit, Compass already had his hands full with an understaffed police department and a skyrocketing murder rate, even as the rate dropped dramatically in other cities.

Despite more than 10 years of reform efforts dating to before Compass took office, police were dogged by allegations of brutality and corruption. Several studies indicated that the public's reluctance to cooperate with police was a factor in the city's crime problem.

Before Katrina, New Orleans had 3.14 officers per 1,000 residents — less than half the rate in Washington, D.C.

Dissonance and Disrespect is glad Compass is gone:

When Compass was put to the test, he and many of his men failed. Even if his force was hampered by breakdowns in communications and the local authorities' incompetence, there was no excuse for any of them to desert or become looters....

Compass sealed his fate with his hysterical claims of mass murder, rape and riot in the Superdome and Convention Center, claims that have now been disproven as exaggerated urban legends. His comments provoked public hysteria and may have indirectly contributed to the deaths of people who stayed to drown in their own homes rather than test the rumours of what was going on in the emergency shelters for themselves....

Kevin agrees:

If Nagin did not ask for Compass's resignation, that only proves how incompetant Nagin is and how he needs to be replaced if New Orleans is going to rebuild.

However, Cajun Cross Fire (in a blog written before Compass' resignation) praised the chief:

New Orleans is a wonderful city, but it has been in the throes of a struggle for its moral core with street gangs and drug dealers for some time....

When the opportunity arose, this shadow rule of savagery rose to the surface. They shot at rescue workers and those attempting to close the levee for a reason. The city was finally totally in their hands and its residents their captives to victimize as they pleased…Black and White alike. They had no intention of giving it up peacefully. This was a war for control of territory in the most basic sense....

What took place this past week was a war for the soul of New Orleans and too many so-called Black leaders stood tall on the wrong side. Somehow they could fabricate justification for what happened in the name racial solidarity.

Not all mind you. Mayor Nagin, Police Chief Eddie Compass, and some outstanding police officers and fireman performed heroically. They deserve our undying gratitude for trying desperately to maintain some semblance civilization in the most trying circumstances. For attempting to save lives while they they were under attack by gunfire. There were many heroes, but those stories are buried by a mainstream media looking for what? Controversy! Truth was the first victim of Katrina!...

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Journalists as Heroes Again? 

PressThink is one blog that realizes that there are multiple governments. Here are a few brief excerpts from a post entitled "From Deference to Outrage: Katrina and the Press."

I was away from blogging when Hurricane Katrina hit and New Orleans went down, but people kept sending me stuff. The article most often sent to me was a commentary by Matt Wells of the BBC, “Has Katrina saved US media?” Possibly it has, he said: “Amidst the horror, American broadcast journalism just might have grown its spine back, thanks to Katrina.”

The “timid and self-censoring journalistic culture” in the U.S. is normally “no match for the masterfully aggressive spin-surgeons of the Bush administration,” Wells wrote. “But last week the complacency stopped, and the moral indignation against inadequate government began to flow, from slick anchors who spend most of their time glued to desks in New York and Washington.”

Other observers made the same point: national journalism was awakening after a period of intimidation, and finding its voice by voicing its anger....

Meanwhile, in the Media Blog at National Review Online, Stephen Spruiell said he expected to see “a lot of these stories about how journalism has ‘gotten its spine back’— by which they mean that journalists are acting like a bunch of know-it-alls to whom the solution to every problem was obvious all along.” In his view, a pre-existing inclination to “blame Bush” was simply allowed more room to express itself.

Spruiell thought it was a highlight that “reporters put a lot of passion into their stories and brought the drama right into your living room.” But then the lowlight: “The reporters put a lot of anti-administration animosity into their analysis, failing to provide the context of state, local and federal failures and settling on the easy story: Blame Bush.”

Why did Giuliani get the credit in New York after 9/11, while Bush gets the blame in New Orleans? That’s what righty Hugh Hewitt wanted to know: “Who is in charge when bad things happen to big cities?”

"The MSM’s answer seems to be: Cities, when things go right and the mayor is courageous and telegenic; the President when the locals are in way over their heads. Not a very satisfactory answer, but MSM is hardly searching for answers, only ratings."...

What are the proper reponsibilities for city government, state government and the national government? If you haven’t thought about it, and drawn the necessary conclusions, all the backbone in the world won’t tell you where to aim your questions. The New Yorker’s press critic is Nick Lemann, who’s from New Orleans. He observes:

"The wetlands that protected the city on the south and west have been deteriorating from commercial exploitation for years, thanks to inaction by Louisiana as well as by the United States. It isn’t Washington that decided it’s O.K. to let retail establishments in New Orleans sell firearms—which are now being extensively stolen and turned to the service of increasing the chaos in the city."

What is realistic to expect in a chaotic situation like New Orleans faced in the week after the hurricane? It’s not an easy question. An intelligent and nuanced answer to that is worth a lot more to journalists than righteous indignation, because if your rage overcomes your realism you will eventually sound ridiculous even to those who share the feeling.

What are the differences in the way our political system handles a problem that is real and manifest (present to the senses) vs. a threat that is real but not manifest at all (abstract until it’s right upon us)? If you haven’t thought about it, you might find “lack of preparation” inhuman and incomprehensible. If you have, lack of preparation begins to seem all-too-human, and not to plan looks more like a policy choice....

A good analysis that throws away the red-tinted or blue-tinted glasses.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Unique Federal-State Partnership in Incompetence 

Perhaps the Katrina 11 were on to something, although the 400-plus who approved the Katrina aid bill will argue that they didn't approve this:

The handling of the first federal disaster relief money to arrive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was riddled with improprieties, Louisiana's three top fiscal watchdogs say.

The process that granted $219 million in aid was fraught with irregular accounting, sloppy records and little oversight, they say.

State and local agencies will receive another $457 million this morning.

State Treasurer John Kennedy, Legislative Auditor Steve J. Theriot and state Inspector General Sharon Robinson stopped short of calling it fraud. But each says the way the money was awarded on Sept. 16 was so shoddy that the allegation may rise in the years that come.

All three blame the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to follow its own procedures and tossing out packets of money with little accounting....

The seven packets of applications for the initial $219 million federal payment were processed without supporting documentation, proper signatures and identification numbers. Further, federal money was spent on work that was nowhere near completion....

The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress that oversees public funds, is initiating a review of FEMA's preparedness and response to the storm, said spokesman Paul Anderson.

FEMA officials don't disagree with the criticisms, saying that the agency initially tried to distribute the funds as fast as possible. That will change in the future as the needs become less urgent....

But FEMA does not supply the only members of the team that reviews requests for accuracy. Employees of the state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness jointly fill out the forms with FEMA.

Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, who is the adjutant general for Louisiana and OEP director, did not return three calls Thursday....

In case you think that Landreneau has been struck with laryngitis, he has recently spoken:

"This is terrible. Whole communities are gone," Louisiana National Guard head Maj Gen Bennett Landreneau [said].

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Advocacy of slow tracking 

Culver City News puts it this way:

As Katrina's flood waters recede, government contractors are flowing into the Gulf Coast and reaping billions of dollars in pre-bid, limited bid, and sometimes no-bid contracts....

CorpWatch cites the following:

"You are likely to see the equivalent of war profiteering -- disaster profiteering," said Danielle Brian, director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit government spending watchdog group. She notes that Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of FEMA is now a lobbyist and consultant to both the Shaw Group and Halliburton. (Melissa Norcross, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said Allbaugh has not, since he was hired, "consulted on any specific contracts that the company is considering pursuing, nor has he been tasked by the company with any lobbying responsibilities.")

Many, including Senator Richard Durbin, "are worried because we hear about no-bid contracts in the Katrina areas going to the same companies that they went to in Iraq without the kind of accountability that we have to demand," the Illinois Democrat told National Public Radio, a public radio network in the US....

In Iraq, limited accountability, corruption, massive cost overruns, and devastating failures fed the chaotic mess that has followed the 2003 fall of Baghdad. Nonetheless, the largest Katrina contracts have been won by many of the same politically connected companies that oversaw that failed reconstruction. And it is perhaps no coincidence, since many of the same people in the Army Corps of Engineers are awarding them–and in much the same manner: as open-ended, no- or hastily bid contracts with guaranteed profit margins.

And for every Halliburton, there's a Floyd:

Last week, police officers found a treasure trove of food, drinks, chainsaws and roof tarps in the home of Cedric Floyd, chief administrative officer for the Jefferson Parish suburb of Kenner. Mr. Floyd is one of several city workers who will likely be charged with pilfering....

Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected officials per capita convicted of crimes (Mississippi takes top prize). In just the past generation, the Pelican State has had a governor, an attorney general, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted. Last year, three top officials at Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness were indicted on charges they obstructed a probe into how federal money bought out flood-prone homes. Last March the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered Louisiana to repay $30 million in flood-control grants it had awarded to 23 parishes.

So, how many of these abuses would be solved by "slow tracking" the approval of aid, and the disbursement of aid funds? It doesn't matter, since decisions such as this are not made in economic terms, but in political terms. Here's what Pardon My English had to say about the decision making process and extensive review that went into the Katrina relief bill:

One of Iowa's U.S. Representatives...Steve King, was one of the dreaded evil eleven "conservative Republicans" to vote against the bloated Katrina aid bill. The no vote was largely symbolic -- of COURSE this aid bill was going to pass -- 99.9% of Washington politicians are more interested in doing the politically expedient thing, not the fiscally responsible thing. But every single one of these eleven Republicans are taking it on the chin -- wrongly -- for their vote against this massive overkill. All these folks were doing is making the case that we need to have more accountability for what's being spent and give a little thought about how we're going to spend it.

There are hundreds of thousands of people displaced and hurting as a result of this horrible natural disaster and no one is saying that we shouldn't be funding FEMA aid for them. But all indications are that this money is just going to be spent for the sake of spending it....

Don't be ridiculous, you say. Certainly the people who are complaining about no-bid contracts wouldn't be targeting these eleven, would they? Well, they would:

This is a list of the 11 Republicans who voted “No” on the bill that Congress approved and Bush signed to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. These are the cold-hearted bastards who would willingly see Americans die for the sake of more tax cuts for the wealthy. It is the moral duty of all Americans to defeat these scum. Donate to defeat the Katrina 11!

What'cha doing, Willis?

These eleven congressmen, Republican conservatives all, just voted against the $51 billion package (H. R. 3673) for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Horrible human beings, all.

Perhaps these web sites are funded by Halliburton? Interesting twist.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fly Low and Avoid the Radar 

I've been blogging steadily since October 2003, and during that time several bloggers have stopped blogging, only to re-emerge in some way, shape, or form. For example, one blogger disappeared within the last couple of months, and I removed the blogger from my blogroll. Now the blogger is back, but not advertising, so I won't officially advertise the blogger's return, but for those who are in the know, the "Yay for me" blogger is back.

Incidentally, I can't remember the name of the deejay that made the title (or something like the title) popular. It will come to me someday.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Let the Court Determine Your Doctrine 

From Paul Belien:

Last week the Danish Supreme Court ruled that the Lutheran Church does not have the right to excommunicate people who believe in reincarnation. In 1994 Steen Ribers, a church custodian from Copenhagen, was excommunicated by the church for publicly promoting reincarnation. Ribers went to court. The Supreme Court now says that he has the right to preach reincarnation while serving as church custodian....

From jp.dk:

...The verdict overruled the Eastern High Court's decision from 2004, which confirmed the National Church's decision to exclude church custodian Steen Ribers for publicly promoting an idea considered blasphemous by his minister, his bishop, and the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs.

Ribers became somewhat of a celebrity in 1993 when he began giving public talks and lectures about his version of Christianity, which includes the belief in reincarnation. He was elected into the parish council of Sankt Andreas Church in Copenhagen, where he was hired as church custodian.

In 1994, however, he was excommunicated from the National Church by his parish minister, Mads Bjørn Jørgensen....

So, what else can we look forward to in Denmark in the future?

  • The Supreme Court ordering the Muslim community to quit being so uptight about that booze thing.

  • The Supreme Court ordering Muslim girls to remove veils in school - oh wait, France already did that one.

  • The Supreme Court ordering Scientology not to harrass people who DON'T believe in space aliens.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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But Look At What the Baby Seal Clubbers Said About Ted Kennedy 

Erupting in the Communist portion of the blogosphere (as opposed to the baby seal clubber portion - does my linking to this make me a fellow traveler?). From Stinkin' Desert Guy:

Rumors are swirling that George Weasel Bush is back on the bottle. Given his performance when sober I'm not sure it will make much difference one way or another.

From shrimplate:

So why is all this occuring? Why does our debt pile up, while our soldiers die endlessly, while our leaders let down those they are sworn to support?

Well, maybe it's because our President is a drunk.

We would not need rumors if the mainstream media were doing its job. Unfortunately, Bush has never been thoroughly confronted about his admitted problems with alcohol and cocaine, among perhaps other things. And it is not known that he has ever sought treatment for these dysfunctions.

A Political Misery, before quoting from some non-mainstream media, has this to say:

Boozin bush Belting Bracers Before Bungling Bigtime?

It would explain an awful lot about the stupidity of his decision making "process."

On a semi-related note, wasn't Hitler discovered to have been injecting methamphetamine intravenously during his tenure as Fuhrer?

And didn't it really screw up his ability to think coherently and make decisions based on rational logic?

Ya know, when yer in the throes of an addiction, nuthin is as it seems and nothing seems as it is....

Monkey Daemon, while acknowledging the source, neverthless is troubled:

There have been concerns from the beginning that Dubya is a "dry drunk" who quit drinking without any kind of treatment, and who is prone to a relapse. This does come from that paragon of journalistic ethics, the National Enquirer, but is troubling none the less...

Misanthropic Humanitarian analyzes this (in a blog ironically called "drunk on bile"):

two possibilities here.

one is that he's actually off the wagon and the president is throwing up his hands as an incompetent.

the other is that this is pure rovian stagecraft, the kind of thing he's so good at, to throw off criticism of his handling of...well, everything. this would benefit them by a) making us appear to be totally unhinged and weasel-crazy. intimidation of iran and north korea, and b) making dubya appear empathetic to the people who lost their lives because he fiddled while rome burned.

Of course there's the third possibility that the Enquirer made the story up.

And there's the fourth possibility that Bush is on something else:

But what I really want to know is what the hell is up w/Bush's incessant jaw twitching when he speaks?....[W]ell it appears that jaw twitching can be indicative of Acute Dystonia and Tardive Dyskineasia-- neuro-muscular disorders that one might see with involuntary movements of the face, mouth, jaw twitching... often induced by long term psychotropics, or tranquilizers....

And there's the fifth possibility, amply illustrated by SteveTsuida.com (I am reprinting just a brief excerpt - the original post details Bush's anti-Muslim actions all the way back to 625 AD):

Next week:

How George W. Bush and the CIA created "Chairman Mao".

How George W. Bush baited Japan into declaring war (and why no one can find the videotapes of Japanese Zeros at Pearl harbor despite the so-called 'bombing runs')....

How George W. Bush introduced Katie Holmes to CIA operative and Navy recruiting poster boy Tom Cruise, all to take media attention off of Iraq.

How George W. Bush is secretly Xenu, space alien archrival of the Scientologists (look for the connection between Xenu's code name in Scientology and Bush's middle initial for all the proof you need).

Well, perhaps Bush will follow Clinton and end up with Tony Campolo. Here's how to tell if Campolo has his work cut out for him:

PRESIDENT: It's Friday, but Friday night's coming!

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Federalism Part Two 

People who complain about "the government" fail to make the distinction between federal, state, and local government. Here's a story about the National Guard:

As we entered the center of the City, we finally encountered the National Guard.

The Guards told us we would not be allowed into the Superdome as the City’s primary shelter had been descended into a humanitarian and health hellhole. The guards further told us that the City’s only other shelter, the Convention Center, was also descending into chaos and squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else in. Quite naturally, we asked, “If we can’t go to the only 2 shelters in the City, what was our alternative?” The guards told us that that was our problem, and no they did not have extra water to give to us.

(source: A Political Misery)

And who heads the Louisiana National Guard? Guess.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ladytron US Availability Update 

By the way, on Tuesday night I visited both the Virgin Megastore on Market and the Borders by Union Square. Neither had the import of "Destroy Everything You Touch." Haven't checked amazon.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Video coming - Weg Met Amerika - Raymond van het Groenewoud 

A video of Raymond van het Groenewoud's "Weg Met Amerika."

More from Beth and Doug (not the Redskins QB) and Luc Saint Kansas.

Lemme quote from Luc:

"Down with America" is the title of a recent song by the popular Belgian musician Raymond van het Groenewoud. Written in Dutch and published by EMI , "Weg met Amerika" ("Down with America") will be available in record shops as of next week, and was played on Belgian state radio last Thursday and Friday....

Incitement to hatred against people based on (i.a.) nationality is a crime in Belgium. In practice however, this law is only enforced when Arab, muslim or African minorities are criticized. Hate speech against the Americans or the British remains unsanctioned, as was recently shown when the leftist newspaper De Morgen published an article that complained about the British, "with their unique mixture of wantonness and arrogance, their pathetic addiction to drink, their bad taste, and actually just their ugliness and thickheaded presence"....

More and more, it seems that racist or semi-racist expressions are punished when they originate from popular culture or from right-wing politicians and are directed against muslims, Arabs or Africans, but that similar expressions remain unpunished when they come from 'progressive' artists and leftist intellectuals and are directed against the Americans, the British or the Dutch....

Unfortunately, the song isn't catchy enough to get US radio airplay. We gotta get somebody to remix it, then we gotta get Paul Hogan to star in the MTV video. Let's make Al Franken put the song in heavy rotation.

My philosophy is that stupid ideas are best subjected to heavy exposure. (In other words, quote my blog frequently.)

From the Ontario Empoblog

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Repost of a reply to musicalsushi, and a big Zappafrank 

First, here's part of what musicalsushi wrote:

So I've only heard it once...

...but a pleasingly large number of my friends are raving about Ladytron's new single, Destroy Everything You Touch. I'm sure there's a reason for the buzz....

Naturally, I'll be buying it when it's released on Monday. I hope anyone reading this will buy it too - Ladytron purchases are rarely regretted.

I ended up replying:

I got an e-mail from ladytron.com advertising that the single was going to be released on 19 September. I'm out of town, but I actually spent part of 19 September looking for a music store. Didn't find one...

...and then realized that it wouldn't make any difference. The "z" in "realize" should give you a clue as to why. It seems ladytron.com e-mails don't target the specific market, and DEYT is only available in the USA as an import. Wait for the album, I guess.

Now I'll provide the sordid details to my audience.

As you know, I'm in San Francisco attending a convention at the Moscone Center. While going between sites today, I ended up in a Sony music store. "Hey," thought I, "why don't I look for that new Ladytron single here?"

That's when I realized that this Sony music store was...literally...a Sony music store. Artists from other labels were not sold here.

The only new Ladytron music that amazon.com lists for U.S. release is the Witching Hour album itself.

Still haven't heard Sugar as of this moment....

OK, now I have. Very retro in a Reed College retro sort of way, if wimmin sang in 1980s Reed bands. Oh, wait a minute, Lo-Tek had a female singer.

Back to Ladytron...here's what their US label says about their new album:

Serenly [sic] beautiful at times and noisy and disturbing at others; Like all the best records should be.

The Electro-Clash pioneers return with their stunning new album!

In pop folklore, bands were allowed three LP's to become themselves, yet the labeled third album is an increasing rarity in this low-attention span era.

It comes as a rare threat to find that Liverpool-based boy/girl four-piece Ladytron have reached this mythical milestone with "Witching Hour", their best album yet, and one that fizzes and sparks with the band's own idiosyncratic charms.

"Witching Hour" is an album that reaches further than its predecessors: warm and dense, there is a feeling of susceptible magic wrapped within its thirteen tracks.

Ladytron just fulfilled their potential. Prepare to fall in love with them all over again.

By the way, isn't it interesting that Rykodisc has separate links for "Artists" and "Frank Zappa." Detractors would claim that this means that Zappa wasn't an artist. Vaclev Havel would disagree.

But Zappafrank is just an assteroid:

In late July 1994 the International Astronomical Union announced that a five-mile long astral fecalith (in an orbit falling between Mars and Jupiter) had been named Zappafrank....How this happened involved hundreds of Zappafans from 17 different countries, the Internet, an astrophysicist who is into Deep Purple, the government of the Czech Republic, the Minor Planet Center of the Smithsonian Observatory and a child psychiatrist in the cowboy city of Phoenix, Arizona (USA) who should get a life....

When Frank died, I knew about the family's request for donations to certain organizations. I had done this before, such as contributing to the Cousteau Foundation in honor of the Zappa's 25th anniversary (marriage). I wanted to do something different and seemingly private, but absurd at the same time. The first thing I did was to register "Zappa" as the name of a star. The International Star Registry is a private firm which, for a fee, will register as a trademark any name for a particular star....

In early 1994 I was told by Michael Packer, a radio producer and Zappa collector that news stories had been running about the discovery of three planets in orbit around a pulsar in Virgo. These were the first planets discovered outside our solar system. Michael knew of the star I has registered and he suggested that we try to get one of those planets named for Zappa. He had done the work and located the man who discovered the planets and found out that the discoverer of such things has the option of naming it if he/she wants to....

An interesting sidelight happened when a message was posted in the newsgroup from someone who was a lab assistant at Pennsylvania State College Astrophysics department who worked for the guy (Dr. Alex Wolszczan) who discovered these planets. This assistant posted this message about his boss: "I don't think he is a Zappa fan, because he has Rush and Deep Purple tapes on his desk....I'll tell him about your idea, although I don't think he'll get real excited about it. I would suppose that he might have some say in the naming of these planets."...

Meanwhile, Dr. Brian Marsden had an alternate suggestion:

It would be quite appropriate to have one of the minor planets (or asteroids) in our own solar system named for Frank Zappa, and I could probably arrange this and get it properly announced within the next three months. As a matter of fact, the possibility of doing this crossed my own mind at the time I heard of Zappa's death last December. I noted then the interest of President Havel in Zappa's music, and it occurred to me that it would be particularly appropriate to use for this purpose a minor planet discovered by astronomers in the Czech Republic.

So that's what they did.

Let's hope that Landreneau doesn't touch it, 'cause he may destroy it. Heh.

From the Ontario Empoblog

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