September 28, 2004

Pregnant Woman Accosted by Police For -- Loud Cell Phone Call

Greetings. OK, granted it's not polite to curse loudly into your cell phone in public. But is that any excuse for a police officer forcing a 5-month pregnant woman to the ground handcuffed and holding her down with his knee, even if she wasn't being "cooperative" with her arrest under such ridiculous circumstances?

Shouldn't cops have more important things to do? Bush and his cronies tell us that we should all be in constant fear that transit systems are at risk from terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the top priority for this particular man in blue at a bus stop turns out to be arresting a woman for her indelicate cell phone usage.

But I guess you can't really blame the guy. After all, who wants to be risking your neck hunting dangerous terrorists when you can make your big arrest of the day on the "loud, pregnant, cell phone user" beat.


Posted by Lauren at 10:43 AM | Permalink
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September 24, 2004

"The Big Fool Said to Push On"

Greetings. Some decades ago, folk singer Pete Seeger wrote the following song, which the Smothers Brothers planned to have him present on their popular CBS television show during the height of the Vietnam War.

CBS objected (Seeger was already blacklisted at the time) suspecting that the references in the lyrics might reflect badly on the then current resident of the White House. A considerable controversy followed, and CBS finally relented, allowing Seeger to perform the song on the show in 1968.

Any resemblance to a current war and White House is, as far as I'm concerned, definitely not coincidental.


"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself.
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1967)
TRO (c) 1967 Melody Trails, Inc. New York, NY

Posted by Lauren at 01:15 PM | Permalink
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September 23, 2004

Complete Presidential Debate Agreement -- The Devil's in the Details!

Greetings. It's 32 pages long -- an almost 240K PDF file. It covers everything from makeup artists, to "don't you dare touch me!" and "no cutaway shots" behavior rules.

It's the incredible, amazing, and yes, even bizarre 2004 Presidential Debate Agreement (actually a signed contract).

It appears that nearly every conceivable possibility has been covered by this hefty document, except perhaps the landing of an alien spacecraft outside of the auditorium.

To say that these guys want to maintain control over all aspects of the debates would be a gross understatement.

If we could get this level of detailed attention directed towards real world problems, perhaps my morbid little counter might stop incrementing so rapidly, and could finally stop completely.

Hope springs eternal.


Posted by Lauren at 01:39 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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September 21, 2004

Cat Stevens on Flight Causes Plane Diversion

Greetings. A flight from London to Washington was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when authorities realized to their horror that a former folk/pop performer was aboard.

Upon discovering that former singer Cat Sevens was on the flight (when he showed up on a no-fly list after the flight was already in transit), U.S. officials decided he was too big a risk, altered the plane's destination, and held Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) on "national security grounds" before preparing to deport him.

It turns out that Stevens is on a number of U.S. government watch lists. The exact reasons why he would be considered to be a present danger have not been revealed by U.S. authorities. He has been accused in the past of charitable giving that funded militant groups, which he says he never knowingly did. Years ago, he attracted attention when he reportedly publicly supported Ayatollah Khomeini's death edict against author Salman Rushdie (Stevens maintains that his comments regarding Rushdie were taken out of context).

However, some observers suspect that John Ashcroft always hated the song Peace Train and also never much liked the soundtrack of Harold and Maude.

Luckily, thanks to quick actions by security authorities, our Homeland has been saved from even the distant memory of pro-peace singing.


Posted by Lauren at 09:19 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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September 17, 2004

"Buckhead" Revealed: Was CBS/Bush National Guard Memo a GOP Plant?

Update: 9/20/04: CBS News now says that it was misled about the document in question by the person who gave it to them, who admitted that he did not identify the true source. CBS now says they would not have used that document in their story if they knew then what they know now. Unfortunately, this still does not tell us who was behind the likely fabrication of the original document or their motives, nor is the involvement of "Buckhead" (as described below) explained in any way.

- - - - - - -

Greetings. When I heard about the now infamous memo from CBS regarding George W. Bush's National Guard service, I wondered if it might have been deliberately planted in such a way that the news media would jump on the story, only to have it be revealed as a fake afterwards to potentially do damage to Kerry.

Now comes word that a blogger with the screen name "Buckhead" -- who got the whole controversy rolling, by so quickly questioning the memo with technical typography details -- wasn't a technical person at all, but actually a well-connected GOP operative and activist, who is now refusing to discuss how he learned the details about the memo so quickly or other aspects of his involvement.

Speculation is rising that the entire affair may indeed have been a GOP dirty trick from the very start.


Posted by Lauren at 08:45 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

Stupidity*2 -- Homeowner Associations and the TSA

Greetings. Two unrelated items today, except that they both show idiots in action.

First, we have the story of a blind couple being harassed by their homeowner association because the couple are unable to always completely clean up the poop from their guide dogs (the dogs go in the street, as they are trained to do). Why is it that homeowner associations seem to always be run by folks with the brains of figs and the power lust of Caligula?

Speaking of power-hungry organizations where intelligence appears to be in short supply, how about this nasty little tale about a female teacher arrested at an airport checkpoint for having a weighted bookmark that she had already carried on other flights. No, they didn't just confiscate it (which might have made sense if they were genuinely concerned about that particular item). Instead, they also handcuffed and hauled her off to the police station, while other passengers continued on their way, freely able to bring onto their planes much more dangerous weapons -- like umbrellas and walking canes for instance.

Did Osama bin Laden steal our brains?


Posted by Lauren at 02:57 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

September 11, 2004

Man Arrested For Leaving Too Small a Tip

Greetings. Watch out! The next time you leave a smaller tip than the restaurant demands, you could end up in the slammer. A New York City man was arrested for "theft of services" after he left a tip of under 10% for a group of nine who had pizza. The resaurant owner claims he had the man arrested for being obnoxious, but it turns out that the issue of whether or not automatically-applied gratuities are legally enforceable debts may never have been litigated in the state of New York (in this case the restaurant demanded an 18% gratuity for groups of six or more people).

Now you know how to order a pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and handcuffs.


Posted by Lauren at 08:46 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

September 09, 2004

Disney Animator Frank Thomas Dies

Frank Thomas, one of Walt Disney's original "Nine Old Men" animators, has died at age 92.

Just a few of his memorable animation projects during his 43 years at Disney include:

- "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
- "Pinocchio" (I've got no strings on me!)
- "Lady and the Tramp" eating spaghetti
- The penguins who danced with Dick Van Dyke in "Mary Poppins"
- Thumper teaching "Bambi" how to skate on ice
- The Queen of Hearts in "Alice in Wonderland" (Off with his head!)
- Captain Hook in "Peter Pan"
- and on and on ...

Frank, your immortality is assured. Rest In Peace.


Posted by Lauren at 06:40 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

Puppy Shoots Man Who Killed His Littermates

Greetings. In yet another of those "you can't make this stuff up" stories, a puppy -- who was about to be shot by a cruel jerk who had already killed three of the puppy's littermates -- took matters into his own paws and shot the man who was about to kill him.


Posted by Lauren at 10:54 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

September 07, 2004

Bush Brings "Love" to Gynecology

Greetings. As you may already know, the main reason that John Kerry gets hecklers at his gatherings, and Bush usually doesn't, is that you practically have to pass a background check and sign a loyalty oath to get into many Bush events. But at a rally Monday night, Bush might have appreciated some heckling to divert him away from his prepared remarks.

Bush noted that too many doctors -- particularly obstetricians and gynecologists -- are leaving the medical field. But as Reuters reports, the way he explained this left more than a few puzzled listeners. As Bush put it:

"Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

I can't add anything to that.


Posted by Lauren at 12:02 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

September 06, 2004

Link to "U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq" Counter Now Available

After several requests, I've created a plaintext version of the U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq counter that I recently brought up on this blog. You can link to this counter to include in your own pages if you so desire. Feel free to attribute or not as you wish.

The counter will be reaching 1000 very shortly, after taking a big jump upward with the just-announced deaths of seven U.S. Marines in yet another insurgent attack.


Posted by Lauren at 10:20 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

September 02, 2004

Lauren Weinstein's Blog Now Shows Count of U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq

The main index page of Lauren Weinstein's Blog now shows the most recent count of U.S. military servicemen and servicewomen who have died in George W. Bush's Iraq war. This count is currently being updated six times daily.


Posted by Lauren at 10:26 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

September 01, 2004

Kobe Bryant Jury Questionnaire

Greetings. While I'll admit to being totally disinterested in the Kobe Bryant rape accusation case, I do find jury questionnaires to be fascinating, particularly for how well they tend to illustrate the invasive, manipulative, wasteful, unintelligent, uninformed, and in many cases just plain corrupt nature of the jury system in this country. Yes, you're right, I'm not the jury system's biggest fan.

But jury questionnaires in high-profile cases are nearly always worth reading just for their sheer audaciousness if nothing else.

Many years ago, I posted the O.J. Simpson Jury Questionnaire as a PRIVACY Forum document.

Today, I'm pleased to make available the "hot off the press" Kobe Bryant Jury Questionnaire (be warned, it's a quite large PDF file).

Now, your assignment question for today -- how would you feel about being obligated to answer the items in either of these documents? Do keep in mind the risk of ending up shackled in a cell for contempt of court if you don't play along!


Posted by Lauren at 12:01 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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