A simple girl in a complex world

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Eating in the Dark: An Update (Our Government Is Shooting at Us!)

I'm about 80 pages from finishing the book Eating in the Dark, which I posted about earlier.

It wanders a bit more than I'd like. Also, it's so obviously slanted left that if you placed it on a bookshelf, it'd fall over.

I had only one spot where I wanted to throw it, (in the Brian J. method) though. It's a library book, and it's a hardback, so I refrained.

On page 179, in a chapter called "Global Food Fight," I read this nugget about the crowd gathered on November 30, 1999 at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. The author has just mentioned the "phalanx of police garbed in black riot gear, helmets, and face shields."

    At around three o'clock, near the intersection of Pike Street and Fourth Avenue, the highly charged mood of the crowd abruptly turned ominous. A crush of demonstrators ran down the street screaming. Simultaneously, a loud percussive boom rocked the air, coursing through my body like an electric shock. A blacket of thick white fog unfurled along the pavement as police fired canisters of tear gas into the crowd.

    Pandemonium erupted, and I joined the throngs of people streaming downhill, away from the melee. A tall, slender college-age boy ran up beside me shouting, "I've been shot. Our government is shooting at us!" Grimacing, he pulled up his pant leg and rubbed his calf. Another young man, apparently one of his companions, stopped up short behind us. "Rubber bullets!" he shouted breathlessly. "The police are shooting rubber bullets!" A third member of their group appeared, cradling a marble-size plastic pellet in his cupped hand. The police were apparently firing plastic bullets into the crowd.

    "I can't believe the government is shooting at us!" the stunned youth mumbled in disbelief. Then he rolled down his jeans and turned to rejoin his friends, who were already scrambling back up the hill into the combat zone."
COMBAT ZONE? Embrace the melodrama! Was this really worth three paragraphs of your book? Of course it is, if you want to incite the left to outrage and the right to disgust. I mean, really. What does this have to do with anything? You don't list the provocation of the police to use the riot gear it wielded.

What's Seattle's newspaper, The Seattle Times, have to say about the event?

    One of the largest protests in Seattle's history turned confrontational today as police fired paintball guns and pepper spray to disperse groups of unruly demonstrators who broke windows, sprayed graffiti on buildings and tried to block delegates to the World Trade Organization conference.
Oh. You mean there was damage? Destruction? The crowd wasn't singing campfire songs when the police dispersed it?

    Property destruction downtown was extensive. One group of about 200 demonstrators, dressed mostly in black and wearing hoods and masks, pulled out hammers and other small implements and began smashing windows, first at Nordstrom, then at other nearby stores. Other demonstrators yelled at them to stop.

    Most protesters, though, remained peaceful as up to 20,000 people from labor unions, environmental groups and local colleges rallied around the city, with the largest rally at Seattle Center. Most then marched downtown.

    The worst of the confrontations began around 10 a.m. When police fired pepper spray at protesters, they in turn threw sticks at the officers, prompting police to move an armored truck into the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Union Street and physically throw protesters out of the way.
Wow, no wonder the police had riot gear on hand. 20,000 people is an entire hockey arena full. And you have to expect that there'll be some pretty bad apples in the lot.

Book's still good, though - worth reading as long as you don't mind the bias. I should finish this weekend.



Please, if any of this surprises anyone, please e-mail me. I rolled my eyes no fewer than three times through the article.

    The findings, released by the American Institute for Cancer Research, add to the debate over how much restaurants and fast-food outlets are contributing to the epidemic of obesity in the United States and elsewhere.

    The institute's survey found that 69 percent of those polled finish their meals most or all of the time, even when the portions are huge.

    "Fully 30 percent of Americans now say they generally base the amount of food they eat on the amount they are served," according to the institute, which promotes research on the links between diet and cancer.

    "In a country where 64 percent of us are overweight or obese, there is an alarming tendency to overlook the sheer amount of food we're eating," Dr. Barbara Rolls of Pennsylvania State University told a news conference.

Chrissy Hynde? Who's That?

On Thursday in Paris, in what can only be a publicity stunt or another manifestation of public idiocity, Pretenders' lead singer Chrissy Hynde got cozy with PETA in Paris (how...trendy).

    PARIS, France (AP) -- Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders joined animal activists in a loud protest outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in central Paris.


    Hynde and a dozen others, including leaders of the animal rights group PETA, were briefly detained by police after blocking traffic Wednesday on a main boulevard and smearing red paint across the restaurant's window to symbolize the blood of dead chickens.

    "The protest won't end here," said the 51-year-old pop singer, who was scheduled to perform Friday in a pop music festival in western France. "Even if I shout for two hours I can assure you, I'll still have a voice for the concert."
And we care? Pleh. Protest some more, and land yourself back on the chain gang.



Friday, July 18, 2003

Oooh, More, More, More on the TVC

Now it's a SCANDAL. I missed this afternoon update yesterday from the NRO on the pharmaceutical bill, but I just found it, so I'll be a nice human and share.



Know Thy Enemy: North Koreans (IMAO)

Frank J. of IMAO renders this advice (and so, so much more) about North Korea.

My favorite:
    If a North Korean bites you, you become one.

But Is He Really Dead?

You can never be too cautious, but the missing arms expert's body's been found near London.



No More Programming in France, Soon

Okay, so the French nixed the word e-mail. Silly as can be, but okay. If they want to spend their citizens' money to find proper "terms" for the language, I really have no beef with that.

But what's next? Are the French going to discover/create a new programming language? Last I checked (being a web developer), all of the software languages I use are chock full o' lovely English words.

Hmmm. Lots of assembly code. Ick.


You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too!

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American children are fatter than ever before, but they are far less violent and far less likely to get pregnant than most people think, according to a government report issued on Friday.
Yahoo and CNN both have stories about our portly youth and their tendencies.

And what else do you get when you research kids and obesity? Video games and television. Here's what I've concluded from these three articles(just for fun). It may be true; it's most likely heinous fallacy. Aren't statistics great?

1) America's children are more concerned with food than sex. (Teen pregnancy down; weight up).
2) Video games decrease both actual sex and actual violence in our children's lives.
3) Kids are still drinking an alarming amount of alcohol (but only while playing video games), but the smoking rate has declined. This is probably because they have to go outside to perform this activity, but drinking can take place around the console.
4) Violent crime is down because children never leave their homes, and they're more knowledgeable about firearms (because of video games?) that they don't accidentally shoot themselves (or others) with the family gun(s).

Everybody! Buy six copies of Vice City, and shove those kids toward the console! Fat's in vogue, don't you know? I saw a man last night at Old Spaghetti Factory who sported a t-shirt proclaiming his pride in his body size. Your kid could be THAT GUY!

I'll probably expand this after work...



Thursday, July 17, 2003

Traditional Values Coalition, meet the NRO

    Todd Akin, Jo Ann Davis, Randy Forbes, Virgil Goode, Jim Demint, John Shadegg, Pat Toomey, Tom Tancredo: All of these congressmen had 100-percent ratings from the National Right to Life Committee for the last Congress. They have something else in common, too: They're the targets of a direct-mail campaign by the Traditional Values Coalition that questions their commitment to the unborn. That campaign has other social conservatives questioning the TVC's motives.
Brian read the NRO today before I did, and he pointed this out to me for review and further commentary.

The TVC is target more than Uncle Todd, I see. I blogged about this a few days ago, having received the mailing. Ponnuru obviously spent more time on his piece than I on my basic surface criticism, and it's quite a good read.



Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Now That We've Given Up Cable...

Now that we've given up cable, there's this.




Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Pat Robertson and Prayer

Wow, Pat Robertson must know something the rest of us mere mortals do not. He's delivered some pretty specific prayer requests to God, and, I'm sure will become very critical if he does not receive the answers he desires.

    "We ask for miracles in regard to the Supreme Court," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club."

    Robertson has launched a 21-day "prayer offensive" directed at the Supreme Court in the wake of its 6-3 June vote that decriminalized sodomy. Robertson said in a letter on the CBN Web site that the ruling "has opened the door to homosexual marriage, bigamy, legalized prostitution and even incest."

Woohoo! Prayer Wars.

And, wary public, rest not your vigilant watch, lest this public prayer trend become a weekly feature for CNN. Soon, soon, I say, Reverend Robertson will need to beseech the Lord to put an end to Jerry Springer's senate campaign.

And, if he asks for a Segway (new or used), I'm going to have to decry him some more.

I'll keep my prayers private, thanks.



Monday, July 14, 2003

More PETA and KFC, courtesy of the NRO

Of course, since I wrote about this, when I found the NRO article (Friday's - I missed it then because I was ill) entitled PETA-Fried, well, I felt I had to share.

My favorite spots?

    Bachelder "jumped on the corporate jet and flew to PETA's hometown of Norfolk," PETA's website crowed, acquiescing to five of PETA's eight demands. According to the organization's victory report, among other matters, Bachelder pledged to install cameras in all of KFC's 29 slaughterhouses by the end of next year, with a plan to audit the tapes monthly. KFC also agreed 1) to ensure that its suppliers would add stimulation devices to the perches in the chicken sheds; 2) to move quickly to kill chickens in electric stun baths rather than merely immobilizing them; 3) to implement humane mechanized chicken-gathering systems; and 4) to provide increased space for chicken housing. KFC promised to report back to PETA on a regular basis to verify its compliance.

    In return, PETA didn't have to agree to do much of anything. The anti-KFC campaign would continue, though with a 60-day suspension. PETA would not picket the 2003 annual shareholder meeting. It agreed to modify its website assertions about KFC, and suspended "all planned billboards." And it promised not to undertake further "step-ups" in the anti-KFC campaign for 60 days — meaning that it would be at least 61 days before protesters returned to picket Bachelder's home.

    The promised reforms may all be fine, appropriate, and humane changes in the raising and slaughter of chickens. Indeed, it is an important human obligation to treat food animals properly and to kill them as humanely as is practicable. But it shouldn't take pressure from fanatics for corporate executives to do the right thing. Indeed, acting under such pressure merely adds to the power of animal-rights liberationists, making them an ever-greater threat to the legitimate use of animals.

    If KFC thought that it had bought peace and security from PETA by so clearly and publicly caving in to the organization's threats and intimidation, it didn't know its enemy. I use the word enemy in its literal sense. PETA's goal is not to reform KFC's practices. It isn't ultimately seeking a universal standard for humane treatment of chickens by food producers. These goals are mere tactical efforts on the way to PETA's ultimate goal: driving KFC — and all other meat-serving fast-food restaurants — out of business.
Yes, indeed. PETA does think we should all be vegans. You can have my butter (on the rare occasions I choose to partake of it) when you <cliche>pry it from my cold, dead hands</cliche>.


    When I first read this, I almost spat out my morning coffee. PETA ideologues believe that killing animals for food is the moral equivalent of genocide. Indeed, PETA minions have for several months traveled the country promoting vegetarianism on college campuses in the "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign. Holocaust on Your Plate explicitly equates animal husbandry and meat-eating with the death camps and the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust. To illustrate its thesis, PETA crassly juxtaposes photographs of a pile of dead pigs with a pile of the bodies of dead concentration-camp inmates and claims that "the leather sofa and handbag are the modern equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of the people killed in the death camps."

    It must be understood that PETA-type fanatics do not see Holocaust on Your Plate as hyperbole or metaphor. For them, it is a literal truth. Down to the bone marrow in their vegan bones, they believe that KFC's cooking of chickens is morally equivalent to SS guards' herding of Auschwitz inmates into the showers. One can only imagine the future potential for demagogic advertisements should KFC's suppliers begin the gas slaughter of birds.
The whole thing is really good, though, so if you get a chance, please check it out. I've said time and again that these PETA folks make animal activism into a sad, scary joke, but, as you can see, they get "results." Radicals.


Scrappleface says it better

I got an "URGH!" from reading this, (the "bad-blood-shrug-it-off murderer") so I set it aside at lunch to blog about it later.

But that Scott Ott of Scrappleface does a far better job than my ugly rant, so I'll read more this evening and write less.



Sunday, July 13, 2003

No Rant

I've been ranting too much of late. Yesterday, I checked myself - almost blogged about crazy Susan Smith and her desire for prison pen pals. I refrained. Good Heather. I guess I could've varied my style and written her an open letter, but I'll save that for someone worth my time.

A couple of reflections here today, that's all.

One, have you noticed how often conjoined twins are in the news now? I swear, they're EVERYWHERE. While it's obviously very sad that Laleh and Ladan lost their battle to live separate lives (and life at all), now conjoined twins are all the rage. We've got a new pair in Greece. And before that we had an interview with other conjoined twins - joined at the stomach- who would not attempt separation surgery. We have doctors in Dallas readying themselves to separate another pair.

I'm certain there have always been conjoined twins and surgeries - but Ladan and Laleh's journey in adulthood to lead separate lives seems to really have led the media to near frenzy about this topic. And, truly, it is fascinating. It's something most of us will never see or come into contact with without he media. And we humans are certainly fascinated by things we do not understand.


Yeah, go Lance. It's almost anticlimactic, isn't it? I mean, in the background of the Tour de France, behind Lance and all of the hubbub, you have Tyler Hamilton, who is riding nearly the entire race with a FRACTURED COLLARBONE. Everyone, as a chorus, please exclaim, "OUCH!" and shudder in horror.

If you have not been on a bike lately, I'd like to remind you of a few biking things. One, your hands FEEL the road - every pothole, every pebble, every bit of gravel - they all jar the bike. If your hands feel the road, and you're on the bike for several hours a day, I can assure you, your collarbone FEELS the road.

This man has grit. What's the press say? I searched CNN for him. Nada. Piffle. I'll not bother with all that - what's he have to say?

You can always leave him a note.