Reality and Sanity

July 5, 2006

Hunting Norwegian Whalers Shock Tourists

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 8:13 pm

This is an unfortunate story. Still, a small part of me imagines, “what if this had happened in front of the Save The Whales crowd?”

OSLO, Norway (AP) – Hunters shocked a boatload of tourists on a whale watch off Norway’s Arctic during the weekend, harpooning a whale in front of them.

About 80 tourists were aboard the trawler Reine, which was headed for areas off the Arctic Lofoten Islands known for their abundance of whales, when the incident happened on Saturday, the boat’s skipper Geir Maan said by telephone on Wednesday.

“We were on our way out to the whale watching area when we passed a whaling boat,” Maan, the boat’s skipper, told The Associated Press. Usually, whaling and tour boats maintain a distance between them.

“This time, we got close, and right when they were passing, I realized they had a minke whale in firing range,” he said.

The whaling boat fired, and Maan said he later learned through the hunters that it had made a kill in front of the tourists.

“Some were pretty upset,” he said. “Many thought it was awful to see.”

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Switching Signs to Avoid Paying Fines

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 8:06 pm

This guy thought this idea would actually work: Speeding fine? Just switch the road sign.

LONDON (Reuters) – British motorist John Hopwood concocted a novel scheme to avoid payment when he was given a speeding fine — simply switch the road signs.Hopwood, 44, had been snapped by a speed camera breaking the 30 miles per hour limit.

So he went to a 40 mph area, removed a red “40” warning sign, drove back to the 30 mph area, attached it to a lamp post and took a photo as “proof” that his offence of driving at 48 mph had not been so bad.

However, suspicion soon arose when other drivers started querying the sign.

I agree with the judge:

“This was a stupid act, bound to fail,” Judge Anthony Ensor at Manchester Crown Court was quoted by media as telling Hopwood, who admitted trying to pervert justice.He was ordered Tuesday to serve an intermittent custodial sentence of 28 weeks which requires him to spend his weekends behind bars and told to pay 2,763 pounds in legal costs.

Next time, just pay the fine.

July 4, 2006

Welcome to the New Townhall

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 12:42 pm

The new and improved Townhall.com in conjuction with the Salem Radio Network is here, and does it ever look slick! Take a look!

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 7:57 am

Gotta link this Power Line post, even though you’ve probably already seen it: They Already Knew the Colonists Were Fed Up.

* * * * * * * *

Also don’t miss this Day By Day strip making fun of the Dixie Chicks.

Independence Day: Not Just a Will Smith Movie

Filed under: General Nonsense, Military Sacrifice Reflection — Paul @ 12:05 am

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.” -Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 1776

Here at Reality and Sanity, Independence Day marks the birth of, to quote Michael Medved, “the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth.”

Declaration of Independence

Here is the text of this wonderful document (thanks to USHistory.org for text and image):

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the
thirteen united
States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

We honor the sacrifices made by those brave men who signed the document, and by those soldiers who fought and gave their lives to make this document more than just a scrap of parchment. Booker T. Stallworth writes about the courage and sacrifice of the Founders (and yes, I stole the opening quote Stallworth used to start this post):

Too often, it is forgotten that this tradition of sacrifice started with our Founding Fathers. Like the many brave men and women in uniform today, our nation’s founders pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” for the cause of freedom.

Most of our Founders were men of means: wealthy land owners and lawyers—men with much to lose. They knew that by signing the Declaration of Independence, they were, in essence, signing their own death warrants. Before the document was even fully signed, 42,000 British troops were waiting off the coast, ready to bring down the full might, fury, wealth and power of the British Empire on those they viewed as traitors.

The 56 signers of the Declaration were hunted like dogs. Those in British (and loyalist) controlled areas like New York were forced to flee for their lives immediately. The rest went about the work of liberation, serving their country, as their families went into hiding or faced British abuse. Several died from the wounds or the travails of the subsequent war or were jailed and tortured as traitors. Wives, children, families and friends of these great men were killed, imprisoned, harassed, and their personal wealth plundered. Thirty percent of the signers were stripped of all their possessions.

The signers never doubted the high price they would pay for their country’s liberty. John Hancock of Massachusetts, after making his famously large signature, even declared: “There! His Majesty can now read my name without spectacles, and can now double his reward of 500 pounds for my head. That is my defiance.”

Freedom has never been free, but from those brave souls of 1776 to those showing their “defiance” against terror today, Americans have always been willing to pay the necessary price. The freedom we enjoy today has been purchased not only with treasure, but with generations of blood, sweat and tears.

Paine was right: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” But the freedom we enjoy is the glorious triumph of our patriots’ work. As we mark the birth of our nation—and the birth of freedom in nations that have never truly known it—let us not forget the love of country and willingness to sacrifice that marked their difficult labors.

We cannot fully appreciate our nation’s birth without remembering those who risked it all to make it happen, and those today who do the same to protect it.

Absolutely right.

Cox & Forkum illustrate yesterday and today in their unique style:

They also have links to the national archives where you can get a high-resolution image of the Declaration of Independence.

July 3, 2006

Here Comes the Six Million Dollar Man

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 10:09 am

Cue the drums and sound effects: We can rebuld him…we have the technology. We can make him better than he was…better, stronger, faster.

Surgeons have the technology to make bionic man a reality.

Boom-boom-baum-baum-boom-boom-baum-baum-be-boom-boom!

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction.

But scientists really have found a way to give amputees bionic limbs.

Experts at University College London are working on a technique to fuse skin to metal.

Before the discovery, known as Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis (ITAP), binding metallic limbs with skin was too dangerous because of infection.

But scientists say they have overcome this and believe ITAP may enable doctors to give amputees fully functioning bionic limbs which are linked to the patient’s nervous system within five years.

UCL experts discovered the technique after observing how skin moulds naturally around deers’ antlers.

The method involves attaching a metal implant to bone so it sticks out of the skin. Prostheses can then be attached to the device and controlled by the patient’s own thoughts.

Surgeons are thought to have successfully operated on a handful of amputees including two victims of the 7/ 7 bombings in London.

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na!

NY Times Protest–If You Can, Be There!

Filed under: Bias? What bias? — Paul @ 9:52 am

The press release is here, thanks to the lovely and articulate Michelle Malkin.

July 2, 2006

Pummeling the NY Times and the LA Times

Filed under: Bias? What bias? — Paul @ 5:12 pm

Hugh Hewitt writes about the pounding that New York Times editor Bill Keller and Los Angeles Times editor Dean Baquet are absorbing in the public discourse (emphasis mine):

If it was a fight, they’d stop it. The pummeling the not-so-dynamic duo are taking may reveal a reason for the reckless “print everything” strategy: In the old days, the newspapers owned the commentary business. They had no competitors, and the weeklies and monthlies could never catch up with even the most egregious misrepresentations. The papers were beyond reach. No matter what they did, no one could effectively criticize them (i.e. mobilize public opinion against them.)

Now the newspapers –even their biggest guns, the editors-in-chief!– cannot withstand even a half news cycle before their preposterous posturings are shredded.

It erodes a “news” organization’s credibility to be so outclassed so often.

All that newspapers can do to retain a claim for market share is publish secrets that no one else would publish. But this niche of a niche disgusts more than it attracts.

The instant availability of expertise is what has doomed “journalists.” They can’t defend the indefensible when trios like Althouse/Bainbridge/Macguire saunter up to the keyboard and destroy their pretensions in a few minutes.

If the two editors didn’t so richly deserve the scorn, I’d feel bad for them.

Yup.

Kerry Presidential Goal Tougher to Reach Second Time Around

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 4:41 pm

John Kerry wants to run for President again.

Three words: Bring it on.

He has a slew of unanswered questions, and the righty blogosphere heavyweights that covered him in 2004 have catagories dedicated just to covering him and those questions. What’s more, he still has a nearly bare Senate record, and the last bill Mr. Cut-and-Run sponsored got the stuffing knocked out of it.

Oh please let him run again!

Chicago Cubs Fans Throw Litter Onto Wrigley Field’s Playing Surface

Filed under: Horsehide Chronicles — Paul @ 1:28 pm

It’s been a bad year for South Side baseball fans. After enduring injuries to star players, mounting losses and a generally bleak future outlook, their hated enemies from Chicago’s North Side, the White Sox, push them over the edge by snatching a down-to-their-last-out victory away on a three-run homer by the annoying A.J. Pierzynski:

CHICAGO (AP) – With the Cubs so close to winning, fans littered Wrigley Field with plastic bottles, cups, and other debris Saturday after A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out, ninth-inning homer to send the White Sox to an 8-6 victory.The game was delayed nearly five minutes as security and the grounds crew came out to pick up the litter. Most of it fell on the warning track in the outfield, although some items, including a baseball, came out of the stands from behind the Cubs’ dugout.

“I guess they can voice their opinions however they want to,” Cubs center fielder Juan Pierre said.

“They shouldn’t throw anything on the field. It was sad. It was frustrating for us to lose a game and have the fans react like this.”

Much of the anger apparently was directed at Cubs closer Ryan Dempster, who retired the first two batters in the ninth with the Cubs leading 6-5. But two straight batters then reached base ahead of Pierzynski’s homer.

Shortly after Pierzynski rounded the bases and got in the dugout, items began sailing onto the field. The Cubs are 1-11 in their last 12 homes games.

“It’s tough because you never like to see that,” Dempster said after blowing his fifth save of the season. “I wish I would have gotten the last out and you never would have seen that. It’s tough.”

The Cubs, who have lost two straight and four of five to the White Sox this season, dropped to 29-51.

So why is Pierzynski the focal point, the tipping point for Cubs fans to vent their frustration so despicably?

The answer, in two sentences I combined from both linked articles to fully explain the point:

Pierzynski has been in the center of the rivalry all season, first after he barreled over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett on May 20 at U.S. Cellular Field. Barrett responded by grabbing Pierzynski and punching him in the face, setting off a bench-clearing brawl.

Okay. But that still doesn’t excuse the “Bleacher Bums” from littering the field of play.

I’m all for fans using creative non-profane signs and chanted slogans to rip on teams, such as some enterprising high-school-age Twins fans did to Chuck Knoblauch in a game at the Metrodome with t-shirts spelling out “Watch you back, Chuck, we’re everywhere.” But just as some other fans spoiled it by tossing crap onto the field in that game, the Cubs fans that participated in hurling trash onto the field are out of line.

Update: Dan Shanoff of The Daily Quickie says the reason was a coup disgrace:

Finally so fed up with the team’s awful season, the fans’ only reaction was to chuck stuff on the field.

“Fire Dusty [Baker]” has joined “Fire [Matt] Millen” and “Fire Isiah [Thomas]” in the Triple Crown of sports executive executions that fans would like to see.

July 1, 2006

Next Time Use a Clean Sheet of Paper

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 1:16 pm

Charmaine Williams Stein gets a good mark for recycling, but that effort lands her in jail after robbing a bank: Police: Heist Note Had Suspect’s Address.

The note demanding money was on a bulk mail advertisement that had Stein’s address on the back, the detective said. Stein, who was believed to have been out of town for several weeks, was arrested Wednesday night.

Yet another example demonstrating the high intellect of common criminals.

Next time, don’t be so earth-friendly; use a clean sheet of paper.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Filed under: General Nonsense, Marketing/Advertising Tricks — Paul @ 12:57 pm

Apparently the magazine Country Weekly had to run a poll to make sure: [Faith] Hill Voted Most Beautiful in Country Music.

Who else in Country (or any other genre with her level of success) has been offered a contract with Victoria’s Secret?

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