Reality and Sanity

July 4, 2007

Independence Day 2007

Filed under: American Uniqueness — Paul @ 5:51 am

Image by Declan McCullagh Photography

“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

Remember the words of this great document, as you gulp those grilled hamburgers and hot dogs washed down with soda, thanks again this year to USHistory.org:

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

Check out this National Archives website on the Declaration of Independence, including detailed accounts, high-resolution images and informative facts about the document and its history. Hat tip goes to Cox and Forkum for the link.

Speaking of Cox and Forkum:

Cox and Forkum

Leave it to them to provide humor once again.

July 3, 2007

No. 751

Filed under: Horsehide Chronicles — Paul @ 5:46 pm

Barry Bonds hits a two-run homer on a fly ball to right center field in the top of the first in Cincinnati, No. 751. Now only four away from Hank Aaron’s 755.

Duel

Filed under: Off-Mainline Competition — Paul @ 4:37 pm

It’s still on: Hot-Dog Eating Champs Go Eye to Eye.

NEW YORK (AP) – They stood toe to toe, eye to eye, and – most important – jaw to injured jaw.

Six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi, still unable to open his mouth wide enough for a typical teeth cleaning, joined favorite Joey Chestnut at a Tuesday weigh-in before their Fourth of July hot-dog-eating showdown in Coney Island.

The Japanese title holder declared himself ready to gorge, dismissing suggestions by skeptics that his stiff jaw was nothing more than hot dog head games aimed at rattling world record holder Chestnut.

“I don’t care what they think,” the 29-year-old said through an interpreter. “I just want to battle tomorrow.”

A battle it will be:

The two are among 17 contestants preparing for Wednesday’s eat-off, where the winner must consume the most HDBs – hot dogs and buns. Last month, Chestnut eclipsed Kobayashi’s mark of 53 1/2 in 12 minutes by inhaling 59 1/2.

I love this quote from NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg while introducing the pair at the weigh in:

“Many times … in the annals of sports, the eyes of the world have turned to our great city to watch worthy adversaries square off,” said Bloomberg, tongue in cheek. “What comes to mind is Ali and Frazier, the Yankees and the Mets, the Post and the Daily News.”

Heh.

A Progressive Event

Filed under: Stupid Democrat Tricks — Paul @ 4:28 pm

Faces Red Over Strippers at Fundraiser.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – A golf outing for local Democrats left some participants embarrassed after they found out strippers were handing out drinks at the event.

One participant said he saw a woman flash a group of golfers. Others at the fundraiser for the Lucas County Democratic Party said they didn’t see any inappropriate acts.

“When the word got out that these girls are strippers, it gave the party a black eye,” said Clerk of Courts Bernie Quilter. “Every elected official out there was embarrassed.”

Oh, come on. Aren’t you guys progressives?

I thought those stuffy neocon killjoys would react thusly:

Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz said he saw one woman lift up her top and show her chest to a group of golfers. She then lowered her shorts, he said.

“What I saw was inappropriate, offensive and wrong,” Kapszukiewicz said. “What I saw did not represent the values of the Democratic Party.”

Think William Jefferson Clinton would place tremendous value on those club waitresses staffing the outing?

July 2, 2007

Get Over It

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul @ 2:50 am

Sign #100,127 of the abdication of personal responsibility in this country: Illinois Man Files Suit Over Lost Love.

Where did the problem start? Maybe try looking in the mirror.

CHICAGO (AP) – Stealing someone’s heart can cost you: Just ask German Blinov. A Cook County jury ordered Blinov to shell out $4,802 last week after he was sued by a husband from a Chicago suburb for stealing the affections of the man’s wife.

Arthur Friedman used a little-known state law to mount the legal attack against Blinov. The alienation of affection law, one of eight across the country, lets spouses seek damages for the loss of love.

But Natalie Friedman, the woman at the center of it all, claims her husband asked her to have sex with other men and women – including Blinov – to spice up their relationship. She supposedly began having feelings for Blinov, prompting her husband to file the lawsuit.

“This guy ruined my life – he backstabbed me,” Arthur Friedman told the Chicago Sun-Times. “What he did was wrong. And I did what I had to do to get my point across.”

Blinov doesn’t deny having a relationship with Natalie Friedman while she was married, but he was surprised to learn he could be sued for it. His attorney also said Natalie Friedman was unhappy with her marriage before the relationship started.

“German was not a pirate of her affections,” attorney Enrico Mirabelli said. “Her affections were already adrift.”

July 1, 2007

A Mind Sorely In Need of a Critical Thinking Lesson

Filed under: Stupid People Tricks — Paul @ 8:11 am

Sometimes, all you can ask is, “What the hell was he thinking?”

The headline of this story shows how far some minds are off the road: Man Beats Peacock He Says Was Vampire.

No, I’m not making this up.

NEW YORK (AP) – A peacock that roamed into a fast-food restaurant parking lot was attacked by man who vilified the bird as a vampire, animal-control authorities said.

Beaten so fiercely that most of his tail feathers fell out, the bird was euthanized, said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for the city’s Center for Animal Care and Control.

“It’s just unbelievable that someone would do something to a poor, defenseless animal and do it in such a cruel fashion,” he said.

The peacock, a male several years old, wandered into a Staten Island Burger King parking lot and perched on a car hood Thursday morning. Charmed employees had been feeding him bread when the man appeared.

He seized the iridescent bird by the neck, hurled it to the ground and started kicking and stomping the creature, said worker Felicia Finnegan, 19.

“He was going crazy,” she said.

Asked what he was doing, she said, the attacker explained, “‘I’m killing a vampire!'”

Is there an iota of logic here?

If the peacock really was a vampire (which it wasn’t) how about using the traditional defenses: a cross, garlic, wooden stake through the heart? If the peacock really was a vampire, would it assume human form and beat his ass to a pulp? The story doesn’t mention another factor that could be in play, like, say this happened in broad daylight?

“He was going crazy,” she said.

There was no ‘going’ about it. He is crazy.

I hope the cops do find that guy, not only to face the consequences of his actions, but to get his delusional ass off the street before he hurts himself, anyone else or anything else.

June 30, 2007

Aw, Darn

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 4:20 pm

They’re covering ’em up in Daytona Beach, says the Court: No Nudes in Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Erotic dancers in adult bars in most parts of this Spring Break city are going to have to wear as much clothing as most people on the beach.

A federal appeals court upheld municipal zoning and nudity ordinances on Thursday after the city and Lollipops Gentlemen’s Club made their cases before the court on March 23.

“The bottom line is the 11th Circuit Court (of Appeals) upheld the city’s authority to enforce its zoning regulations and public nudity ordinance with regard to the adult entertainment establishments,” City Attorney Bob Brown said.

Here’s the part that made me chuckle:

In other words, dancers at adult clubs that serve liquor are required to wear conservative bikinis. G-strings and pasties won’t be enough to meet that requirement, the court said.

Har far we’ve come…

Bikinis are considered conservative dress. Who knew?

No. 750

Filed under: Horsehide Chronicles — Paul @ 5:26 am

Barry Bonds hits career homer No. 750…

Bonds hit No. 750 on Friday night to lead off the eighth inning against the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park, placing him five away from tying Hank Aaron’s magic 755 and six away from passing him for the lead on Major League Baseball’s all-time list.

…but after after a fan walks up to him at his left field position…

The blast off Arizona right-hander Livan Hernandez came only an inning after a male fan, identified by San Francisco police as Andrew B. Clapp, 24, and a tourist from Fargo, N.D., trotted out to left field and appeared to chat with Bonds while he was trying to play his position. Bonds casually put his arm on the fan’s shoulder and walked him off the field toward the left-field foul line where they were met by security. Bonds never seemed in danger and no security ventured into fair territory during the incident.

“He just wanted to shake my hand,” Bonds told MLB.com in the hallway outside the clubhouse after the Giants dropped a 4-3, 10-inning decision. “I told him to come with me so he didn’t get into any more trouble.”

When asked if he had felt threatened at any time during the episode, Bonds said, “No.”

The incident occurred with Giants starter Matt Morris nursing a one-ball count on D-backs second baseman Orlando Hudson. There was one out and a runner on first in the top of the seventh when the fan hopped over the low fence by the Giants bullpen down the left-field line and walked unencumbered over to Bonds.

…which unnerved some of his teammates.

Several of the Giants said they were a bit shaken by the incident that occurred during their third loss in a row and 14th in their last 19 games.

“When guys go out there, you never know what their intentions are,” said center fielder Dave Roberts, who dropped a fly ball later in the inning, allowing two unearned runs to score on the error. “I’m just happy Barry’s safe.”

“It’s pretty scary,” pitcher Barry Zito said. “You never know with these kinds of things. I didn’t see it. I was up here [in the clubhouse] when it happened. But I heard Barry really kept his cool and handled it very well.”

Yes, he did.

Besides the HR milestone, if Barry plays another year (and I fully expect him to do so, according to interview comments he’s made this season) he now is only 102 hits away from 3,000. Passing that mark would allow Bonds to join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro in a very exclusive club: players with 500 HRs and 3000 hits.

June 29, 2007

Government Mandate

Filed under: Stupid Law Enforcement Tricks — Paul @ 5:49 pm

Maybe London, a city that gouges car theft victims $210 per incident to investigate, should adapt the Winnipeg approach: City demands immobilizers on high-risk cars.

TORONTO (Reuters) – Drivers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, one of Canada’s worst cities for auto thefts, will have to install electronic immobilizers on new or “high-risk” cars in order to qualify for auto insurance, the province said on Wednesday.

Or maybe they can enforce the laws already on the books!

Stupid Girl(s)

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 5:37 pm

The lede is the only line you need to read from this story:

Two German teenagers robbed a girl but accidentally left their own pictures behind for police on a discarded mobile phone.

Cue Garbage: “Stu-uuu-pid Girl(s)!”

And Here I Thought You Were Giving Me A Compliment

Filed under: Self-Absorbtive Tendencies — Paul @ 5:32 pm

From Reason’s Brickbats:

Starting July 1, anyone wishing to buy beer in a Tennessee convenience store or supermarket will have to show photo ID. In an effort to stamp out underage drinking, lawmakers have required that everyone – no matter how gray, bald or wrinkled – must prove they are over 21. They say it will get clerks into the habit of routinely asking for ID.

I still get carded now that I’m twice the legal age, and I took it as a compliment. Now, stores are “carding everyone to offend no one,” but I’m still offended because carding is no longer a compliment.

June 27, 2007

Not an Easy Mark

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 4:10 pm

Just because a man is over 70 doesn’t mean they can’t handle themselves, as one dude found out: Ex-Marine Teaches Pickpocket a Lesson.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket inside a gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.

He immediately grabbed the person’s wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.

“I guess he thought I was an easy mark,” Barnes, 72, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story Tuesday.

First off, there is no such thing as an ex-Marine, as any retired Marine will tell you. They are former Marines. Some still consider themselves Marines, simply no longer in the Armed Forces.

Second, the former Marine was also a Golden Gloves boxer before his military service.

Third (if the first two wasn’t enough) the former Marine and Golden Gloves boxer is a retired 20-year ironworker.

Jesse Daniel Rae, the 27-year-old Newaygo County man accused of trying to pick Barnes’ pocket, was arraigned Monday in Rockford District Court on one count of unarmed robbery, a 15-year felony.

Barnes said he had just withdrawn the money from a bank machine and put it in the pocket of his shorts before driving to the Marathon service station and Next Door Food Store in Comstock Park, a Grand Rapids suburb.

He remembers noticing a patron acting suspiciously, asking the price of different brands of cigarettes and other items. While turned away, Barnes felt the hand in his pocket, so he took action.

“I guess I acted on instinct,” he said.

Kent County sheriff’s deputies said the store manager quickly came around the counter. The three of them struggled through the front door, where two witnesses said the manager slammed Rae to the ground and held him there.

“There was blood everywhere,” said another manager on duty, Abby Ostrom, 25.

I’ll bet there was.

June 26, 2007

A Lack of Critical Thinking

Filed under: Stupid People Tricks — Paul @ 6:49 am

This is what happens when minds are not filled with the wonder of discovery paired with skepticism to keep brains from falling out: Buried ‘Aliens’ Are Really Tree Trunks.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysians in a northern village were alarmed by rumors that space aliens had been laid to rest in their neighborhood cemetery, but authorities learned the graves had merely been filled with banana tree trunks for a superstitious ritual, police said Tuesday.

Residents feared a local witch doctor had instructed grave diggers to bury extraterrestrials in the rural district of Pasir Mas on Sunday, causing police to detain the man for investigation, said district police chief Haliludin Rahim.

The man was freed after he explained that banana tree trunks, not aliens, had been buried in a ceremony for “medicinal purposes,” Haliludin told The Associated Press.

June 25, 2007

Was This On A Bet?

Filed under: Stupid People Tricks — Paul @ 12:38 pm

How else could you explain this guy: Nude bather arrested at Spanish Steps.

ROME (Reuters) – A 22-year-old American man was arrested on Sunday after an early morning naked bath in the historic Barcaccia fountain at the foot of Rome’s Spanish Steps, an Italian news agency reported.The man stripped and bathed in the 17th century Baroque fountain in front of a crowd of tourists, before being led away by police, AGI news agency said.

He faces charges of committing an obscene act, it said.

Wrong counntry, wrong fountain. He should have climbed into the Place de la Concorde fountain on the Champs-Élysées in France and declared himself a performance artist.

June 24, 2007

How Come Northwest Doesn’t Do This?

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising Tricks — Paul @ 2:40 pm

If they held a Victoria’s Secret-style fashion show during a flight like Ícaro Airlines, I just might think about rescinding my self-imposed ban on airports and airplanes: Hotties in the sky.

Jun. 22 – An Ecuadorean airline has come up with a risqué way of attracting customers – they have put models in lingerie in the aisles.

Ícaro airlines is putting underwear fashion parades on several national flights for a two-week special.

All passengers on Ecuador’s most well-travelled route from the capital Quito to the port city of Guayaquil will be treated to a 10-minute sky-high show.

Mmph-mmph-mmph.

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