Friday, March 21, 2008

A Hero Saves a Fool

Here's a nice story about a guy who risked his life jumping over subway tracks to save a man who had fallen off the platform.

It really is a nice story. The guy who saved the other guy, he had some really insightful thoughts about why he did what he did.

The sad part of the whole thing is at the end of the story, the article says, "A NYC Transit spokesperson said the victim was reportedly intoxicated and taken to a local hospital."

So, some stupid drunk falls off the subway platform and someone else has to risk their life to save him?

I know, the stupid drunk doesn't necessarily deserve to die just because he's a stupid drunk, and it would be wrong to just let someone die because they're a stupid drunk. ... But, at the same time, seeing as we in today's age don't have many wild animals and whatnot to contend with, wasn't this just some strange form of survival of the fittest? Stupid drunks die off because they do things like fall of subway platforms. ...

Some people are probably going to get angry at the repeated use of the term "stupid drunks," but I'm not really that sympathetic toward alcoholics. I had my own bout with the bottle back in the day, and stopped because it wasn't worth the toll it was taking, so I consider it a choice. Yes, a difficult choice, but a choice nonetheless.

Anyway. It's a nice story, and I hope I can someday be the kind of person that would take a risk to help a stranger. I would now, to an extent, but not necessarily jumping over tracks like that ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gun 'Control' in D.C.

Here's the latest story about the proposed ban on handguns in D.C.

I'm pleased the justices are being intelligent about this issue, rather than reactionary.

This seems like such a simple issue, I cannot understand why people have such a hard time just accepting it -- gun ownership is a right. Just because some people abuse that right, which leads to various crime problems, doesn't mean the government should just automatically take that right away from everyone.

The key is to severely punish the people who abuse the right to have a gun -- especially those people, like felons, who have because of their past actions are no longer legally allowed to own a gun.

There are lots of things that a person can abuse to the point of it having negative consequences. A car with a moron behind the wheel can be just as dangerous a weapon as a firearm, but no one would think of banning cars.

How many stories from around the country have you seen where elderly drivers run people over and crash into buildings? But where is the legislation that bans the elderly from driving, or at least makes them get retested at certain points?

How many times do you see idiots on cell phones endangering others as they cruise down the street? So the legislature creates a toothless law to stop people from physically holding the phone, which did nothing but drive up the sale of hands-free headsets while giving the cell phone idiots with the ability to talk and drive and still have a free hand for something else, like playing with their GPS unit or putting on makeup.

But there is no ban on 'doing other things' while driving.

There is no ban on overeating or obesity.

There is no ban on alcohol, even though a host of crimes can be attributed to people abusing the right to consume it.

I can put a hammer into someone's skull, but no one would ever ban hammers.

Marijuana and cocaine and PCP are banned, but there's plenty available. Prostitution is banned, but people still participate in it.

I know, I know ... it's because a gun is made for only one purpose, and that purpose is violent, and that freaks people out.

But, banning anything only affects the people who voluntarily obey laws, and those are not the people spurring the perceived need for a ban. The only thing that achieves is giving criminals -- who would still have guns -- even more of an advantage as long as they prey on the law abiding folks and not other criminals who may be armed.

Iranians Ready for Change

Here's a great little story from

TEHRAN, March 19 (UPI) -- Many Iranian youths rallied in streets across the country, shouting "Death to Ahmadinejad," in celebrations marking the end of the Persian calendar year.

The last Wednesday of the Persian calendar is celebrated as the Fire Festival in Iran, with bonfires and firecrackers marking the occasion.

In the western city of Ahvaz, angry mobs declared "Freedom is our legitimate right" while demonstrators in the western city of Sanandaj shouted "Death to (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad," Ynetnews reported Wednesday.

The police in Tehran were out in force and, though they were met with a barrage of firecrackers, the situation didn't escalate beyond what is typical for the Fire Festival, local reports cited in the news report said.

Ahmed Raza-Radan, the police chief in Tehran, warned demonstrators against violating the rule of law in a news conference.

"The police force has resolved to detain any party-goers who break the law. The secret police will have full control, and will not hesitate to photograph citizens for evidence," he said.

This is interesting to me. It makes me wonder if Bush erred not only in invading Iraq, but in not invading Iran instead. The people there, it seems, would have done exactly what the U.S. thought -- and hoped -- what the Iraqis would have done, but haven't.

The Iraqi people seem too tied up in religious domination, and the ones that aren't are too easily led by those that do. The Iranians, however, seem much more ready for democracy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Blog Element -- Cast Your Vote!

I finally took the time to explore some of the features offered for this blog, and one of them is a poll.

You can see this on the right-hand side of this page, near the top.

The question will change approximately every two weeks.

This time around, the question is who you think John McCain will/should choose as a running mate for the presidential election. I've already cast my vote, so go ahead and cast yours.

Off With Their Hands

So, a thief or thieves have stolen the bronze nozzles and light fixtures from the war memorial on the New Haven Green. Here's the story.

One thing the article didn't mention, however, is how long it would have taken someone to uninstall the 32 nozzles and 8 light fixtures.

I'm really curious -- I can't imagine that it's quick work, to remove that many pieces, and there had to be some type of transport nearby. ... So, basically, I'm wondering how someone managed to actually pull this off without anyone, passers-by or the police, noticing the activity. The only thing I can think of is if the thief or thieves took one or two pieces at a time over a period of days.

You know, it's this type of thievery that really gets under my skin.

If someone steals from a store or other business, we the public don't really notice; prices may increase slightly to cover the loss and additional loss prevention efforts. But when thieves strike in ways that directly affect the quality of life for the general public, it just feels different, more sinister.

Before I finally got fed up and moved, I lived in front of a housing project in West Haven, and too many of the people that lived there were real scumbags -- they would steal everything that wasn't nailed down. They would go so far as to steal pieces off of cars in the parking lot of our multifamily house; any package from UPS or FedEx would vanish from the front porch just as quickly as it had been delivered. Forget about having any type of outdoor furniture for more than a week. Someone even stole the solar lights I bought and put out there to make the area less dark -- which I did to deter thievery!

So it's this type of theft -- the kind that directly impacts our quality of life -- that I think we need to take extra seriously. Because of this kind of theft, the rest of us can't have anything nice, and that affects how a neighborhood looks, and feels.

Think about it this way: You have a nice little house with a patio, but you can't actually have anything of any value on the patio because it will get stolen -- the best you can have without it disappearing is broken-down, dirty plastic lawn chairs. You have a nice driveway, but you can't actually leave the car there because someone will steal either parts, or the whole car. Every holiday, you want to put out decorations, but since they've all been stolen every year, you stop decorating.

So, instead of living happily in your nice little house with decorations and such, you live in a locked box with nothing of value anywhere in sight. No grill, no chairs, no lights, no decorations. You can't sleep with the windows open and you have to keep your doors locked 24-7.

Gee, what a great way to live. Isn't it nice that all your hard work paid off?

I think part of this problem is the lack of punishment -- real punishment. Unless they already have a record, what's a thief really going to get for punishment? Even if they get a little jail time, the jails are too full to go put every thief in there.

So, while I may not truly believe in the title of this post, I think some actual physical punishment might be more fitting. And, since this type of thievery impacts the public, then the punishment should also be public.

For example: If and when the authorities catch the person or persons who stole the fixtures from the memorial on the Green, that person should be flogged -- on the Green. Maybe even put in the stocks, so all the people whose existence this criminal negatively affected could walk by and jeer and spit. The best part would be that that person in the stocks would get a chance to see what it's like to be prey for other criminals.

I know it sounds harsh, especially when many people would call something like this fiasco on the Green a "victimless" crime, but I believe that it would be smarter, more cost effective, and more entertaining for the rest of us.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Money for Nothing

Here's a story about the divorce deal between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney. ... She's going to get about $50 million for her 4-year marriage to the former Beatle.

This is one of those stories that make men fear marriage.

It does not matter how much money Paul McCartney has -- a million, a billion or a trillion -- it's his money, made from his work. He didn't get any more famous because of her; if anyone gained a more impressive image from the marriage, methinks it was her.

Sharing with your wife is expected of a man, but, once she's not your wife anymore, the sharing should end. She wasn't a pauper when they hooked up, so it's not like she actually needed the money to survive. It's simply like someone decided that, because she was with this man for a few years, she somehow "deserves" a portion of his assets.

I think the part that irks me most is the way that Mills has been from the beginning of this all-too-public ordeal -- she acted like she truly believes she is entitled to someone else's stuff.

I also think watching someone in a case like this may provide a glimpse into their character. Heather Mills, aside from seeming to be a very greedy woman (she was looking to get about $250 million, simply because she says he had more than that), also seems like a real whiner who talks way too much. At one point in this debacle, she went on TV to cry that she was being victimized and treated unfairly in the media -- all the while ignoring the fact that she could have avoided this whole thing by simply accepting McCartney's offer of about $30 million, which I think anyone can agree is more than enough money for just having been married to a super-famous musician.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Court Battle Eyed in Global Warming 'Debate'

If you follow most mainstream news outlets, you probably believe the 'global warming crisis' ... but there are many people who say the 'debate' is one-sided, and that credible information counter to the Gore camp's philosophy is buried and ignored by the mainstream media.

Among those critics is John Coleman, who founded the Weather Channel in 1982.

He contends that global warming is not a problem, and that current weather trends plainly refute the idea of dangerous warming.

Here is a story about Coleman's ideas.

One good quote from that story: "As you look at the atmosphere over the last 25 years, there's been perhaps a degree of warming, perhaps probably a whole lot less than that, and the last year has been so cold that that's been erased," Coleman said.

Also, here is some information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ... It seems this past winter was the coldest since 2001.

One more thing you should take a look at is this article from the Washington Times about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ... The article contends that "several assessments of the IPCC's work have shown the techniques and methods used to derive its climate predictions are fundamentally flawed."

Is it all bunk? There's no doubt that people should be aware of how we affect the environment, but, just as some people say the Bush administration went to war in the Mideast to help oil businesses and such, could the global warming folks be out to help friends of their own?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Haven Makes National News for Being Stupid

New Haven, the wonderful sanctuary city where people get robbed, shot and assaulted daily, has made the national news after a flap involving an eighth-grade student who was caught buying ... candy.

With the condition of the city being what it is, and the fact that half the kids can't even read and write at acceptable levels, it's hilarious to see what does get the attention of the people who run things.

It's also nice to know that the school system is so diligent in outlawing candy ... now if they could get the kids to stop murdering people, they'd be all set.

Here's the quick story:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - An eighth-grade honors student who was suspended for a day, barred from attending an honors dinner and stripped of his title as class vice president after he was caught with contraband candy in school will get his student council post back, school officials said.

Superintendent Reginald Mayo said in a statement late Wednesday that he and principal Eleanor Turner met with student Michael Sheridan's parents and that Turner decided to clear the boy's record and restore him to his post.

Michael was disciplined after he was caught buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. The classmate's suspension also will be expunged, school officials said.

The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo said.

"I am sorry this has happened," Turner said in a statement. "My hope is that we can get back to the normal school routine, especially since we are in the middle of taking the Connecticut mastery test."

Turner said she should have reinforced in writing the verbal warnings against candy transactions.

Eliot's Hooker

Here's the latest story about Gov. Eliot Spitzer's downfall, and some information about the hooker (at least the one that's now known) that he spent thousands of dollars on.

And, if you can't get onto MySpace, here's a snippet of the woman's profile:

"I am all about my music, and my music is all about me… It flows from what I’ve been through, what I’ve seen and how I feel. I live in New York and am on top of the world. Been here since 2004 and I love this city, I love my life here. But, my path has not been easy. When I was 17, I left home. It was my decision and I’ve never looked back. Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse. Left an older brother who had already split. Left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again. Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone. I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music."
OK. Well, I don't really care about a guy messing with hookers, because I do think prostitution should be legal, but because it's all over the news, here are some thoughts:

  • I'm sure Spitzer's wife has got to be ecstatic -- not only did her husband play around with a hooker, but he used one that had been homeless and a drug user. Yay. I hope Spitzer and his wife have already been to a doctor.
  • I don't know the exact amount he spent per episode, but the story linked above say she charged a thousand dollars a throw ... I'm sorry, but ... you know, look at the photo, she's pretty and all, but I don't think there's any roll in the hay worth that much cash. I mean, really. Ten of those would have paid for my car!
  • This girl is 22, Spitzer is 48. He would have been out of college before she was even born! OK, to be fair, there is a sliver of "pig male" in me that says, "Woo-hoo Eliot!" But, there's also a part of me that says, "Eww."
  • As far as the hooker goes, the profile says, "I survived, on my own." ... Ha! That's pretty easy when you make more in an hour than I make in a week! So I guess I should be proud that I can support myself and my wife (and my kitty!) on less than a hooker makes in an hour!
OK. As far as I'm concerned, the guy simply screwed up. If he wasn't such a law-and-order guy, he might have been able to keep his job.

What I can't figure out is, if he was going to spend that much dough, and still get a chick that was homeless and used drugs, why didn't he just spend some cash on a disguise and go to some strip club in some rinkydink town and do it with one of the girls there for like $100 and never hear about it again?

UPDATE: In the time it took me to write this post, the hooker's profile is being removed from myspace. ... I can hear the "I'm a victim" thing coming already.

Snow Driving Canadians Crazy

Connecticut residents are no strangers to road rage, but snow rage?

It seems Canadians are getting more snow than they can handle, and it's making people crazy. Here's a quick story about how it's affecting them.

And, just a thought: This isn't the first story I've seen about someplace experiencing colder-than-normal weather and record snowfall .... Is extreme cold and snowfall part of global warming?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Immigrants Getting the Runaround

Here's a story about some immigrants who are getting the runaround trying to get their naturalization papers so they can vote in the upcoming election.

It's not a real controversial story, but I figure I complain about illegal immigrants, and I say they should come here legally, so when some legal immigrants are getting hosed I think I should try and make people aware of it.

Why Judges Should Not Be Allowed to Make Laws

Here's a story about a judge who used her personal bias to make a ruling that had absolutely nothing to do with the law.

It seems she's against the war in Iraq, so she would not allow a foster teen to enroll early in the Marines. There's no law that says he can't join, but because he's a foster kid the judge has to sign off on it.

Personally, I think this judge should be pulled off the bench immediately. If she is against the war then she can say that, and she can try and persuade the teenager not to enlist. I'm fine with that. But as soon as she denies someone their right to do something perfectly legal, just because she doesn't like it, that's crossing the line.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Israel's Chance?

So a gunman kills a bunch of people in an Israeli seminary, and Hamas claims responsibility for the massacre.

Hamas and some Palestinians in Gaza say the massacre is a justified response to the most recent Israeli military action in Gaza, an action the Israelis say is what they had to do to try to stop Palestinians in Gaza from firing rockets into Israel ... which the Palestinians seem to believe is OK to do because of sporadic military actions by Israel ... which Israel carries out after Palestinians fire rockets into Israel.

Is anyone else seeing the pattern here? Am I the only one mystified by this whole farce?

Israel could wipe out Palestine in the blink of an eye. If they did, what's the worst that could happen?

Iran would be mad at Israel? Iran has already called for the annihilation of Israel, so there'd be no new hard feelings there. In fact, it seems there's enough hostility toward Israel in the region already that one big act of aggression wouldn't really make things any worse, it would just bring them to a head ... which would at least allow Israel to finally deal with them.

Look, I don't care about Israel too much either way -- my attitude isn't based on some connection or alliance. I just look at it as a country that constantly lives with terrorist acts and continued threats from others, but all the while having the ability to obliterate those making the threats and committing the acts.

So why don't they just destroy Palestine, destroy Iran's government (which, from what I've read, would be welcomed by the majority of Iranians if the civilian casualties are minimized), and wipe out the bulk of Hamas and Hezbollah?

The U.S. wouldn't do anything to Israel if that happened, and I don't think Britain, Germany or France would really do anything either -- the French may oppose it, but France also had dirty little side deals going with Saddam in Iraq to thwart the sanctions put in place to keep Saddam in line, so as far as I'm concerned France is really jut an enemy pretending to be allies with whoever is popular at the moment.

Egypt may not like it, but after seeing the mess they endured when Palestinians knocked down the border wall and flooded Egypt ... It seemed to me that Egypt didn't really like that whole thing, so maybe their sympathy for the Palestinians -- at least in the official sense -- is lowered enough where they would balk but not really DO anything about it.

I think the only country that would really have issues with Israel wiping out their enemies would be Russia, and Russia is really not trustworthy because of their ties to Iran, so they have to be kept under a watchful eye anyway.

And China might oppose it, but their economy depends on the rest of the world, especially the U.S., so I think that if handled correctly, China-U.S. relations would not suffer much.

So? Is this Israel's chance to fix their biggest problems?

Iran will have nukes soon, and then Israel loses the advantage they have. Sporadic skirmishes only make the problems worse, because your enemy continues to grow in power until they become a more serious adversary.

If Israel is going to do it, they have to do it now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Something Interesting About Cuba

Here's a story about young Cubans using technology to thwart the government's efforts to control information.

As you sit at your computer and read this, imagine your government not allowing you to use the Internet. Can you? I can't.

Michael Moore goes to Cuba for one of his "films" and makes it seem like Cuba is better than the U.S.; Sean Penn goes to Brazil and hangs out with Hugo Chavez and bashes the United States and the current administration ... the reality is that life in many other countries is much worse than anything here in the States, but you might not know that listening to dopes like Moore and Penn.

It seems to me that, if anything, what this country suffers from most is the lack of nationalism ... even in countries where it just plain stinks to live, the people there still have a strong sense of national pride.

I think it's high time we in the U.S. had more of that, because to the people that want "death to America," you're an American no matter how much you try and disassociate yourself.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Kudos to Nine Inch Nails

I have to give credit where it's due.

The band Nine Inch Nails (a great act, by the way) has a new release coming out shortly. At this link you can get the music now.


Here's the deal:

  • You can download the 1st song, plus a PDF file with all the artist info, and get some computer wallpapers and stuff, for FREE.
  • You can download the entire new release, 36 tracks, for $5.
  • You can download the entire new release, plus get the CDs when they come out in April, for $10.
There are some other options for big fans, where you can buy a bunch of additional stuff, but it's all there on the Web site.

I want to applaud Trent Reznor (the man behind Nails) for following Radiohead and bringing the sale of music into the modern age.

Record companies whine nonstop about people who download music for free off the Internet instead of buying CDs, but at the same time they try and sell CDs for $15-$20 -- they fail to realize that the greatest side benefit of music piracy was that it showed the public just how little it should actually cost for a CD. I believe CDs should cost about $8 tops at this point.

So, go grab your free download link, check out Nails' new tune, and maybe buy the whole thing for $10!

Oh, and here is a link to the official Nine Inch Nails site.