Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bless unfair and parasitical competition

(A) group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of "an act of unfair and parasitical competition".

The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at EU offices in Luxembourg, are being taken to court by Transports Schiocchet Excursions, which runs a service along the route. It wants the women to be fined and their cars confiscated.
Do the French wonder why they are among the Has Beens of the World?

Of course, the Hawaii milk producers had a very similar attitude toward "foreign" ie California milk when I lived out there in the early '80s. I believe Hawaii state law prohibited foreign milk unless the importers could prove that they wouldn't cause "destructive" competition.

UPDATE: Thanks to a correspondent in Paradise, I have discovered that even with unfair and parasitical competition, "milk...prices...are as high (as) $8 a gallon in some parts of Hawai'i, according to state price surveys." Sean Hao had the story in the Honolulu Advertiser. Ouch.

There was no foreign milk in Hawaii when I first got there in 1980, so I guess competition has been pretty destructive for the hi cost local guys. I hate to think of what they would be charging without competition. Nine bucks? Twelve?

Kennewick Man is finally getting some serious study...

...after years of legal battles. Sandi Doughton has the story in The Seattle Times.

Doug Owsley, by the way, was the forensic anthropologist who worked on the extremely deteriorated skeletal material we unearthed at the cemetery of Fort Ross State Historic Park in the early 1990s when the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ran an archaeological field school there under professor Lynne Goldstein and then-doctoral candidate Sannie K. Osborn.

Fort Ross, which is on the coast about 80 miles north of San Francisco, was the furthest outpost of the Russian empire, set up in 1812 both as a spot for gathering furs and as a farm to provide food for more northern fur stations. Unfortunately the local gophers helped eat the wheat and after the sea otters were wiped out the fort lost money hand over fist. In 1841 the Russians sold the fort to John Sutter of Sutter's Mill fame.

UPDATE: One nite at Fort Ross Doug Owsley gave a great slide lecture around the campfire right after dinner, entitled something like "Murder Victims I have Known." Definitly not for the squeamish, especially after a couple of beers. Very interesting tho.

Well, it is if you are interested in the unnatural processes of anatomical delapidation, of course. Otherwise possibly not.

Apparently shooting someone in the head can cause a web of cracks to form so fast that they reach the other side of the skull before the bullet does. Multiple bullets, multiple webs. But because the preceeding cracks act as barriers to later ones, you can use the patterns to deternine the order in which the bullets were fired. Pretty interesting stuff. Unless it's your head, maybe. In that case, probably not.

More stars than a Hollywood coke party...

...and with more staying power.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mass murder as a spiritually fulfilling activity

Nasra Hassan has an interview with a failed Hamas suicide bomber in The Times of London:
“How did you feel when you heard that you’d been selected for martyrdom?” I asked.

“It’s as if a very high, impenetrable wall separated you from Paradise or Hell,” he said. “Allah has promised one or the other to his creatures. So, by pressing the detonator, you can immediately open the door to Paradise — it is the shortest path to Heaven.”
I tend to think it is more likely that the door elsewhere swings open at that moment, but then I am not a bomber.
As today’s weapons of mass destruction go, the human bomb is cheap. A Palestinian security official pointed out that, apart from a willing young man...(t)he total cost of a typical operation is about US $150 (£85). The sponsoring organisation usually gives between $3,000-$5,000 (£1,700- £2,830) to the bomber’s family.

I met an imam affiliated with Hamas, a youthful, bearded graduate of the prestigious al Azhar University in Cairo. He explained that the first drop of blood shed by a martyr during jihad washes away his sins instantaneously. On the Day of Judgment, he will face no reckoning. On the Day of Resurrection, he can intercede for 70 of his nearest and dearest to enter Heaven; and he will have at his disposal 72 houris, the beautiful virgins of Paradise. The imam took pains to explain that the promised bliss is not sensual...

A member of Hamas explained the preparation: “We focus his attention on Paradise, on being in the presence of Allah, on meeting the Prophet Muhammad, on interceding for his loved ones so that they, too, can be saved from the agonies of Hell, on the houris, and on fighting the Israeli occupation and removing it from the Islamic trust that is Palestine.”
Given all these personal bennies, I don't think these guys would ever qualify as boddhisattvas , but if they are right about Allah, the rest of us are in trouble. He sounds like a pretty unfriendly, anti-tolerance kind of deity.

Nasra Hassan has interviewed 250 bombers and their family members. The whole article is worth a read.

Thanks to Power Line for the tip.

Pew Global Attitudes Project Survey

Here's a link to the report.Click here: Pew Global Attitudes Project: Summary of Findings: Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Public

I'm packing franticly for the move to Hawaii, so don't have the time to go over it carefully or comment other than this seems to show that confronting Islamists and Saddam Hussein (and his filthy sons) does not in general seem to have had the negative effects the critics predicted. That could change, of course, and apparently does not hold now for a few countries such as Pakistan and Jordan, but trends in public opinion seem to be sharply away from the Islamists even in Islamic countries.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Effects of Porcupinist Propaganda upon their Own

A Western correspondent has recently sent me an interesting piece of literature which goes far to reveal the destructive effects experienced even by predatory, blood-sucking, carnivorous, vampire porcupines themselves when they are exposed to porcupinist propaganda which seeks to lull us (and them) into thinking them sweet, innocent, kind, cuddly vegetarians. In this case the young sanguinary is deceived by his own parents, but eventually discovers and accepts himself for what he is.

Austin Bay on the Netherlands' reaction to Islamist murder

Austin Bay has a round up on European responses to terrorism, especially the Dutch response to the Islamist murder of Theo van Gogh.

Thanks to - for the tip.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

NAACP: Once a great civil rights organization, now just shakedown artists?

The NAACP has every right to promote boycotts of those companies which refuse to roll over for it. The rest of us have the right to stop respecting a once-great organization which has descended into shaking down ppl who have committed no crime.

Brian DeBose in The Washington Times has the story. Thanks to PowerLine, which has worthwhile comments, for the tip.
MILWAUKEE -- The NAACP will target private companies as part of its economic agenda, seeking reparations from corporations with historical ties to slavery and boycotting companies that refuse to participate in its annual business diversity report card.

"Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery...," Dennis C. Hayes, interim president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said yesterday at the group's 96th annual convention here.

"Many of the problems we have now including poverty, disparities in health care and incarcerations can be directly tied to slavery."
Many of their problems stem from their own bad behavior, starting with teaching their children that they cannot succeed in a racist America, and that others whose ancestors came here in the 20th century owe them a living, or reparations for injustices done by others to others. If Americans are so racist that blacks cannot succeed, why is it that African immigrants do so well?
The group's strategy will include a lobbying effort to encourage cities to enact laws requiring businesses to complete an extensive slavery study and submit it to the city before they can get a city contract.

Such laws exist in Philadelphia and Chicago...

During an event on economic inequality, Mr. Hayes said the NAACP will lobby other localities and begin protesting and/or boycotting companies that refuse to participate in its annual business diversity report card survey.
That sounds like a productive use of NAACP resources: instead of working to end disfunctional behavior among African-Americans, they will boycott firms which don't fill out NAACP surveys.
...This year's report card measured 55 companies on their efforts. Taken together, four industries got a C grade. Retail got a D, largely because five of the 11 companies examined did not respond to the NAACP's request for information, getting an automatic F.
What a shame. The NAACP used to be great.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fortunately I live Downtown...

...or I mightn't be alive to write this.

Whilst helping carry a very large easy chair down to my niece's car I sliced a chunk of my hand off on the lock plate of the building's front door. Copious bleeding ensued, but as this is a proper urban area there were no flocks of Blood Sucking Carnivorous Vampire Porcupines to pounce from the rooftops onto yer humble correspondent and leave nothing but bare bones behind. Hence I am able to write this.

By such small things are empires lost and saved.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Here's a...

...Cool Space Pic of the Day with almost as much dust in it as I found behind my big dresser this morning.