Daily Archives: April 15, 2009

The Dog

I told you this Obama dog thing was going t be big. Here’s an overview of the situation from NPR. And, you may recall this:

Many of you heard the question at President Elect Obama’s first news conference, which was mainly about the economy, regarding what kind of dog the girls would be getting as per a deal apparently made some time ago. The only safe answer to that question would have been to give the secret signal that cuts the power feed to the cameras, then have the reporter bagged and dragged out of the room and appropriately disciplined. But no, instead, Obama answered the question and he even discussed details … the dog needs to be hypoallergenic, yet also from a shelter, and so on … so now we all know. …

continue with the story of FDR’s stamp collection.

Obama Re-Education Camps Worry Bachmann

… so, I’m guessing that the “Re-Education Camps” .. also known as AmericCorps … are a good idea.

This concern on the part of Wackaloon Congresswoman Bachmann (WCB) is is probably valid, to the extent that AmericCorps is in any way educational. Education is always bad for Republicans. This is why in the late days of the Bush Administration and the ultra dumbed down Palin-McCain campaign, high-IQ Republicans were running away from the party. This is why Republicans push for teaching bad science in the schools. This is why … oh, never mind, I’m sure you totally get it.

Anyway, here is a piece in the Star Tribune regarding Bachmann and her wacka-wacka-loonery regarding AmeriCorps.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has appeared on various broadcasts with dire warnings about the program: “The real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call reeducation camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums,” the Republican said. “It is a dream come true for people who want to transform our country from a free-market economy to a centralized, government-planned economy.”

I’ve had experience with a group like this once. I was sitting in a plaza in Havana many years ago when a kid in the obligatory Communist Party red neckerchief walked up and told me to get my feet off the park bench. I didn’t like it one bit. So I decided to see if I could uncover some subversives currently working in Minnesota’s AmeriCorps underbelly to see what they were up to.

She had her feet on the park bench!?!!? Hey, Michele, when you travel to foreign lands, you really ought to recognize that things might be different there, and it is not your place to make up new rules for the locals, or to come back home and ridicule the people you visit. Get a brain. Maybe go take an anthropology course. But not mine, please.

Anyway, go read Jon Tevlin’s column in the STRIB.

Anonomizing your on line activities and time in the clink

If you carry out illegal on line activities and do so using a proxy to anonomize your activities, the crime could be considered “sophisticated” and thus a higher form of felony.

A key vote Wednesday on new federal sentencing guidelines would classify the use of proxies as evidence of “sophistication,” increasing sentences by about 25 percent – which could mean years or even decades longer behind bars, depending on the crime. It’s akin to judges handing down stiffer sentences when a gun is used in a robbery.

Yet digital-rights advocates are worried. Although they aren’t absolving criminals, they complain that the proposal is so broad, it could lead to unnecessarily harsh sentences for tech neophytes who didn’t know they were using proxies in the first place or who were simply engaging in a practice often encouraged as a safer way of using the Internet.

“It sends a bad message about protecting your own privacy,” said John Morris, general counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology. “This is the government saying, ‘If you take normal steps to protect your privacy, we’re going to view you as a more sophisticated criminal.'”

Read the story here

Mandy the Polar Bear Lady: Suicide?

It is being suggested, according to this article (which was pointed to by this blogger), that the woman who leaped into the Berlin Zoo polar bear enclosure a couple of days ago was seeking her own death, having become depressed over her job situation. She was an out of work teacher.

It has also been revealed that during the incident, the Zoo staff had already broken out rifles and issued them to staff snipers, who were prepared to kill one or more polar bears.

I didn’t think they had out of work teachers in Germany.

Mandy remains in critical condition in hospital.

Flashback to an earlier Zoo Animal Eats Person story: Tatiana Is Telling us Something, and The Physics of Tatiana. And, while we are on the topic of bears: Cave Bears More Carnivorous Than Previously Thought.

More Pirate Activity

Over the last several hours pirates have attacked a US freighter on the way to Mombasa (carrying humanitarian aid). These pirates did not use the usual method of operation. Rather, they ran at the ship with guns blazing and fired rocket propelled grenades right away. The bridge of the ship was apparently badly damaged but none of the crew were hurt.

The US Navy is bearing down on the situation, and have placed armed seamen on board the freighter. The same destroyer that currently is carrying the recently freed US captain is now escorting the freighter to its port.

Elsewhere, news sources are reporting that an additional fifty hostages have been taken by pirates in the region.