Archive for January 2006

Now This Might Explain a Lot

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Thanks to Joy for turning me on to this factoid.

A research team led by Syracuse University biologist Scott Pitnick found that in bat species where the females are promiscuous, the males boasting the largest testicles also had the smallest brains. Conversely, where the females were faithful, the males had smaller testes and larger brains. (from AP via CNN)

All I can say is, if I had to sacrifice either balls or brains, I’d keep my brains any day.

Speeding Frenzy

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Got this e-mail in the my mailbox today:

On February 1, the city and county of Honolulu will launch a 30-day speeding ticket frenzy. The city estimates that 9 million dollars will be generated in speeding tickets. 1 million will go to pay police overtime. There will be 50 police on duty at all times patrolling the 9 main thoroughfares.

They are the following:
H-3 both directions
H-2 both directions
H-1 both directions
Pali Hwy
Likelike Hwy
Nimitz Hwy
Kalanianaole Hwy
Kam Hwy
Farrington Hwy

Now 5 mph above the limit can justify a ticket and every officer is supposed to pull a car over and write a ticket every 10 minutes. They have issued 30 brand new unmarked cruisers and they are bringing all their part timers on full time.

Now, keep in mind that this is not true. It’s a mutation of an e-mail circulated around New Jersey. But considering the lead-footed people on the road these days (myself included, sometimes), I actually hope this e-mail gets wide distribution. I actually supported the van cams during their short tenure here. Anything to make people more aware of their speed.

Some Things Never Change

Friday, January 27th, 2006

From User Friendly comes this little comparison of blogging with something from the not-so-distant Internet past.

Case vs. Akaka: Another Worst-Case Scenario?

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

2006 was looking to be a quiet year in Island politics. Our GOP governor, Linda Lingle, wasn’t facing any real opposition in November, and if the election were held today she would all but win the election by default.

And suddenly, a bombshell hit, and the Democrats sprang to life. The main event is proving not to be Lingle vs. TBD on November 7, but Ed Case vs. Dan Akaka on September 23.

OK, I don’t get it. The Democrats can’t find anyone stupid brave enough to challenge Linda Lingle. Yet, now we have everyone and his brother running for what will be a vacant seat in the 2nd District. What’s wrong with this picture? Obviously the lack of a “resign to run” law for the U.S. Congress has something to do with it, but should Democrats concede Washington Place in favor of the U.S. Capitol?

Case is definitely not getting much support from his co-workers Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, both of whom are behind Akaka. And the core of the Democratic party, the old guard, who hold grudges against him for not playing nice with them, aren’t really supporting him either.

But I say don’t count Case out yet. He definitely has popular support here in Hawaii and name recognition in the state. In fact, if not for 2,000 votes in the September 2002 primary out of about 180,000, he would have been the Democratic standard-bearer instead of Mazie Hirono. That would have been an interesting race…moderate Democrat vs. moderate Republican. And maybe he would be the one defending Washington Place rather than Lingle.

Make no mistake, politics in Hawaii have changed. Case and Lingle both ran on themes of change in 2002. Democrats didn’t get the message and lost Washington Place as a result. But I honestly think that rather than having an bloody internecine battle among Democrats, that Hawaii would be better served by having the race that we should have had in 2002…Case vs. Lingle. But that’s just me.

Case brings up the need to begin a process of transition, and that it’s needed is true. Daniel Inouye and Dan Akaka aren’t going to be around forever, and he probably wants to avoid a situation like that of the late Sen. Spark Matsunaga. But they don’t feel that their work is done yet. Akaka, in particular, still has his namesake bill on his plate, which has still not become law. Good luck trying to get him to retire before it becomes the law of the land. This is supposed to be his legacy, after all.

In the end, though, I will probably support Case in his campaign. I voted for him in 2002 both for governor and for Congress. But I’m still not entirely convinced that running for the U.S. Senate is so well advised.

Ed Case’s opponent in his first state House race in 1994 was Toni Worst of the Hawaii Green Party. I swear I am not making this up. That race was truly a “Worst-Case scenario.” I hope this doesn’t become another one.

…And Israel Kicks Back

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not mouth off about the Israeli prime minister when he doth lie in a coma.

Apparently there are plans to build a Christian heritage center near the Sea of Galilee, a joint American-Israeli venture with Robertson pledging much of the American support.

Not anymore, he’s not. After hearing his comments, Israeli tourism officials have decided to cut Robertson out of the project and seek other supporters.

CNN put it really succinctly when they said: “Pat Robertson’s mouth has cost him his piece of the Holy Land.” Indeed.

What French “Presence”?

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

OK, folks who are collecting criminal bloopers, here’s one for you.

A French national by the name of Bernard Planche was held for over a month by an Iraqi terrorist group. Now, of course, this in itself is a reprehensible act, no doubt. But their raison d’etre is rather dubious:

A group calling itself “Surveillance for Iraq” had threatened to kill him unless France ended its “illegitimate presence” in the country.

Zut, alors! French “presence”? That’s akin to complying with a request for ID when trying to stick up a bank. Obviously they’re not part of al-Qaeda; I don’t think even Osama bin Laden would want to be associated with people that dumb. France never was, is not now, and never will be, part of the coalition. I’m willing to bet that the French “presence” would cease to exist once Planche left the country. Of course, that’s no reason for this group to engage in kidnapping and threats to make it so.

The French government had been working to gain Planche’s release, and rightfully so, but the fact that he was released without a fight, and alive, makes me wonder. I bet someone finally realized, “Hey, Abdul, France has no presence in this country…we look stupid now. I think we’d better release the guy.”

OK, maybe the war on terrorism CAN be won after all.

Breach of Contract

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, dirty lobbyist money…former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has now joined the fray, saying that the recent scandals are damaging his carefully forged “Contract with America.” (via the Moderate Voice).

The way I see it, though, the GOP breached that Contract on September 12, 2001. Can we as America claim damages?

Kicking the Man When He’s Down

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

There’s something about hearing about a disaster, or the fact that a very important person is sick or, worse, dead. It usually brings out the best in people, draws friends closer, and at least for the moment, makes well-wishers out of rivals and enemies. Our government, whose support of Israel is no secret, has had nothing but prayers for Ariel Sharon’s recovery from his stroke, and his counterpart Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinians has expressed his concerns and wishes for a speedy recovery.

Of course, there are exceptions. On both sides.

Not surprising is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” So it’s not surprising to me that Ahmadinejad would not, even for an instant, consider toning down his rhetoric against the man who leads Israel: (Yahoo News, via The Moderate Voice)

“Hopefully, the news that the criminal of Sabra and Chatilla has joined his ancestors is final,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.

In other words, he’s kicking the man when he’s down. And in this case, kicking him in the head and hoping another blood vessel pops to finish him off.

What is somewhat surprising, but at the same time not really so given his tendency to also mouth off, is Pat Robinson’s shot at Sharon. Yes, Robertson talked about death as well, wishing for the sudden, violent death of Hugo Chavez. But Robertson criticizing Sharon, when he can’t defend himself? Especially when he describes him such?

Robertson said Thursday that Sharon was “a very likable person, and I am sad to see him in this condition.”

A friendly remark so far. But he goes on:

But I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, “divide my land.” God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible, he says, “This is my land.” And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he going carve it up and give it away, God says, “No. This is mine.” … He was dividing God’s land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, “This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.”

He also insinuated that former PM Yitzhak Rabin brought his assassination upon himself by similar means.

Now, Robertson is referring to Joel 3:2, which says that God will gather the nations and pass judgment against them for scattering Israel and dividing their land. In those days, Israel was sacked and pillaged, drawn and quartered. It was done by force. Well, it’s now the 21st century and the modern nation of Israel is almost 60 years old. And in this case, the initiative is coming from the inside, through peaceful negotiation and the realization that violence cannot continue. I think the Bible has something to say about this: Matthew 5:9 says it all.

All I can say is, if I had a friend like Pat Robertson, I don’t want him giving the eulogy at my funeral. Heaven knows what he would say.

Ted Rall’s Take

Monday, January 2nd, 2006

OK, maybe there is a silver lining on the fact that the NSA is spying domestically. Here’s the kind of spying that I’d like to see happen (courtesy of Eric).