February 2006

You are browsing the site archives for February 2006.

On June 3rd, in Washington D.C. a bunch of people will be getting together for the first ever Vigil for Lost Promise in memory of young men and women who died from drugs. This is more than just a gathering of parents and friends to remember the departed, however. This is a cynical propaganda effort by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The associated web site includes eight Stories of Lost Promise about young people who died from drugs. They make for instructive reading, both in the dangers of drug abuse and the source of those dangers. While even the DEA is sane enough not to directly using this event to propose legislation or ask for funding, it’s clear they have a few things in mind.

One of the stories is about an 18-year old who died from an overdose of Vicodin that he obtained over the internet. I’m inclined to believe that this is a real problem. Vicodin is a relatively easy drug to abuse or become addicted to. As the parent who wrote the story suggests, it probably shouln’t be available without a prescription after seeing a doctor.

Another case is a 19-year old man who died from an overdose of Xanax which he was taking for recreational purposes. That’s a legal prescription drug which he obtained through a source that is not described in the story.

The rest of the stories, however, tend to illustrate problems with the war on drugs:

  • One of the stories is about a 16-year old boy who died from inhalant abuse. Inhalants are legal substances (although probably illegal to inhale) which is one of the reasons kids use them instead of safer drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy.
  • Two stories are about heroin users who died of overdoses. Because it’s illegal, the supply of heroin, and therefore the quality and purity of each dose, is controlled entirely by criminals.
  • Two of the stories are drawn from the relative handful of people who have ever died from taking Ecstasy. One is a 23-year old woman who died of an Ecstasy overdose, although the story doesn’t give details. The other was a 14-year old girl who took an Ecstasy pill and became very sick, but her friends didn’t get adult help until it was too late because they were afraid of being busted for having the drugs.
  • One of the stories is about a young man who hung himself, an incident which is being blamed on depression brought on by suddenly cessation of steroid use. Perhaps he and his parents would have known how to stop the steroids safely—or even use them safely—if there weren’t such restrictive rules about them.

Pete Guither at Drug WarRant has created his own counter-web-site, also known as Vigil for Lost Promise. It contains links to his Drug War Victims page. By linking to it as I have, I and others hope to push it to the top of the Google search above the official DEA site.

It’s a little late for Friday catblogging, but it’s my site so I’ll play by my rules.

Dozer Resting
Larger ImageDozer Resting
Dozer Resting Some More
Larger ImageDozer Resting Some More

You can see why we call him Dozer, can’t you?

Even More Dozer Resting
Larger ImageEven More Dozer Resting

I’ve been working through many of last year’s photos. Cats sleep a lot, so you’d expect a random collection of cat photos to include a lot of pictures of sleeping cats, but this is getting ridiculous. I have an awful lot of pictures of sleeping cats. Or at least resting cats.

Dozer Yet Again
Larger ImageDozer Yet Again

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Buffy's Paws
Larger ImageBuffy's Paws

Can you believe this shit is still going on?

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators will stick by their decision to slap CBS with a $550,000 fine for the Janet Jackson flash at the 2004 Super Bowl.

But that’s not all!

They also plan new sanctions against Fox, NBC and CBS TV stations or affiliates for violating decency standards, according to people familiar with the matter.

The two sources, who declined to be identified ahead of a public announcement, said one of the decisions involves an appearance by Nicole Richie on the 2003 Billboard Music Awards on Fox. During the broadcast, she uttered the “F” word and the expletive for excrement.

2003 for God’s sake!

You’d almost think the FCC wasn’t in the midst of a potential multi-billion dollar screwup of the HDTV roll-out.

“If you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?”

—Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt

He’s talking about his idea to install security cameras all over Houston, including in private businesses and apartment buildings.

A fellow named Matt Asher has an interesting response:

The Hurtt Prize is a $1120 (and growing) reward for the first person who can provide definitive videotaped evidence of Houston police chief Harold Hurtt committing a crime, any crime. This evidence will posted here and forward to the Houston Police Department along with a demand that action be taken.

Of course, Hurtt is used to being in the local media spotlight, so this probably isn’t too hard on him. If Asher really wanted to give him a taste of it, the prize would have been extended to cover crimes by his immediate family members as well.

Philipp Lenssen links to an article by Paul Graham on How to Do What You Love. It’s about finding and doing work you enjoy.

I’m all for that. The whole reason for taking a job is to earn money to spend on things that make you happy. So if you’ve found a job that makes you happy, it’s like getting paid more.

People who get paid more are usually willing to work longer and harder at their jobs. So if you are doing work you enjoy, you will work longer and harder at it. That will make the people you are working for—your boss or your clients—happier with the work you do.

It may be tempting to take a job that pays a lot of money even though you hate the work. The problem is, you’ll be competing against other people who love the work and who are therefore willing to work longer and harder than you. The bosses and clients will like their work a lot more than yours, so you’ll have a harder time earning money than if you did a job you enjoy.

One of the comments to Philipp’s post quotes Marcus Buckingham’s The One Thing You Need to Know:

The one thing you need to know about sustained individual success: Discover what you don’t like doing and stop doing it.

I’m still working through my backlog of Z3 photos. Try clicking to look at the larger images. Instead of linking to the raw JPG file, I’ve got an HTML page that provides a black background for better viewing.

Neon Shrine
Larger ImageNeon Shrine

One of my neighbors has this in their front yard. I have no idea what this means. I suspect it’s just some Catholic thing that I’m unfamiliar with, but for all I know they’ve converted the building into a small church.

Smoke From a Fire
Larger ImageSmoke From a Fire

I was walking down Milwaukee Avenue near my house when I saw this big plume of smoke rising from something a few blocks away. If I’d been in my car I would have driven over to take pictures, but it would have been out by the time I got there on foot—I was about 100 yards from a firehouse when I took this picture, and the truck and engine had already left.

Life in the big city: I never even bothered trying to find out what had burned.

Nothing artsy-fartsy here, just a picture of a dog. Cookie belongs to some friends of mine.

I was at party at their house, annoying people by taking lots of pictures, when I snapped that one of Cookie. These next two photos are from the same set. Nothing special, but I liked the way all the light and colors were turning out. Here are a couple more:

Grillin'
Larger ImageGrillin'
Green Plant
Larger ImageGreen Plant
Weeping Willow
Larger ImageWeeping Willow

That last one is from a visit to the Morton Arboretum a few miles west of Chicago. Like the two before it, I just like the way the light and color worked out.

This is another view from the rotating restaurant at the top of the Hyatt hotel in Milwaukee:

Sunset over Milwaukee
Larger ImageSunset over Milwaukee

Cheney hit his target, but the Democrats keep missing the point:

The furor over the accident and the White House delay in making it public are “part of the secretive nature of this administration,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. “I think it’s time the American people heard from the vice president.”

First of all, a cover-up is only a scandal for the people not involved in the thing being covered up. If Dick Cheney is trying some sort of cover-up, that’s not a good thing. But the real crime here, if there is a crime, is that Dick Cheney shot a guy. The cover-up, if there is one, is no big deal by comparison.

Second, it’s not any kind of cover-up if they inform the appropriate law enforcement office of the incident and don’t interfere with the investigation. Which they apparently did, and did not, respectively.

Third, it’s not the job of the White House press office to keep the public informed of every stupid thing these people do in their private life. It’s not a cover-up just because you don’t issue a press release.

Those are all symptoms of the real problem Democrats face trying to exploit this story for political gain: This is not a political story. Dick Cheney’s poor gun handling skills don’t make him a bad Vice President, and none of this has anything to do with President Bush.

Also, neither of those guys is going to run for President next time.

Harry Whittington, the guy shot by Vice President Dick Cheney, has had a mild heart attack caused by a pellet that nudged up next to his heart.

That’s a heck of a lot worse than would seem to be indicated by those who say Whittington got “peppered” by Cheney’s shot. I don’t know if the term “peppered” has a proper definition, but I always assumed that when someone was peppered by a shotgun blast, it meant a few pellets broke the skin and maybe hit some exterior muscle tissues. When a pellet reaches the victim’s heart, that’s a hell of a lot more serious.

I am simply amazed that if Whittington’s health takes a turn for the worst, the Vice President of the United States could be the target of a homicide investigation.

After my post about Dick Cheney’s little hunting mishap, I posted a question in the comments to a Hit&Run post, asking about the rules for safe hunting. With as many libertarians as read that site, I figured they had to know a lot about guns.

A regular calling himself Hakluyt responded,

When it comes to gun injuries, etc. I was taught from NRA classes as kid forward that the decision is always with the person that pulls the trigger. Obviously folks can do stupid stuff that makes it more likely that they’ll get shot, but the decision-maker is the guy with the gun, not vice-versa. So make sure you want to shoot that you are aiming at, etc. I’ve only been deer hunting though, but I’d imagine that bird hunters have a similar attitude.

Another poster named Pine says,

– Yeah, standard gun safety responsiblities apply, but there’s some “special case” stuff, too.

– When you’re quail shooting in a group like this, you stay conscious of who’s where. Before flushing a covey, you have a mental “safe zone” where you can shoot without anybody being there. Knowing that is the shooter’s responsibility.

– When you’re moving around, you have to let your friends know where you are. This is usually verbal. The point is that you don’t want to accidentally (or negligently) move into somebody’s “safe zone”.

And someone called rmark says,

When bird hunting, the hunters usually walk in a line abreat so none are in front of the others. The center hunter knows he can’t swing too far left or right, and the end hunters only go for bird straight ahead or to their side. To get shot requires someone being out of place or someone shooting in a direction they aren’t supposed too.

R C Dean sees it a little different:

[…]staying clear out of other hunter’s safe zones is everyone’s responsibility.

Getting peppered is not unusual when quail hunting. The birds fly unpredictably and at low levels, the terrain is often brushy, etc.

Plus, when wingshooting it is not possible to throughly scrutinize everything in the line of fire. That is why you establish zones of fire, and why the nonshooters have a responsibility to stay clear of it and shooters have a responsibility to make sure they are where they belong.

Jeff responds:

The whole idea that by “coming up behind” Cheney the victim somehow caused the shooting is just absurd. Given a choice, whether at a range or on a hunt, “behind the shooter” is where you want to be, for obvious reasons. For equally obvious reasons, panning and scanning with your gun at shoulder level, approximately 180 degrees, and then firing, is frowned upon. The description of the guy merely “getting peppered” is not consistent with getting knocked down and ending up in the ICU for three days. It is not uncommon to feel a few pellets as they come down when you are bird hunting, but getting a blast to the head and neck ending in a hospital visit is called “getting shot.”

This all adds up to about what I’d concluded from doing a little reading on the web: For his own safety, Harry Whittington—the guy who got shot—would have been wise to announce his movement as he approached the hunting group, so that the hunters would know where their safe zones were. Nevertheless, it was Dick Cheney who pointed his gun in an unsafe direction and pulled the trigger.

Blogger alkali left this bit:

Overheard at the phone bank at RNC HQ:

“… No, Mr. Abramoff’s skybox is no longer available, but at that contribution level we could arrange to have you shot in the face by Vice President Cheney … no, I’m pretty sure it’s not fatal … well, I’ll just put you down for the Reagan commemorative totebag then …”

Heh. Just 165 minutes until Jon Stewart gets a shot at this story.

About a year ago I dropped Sprint as my mobile phone provider. I was very pissed-off with the way they had treated me, and I posted a message expressing my hurt feelings. Here’s how it begins:

I’ve fucking had it up to my fucking ears with those fucking fuckers at Sprint! Fuckers through and through! Fucker-coated fuckers with fucker centers! Fuck! I fucking hate those fuckers!

I’m happy to report that I’ve calmed down about it since then. However, my pain and rage apparently resonate with other Sprint customers, because every few months somebody finds that message and leaves a comment.

Almost every comment added to an old posting turns out to be spam of some kind, because spammers assume bloggers don’t maintain the old stuff. So the first time it happened I nearly deleted the comment before realizing it was a fellow sufferer under the Sprint boot.

The most recent comment was posted this last Saturday:

You guys just saved my life! I am so pissed off and needed venting bad. I was about to jump from my building out of pure frustration. It all started this afternoon trying to figure out why sprint, aka FUCKERS, sent my account to a damn collection agency when my compulsive wife paid the fucking bill 10 days prior to the due date every month!!!! I cancelled home service with them and that must have pissed them off. I spent 2 hours on the phone today spoke to several nice people from India, sometimes more than one person at a time I kid you not!!! Long story short I am to call back Monday :) What a way to spend one’s weekend. The BBB don’t even phase this giant asshole called sprint, they have no concept what customer service is nor do they know the defintion of business ethics. I hope they go fucking bankrupt, I will laugh my ass off. Remember what goes around comes around, no matter how big you are.

I hear you brother!

I decided to look into how people were finding that page. It took me about 10 seconds to figure it out: I’ve got the number two result on Google for the search phrase fucking sprint. I’m also number two for sprint fuckers.

It gets better, if you put the phrases in quotes—telling Google to search for the phrase, not just the words—then I’m number one for both “fucking sprint” and “sprint fuckers”.

I think I’m starting to make my mark in this world.

(By the way, the Google ads for these searches yield a bunch of Sprint resellers, an eBay search page for people selling F U C K, and an adult web site that’s really just a bunch of links to other adult web sites.)

So the Vice President shoots this guy…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally wounded a companion with shotgun pellets on a weekend quail hunt in Texas, his office said on Sunday.

Jon Stewart must be beside himself right now. I’m counting the minutes until the Daily Show.

A few pellets of bird shot hit his right side, including his face, but fortunately not his eyes. Dick Cheney’s medical team was standing by (because Cheney’s had about 75 heart attacks) and they took care of the wounded hunter. He’s in the hospital, but seems to be doing well.

Then there’s this bit, where the owner of the hunting ground seems to be blaming the guy who got shot for returning to the hunting party without letting anyone know:

Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the ranch, was a member of the hunting party and witnessed the accident.

She said Cheney, an experienced hunter, did not realize Whittington had rejoined the group without announcing himself, which is proper protocol among hunters.

“The person who is not doing the shooting at the point is just as responsible and, should be, as the person actually shooting,” Armstrong said.

I’m pretty sure that’s not true. It sounds like a blatant attempt to cover Cheney’s ass.

However, I don’t know much about hunting safety. All my shooting is done at the range, where it’s safe to say that all gunshot wounds are the fault of the guy holding the gun. Any bird hunters out there that can clarify this?