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Saturday, 02 December, 2006
Santa’s Butt Controversy
If you live in Maine, you may have trouble getting Santa's Butt beer: Ho ho ho? State says No No No! to beer label with pint-wielding Santa Claus.
A beer distributor says Maine is being a Scrooge by barring it from selling a beer with a label depicting Santa Claus enjoying a pint of brew.
In a complaint filed in federal court, Shelton Brothers accuses the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement of censorship for denying applications for labels for Santa's Butt Winter Porter and two other beers it wants to sell in Maine.
The dispute recalls a similar squabble last year when Connecticut told Shelton Brothers it had problems with its Seriously Bad Elf ale.
"Last year it was elves. This year it's Santa. Maybe next year it'll be reindeer," said Daniel Shelton, owner of the company in Belchertown, Mass.
Here's the Santa's Butt product page.
The Fear Of God
Nonsense from Amy Barath: The Political Importance of Fearing God.
We fear God so that we may not fear men. This fear allows us to discern between what is right and what is wrong. The fear of God is directly responsible for the protection of those weakest and most vulnerable in our society. In America, the fear of God instilled into our Constitution has been the seedling which has produced such protections as minority rights, women's rights, worker's rights and the spawning of organizations such as the ASPCA, Crime Victim's Board and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Rules, boundaries, limitations and consequences. Whether raising a child, training an animal or forming a government it is the fear of God which dictates the way those most helpless and weakest in our society will be treated. It is the fear of God which prevents us from dousing fellow citizens with kerosene and lighting them ablaze. It is the fear of God which prevents us from shooting a disabled man in his wheelchair and then pushing him in to the sea. It is the fear of God which commands us to choose right over wrong.
Apparently, Amy Barath is not only an ignorant moron, she also has criminal tendencies:
The fear of God is the reason why I do not steal from a jewelry store even if nobody is looking. I must choose right over wrong because I am looking, and through me, God is looking.
Where's she going with this?
It is the responsibility of the Conservatives to protect the concept of God as the golden thread which holds our Republic together in the way it was intended as set forth by our founding fathers.
Pay Toilets On Planes?
The airline industry's efforts to cut costs at every corner has crossed a new line. The latest report comes from China, where China Southern is urging customers to use the bathroom before boarding their flights, Reuters reports, citing a report from China's Xinhua news agency.
The effort isn't part an effort to reduce the weight of fliers, but rather an attempt to reduce the amount of fuel it takes to power the flush of airline toilet at 30,000 feet. China Southern calculates that such a flush uses about a liter of fuel -- or the equivalent of about a quarter of a gallon.
I predict pay toilets on planes in six months.
Big Brother - For Real
Many of the Bush administration policies have been compared to "Big Brother" in Orwell's 1984. Here's the latest: U.S. gov't terror ratings draw outrage.
A leader of the new Democratic Congress, business travelers and privacy advocates expressed outrage Friday over the unannounced assignment of terrorism risk assessments to American international travelers by a computerized system managed from an unmarked, two-story brick building in Northern Virginia.
Incoming Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont pledged greater scrutiny of such government database-mining projects after reading that during the past four years millions of Americans have been evaluated without their knowledge to assess the risks that they are terrorists or criminals.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders since 2002 have been assessed by the Homeland Security Department's computerized Automated Targeting System, or ATS.
The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years. Some or all data in the system can be shared with state, local and foreign governments for use in hiring, contracting and licensing decisions. Courts and even some private contractors can obtain some of the data under certain circumstances.
"It is simply incredible that the Bush administration is willing to share this sensitive information with foreign governments and even private employers, while refusing to allow U.S. citizens to see or challenge their own terror scores," Leahy said. This system "highlights the danger of government use of technology to conduct widespread surveillance of our daily lives without proper safeguards for privacy."
Here's a link to the DHS's Privacy Impact Assessment (PDF link).
And here's a list of the data that they've been collecting:
1. PNR record locator code
2. Date of reservation
3. Date(s) of intended travel
5. Other names on PNR
6. Number of travelers on PNR
7. Seat information
9. All forms of payment information
10. Billing address
11. Contact telephone numbers
12. All travel itinerary for specific PNR
13. Frequent flyer information (limited to miles flown and address(es))
14. Travel agency
15. Travel agent
16. Code share PNR information
17. Travel status of passenger
18. Split/Divided PNR information
19. Identifiers for free tickets
20. One-way tickets
21. Email address
22. Ticketing field information
23. ATFQ fields
24. General remarks
25. Ticket number
26. Seat number
27. Date of ticket issuance
28. Any collected APIS information
29. No show history
30. Number of bags
31. Bag tag numbers
32. Go show information
33. Number of bags on each segment
34. OSI information
35. SSI information
36. SSR information
37. Voluntary/involuntary upgrades
38. Received from information
39. All historical changes to the PNR
Sunday, 03 December, 2006
My eMusic downloads this month:
- Empty Head - Subway
- Hello Love - The Be Good Tanyas
One of my favorites groups. Check out the cover version of Prince's When Doves Cry.
- Freeman - Burning Spear
Yeah, I'd say he's my favorite reggae artist.
- Mantras for Madmen - Harry Manx
I discovered him on While Wheat Radio. Blues combined with eastern music.
- Clinch Mountain Sweethearts - Ralph Stanley & Friends
Duets with Iris Dement, Gillian Welch, Dolly Parton, Maria Muldaur, Joan Baez, and others.
- Black Star - Gillian Welch
One song only. Not sure it this is a single, or just the first song available from a new album.
Not a member?
Please Help Benny
This is definitely a worthy cause: Help Benny Hinn Buy A New Plane.
I am writing you, as one of my closest and most faithful partners, to let you know about a tremendous and historic opportunity for the Gospel of our wonderful Lord Jesus, and I am praying that the Holy Spirit will speak to you as I share this glorious news!
The central mission of our ministry is to use today's cutting-edge technologies to fulfill our prophetic destiny to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).
At recent partners conferences I have talked about the cost to secure this state-of-the-art jet aircraft, the tool we must have for declaring the Gospel to the nations in this last hour, and the miracle the Lord has provided-Dove One, an aircraft that became available just as the door of opportunity began to close on aircrafts the ministry had previously been utilizing.
Pastor Benny is asking for a $1,000 donation. Remember. You're not giving money, you're sowing a seed. Even if it means that your kids won't have Christmas this year, please help.
Barefoot With Banjo
From a Chinese publication, six stunning photos of Abigail Washburn.
This is from last month, but it's new to me: McDonald's Seeks Patents on Sandwich Making.
If McDonald's gets its way, breaking out the mayo to garnish that favorite sandwich might be more than unhealthy. It could also violate a patent.
The fast-food giant has submitted patent applications in the U.S. and Europe for the "method and apparatus for making a sandwich."
The restaurant chain wants exclusive rights to certain ways of making specific sandwiches and hamburgers, maybe the same ones millions of Americans make at home everyday. With the goal of keeping their speedy-preparation methods out of the hands of their competition, the company may not realize what this means to the average Joe who packs a lunchbox everyday.
Here's the patent application.
* * *
Peanut butter is made from peanuts, tomato paste is made from tomatoes, and guacamole is made from avocados, right?
Wrong. The guacamole sold by Kraft Foods Inc., one of the bestselling avocado dips in the nation, includes modified food starch, hefty amounts of coconut and soybean oils, and a dose of food coloring. The dip contains precious little avocado, but many customers mistake it for wholly guacamole.
On Wednesday, a Los Angeles woman sued the Northfield, Ill.-based food company, alleging that it committed fraud by calling its dip "guacamole." Her lawyer says suits against other purveyors of "fake guacamole" could be filed soon.
Did you ever taste that stuff? Yuck.
Pope Breaks First Commandment
What's this world coming to? Pope hailed for praying toward Mecca like Muslims.
Pope Benedict ended a sensitive, fence-mending visit to Turkey on Friday amid praise for visiting Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque and praying there facing toward Mecca "like Muslims."
Next thing you know, Pope Ratzo will stop eating bacon.
I've seen a few bobcats in Tucson, but I was not able to get photos like this: Backyard Bobcat.
A pair of bobcats has taken up residence in my parents' backyard in suburban Tucson. They seem to be getting ready to start a family.
These are from Paul Muhlrad -- a Ph.D. molecular biologist / science writer who I met yesterday. And he's also a budding clawhammer banjo player.
Prayer Rooms In Airports
Huh? In Minneapolis: Muslims seek prayer room at airport.
Airport officials said Friday they will consider setting aside a private area for prayer and meditation at the request of imams concerned about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight last week.
Steve Wareham, director of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said other airports have "meditation rooms" used for prayers or by passengers who simply need quiet time.
A group of Somali clerics met with airport officials Friday and said they would attract less attention if they had a private area for prayer. Devout Muslims pray five times daily, facing the holy city of Mecca.
So let's think about this... Airport officials are seriously considering making special arrangements for a group of of people who adhere to a particular superstitious belief. Apparently, they want to demonstrate their "tolerance" of people who hold certain irrational beliefs, and who must perform some stupid ritual five times each day.
Is their anything in this world more absurd than religion? Actually, I think there is: People who still think that people should be give special treatment because of their religious beliefs.
To Steve Wareham: Maybe you should focus your attention on something more meaningful. Like preventing airport businesses from ripping off travelers by charging "captive audience" prices. Charging $8.00 for a glass of beer is even more absurd than praying five times a day to a make-believe deity.
85 Years In 40 Seconds
I love this sort of thing:
(via A Welsh View)
Monday, 04 December, 2006
Undoubtedly a repeat, but starting off the week by looking a photos of vintage toilet paper is always a good idea.
Here's a 4-roll pack of Charmin, treated with boric acid.
Fake MS Paint
This is pretty impressive: CanvasPaint.