Friday, April 22, 2005

Infamous Finger

Turns out all the hullabaloo about the Wendy's chilli-finger soup was a scam. Breaking news on CNN over this authors lunch break apetized his tummy indeed. Turns out that soup is again safe to eat. Turns out that one may indeed be too litigious in this country (sorry Milberg Weiss). You see, the finger-feaser is now going to be prosecuted. And I believe for attempted larceny...? Sounds pretty steep. But my favorite was this excerpt from the Fox news online story:

Earlier Thursday, Wendy's International Inc. announced it had ended its internal investigation, saying it could find no credible link between the finger and the restaurant chain.

All the employees at the San Jose store were found to have all their fingers, and no suppliers reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said.

Wendy's also has hired private investigators, set up a hot line for tips and offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the finger's original owner.

Well sweet Wendys, you just made yourself a sale. I know I'll be hungry at least one more time today.

Oprah hoses audience

On the TaxProf blog is a link to a hilarious Jon Stewart spoof of Oprah giving away free cars to her audience. The spoof chronicles a CPA who was in the audience. His reaction was one of complete devastation because the audience members would all be obligated to tax that car at nearly 1/3, resulting in $10,000 being owed to the IRS. The spoof is complete with ominous music and lots of other tomfoolery.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ridiculous Reuters

Power Line calls Reuters on its anti-Catholic bias in a caption to one of its pictures. See it here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Religious Freedom Quotable

The following is an excerpt from the amicus brief of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty McCreary County, Kentucky, et al. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, et al. The Ten Commandment display case is before the Supreme Court.

“Government speech often involves cultural expression, in the form of public monuments, memorials, festivals, and others. And in a society like ours, where religious freedom and diversity are such cherished values, the variety of religious views and the ensuing debate among them inform and energize the broader culture in meaningful ways,” the brief explains. “Rather than require that these religious elements be targeted for special exclusion from government expression, our Constitution requires only that they not privilege one religion over others, or privilege the religious over the secular."

"In short, if government is to mark and make room for cultural expression generally—and one can scarcely conceive of a government that does not—some government expressions will necessarily include religious elements.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Our new Pope is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger from Germany. I'm very happy with this choice. He's perhaps the greatest living expert on Catholic doctrine, and I believe this will make him the best possible defender of the faith.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A "Centrist" Pope

This article by Matt C. Abbott shows that there is more than one side agitating for change within the Catholic Church.

Ward Churchill Meets the Weekly Standard

Matt Labash from the Weekly Standard interviewed Ward "Little Eichmanns" Churchill and came away with quite an interesting conversation, to say the least. Ann Althouse excerpts a couple of the funnier parts of their exchange here. I've excerpted a conversation that Labash had with a Native American protesting outside a Churchill speech:
Afterwards, as Churchill disappears with six or seven television cameras pressing hard behind him, I step out into Sproul Plaza, where Mario Savio launched the Free Speech Movement in 1964. I head toward the GAP, which now sits adjacent to it, to check out the spring sales. But on my way I run into a lone Churchill protester, a Bay Area AIM activist named Earl Neconie. He's dressed in a Pendleton vest, a black Stetson with beaded headband, and a 2nd Marine Division pin. Beside him sits a placard that says "Ward Churchill speak with forked tongue."

I ask him if he'd encountered Churchill today. He says no, but he did around a decade ago when Churchill and he were at a tribunal, one of the many bloody battles in which their respective AIM organizations were trying to hash out something or other. He says he distinctly remembers Churchill, because he wasn't wearing any shoes. "Why are you barefoot?" Neconie asked. He shakes his head and laughs, remembering what Churchill said: "It's the Native in me." Neconie says he offered to buy Churchill some moccasins, before Indian-giving the offer with, "Oh wait, you're not an Indian."

I ask Neconie what his Indian name is. "Just Neconie," he responds. "It's an old Kiowa name. I don't have one like Standing Water, or Leaky Faucet, or anything like that." I ask him what he thinks of Churchill's Indian name, which is "Keezjunnahbeh," meaning "kind-hearted man."

Neconie shrugs. He hadn't heard of it. "But Bay Area Indians, we have our own name for him. We just call him Walking Eagle."

"Why?" I ask.

"Because," says Neconie, gathering up his placards, "a Walking Eagle is so full of s--that it can no longer fly."
The entire interview can be found here. It's a very telling look into the man.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Free speech for pastors

I thought this story was disappointing, especially in lieu of how the question was answered. A church pastor was fired from talk-show host position at Word-FM (Pittsburgh), following his answer to a call-in question about the Pope's eternal destination. The answer seemed rather tactful. The station claimed he was fired for other reasons. Of course the timing always seems to provide all the context one needs to know about the true purpose of the firing (cite Dan Rather).

I think that if religious persons on religious programs cannot interpret ideology and Scripture as they see fit, then that the state of free speech in our union is disappointing. If Word-FM markets themselves to Catholics, and felt that the host's comments alienated their viewing audience, then it was a proper business decision. But if it was something else, such as the tolerance police that drove the decision, shame on Word-FM.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Summers Apology

In a VC post, David Bernstein gives an interesting take on what the we heard at the covention from Lawrence Summers:
Why did Larry Summers issue such an abject and, frankly, embarrassing apology for the controversial remarks he made regarding women in the sciences? I don't think he really had to. My theory is that he thinks of himself as a man of the left, and was very uncomfortable with the praise and defense he was getting from the right, and the obloquy from those he considers his natural friends on the left.
A bit of evidence in support of my theory: you can watch a video of President Summers welcoming the national Federalist Society student meeting to Harvard Law School. The students gave Summers a standing ovation. Summers looked extremely embarrassed, almost flummoxed, and stated: "Thank you very much, I think. Let me remind you, I am a Democrat. I am proud to be Democrat."
If Summers puts his self-image as a "progressive" above his pursuit of truth in the face of political correctness, there's not much the rest of us can (or should) do to defend him.

Who thinks that Bonds (this year) is better than Pujols (this year)?

Albert Pujols has not struck out since the beginning of spring training. That's a stretch of 101 plate appearances. ...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Honor the Chief

Tomorrow's sports headline may read [Update: we know what the headline reads in actuality. Illini didn't do anything offensively but launch 3's in the second half. I am still proud of my team]:
Illinois Basketball Team makes history at school's 100th year of basketball. 5th Final Four results in 1st National Championship. Their perimeter defense (I hope) will keep the ball out of May's hands and prevent UNC's inside game from blowing them up.

UNC is better inside than Channing Frye and the Arizona team Illinois beat two weekends ago. But UNC's backcourt will make enough mistakes tonight that even if the UNC frontcourt of May, Williams, and Williams score 55 together (their collective season average is 41), the Illini can win.

(The key stat for this game is the assist-turnover ratio. Illinois has 1.7 assists/turnover, whereas, UNC has 1.2 assists/turnover. The Illini give up the ball 11 times per game, compared to 16 by UNC. The way I figure it, those 5 + extra turnovers will let the Illini pop 5 extra threes, of which they will make at least 2. Those 6 points will win the game.) The Illini will need 16-20 turnovers to win. But they will get those turnovers, with 20 or so assisted baskets, and only about 10 turnovers of their own.

Illinois shoots exactly 40% from behind the arc on the season. If they attempt 37, they will make 15 per their average. And 45 points off the three will be enough to roll on to team history.

Baseball !!!

Opening day is today for Major League Baseball. My gut-feeling predictions are as follows for the division winners (very little research to date thus far on my part):

AL East-Boston
AL Central- Minnesota (by 10 games, CLE is overrated by many).
AL West-Anahiem (who else)

AL Wildcard-Yanks

NL East-Marlins (perhaps best record in NL this season)
NL Central-St. Louis
NL West-Padres

Wildcard-Giants
(one important reason for this wildcard choice. . . Astros may be a better team, as are the Cubs. But the Cubs cannot seem to get a healthy lineup, and the NL Central is again so tough that these teams beat up on each other throughout the season).

World Series: Cardinals over Boston in 6 (Who else, really ??)

Go Cards!

Springer joins Air America

The NY Times today details Jerry Springer's addition to the liberal talk radio network, Air America. Springer thinks it important to differentiate between his tv show, which is pure "entertainment," and his legitimate radio views. His important perspective on policy will add much to the body of commentary on important issues.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Disgusting and Classless

Some idiot has listed an auction on eBay for a "replica Schiavo/Pope feeding tube." Part of the auction reads:
Winner will receive one replica tube (your choice!), and you will also have the choice of meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner tubes all available, brunch tubes can be made to order).
Apparently nothing is sacred to some people.

UPDATE: eBay has removed this item from their database. This was done with the auction having been up for less than three hours.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005

There are several articles already out about the passing of the Holy Father only a few hours removed from the news. Here is one about his influence on the political landscape of my motherland, the Philippines.

May his soul rest in eternal peace, and let perpetual light shine upon him.