Friday, April 16, 2004

The Reign of Terror has returned... 

I've commented here on The Bite that "W", in his unending quest to rob the poor to pay the rich, was inviting a French Revolution to occur.

Now it appears it's already beyond the revolution and into the reign of terror:

-- St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton was arrested Friday in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme, the FBI said. Danton, 23, was arrested at the airport in San Jose, Calif. The Blues were knocked out of the NHL playoffs in a loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Illinois, Danton told a female friend that a hitman from Canada was coming to kill him and asked the woman if she knew someone who would kill the person for $10,000. The woman, identified as Katie Wolfmeyer, passed his call to another man, described in the complaint as a "cooperating witness." The FBI witness and Danton spoke again on Thursday, and Danton allegedly hatched a plot where the witness could kill the "hitman" at Danton's apartment and make it look like two burglars had broken in, one being killed and the other making off with $3,000 Danton had in a safe. The "hitman" was actually an unidentified acquaintance of Danton's, according to court documents. Authorities said Friday they have no reason to believe that the acquaintance or anyone else had been planning to kill Danton. "We couldn't confirm that to be accurate," said Marshall Stone, supervisory FBI special agent in Springfield, Ill.

Just bizarre! This guy clearly views himself as some sort of outside-the-law tough:

Danton, formerly known as Mike Jefferson, was suspended twice by the New Jersey Devils, who eventually traded him to St. Louis last June. He had seven goals, 12 points and 141 penalty minutes in 68 games this season with the Blues

141 penalty minutes to 12 points? Gretzky and Lemieux used to score 12 points in 141 minutes of ice time! Clearly the man is a thug. And, he changed his name to Danton? Apparently he knows his revolutionary history...

Danton, on the other hand, only rose to prominence in the Revolution when the Jacobins seized control of the Convention. It was Danton that set up the revolutionary tribunals both in Paris and throughout the country, and who also helped to engineer the transfer of power from the Convention to the Committee. The revolutionary tribunals had as their charge the trials and executions of the "enemies" of the Republic. What actually constituted an "enemy" was never fully defined, and as the tribunals spread from Paris to the countryside, they became a flash point for popular resentments and old wrongs. The tribunals first beheaded members of the aristocracy, including Marie Antoinette, in October of 1793. Soon, however, the heads of Girondists began to fall from the guillotines, then the sans-culottes , then the enragées , then opposing members in the Jacobin party, and eventually a pile of innocent victims. All told, by the end of the Terror, far more peasants, laborers, republicans, and democrats lost their lives to the tribunals than aristocrats or monarchists. It is these tribunals and their executions, largely accomplished through a beheading machine called a guillotine, that we popularly associate with the Revolution—the spread of the tribunals, however, was only a brief chapter in the Revolution's history. Danton himself was eventually declared an enemy of the Republic by one of these tribunals and was beheaded in April of 1794.

Okay, so he fancies himself guillotining the rest of the NHL. But, if he is true to his eponymous hero, he will keep a cool head even while losing his head:

...after the trial Danton asserted that "the people will tear my enemies to pieces within 3 months." As he was led to the guillotine he remarked "Above all, don't forget to show my head to the people - it's well worth having a look at." Modesty was never one of his virtues.

Interesting that he used to be named Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson initially embraced the French Revolution:

United States minister to France when revolutionary fervor was rising toward the storming of the Bastille in 1789, Jefferson became an ardent supporter of the French Revolution, even allowing his residence to be used as a meeting place for the rebels led by Lafayette. Jefferson maintained his support for the French Revolution, although he wavered during the most violent and bloody stages.

But both Jefferson and Danton lost their stomach for the French Revolution during the Reign of Terror. Maybe this hockey guy is just trying to teach us some history.


Thursday, April 15, 2004

The cost of living 

Thanks to Faolin for this link...

Kids are looking forward to the school cafeteria?! As incredible as this seems, yes, this is true for a lot of youngsters. How much more sad can it be...

There are some children who are sorry when the weekend comes.

"They say, 'I hate it because I've got to go home.' Or they get sick here at school and don't want to go home," Starr said. "So we kind of know that school is a safe place and they know we care about them and of course we try to feed them, too."

For poor students who eat most of their meals at school through government-subsidized breakfast and lunch programs, weekends and holidays can mean going hungry.

Now, this is a really great use of our tax dollars, no? Getting starving children through the weekends at their impoverished houses? Except "W" hasn't paid for one cent of it:

Last week, the Hasbro Children's Foundation, which is a charity of Hasbro Inc., the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based toy maker, approved a $95,000 grant to help America's Second Harvest with a national backpack pilot program.

The idea of sending home food in backpacks originated with the Arkansas Rice Depot, a Little Rock-based statewide food bank, after a school nurse at an inner city school asked for help because students were coming to her with tummy aches and dizziness.

In other words, charitable donations are sponsoring this. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but one can't help wondering--every time a helicopter is shot down by the liberated and appreciative Iraqis--how many meals could have been sponsored by the millions of dollars it took to build the helicopter...plus you'd save lives on both ends, the children's and the pilots'.


The real war in Iraq has begun... 

As predicted here on The Bite:

The U.S. military has lost at least 93 troops killed by Sunni and Shi'ite rebels since March 31 -- four more than the total killed in the three-week war that toppled Saddam.

Notice how much safer a place Iraq is since they captured Saddam?

Now Bin Laden is offering a separate truce to Europe. This is possible because Bush has prostrated the U.S. to Israel (see preceding blog), and Europe leans toward the Palestinians on that issue. Good thing "W" likes acting unilaterally, soon it will be all he has left.

The voice on the tape, which a European security source said appeared to be authentic, also said the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people were retaliation for Spain's role in Iraq, Afghanistan and with the Palestinians

Think this will scare off the Europeans? Probably not the governments:

French President Jacques Chirac said there can be no "bargaining with terrorists." Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said it was "completely unthinkable" to talk with the al Qaeda leader and European Commission President Romano Prodi said there would be no negotiating under a "terrorist threat."

Britain said it was taking the message seriously but could not talk with al Qaeda and that the right response was to "continue to fight terrorism." Germany said it would not negotiate with "criminals" like bin Laden.

But the European people will continue to distrust and resent the US. Is Saddam worth it?

Since Bush is now leading the "Second Children's Crusade", it is however probably just what he wants...


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Rolling back the Peace Process... 

This one is hard to even fathom..Bush endorses the illegal Israel taking of West Bank territory.

In a historic policy shift, President Bush on Wednesday endorsed Israel's plan to hold on to part of the West Bank in any final peace settlement with the Palestinians. Bush also ruled out Palestinian refugees returning to Israel, bringing strong criticism from the Palestinians.

Once again, Bush went far beyond even what the Israeli hardliners would have expected:

An elated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his plan to pull back from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, hailed by Bush, would create "a new and better reality for the state of Israel."

Elated, for certain. The king of crusaders is validating your illegal hegemony over Palestinian territory. Wonder what the new reality is for Palestine? 1.5 million refugees living in the 360 square km (that's 140 square miles, making it 10,000 Palestinians/square mile) Strip?

Maybe for once that terrorist Arafat has a point:

Arafat earlier called the idea "the complete end of the peace process." And Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said of Bush's statement: "This is like someone giving a part of Texas' land to China."

Let's get this straight. Both Arafat and Sharon are terrorists. Of the first order. And they are both doing their best to make this a less pleasant world. But why does Bush have to "go unilateral" once more, further ostracizing the US? If you associate with terrorists, then inevitably you act like one. The US population now has to decide: do we want to be thought of as a "rogue state" by the rest of the world (and thus 95.5% of humanity), or will we send Bush packing in November?


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

It's profitable to sack the lot... 

But these are *not* lazy sacks. Those getting sacked in high-tech are freeing up their salaries to make quarterly profits look good...the latest is Intel...

Intel Corp. reported an 89 percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday as sales grew in all regions, but the world's largest maker of microchips said the current quarter's revenue could miss expectations.

It helps that Intel laid off an extra 700 workers in 2002...After writing these 4700 payoffs off the books in 2003, one would expect to show a rebound in 2004. Salary and overhead for a Silicon Valley engineer should be on the order of $250k per year for a software company, and likely even higher at a hardware maker like Intel. Let's use $300k/engineer/year.

Let's see...$300,000 x 4700 = $1410 Million, or $350 Million per quarter. This explains nearly half of the 89% increase ($820 Million) in profit year over year. Now, I'm sure all those let go were absolute idiots, not benefitting Intel an ort. But they won't be around to take up the slack for all those hard-working folks left behind the next time a quarterly profit target needs hitting.


Lazy Sack 

Thanks to Vulf - the alpha male of the Pack - for continuing while others of us are lazy sacks. Speaking of, I think that Duyba is on vacation so much because none of the folks in Washington can stand to have him around with his poor English. I would say that many immigrants to the US I have met speak better English than Bush. But that is simply not true. Most of them do.


Sunday, April 11, 2004

Bright light...and bright lights 

The man who started a huge fire in northern Colorado is feeling a little sleepy these days:

Friday, April 09, 2004 - LARIMER COUNTY - A court summons has been issued for the man accused of starting last week's Picnic Rock wildfire northwest of Fort Collins.

Anthony James "Tony" Sanchez was issued a summons to appear in court and respond to a charge of (4th) Degree Arson. Sanchez has already admitted to authorities that he was burning trash on his property when he lost control of the fire.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Department said the summons was issued Thursday after Sheriff Jim Alderden and District Attorney Stuart VanMeveren met to discuss the case.

The misdemeanor arson charge carries a possible sentence ranging from three months in jail and/or a $250 fine up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

The Picnic Rock Wildfire broke out on March 30. It burned 8,900 acres of rangeland and forests in Poudre Canyon and destroyed one home. About 150 homes were evacuated for over two days. The fire cost an estimated $2.8 million to fight.

Sanchez and his wife told 9NEWS earlier this week that angry neighbors have been driving by at night with their high beams on, honking their horns and shouting obscenities.

Hmmm, let's see, this week there are heavy rains and snow in Larimer Country. Wonder how well the roots of those dead trees and grass are holding in the water. It's not the fires, it's the floods, stupid. The guy picked a 30 mph wind day in a desert (less than 10 inches moisture/year) to do a "controlled" burn. Gosh, I'm sorry you're not getting enough sleep, but you just burned 15 square miles of the environment and --in firefighting, loss of productivity and environment loss-- more than $10 million dollars of your neighbors' and local taxpayers' money. I think your real worry should be finding a job that will allow you to pay the bill!

Maybe those bright lights they're shining are just a way of sardonically indicating what a bright move your trash burn was...


DWB...Driving While Brown...and...Denver's Worst Bastards 

Loopie, you might want to follow-up on this...

First, from the Denver Post:

In cases where an officer spots a suspected nonmoving vehicle violation, Denver police are far more likely to stop minority drivers than whites.

Records show that blacks - who make up less than 12 percent of the population - are pulled over proportionally far more than whites on "nonmoving" violations, such as a broken taillight or suspicious activity.

Police say suspicious activity can include witnesses complaining of people gathered around a parked car or an officer's viewing of that activity.

The data come from a report issued by Denver police in October 2002 that includes statistics from June 1, 2001, through May 31, 2002.

At the time, Denver police acknowledged that officers were more likely to search black and Hispanic pedestrians than they were whites, but officials insisted that the department did not engage in racial profiling.

Easy to say, but the facts show otherwise:

But focusing solely on the 37,138 nonmoving violations during the study period reveals disparities.

Though blacks made up 11.1 percent of the city's population in the 2000 census, they accounted for 26.4 percent of nonmoving violations.

Hispanics made up 31.7 percent of Denver's population in the 2000 census, but they account for 39.6 percent of nonmoving violations.

Whites, who make up nearly 52 percent of the population in Denver, account for just over 30 percent of those stops.

and the clincher:

Of those stopped for nonmoving violations in which police did identify race before making the stop, 1,069 of the suspects were black, 1,051 were white and 800 Hispanic.

In stops for nonmoving violations in which police said they did not initially recognize race, 4,880 turned out to be Hispanic, 3,393 white and 2,803 were black.

These facts indicate blacks are targeted when race is identified, and Hispanics are targeted when it is not (meaning there may be more police coverage of predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods).

Lest you think these numbers don't mean something, let's look at just one of the numbers:

Officers screamed at him to drop his gun, although he had none. One ordered, "Don't move or I'll shoot your black ass!"

Horrified, Johnson took off his shirt to show he was unarmed and put his hands in the air.

Johnson said he was tackled, punched and slammed onto a police car while officers handcuffed him. When his wife, Melinda, came out of the house, officers called her "Sweetie" and "Sweetheart."

After Johnson was thrown into a police car, one of the officers later explained that "he once lost a partner to a black man" and that Johnson's car, a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with tinted windows, was the kind of car gang members drive.

Johnson, who had never been arrested before, was jailed, charged with two minor traffic violations and interference with a police officer. He estimates he spent thousands of dollars getting the charges dismissed.


After Johnson got out of jail, he complained to the police department's internal affairs bureau that officers "demonstrated that they are racist and have little respect for decent hardworking citizens of the inner-city community."

A year passed and he heard nothing. "It took them forever to get back to me," he said.

Although police admitted hitting his wife's car, they haven't paid for the $1,000 damage. "Who do you call when the police hit you?" he asked.

Sadly, I have no answer. From all appearances and testimonies, Johnson appears to be a truly nice human being. What the Hades, I mean what the HELL, is wrong with the Denver Police, anyway?


Nation Building... 

Team Bush League is doing a nice job of uniting a nation otherwise potentially rendered into parts by a history of internecine religious, tribal and racial hatred...everyone wants to kill Americans!

Ahmed, a 29-year-old man with elegant fingers and honey-colored eyes, has been planting bombs inside dead dogs and leaving them on the highway. He and a team of helpers have been especially busy recently.

"We start work after 11 p.m.," Ahmed said. "Our group is small, just friends, and we don't even have a name."

The terminology speaks volumes..."We start work"...i.e. if you want your career to take off in today's Iraq, you'd better be implanting dead dogs with explosives in the hopes of blowing up a Humvee. Iraq is a motley conglomeration of Shiite, Sunnite, Kurd, and more...but they all hate Americans!

Mr. Muaimy said his 10-year-old son did not take part in the violence against the contractors. But, because of all the miseries he knew Americans had brought, he would have.

"He said: `Dad, it was exactly like what they did to us. They burned our women, they burned our children, they burned our men.' My son said this time we killed and burned four of their dead but hopefully one day we will kill and burn them all.

"Just imagine, he is only 10, and he says that."

Mr. Muaimy shook his head, more than a little sad.

"My son is just like a piece of white paper, ready for anything to be written on it. He receives everything. It stays in his memory."

Time to take the pen out of Bush's hand!


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