Saturday, April 30, 2005

Last seen

In 2001, 840,279 people were reported missing to the police and entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center. Very few of them made headlines, but one of them was bigtime national news for months.

It was on this day in 2001 that Chandra Levy was last seen.

U.S. Congressman Gary Condit at first denied having an affair with Levy but would later recant. Police repeatedly said that he was not a suspect but the media and Levy's family suspected that the congressman was hiding important information about the intern's disappearance. This concern deepened when he tried to avoid direct questions in a televised interview with Connie Chung on August 23, 2001.

The World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists less than three weeks after the Chung interview and the Chandra Levy story faded into the background. Levy's murder was never solved.

Gary Condit failed to win the Democratic nomination for his own seat in the House in March 2002 and left Congress at the end of his term in 2003.

Did Condit withhold important information from investigators? Did he kill Chandra Levy? We may never know.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Dedicated educators

The Bush administrations No Child Left Behind program is not without flaws and certainly not without critics, but this is a story of a school that chose to embrace the principles rather than fight them.
IT'S ONE THING to say "No Child Left Behind," it's another to mean it.

With 50 percent of its students once performing below grade level, Chipman Middle School in Alameda held a comfortable spot on California's list of low-performing schools. It would have been easy to stay there, too, had the school's educators decided not to make a change and give their students an actual chance.
Since implementing its program, Chipman students have shown dramatic improvement and the teachers and administrators there should be proud. Laura Bush stopped by on Thursday to congratulate them.

Arnold on the border

As thousands of immigrants enter the United States illegally from Mexico and the Bush administration is seemingly unwilling to do much about it, the Minutemen Project, an armed citizens group, has stepped up and is having an impact, at least politically.

Governor Schwarzenegger has endorsed their efforts.
"Our federal government is not doing their job," Schwarzenegger said. "It's a shame that the private citizen has to go in there and start patrolling our borders."
I am curious why the governor of one of the four states bordering Mexico would be so quick to criticize the federal government for its lack of enforcement. Don't the four states have some responsibility, Arnold?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The housing bubble

The term bubble was first used in reference to a stock price in December of 1720 just after the South Sea Company took a nosedive. Ever since April of 2000 when technology stocks began their long and painful decline we've all become much too familiar with its meaning.

Alan Krueger, professor of economics at Princeton discusses how bubbles happen in the New York Times today.
One theory posits that smart investors, like mutual funds and hedge funds, are reluctant to bet against overpriced stocks because they would lose clients if they did not go along with others and the price continued (for a time) to rise.

Another says that investors who recognize that a stock is overvalued still pour money into it because they cannot tell when others will sell the stock short, and they would forgo profitable opportunities if they pulled out too soon.
Today there are remarkable similarities between the housing market and tech stocks of the late 90's. So how do I sell my house short?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fat kids

Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, a national advocacy/research organization based in Oakland, writes an Open Forum piece in the San Francisco Chronicle where he churns out 12 paragraphs condemning television as the cause of obesity in children.
The role of marketing in the childhood obesity problem is significant. A recent Stanford study found that children who spend the most time watching TV, videos and video games are more likely to be overweight. A 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association also shows that exposure to food commercials influences children's food preferences and requests.
According to Lempert, blame for the rise in obesity in America's children should be placed squarely on the media and advertisers. Television and marketing are the culprits.

Nowhere in his entire essay does he mention parents as having any responsibility for what their children eat or even how much television they watch. I haven't seen a TV yet without an "off" switch.

Still witty

Bob Dole was at the University of Kansas in Lawrence on Tuesday promoting his new book, One Soldier's Story, which documents his experience in World War II. The Kansas City Star noted that Dole still has his wit at age 81 evidenced by his quips in reference to books written by the Clintons.
The former senator said he was once asked to compare his book to Hillary Clinton's memoir. Said Dole, “It's pretty hard to compare it, because mine is nonfiction.”

Then Dole noted that former President Bill Clinton's book was longer than his because “he had more explaining to do.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Korbel flower

This photo was taken in front of the Korbel Winery on Saturday. I have no idea what kind of flower it is. Click on it to see a larger image.

Make every vote count

Since the Democrats' mantra of late has been "make every vote count," isn't it ironic that, when it comes to judicial nominees, they don't want any voting at all?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Soak the rich

So you think the weathly don't pay enough in taxes? And you think the rich have caught a big break under George W. Bush? Guess again. This story from the Wall Street Journal tells the tale.
Well, not so fast, Robin Hoods. An IRS study by a trio of tax wonks shows that, even after including Social Security taxes, the overall tax burden grew more progressive from 1979 to 1999. And while that burden became a tad less progressive after the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the rich and upper middle class continued to pay far and away the bulk of U.S. taxes.
The top 20% of wage earners pay 67.47% of the taxes while the bottom 20% pay only .65%. That is a dramatic increase in the taxes paid by the top 20% and a dramatic decrease in taxes paid by the bottom 20% in the last twenty years.

Howard Dean makes nice with red-staters

Howard Dean, the new Democratic Party Chairman has said that he wants to reach out to the voters in the red states and earn their respect. According to the Washington Post, he has a really fascinating way of going about winning over those Republicans.
Dean has suggested that they are "evil." That they are "corrupt." He called them "brain-dead" during a stop in Toronto -- and while the Terri Schiavo case was still in the news. He has tagged Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) as a "liar." Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that he mimicked a "drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh" at an event there.
Way to reach out, Howie.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Medical Marijuana

There are 43 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of San Francisco and they operate without any regulation according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Nor does the city regulate doctors and suppliers who make up the other parts of the city's medical marijuana infrastructure that has burgeoned since passage of Proposition 215, the 1996 California law that sanctions the use of the drug for qualified patients. Doctors say they are writing a great number of recommendations for a wide range of maladies.
Is it just me? I thought that medical marijuana was legal. Have I been living in California too long?
The federal government bans the sale, possession and use of marijuana for any purpose. The Drug Enforcement Administration has taken some action against clubs, but agents have not done a full-scale assault on clubs in the city.
So medical marijuana is illegal. Would anyone care to explain to me why the state of California sanctions something that is against federal law?

Russian River Rose

Thanks to Mrs. Happy Capitalist (a.k.a. The Merry Stitcher) who spotted this rose outside The Hartford Family Winery in the Russian River Valley yesterday. Nature is pretty impressive.

The Russian River

The Russian River Valley in northwest Sonoma County is the home of some of California's oldest wineries. It is not as convenient to residents and tourists of the San Francisco Bay Area so it hasn't become as crowded or commercialized as Napa County or other parts of Sonoma County. It was our destination yesterday for a day of eating and drinking. Vavoom of Tedrow Drive is pictured on the banks of the Russian River at Guerneville.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Happy Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated in most countries around the world on the vernal equinox, the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. On this date, night and day are equal everywhere on the planet.

In the U.S. we celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd. The first American Earth Day was in 1970, an event founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. In 1995 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his environmental work.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Cancel Michael Moore

According to the Chicago Tribune, last fall Cal State San Marcos revoked an invitation to Michael Moore to speak on campus saying that they were prohibited from spending state money on political activity.

Moore, the understanding and mature individual that he is, has announced that he has established The Michael Moore Freedom of Speech Scholarship for Cal State San Marcos students "who have done the most to fight for issues of student rights by standing up to the administration." Moore will award two $2,500 annual scholarships.

I'm a little bothered by Moore's vindictiveness and the miserly award he's offering but hey, he's spending money on education. Maybe a lot more universities should cancel his appearances.

What's in a word?

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, speaking to a group of newspaper editors on Tuesday, said that the U.S. should "close the borders" with Mexico. On Wednesday the Governor apologized.
"The bottom line is, I misspoke, and I'm sorry if I offended anyone," Schwarzenegger said about his comments Tuesday to a newspaper publishers' group in San Francisco. "I meant 'securing' our borders, not 'closing' them.
But state Treasurer Phil Angelides who has already declared his gubernatorial aspirations for 2006 couldn't let an opportunity to stir divisiveness pass him by.
"The governor knows what he's saying. He knows what his words mean. The visual image of closing the border is a clear image ... and it's not the first time he's done this.''
I cannot imagine what Angelides thinks he can gain by making political fodder from what was a simple mistake unless he is just trying to exploit Hispanics in California, a group that largely supported Schwarzenegger in 2003.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Biden on Bolton

During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week to review the nomination of John Bolton for U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Senator Joe Biden compared sending Bolton to the U.N. to sending a "bull into a china shop". Directed to Bolton Biden said, "your judgment about how to deal with the emerging threats have not been particularly useful."

A member of the Project for the New American Century, Bolton was also one of the signers of the January 26, 1998 PNAC Letter sent to President Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein from power using US diplomatic, political and military power.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Tortilla Curtain

Mrs. Happy Capitalist is holding her book club meeting here at our abode this evening so the cats and I have been relegated to the master bedroom. Laptop, wireless internet, quality blogging time, right? Well, shortly after I got settled in, laptop fired up, one cat around my feet and the other by my side, Mrs.THC came in and asked for my computer to aid the group in selecting their next read. OK, so blogging wasn't meant to be. Not this evening.

Tonight's book was The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle. From my perspective in the bedroom, the margaritas, Coronas, chips and salsa served were a much bigger hit than the book.

Monday, April 18, 2005


From the NY Times,
WASHINGTON, April 18 - Even as Republicans struggle to find a candidate to challenge Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York next year, she has embarked on a furious fund-raising drive that appears to have left her with a larger reserve of cash than any other senator seeking re-election.
Any questions?

They don't rhyme

The words "smoke" and "pope" don't rhyme. So how long will we have to endure headlines like Black smoke signals no pope?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Merit pay?

A Fresno, California substitute teacher has been charged with smoking pot in an earth science class with five ninth-graders.
A Fresno High School substitute teacher charged with smoking marijuana with students in his class wrote a letter to the local newspaper saying that five years of pot smoking had made him "mentally powerless."
This comes at a time when the California Teachers Association is gearing up to spend millions of dollars on radio and TV ads to combat, among other things, a proposal by Governor Schwarzenegger that teachers' pay be based on merit.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Drop the big one

I heard this song on the radio today by Randy Newman called Political Science and was amused by how it is so apropos of the world today.
No one likes us
I don't know why.
We may not be perfect
But heaven knows we try.
But all around even our old friends put us down.
Let's drop the big one and see what happens.

We give them money
But are they grateful?
No they're spiteful
And they're hateful.
They don't respect us so let's surprise them;
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them.
The song was familiar but I couldn't place it in time so I looked it up. Randy wrote this bizarre little gem in 1968. Interesting.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bad day on the street

From the Chicago Tribune today:
Wall Street suffered its worst single day in nearly two years Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 191 points for its third straight triple-digit loss. Deepening concerns over economic growth and higher prices led to the worst week of trading since August.
Compared to this from less than two weeks ago:
"The upward thrust to the economy appears quite substantial and the risk of higher inflation over the next six months or so seems clearly greater than the risk that inflation will fall below a desirable range," said Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President William Poole.
It's just further proof of how fickle the markets can be and how little anyone really knows.

The worst kind of thief

From the SF Chronicle:
Thirteen cargo handlers at San Francisco International Airport were charged Friday with stealing $200,000 worth of computers, cameras and other goods from mail bound for U.S. soldiers stationed in Japan, authorities said.
It takes a real sleaze to steal from service men and women serving overseas. Let's hope the federal court in San Francisco prosecutes these folks to the full extent of the law.

Too many taxes

This is it, April 15th. Today is the last day to report to the IRS your income from last year--everything from wages and tips to interest and dividends, alimony, unemployment, capital gains, social security and all the rest.

But what would it be like if our government had to report to us all of the taxes we paid last year? Wouldn't it be interesting if each of us received detailed report of the taxes we pay throughout the year. I'm not talking about just Social Security, federal, state and local income taxes, but all taxes.

The report would include the sin taxes, the federal excise taxes on liquor, wine, beer and cigarettes. It would tally all of the other excise taxes too, like on tires, guns and ammunition, fishing gear and bows and arrows. There is even a tax on betting and a separate tax on the employees of casinos.

Have you taken a good look at various taxes that appear on your phone bills? A federal subscriber line charge, federal universal service fee, state regulatory fee, rate surcharge, 9-1-1 emergency fee, lifeline surcharge...they'd all be included.

Consider also the taxes on an airplane ticket. There's a 7.5% federal excise tax, an airport tax ($2-$18), federal segment fees ($3 per segment), the 9/11 fee ($2.50 per segment) and a travel facilities tax (up to $13.40 per round-trip).

This report would also include the other biggies, sales tax and property taxes on real estate and automobiles. Professional licensing fees too.

It would include all of the nickel and dime taxes like highway and bridge tolls as well as fees for public parking.

So if our government were able to tabulate all of these taxes and the scores of others that I couldn't think of, what would that look like? How much of your income really goes out in taxes? Would it make you think differently about the total cost of government?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Estate Tax Repeal

Yesterday the House voted to permanently repeal the estate tax, a tax on inheritances. It now goes to the Senate. Democrats see this as a gift to the very wealthy.
"This is reverse Robin Hood," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "We're taking money from the middle class and giving it to the super-rich."
Republicans see it as a tax that is just plain unfair.
"The death of a family member should not be a taxable event, period," said Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), the bill's sponsor.
Here's a real-world example of the estate tax as it plays out everyday:

A Missouri farmer dies leaving the family farm to his three grown children. He made a fair living but never accumulated a great deal of savings, though the land and buildings appreciated to be worth several million dollars. While the three children strongly desire to keep the farm in the family, they are forced to sell it to pay the estate taxes which can exceed 50% of the value of the estate. Two of the three children are now unemployed because they were working the farm with their father. Is that what we want?


This evening as I was walking from my office building to the parking garage I encountered a man about my age but he had a bit of that homeless look to him. His clothes were dirty, though they weren't ragged and he looked as if he hadn't shaved in a week or so. Ordinarily I don't even make eye-contact with the panhandlers I meet on the street, but this guy was different. He walked toward me with confidence and a sense of purpose I don't often see. At first I didn't think he was a beggar at all, perhaps he just needed directions.

"Hey bud, I just need a little money, can you help me out?"

I just shook my head and started to open the door to the parking garage when he said, "C'mon man, I'm not going to lie to ya. I wanna buy another drink." That's when I noticed he was holding what appeared to be one of those large beer cans in a wrinkled, brown paper bag. I was struck by his directness and his manner. He had a sincere quality that made me hesitate. He was also close enough that I could smell the beer on his breath.

"Sorry." And I ducked into the garage. But he made me think about it for just a second. He was honest and direct and confident. I'm certain he got the money from someone else before I was even out of the garage.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Riunite on ice...that's nice!

Riunite, Blue Nun, Gallo Chablis. That pretty much describes my introduction to wine 25 years ago. Throw in some Lancer's and Mateus and you have a pretty good representation of much of the wine sold in the U.S. back then.

Eric Asimov has an interesting piece in the New York Times (dated tomorrow) about how wine 25 years ago seldom contained more than 12 percent alcohol. But much of the wine produced today contains much more, 15-16 percent in some cases, and it's causing some debate.

There are a couple of quite valid reasons cited by opponents of the more potent wines. Driving home becomes a problem for one thing and secondly, the higher alcohol content simply overwhelms food instead of enhancing it.

Proponents say that it shouldn't matter as long as the wine is balanced and it tastes good.

I'd just like to see more good wines that have prices lower than their alcohol contents. Am I dreaming?

Monday, April 11, 2005

But officer, I won't be able to vote!

Imagine my surprise today to discover that I have a higher opinion of Democrats than John Kerry does.
Kerry cited examples of how people were duped into not voting. "Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he said.
Does he honestly believe that his supporters are that dim?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The fifty-dollar fill-up

I pulled away from the gas station Friday afternoon and thought about all of the other stuff that I might have done with forty-eight bucks and change. I wasn't as outraged as I thought I would be after spending $2.80 per gallon...why was that?

The news media have become unwitting accomplices with the oil companies. Exxon and Shell tell the newspapers that we should expect three dollars per gallon, they print the stories and break the news to us ahead of time. So, when we pull up to the pump for that fifty-dollar fill-up, we're not upset, we were expecting it. The media look like champs for having foretold our future and the oil companies are spared the wrath of the driving public.

The problem with this is, without the outrage, we continue to buy the big V-8s. Without the outrage, we drive as much as we ever did. Without the outrage, it just gets easier for the oil companies to keep raising prices. It's supply and demand. Where does it end?

Dominatrix -turned-bureaucrat

This story from today's SF Chronicle is about a dominatrix who gave up the whips and leather for a job with the federal government only find that one of her new supervisors was a former client. He harassed her, she sued and the Treasury Department settled with her. He has since retired.

But don't you just wonder how she got hired in the first place? How about that first interview. "What special skills do you have?" "Do you work well with others?" "Do you have any clothes that aren't black leather?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Tax Day

Ultralight blogging today necessitated by the IRS's insistence that they have a tax return from us postmarked no later than this coming Friday.

Many find me to be a bit of a masochist, but I really do enjoy the challenge in preparing an income tax return. It's a bit like a puzzle, you just need to get all the pieces to fit together properly. Anyway, the returns are rolling off the printer as I peck this out and we're happy with the result. Better blogging tomorrow.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Google bucks

According to the Chronicle, the Google billionaires are taking a big pay cut.
The trio of billionaires who run — and own much of — online search engine leader Google Inc. reduced their individual salaries to $1 last year and rejected a recent attempt to give them a raise, according to documents filed Friday.
Now if the company could just be convinced to redirect some of that cash to the Blogger division, maybe I won't have to move to Typepad after all.

Re: Blogger

Mom and Dad always said, "You get what you pay for." Blogger has certainly been a great example of this principle recently. I'll be surprised if I can even get this to publish.

Re: Blogger

Mom and Dad always said, "You get what you pay for." Blogger has certainly been a great example of this principle recently. I'll be surprised if I can even get this to publish.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

DiFi gay bashing?

Under most circumstances I'd be thrilled to see Diane Feinstein taken to the woodshed by her own supporters. This is a case where she really doesn't deserve it.
In Dianne Feinstein's hometown of San Francisco, hard feelings apparently linger about the senator's remark that the push to make marriage legal for same-sex couples hurt Democrats in the November election.
The gay rights folks in San Francisco believe that her comments have damaged their cause and that might be true. But all she was really doing was making a comment about political strategy. Agree with Democrats' positon on gay rights or not, but they have pushed it to the point where it has hurt them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Head Start

My mother taught Head Start for what seems like about a hundred years. She earned a pittance for some of the most challenging teaching imaginable. Kids in her class would have lice and filthy clothes and a single parent who cared more about the new 32-inch Sony than their child. I remember Mom coming home from school one day and reporting that she heard a swear word that she'd never heard before and it came from the mouth of a three-year-old. I suppose what kept Mom teaching was the hope or belief that she could really make a difference in an underprivileged child's life. Now, according to the Kansas City Star, Head Start administrators have jeopardized the entire program.
Members of Congress on Tuesday demanded better oversight of Head Start amid widespread reports of financial mismanagement and a critical Government Accountability Office report.

Right to life?

A San Francisco woman is facing federal charges for allegedly threatening on an online message board to kill the husband of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who died Thursday after the removal of her feeding tube.
And I thought that those who opposed removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube did so based on a belief in a right to life.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Dropout factories

A recent California study by the Harvard University Civil Rights Project called high schools with graduation rates under 60 percent "dropout factories". Then there's Oakland...
Fewer than half the freshmen who enter Oakland public high schools - - just 48 of every 100 -- stick around long enough to graduate.
The study estimated that dropouts cost the state $14 billion a year in lost wages, crime and jail time.

"It's astounding and unconscionable," said Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown. "It's a crisis that's been going on for decades. Oakland is trying hard. They need money. They need leadership. It's quite daunting, and it's going to require a lot more truth-telling and honesty than has been forthcoming in recent decades."
Jerry Brown, who is wrapping up his second term as Oakland mayor was certainly quick to point out that the problem is older than his tenure, but didn't mention what he has done or plans to do to improve the city's high schools.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Pope John Paul (the first)

With the death of Pope John Paul II, I was thinking back to when he was first elected and the circumstances around the 33-day tenure of his predecessor, Pope John Paul. It's not that my memory is failing, but it was a long time ago. The only thing I could remember about John Paul was that he was part of the storyline in The Godfather Part III. So I looked him up in Wikipedia.
His quick death, only 33 days after his election, caused worldwide shock. The official cause of death specified by the Vatican was a myocardial infarction, or a common heart attack. However, this is uncertain to some extent because no autopsy was performed. The Vatican raised major issues over the handling of the events surrounding his death; it lied about who found the body (it claimed a papal secretary, in fact it was later revealed that he was found by a nun in the Papal Household who had come to bring him some coffee), lied about the time, that personal property of his (his glasses, his will, documents he was working on when he died) disappeared from his bedroom and was never found. (In fact that was shown to be untrue. His possessions are in the possession of his sister's family.) It claimed he had been reading Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ but his copy of that was still in Venice. Conflicting stories were told as to his health. It was hinted that his ill-health was due to heavy smoking; in fact he never smoked. The impact of this misinformation was shown in a headline of the Irish Independent newspaper, "THIRTY-THREE BRAVE DAYS" conveying the image of a weak and ill man physically unable to withstand the pressures of the papacy, and who was in effect killed by it.
The plotline in The Godfather Part III had the Vatican Bank heavily involved in organized crime and Pope John Paul I was threatening to expose the corruption.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Slavery or addiction

Pat and Jeff quickly became our first friends in California. We had so much in common. They were relocating to the Bay Area at the same time and from the same place that we were. Pat and Mrs. W had also been co-workers back in Kansas City and had known each other for several years. Our friendship was meant to be.

Besides all we had in common, there was one thing we didn't quite agree on--politics. Pat and Jeff have a pretty liberal mindset and they fit in well with the politics of Northern California. It's been a slightly more difficult adaptation for me. We've kept our political discussions friendly and, in spite of this one difference, Pat and Jeff are friends for life.

Last evening, while out with them for dinner, the conversation turned, of course, to the death of Pope John Paul II. The Pope wasn't much of a capitalism fan, he was arguably pretty much a socialist. Pat had read about the Pope cautioning folks on becoming "slaves to capitalism" and she feared she'd become just such a slave. We had a pretty good time joking about Pat's enslavement, her Mercedes and her new beach house were nothing but shackles. Finally Mrs. W suggested that perhaps Pat is not so enslaved to capitalism as she is addicted to it. We had a good laugh and Pat seemed to feel better that she is just a junkie and not a slave. Capitalism's not such a bad thing after all.

Pat and Jeff: If you happen to drop by The Happy Capitalist, greetings! Come around anytime.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


From the SF Chronicle:
Gas prices in California hit a record high Friday, with San Francisco pumps selling the most expensive gallons of gas on the mainland.

The average price for a gallon of gas in California has jumped 50 cents since mid-January to $2.45 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, and $2.63 for premium, according to a survey by the AAA.

World's Biggest Turkey Baster

This AP story ran in today's SF Chronicle:
After bringing in a parade of males and watching for years as nature never took its course, scientists at Mystic Aquarium have performed what is believed to be the first artificial insemination of a beluga whale.
The "Turkey Baster" headline was from the Chronicle's online version. I guess some folks there actually do have a sense of humor.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Pope watch

With the major league baseball season still days away, waiting for people to die seems to have become a surrogate national pastime. First Teri Schiavo and now the Pope.

The Italian news media reported earlier today that the Pope had died and American news organizations piled on without getting verification. Yahoo! and Fox News jumped the gun and reported the pontiff's death. I'm sure there were others. Bloggers like The Anchoress are "live blogging" the death of the Pope. I'm not really sure what it means to live blog the Pope's demise but it's morbid whatever it is. Is it really so important to report it the second John Paul II draws his last?

If the Pope's passing is indeed soon I hope it's peaceful and painless for him. And I hope there are no other prominent figures to die anytime soon. It's just become too weird.