Why I love English....

...or at least how easy it is to make a sentence lose it's meaning.

This is directly cut and pasted from the Winnebago County Fair Website:

Expo and Exhibit Buildings Open
Tuesday, Aug. 9: 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 10 through
Saturday, Aug. 13: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 14: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(Animals will be released at 4:00 p.m.)

Watch out for the animals - try to be out of the park on Sunday early!



Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy...

CNN suspends Robert Novak for on-air outburst

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - CNN issued a public rebuke to syndicated columnist and political analyst Robert Novak and asked him to "take some time off" after he uttered a profanity and walked off the set during a live broadcast on Thursday.

The on-air outburst by Novak, 74, came when the conservative commentator was interrupted by liberal political strategist James Carville during a discussion of the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Florida on CNN's "Inside Politics" show.

"Let me finish what I was going to say, James, please. I know you hate to hear me," Novak said as he and Carville jousted over the Senate election chances of Republican U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris.

Carville persisted, saying: "You got to show those right-wingers that he's got backbone. ... the Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching. Show 'em you're tough."

An angry Novak shot back, "I think that's bull****, and I hate that." Then to the show's host, Ed Henry, he added, "Just let it go," before standing up from his seat, unclipping his microphone and walking off the set.

Carville and Henry continued the discussion without pausing, but Henry acknowledged Novak's departure at the end of the hour, saying he was sorry "Bob Novak left the set a little early."

CNN, a unit of Time Warner Inc., later issued a statement chiding Novak for his conduct.

"Bob Novak's behavior on CNN today was inexcusable and unacceptable," the network said. "Mr. Novak has apologized to CNN, and CNN apologizes to its viewers for his language and actions. We've asked Mr. Novak to take some time off."

Novak has been the subject of intense media interest for months as a central figure in a political scandal involving the public disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity and investigations of that leak.

Federal investigators are looking into who leaked the identity of the covert agent, whose name appeared in a July 14, 2003 newspaper column by Novak.

Henry told viewers he had informed Novak in advance of Thursday's show that he intended to ask him on the air about his role in the Plame affair but missed the opportunity when Novak walked off.

A publicist for Novak at CNN said the veteran columnist had no additional comment.

Novak has been a regular CNN contributor since his days as a conservative commentator on the public affairs show "Crossfire." His newspaper column is syndicated nationally.


I think John Stewart got it right when he said Novak is melting from the inside.

Interesting Idea for Public Broadband

Friedman on America's falling behind in tech:


I've been thinking of running for high office on a one-issue platform: I promise, if elected, that within four years America will have cellphone service as good as Ghana's. If re-elected, I promise that in eight years America will have cellphone service as good as Japan's, provided Japan agrees not to forge ahead on wireless technology. My campaign bumper sticker: "Can You Hear Me Now?"

I began thinking about this after watching the Japanese use cellphones and laptops to get on the Internet from speeding bullet trains and subways deep underground. But the last straw was when I couldn't get cellphone service while visiting I.B.M.'s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.

The fact that the U.S. has fallen to 16th in the world in broadband connectivity aroused no interest.

Philadelphia, which decided it wouldn't wait for private companies to provide connectivity to all. Instead, Philly made it a city-led project - like sewers and electricity. The whole city will be a "hot zone," where any resident anywhere with a computer, cellphone or P.D.A. will have cheap high-speed Wi-Fi access to the Internet.

Message: In U.S. politics, the party that most quickly absorbs the latest technology often dominates. F.D.R. dominated radio and the fireside chat; J.F.K., televised debates; Republicans, direct mail and then talk radio, and now Karl Rove's networked voter databases.

Pharmacist's Oath

Did you know they have one? I have bolded my favorite parts:

At this time, I vow to devote my professional life to the services of all humankind through the profession of pharmacy.

I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns.

I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my abilityto assure optimal drug therapy outcomes for the patients I serve.

I will keep abreast of developments and maintain professional competency in my profession of pharmacy.

I will maintain the highest principles of moral, ethical and legal conduct.

I will embrace and advocate change in the profession of pharmacy that improves patient care.

I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.

Nowhere does it say anything about not giving out contrception....

A Must Read - Kristoff - "A Pakistani Rape, and a Pakistani Love Story "

I'm going to put up the entire story, because it disappears after a week:


A Pakistani Rape, and a Pakistani Love Story
Rapes occur in Pakistan at an estimated rate of one every two hours, and the rape itself is only the beginning of the horror. As in much of the world, the victim is frequently expected to atone for her "sin" by killing herself, while her attacker goes unscathed.
But Dr. Shazia Khalid, through all her tears, guilt and self-doubt, pushed for something more: punishment for the man who raped her. In my
column on Sunday, I described how local authorities reacted after Dr. Shazia was raped early this year: they drugged her and confined her to a psychiatric hospital to hush her up.
It didn't work, and the incident provoked unrest in the wild area of Baluchistan, where the rape occurred, because of rumors that the rapist was not only an outsider, but also an army captain. President Pervez Musharraf became determined to make the embarrassment disappear.
So the authorities locked up Dr. Shazia and her husband, Khalid Aman, keeping them under house arrest for two months. Then officials began to hint that Dr. Shazia was a loose woman, perhaps even a prostitute - presumably as a way to pressure her and her husband to keep quiet.
Dr. Shazia, mortified, tried to kill herself. Mr. Khalid and their adopted son, Adnan, stopped her.
Meanwhile, the family's patriarch, Mr. Khalid's grandfather, sent word that because Dr. Shazia had been raped, she was "kari" - a stain on the family's honor - and must be killed or at least divorced. Then, Mr. Khalid said, his grandfather began gathering a mob to murder Dr. Shazia.
"I was very angry because he must know that Shazia is innocent," Mr. Khalid said. "They treat a woman like a cow."
General Musharraf was finding this couple's determination to get justice increasingly irritating. So, Dr. Shazia and Mr. Khalid said, the authorities ordered them to leave the country, and warned that if they stayed, they would be killed - by government "agencies" - and that no one would even find their bodies.
When Dr. Shazia demanded that Adnan be allowed to accompany her, the officials warned that there was no time and that she would be murdered if she delayed. Then the officials forced Dr. Shazia to make a video recording in which she thanked the government for helping her. And, she said, they warned her that if she had any contact with journalists or human rights groups, they would strike back at her - or at her relatives still in Pakistan.
"They said, 'We know where your family is here,' " Dr. Shazia recalled. "I'm very scared and concerned about my family and their safety. But I believe we must tell the truth, and I have entrusted my family to God."
So the Pakistani officials put Dr. Shazia and Mr. Khalid on a plane to London, without their son. As soon as they arrived, Dr. Shazia inquired about asylum in Canada, where she has relatives and friends. But a Canadian bureaucrat rejected the asylum application on the ground that they were now safe in Britain. (Come on, Canadians - have you no heart?)
Dr. Shazia and Mr. Khalid are now living in a one-room dive in a bad neighborhood in London, while applying for asylum in Britain. Dr. Shazia dreams of someday returning to Pakistan to found a hospital for raped and battered women, but for now she is simply a lonely, fragile and frightened refugee who leaves her bare room only to make trips to a nearby Internet cafe.
With Dr. Shazia constantly tearful and unable to sleep at night, Mr. Khalid gave up his job to take care of her and drive home a message: "Shazia, you did nothing wrong. You are still pure!"
Dr. Shazia's voice broke as she said: "Khalid supported me. He showed me his true love. ... He showed me that I have committed no sin. I am pure today, no matter what the world says."
Half-sobbing, she added: "I stay awake at night, thinking, 'Why me?' My career is ruined. My husband's career is ruined. I cannot see my son. ... If I had died then, it would have been better."
But it wouldn't have been. Dr. Shazia's ordeal offers us a glimpse of life for women in much of the developing world today, and it's also a reminder of the one factor that gives me hope. That's the growing number of people who refuse to cower in the face of injustice and instead become forces for change. To me, Dr. Shazia is a hero, for her courage and determination - and, yes, her purity.
I'm sure I'll get inquiries from readers wanting to help Dr. Shazia and Mr. Khalid. Since they are lonely and isolated in London, but have friends and relatives in Canada, the single thing that would help the most is if Canada reconsidered its refusal to grant them asylum. You can suggest that by writing to Joseph Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1, Canada. You can send e-mail to Minister@cic.gc.ca. If Canada gives Dr. Shazia asylum, this love story can still end well; otherwise, I'm afraid it'll be one more tragedy.
Readers who want to help Dr. Shazia more directly, or find out more about her case, can contact the Asian American Network Against Abuse of Women,

When is Competition Good?

A great article in Slate:


I wish Rick Santorum would make up his mind.

On the one hand, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania says that the free market system is godly: It "not only produces wealth but also virtuous people whose worldly enterprise complements the work of the Creator." Big government, I need hardly add, is an unholy lumbering giant that's "overly intrusive and burdensome."

On the other hand, private companies like AccuWeather, which disseminate information collected by the National Weather Service—a big-government agency—cannot hope to compete with the NWS if the NWS itself disseminates that information. The combined might of Adam Smith and the Man Upstairs are simply no match for the brain-dead time-wasters on the federal payroll. Or so Santorum must believe, because he has introduced a bill forbidding the NWS from providing "a product or service ... that is or could be [italics mine] provided by the private sector" unless the secretary of commerce (who oversees NWS) determines that "the private sector is unwilling or unable" to do so, or unless some international treaty requires the NWS to do so. (A thoughtful exception is made for "preparation and issuance of severe weather forecasts and warnings designed for the protection of life and property.")

Imagine if Federal Express were to decide it could no longer compete against the U.S. Postal Service and sought legislation to prevent the mailman from delivering packages. Better yet, imagine if Federal Express had emerged only as a result of the federal government stepping in and telling those bullies at the Post Office to stop delivering packages. Absurd, correct? FedEx became a free-market success story not by seeking special favors, but by beating the government at its own game. By contrast, AccuWeather (which happens to reside in Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania) would like you to know that it exists only because NWS has, over the past half-century, pursued a "non-competition" policy with the private sector, the idiocy of which apparently only occurred to NWS this past December, when it revoked that policy. The earlier non-competition policy, says an AccuWeather press release, "led to the development of specialized weather services" like, well, AccuWeather. The company became a success story only because the federal government built it a special incubator.

Santorum can't have it both ways. If big government really is as inherently dopey and inefficient as he maintains, then AccuWeather has nothing to worry about. But if AccuWeather is in a desperate fight for its life merely because the NWS wants to release weather information in consumer-friendly form, that would seem to suggest that the NWS does its job at least as well as AccuWeather ever will. An orthodox belief in big government's inefficiency cannot coexist with an orthodox belief in private industry's inability to compete with big government.

How do you resolve this riddle? Perhaps by concluding that the common denominator to contemporary conservative thought isn't ideology at all, but rather, the crude imperative for big government to shovel as many special privileges as possible to big corporations. Adam Smith would be appalled.

Actual Bush Quote:

"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him," Bush said in an interview published Tuesday in several Texas newspapers.

"He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do," the US president said.

He also still believes that Iraq has WMD....

Diebold E-voting Machines Rejected

After possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system, California has rejected Diebold's flagship electronic voting machine because of printer jams and screen freezes, sending local elections officials scrambling for other means of voting.

"There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said.

If the machines had been used in an election, the result could have been frustration for poll workers and long lines for thousands of voters, elections officials and voter advocates said Thursday.