May 04, 2006

Make A Wish

Let me help you make your dream come true Mr. Gates:

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday he wished he were not the world's richest man.

Just make out a check for $50,000,000,000.87 to Mr. Charles W. Austin and send it to my home address. I'm in the book. Also, I suggest using registered mail.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:23 PM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2004


I'm trying to reduce the vitriolic political hyperbole and be a little more understanding and gracious towards the less serious amongst us, but this sort of thing makes it really, really hard:

VINCENT D'Onofrio, the star of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," passed out while shooting the hit TV series yesterday morning — prompting insiders to gossip that the actor is "losing it."

"Ever since John Kerry lost the election, [D'Onofrio] has lost his [bleep,]" said our on-set insider.

"He has been getting into fistfights with people, and when he passed out today, we all thought he was faking it. But then he insisted they call 911."

An ambulance raced to the Queens studio, where paramedics found nothing wrong with the gifted actor, who became a star in 1987 with his searing performance as a misfit Marine in "Full Metal Jacket."

Tensions on the "Criminal Intent" set are running high. "No one thinks Vincent will last for much longer," the insider said.

"He is so hard to work with — a total freak. He constantly complains about the scripts and has held up production a lot."

D'Onofrio, a big Kerry supporter, was said to be devastated over President Bush's re-election. "When PAGE SIX [last week] wrote about 'Law & Order' putting up signs forbidding political discussions on set, it was funny," our source said. "Those signs were put up because of [D'Onofrio]."

About a month before the election, D'Onofrio "insisted" on putting up anti-Bush posters and fliers, "and would attack anyone who disagreed with him," the spy added.

In response, "Law & Order" producers posted signs banning political discussions or anything else that would impede work on set, implying that D'Onofrio had held up taping of the show with his political zealotry.

Maybe he's having a Vietnam flashback from his role as Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

Seperated at Birth?

Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!

moore birth.jpg cartman.gif


How'd he get through the door?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:36 PM | Comments (4)

January 07, 2004

I Want My CourtTV!

Look at them yo-yos:

Cable TV made a West Bend man addicted to TV, caused his wife to be overweight and his kids to be lazy, he says. And he’s threatening to sue the cable company. Timothy Dumouchel of West Bend wants $5,000 or three computers, and a lifetime supply of free Internet service from Charter Communications to settle what he says will be a small claims suit. Dumouchel blames Charter for his TV addiction, his wife’s 50-pound weight gain and his children’s being “lazy channel surfers,” according to a Fond du Lac police report.

If everybody had a remote
Across the USA
Everbody'd be surfin
Doin' it the Tivo way

According to the report, Dumouchel told Charter employees he plans to sue because his cable connection remained intact four years after he tried to get it canceled. The result was that he and his family got free cable from August of 1999 to Dec. 23, 2003.

Cable for nothin' and your chicks for free. Oh, that ain't workin.

“I believe that the reason I smoke and drink every day and my wife is overweight is because we watched TV every day for the last four years,” Dumouchel stated in a written complaint against the company, included in a Fond du Lac police report.

I'm sure we can come up with another plausible cause for each of these afflictions if we just try hard enough. For instance, maybe the Patriot Act had them afraid to leave the house.

“But the reason I am suing Charter is they did not let me make a decision as to what was best for myself and my family and (they have been) keeping cable (coming) into my home for four years after I asked them to turn it off.”

I guess taking five seconds to manually disconnect the physical cable never occured to him. Perhaps Dennis Kucinich is right about the mind control satellites.


Posted by Charles Austin at 06:58 PM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2003

A Darwin Award Candidate

Sorry, but the bizarre just keeps popping up.

Craig M. Petropoulos, 36, apparently was trying to climb into the window - perhaps to burglarize the Franklin Boulevard home - when he got stuck around his chest, police said. His legs dangled over the driveway.

Police say he weighed about 250 pounds and had a large build. He was dead when the homeowner walked into the kitchen at 5 a.m.

Kane County Coroner Chuck West said an autopsy indicated Petropoulos died of positional asphyxia. That occurs when a person's chest is prevented from expanding properly and the person is unable to correct his position. Stress is added to the respiratory muscles, movement of the body's diaphragm is restricted and the rib cage is inhibited from expanding.

If I walked into the kitchen, just having crawled out of bed, and found a man halfway through the kitchen window, it's likely an autopsy would be needed to determine whether is was positional asphyxia that killed him or repeated blows from an iron skillet.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:52 PM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2003

Maybe His Problem Was Genetic

Every time I think humanity has sunk as far as it can go, I realize, yet again, that we can always dig a little deeper:

The mother of a man who killed three people and wounded five at a factory before committing suicide filed a workers' compensation claim, saying her son suffered "death by gunfire" at work.

And why does she think she is entitled to money for her murderous offspring?

"I don't feel I should have to pay for the actions that he chose to do," said Nina Tichelkamp-Russell, who filed the claim 10 days after the July 1 shooting at the Modine Manufacturing Co. "I think if there are indicators (of a problem at work) then there are certain people out there who have a responsibility."

Apparently, she abdicated her responsibilities as a decent parent long ago.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Here’s a textbook example:

Navy sonar may be giving whales a never-before-seen version of the illness known as "the bends," leading them to be stranded and to die, according to a new study in Thursday's edition of the scientific journal Nature. The findings could strengthen the hand of environmental groups trying to force the world's navies to limit or stop their use of sonar during sea exercises. The U.S. Navy and the Natural Resources Defense Council this week are negotiating such limits in an effort to settle an NRDC lawsuit. In the Nature article, scientists report finding gas bubbles in the organs and blood vessels of 10 beaked whales that stranded themselves along Spain's Canary Islands in September 2002. They beached themselves about four hours after the beginning of sonar activity nearby during an international naval exercise.

Of course, not everyone thinks that cause and effect are merely temporally related.

Other top whale scientists were skeptical. Darlene Ketten, a senior whale biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and an ear, nose and throat professor at Harvard Medical School, said whales don't get the bends. "We expect that these animals over 50 million years evolved to avoid problems resulting from diving," Ketten said. Other stranded whales have not shown symptoms of the bends, she added.

But let’s not allow science to get in the way of a political agenda.

The Canary Islands cases are the first large-scale evidence that something similar to the bends is at work, said study co-author Paul Jepson of the Zoological Society of London. Those whales, most of them Cuvier's beaked whales, had gas bubbles in different parts of their bodies. The bubbles were worst in their livers, where some bubbles exceeded 2 inches in diameter, according to the study. Jepson said he didn't know exactly how whales got this condition.

But he’s certain it was caused by the Navy’s sonar. And we all know what that will lead to.

In June, a federal judge-magistrate in San Francisco ruled that the Navy must limit its plans for low-frequency sonar exercises.

Thar he blows!

Sorry about that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

Actually, There Is Such a Thing As a Stupid Question

Should America be France?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Such a Thoughtful Young Man

When things get tough here in America, we can always count on Alec Baldwin to return from exile in Europe and elevate the level of political discourse:

Alec Baldwin came bearing a gift when he attended a fund-raiser for House Democrats: a box of dog biscuits for Republican Gov. Rick Perry."I wanted to give this to Tom DeLay's lap dog, Rick Perry," the actor said Tuesday. "I thought maybe he had worked up a big appetite up there on the Capitol so Governor Perry, AKA Tom DeLay's lap dog in the Texas state Legislature, this box of dog biscuits is for you and I hope you enjoy it while you're toiling away at a redistricting plan."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2003

Just Be Glad He Stayed Out of Government

Ted Turner is living proof that money is neither generated by nor confers wisdom nor intelligence:

"If I had to predict, the way things are going, I'd say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years," Turner said. "Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me."

As we all know (even Ted), Ted's track record hasn't been all that good when it comes to predictions:

"I said 20 years ago newspapers wouldn't be around in 10 years, and I was wrong," Turner said.

Of course, Ted has his opinion about the liberation of Iraq:

"We spent $87 billion to blow Iraq up and then we spent another $87 billion to put it back together, and all to get one man and we still haven't got him," Turner said. "Talk about a failure."

But then again, Ted knows all about failures, being the latest punch line to the joke, "How do you build a small fortune?":

Turner's wealth had been estimated at more than $7 billion before the Time Warner stock dropped sharply following its merger with AOL. Earlier this month, Forbes Magazine estimated Turner's wealth at $2.3 billion, good for a tie for the No. 78 position on the magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans.

Start with a large one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:46 PM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2003

Unintended Consequences

The vegetable rights crowd's latest success backfired:

Days after 10,000 mink were released from a farm in southern Snohomish County, hundreds of the animals not yet captured have converged on local farms in search of food. The animals had killed at least 25 exotic birds and attacked other livestock in the area. "Over half our livestock was shredded. Murdered. Eaten alive," said Jeff Weaver, who discovered the dead birds on his farm Thursday. "These are not like regular farm animals. They're our pets."

Yea, well, the vegetable rights crowd probably doesn't think you should "own" pets anyway.

"One of the mink had part of a chicken in its mouth and was headed for the creek," he said. "They're starving. They'll kill anything in their path." The mink also killed Weaver's geese, chicken and ducks, as well as wounded a dog and ate a 50-pound bag of bird feed. With an estimated loss of $2,000, he said he plans to improve fences, set traps and, if necessary, use a shotgun to fend off future assaults.

Maybe it's the mink farmers who need a shotgun to fend off future assaults.

Diane and Joe Sallee are sealing their chickens in at night after they found the mink had killed six hens and injured several other that had to be euthanized. "This has just devastated our chicken population. We are just so upset by this," Diane Sallee said. "The people who do these things don't think it through."

Well, that's an understatement. But thinking it through would require them to be able to think, period.

Animal activists argue that while the farm animals' deaths are unfortunate, it proves minks raised in captivity can survive in the wild.

As long as "the wild" includes stocks of grain-fed chickens, geese and ducks raised in pens by humans. Oh, and so long as the vegeatble rights crowd hasn't yet arrived to liberate the fowl as well.

"The amount of suffering that has been prevented by releasing them from cramped cages and freeing them from an extremely cruel death more than justifies a temporary disruption to the ecosystem," said veterinarian Andrew Knight, director of research at the Seattle-based Northwest Animal Rights Network.

I guess Andrew's concern for the suffering of animals is limited to the furry ones that make him feel warm and fuzzy, as opposed to the ones that form the basis of the livelihood for folks like the Sallees.

Owners of the mink farm from which the animals were released estimate about 80 percent of the animals have been captured, leaving more than 1,000 unaccounted for, said Teresa Platt, executive director of Fur Commission USA. The commission is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible.

Hey Fur Commission USA, how about starting with, uh..., ANDREW KNIGHT! Can I collect my reward now?

The FBI, which is leading the investigation, suspects an out-of-state group is responsible for the mink release at the Roesler Brothers Fur Farm off U.S. Highway 2. The Animal Liberation Front, considered a domestic terrorist group by the FBI, has claimed responsibility.

That should make the trial a formality when the bastards are caught.

Weaver argues that the group that released the animals didn't think of the repercussions.

Well, duh. But, Mr. Weaver is wrongly assuming the vegetable rights crowd would care even if they understood what would happen.

"I'm not into anyone running around with fur coats on," he said. "But you cannot let 10,000 semicarnivorous animals out without having serious consequences."

That's the great thing about freedom Mr. Weaver. It doesn't matter that you're not into what someone else is so long as you're willing to live and let live. But these domestic terrorists, like their foreign brothers in arms, don't much give a damn about you or me our our freedoms anyway. Maybe next time, ALF will have the misfortune of encountering a rancher prepared to defend himself and his property as they try and execute one of their self-esteem building plans.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2003

Na Na Na Na Na Na Nineteen

What is it about Al Qaeda and groups of 19 young men?

Suspected members of a Canadian al-Qaeda sleeper cell who may have tested explosives and plotted attacks were told yesterday they will have to remain in custody for at least another month.

Immigration judges ruled there were sufficient grounds to hold the Pakistani men while counter-terrorism investigators examine 25 boxes of documents and 30 computers seized during recent raids.

"Obviously, it will be necessary for the authorities to sift through that material," Dennis Paxton, a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, said at the hearing of Aqeel Ahmed. "That obviously will take a long time, but so be it."

Seven of the 19 men arrested on Aug. 14 by a terrorism task force appeared before the immigration board. Four were ordered back to Maplehurst Correctional Centre, but another could be released today if he posts bail. Two other hearings were held behind closed doors. More of the men were to appear today at hearings to determine whether they can be released.

Are they nuts? Or just fans of Paul Hardcastle? Or both?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2003

For the Children

I'm not even going to give you the context for what this is about, but here's how the story ends:

"If we just rest all responsibility on parents, nothing is going to change," Weintraub added. "We think the best way to make sure parents act responsibly is to pass a federal law."

It doesn't really matter, now does it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:43 PM | Comments (4)

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

It seems wrong that a story like this shows up on the taskbar as "Yahoo! News - Hamas Abandons Truce After Israeli Strike"

And I was afraid that in the esclating cycle of violence Hamas might abandon the truce without an Israeli strike. Oh, never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2003

Reality is So Inconvenient

US notches world's highest incarceration rate

They say that like it's a bad thing.

More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday.

Disregarding some of the unfairness for the non-violent drug offenders, on the whole, I'd have to say that I'm kind of glad most of these people have been, or are, in jail.

The numbers come after many years of get-tough policies - and years when violent-crime rates have generally fallen.

What an amazing coincidence. So ...

But to some observers, they point to broader failures in US society, particularly in regard to racial minorities and others who are economically disadvantaged.

I concur that this is because of braoder failures in society, though I doubt that I'd agree with the author of this article as to what tose failures are. Let's start with the nanny state elimination of personal responsibility, shall we? But if poverty causes crime, would that mean the third world is completely overrun with nothing but criminals?

"These new numbers are shocking enough, but what we don't see are the ripple effects of what they mean: For the generation of black children today, there's almost an inevitable aspect of going to prison," says Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington.

What an incredibly racist thing to say -- however you want to read it. Using their own worst case statistics the odds of a black male spending some time in jail are about 1 in 3 in his lifetime. This is pretty damn bad, but it's a long, long way from inevitable. And I sure don't look at all the black kids I see in school and assume they are going to end up in jail -- unlike Mr. Mauer.

"We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."

Perhaps that we take crime and punishment seriously? Striking, isn't it?

Nor does the impact of incarceration end with the sentence. Former inmates can be excluded from receiving public assistance, living in public housing, or receiving financial aid for college. Ex-felons are prohibited from voting in many states. And with the increased use of background checks - especially since 9/11 - they may be permanently locked out of jobs in many professions, including education, child care, driving a bus, or working in a nursing home.

Again, they say this like it's a bad thing.

The new report also informs -

Oh, it also informs, as opposed to merely offering propoganda. How original.

... but does not settle - one of the toughest debates in American politics: whether high rates of imprisonment are related to a drop in crime rates over the past decade.

If this is one of the toughest debates in American politics, what are the easy ones? Perhaps, should the people of California recall Gray Davis?

The prison population has quadrupled since 1980. Much of that surge is the result of public policy, ...

Hmmm, I'd think that virtually all of the prison population is there because of public policy. You know, policies like thou shalt not steal, rob, beat, rape, murder...

... such as the war on drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing. Nearly 1 in 4 of the inmates in federal and state prisons are there because of drug-related offenses, most of them nonviolent.

So if we free all drug related felons, we'd still probably have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. But since the authors of this article have such a hard time seing the causal link between increased incarceration rates and lower crime rates, it should be no surprise that they also cannot see the causal link between increased criminality in our society and the destruction of families and the breakdown of the culture caused in large part by the nanny-statism of the last 40 years.

"A lot of people think that the reason crime rates have been dropping over the past several years is, in part, because we're incarcerating the people most likely to commit crimes," says Stephan Thernstrom, a historian at Harvard University.

You gotta go to Harvard to figure this out? Or worse yet, who doesn't think this is true? But unless we've devolved into some sort of Minority Report scenario, I think we are incarcerating the people who have committed crimes, as opposed to those merely likely to commit crimes.

Others say the drop has more to do with factors such as a generally healthy economy in the 1990s, more opportunity for urban youth, or better community policing.

Oh. Illiberal utopian statists. I should've known.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

Al Qaeda Jumps the Shark

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for blackout

"A communiqué attributed to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the power blackout that happened in the U.S. last Thursday, saying that the brigades of Abu Fahes Al Masri had hit two main power plants supplying the East of the U.S., as well as major industrial cities in the U.S. and Canada, 'its ally in the war against Islam (New York and Toronto) and their neighbors.'

No doubt, Bush and Cheney and all the conservative media are hiding the information about the two lost power plants from us to benefit, uh ..., um ..., Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yea, that's it!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:22 PM | Comments (1)

August 17, 2003

I Blame Al Gore

But seriously, this is the sort of thing that could get me to terminate my blog entirely, and maybe even yank the cable modem out of the wall entirely. I suppose if I was pushed far enough we might have to start discussing what the extreme limits of "all legal recourse" might be. You can say whatever you want about me -- heaven knows I probably deserve it -- but if you do anything beyond acknowledging the goodness of my children via the Internet you may learn what the word nemesis means in real life.

Link courtesy of Andrea.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2003

3rd ID

I wonder how many of the people who use the length of the current United States 3rd Infantry Division deployment to argue that Iraq is a quagmire even knew there was a United States 3rd Infantry Division six months ago. To me, this seems to be the latest example of a DNC talking points fax -- remember how often "gravitas" started appearing suddenly out of nowhere?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)