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Wide White: November 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Islamic love

While Islams in Britain are speaking out against Sudan's actions in this case, the Sudanese are undeterred.
KHARTOUM, Sudan - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."
The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages against Gibbons, who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation. She avoided the more serious punishment of 40 lashes.
"Shame, shame on the U.K.," protesters chanted.

They called for Gibbons' execution, saying, "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."
Many protesters carried clubs, knives and axes — but not automatic weapons, which some have brandished at past government-condoned demonstrations.
"Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion," the cleric, Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, a well-known hard-liner, told worshipers.

"This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad," he said.
I'll let the words of the story - and the Muslims - speak for themselves.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Republicans debating

I happened to watch the Republican debate last night. I wasn't intending to, but I came across it and decided it was high time I sit down and take stock of the field of candidates.

It's not pretty.

Here are my random thoughts on the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani: Saying that the biblical story of Jonah in the belly of a whale was purely allegorical (along with saying that much of the rest of the Bible is allegorical) couldn't have helped him with evangelicals. Neither did his statement that Islam is a "great religion".

Mitt Romney: polished and cool, he owned up to having been wrong on the abortion issue in the past and even said he believes in the Bible. I'm still not a fan.

Fred Thompson: the slow-talker from Tennessee fell flat. He was scattered and as one commentator put it, he looked like he was missing his cue card.

John McCain: he looked more sad than anything, but the 70-some-year-old has a ton of experience in war and in office to draw from, and he did so masterfully. I like that he speaks from his heart and says what he believes is right. I trust him as much as (or more than) any candidate. While I like him a lot more now than I used to, I don't think I'll be supporting him.

Mike Huckabee: I've liked him the more I've seen him, and this debate was no different. I'm not always on the same page with the Baptist minister-turned-governor, but he's typically pretty straightforward and more often than not, we're on the same page. I also liked this quote: "No finite mind can understand an infinite God, and if we think we can, then our God is too small."

Duncan Hunter: Um, Duncan who? Yeah, I know...and he performed about as well. The few meager shots he had at saying something didn't go too badly, but his argument regarding the "don't ask don't tell" military policy was horrendous.

Tom Tancredo: interesting quote: "everyone's trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo." Yeah, okay. You're still not a threat. For the most part he's right on immigration and a number of other issues, but the Colorado congressman just doesn't have the gusto to get it done.

Ron Paul: The 1988 Libertarian presidential candidate - now a Republican Congressman from Texas - has raised a ton of money and has a ton of support. Unfortunately for him, he's a thin, wiry 71-year-old whose support is largely online. We saw how much good internet support did for Howard Dean a few years ago. Ron Paul is absolutely right in his "less government" schtick, but it's not likely to stick with the hardcore Republicans. He's also very anti-war and, if you listen to John McCain, he's pro-isolationism (McCain actually has a great point on this). I tend to agree with a number of his positions and, while he's entirely un-presidential in stature and presence, he could be the next Ross Perot. Or maybe just a Ralph Nader.

My vote at this point goes to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Other candidates I could see supporting are Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, and even John McCain.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I love the Denver airport

Okay, so "love" is a strong word. But "love" and "like" are very different. "Love" tends to happen once you've spent so much time with someone that you grow to care about them regardless of their ups and downs.

Prior to this year I had only flown once as a toddler and once as a 10-year-old. This year I've flown four times, and three of those four flights has taken me through Denver, twice as a connection and once as a destination. You could say I've been growing attached.

Then, yesterday, we got stuck there for 12 hours. Our 2-hour layover on our way back from San Antonio, TX, turned into 12 hours when we decided to take two $400 travel vouchers and $52 in airport food vouchers in exchange for our seats on an overcrowded flight.

Was it worth it? Oh yeah! We got a bunch of Christmas shopping done (who knew an airport could have so many cool gifts?) and met up with a friend of my wife's who recently moved to Denver.

And now we're trying to figure out where we could go for $800. Alaska would be around $900. Hmm...

So, like it or not, I think I have formed a bond with the Denver airport that has possibly gone to full-blown love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My commute home is going to be rough

This is sad.
One hit, killed by light rail train

A person is dead after being hit by a light rail train at 46th and Hiawatha Ave South Wednesday afternoon. Initial reports are that the victim crossed in front of the train.

Minneapolis Police, Fire crews, an ambulance from the Hennepin County Medical Center and Metro Transit police have responded to the scene.

Few details are available at this time. KARE 11 will provide the latest information here online, and at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.
I cross in front of the train every day on my way into work, as do hundreds of other people. It will be interesting to hear what this person (or train operator) did wrong.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another dynamite quote

I feel bad for San Francisco's crabbers dealing with the recent oil spill in San Francisco Bay, but hello Mr. Obvious on this quote.
"We can't be bringing in crabs that are possibly toxic. That wouldn't be good for the market at all. People don't want to buy toxic food."
No, I actually really like a bit of toxicity in my food. It gives it a little zing!

I probably should cut the guy some slack. I'm sure some reporter just stuck a microphone in his face and asked him a stupid question that deserved a stupid answer.

But can I still laugh at it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote of the month

A co-worker forwarded me a story about monkeys rampaging through India (remember last month's post about elephants rampaging through India?). I got more of a laugh out of this quote from the deputy police commissioner of New Dehli than I did over the nature of the story itself.
"As police we're not experts in dealing with monkeys. We can deal with mad bulls but monkeys are more difficult"
I loved the acknowledgement that they could deal with bulls, but monkeys? Who are you kidding?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Even the Weather Channel can't decide on global warming

The guy who founded The Weather Channel is calling global warming a scam "the greatest scam in history".
Weather Channel founder calls global warming a scam

The founder of the Weather Channel cable network is getting some heat over his contention that global warming is "the greatest scam in history."

John Coleman, now meteorologist of KUSI-TV in San Diego, issued that declaration in a lengthy blog posting on

Among Coleman's points:

• The campaign to assign a degree of human responsibility for global warming was hatched by "dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives" in the "late 1990s to create an allusion of rapid global warming."

• From there, "friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going." Then, "environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild 'scientific' scenario."

Coleman then went on to try and separate belief from science: "Global warming, i.e. climate change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you 'believe in.' It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of lifelong expertise."
As for how Coleman explains his conclusion, he wrote that he "read dozens of the scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct when I assure you there is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril."

He added that the are "hundreds of other meteorologists ... who are as certain as I am that this global warming frenzy ... is not valid."
And the pot continues to be stirred...

Friday, November 09, 2007

I like the Minnesota smoking ban

But I still think it's wrong.

As of October 1st, smoking is illegal in restaurants and other establishments in the state of Minnesota. While I love not having to breathe smoke, it still violates the constitution.

Apparently, it's also having an impact on business owners.
Bar owner says Minnesota smoking ban put him out of business

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A Detroit Lakes area bar owner is blaming Minnesota's new smoking ban for putting him out of business.

Kent Tweten said he had owned T.F. Boonies south of Detroit Lakes for only a few months and was working to build a customer base when the statewide smoking ban took effect Oct. 1.

Tweten said his "happy hours" were growing when the ban hit, but after that his after-work business shrunk to nothing.

Tweten, a former Moorhead bar owner, said most established bars may be able to hang on, but he predicts some will have no choice but to close because of the smoking ban.

On Monday, the state Health Department issued a statement saying that the smoking ban, known officially as the Freedom to Breathe law, was being implemented as anticipated.

It said the department had notified 31 businesses that they need to do more to comply with the law, but the department said it had not taken any formal enforcement action.

"We're grateful to Minnesotans for embracing the law and for helping to protect one another from the hazards of secondhand smoke," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan, in a prepared statement.

Magnan said the smoking ban would protect Minnesotans from the health risks of secondhand smoke.
I'm kind of surprised that there are that many people who have to have a cigarette with their drink that they're willing to have a beer alone in their living room with cigarette in hand rather than trek into the non-smoking world of the bar.

Still, the constitution is the constitution. Period.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How much is dessert worth?

I have trouble paying more than $4 or $5 for dessert, $10 if it's something really, really special. But in New York City, you'll have to shell out $25,000 for this masterpiece.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A day after New York City came up with a $1,000 bagel, a local restaurateur unveiled a $25,000 chocolate sundae on Wednesday, setting a Guinness world record for the most expensive dessert.

Stephen Bruce, owner of Serendipity 3, partnered with luxury jeweler Euphoria New York to create the "Frrozen Haute Chocolate," a blend of 28 cocoas, including 14 of the most expensive and exotic from around the globe.

The dessert, spelled with two Rs, is infused with 5 grams (0.2 ounces) of edible 23-karat gold and served in a goblet lined with edible gold. At the base of the goblet is an 18-karat gold bracelet with 1 carat of white diamonds.

The sundae is topped with whipped cream covered with more gold and a side of La Madeline au Truffle from Knipschildt Chocolatier, which sells for $2,600 a pound.

It is eaten with a gold spoon decorated with white and chocolate-colored diamonds, which can also be taken home.
Seriously...who would want to eat gold?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No news is good news

I typically generate blog posts from what's going on in the world, but can't seem to find anything worth blogging about. I like it, actually. Nothing to be too upset about, nothing worth much excitement. I like it when life is like that.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Go Heels!

I'm a die-hard University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball fan. My dad, grandpa, and other generations before them were born and raised in North Carolina, so regardless of my Midwestern roots, I'm a devoted Tar Heels fan.

So, this is good.
North Carolina is No. 1 in a preseason Top 25 featuring 6 Pac-10 teams

North Carolina is back in its familiar preseason spot -- No. 1.
For the sixth time since The Associated Press started a preseason college basketball poll in 1961, the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 Friday. They beat out UCLA and Memphis in a three-way race for the top spot.
Three starters, including junior center Tyler Hansbrough, are among eight contributors back from that [last year's] team.
The season starts in 12 days and counting...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Afterall, it is Winona...

Call me cruel towards pigs, but this story cracked me up (for reasons that had nothing to do with the poor animal's unfortunate situation).
Woman claims pet-sitter made her pig fat

A woman wants abuse charges filed against an acquaintance who was pet-sitting for her potbellied pig and allowed the animal to get fat.

Michelle Schmitz said her pig, Alaina Templeton, weighed 50 pounds when Schmitz left her with a co-worker who offered to care for the animal in February, when Schmitz went on medical leave to recover from ankle surgeries.

Nine months later, the pig weighed 150 pounds and it took veterinarians 4 1/2 hours to surgically remove the animal's collar, the Winona Daily News reported. Officers are investigating whether Alaina was abused by the sitter's neglect and overfeeding.

Investigator Jeff Mueller of the Winona County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that no charges had been filed against the pig sitter, whose name was not released.

Schmitz, 22, said she bottle-fed Alaina when she was just 11 days old and kept her on a strict diet to keep her weight at about 50 pounds.

When she tried to recover the pig in April, Schmitz said the co-worker wouldn't return her calls. She said that she didn't know where the woman lived and that when she finally found the woman's farm Saturday, she discovered that Alaina's neck had grown around her collar and that the pig had trouble breathing.

The pig now wears bandages and is healing from a pressure wound and neck infection.

Schmitz said she cried for three days after she discovered her pet's weight problem.

"That pig is my life," said Schmitz, who has a tattoo of Alaina's name.
That's just priceless.

Call me crazy, but when you give your pig to an "acquaintance", you don't know where that acquaintance lives, and you come back 9 months later on a search for the much of you life does that pig really consume?

But, I'll take her at her word. Afterall, she does have that tattoo.