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Berry's World
Saturday, April 03, 2004
 
MAN, I AM GETTING OLD

Because MAD TV was a repeat, I watched a little bit of Saturday Night Live, and got a painful reminder that I am getting old fast.

I can actually remember when SNL was a comedy show.
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OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE STAPLES CENTER

On March 8th, the Los Angeles Lakers lost a tough road game at Utah, 88-83, and woke up the next morning ranked 4th in the NBA's Western Conference, trailing the evil and hated Sacramento Kings by 5 1/2 games. Since then, the Lakers have won 11 in a row, and are now the top ranked team in the West.

On March 14th, the Los Angeles Kings beat the evil and hated Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 5-1, and despite setting an NHL record for man games lost to injuries, woke up the next morning tied for 7th in the NHL's Western Conference. Since then, the Kings have lost 10 games in a row, and are now eliminated from playoff contention.
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WHY'D SHE DO IT?

I will be the first to admit that I simply have no idea why Audrey Seiler faked her own abduction, but I would be willing to bet all the money in my pocket that the simplistic and sarcastic reason Donald Sensing came up with ain't it.
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SHE MAKES IT SOUND LIKE A BAD THING

Margaret Sullivan has a short review of Pledged, by Alexandra Robbins, which seems to indicate that sororities have changed quite a bit since I was a fraternity boy in my undergrad days:

Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be pledges. Sorority pledges, that is. Because if you do--according to Alexandra Robbins's often startling study of college sororities--your daughters may soon be piercing their private parts, guzzling grain alcohol until they pass out, and pimping the sexual favors of their sorority sisters. And that's not all. They may be vomiting after every meal to be as slender as their sisters. They may be taking recreational drugs and suffering date rape more frequently than most college students.

However, as Sullivan rightly points out, by not using real names and real locations, Robbins leaves herself and her book open to the current Jason Blair-induced cynicism.
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Friday, April 02, 2004
 
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME

Opening Day is nearly upon us, and rather than follow the ebb and flow of a six month season, I can tell you how things will shake out now:

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1) PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES---This is the year the underachieving Phillies live up to their potential.

2) ATLANTA BRAVES---The streak of consecutive division titles ends at 12.

3) NEW YORK METS---The Mets picked up 10 games in the standings simply by not having Mo Vaughn on the roster.

4) FLORIDA MARLINS---The Fish will continue their history of World Series hangovers.

5) MONTREAL EXPOS---The Expos are like Princeton in the NCAA basketball tournament. They'll play well, everybody will pull for them, and they simply cannot compete with the big dogs.


NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1) HOUSTON ASTROS---The Astros are the schoolyard bullies of the National League, and they will be taking everybody's lunch money.

2) ST. LOUIS CARDINALS---A potent offensive line-up, along with great defense will have Cards in the hunt.

3) CHICAGO CUBS---Loss in the playoffs last season will haunt the Cubs for years to come.

4) CINCINNATI REDS---The Reds line-up is underrated, and if the starting rotation comes through, they could make a run at a .500 season.

5) PITTSBURGH PIRATES---The Pirates have some good young prospects, but they are still going to suffer through their 12th straight losing season.

6) MILWAUKEE BREWERS---The Brewers may have the most minor league talent in baseball, but they are, at best, a year away.


NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1) SAN DIEGO PADRES---With Jake Peavy leading the way, the Padres will christen Petco Park with a division title.

2) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS---After Randy Johnson, the starting rotation thins out fast. Real fast.

3) COLORADO ROCKIES---When Shawn Estes is your number one starter, you have problems. The Rockies are going to lose a lot of 11-10 games.

4) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS---With one every day player under the age of 30, the Giants are the official team of AARP.

5) VACANT

6) VACANT

7) LOS ANGELES DODGERS---If everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, goes right, the Dodgers could finish 5th.


AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1) NEW YORK YANKESS---If the brittle and creaky rotation falters, which is a real possibility, the Yankees could actually be in trouble.

2) BOSTON RED SOX---The Red Sox will be bridesmaids for 7th consecutive year.

3) TORONTO BLUE JAYS---The Blue Jays could win 90 games and still watch the playoffs on TV.

4) BALTIMORE ORIOLES---Despite bringing in Tejada, the Birds are the epitome of an average team.

5) TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS---If things go right, 4th place isn't out of the question for Lou Pinella's club.


AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1) MINNESOTA TWINS---Who's going to stop Minnesota from winning a third straight division title?

2) CLEVELAND INDIANS---The Tribe is still a year away from seriously competing for a division title.

3) KANSAS CITY ROYALS---The Royals are a tempting choice to win the division, until you look at the starting rotation.

4) DETROIT TIGERS---This year's Tigers are better than last year's Tigers, but then again, most self-respecting high school teams are better than last year's Tigers.

5) CHICAGO WHITE SOX---With 7 of their first 15 games against the Yankees, the White Sox could be mathematically eliminated by May 1st.


AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1) ANAHEIM ANGELS---The Yankees may have more individual talent than Anaheim, but the Angels are the best TEAM in baseball.

2) SEATTLE MARINERS---May not win 90 games for a 5th straight year, but should win enough to finish ahead of Oakland.

3) OAKLAND ATHLETICS---Solid starting rotation can't overcome mediocre line-up.

4) TEXAS RANGERS---It's going to be a long, long season in Texas.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD TEAM: St. Louis Cardinals
AMERICAN LEAGUE WILD CARD TEAM: Boston Red Sox

WORLD SERIES: Houston Astros vs. Anaheim Angels

WORLD CHAMPIONS: Anaheim Angels

So there you have it. Now run, don't walk, run to your local bookie and bet the rent money on the Anaheim Angels to win the World Series! I guarantee it!

(Note: Berry's World does not intend the use of any prediction for gaming or any type of gambling. All predictions are STRICTLY FOR AMUSEMENT PURPOSES ONLY! Berry's World makes no promises or guarantees. All sales are final.)

UPDATE: Matt Welch posted his predictions for the upcoming season, and while his choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West indicates that he hasn't quite sworn off bong-hits, he comes to the same conclusion I did. Now you have two clearly unbiased sources telling you the Anaheim Angels will rule the baseball world come October.
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SHE'S BAAAACK!

Battle Panda is back, and reportedly fully recovered from the disasterous haircut that chased her to Florida.
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THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS OF POLITICAL WRITING

Uncle Hornhead turns us on to an editorial by Kaye Grogan, who wants to criminalize disrespecting the presidency, and it is such a poorly written, imbecilic, idiotic piece of drivel that I read it twice.

While reading the column, I was under the impression that Grogan was mentally challenged, and the website was printing the story to be kind. Kind of like the way people treat William Hung, or Pauly Shore. It turns out I was partly right, as the story appears on Opinion Editorials.com, which from the looks of things, will print anything and everything.

If you want a good chuckle, read the whole thing. Of course, you may want to check your brain at the door.
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HOW CAN THEY SLEEP AT NIGHT?

By now, you’ve probably seen the video from the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, California showing two correctional counselors beating two inmates like baby seals.

Here's one description of the events captured on the videotape:

Brown sat on Morales' back and did not attempt to handcuff or restrain him. And the video shows Brown grabbing Morales' hair and lifting his head off the ground, apparently to get a better angle for his punches. Investigators said Brown punched Morales approximately 28 times, about 13 with his right hand and 15 with his left.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s here.

However, if the video isn't shocking enough, consider the aftermath.

How did local prosecutors handle the matter?

San Joaquin County prosecutors initially filed charges against the wards, but they were dropped when the officers invoked their right against self-incrimination.

They declined to file criminal charges against the officers, arguing, in part, that they were acting in self defense.


So, local prosecutors were going to file charges, but decided not to when the guards wouldn't talk about it? But wait, shouldn't there be some kind of report?

The guards' accounts of the Chaderjian altercation "were misleading, factually false and contradicted by witness statements and the videotape evidence," internal affairs agents reported March 17, after interviewing 35 wards and 25 staff members.

OK, now the guards are on tape beating two inmates, they have lied in their reports, and now won't talk about things. Surely local prosecutors are going to reconsider their decision not to charge the guards with something, right?

On Thursday, Romero asked prosecutors to reconsider that decision. But Jim Willett, assistant district attorney, said that would not happen.

"We made our review based on all of the evidence, not just material on the videotape," Willett said. "And based on all of the evidence, we concluded there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction."


Well, even if the locals aren't going to take action, California's Attorney General will want to get to the bottom of things, right?

Indeed, a top deputy to Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, who is reviewing the incident, visited Romero's office early Thursday and asked that she not release it (the videotape).

"It's not helpful," Lockyer spokesman Nathan Barankin said later in the day. "It's this sort of thing that provides ammunition to a defense attorney if charges are eventually filed."

Wait a second. You think any defense attorney is going to want to use this video? They will file motion after motion to exclude it. Somebody has to stand up to these guards, so what did officials of the prison guard's union think?

"I believe the counselors were defending themselves," said David Darchuk, president of the institution's union chapter, after viewing the video.

Well, at least we had a full and complete investigation to get to the bottom of things. Of course, I'm still kind of wondering how many times you are allowed to punch a montionless person and still have it considered self-defense.

We've got 28, do I hear 29?
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Thursday, April 01, 2004
 
THE WHIMSY OF SCOTT MCCLELLAN

Scott McClellan is asked about the possibility of a presidential press conference:

Q When is the President going to hold a news conference? He has not tackled any of these issues in an overall news conference, full-scale, since last December 15th. Isn't it about time that we had a time -- chance, that is, to question?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate your question, and I always try to work to accommodate your needs.

Q Well, is there any possibility of having one --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there's nothing I'm announcing today. But I understand your question and I will certainly take it into consideration.

Q Is it a difficult question?

MR. McCLELLAN: (To a different reporter) Go ahead.

Later, McClellan pulls a little prank:

Q A couple things. First, I just wanted to associate myself with Helen's request here. There are a lot --

MR. McCLELLAN: Anybody else? Anybody? Okay.

Q It would be great to hear from the President.

MR. McCLELLAN: Okay, we will do one later today. Oh, April Fool's, I'm sorry. (Laughter.)

For the record, it's been 108 days since President Bush held a press conference.
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HE'S BAAAACK!

The Gropinator's back and there's gonna be trouble!
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ATTACK MACHINE READINESS

Back in 2000, then Governor Bush questioned the military's readiness to defend the nation in two simultaneous wars in different parts of the globe. Now we'll see if the Bush Attack Machine is ready to simultaneously savage two people who have the temerity to question the actions of the current administration.

With the president's surrogates already attacking Richard Clarke with everything they've got, and probably not going to let up soon considering that Condoleezza Rice will be testifying before the 9-11 Commission in a week, they now have Jack Spadaro in the headlights.

Spadaro will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday saying the Bush administration covered up the reasons for a toxic coal slurry spill in Appalachia that ranks among the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. According to Spadaro, political appointees in the Department of Labor whitewashed the report that said an energy company that had contributed to the Republican Party was responsible for the 300-million gallon spill.

Maybe we should have a pool on what the major line of attack will be.

Spadaro will be portrayed as:

A liar?
A disgruntled ex-head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy?
Trying to sell a book?
Trying to influence a political election?
A former drug addict?
A pedophile?
Other?

60 Minutes airs Sunday at 7PM, so we'll only have to wait until Sunday at, oh, 7:30PM to find out.
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SOME REFRESHING HONESTY

ESPN, in an effort to help out the fantasy baseball players amongst us, has a fantasy correspondent for every Major League ballclub. These correspondents are not professional journalists, but merely fans who, presumably, play fantasy baseball and follow their team very closely. Up until recently, there was nobody who wanted to be the fantasy correspondent for the Montreal Expos, but Andy Behrens has stepped up to the plate, and offered this nugget in his first report:

If you've come to this page looking for insight on, say, Zach Day or Tomo Ohka, here's some friendly advice: give up, loser. Pay the commissioner and get on with your life.

After making sure I didn’t have Day or Ohka on my team, The Van Nuys Hamsters, I cracked up.
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WELL, NOW WE KNOW WHY HE CALLS HIMSELF ACIDMAN

Rob, over at Gut Rumbles, refers to himself as AcidMan, apparently, because he's done so much acid over the years that he can't remember his actions of just two days ago. You may be familiar with Rob for the small amount of notoriety he recently gained for writing about a brawl at a high school basketball game highlighted with these comments:

I saw the news clips. There wasn't a white face in the bunch. The gym was filled with black people who went totally African at the end of the game.

Don't nigger-up and turn a high school gym into a scene right out of Haiti.

But guess who it is almost every time, darlin? Yep. It's the niggers going crazy again.

Anyway, for this blogger poll, I e-mailed Rob asking who he felt our enemy is in the current war we're fighting. He e-mailed me back, and I posted his answer:

Our country is at war with every scheming terrorist in the world.

Here’s Rob this morning:

This guy (me) is a complete dickhead. I didn't answer his poll, but I'll answer now.

Just to help Rob come back out of his acid-induced haze, here is the e-mail he sent me with his answer:

FROM: Acidman
DATE: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 3:48 AM
TO: Keith Berry
SUBJECT: Re: We're At War With Who?

Our country is at war with every scheming terrorist in
the world. We're winning, too. We're picking off
their leaders and drying up their funds. I do not see
this action as a bad thing. I see it as something
that should have started long before 9/11, but we had
a cunt-hound and a poser in the Oval Office when
action should have been taken.

You asked, so you now have MY humble opinion.

Acidman


There's some talk that Rob may be leaving the country soon, and I hope that's not true. I mean, even lying, racists deserve representation on the Internet.
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
 
THE CASE OF CAMILO MEJIA

60 Minutes II had an interview with Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, who went AWOL from his unit in Iraq because he is morally opposed to a war that has killed or wounded nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers. Here are some of the things he said:

When you look at the war, and you look at the reasons that took us to war, and you don’t find that any of the things that we were told that we’re going to war for turned out to be true, when you don’t find there are weapons of mass destruction, and when you don’t find that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, and you see that you’re not helping the people and the people don’t want you there. To me, there’s no military contract and no military duty that’s going to justify being a part of that war.

I have not deserted the military. I have not been disloyal to the men and women of the military. I have not been disloyal to a country. I have only been loyal to my principles. And I think that gives me the right to decide not to be a part of something that I consider criminal. I realize I have a duty to the military and I’m going to face that duty. And I’m going to face my responsibility.

I would say this war is not about America. This war is not about safety. This war is not about freedom. This war should not be paid with the blood of American soldiers. And if I do end up paying with jail, then at least I’ll know that it was for the right decision.

I came away thinking that Mejia, who will face a special court martial, was impressive. Some may call him a coward, but not me. To me, Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia is an honorable, decent, and honest young man who made an impossible decision based on his strongly-held principles.

And he's also guilty of desertion, and if he is sentenced to the one-year prison sentence and a bad conduct discharge he is facing, he should be thankful that he got off easy.
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AIR AMERICA-MIA

I tried to listen to the new liberal talk radio network, Air America Radio, but couldn't get anything but static here in my apartment. I tried 3 different radios and got nothing. I went as far as to ask a neighbor to see if he could get it, and he got the same static I did.

While out driving, I was able to pick it up, but the static came and went making it very annoying. While I can't really say if it was any good or not, considering that I could only listen for maybe two minutes at a time before losing the signal for an extended period, it did seem like Al Franken's co-host, Katherine Lanpher, never met anybody she wouldn't interupt. At one point, while interviewing Michael Moore, Lanpher broke in with "Let me ask you a question," to which Moore replied "Let me finish a sentence."

So, that means Air America's broadcast in Los Angeles can't be heard in Orange County or the San Fernando Valley. That ain't good.
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WHAT'S THAT HAT SIZE?

In reference to the previous post concerning who we are at war with, David Warren e-mailed to say one of the big differences in the current war and past wars is the large number of 'wilful idiots', which can best be described as people who don't agree with him. I e-mailed back that 'I guess I don't share your arrogance.'

David's reply?

You're not in a position to do so.

Fair enough, but when arrogance and pomposity hit $25 a barrel, I call dibs on the drilling rights to Dave's head.
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WHO ARE WE AT WAR WITH?

"We are at war, and we better be ready on all fronts."
President George W. Bush, March 30, 2004

During the War of 1812, you could have asked any American who we were at war with, and chances are nearly everyone would have had the same answer; The United Kingdom. During the Korean War, nearly all Americans would have said we were fighting The Communists. In 1990, everyone would have told you we were fighting Iraq.

These days, I think most Americans would agree with that we, the United States, are at war. But from reading various weblogs, the agreement seems to stop there. It appeared to me that one of the reasons that political discourse concerning the war was hampered was the fact that we can't even agree with who we are at war with. So I asked a few bloggers from the Left and the Right to say who THEY thought we are at war with, and here are their answers (Keep in mind, I asked only for the blogger's own opinion, so there are no right and wrong answers, and their responses are printed in the order I received them.)

We are at war with Islamist terror, supported and fostered by Arab dictatorships who --along with some non-Arab states -- view the terrorists as a useful means of limiting U.S. influence in the region.
Instapundit

Without regard to whatever legalisms, I think we're at war with Al Qaeda. I think there's an argument to add to the Enemies list any terrorist organization that has A) declared war on the U.S., and B) attacked us; I'd imagine in practice that there aren't too many of those groups, though I'm too ignorant to say off-hand.
Matt Welch

International terrorist organizations, & by extension, states or any other entities which patronize or shelter them.
David Warren Online

Islamic fascists (both religious and secular).
Michael J. Totten

I believe we ought to be at war with al-Qaeda. I think our foreign policy has put us at war with quite a few more folks than that.
The Agitator

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Al Qaeda. However, the number of terrorist groups affiliated with AQ number far and wide.
Daniel Drezner

A loosely knit coalition of terrorist groups, some perhaps unconnected to others, others with loose links to others. The largest that we know of is Al Qaeda. We are also fighting a war of ideals with a large portion of the world.
Balloon Juice

Radical Islamic fundamentalists and their supporters.
Croooow Blog

The kids of al-Qaeda. The new generation of terrorists will find ways to do things to us and our interests that, in the long run (cumulatively), will make 9/11 look trivial. This is coming from our own Foreign Policy. Giving Israel a free ride for too long has alienated Muslims the world over. Our cultural imperialism hasn't endeared anyone to us either.
Uncle Hornhead

The forces of radical Islam.
Tim Blair

The Muslim World.
The Scooter's Freakin' Wicked Weblog

I'm not sure who we're at war with, but I can tell you who we're not at war with:
1. al Qaeda. If we were, we would've had troops in Spain, Uzbekistan, the Sudan, Yemen, take your pick. Al Qaeda may be in Iraq now, but they weren't prior to this time last year.
2. The Taliban. If we were, we would've devoted more military resources to Afghanistan to get rid of all of them, including bin Laden and most of al Qaeda.
3. "Terror". If we were, we would've worked harder the last three years to bring some sort of peace to the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, the Chechen rebels situation in the Russian federation, and on and on.
alandwilliams.com

Our country is at war with every scheming terrorist in the world.
Gut Rumbles

America -- as in the population -- are at war with Al-Queda and specifically Osama Bin Laden.
Anarchy in the AM

We're at war with Radical Islamic Fundamentalists.
Ben Domenech

In our 'current war' I guess 'Iraqi resistance'
The Hamster

I think the Bushies are at war with anyone not loyal to W.
Scoobie Davis Online

Primarily we're fighting militant Islamic terrorism.
Calpundit (Yeah, I know he's the Political Animal now, but I like Calpundit better.)

Terrorists... period.
Kevin McCullough
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AMERICAN IDOL UPDATE

I am very proud to announce that my Cal Ripken-like streak of avoiding any and all reality shows is still intact!

Within a year or two, I fully expect to be the only person left in America who has never watched American Idol, The Apprentice, Celebrity Mole, Meet My Folks, America's Next Model, Who Wants to Marry My Dad, Extreme Makeover, Survivor, Joe Millionaire, Average Joe, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, Making The Band, Amish In The City, Big Brother, and every other reality program on TV.
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A REASON TO BE PROUD OF CALIFORNIA

He never made more than $6,000 a year, and when he died he didn't own a car or a house, but in 2000 California was the first state in the nation to make today a paid holiday to honor Cesar Chavez.

Take a moment to think about a true American hero who would have turned 77 today.


Cesar Chavez
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004
 
I CAN'T BUILD A CLOCK, BUT I KNOW HOW TO TELL TIME

I also want you to know I understand job creation.

President George W. Bush, 3-30-04
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YOU WANNA KILL SOMEBODY? COME TO CALIFORNIA!!!

Leslie Smoot left her two foster children in her Cadillac Escalade for five hours in near 100-degree heat, killing both of them, and three weeks ago was sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Does that sentence seem a little stiff?

Maybe so, considering the case of Vahan Shahenian. The 23-year-old Shahenian, after just seeing the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious, was driving his car 80 miles per hour until he collided with another car, killing 78-year-old Keiji Iko. Today, San Fernando Superior Court Judge Charles Peven sentenced Shahenian to 25 days in jail, 4 years of felony probation, and 400 hours of community service.

Keep in mind, while we may not take the death of one of our citizens seriously here in the Golden State, we won't tolerate you trying to sell a bong!
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DUSTING OFF AN OLD CHESTNUT

You would think that after five government investigations concluded that Vince Foster killed himself, we'd finally heard the last of the wingnut theory that Foster was murdered, right?

Sadly, no.
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DOES THIS SEEM RIGHT?

Here's something that keeps running around in my head. With all of the talk about whether President Bush and Richard Clarke met in the situation room complex on September 12, 2001, Scott McClellan has said the same thing a couple of times:

There's no record of the President being in the Situation Room on that day that it was alleged to have happened, on the day of September the 12th.

He doesn't have any recollection of it, and, again, it purportedly took place in the Situation Room. There's no record to indicate that happened.

While forgetting about the possible meeting between Clarke and President Bush, does it seem plausible that on the day after the most horrific attack on our nation in history, the President of the United States never stepped foot in the Situation Room?
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Monday, March 29, 2004
 
WELL, THAT KIND OF GOES WITHOUT SAYING, DOESN'T IT?

Hospital Patients Are Sick and Tired

Now if hospital patients were healthy and refreshed, that would be a news story.
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STOP IT, YOU'RE KILLING ME!

Jokes, Pranks, And Hijinks:

Prank Leads To Jail Term

A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting a bus driver with a plastic bag filled with vomit and feces. Court heard Shaun Mathew Mosionier of Winnipeg and two other men took their cue for the Oct. 20 stunt from the MTV series Jackass, which features people doing stupid things. Mosionier's two cohorts filled a bag with their own waste, then one of them donned a clown's wig and waited at a bus stop. When the bus pulled up and the driver opened the doors, the other young man tossed the bag inside. Mosionier's job was to videotape the prank. The bag exploded on impact and covered the 43-year-old driver with the mess.

Teacher Arrested In Prank

A Brooklyn elementary school teacher was arrested Monday on child endangerment charges after suspending a 5-year-old student by his pants' belt loop on a hook inside a classroom closet. Police arrested Jason Schoenberger, 24, at PS 279 on E. 104 Street in Canarsie in connection with a practical joke pulled on another instructor last Thursday at the school. Schoenberger, a music teacher for the past two years, allegedly suspended the 5-year-old student on a coat hook in the closet of his classroom. Schoenberger then told another teacher that he couldn't find the student and asked the teacher to look in the closet, police said.

Zoo Worker Fired For "Fear Factor" Prank

An Akron Zoo employee was fired for diving into a penguin tank in a prank inspired by the T-V show "Fear Factor." The Akron Zoo says Tiffany Whipkey's dive began with a lunch-table discussion about "Fear Factor" and turned into a bet. A zoo employee reported the stunt to administrators, who watched security tapes of the incident.

Teens Charged After Prank Goes Too Far

One minute Martha Alcaraz was being awakened by her 17-year-old daughter and told that someone was throwing rocks at the girl's window. The next she was staring through a car windshield at the female teenage culprits, demanding that they get out. She wanted them to clean up the mess -- the toilet paper that streamed from her trees, the paint balls and eggs that coated her front door, the obscene chalk drawings on the sidewalk and front porch. And she wanted their names. "I was telling them, 'Just get out of the car. Tell me who you are,'" said Alcaraz, 37. "I got on top of the car. I didn't think they would drive off." But they did. For the next 15 to 20 minutes, Alcaraz said, she clung to the hood as the teenage driver swerved through the Lake Country Estates neighborhood, making sudden turns and stops in an unsuccessful attempt to toss Alcaraz from the car. Alcaraz finally got off, uninjured except for a few cuts on her hands, and called police, who stopped the carload of young females a short time later.

Man Shot To Death As Prank Escalates

A man's game of keep-away with a 16-year-old girl's hairpiece turned deadly Wednesday night when the girl's mother shot the man, who had reportedly been pestering the girl, investigators said. Detectives say Joedell Newton, 22, snatched the hair extension off the head of a 16-year-old friend, refusing to give it back unless the girl begged for it, said homicide Detective Cheryl Johnson. The girl eventually went inside her apartment while Newton remained outside, clowning around with the fake ponytail, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Johnson said someone then knocked on the girl's door, and her mother, Dorothy Claivil, 36, opened the door. The girl told her mother, "Don't worry about the ponytail because whatever they did with it, I don't want it," the affidavit stated. Claivil then closed the door. Johnson said someone continued to knock on the family's door multiple times. The mother opened the door again and shot Newton once in the arm, Johnson said. Police say the bullet traveled into Newton's chest. He was later pronounced dead at John Peter Smith Hospital.
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SLIPPERY SCOTT MCCLELLAN

3-21-04---Richard Clarke: There was a meeting.

STAHL: You talk about a conversation you personally had with the president.

CLARKE: Yes. The president -- we were in the situation room complex -- the president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said 'Iraq did this.'

STAHL: Didn't you tell him that you'd looked and there'd been no connection?

CLARKE: I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.' He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean, that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report.

3-22-04---Scott McClellan: Poppycock, there was not a meeting.

Q Scott, this morning, you said the President didn't recall the conversation in the Situation Room on September 12th that Mr. Clarke said he had, where the President asked Dick Clarke three times to pursue links between 9/11 and Iraq. And you said he doesn't -- I had two questions. So did the President tell you or somebody in the White House over the weekend, he doesn't recall?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I talked to him. He doesn't recall that conversation or meeting.

Q And that was -- he said it this morning, or this weekend? When did he say that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this weekend and this morning, yes.

Q Okay. And secondly, Clarke now says that he has three eyewitnesses, and he repeated it again this morning, and he named them -- to the conversation.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's just step backwards -- regardless, regardless, put that aside. There's no record of the President being in the Situation Room on that day that it was alleged to have happened, on the day of September the 12th. When the President is in the Situation Room, we keep track of that. But put all that aside, let's go to the heart of the matter. This was supposedly the day after the September 11th attacks. And, of course, you want to look at all possibilities of who might be responsible. It would be irresponsible not to consider all responsibilities.

And, in fact, I would point out that Mr. Clarke himself said in a "Frontline" interview, he emphasized the importance of officials having a very open mind. On the -- quote: "On the day of September 11th, then the day or two following, we had a very open mind." Those are words from Dick Clarke. He went on to say: "The CIA and FBI were asked, see if it's Hezbollah, see if it's Hamas, don't assume it's al Qaeda. Don't just assume it's al Qaeda." So I think that --


Q Well, so are you saying that while the President doesn't recall that conversation, are you leaving open the possibility that there's these three eyewitnesses that Clarke says, therefore it may have happened?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, but let's go even beyond that. One, in the immediate aftermath of an attack like that, you want to explore all possibilities. And that's what this administration did. Of course, you want to do that. But just days later, the President met with his National Security Council; the Director of Central Intelligence informed him that there was no link between the September 11th attacks and Iraq. And at the National Security Council meeting, what happened? There was a map that was unrolled on the table, and it was a map of Afghanistan. And what did the President do? The President directed that we go into Afghanistan, and we go after al Qaeda, and we go after and remove the Taliban from power so that al Qaeda would no longer have a safe harbor from which to plan and plot their attacks on the American people.

Q Okay, Clarke is now saying that the -- your response this morning was an example of how the Bush administration just goes after -- just uses ad hominem attacks and tries to suppress the truth.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, when someone uses such charged rhetoric that is just not matched by the facts, it's important that we set the record straight. And that's what we're doing. If you look back at his past comments and his past actions, they contradict his current rhetoric. I talked to you all a little bit about that earlier today. Go back and look at exactly what he has said in the past and compare that with what he is saying today. And ask yourself why, one-and-a-half years later, after he left the administration, he's, all of a sudden, coming forward with these grave concerns? If he had had such grave concerns, why didn't he come out with them sooner?

Q Scott, two questions. So you're saying, because the President doesn't recall the conversation -- you're not saying he denies that that conversation happened?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm saying let's look at the heart of the matter, regardless of whether or not that took place. The President doesn't recollect it. But let's look at the heart of the matter. And that is, in the aftermath of an attack like that, the immediate aftermath, is it responsible to explore all possibilities? Of course, it is. And Dick Clarke said so, himself.

Q He's not denying that that conversation could have taken place?

MR. McCLELLAN: He doesn't have any recollection of it, and, again, it purportedly took place in the Situation Room. There's no record to indicate that happened.

3-26-04---White House: OK, there probably was a meeting.

Retracted White House statements do little to boost public trust. CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports, until today, the Bush administration denied a meeting had taken place between the president and Clarke, during which Bush allegedly instructed Clarke to investigate Saddam Hussein and Iraq after Sept. 11.

The White House today reversed that comment, and staff members now tell reporters, "We are not denying such a meeting took place. It probably did."


3-29-04---Scott McClellan: Like I said, there could have been a meeting.

Q Scott, does the President now remember that September 12th discussion with Richard Clarke, the pull-aside where Clarke says --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, look --

Q Initially you said he didn't remember it.

MR. McCLELLAN: There were some media reports that failed to report everything that we said last week. We pointed out what was recalled, and what the record showed, but at the same time, we made it very clear from the beginning that regardless, of course the President was asking people to explore all possibilities of who might have been responsible for the attacks of September 11th. It was important to have an open mind in the immediate aftermath and to explore all possibilities of who might be responsible.
We said that from the very beginning, yet some media outlets refused to report that part of what we said last week. So the idea that all of a sudden there was a change, we simply said what we said: Regardless of whether or not there was a meeting, let's get to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is that of course in the immediate aftermath of a terrible and tragic attack like that -- like what happened on September 11th, you want to explore all possibilities.


Q But didn't Rice say last evening that there was -- that the President did ask Clarke to pursue whether or not Iraq had a role in 9/11?

MR. McCLELLAN: She was saying that the President thought it was important to explore all possibilities.

Q But didn't you say that the President didn't recollect that meeting?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think she was saying that that -- she was talking about whether or not that meeting happened, she was just saying, look, we'll accept the premise, if that's what you want. We've said that from the beginning, regardless of whether or not that occurred, it was important to explore all possibilities. And some media outlets refused to report that. And I've said that from the very beginning.

Q Some did report it. But regardless, there seemed to be a change in tone in what Dr. Rice said last night. So just to be clear, it's not that anyone's recollection has now changed about that meeting. She's not saying that some sorts of records or some questioning of the President --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not aware of anything different there. But I am -- she did say the same thing that we have said from the beginning: of course the President was asking people to explore all possibilities.
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A TALE OF TWO OWNERS

The Anaheim Angels were sold to Arte Moreno last year, and here are some of his early moves:

---Signed Vladimir Guerrero.

---Signed Bartolo Colon.

---Signed Kelvim Escobar.

---Signed Jose Guillen.

---Increased the number of televised Angel games from around 90 to over 150.

---Lowered the price of beer at Angel Stadium.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to Frank McCourt in January, and here are some of his early moves:

---Raised the cost of parking at Dodger Stadium from $8 to $10.

---Announced concession prices on 'many items' would be raised.

---Named his wife, Jamie McCourt, the Vice Chairman of the Dodgers. Although Jamie McCourt has never worked in baseball a day in her life, she felt comfortable insulting the entire organization, although later she complained to the press, 'This is bad because you guys remember everything and you write everything down.'

---Promised to sign a big bat by opening day to help the sluggish Dodger offense, before later saying that the Dodgers' problems can't be solved by one hitter.

---Scolded team vice president Derrick Hall for upgrading broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela from economy to first class on his flight to spring training.

Hard to imagine why Moreno is loved by Halo fans, and McCourt is, to be kind, not well liked by the remaining 11 Dodger fans.
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MIKE, WE'RE WAITING

A few days ago, Michael J. Totten sensed the 'Richard Clarke scandal is getting serious':

Here’s what I want to know. Does Frist already know what Clarke said in his previous testimony? In other words, is his accusation of criminal behavior a reasonable one? A sitting president was impeached for lying under oath. About sex. This is no idle charge Frist is making.

Or is this just a slimy speculation? If so, Frist is unfit for his job.


Of course, we now know that it was just slimy speculation:

Frist later retreated from directly accusing Clarke of perjury, telling reporters that he personally had no knowledge that there were any discrepancies between Clarke’s two appearances. But he said, "Until you have him under oath both times, you don’t know."

So, how long did it take for Michael J. to call for Frist's resignation, considering he is 'unfit for his job'?

I'll let you know when it happens.

UPDATE: Giving credit where credit is due, Michael J. Totten posted tonight that Frist is, indeed, unfit for his job.
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3 REASONS TO TAKE PRIDE IN AMERICA

William Hung, who clearly lacks the ability to be embarrassed, appeared at a San Diego shopping center to sing, and 10,000 people showed up. Further, he has an album and a music video coming out in April.

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed was the number one movie this weekend, taking in nearly 31 million dollars.

Our local FOX station has a morning show called Good Day LA, and today they had an Algonquin Roundtable-like discussion concerning Condoleezza Rice's appearance on 60 Minutes, and her refusal to publicly testify in front of the 9-11 Commission. It was bad enough when 'entertainment reporter' Dorothy Lucey said that Rice refused to testify 'because she thought it would be inappropriate', (the host Steve Edwards corrected her), but then we got this gem from weather person Jillian Barberie:

I didn't see the 60 Minutes appearance, but I saw the clip and she looks like she handled it well.

Sigh.
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Sunday, March 28, 2004
 
LEGAL ADVICE FROM JOHN ELLIS, ESQ.

John Ellis thinks ABC should be mad at Richard Clarke:

Why hasn't ABC News fired Richard Clarke? They've been paying him a significant monthly retainer for (I think) more than a year now. And at exactly the moment that ABC News might expect to get a ratings return on their investment, what does Clarke do? He waddles over to "60 Minutes" with a sensational story of Bush Administration malfeasance and misconduct.

If I was the president of ABC News, I'd see that as breach of contract. And after I fired him, I'd sue him.


Golly, Ellis has one hell of a legal mind. He can 'see' a breach of contract even though he's never graduated from a law school, never passed a bar exam, never been sworn in as an attorney, and never laid eyes on the contract that Clarke is supposed to have breached.

That's some impressive lawyering.
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IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA IN 1791

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Not anymore.
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