Saturday, 7 October 2006

Half the mourners at gunman's funeral were Amish

Now I'm willing to bet that they were there more to support the family than to honour the gunman, but still.
"It's the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed," said Bruce Porter, a fire department chaplain from Morrison, Colo., who had come to Pennsylvania to offer what help he could and attended the burial. He said Marie Roberts was also touched.

"She was absolutely deeply moved, by just the love shown," Porter said.

The Forbes report.

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Jihadis vs. neocons

Aisha continues to impress me over at Eteraz with her very probing questions and analyses. I don't agree with everything she says, but it is always worth thinking about the issues she raises. Today she is proposing that jihadis and neocons are operating on the same dynamic: a rejection of their socialist/hippy parents' discredited values. She can be devastating in her critique:
And the reason for the staying power of each—neoconservatism and jihadism—might, ironically, be the same. Both are movements rhetorically rooted in religion, but politically rooted in self-interest; both cling to religious law when it suits them and ignore it when it suits them, and when absolutely necessary (Jesus never preached a crusade; the Qur’an specifically forbids the killing of non-combattants [Surit il Nisa’]) invent it out of whole-cloth.
Read it all.

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Jimmy Carter wants aid restored to Palestinians

Jimmy Carter has a good heart, but as far as I can tell, not a very good head.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Friday that a foreign policy aimed at punishing the Hamas-led Palestinian government through a seven-month aid freeze has failed, and called on the international community to seek other ways to resolve the conflict.

"The attempt to coerce Hamas leaders by starving the Palestinian people has failed, and it is time for the international community to alleviate their suffering and resort to diplomacy," Carter said in a statement.

The former president added that he is doubtful that Palestinian leaders will make any progress toward reconciliation with Israel "as long as the Palestinians are subjected to this kind of debasement and personal suffering."
What Carter doesn't seem to understand is that sometimes tough love is required. The best way to love the Palestinians is to stop enabling their delusions and their hatred and make them face reality.

They have now been living with the existence of a Jewish state for almost six decades and still refuse to accept that it will not go away. They need to realize that they would be better off with leadership that can face that reality and find a diplomatic way to deal with it, rather than wallowing in unending psychotic hatred. And the only method that has even the foggiest hope of succeeding is to stop financing it, until the pain of the reality forces the Palestinian "street" to reject the leadership in place and start looking for an entirely different approach. There have been some isolated Palestinian voices of reason, but they've been relatively timid, given the very real possibility of getting their heads blown off for dissenting. We do tend to forget that Palestinians kill far more Palestinians than Israelis. (Yes, you can read that last sentence two ways. They are both true.)

Carter says the attempt has failed. I say that it is just now starting to reach the point where it has a hope of succeeding. The delusions of the Palestinian people are very powerful and can only be broken by rather extreme methods. Carter is far too much like the doting father who bails his children out of jail yet again and gently tries to reason with them, while establishing no limits and shielding them from the consequences of their actions.

It's time to stop shielding the Palestinians and let them realize that nasty actions have truly nasty consequences.

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YouTube Pornography and Hypocrisy

There has been a great fuss in the blogosphere lately about Michelle Malkin's censored YouTube video. From Michelle's website:
Back in February, you may remember, I cobbled together a little mini-movie called "First, They Came" inspired by the Mohammed Cartoon riots. It's a simple slideshow highlighting the victims of Islamic violence over the years. We posted it at YouTube a while ago. No problems. Until last week, when I received this e-mail: ...

Suffice it to say that YouTube pulled the video for inappropriate content. (And no, I don't normally read Michelle and I don't know what the original video was like. That isn't really the point, as you will see.)

Now I found YouTube's action very peculiar, because a YouTube employee made it quite clear some time ago that there was no way they could police the content on their site and that they don't even try.
However, an employee of YouTube called Think & Ask following publication of "Fetish Videos Land on Family Entertainment Website YouTube" and for that individual's own protection we agreed not to publish the informant's name or gender. The company has relatively few, but tightly knit employees.

"It [pornography] was bound to happen, but we don't have the [manual] resources to control what people post here," the informant said.

"For our future business model the issue is very sticky. I'm sure upper management won't comment for that reason," the informant said.

It would appear that they have plenty of time for political censorship, but can't be bothered with sifting out porn.

"Rev." Billy Gisher of Those Bastards (The Meanest Weblog on the Web) declared war on YouTube on August 15. He was upset by the fact that about 80% of the videos on YouTube are pornographic, that they are readily viewable by any child surfing the Internet, and that YouTube refuses to do anything about it.

So Gisher started informing the advertisers (including WalMart, the Girl Guides of America, and just about any large corporation you can think of) that their ads were appearing with pornographic content. He had screen captures in hand to prove his point. A good number of advertisers started pulling ads. You can read the whole saga over on their website, although I think it only fair to warn you that it's not family viewing. He includes largish thumbnails of screen captures.

Gisher proposed a simple method to YouTube to restrict access by children, but needless to say, they haven't implemented it. He's now started to put "real reverends" on the case, concluding he just doesn't have enough clout on his own. He cites a New York Times interview with one of the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley:
Yesterday evening, I took notice of this interview published on September 30, 2006 in the New York Times. Chad Hurley, one of the founders of YouTube, spoke with their reporters and editors to answer some questions, which were excerpted to compile this story, from which I have extracted the following question and response:

Times staff: "But you said a vast majority of your stuff was user-generated and kind of wacky unpredictable stuff. Why would an advertiser want to be next to something where it might be something disgusting?"

Chad Hurley: "Well, I think it's the nature of the Internet. There's not really any safe places on the Internet. And they just want to get in front of audiences.....And I think they're just looking for new opportunities to get in front of an audience, and that's what we're providing for them."

I think that Chad Hurley's comments come as close as you possibly can to stating that he believes most major advertisers care more about getting their message in front of an audience than they do about offending their audience.
(The NYT didn't pursue this line of questioning, perhaps because they themselves advertise on YouTube. No possibility of disinterested journalism here.)

Gisher has been on this story for about two months now, contacting advertisers on a daily basis, reporting their reactions and refusing to give up on the issue. He wants this material to be made inaccessible to children and is doing everything he can to see it happen. Despite his online moniker, there is nothing reverend about him, nor about the group blog he is part of, so opponents are going to have a difficult time characterizing this as coming from some uptight religious prude.

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Friday, 6 October 2006

Maher Arar's dual citizenship

A Challenge to Canada Free Press

Dick Field at Canada Free Press has come out with a particularly snarky article that makes a really big deal out of Maher Arar's dual citizenship, implying that Arar had divided loyalties, is not really committed to Canada, and brought his misery on his own head.
First, and exceedingly strange, is the fact that our media has persuaded the public that Mr. Arar is an ordinary immigrant Canadian of Syrian descent. No, he is not an ordinary Canadian like most of us. He is a citizen of Canada and a citizen of Syria. For months this writer has tried verify this fact by listening to every newscast and reading every newspaper possible in order to find out if Mr. Arar was indeed a dual citizen but no luck, nary a mention. Why the silence? Why the mystery? Apparently, the fact was discussed early in the O'Connor Inquiry and then dropped, so there is no excuse for the media.


Mr. Arar knew the torture practices in his own country, so we should ask Mr. Arar why he risked keeping his Syrian citizenship. Certainly by retaining his Syrian citizenship, Mr. Arar must be partly responsible for his own misfortunes, even if he is totally innocent.

I have a lot of pet peeves and dishonest, nasty journalism figures high on the list. You may remember that I participated in my own small-scale way to helping to spread the fuss about the CBC's skewed report on Prime Minister Harper.

This article raised my ire in a similar fashion. While Field castigates the media for not doing their homework, he (un)studiously neglected doing his own. So I did it for him. And sent Canada Free Press the results.
Syria makes it very difficult for expats to renounce their citizenship.

 VOLUNTARY: Though voluntary renunciation of Syrian citizenship is permitted by law, the Syrian Information Office stated that it is so complicated that it is best not to attempt the process. In effect, according to that Office, the process is complicated in order to discourage renunciation of Syrian citizenship. Former citizens of Syria probably maintain an unofficial dual citizenship status and would be subject to Syrian law as citizens should they return to Syria.

Therefore your rant on Maher Arar ( is highly inaccurate. Are you going to publish a retraction?

Two days later, no answer, no acknowledgement of receipt, no posting of my letter on their "letter blog" (about one letter a week, none negative), no apology to Arar, and of course, no retraction.

The Syrian Information Office itself, in correspondence with the American government states baldly that they make it deliberately difficult to renounce Syrian citizenship. I have heard it rumoured, though I can't confirm it, that relatives remaining in Syria are targetted if you try to renounce your Syrian citizenship.

I can handle highly partisan media if they stick to truthful reporting. Canada Free Press does not seem to feel obliged to live by those standards. Smearing a man who has already endured much with shoddy, unprofessional journalism and pretending not to hear when you are called on inaccuracies is not the way to win my respect.

Dick Field and/or Canada Free Press is invited to respond.

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Amish schoolgirls demonstrate courage - and more

"Shoot me first."

Thirteen-year old Marian Fisher hoped to buy time for her younger schoolmates and offered her own life to give them a chance.

Her 11-year old sister - who survived - asked to be shot second.

Some experts had been concerned that the Amish schoolchildren, so sheltered from TV violence, would be ill-equipped to handle the unspeakable experience of the Nickel Mines shooting.

It would appear that prolonged exposure to goodness is a more effective preparation to face evil than exposure to simulated violence.

[Update] A fuller report

Hat tip to the Anchoress.

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Thursday, 5 October 2006

Gleanings from the blogosphere, Oct. 5

Jared at Total Depravity is thoroughly worked up about a vital issue of male - er - human rights...
I generally try to avoid getting involved in the heady realm of Norwegian politics, but an issue has arisen which has serious, far-reaching implications for fathers, our sons, and the very soul of manhood.

At Donklephant, Justin Gardner and his commenters are debating the status of waterboarding - and both sides have some pretty powerful arguments.

John Burgess at Crossroads Arabia explains why the 1973 oil embargo will never be repeated.

In case you've missed this, Patterico is doing a series of interviews with an Army mental health specialist who was treating the detainees at Guantanamo. It is absolutely fascinating. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or bookmark the first page; there's a lot of material. Hat tip to Stubborn Facts.

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Get your department under control, Minister O'Connor!

Gordon O'ConnorThe Ottawa Citizen has been highlighting some of the nonsensical censoring going on at the Department of National Defence. To wit:
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has no intention of dealing with the wave of censorship that has seen his department classify as secret information ranging from the fact that Canadian commandos fought in the Second World War to the hourly cost of operating the military's VIP jets.

O'Connor's spokesman Etienne Allard said it is up to Defence Department bureaucrats to manage the release of such government records to the public through the access to information law.

As part of its latest secrecy push, the Defence Department on Tuesday declared that releasing information showing Canadians fought with the famed Devil's Brigade during the Second World War could harm national security. Also censored from the records, released to the Ottawa Citizen under the federal access law, are the locations where the Devil's Brigade fought in Europe in the 1940s.

Additional details now being kept from the public are the costs to the department to run individual pieces of equipment, a list that ranges from electric snowblowers to forklifts. Information about the hourly cost of flying the military's Challenger jets, used to ferry politicians and bureaucrats, is also now secret. Such information had been available to the public through the access law up until 2004.
Bureaucrats, it is commonly known, seem to have a natural aversion to being under scrutiny. Government bureaucrats develop particularly severe cases, and those in military departments push the pathology to ridiculous levels. This is true of all governments in all countries, under parties of all political stripes.

It is therefore an essential part of the minister's job description to implement frequent reality checks, and it doesn't look like Gordon O'Connor has quite grasped this. It is crucial that he understand that the knee jerk, compulsive secrecy that military departments so naturally fall into is highly destructive. And the group that it hurts the most is the military.

Nobody in his right mind debates the fact that there are real military secrets that it is not in our best interest to have bruited about. Plans for dealing with terrorists, technical details of military hardware, and other similar things are best kept under wraps, for obvious reasons.

But covering up details of 60-year old missions - many of which have been or still or in the public domain - is sheer lunacy and it just plays to the negative image of a military out of control. The question we all ask ourselves when we read stuff like this is "How much can we trust our military? Anybody so reflexively terrified of normal scrutiny must have something bad to hide."

Canada's military has only recently recovered from a long slump in public affections. It is not in its best interest to foster suspicion and mistrust and this kind of anal behaviour can do only that. O'Connor needs to make it clear to both the bureaucrats and the generals that the enemy they are fighting is neither the Canadian public nor Canadian journalists. Admittedly, we can be a little foolish at times, but not everything the military does and has done is of a sensitive nature and any informtion that isn't genuinely sensitive should be available to anyone who asks. A free society depends on civilian oversight of the military and civilian oversight depends on information.

It is the minister's job to defend the military's interests to the Canadian public. It is also his job to defend the Canadian public's interests to the military. You're the boss, Minister O'Connor! Put your foot down!

Email Gordon O'Connor.

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Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Walk in forgiveness

And the Amish are showing us how it's done.

From the New York Times:
In one sign of their approach to tragedy, Amish residents started a charity fund yesterday not only to help the victims’ families but also to help the gunman’s widow.

Yesterday on NBC News, I saw an Amish midwife who had helped birth several of the girls murdered by the killer say that they were planning to take food over to his family's house. She said -- and I paraphrase closely -- "This is possible if you have Christ in your heart."

From ABC News:
We arrived in this community of Nickel Mines, Pa., curious about how the Amish, who live differently than most Americans do, might react to what was an unthinkable act of violence.

It didn't take long for us to learn that the Amish families most affected by this tragedy have responded in a way that might seem foreign to most of us: They talk about Monday's school shooting only in terms of forgiveness.

From Ekklesia:
A cousin of one of the children shot by disturbed killer Charles Carl Roberts, aged 32, has said in an interview that he believes Mr Roberts’ wife would be welcome at the funeral of the girls who died.

The Amish community in Pennsylvania, USA, is in “deep shock” over the events, those close to it say. But they continue to be sustained by the love of God, and by a strong belief in non-violence and the power of forgiveness.

From Pittsburgh Live:
Lefever told those gathered in the large church that he was with Roberts' widow and children Monday when an Amish man arrived at around 9 p.m.

Standing in the kitchen of the man who shot 10 Amish girls hours earlier, he embraced Marie Roberts and offered forgiveness.

"In that place of mourning, there was hope," said Lefever, fighting back tears. "There was life."


Marian Koob ... recalled an accident about a year ago when the Amish community offered their forgiveness after a drunken driver killed an entire Amish family as they rode in their buggy.

"The Amish community has taught us all about forgiving," Koob said. "They teach us all how to live in this world."

[Update] Good discussion in the comments.

Pastor Jeff and Conblogeration contrasts the coverage by different newspapers, some of which could not bring themselves to look at the faith aspect of this story and restricted themselves to the "quaintness" of the Amish.

A very lively discussion going on in the comment section of Amba's post on this subject at Ambivablog.

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New evangelical blog praises Harry Potter

Seeing as we're in the twilight zone today and turning stereotypes on their heads...

Chuck Colson's Breakpoint has set up a group blog, The Point, and one of the current themes is defence of Harry Potter. Yup, that Harry Potter. Just when you think you have the world figured out...

Stereotype-buster Walrus at your service.

(Somebody should tell them over there that posting a comment as a separate post is a very annoying habit.)

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Union leader and Liberal premier oppose Conservative pollution controls

We have now officially entered the twilight zone. Union leader Buzz Hargrove opposes the Conservatives' plan to enforce emissions controls because it will hurt the auto industry. And Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty plays the national divisiveness card on top of that, portraying Ontario and its auto industry as a victim of the nasty feds. Meanwhile the Conservatives are cheerfully assuring them both that they fully intend to hit the oil and gas industry equally hard.

Are you confused yet? Did you think some gremlin had been switching labels in the news reports? No, you read right. The left wing is attacking the right wing for being too hard on industry and wanting to enact environmental controls.

I was strongly tempted to think that the commitment of the left wing to environmental issues was really just a stick to beat conservatives with and that they had no intention of ever actually DOING anything about it, an impression that was greatly fortified by Paul Martin's shameful and hypocritical finger-wagging at the Americans in the last election. (It was at that moment he lost me completely. Anybody with the slightest interest in the environment knew that the Americans were doing better than us.) Now it has been confirmed. As soon as the Conservatives make a move to pick up that stick themselves, the left wing immediately switches camps. Or at least some of them do.

It was all about politics, not policy.

I certainly hope that the Rona Ambrose's environmental policy will not just contribute to global warming through another mass emission of hot air, but will actually accomplish something. I am one of those quaint people that believes good policy is good politics. If I'm lucky, the Conservatives will be equally quaint.

All of this illustrates how flexible the labels right and left wing are. Which cause belongs to which camp shifts with the political winds. (Remember when supporting Israel was a hard-core left-wing thing to do?) And all the more reason to vote according to your core beliefs, not according to political labels.

Note to Dalton McGuinty: they still sell cars just fine in California. You are seriously eroding your credibility with this mock indignation. We recognize political opportunism when we see it.

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Kat in Iraq

Callimachus at Done With Mirrors has started a new series on life in Iraq for American contractors. Kat, the young lady on the right, is the contractor in question.
This opens a series of posts that will run here over the next few days. It expands the account written by my friend Kat, who worked in Iraq for a contractor in infrastructure reconstruction. That story was told in outline here.

A large part of her message is her frustration with the lack of media coverage of work such as she did for almost two years.
A week or so ago I sent her a link to an interview with New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins. As the interview was written up, it justified the MSM in its lack of complete coverage of Iraq by presenting Iraq as a place too dangerous for them to go out and do their jobs. I knew this would get under her skin, and I hoped it would provoke her to writing a rebuttal to that attitude.

She did, privately, and later she agreed to let me publish it.
Kat was more than a little blistering in her attack on the courage of reporters. She was challenged by a commenter, and her response has grown into a three-part series on life in Iraq for an American contractor. It's a fascinating read, and more than a little disturbing, something like looking into an alternate universe.

Kat had made an earlier appearance on Done With Mirrors, which I linked to here.

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Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Gleanings from the blogosphere, Oct. 3

I still haven't figured out how the Anchoress manages to sound so passionate and so reasonable at the same time (very rare combination), but she's doing it again with her rant on free speech.

Amba at Ambivablog is citing experiments with Botox that add extra evidence for the theory that your facial expressions affect your mood.

No, not even big brother Egypt can hammer sense into the head of Hamas. Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters comments on Hamas' refusal to accept a prisoner swap for Shalit.

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Killing Amish schoolgirls

Charles Carl Roberts is an enigma. The milk truck driver, up until yesterday a law-abiding man, devoted husband and father, and apparently all-round nice guy, invaded an Amish schoolhouse and executed the schoolgirls. Few are expected to survive.

Police are scrambling to determine a motive. He did leave suicide notes, apparently outlining a 20-year old desire to molest girls and an anger with God. Police also speculate that the latter was fueled by the death of a newborn daughter in 1997. Evidence of the former comes from his suicide notes and the sexual lubricant he brought with him to the school siege, but which he apparently had no time to use.

There were virtually no advance warning signs, only a shift in moods reported by coworkers.
Roberts' co-workers said his mood had darkened in recent weeks, but suddenly brightened over the weekend, [State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B.] Miller said.

"A few days before the shooting a weight was lifted," Miller said Tuesday.
I am struck how easy it is to not know the people we work and even live with. There are things under the surface that can be incredibly powerful - for good or for evil - and yet remain completely hidden. Evil things in particular grow better in the dark. Most of the deranged killers in recent memory have been loners or very quiet men, turned in on themselves, or at the very least, keeping locked rooms in their souls that no one else was allowed to enter.

So what can be done about it? We can't exactly start reporting our coworkers to police every time they fall into inexplicable funks. Perhaps we need to be more sensitive to the people around us and probe gently if they make strange, uncharacteristic remarks. I've been guilty in the past of timidly backing away from topics that might get weird or messy. Maybe I shouldn't. Sunlight and fresh air are great disinfectants.

But our first responsibility remains ourselves. What are we nurturing in our own hidden rooms? It might never erupt in the spectacular evil of the Nickel Mines schoolhouse, but we could very well spray the acid of our bitterness, or the putrid stench of our sick obsessions on the people around us, wounding them or - even worse - encouraging their own evils. It is perhaps time to go talk to a friend, a pastor or priest, or a help line and let the air in.

Maybe if only one person confronts his own evils as a result of this slaughter, those little Amish schoolgirls will not have died in vain.

In the meanwhile, my heart and prayers go out to the families of both the victims and the killer.

[Correction] The references to molestations in the past that CCR claims to have done were made in a phone call to his wife during the siege.

[Update] See here for the reaction of the Amish.

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Monday, 2 October 2006

Gleanings from the blogosphere, Oct. 2

Armstrong Williams at Town Hall is lamenting the dangers of a culture obsessed with celebrity and entertainment.
It is only when we as a nation recognize that every pre-eminent nation that succeeded us fell when they became enamored with sports, entertainment, and thus became consumed with lifestyles of the rich and famous. We must recognize that we can learn quickly from their mistakes and misplaced values so that we can avoid the same decline.
Unlike most commentators, he doesn't wallow in gloom and doom though; he sings the praises of a program designed to point children toward academic excellence - the Carson Scholarship program. Hat tip to Booker Rising.

Cicero at Winds of Change, shares a bleak and realistic assessment of America's options in a new world of nuclear proliferation. Nonetheless, he seems some small cause for hope. The preamble is a bit lengthy; skip the first four paragraphs if you're not in a leisurely mood.

On a more optimistic note, the Strategy Page outlines the reasons to believe that Al-Qaeda's influence and strength are waning.

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Violent protests in Palestine may be sign of hope [Updated]

I know that sounds perverse, but I think that the only real hope for Palestinians is to reject both Hamas and Fatah and enter the real world. They need to accept that Israel is not going to go away, and that if their Arab brethren haven't risen up to liberate them since 1948, that might just mean they never will (60 years is a long time for a message to sink in). Coming out into the real world will entail a painful re-ordering of mentalities, but now that the enablers have cut off financial support, Palestinian fantasies might finally die.

That's why I think the riots in Palestine, which have both Hamas and Fatah worried, might actually be a good thing, as the Palestinian "street" starts to realize that their leaders have never brought them anything but grief.

One can hope, anyway.

[Update] It would appear I spoke too soon. Other news releases make it clear that the fighting is between the rival factions of Hamas and Fatah, not a rejection of the two of them together. No encounter of any kind with reality on the horizon.

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The good news from Afghanistan

Shere Khan at Dust my Broom is a little weary of all the gloom and doom reporting coming out of Afghanistan, so he took it on himself to do some research. Truck on over if you would like a good, meaty report on successful reconstruction and other good news in Afghanistan. You certainly can't count on the traditional news sources to give you this kind of information.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Costello calls to buy a computer from Abbott

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOT T: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on "START. . ."

Lifted shamelessly from Miss Snark.

This, of course, is a spoof of Abbott and Costello's famous comedy routine, "Who's on First," which can be found here.

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Canadian teen obtains justice in Pennsylvania

The Amazing Wonderdog delivers the denouement of the Travis Biehn story, which was big news last year, but is now being neglected in the media.
Travis Biehn, the Newfoundland-born teenager who was convicted in Pennsylvania last year of making a bomb threat against his school and possessing explosives, has won his appeal. Biehn's conviction was overturned last month, and the DA has not filed a counter-appeal.


Fear is what this whole sorry story is about. Biehn was charged, in the absence of evidence, because of fear. He was convicted, based on innuendo, in a climate of fear. His conviction became news touted by a media that acts to magnify that fear, and commented on by bloggers who were, by and large, too busy pissing themselves to use their brains.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Biehn has been cleared. Diane Gibbons, the District Attorney who was attempting re-election at the time, had tried to make Biehn's nationality an issue, although the judge (also named Biehn, but unrelated), who clearly didn't like Travis, had said that anti-Americanism was not a factor.

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