Sunday, April 27, 2008

They Have an Off Switch, You Know

The White House BlackBerries incident - Field Notes -
The leaders of Mexico and Canada were in New Orleans earlier this week with President Bush for the North American Leaders' Summit. After a high-level meeting between the Mexican and U.S. delegations, White House staffers noticed their BlackBerries were missing. Per protocol, they had left the devices on a table outside the meeting room.

A source familiar with the incident tells NBC News the Secret Service approached the members of the Mexican delegation as they were preparing to leave New Orleans. They helped identify the person the agents suspected of taking the BlackBerries as Rafael Quintero. When authorities approached Quintero, he denied having them. But when he was shown hotel surveillance tape of himself caught in the act, he acknowledged it and returned the devices.

Presumably, the Blackberries are hooked into the White House email system, and presumably these wonks don't delete email or observe elementary security measures. If the point of leaving the devices outside is to prevent interruptions, powering down might be a better choice than leaving devices containing official government info lying around in a digital candy dish.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Only If They Include the FSM

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The state Senate has approved a bill that would allow prayers before public meetings.

The legislation says public bodies can adopt policies to let members take turns giving an invocation, elect a chaplain or create a pool of speakers from faith groups to offer the prayer.

The bill also calls for the state attorney general to defend public bodies if they face constitutional challenges.
Do ordainees of the Universal Life Church get a turn? Muslims? Hindus? The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tectonic Events and Vegetable Variation

The Associated Press: 5.2 earthquake rocks large area of Midwest; no major damage
5.2 earthquake rocks large area of Midwest; no major damage


WEST SALEM, Ill. (AP) — Residents across the Midwest were awakened Friday by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that rattled skyscrapers in Chicago, homes in Cincinnati and nerves across the region but appeared to cause no major injuries or damage.

Dozens of aftershocks followed, one with a magnitude of 4.6.

I wonder if the popcorn farmers should expect a bumper crop?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

There's a Cheaper Alternative

WAVY TV 10 - News, Weather, Traffic, Sports for Hampton Roads, Virginia - North Eastern North Carolina - Liberty U considers roller coaster, other campus activities
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - The university that the Rev. Jerry Falwell founded is considering adding a roller coaster on campus as part of a plan to increase recreational options for their students.

A new climbing wall is already under construction at Liberty University, part of a plan to spend more than $10 million over the next few years to expand recreational activities on the Lynchburg campus.

With a Student Affairs Code (love the irony of the name) prohibiting such things as

  • Attendance at a dance
  • Attendance at, possession or viewing of, an "R," "NC-17" or "X"-rated movie
  • Improper personal contact (anything beyond hand-holding)
  • Association with those consuming alcohol
  • Sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress
  • Horseplay

I guess I see why amusement park rides might seem like a desirable alternative. On the other hand, I once got an incredible blow job on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Don't Update the Rolodex Yet, Rush

Good news for substance-abusing Floridians:
The Florida Board of Medicine questioned two Sarasota doctors about their recent criminal convictions but ultimately allowed both men to keep their medical licenses.

Good to know citizens are being protected from criminal practitioners. And I bet that "severe letter of reprimand instead of the scheduled letter of concern" will make all the difference in the quality of care these scumbags deliver to their next victims patients.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Today's Best April Fools Spoof

New Humanist Blog: Local council in shock challenge to Catholic dogma
The Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead have issued the new regulations as a concession to secularists concerned by allegations that Creationism has been taught to students at Emmanuel City Technology College, a Gateshead academy school run by Peter Vardy’s Emmanuel Schools Foundation.

In passing byelaw 08/04 (section 01), the borough council has made it mandatory for Catholic priests to forewarn their congregations that transubstantiation – the idea that at communion the bread and wine become the literal body and blood of Christ – remains unsupported by solid empirical evidence.

Beginning with tonight’s evening masses, priests will be legally obliged to read out the disclaimer – the exact wording of which has been provided by the council – which reads as follows:

“Congregants should be aware of the gaps and/or problems in the Catholic theory of transubstantiation, including, but not limited to, the Protestant notion that the bread and wine are merely symbolic, the opinions of other religions on the life of Christ, and the lack of conclusive scientific evidence available to support this theory.”

Explaining the borough’s decision, Councilor Burt Blaydon (Con., Windynook), said: “The council feel it is important that borough residents realise that the Catholic version of Christianity is only a theory and not written in stone. This is not an attempt to cause offence, but equally we shouldn’t offend those members of the congregation who hold alternative views on the nature of bread and wine.”

Finally, a Google Product for Me!

Gmail: Google's approach to email

GREAT new product from Gmail!. No more missed replies, late responses, bypassed opportunities. With this new feature, you can send email into the past! That missed birthday message to your grandfather that led to the re-writre of his will? Not a problem. Your secretary's note with the real address for the meeting with the Swiss investors? Got it, and in time. Forgot that sweet note on your sweety's birthday? Hey, you'll get laid now.

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