Monday, October 31, 2005

Some Bad News for Agricultural Workers

Its sad but true. Workers employed in the harvesting of tobacco used for cigar wrappers are not covered by federal overtime laws. Write your Congressman.

Supreme Court Update

I think its important to put the rumors to rest. Yes, George Bush did nominate me to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, shortly after the nomination I was indicted by Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald for alleged illegal conduct arising from my employment as the Scarlet Panda's Chief of Staff in a local Congressional race. I felt it was better for the country that I withdraw from consideration for the Supreme Court. That is what happened, and anything else you hear is just gossip-mongering from the left.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

This is What You're Missing

This is my halloween costume. It is quite a party.

Crazy Cat

We (Myself and Nell) have been turning off the heater before bed to save some cash. This leads to a fairly chilly apartment overnight. To compensate, our cat has taken to sleeping on me. But she doesn't cuddle up with me. I usually sleep on my side and the cat will lay on my hip. This, to me, seems ineffective. But I guess it makes sense to her. She's crazy. For instance, to get back at Nell for sleeping in on Saturdays, the cat will eat Nell's plants and then come into the bedroom and vomit them up on the rug. Everyone should own a cat.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wisdom from the Future

"Why is there yogurt in this hat?"
"I can explain... You see, it used to be milk, but, well... time makes fools of us all."

The above quote is from Futurama, episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back."


Someone posted a spam comment on the previous post! That's what I get for trying to bring a little joy into this bleak world.


Pretty flowers for a pretty girl (or boy). It's always spring on Fish Frog.

Serious News

Now, I don't like to bring everyone down with serious posts about stuff in the world. But I feel like highlighting something that was on CBS news tonight.
The United States has detained 10,000 "enemy combatants." Ten Thousand. Wow. That is a lot of people. No trial, no hearing, no attorney, no outside contact. The CBS story focused on four or five journalists who had been incarcerated following negative stories about the US military. We should all be very concerned, especially those of us who are not yet US citizens. The constitution, the Court has said, applies only to Americans, not, for instance, Canadians living in America under valid visas. Be afraid.

Canadians Hate DST?

Its true. Canada feels slighted at having to use daylight savings time. They didn't vote for it, they don't want it, but they are forced to use it because the Canadian economy is tied up with the American economy. This is apparently a sore point for some Canadians. I wonder if my vast Canadian readership could comment on this. Do you hate DST?

Fun Times

For those of you not at Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room last night, here's what you missed:
Jim and myself singing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers;" (I sang Barbara Streisand's part)
A solo performance of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love;"
Fun times were had by all.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

For What It's Worth...

I'm not one to offer my opinion without being asked. It's not that kind of blog. But I will say that I consider Rice-a-Roni Broccoli Au Gratin not just a side dish, but a meal in its own right. There. I said it. No comments allowed on this post.

Happy Day in Blogsville!

What a week! Please welcome Warm Fuzzy to the blogosphere.

Note on Miers's Withdrawal

Not only did I say she would withdraw, but I also pointed out specifics about the circumstances of her withdrawal that prove I am politically savvy. I will not rehash my prediction here, except to say I won $1 from Scarlet Panda because of it.

On a personal note, I am not happy with Miers decision. It was my hope she would be confirmed and prove to be one of the most incompetent judges in history. I hoped that every time she published a decision, the right wing would be reminded of George W. Bush's hubris and cronyism. I hoped that she would, for the next 20 years, be a blight on the legacy of Bush, and remind everyone of Bush's abandonment of true conservatism for his neoconservative tax-cut-and-spend, deficit-driving policies. But alas, it is not to be.

Vague Description of Episode Rectified

Many of my readers have brought to my attention that in the preceding post I mentioned an episode of SpongeBob but not which one. For those of you who did not see the 7:30 episode today, SpongeBob and Squidward go on strike to protest Mr. Krabs's unfair treatment of them. Over the course of the episode, SpongeBob hilariously learns how not to picket an employer. The episode ends when Squidward and Mr. Krabs enter good faith negotiations, reach an agreement, and SpongBob destroys the Krusty Krab restaurant. Mr. Krabs then intimates that SpongeBob and Squidward will have to work there forever just to compensate Mr. Krabs for the destruction of property. Under the newly enacted bankruptcy laws, Mr. Krabs is very likely correct that they will be forced into involuntary servitude to repay their debts.

SpongeBob UnionPants

An episode of Spongebob this morning (which I had seen five or six times previously) brought up some interesting issues. It reminded me of my favorite labor-related quote, spoken by Senator Wagner (author of the Wagner Act which created the National Labor Relations Board, and together with two other amendments is known as the National Labor Relations Act). Wagner said:

Let men become the servile pawns of their masters in the factories of the land and there will be destroyed the bone and sinew of resistance to political dictatorship. Fascism begins in industry, not in government.

Amen, Senator Wagner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Panda Trial Update

The transcripts were recently posted on the internet for days 11 and 12, which were the direct and cross examinations of the defense's expert witness Michael Behe. Some background on Behe: He is a professor of Biology at the Lehigh University who specializes in the evolution of protein structures. He is also a leading scholar in the intelligent design movement. The book at the heart of the trial, Of Pandas and People, contains a section he wrote on blood clotting. In the acknowledgment section of Pandas, Behe is credited as a "Critical Reviewer" of the book. This is only relevant because he is critical of some portions of the book, portions which, if he reviewed the book before it was published, he would have told the authors about and perhaps the may have altered the book. Which brings us to this dialogue between Plaintiff's attorney Eric Rothschild and Behe on cross-examination:

Q What did you review and comment on, Professor Behe?
A I reviewed the literature concerning blood clotting, and worked with the editor on the section that became the blood clotting system. So I was principally responsible for that section.
Q So you were reviewing your own work?
A I was helping review or helping edit or helping write the section on blood clotting.
Q Which was your own contribution?
A That s -- yes, that s correct.

In other words, the only portion of Pandas Behe was responsible for reviewing was his own work. Now this really isn't that big of a deal and seems more relevant for discrediting the author of Pandas for dishonestly trying to add scholarly cred to his book. This is clear a few lines later:

Q Telling the readers of Pandas that you were a critical reviewer of that book is misleading, isn t it?
A I disagree. As I said, that s not the typical way that the term "critical reviewer" is used, but nonetheless, in my opinion I don t think it is misleading.

Now none of this is ground breaking or all that scandalous. In fact, its probative value in the trial seems very small. But I did find the interchange entertaining. It also illustrates a feature (flaw?)of the adversarial system: cross-examinations are so competitive in nature that the witness is unwilling to agree with the questioner on minor, insignificant points. Furthermore, the advocate is unwilling to let minor discrepancies go. Both sides work against each other to unnecessarily drag out the trial. On the positive side, it makes for a good read.

On a side note, podcasts of the trial are available here.

Important news RE: Blogosphere

The population of the blogosphere has been increased by one. Behold, Scarlet Panda. The Panda is a good friend of mine and I personally guarantee that her blog will exceed all modest ambitions. Welcome Scarlet Panda.

Cat and Bunnies!

To brighten your Wednesday

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Revolt Against Telemarketers!

I have received, for the hundredth straight night, a telemarketing call for student loan consolidation. I have been on the Missouri No-Call List for about four months. Once I signed up and received verification from Jay Nixon (MO Attorney General) that I was on the list, the telemarketing calls ceased entirely, with the exception of the loan consolidation calls. For the past four months I have simply been hanging up when they identify themselves, but for the past two weeks I have been asking them the name and location of their company. Unfortunately I have not written any of this information down when I heard it, and thus I promptly forgot. What I do remember is that the company(ies) are incorporated in Delaware (suprise) and that they are (allegedly) nonprofit organizations (under IRC 501(c)(3)). So here is where it gets interesting:

The MO No-Call Statute (Mo. Stat. 407.1098, 407.1095 for definitions) does not apply to communications:
"By or on behalf of an entity organized pursuant to Chapter 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, while such entity is engaged in fund-raising to support the charitable purpose for which the entity was established provided that a bona fide member of such exempt organization makes the voice communication"

So the issue is: Are these phone calls from nonprofits (assuming these companies are, in fact incorpated under IRC 501(c)(3)) conducted while the company "is engaged in fund raising?" Stated another way, Is attempting to get me to consolidate my student loans with their company a fund-raising activity? Obviously if I consolidate with them, their finds will increase, but isn't "fund-raising" a term of art when it comes to nonprofits?

There is no statutory definition of "fund-raising" within the No-Call statutes, and I am skeptical that one exists in the Missouri Code (though I will check the statutes tomorrow).

So what does everyone think? Does the everyday use of the term "fund-raising" include solicitations to engage in a nonprofit's services?

WashU Law Quarterly Article

This law review is linked at the home site for the Dover Panda Trial! Congratulations to my Quarterly readership. You guys have finally made it.

Burrito and the Man

The Burrito has blown the lid off the Man and should have all our support in fighting him in all his incarnations. The Burrito's landlord is incidentally also my landlord, and has yet to respond to a complaint about mice in my apartment. The Man screws us all. Will we stand up and fight?

David Bowie Cover

SuperElectric has managed to repost his mindblowing recording. Check it out.

Rabbit Blog

This is a fuzzy bunny. Enjoy.

The Dover Panda Trial

Loyal readers may have noticed that I have added some links to the sidebar. I want to take a moment to explain, as I understand it, the Dover Panda Trial.

On October 18, 2004, the Dover Area School District instituted the following language in its curriculum:
Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin’s Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of life will not be taught.

In addition, on November 19, 2004 the DASD mandated that the following statement be read in biology classes:
Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book Of Pandas and People is available for students to see if they would like to explore this view in an effort to gain an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves. As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind.

11 parents of Dover Senior High School student sued the DASD alleging infringement of the separation and establishment clauses of the First Amendment. The bench trial started in late September and will continue through early November.

It has been billed as an epic battle between evolution and "intelligent design" creationism, a sort of Scopes Trial Part Deux. As a big Clarence Darrow fan, I was intrigued when I heard about the trial. The link on the sidebar connects to trial transcripts and background and was a source for the above background info.

As I have a strict policy of brief posts, I will comment on various aspects of the trial in separate posts. Click here for additional editorial on the trial and ideas surrounding it or simply check back for my take.


I'm pleased to announce the start of the first of two contests on Fish Frog:
The Stock Market Game! You probably all remember this game from middle school. Every participant is allotted a set amount of fictional money. Using this money each participant chooses stocks, bonds, and whatnot. A regularly chosen intervals I will post the standings. To enter, simply email or post as a comment your purchases. Every participant has 1000 units of value, or "BroBucks," to spend. The exchange rate between BroBucks and American Dollars is 1:1. The winner after I declare the contest over (which may be any time between next Tuesday and December) will receive recognition. Only ten players may participate. Purchases can be made at anytime and will be based on the value of the market at closing the day the purchase (or sale) is made. Enjoy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Love Lou Dobbs

I love Lou Dobbs. Despite his Buchananesque views on immigration, I am drawn to his views on outsourcing. Check out Monday's Colbert Report if you get a chance.


I had never seen a Silverfish before I came to St. Louis, and they scare the crap out of me. The one above is long dead, fortunately.


Inspired by the new blog by the Burrito (at, I too have decided to publish a so-called "web log," or "blog." I'm not to sure what the content will be, but the title comes from a conversation I had with my dad some time ago. It was about evolution and (in pertinent part) went something like this:
Dad: "Describe evolution in four words."
Me: "...Fish frog monkey man?"
Dad: (chuckle) "No. Survival of the fittest."
For some reason I recall this event. Of course, "fish frog monkey man" does not accurately describe the evolutionary process, but I thought it was clever. Not as clever as this blog promises to be, but still clever.