Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shocked and awed

Just a quick note...

My post tonight will be even shorter than last Thursdays.  On top of my already busy Thursday schedule, the Shepherd University Republicans will be meeting on Thursday nights from 8-9.  Anybody from Shepherd who reads this is encouraged to attend.  For more information, please leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll get you the information.  Also for those interested, we'll be having a little barbecue/picnic this fall, so again, feel free to email me and I'll get you the information.

Tonight we had two special guests for our first meeting.  The first was a young man (probably 1-2 years older than me) who is running for WV Delegate for the south side of Berkeley County.  Just as I said above, if you want some information on this young man, send me an email and I'll get in touch with you with as much pertinent information as I have.  Our second visitor was a representative from United States Congresswoman Shelley Moore-Capito.  Capito is seeking re-election as the only female in the WV Congressional delegation as well as the only republican.  While I am not a huge fan of Capito (for reasons which do not necessarily reflect the way she represents us, but simply the fact that she--a resident of Charleston--goes to DC to represent me (who is about as far from Charleston as possible) because of the silly way the congressional districts have been drawn to prevent the Panhandle from "grabbing power"  This is not her fault, but it is still something that bothers me), I must admit that I do support her in her bid for reelection. For information on her campaign or to donate or volunteer, you can visit her official website.

Finally tonight, I'd like to share a story that was over on Dean's World. Much of the blogosphere has been following (actually leading) the charge to expose the senator(s) holding up the anti-pork bill.  According to Dean, Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) was one of the culprits as reported by The Palm Beach Post.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd admits that he placed a “secret hold” on legislation that would make uncovering the Byzantine world of federal contracting as easy as typing a Google search.

Tom Gavin, spokesperson for Byrd, confirmed to Cox Newspapers that the senator placed the hold on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., before voting on the measure.

Byrd joins Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, for holding up the bill right before Congress left town on August 4.

Why, Bobby boy, why?

Byrd merely wanted more time to evaluate the legislation that would create a new database of some $2.5 trillion in federal spending on contracts, loans, financial assistance and insurance.

“Senator Byrd wanted time to read the legislation, understand its implications, and see whether the proposal could be improved,” Gavin said.

Byrd has released his hold, now that there “has been time to better understand the legislation,” Gavin said.

“Senator Byrd believes that the bill should be debated and opened for amendment, and not pushed through without discussion,” Gavin said.

Byrd is unapologetic about using his hold power.

“The American people ought to demand that bills receive scrutiny by senators before those bills are approved,” Gavin said. “We have seen the consequences of rushing legislation through the Senate without any time for review or understanding.”

That's the Bob Byrd reason.  The real reason?  Well one can only speculate, and so I shall.  Robert C. Byrd owns the state of WV.  Why?  Is it because he so accurately reflects the people of this state?  No.  Is it because there just isn't a better candidate?  No.  Is it because we just really like the old guy?  NO!  It is because, in his 9,179 years (ok, that's an exaggeration) Robert C. Byrd has bought and paid for this state through his power as the ranking democrat on the appropriations committee.  Over and over again Byrd packs his pork (earning him the nick name Pork Prince) onto countless bills to provide buildings (three of which I can see from my dorm room window), research institutes, rock piles and other 'stuff' to the people of WV.  And that's all it takes to win here.  Give us something and we'll vote for you.

So why would Byrd want to support any bill that is going to make public record just what he's spending the people's money on?  He wouldn't.  As long as it remains secret, Byrd can continue to buy his seat with his "1 for the other 49 states, 1 for WV" approach.  Oh well, too bad.  It looks like this bill is going to pass, despite his sneaky attempt to hold things up.  This is why the old poop needs to go.  Let's go JOHN RAESE!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006


It turns out that southerners are fat and getting fatter, this according to a new report featured in The Washington Times.

Biscuit-loving folks down South won't be too hungry for the news: They're the plumpest in America. The stout South is home to nine of the 10 fattest states in the land, according to a new report released yesterday by the Trust for America's Health.
The "Biggest Belt" belongs to Mississippi, followed by Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Indiana -- the lone northerner -- South Carolina, and finally Texas.

West Virginians too?  Not only are we West Virginians on the list but we're THIRD?  How depressing. But things aren't exactly thin elsewhere either...

Nationwide, 31 states had a greater percentage of their residents classified as obese in this year's report than last year's.
"America's obesity epidemic is getting worse," said Jeff Levi, director of the District-based group, which analyzed state obesity reports and criticized the lack of government policy, community planning and cultural influences that could help slim the nation. This year's study covered figures from 2003 to 2005.

So who's to blame for the increased fattiness of our great nation? This report states that:

The report named 43 influential "fat factors" for Americans, from gargantuan restaurant portions and commuting to sedentary workplaces and the sheer stress of modern-day life. Even crumbling sidewalks and unsafe parks were cited for their failure to promote walking or outdoor play.

While all this may play a part, I'm just sure that Food Network's Paula Dean (of Paula's Homecookin') and her buttery, fried food (which she almost always then covers with powdered sugar, syrup, chocolete sauce or some combination of the three) could be solely responsible for our ballooned figures, or she and her cuisine should at least be included in the the 43 "fat factors" mentioned above.


Dave over at The Crisper says this is an inaccurate report which will be exploited to attempt to implement a food tax.

I challenge that number as totally inaccurate and useless. It’s merely a bullet point that allows news shows and reporters to make all kinds of noise, and in turn, scare much of America. It makes for a great “lead” on a news story....

While I do believe we have a society that is addicted to sugar and could use a lot of help in the nutrition and preventive medicine department, I also believe many are using trumped-up numbers to call for government solutions (such as more PE, which doesn't work). I’m a strong advocate for personal responsibility, and when I see so many people using bad stats to call for more government I’m certainly going to stand up and make sure my “NO” is on the record.

This gives the Food Police heavy ammunition for such great ideas as a “Fat Tax” or better yet…a ban on fries.

Interesting take.  No doubt about it Americans (myself included--though I'm trying to change this) are too heavy, but I do think that any scale that says Arnold "the Governator" Schwarzenegger is obese is severely flawed, or at least needs to be reexamined. 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Secretary of the State of West Virginia Betty Ireland: Leadership for WV's Future

My state and local government class had a special guest speaker today.  Here in the eastern panhandle, we aren't too frequently visited by the leadership from Charleston, so any time one of these folks "throws us a bone" and stops by is exciting.  The fact that she is the highest ranking woman in West Virginia government ever, the first woman to work as a high ranking member of the executive branch and the fact that she is currently the highest ranking republican in Charleston added to the excitement of having Ms. Betty Ireland, Secretary of the State (SOS) of West Virginia (left) in our modest classroom at Shepherd University.

For today's post, I think I will share some of what I learned from the Secretary, as well as my impressions of her. First of all, I must comment on Ireland's stature.  She is a tall woman who, to say the least, commands respect and is not easily pushed around or bullied.  That being said, it may also be noted that she is a woman who, I imagine, can be quite intimidating. 

Ireland began her conversation with us by giving us an overview of her job description.  I, for better or worse, was not particularly familiar with what the SOS did.  She corrected this issue by sharing much of her job description with us:

  • Election official

  • Keeper of executive records

  • Signer of all official WV Executive Orders and documents

  • Keeper of the Official Executive's Journal

  • Overseer of election fraud claims

  • Overseer of election campaign finance

  • Keeper of and publisher of all administrative law

  • Keeper of the register of all charities and fund raising entities

  • Chief of Business licenses and registration

  • Chief assistant for those attempting to acquire citizenship

  • Recorder of all foreign child adoptions

  • Chief regulator of commerce

  • And others

I personally found this to be quite a list of job duties/ responsibilities.  She, however, seems more than able to handle the task with a staff of just 55 persons. 

Ireland also elaborated on her goals for the WVSOS's office.  Perhaps the most important goal she elaborated on was full compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).  She explained that, though Congress allotted nearly $20 million in funds to reach compliance by January 2006, it simply wasn't enough money even for a small state like WV.  According to her records, nearly $17 million was spent simply on acquiring the machinery to implement electronic voting.  This is a problem.  She claims that she needs nearly $3 million more than what Congress allotted her.  Aside from needing more, it is my understanding of what she said that they have not even provided a full 2/3 of the promised $20 million.  Ireland expects that Congress will further articulate their expectations of HAVA and involve themselves more and more in state issues though she'd prefer if they, "just stayed out." 

On the topic of elections, Ireland explained that another of her goals was to "combat election fraud."  She explained that since she has taken office, she has attempted to digitize WV's records, creating a statewide voter roster, rather than the county-by-county method previously used.  In doing this, she eliminated 6,000 "dead voters from the WV rosters," though she expects that the number could actually be closer to 4,000 after accounting for those with similar names (such as John Doe and John Doe Jr.) and basic record keeping mistakes.

Ireland's office also seems to be leading the charge in attempting to implement the use of technology in Charleston.  She hopes to be a leader in this.  Her office has created several websites aimed at assisting in clearly illustrating voters' rights, responsibilities and regulations.  She has also worked to put technology in place to ease the burden on businesses in the state. 

Ireland described herself as a "social liberal, but a fiscal republican," and she certainly sounded just as such when she spoke of the importance of business in WV.  "We need to simplify tax codes and business regulations to open this state up," Ireland said when asked how to attract more business to the state. 

Though unrelated to her field, Ireland also believes that the WV Teachers' Unions need to "wake up" and begin endorsing locality pay for teachers in the Eastern Panhandle.  As a future educator, that remark alone deserves a gold star.

Overall I was quite impressed by Secretary Ireland.  She seems to be right on track in regards to leading WV into the 21st century with a bang.  She seems to have a firm grasp on the importance of bringing business to the state through smart development by simplifying the horrifically complex tax codes and registration process.  She is also transforming WV into a leader for implementation of HAVA and she is finally showing WV the beauty of implementing technology on a governmental level, making life easier for all of us. 

Though she skirted around a question regarding her political future ("so will you be running for reelection in 2008, or will you be on the ballot for governor"), I believe it is safe to say that should she run for governor of WV, I will more than likely be solidly in her corner.

Websites of interest:

Monday, August 28, 2006

Is this torture?

...or just downright hilarious (and justified)?

I followed this link to Yahoo News from Instapundit:

Saddam's cartoon capers:

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is being made to watch his appearance in cult cartoon South Park while he is behind bars.

The deposed leader on trial in Iraq was featured in the movie spin-off as the lover of the devil. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut featured Hussein and Satan attempting to take over the world together.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said US Marines guarding the former dictator during his trial for genocide were making him watch the movie "repeatedly".

"I have it on pretty good information from the Marines on detail in Iraq that they showed him the movie last year. That's really adding insult to injury. I bet that made him really happy," Stone said.

Here's video of all Saddam's (and Satan's) scenes from the movie via

Warning, contains explicit language and sexual content.

Should we give Matt and Trey medals for providing such rich and powerful video for use in annoying the former dictator?  Maybe...

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"We're Australians first and foremost"

The UPI (United Press International) by way of The Washington Times had a report this morning that the leading Muslim leader of Melbourne, Australia sees beauty pageants as "a slur on Islam."  Here's the story:

Muslim girl in beauty contest uproar

A Muslim high school student, defying Islamic leaders, is among the final 26 contestants for the Miss Teen Australia beauty pageant.
      Ayten Ahmet, 16, reached the last stages of the competition determined to fulfill her modeling ambitions, while completing an accounting degree, according to a report in the Herald-Sun.
      Victoria state Islamic leader Yasser Soliman said the contest did not conform with the teachings of the Koran and a spokesman for Melbourne's leading Muslim cleric, Sheik Mohammed Omran, branded the competition, which involves swimsuit parades, a "slur on Islam."

There they go again.  Those crazy Muslim leaders are inserting themselves into something that has NOTHING to do with Islam.  Stick your big noses someplace else. 

      Ahmet said the criticism was disappointing and unnecessary.
      "I thought it would be good experience and an opportunity to have a bit of fun," she said. "The cameras are something I love."
      Her father, Salih Ahmet, said his daughter was entitled to participate. "We are not flying any flags; we are Australians first and foremost," he says.

Well said, Salih.  That's the attitude one has to take when nutty leaders feel it proper (or worse, dutiful) to comment on something which should be none of their concern.      

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Pee-Wee's Playhouse

Continuing with last year's theme of "free-for-all Friday's," and in the spirit of fun, I've decided that--barring some unforeseen story that just begs me to post--Friday's will be reserved for a quick review of the week's posts, and a little something fun or out of the ordinary. 

So far this week, we've covered:

And now for something completely different.  After sitting through it, it's kind of frightening and I can't believe I used to love this show so much.  Nonetheless, here's a memory from my childhood (and the childhoods of most kids my age) courtesy of  Without further ado I give you... Pee-Wee's Playhouse:

Good Grief. I'll be back with real news on Monday. Have a great weekend everybody!

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Only in America

This semester, Thursday's are just absolutely unreal for me.  I am up by 6:30ish.  Quick shower, out the door by 7:15. Grab a bite to eat and then to my 8:10 class.  I sit through that for THREE (3) HOURS.  Then it's back to my room to change books.  Quick bite to eat in the dining hall at 11:30 or so and then it's back across campus for two back-to-back classes.  One is state and local government (which, from looking at the syllabus, I think I could teach) and the other is American History: 1865-Today.  I finish those up at about 3:10.  Then it's across the street for a quick cup of coffee or bottle of water and back to my room to switch books again.  "Educating the Exceptional Children" is my next class, which lasts roughly from 4-6:35.  Tonight I had dinner out with friends, and then a quick drive to try to find the school a friend of mine has to do her observations in for her EDUC class.

The moral of all this is that I am very busy on Thursdays and I may not have the time to post. Today, I didn't even have time to read the news.

So before I settled into the bed this evening, I decided to skim quickly through The Washington Times site and the FOXNews site.  While on the FOX site, I stumbled upon this:

Transgender Inmates Pushes Prison to Allow Sex Change Surgery 

Kosilek was Robert Kosilek when he was convicted in the killing of his wife. In 1993, while in prison, he legally changed his name to Michelle.

Since then, Kosilek has been fighting for the state Department of Correction to pay for sex-change surgery, which can cost from $10,000 to $20,000. After two lawsuits and two trials, the decision now rests with a federal judge.

It's only in America that prisoner's would have any such audacity, right?

"If people are not treated, they suffer tremendously," said Shannon Minter, a board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute. "It's just as cruel to withhold treatment for gender-identity disorder as it is to withhold treatment for any other medical issue."

In Massachusetts, four of the 12 inmates diagnosed with gender-identity disorder are receiving hormone shots, including Kosilek. Prison officials also allowed Kosilek to receive laser hair removal, female undergarments and some makeup.

So not only is our court system entertaining this man by not simply dismissing the case, but the prison leadership is perpetuating the problem by allowing bits and pieces of this garbage to go on?  This is absurd!

Inmates in several other states have sued prison officials for sex-change operations. Like Kosilek, they argued that gender-identity disorder is a serious illness that can lead to severe anxiety, depression, suicide attempts and self-castration. They argue that treatment for their condition is a "medical necessity" and denying it would violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

"It's the most absurd thing I've ever heard of," said Wisconsin state lawmaker Mark Gundrum, who helped write a state law that bars the Department of Correction from using tax dollars for hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery.

He said the framers of the Constitution "were envisioning preventing people from being burned in oil or burned at the stake," not simply refusing to use taxpayer dollars for inmate sex changes or breast implants.

The law was introduced after Wisconsin inmate Scott Konitzer filed a lawsuit seeking a sex-change operation. The law took effect in January, but is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.

This guys makes a lot more sense.  What is our legal system coming to?  And why does the ACLU think it needs to involve itself in every issue that ever comes up?  The very fact that this is an issue says something about the sad state of things in some aspects of our culture.  Let's hope the court slaps the ACLU down.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Three posts in one day might be a little excessive for me, but I wanted to get this out, too.  There's a great piece at The Evangelical Outpost on what they describe as "the new whore chic."  It's worth a read.  The discussion that follows the post is also worth glancing over...

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History now more than ever? How about a speech class before it's too late!?

At the onset of my American History class yestarday, the professor threw out the single most over used question in the history of studying history: is studying history important?  Can it show us anything from that past that will help us shape the future?

We all know that answer is yes.  What I did not know, however, was just how much we have to learn from the past.

A student in the back shot his hand up before the professor had even closed his mouth following the question.  I knew from the way he started his response that it was going to be quite a point he had to make.  Allow me to paraphrase as accurately has possible:

Yea, yea.  Sure.  It's super important that we study history to learn the future from the past. Like, ok, I don't really want to make anybody mad, but, like, right now more than ever.  'Cuz Americans are so stupid.  'Specially the ones in our government leaders.  'Cuz, like, we all remember--well we don't remember 'cuz we weren't there, that during World War I we put all the Japanese in concentration camps and, like, if our stupid government would learn that, they might not put people in the concentration camps in Abu Gaharabi.  You know what I mean?  We have all this innocent people in Abu Gaharabi in Cuba, you know, just sitting there.  And that's wrong. 

The professor didn't bother to correct his mistakes.  He just sort of shook his head and said, "Well, thank you for that, uh, insight." 

It's just sad, really, the way most of my fellow college students think.  Aside from the obvious mistakes (like, um, for example, like, that the Japanese were in internment camps during World War II or that Abu Ghraib is a prison in Iraq, not a Cuban concentration camp--which we all know is not a concentration camp at all, but rather a club for bad boys and girls that we just aren't sure what to do with yet--or that these folks in Abu Ghraib or the seemingly accurately nick-named 'Club Gitmo' aren't innocents but rather folks seeking to destroy us), this guy just lacked basic grammar skills.  What happened to the days when people actually spoke English?  I mean REAL ENGLISH!  Folks like this are going to graduate from schools like Shepherd and go into the real world speaking in this jumbled tangle of words and try to make something of themselves. 

I think it was the way he articulated his comment, not the comment itself, that bothered me most.  Chock it up to me being a 92 year old man stuck in a 20 year old's body, but I just feel like by this point in our lives, we (people my age) should have a solid mastery of the English language. Even in a (possibly) stressful situation such as speaking in front of a large group, there has to be some standard by which we speak.  Or maybe we've passed the days of eloquent speeches and are instead in some period of grammatical devolution whereby we shall return to pointing and grunting (and, of course, sending text messages) for all our most important communication? 

Americans need history now more than ever?  How about an honest-to-goodness speech class before all hope for saving the English language is lost forever. Just a thought...

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...even in childbearing rates?  The democrats just can't seem to win. 

I first heard about this story on Special Report with Brit Hume on FOXNews last night.  Then, as I skimmed through the blogs last night, I noticed that the folks at Blogs for Bush also had a piece on the new-found trend that suggests Republicans are producing up to 41% more children than Democrats. More from Arthur Brooks at The Wallstreet Journal:

The Fertility Gap: Liberal politics will prove fruitless as long as liberals refuse to multiply.

Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections.

This really shouldn't be surprising to most of us. Thanks to the stranglehold on power that the most leftward leaning branch of the Democratic party seems to have, "liberal" has come to represent the "anti-family values party", or maybe they're just anti-family in general?

The report indicates that if the trend continues, republicans could see slight majority's in traditionally 'blue' states, such as California, and all-out political domination in swing states such as Ohio:

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all for no other reason than babies.

And the democrat's reaction to it all?

As one liberal columnist in a major paper graphically put it, "Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation."

Wow!  How does one respond to that? Perhaps Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush said it best, "The left cares so much about the world that they are essentially committing suicide? Well, by all means, if that is what you want..."

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What's the Point?

Sometimes people just annoy me. Especially this person:

Obama to take public AIDS test in Africa

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., announced in South Africa he will be publicly tested for AIDS in the Kenyan village where his father lived.
Obama, speaking at the headquarters of the Treatment Action Campaign outside Cape Town, said the gesture will be an effort to break the stigma for HIV testing, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

Now honestly, what is the point in this?  Does Mr. Obama think he has AIDS?  I doubt it..  Is he going to be waiting anxiously by the phone or losing sleep at night whilst he waits for a call from some doctor in South Africa?  Absolutely not. If AIDS were really a concern would he call on the doctors of this small Kenyan village?  Surely not!  He would pursue the best possible medical attention right here in the United States.

"Leaders, I think, have a responsibility to speak honestly and clearly about these issues," Obama said. "So, a lot of times, I think leading by example could be very helpful, and that is something I would like to do."
The senator told the assembled crowd outside the headquarters of the AIDS awareness organization prevention is an important part of fighting HIV.
"There is no stigma in using condoms in the United States," he said. Employees of the senator, who said he had been previously tested for the disease as part of his life insurance policy, said they expect thousands of men to follow his example in Kenya, where Obama is seen as a celebrity.

This is purely and simply a publicity stunt and an outlet for Obama to shine in his self proclaimed Kenyan celebrity status, and frankly I don't want to hear from him.

Further more, while there may not be a stigma for condom use (actually, condom use is so common and accepted as a part of everybody's everyday life that the Resident Assistant on my floor keeps a big bowl of them on his desk for "anybody who needs them at an unexpected time"), but abstinence--which we all know is the only sure way to prevent the contraction and/or spread of STD's-- has become such a highly stigmatized activity that it is more and more often being neglected in the constant mouth-blabbing about AIDS awareness and prevention..  Obama should try preaching abstinence that and see how long it takes for his fellow democrats to jump all over him, just like they do President Bush even as he spends more than any other American President on the African AIDS crisis.

I am tired of hearing about the African AIDS crisis.  I'm tired of hearing about the AIDS crisis at all. Without the preaching of absolute abstinence until marriage and unwavering monogamy afterwards, any attempt to fight AIDS or other STD's is a futile waste of money.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Antisocially High Hedges

I was skimming through The Washington Times website when I stumbled on a story by the United Press International out of Scotland.

"Scotland orders parents to do a better job."

A group of parents in Scotland's capital of Edinburgh are about to face jail unless they do more to control their troubled teenagers.

Lawyers for the town council are drawing up what is known as "Parenting orders," informing up to 10 families that they have to do a better job of parenting or face fines and jail, the Edinburgh Evening News reports.

"This is not a punishment," says Councilor Ewan Aitken. "We are helping struggling parents to help themselves for the good of their children."

Using powers handed to it under the Antisocial Behavior Act, the council can order parents to do such things as attend anger management classes, enroll in drinking and drug rehab or spend times with social workers learning how to cook and manage a household budget.

According to officials, the parenting orders are mainly issued as a last warning before steps are taken to move a child into state care.

This story in and of itself is not what was so shocking to me. Parents all over the world do a cruddy job of raising their kids and often let their spoiled teens get away with whatever they want to. I think just giving the kids a good old fashioned whoopin' would go along way. Instead, what got me was the "Antisocial Behavior Act" that Great Britain apparently has. I'd never heard of such a thing.

Needing to know a little about this Antisocial Behavior Act, I opened a new tab on my Internet Explorer browser and did what any scholar does...I Googled it. Sure enough, there is indeed an Antisocial Behavior Act on the books in Great Britain. The act deals with much of what one would expect from any law under the name "Antisocial Behavior Act:" drug use, bad parenting, firearms and others.
As I scanned through the table of contents I didn't see to much out of the ordinary. Until, of course, I came to Part 8: "High Hedges." High hedges are now a sign of antisocial behavior? I did not know that!
So what exactly constiutes a high hedge one may ask? Well, the act lays it out quite plainly in Number 66:

(1) In this Part "high hedge" means so much of a barrier to light or access

(a) is formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreens; and

(b) rises to a height of more than two metres above ground level.

Further more, Part 8, Number 66 covers any line of hedges where the evergreens are spaced out, rather than having been planted closely together:

(2) For the purposes of subsection

(1) a line of evergreens is not to be regarded as forming a barrier to light or access if the existence of gaps significantly affects its overall effect as such a barrier at
heights of more than two metres above ground level.

(3) In this section "evergreen" means an evergreen tree or shrub or a semi-evergreen tree or shrub.

What are the Brits really doing over there? Surely high hedges is not really so grave a concern as to be so thoroughly addessed. Or maybe it is? I don't really know. What I do know is that while Parliament debated hedge height, crazed extremists were plotting attacks on the entire Western World. I also am quite sure that if I ever move to England (which is highly doubtful), I will remember not to allow my hedges to grow over 2 meters high, unless of course said evergreens have been properly spaced for maximum light allowance. Good grief!

Here We Go Again...

Well after several months of sparse posting, it is my intention to begin regularly posting as I did when this blog first started nearly three years ago.

After a short summer siesta (well, not really a siesta as that implies that I was resting and since was not resting, but rather taking a break from the blogosphere while I was out of school for the summer, I probably should have used another word), I am now back in school for the start of my third (I cannot believe it, but it's true, I'm now a junior in undergraduate school!) year at Shepherd University.
My plan is to return to the previous format of posting nearly everyday with a little something different and lighter on Fridays. We'll see if my master plan holds out or if I will simply fall back into the lackadaisical habits of the past.

For those who care, the University is an absolute mess. It is buzzing (or should I say banging and clanging) with the sound of construction on virtually every inch of the campus. The sidewalks around the East Campus dormitories have been removed leaving a dry and desolate waste land of dust, gravel and straw. Why they would remove the sidewalks I do not know, but I certainly hope they are replaced soon, lest our desert scene out front be transformed into a mud pit by a moderate to heavy rain.

Also for those who care, we have apparently changed coffee providers. There was much pressure from the campus Political Action Committee (PAC) last year for Dining Services to change providers as the former coffee brand was not "free trade coffee." We have since switched to Green Mountain coffee. While I really don't know that I care if it is "free trade," I certainly hope it is better tasting than the trash they had last year.

For what it's worth, I thought I should also pass on that (as of now) I do not have a regular column in The Picket like I did last year. I believe that rather than allowing one or two people to pretend to speak for the entire right (or left) The Picket is planning to rotate a variety of writers into the spot. Supposedly, the plan calls for members of the University Republicans as well as the University Democrats to be afforded the opportunity to rotate in and out. We shall see how that works out.

Best wishes to any readers who, like me, are about to begin yet another school year.