Sunday, September 30, 2007

Brain-eating amoeba

It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

- AP (read full story here)


Monday, September 24, 2007


"Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy," Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, said in a sworn statement. "Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces."

- Washington Post (read full story here)


What is not excellent is prosecuting our own soldiers for killing the bad guys.

NY Times creates the news

The Times also violated its own advertising policy, which bars "attacks of a personal nature," Hoyt reported. He wrote that the episode "gave fresh ammunition to a cottage industry that loves to bash The Times as a bastion of the 'liberal media.' "

- Washington Post (read full article here)

The article fails to mention the declining circulation of the NY Times and the reasons for it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


For a man who didn't believe in the afterlife, H.P. Lovecraft sure is having a remarkable one. Few people had heard of him when he died at the age of 46 on this date in 1937, and fewer still had read the stories he sold to tacky pulp magazines. Nowadays, however, Stephen King and just about everybody else in the know recognizes him as the 20th century's most influential practitioner of the horror story--a claim he arguably clinched last month [Feb. 2005] with the publication of his best works in a definitive edition.

- John J. Miller, Wall Street Journal (read full editorial here)

Lovecraft continues to be one of my favorite authors.

Everyone vs. The Clantons

Hillary Rodham Clinton is finding herself in her rivals' cross-hairs.

Barack Obama and John Edwards try to paint her as a candidate of the Washington establishment and beholden to special interests. Chris Dodd questioned the former first lady's competence on health care reform. They have hinted she's too divisive to govern effectively as president.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am amazed bordering on stupification when I agree with Edwards, Obama, and Dodd, all simultaneously at once.


American diplomats on Friday resumed travel in convoys escorted by Blackwater USA, the private American security contractor, three days after the Iraqi government banned the company following a shooting in which at least eight Iraqis were killed.

- NY Times (read full story here)


Friday, September 21, 2007

Rhodiola rosea

Much of the old Soviet research on the herb remains locked away in Russian language journals. But over the past decade a growing body of new research published in English tentatively supports the results of early Soviet research. Laboratory and animal studies show that the herb may inhibit cancer cells, protect healthy cells from toxins, and correct enzyme imbalances associated with diabetes. In addition, four trials with human volunteers show that rhodiola extracts can boost mental performance, reduce fatigue, and ease depression.

- Science News (read full story here)

And the following link offers Rhodiola rosea extract for sale:

Water on Mars

Evidence for liquid water on some parts of Mars—now or in the past—looks leakier than researchers had supposed, according to an analysis of the sharpest images ever taken of the Red Planet from orbit. But in other places, the new images bolster the case that water once flowed.

- Science News (read full story here)

Small brains

The earliest known human ancestors that trekked from Africa into Asia possessed legs, feet, and spines much like ours, even as they sported relatively apelike arms and small brains, according to an analysis of 1.77-million-year-old fossils unearthed in the central Asian nation of Georgia.

- Science News (read full story here)

Maybe they were liberals.

The Breck Girl & Taxes

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards rolled out a program for reforming primary education in the United States on Friday, proposing to pay teachers up to $15,000 more in high poverty areas and initiating universal preschool.

His plan would cost $7 billion a year initially and increase in cost. He said it would be funded by collecting capital gains taxes currently not paid and closing offshore tax loopholes.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Clantons

Democratic insiders blame Sen. Hillary Clinton's micromanaging for her presidential campaign's acceptance of nearly $900,000 in contributions donated or raised by Norman Hsu, convicted for fraud and a former fugitive.

- Robert Novak (read full story here)

Of course. But The Clantons will lie their way out of it and pass the blame to subordinates. Business as usual.

Giuliani & Taxes

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Friday that the alternative minimum tax - which is expected to generate as much as $1 trillion over the next 10 years - could be eliminated by balancing it out with even more tax cuts.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am in favor of balancing tax cuts with more tax cuts.

Young vs. McNabb

Tennessee quarterback Vince Young, who also is black, disagreed with McNabb this week. He said all quarterbacks need to be thick-skinned.

"If you can't handle it," he told reporters, "then you have to get off that position and go play something else."

- Star Tribune (read full story here)


We now measure hard drive space in terabytes.

A far cry from my first hard drive, at the time a massive 20 megabytes (yes, that was megabytes, not gigabytes).

McCain vs. Internet tax

The current Internet tax moratorium, which Congress has extended twice since 1998, bans taxes on Internet access, as well as other taxes unique to the Internet. It's important for Congress to pass a permanent ban soon, before state and local governments begin to tax Internet access, said Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican.

- PC World (read full article here)

We don't need no more stinking taxes.

Once again, I agree with McCain.

Flanders vs. Wallonia

Radical Flemish separatists like Mr. Dewinter want to slice the country [Belgium] horizontally along ethnic and economic lines: to the north, their beloved Flanders — where Dutch (known locally as Flemish) is spoken and money is increasingly made — and to the south, French-speaking Wallonia, where a kind of provincial snobbery was once polished to a fine sheen and where today old factories dominate the gray landscape.

- NY Times (read full story here)

This is why no one speaks Belgian anymore.

NY Times vs. Microsoft

Microsoft’s resounding defeat in a European antitrust case establishes welcome principles that should be adopted in the United States as guideposts for the future development of the information economy.

- NY Times (read full editorial here)

Another pathetically clueless liberal opinion. I am no fan of Microsoft, but I am even less a fan of increasingly intrusive government regulations.

Ford vs. James

NY Times review of the movie, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

Or,as the song goes, "when that dirty little coward shot Mr. Howard and laid poor Jesse in his grave."

Alternate title = The American Hero Bob Ford executes a lying, murdering terrorist that got what he deserved.


The former director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and two other former department employees have been charged with misusing state money, according to indictments unsealed Thursday.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

Reminds me of the Wisconsin DNR.

What is the difference between Virginia and Wisconsin?

Virginia actually investigates and prosecutes wrongdoing.


This is a very interesting article on Marino's place among the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Too many mosques

A homeland security adviser to Rudy Giuliani came under fire Thursday for claiming there were "too many mosques" in the United States - and defended himself by saying his point was that not enough Muslim leaders cooperate with law enforcement.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

McCain vs. Giuliani

Republican presidential candidate John McCain lobbed a thinly veiled attack at fellow rival Rudy Giuliani, describing the former mayor's "devious" attempt with a lawsuit "to bankrupt our great gun manufacturers."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I side with McCain on this one.

Dodd vs. The Clantons

Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd Thursday criticized rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's rollout of her health care plan, saying she had mismanaged her effort to reshape the health care system as first lady, resulting in a major policy debacle.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am amazed bordering on stupification that I agree with Dodd.

The Clantons

The complaint says Hsu - who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and others - violated campaign finance laws by making contributions to candidates in other people's names and perpetrated a Ponzi scheme to defraud victims across the United States of over $60 million.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

A typical Clinton crony.

Osama Obama

The Senate voted 72-25 to pass a resolution condemning a ad that referred to Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, as "Gen. Betray Us."

"This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq," Obama said in a statement. "By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Osama Obama exposed himself as a person without integrity, but I guess we already knew that.

Disrespecting the military

"When I saw the ad by the far left-wing people, I was incredulous at first and then became mad. It's one thing to attack me; it's fine. It's another thing to denigrate the integrity of somebody who's wearing this uniform, because I felt that this attack was not just on General Petraeus, it was on the military up and down the line."

- President Bush, quoted by Ronald Kessler on (read full story here)

You can be outraged, but you cannot be surprised. Liberals have been disrespecting the military for decades.


A judge has ordered a man to lay an unusual family heirloom to rest: a mummified baby has been passed down for generations.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

I am amazed bordering on stupification that someone would do this.


Firefighters had to tear though a wall to rescue a man who became stuck while trying to climb through a chimney into a home.

Alejandro Valencio said he was drunk when he climbed down the chimney about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday to see a woman who lived in the home.

"Everyone do stupid things sometimes when they're drunk," he said.

"I told them to leave him in the chimney and let him die," she said.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

I have never been that drunk.


Drinkers of Moosehead beer in Ontario are being advised to stock up on their favorite brew after thieves made off with more than 100,000 cans and bottles.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he still might run for president if supporters will pledge $30 million by November.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

That is a very big "IF."


World Chess Championship held in Mexico.

Computer Championship Rybka vs. Zappa


Fans will be seeing double with Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2008.

NASCAR's most popular driver will drive the No. 88 for Hendrick Motorsports, and he will be sponsored by PepsiCo. brand Mountain Dew AMP Energy drink and the Army National Guard, the team announced Wednesday.

Earnhardt wanted to continue his association with the number, eight. The self-described NASCAR history buff said he liked the lineage of the No. 88. Darrell Waltrip and Dale Jarrett won championships with that number.

"Ralph Earnhardt drove the No. 88 Olds in 1957 and because of this number's history with the Earnhardt family, I felt car number 88 should continue with Dale Earnhardt Jr.," owner Robert Yates said in a statement. ``I'm proud to transfer this number to Dale Jr.''

- Miami Herald (read full story here)

Bottom feeding trial lawyers

As long as we're studying the health care systems of various socialist countries, are we allowed to notice that doctors in these other countries aren't constantly being sued by bottom-feeding trial lawyers stealing one-third of the income of people performing useful work like saving lives?

- Ann Coulter (read her full comments here)


Dan Rather

In an extraordinary move that reflects the depth of his resentment toward his former network, Dan Rather sued CBS yesterday, charging that he was made a "scapegoat" for a discredited 2004 story about President Bush's National Guard record because CBS wanted to "pacify the White House."

- Washington Post (read full story here)

Dan "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Rather was removed as anchor because he was an unprincipled hack.

That makes him worth $70 million?

CBS brought this on themselves because they enabled him for all those years, knowing full well what he was.

Turks vs. American Veterans

A computer hacker promoting Turkish nationalism posted a video and message on a U.S. Vietnam memorial Web site in recent days, blocking one of the site's search functions while defacing the site with a statement against the United States and Israel.

A spokesman for the Turkish Embassy in Washington said yesterday that the hack did not seem to be part of an organized group.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

The Turkish government has a long history of denying responsibility for actions in which they were later shown to be involved. Maybe this is not one of them, but then again maybe it is.

Giuliani and NRA

Rudolph W. Giuliani will go before the rank and file of the National Rifle Association on Friday, seeking support for his Republican presidential campaign from a group he once likened to "extremists" for its efforts to repeal the ban on assault weapons.

But even as the former New York mayor strives to burnish his Second Amendment credentials at the gathering in Washington, a panel of federal judges in his home town will be hearing arguments on the lawsuit that Giuliani filed seven years ago aimed at punishing the nation's gun manufacturers for violent crimes involving firearms.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

I would be reluctant to support Giuliani except that the Democrats are all so much worse.

Black Thursday

High noon. The market’s up after a morning of light trading, and workers on their way to lunch in New York’s financial district fill the sidewalks. As the bells of Trinity Church echo through Wall Street, a horse-drawn cart stops at the corner of Wall and Broad. The driver drops the reins, jumps down, and scurries away. One minute later—at 12:01 p.m. on September 16, 1920—100 pounds of dynamite mixed with 500 pounds of scrap iron shredded the sunny streets.

- (read full story here)

It was a terrible injustice that the perpetrator was never punished.


In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised that Blackwater guards would be held accountable for what he called "a big crime" in the weekend violence. Iraqi officials have threatened to expel Blackwater from Iraq over the incident, in which at least nine Iraqis were killed.

"We will not allow Iraqis to be killed in cold blood," Maliki said. "There is a sense of tension and anger among all Iraqis, including the government, over this crime."

- Washington Post (read full story here)

One of the main problems in Iraq is that the prime minister is an incompetent hypocrite.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Meteroite strike

A fiery meteorite crashed into southern Peru over the weekend, experts confirmed on Wednesday.

Local residents told reporters that a fiery ball fell from the sky and smashed into the desolate Andean plain near the Bolivian border Saturday morning.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

Edwards vs. The Clantons

Elizabeth Edwards accused Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton of copying the health care plan outlined more than seven months ago by her husband, John.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Clantons are not above a little plagiarism.

Dobson vs. Thompson

James Dobson, one of the nation's most politically influential evangelical Christians, made it clear in a message to friends this week he will not support Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Dobson is obviously not a Fredhead.

Giuliani vs. Iran

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani met with Britain's prime minister Wednesday and vowed the U.S. would take any action necessary to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am very much in favor of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Acting like he's white

Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was "acting like he's white" for not speaking out more forcefully about a racially charged schoolyard beating in Louisiana.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Prader-Willi Syndrome

Firefighters cut a hole in the side of a house and used a forklift to extricate a 900-pound man from his second-floor bedroom after a visiting nurse became worried about his health.

- azcentral (read full story here)


In the study of human origins, paleoanthropology stares in frustration back to a dark age from three million to less than two million years ago. The missing mass in this case is the unfound fossils to document just when and under what circumstances our own genus Homo emerged.

- NY Times (read full story here)

There is always some pesky missing link.


Where do moral rules come from? From reason, some philosophers say. From God, say believers. Seldom considered is a source now being advocated by some biologists, that of evolution.

- NY Times (read full story here)

Soviet-style health care

Last week I pointed out that Michael Moore, maker of the documentary "Sicko," portrayed the Cuban health-care system as though it were utopia -- until I hit him with some inconvenient facts. So he backed off and said, "Let's stick to Canada and Britain because I think these are legitimate arguments that are made against the film and against the so-called idea of socialized medicine. And I think you should challenge me on these things."

- John Stossel (read his full column here)

Stossel demolishes the myth of free health care for everyone.

Day of Blood

"On March 24, known as the Day of Blood, the Archigallus or high priest drew blood from his arms and presented it to the goddess. His offering was followed by other men, some of whom castrated themselves on the altar. They would then run through the city carrying their genitals. When a man threw his genitals into a particular house, that house was considered honored, and had to furnish him with the female attire and ornaments which he wore for the rest of his life."

- The Magic Garden: The Myth and Folklore of Flowers, Plants, Trees, and Herbs (1976) by Anthony S. Mercatante, page 43.

This book contains a lot of odd and obscure folklore, but the above quoted passage is the most bizarre of all.

Those guys were really dedicated to their religion. And must have had an impressive tolerance for pain.

Another description can be found at

More information about Cybele (the goddess associated with the Day of Blood) can be found at

Miami Herald vs. Blackwater

Employing private-security contractors for jobs in trouble spots around the world may be a good option now and again, but the problem is clearly out of hand in Iraq. Using private contractors raises serious legal issues and results in a lack of discipline and accountability. Nor does it appear to be cheaper, considering that numerous official audits have found billions of dollars in waste and overspending. Congress needs to place strict limits on this practice and eliminate contractors' immunity from criminal liability.

- Miami Herald (read full editorial here)

This is the kind of uninformed opinion that I expect from liberals.


Republican lawmakers yesterday blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. vote bill, a potentially fatal setback for the District's most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress.

The vote was on a motion to simply consider the bill. Fifty-seven senators voted in favor, three short of the 60 needed to proceed. Without enough support to vault the Senate's procedural hurdles, the bill is expected to stall this year and possibly next year.

- Washington Post (read full story here)



Maryland's highest court yesterday upheld a 34-year-old state law banning same-sex marriage, rejecting an attempt by 19 gay men and lesbians to win the right to marry.

In reversing a lower court's decision, the divided Court of Appeals ruled that limiting marriage to a man and a woman does not discriminate against gay couples or deny them constitutional rights.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

The Breck Girl

One image of Edwards is that he's a champion of the embattled middle class and poor, an up-from-his-bootstraps populist waging war against special interests who favor the rich and established.

The other take: He's a phony.

Which is it? Is the Democratic presidential candidate a man of the people, as he says, or the fake his rivals call him?

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Old Wives' Lore for Gardeners

Old Wives' Lore for Gardeners (1976) by Maureen & Bridget Boland

Entertaining little book with a few good gems.

"We learned by trial and a great deal of error what could be grown there, and from studying books that recommended plants that would flourish in damp shade. So many of these were poisonous that we once contemplated going into business as market gardeners to supply would-be murderers who hesitated to sign chemists' registers for their needs."

"Every Old Wife will tell you to sow seed and to transplant only with a waxing, never a waning moon."

"The ash has always been considered to have magical properties. Whatever its virtues for witches and warlocks, honest Old Wives would have you never plant it in the garden. They say that it is so greedy it takes all the good out of the soil for many yards around it."

On small creatures in the garden: "If it moves slowly enough, step on it; if it doesn't, leave it - it will probably kill something else."

Creating Privacy in the Garden

Creating Privacy in the Garden (1997) by Chuck Crandall and Barbara Crandall

Discusses the elements of privacy such as walls, fences, gates, trellises, screens, hedges, trees, and vines.

Covers water features such as fountains, ponds, and pools.

Contrasts the different treatments of front yards, side yards, and back yards.

Discusses garden structures such as gazebos, pavilions, and arbors.

Includes ten case studies of garden design.

Lots of color photographs and lists of recommended plants.

Gardening with Stone

Gardening with Stone: Using Stone Features to Add Mystery, Magic, and Meaning to Your Garden (1999) by Jan Kowalczewski Whitner

Covers various styles of gardens: Asian, Formal, Natural, Water-Wise, Cottage, Water, and Patterned.

Discusses habitats: fissures, screes, ledges, outcrops, meadows, woodlands, gravel, beaches, wetlands, troughs, deserts, and paving. Includes lists of recommended plants for each habitat.

For example, some of the woodlands recommendations are:

hardy cyclamen

Interesting section on stone art.

Lots (and I do mean LOTS) of color photographs.

Landscaping with Stone

Landscaping with Stone: Natural-looking paths, steps, walls, water features, and rock gardens (2006) by Jeanne Huber

Includes lots of diagrams and color photographs.

Covers paths in a lot of detail: stepping stone, flagstone, fieldstone, cut stone, cobblestone, etc.

I particularly enjoyed the section on boulders and "character stones."

Good advice on building rock gardens and walls.

Interesting section on ponds and pools.


By soaking a silica sponge with antimatter, physicists have made the first matter-antimatter molecules. With further refinement, the technique might be used to briefly condense antimatter into fluid or solid states or even to create the first gamma-ray laser.

- Science News (read full story here)

It sounds like something from Star Trek.

Chicanery by Democrats

Somewhat like O.J. Simpson, Democratic leaders have not been held accountable for their misdeeds and obviously figure they can continue their chicanery with impunity.

- David Limbaugh (read his full comments here)


The Contender

I picked Max Alexander to win it all, and he lost a 5-round decision tonight.

Very disappointing fight.


It took less than a half for the Philadelphia fans to begin booing Donovan McNabb.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

When McNabb complains about how difficult it is for black quarterbacks in the NFL, is this what he is talking about?


Romney, who has come under criticism from conservatives for his past support of some gay rights issues, says he is the only major GOP candidate backing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

It is going to be a very tough fight.

Osama Obama

Obama's campaign said he would pay for his proposals by closing corporate tax loopholes, fighting international tax havens and raising the top rate on capital gains and dividends.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Osama Obama sees himself as such a wise man. He knows how to redistribute wealth.

The Clantons

"If you don't learn from your mistakes, you stop growing," Clinton said in an interview with The Associated Press, insisting that voters should trust her leadership on health care and other issues as she seeks a return to the White House in her own right.

- AP/Forbes (read full story)

Translation = By raising taxes and exerting more government control over peoples' lives, the Clantons can advance the cause of liberalism.

Do not drink Minnesota water

When Tom Hammers accidentally cuts his finger, he can't feel the pain.

His nerves were damaged at age 16 by drinking water from a tainted well. It happened in 1972, the summer that changed his life.

That year, Hammers and 12 other employees of his father's construction business drank water from a new well at the company's office. The water tasted good. Nobody knew the well had penetrated an old arsenic dump.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

The Breck Girl vs. The Clantons

In its most direct attack on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the campaign of Democratic presidential contender John Edwards on Tuesday denounced a fundraising luncheon that included sessions for Clinton donors with members of Congress who have expertise in homeland security.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Sort of like a fly buzzing around a pile of dung.

Golden horns

The prized replacement copies of a lost Danish treasure - a pair of golden horns that were stolen in 1802 and melted down in an audacious crime - have also been snatched, officials said.

- azcentral (read full story here)


Students at Carl Hayden Community High School were stunned when a baby shark appeared in one of their fish tanks.

This type of birth is known as parthenogenesis, in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new pup, said Lajvardi, program manager for the Carl Hayden Center for Marine Science.

- Arizona Republic/azcentral (read full story here)


Vervain is one of the old-time herbs. The concensus seems to be that it is one of the Verbena species. There seems to be some diversity of opinion on which Verbena it was. Several sources say it was Verbena officinalis.

According to the above link, Vervain is Verbena officinalis. Said to "secure the favour of the ladies."

According to the above link, Blue Vervain is Verbena hastata.

According to the above link, Vervain is Verbena officinalis, and "Historically it has been associated with alchemists and witches, bestowing magical powers to those who use it."

Crocs might be dangerous to your health

At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

Global warming lawsuit

It is impossible to determine to what extent automakers are responsible for global warming damages in California, a federal judge ruled in tossing out a lawsuit filed by California against the world's six largest automakers.

In his ruling Monday, District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco noted that many culprits, including other industries and even natural sources, are responsible for emitting carbon dioxide.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

Jerry Brown is a public menace.


Blackwater USA, an American contractor that provides security to some of the top American officials in Iraq, has been banned from working in the country by the Iraqi government after a shooting that left eight Iraqis dead and involved an American diplomatic convoy.

Blackwater defended its actions, saying it had come under attack from armed militants.

- NY Times (read full story here)

I am inclined to side with Blackwater on this one.


But as Gibbs and his coaches tried to sort through the players and get the field goal unit aligned, the Philadelphia Eagles called a timeout, and the game slipped from their grasp for good. Suddenly, Gibbs had a moment to collect his thoughts, and, as he put it, he "decided to take a shot" that resulted in a momentum-changing touchdown. The Redskins went on to a 20-12 victory at Lincoln Financial Field that put them at 2-0 and left Philadelphia reeling at 0-2.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

Somewhat ironic that the Eagles timeout helped the Redskins win.


In the emerald waters separating India and Sri Lanka lies a long chain of sand-capped rocky formations. Devout Hindus believe the god Ram built the shoals before a battle with a demon king.

In court, the government contended that the Hindu god Ram was a mythical character, an argument that only further enraged Hindus opposed to the current project. The Hindu nationalist political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, called the statement a blasphemous insult, and the government hurriedly withdrew it.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Obama vs. Wall Street

Obama blamed Wall Street for wasteful and unethical anti-market practices such as corporate boards that allow executives to set the price of stock options to guarantee they'll make money regardless of performance and CEOs who get massive severance packages or perks even when workers lose their jobs or pensions. But he also accused the Bush administration of approving mergers with little scrutiny and maintaining more than $1 trillion worth of corporate tax loopholes.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

What a guy. He knows what is best for everyone.


After three terrorism cases in less than two years, including an alleged bombing plot broken up this month, intelligence officials say tiny Denmark is on the front line in the battle against Islamic terrorism in Europe.

Not only did Denmark achieve infamy across the Muslim world for the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, which incited violent and even deadly protests in other countries, it also has troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

- NY Times (read full story here)

Those Muhammad cartoons were humorous, though.

Second stall from the right

Now tourists are asking about a new destination in the Twin Cities, says Karen Evans, information specialist at the information counter at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

A common request is, "Excuse me, can you please tell me where the Larry Craig bathroom is?"

Evans was just 15 minutes into her shift Friday afternoon and already had heard the request four times.

"It's become a tourist attraction," Evans said with a smile. "People are taking pictures."

- Idaho Statesman (read full story here)

This proves, once again, what a great place Minnesota is.

Europe vs. Microsoft

Microsoft lost its appeal of a European antitrust order Monday that obliges the technology giant to pay a record $613 million fine, share communications code with rivals and sell a copy of Windows without Media Player.

In a stinging defeat for the world's biggest software maker, the court decision also affirms Europe's role as the lead international regulator of dominant companies.

- AP/Miami Herald (read full story here)

Those pesky Europeans.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Garden Habitats

Creating Small Habitats for Wildlife in Your Garden (2000)

by Josie Briggs

Covers woodland, wetland, grassland, and rockland habitats.

The author takes "small" all the way down to the scale of individual containers.

Includes lots of lists, diagrams and color photographs.


Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (2001)

by John Michael Greer

This is a very unusual book.

The author's view of SUNDS is very different than that presented by the medical/scientific community.

According to the author, SUNDS is caused by a monstrous being called dab tsog. The author goes into a lot of detail about Old Hag types of magical attacks in general and tsog tsuam in particular (tsog tsuam is the name of the attack, dab tsog is the monster).

The author discusses many types of monsters: vampires, ghosts, werewolves, creatures of faery, mermaids, dragons, spirits, angels, and demons.

The author also provides advice on magical self-defense (natural magic and ritual magic).

Since I have a lot of training in science and none in magic, it is difficult for me to objectively analyze a lot of what the author has to say.

It makes for very interesting reading, though.


The Living Pond: Water gardens with fish & other creatures (2000)

by Helen Nash

The author covers goldfish ponds, koi ponds, water quality, filtration, fish health, turtle ponds, and bird ponds.

Includes lots of color photographs.

Does not recommend keeping snapping turtles in a pond, noting, "They get along with no other species, including their own."

Offers advice for keeping raccoons away from ponds: "Suspend fox-urine-soaked rags around the pond's perimeter. (Effective, but perhaps not the method of choice for an outside dinner party.)"

Includes a long list of butterfly-attractive plants.

Garden Ponds

Garden Pondlopaedia: A Complete Guide to Garden Ponds (2003)

by Graham Quick

The author covers everything you need to know about ponds: building, edging, planting, pumps, filtration, lighting, water chemistry, fish, and maintenance.

Includes plenty of diagrams and color photographs.

Shade Perennials

Timber Press Pocket Guide to Shade Perennials (2005) by W. George Schmid

The author provides lots of lists (for example, perennials for wet shade, perennials for dry shade, perennials for full shade, etc.) and then catalogs over 1,000 species and cultivars.

Includes many color photographs.

This is yet another book that I should probably buy instead of just reading the library copy.

Blame Jane Fonda

"And so, instead of becoming a nation with clean and cheap nuclear energy, as once seemed inevitable, the United States kept building power plants that burned coal and other fossil fuels. Today such plants account for 40 percent of the country's energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions. Anyone hunting for a global-warming villain can't help blaming those power plants -- and can't help wondering too about the unintended consequences of Jane Fonda."

- Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, quoted by NewsMax (read full story here)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tree liability

In the suburbs, there are few issues that can cause as much rancor and neighborhood discord as a deep-rooted, mature tree that has no regard for the neat boundaries of a property line.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

Fascinating article about the problems that trees and neighbors cause.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Gen. David Petraeus' high-profile report on Iraq is pumping new life into Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, his backers say, making the Arizona Republican appear prescient and courageous on the campaign's most vital issue.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Prescient? Now there is a word that one does not hear in everyday conversation.

Arnold sells out

California's popular governor is known for his kaleidoscopic political stripes, and that's his point. He said Republicans could face a future of Election Day misery unless the party makes a decisive shift to the political center and claims issues usually associated with the Democratic agenda, like global warming and health-care reform.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


Condemn MoveOn

A political group supporting President Bush's Iraq war strategy with a multimillion dollar ad campaign is airing a new TV ad denouncing a liberal group's sharp criticism of Gen. David Petraeus.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS) is a disorder found in southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, Japan, Philippines and Cambodia, which causes sudden cardiac death (usually in males) during sleep (1–3). This disorder, which is the most common cause of ‘natural’ death in the young, healthy Asian population, is called by many descriptive terms in the various countries, including pokkuri (‘sudden unexplained death at night’) in Japan, lai-tai (‘died during sleep’) in Thailand, and bangungut (‘moaning and dying during sleep’) in the Philippines.

- Human Molecular Genetics (read full article here)

Bizarre. The most common cause of "natural" death.

The Clantons

Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani on Thursday accused Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton of participating in "character assassination" for questioning Gen. David Petraeus about his assessment of progress in Iraq.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Of course. The Clantons have always been the chief practitioners of the politics of personal destruction.

The Clantons

The saga of the scandal-plagued Democratic fundraiser with ties to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton took another strange twist after he mailed a suicide note last week to a legal organization.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

1) Probably angling for an insanity plea.

2) This is what an association with The Clantons does to your brain.

The plague strikes again

A woman in Apache County [Arizona] is battling the plague and state health officials are warning anyone in higher elevations to take extra precautions to avoid becoming the next victim.

The human case is the first reported in the state since 2000. Craig Levy of the state Department of Health Services says the disease can be contracted from fleas, rodents or other infected animals.

He also says that family pets allowed to roam often bring the disease back home and can infect their owners.

The Apache County case follows an outbreak last month in prairie dogs in Flagstaff. Levy says that means the disease is probably widespread in the Arizona high county.

- AP/azcentral (link here)

The Black Death returns.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stupid traitors

Democrats yearn for America to be defeated on the battlefield and oppose any use of the military -- except when they can find individual malcontents in the military willing to denounce the war and call for a humiliating retreat.

If liberals are not traitors, their only fallback argument at this point is that they're really stupid.

- Ann Coulter (read her full comments here)

I have always thought that liberals were both stupid and traitors.

The Secret Servant

(Thanks to Mark for loaning me this novel)

The Secret Servant (2007) by Daniel Silva

The protagonist is an Israeli intelligence officer named Gabriel Allon.

Set in modern Europe, the plot involves Muslim terrorists who kidnap the daughter of an American ambassador.

An ominous portrayal of how bad things are going to get in Europe.

A "moderate Muslim" who tries to do the right thing is murdered by his own son, one of the terrorists.

Herb of the year

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is the herb of the year for 2007.

I have more lemon balm than anything else in my yard.

And I have more lemon balm than the rest of the neighborhood combined.

Cottage Gardens

Cottage Gardens: Everything You Need to Create a Garden (2000) by David Squire

Covers the history of cottage gardens.

Explains how to create a cottage garden: vertical elements, boundaries, decorative features, paths, water features, etc.

Lists flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, trees, etc. for cottage gardens.

The star plants on the herb list are:

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Caraway (Carum carvi)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

For attracting butterflies:

Buttterfly bush

More tough plants

Tough Plants for Tough Places (1997)

by Gary Vergine and Michael Jefferson-Brown

Covers the problem sites: too wet, too dry, too sandy, too clayey, sun, shade, wind, etc.

Lots of solid advice for getting the most out of gardens (large and small), paths, hedges, walls, containers, hanging baskets, etc.

A very good section on the mess that builders leave behind for the homeowner to deal with.

Lists a great many tough plants, including several of my own personal favorites:

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Globe flower (Trollius europaeus)
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)
Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
Royal fern (Osmunda regalis)
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Variegated deadnettle (Lamium madculatum)
Winter aconite (Eranthus hyemalis)


Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson

I read it again, and it is still one of the best novels of all time.

The setting, the characters, the emphasis on character development, the dialog, it is all here.

Liberal scaremongering

(Thanks to Mark for calling my attention to this one)

This link is to an article by S. Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, University of Virginia.

Professor Singer provides an excellent overview of the science and politics of global warming.

Guitar Hero III

Guitar Hero III coming to PC/Mac platforms.


A kilogram just isn't what it used to be.

The 118-year-old cylinder that is the international prototype for the metric mass, kept tightly under lock and key outside Paris, is mysteriously losing weight - if ever so slightly. Physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, southwest of Paris, says the reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms compared with the average of dozens of copies.

"The mystery is that they were all made of the same material, and many were made at the same time and kept under the same conditions, and yet the masses among them are slowly drifting apart," he said. "We don't really have a good hypothesis for it."

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

Mass is not what we think it is. Ditto for gravity.

Internet ordination

(Thanks to Mark & Jeff for calling my attention to this one)

A couple who broke up seven months after their wedding vows wondered if the ceremony performed by a friend ordained via the Internet was even valid under state law.

Now a York County judge has ruled that it was not, although a Universal Life Church official hopes to challenge that ruling.

- AP/ (read full story here)

This could get very interesting.

Northern pike in trout water

For the last decade, the state of California has waged a Sisyphean battle against the northern pike, a fish and a voracious eating machine. In the mid-1990s, when pike were first found in Lake Davis, a Sierra Nevada reservoir about four miles north of here, the discovery set off a panic over the potential impact on the local trout-fishing and tourist industries as well as the possibility of the fish migrating to fragile ecosystems downstream. Since then, millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours have been spent trying to spike the pike.

No one knows exactly how many of “these individuals” live in Lake Davis, though estimates run anywhere from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. Nor does anyone know where the pike came from, though Mr. Martarano says they may have been introduced by sport fishermen who prize its fight or even “eco-terrorists” who might have introduced the pike “just to cause trouble.”

Whatever the cause, the pike is not a friendly newcomer to any ecosystem. A slender, razor-toothed hunter that can grow to more than three feet long, the pike has been known to devour anything it can get its pointed maw around, including frogs, waterfowl and — legend has it — small dogs.

- NY Times (read full story here)

By contrast, Colorado intentionally planted pike in trout water.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The anti-war faction

This is a defining moment for the antiwar faction. They can continue on the path on to which they have veered, repeating some of the worst mistakes in American history. Or they can make a clean break with the past, police their own ranks, and promote a healthy, critical, public debate about the best way forward in Iraq.

- Peter D. Feaver, Boston Globe (read his full comments here)

They will choose the "worst mistakes" path, of course. They are liberals.

Vitamin C

U.S. researchers link the possible anti-cancer effect of anti-oxidants such as vitamin C to their inhibiting effect on the free radicals which promote tumors.

"The potential anti-cancer benefits of anti-oxidants have been the driving force for many clinical and preclinical studies," lead author, Dr.Chi Dang, of The John Hopkins University, said in a statement. "By uncovering the mechanism behind anti-oxidants, we are now better suited to maximize their therapeutic use."

- UPI/Science Daily (link here)

Killer collisions

A huge chunk of rock hit Earth 65 million years ago, setting off events that wiped out the dinosaurs. That chunk, astronomers now say, was a wayward fragment from a collision between two giant asteroids in the inner part of the asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter. The new study adds to the evidence that both Earth and moon have been bombarded by about twice the usual number of asteroid fragments during the past 200 million years.

- Science News (read full story here)

Raw oysters

Fulton County health officials are warning against eating raw shellfish because it could be contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria linked to the death of a woman who ate raw oysters at Spondivits Seafood & Steaks in early August.

- Atlanta Journal-Constitution (read full story here)

I love raw oysters.

Garden Spells

Garden Spells (2007) by Sarah Addison Allen

Fascinating premise, ineptly implemented.

The author is a graduate of the Octavia Butler/Rosie Lyons School of Literature which features victims instead of protagonists.

Shamelessly manipulative.

The family of witches in a magic garden is a great setting for a novel. It is pathetic that the author could not do any better than this.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The weekend

Saturday night, we went to The Safe House, a spy-themed restaurant in Milwaukee. Good BBQ ribs. We enjoyed New Glarus Spotted Cow draft beer while we waited for our table.

Sunday, we attended the Packers vs. Eagles game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packers won 16-13 in a sloppy, poorly-officiated game.

Tough plants

Tough Plants for Northern Gardens (2003)

Low Care, No Care, Tried and True Winners by Felder Rushing

Lists annuals, bulbs, grasses, perennials, shrubs, trees, and vines.

Best annuals for beginners are begonias, celosia, coleus, dusty miller, gomphrena, moss rose, pansy, periwinkle, sweet potato, and zinnia.

Best bulbs for beginners are chives, crocus, daffodils, gladiola, grape hyacinth, hosta, and iris.

Best perennials for beginners are artemisia, coneflower, daylily, goldenrod, phlox, rhubarb, saponaria, sedum, violets, and yarrow.

Best shrubs for beginners are flowering quince, forsythia, hollies, lilac, rose of sharon, and spirea.

Best trees for beginners are crabapple, japanese maple, maple, saucer magnolia, star magnolia, and winterberry.

Best vines for beginners are climbing roses (some), cypress vine, goldflame honeysuckle, hyacinth bean, moonflower, and wintercreeper.

Features many more lists, lots of nice color pictures, and plenty of good gardening advice.

Another book that I should probably buy instead of just reading the library copy.

Herbs in the Midwest

Growing and Using Herbs in the Midwest (1996)

A regional guide for home gardeners by Rosemary Divock

Includes many of my favorites:

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Lavender (Lavandula)
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia tripphylla)
Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
Mints (Mentha)
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Scented geraniums (Perlargoniums)
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Sweet Marjoram (Majorana hortensis)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Curiously omits some of my favorites such as bible leaf, lemon balm, and comfrey.

Provides a month by month to-do list for herb gardeners.

Lists culinary uses and includes recipes.

I probably should buy this book (I read the library copy).

Friday, September 07, 2007

Criminals and liberals

Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was arrested in Colorado late Thursday after a judge issued an arrest warrant when he failed to show up for a court appearance related to a felony theft conviction.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

He thought Colorado was a haven for criminals and liberals?

Clinton Portis

Clinton Portis has a message for the NFL. Often injured the past year, he says he is back and healthy for a regular season game for the first time since 2005 -- when he set the franchise rushing record.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

And in a related story, NFL pundit Skip Bayless is picking the newly resurgent Redskins to win the NFC East.

3:10 to Yuma

This Washington Post movie review compares the new release to the old classic which starred Glenn Ford and Van Heflin.

I always liked the old version, even though it did have some odd moments.

Worm composting

I keep worms. I keep them in the backyard in a hinged box that people call a worm bin. The term is unsatisfactory. Bins are for dirty laundry and trash; this box, sort of a plywood footlocker, has more varied and mystical functions. It is a chest of garden treasure, a microbial engine room, a guilt extinguisher and a bank for small deposits of virtue. The worms, you see, eat my garbage.

The worms obliterate evidence of neglect, the things that provoke annoying pinpricks of kitchen guilt, and give you compost in return. Their waste — the tactful term is castings — is not gross or maggoty. It’s wormy, with a lush, loamy smell. It’s near-black, velvety and shockingly fertile.

- NY Times (read full column here)

I have to try this.

No more canine rabies

The canine rabies virus has been eliminated in the United States, federal health experts are expected to announce at a conference in Atlanta on Friday.

- Atlanta Journal-Constitution (read full story here)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

William Gibson

Interesting article about William Gibson and his most recent novel "Spook Country."

I read "Spook Country," and it was very good, but still not up to the level of "Neuromancer."

More taxes

President Reagan famously joked that the federal government’s view of the economy can be summed-up like this: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Just eight months into the year, it’s apparent that this is no longer just a quip. Rather, it has become the Democrats’ blueprint for their new congressional majority — and as Congress returns to Washington, we’ll see their tax-and-spend plans on full display once again.

- John Boehner (read his full comments here)

Exactly correct.

Star Wars in ASCII animation

Very clever.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The nukes are ready

A B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states last week, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

- AP/Star Tribune (read full story here)

It shows we are ready.

FEC vs. 527

The case is the latest in a series of actions by the FEC to penalize independent political groups that spent money to influence elections but did not register as political committees. The groups, called 527 organizations for the section of the IRS code under which they were formed, played a significant role in the 2004 congressional and presidential elections by raising unlimited amounts of money from labor groups, corporations and wealthy individuals.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Criminals and liberals

Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu failed to appear Wednesday for a bail hearing.

Hsu had been a fugitive in California for 15 years during which time he became a top donor to Democratic candidates, including presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The wrong trout

A study led by University of Colorado researchers says an effort to restore the endangered greenback cutthroat trout has been using the wrong fish for two decades.

Researchers say genetic tests show that some fish believed to be remnants of the greenback were actually the more common Colorado River cutthroat trout.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)


The End of an Outhouse

The highest outhouse in the continental United States is no more.

For years hikers have boasted about their moment on the seat at the Whitney summit. Behind the single rock wall that hid it from hikers, the seat was open on three sides to the swirling clouds and the immense granite ridges that rise from delicate alpine valleys.

- NY Times (read full story here)


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Creepy phlox

The Clantons

Democrat Barack Obama on Monday sharpened his critique of lead rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, warning against a return to "divisive, special interest politics" that had demoralized the country even before President Bush took office.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Clantons have always been champions of divisive, special interest politics.


"It was an acrid stench so vile that it made one's teeth feel soft in their sockets."

- Jack Vance, from one of the volumes of his Dying Earth series


Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed centralizing and expanding the regulation of lobbyists to reduce the influence of special interest money in Washington.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am amazed bordering on stupification that people give serious consideration to what Obama says.


Democrat Al Gore says he will probably endorse one of his party's 2008 presidential candidates. And it won't necessarily be Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife of his former boss.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

An endorsement from The Goracle.

What a prize.

The Clantons

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton promised retirees that if elected president she will not cut Social Security benefits, raise the retirement age or privatize the taxpayer-funded system.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Translation = The cause of liberalism can be advanced by raising taxes and exerting more governmental control over peoples lives.


An unflinching John McCain was told Tuesday by New Hampshire high school students he might be too old to be president and too conservative to be respected.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Only someone who has been brainwashed by liberals could possibly think that McCain is too conservative.


Cities need less federal control and more regional training to prepare for terrorist attacks and other disasters, Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I agree with him, but easy to say, tough to do.


DailyKos, an influential political Web site that serves as a virtual bulletin board for liberals, qualifies as a media entity exempt from federal campaign finance regulations, the Federal Election Commission said Tuesday.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Arlen Specter

A telephone call Craig received last week from Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., urging him to consider fighting for his seat is affecting Craig's decision to reconsider his resignation, Smith said.

On Tuesday, Specter, senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested Craig's GOP colleagues who pressured him last week to resign should re-examine the facts surrounding his arrest June 11.

"The more people take a look at the situation, there may well be second thoughts," said Specter, a former prosecutor. If Craig had not pleaded guilty in August to a reduced charge and instead demanded a trial, "I believe he would have been exonerated," Specter said.

- NewsMax (read full story here)

Two scenarios.

1. Craig resigns, the governor appoints a solid conservative to replace him, the solid conservative successfully defends his seat as the incumbent in the next election.

2. Craig does not resign and a Democrat takes the seat in the next election.

Specter is clearly working for scenario #2.

Swiftboat Veterans for Truth

Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Since when were they unsubstantiated?

More leftwing editorial disguised as a news item.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Frank Zappa on Miami Vice

September Dawn

Concerns that a new movie depicting a dark event in Mormon history could hurt the presidential campaign of Mormon Mitt Romney turned out to be ill-founded — for the simple reason that almost nobody has seen the film.

“September Dawn” opened last weekend in 857 theaters, but took in only $615,000, according to Deadline Hollywood Daily.

The movie, which stars John Voight, is historical fiction based on a real event — the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857, when renegade Mormons slaughtered 120 pioneers from an Arkansas wagon train traveling through Utah on their way to California.

Director Christopher Cain brushed off suggestions that the movie has anything to do with the Romney campaign, saying he had never heard of Romney when he began working on the movie, The Politico reported.

The reviews of the movie were savage. The New York Daily News said it “may be the worst historical drama ever made.”

The San Francisco Examiner said the movie is “predictable, obvious, often silly, with a painfully poor script.”

And Utah’s Deseret Morning News said: “The filmmaking here is so incompetent and laughably awful that it recalls the work of schlockmeister Ed Wood (‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’).”


Duncan Hunter

California congressman Duncan Hunter won Texas' first Republican Party Straw Poll on Saturday in a low-turnout event that lacked the top-tier presidential candidates.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


But the roadkill she found last month outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers: Canion believes she may have the head of the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)