18 November 2007

Plants in the Democratic Debate

No one's coming up smelling like roses here.

Jenny Bea has done an amazing job rounding up the identities of some of the questioners at the Democratic debate earlier this week. This one's a must-read.

Doug Ross also has a very interesting write-up. Including the fact that one of the 'undecided Democratic voters' may not even be a U.S. citizen, and therefore would be INELIGIBLE TO VOTE. Yep, that's me screaming there.

(h/t AoSHQ, where both of these stories were linked.)

The Font Thing

The Font Thing is a piece of software that doesn't suck. Really, it's pretty indispensable. The Font Thing is a tool for viewing fonts, and runs on Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP. No word on whether it will be updated for Vista, or even whether it needs updated - it appears the developer (Sue Fisher) hasn't updated her website in several years.

I end up using this just about any time I need to choose a font for a project. It's got a fairly easy to understand interface, and allows viewing of multiple fonts with whatever sample text you choose, so if I'm trying to match a font on a graphic a client has provided and the graphic is too trashed to actually used, I can easily scroll through all the fonts on my system to choose the closest match.

The font info is also accessible through the app, so I can get information ranging from who owns the copyright on the font to the metrics, such as the smallest readable size and the average character width.

And the absolute bestest part of it? It's FREE. Not shareware or spyware or adware, it's FREE. And there's not even anyplace on the developer's website to indicate where to throw a few bucks in gratitude. Really odd.

15 November 2007

Non-sarcastic PSA

Bonfils Blood Center is teaming up with the Food Bank of the Rockies and Community Food Share to help save lives multiple ways at once.

Bonfils is waiving the fee to register with the National Marrow Donor Program for bone marrow donation (normally $30) if you bring in a can of food when you come in to donate. The food banks will be helping families in need through the holidays with the canned food, and I'm sure all two of my regular readers have been eagerly waiting for the opportunity to donate bone marrow. A list of Bonfils donation locations are here. Most, if not all, of the donation centers have evening and/or weekend hours, and the staff has always been fantastically super-nice and very competent - I've only had one painful needle stick in three gallons of donation with Bonfils.

Bone marrow transplant is an essential part of treatment for lymphoma, leukemia, and other blood and bone marrow cancers. Only about 30 percent of patients needing a marrow transplant can find a suitable donor within their family; the other 70 percent are left to the whims of who has registered with the NMDP. Since a match will most likely be found in someone with the same genetic background as the patient, it can be especially hard for minorities to find a suitable donor. This is why it's especially crucial for as many people as possible to register.

14 November 2007

Time to invade Venezuela

Hugo Chavez is apparently still smarting from being told to shut up by King Juan Carlos of Spain. He's now threatening to nationalize Spanish banks in Venezuela.

I hope he goes through with it, and I hope Spain invades as a result. And I hope the US is asked to participate. I think we're long overdue a war for oil, and it would be really nice if I could fill up my gas-guzzling SUV, with its 16 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway, for less than $60.

So please, Hugo Chavez, keep rattling sabers. You think you can call our president the devil with no repercussions, but can nationalize another country's banks for being told to shut up? We'll be smiling when businesses no longer invest in Venezuela due to your threats.

(h/t AoSHQ)

12 November 2007

Lefties don't have a sense of what's appropriate

There are appropriate times and situations to express your views, and there are times that are not.

It is not appropriate to use your children to further your political point of view. Brainwashing your child that the President and the troops and America are evil is not teaching your child to be a free thinker. Teaching your child to be deceitful to further a political point is not teaching your child to be moral and honest. Using your child as a pity story to increase your free government handout teaches your child that he/she is a tool, not a person that you as a parent cherish and protect.

There's a corollary to this - it's not appropriate to drag someone's kid into an unrelated debate. It's especially not appropriate to make sexual comments about someone's kid. It amazes me that I repeatedly see supposedly educated, smart moonbats targeting a kid with sexual comments, and then trying to blow it off as a joke. It's creepy and weird.

Parades and services to honor someone or a group of people are not times to express your political opinion. Specifically, acting out at a Veterans Day parade is inappropriate. Yes, we understand that you are veterans too. This does not give you the right to disrespect other veterans, or our country, during a parade to honor veterans. You got outraged when the Westboro Baptist Church picketed funerals of gays, you should understand that there's a corollary here.

So next time, lefty, before you go screaming your political views in whatever forum you can find, using whatever mercenary means you can dream up, ask yourself: is this really someplace where I'm being asked to air my ideas, or is my lack of judgment by spouting off wherever I feel like it going to turn people away from my ideas, whether they're valid or not? Are my children going to hate me later in life when they realize that I used them instead of protecting them? Am I creating hate for my political position by inserting my ideas at a time when I shouldn't be in people's faces?

08 November 2007

Twelve becomes eleven

If you haven't heard about the Aqua Dots recall, get out of your cave.
Millions of Chinese-made toys have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug when ingested. Two children in the United States and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads.

The Aqua Dots Super Studio was named one of the twelve best toys of 2007 by Toy Wishes magazine in their holiday issue. More information about the recall can be found at the official Aqua Dots Recall website.

Part of me is wondering if there's any profit to be made by getting a list of all toys made in China, buying "xxxxxtoyrecall.com", and offering to sell it to the toy distributor so they'll have it ready for when their toy faces a recall. Yes, when, not if. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that China's doing at least some of this stuff on purpose? How often can accidental injuries occur before someone starts recognizing the pattern?

Boycott Lego (?)

I never thought those words would be coming out of my keyboard. Lego is a staple in our house, and has been since before the kids were born.

From NRO's The Corner:
A few days ago I posted a bleg asking for ways to reach out to Lego Systems, Inc. to see if they would donate Lego sets to wounded warriors at Walter Reed who use the sets for therapy. Quick response from Lego — forget it. Now we learn that Lego has awarded $5000.00 to eight year old Kelsie Kimberlin, as part of their first annual Creativity Awards. Her entry — a 5 minute anti-Bush video set to an altered John Lennon tune ("Happy Springtime/Bush is Over").

Problem: the video was actually produced by her father, Brett, who runs Justice Through Music, a civic engagement nonprofit. Brett is also noteworthy for being a convicted bomber (aka terrorist), and for having claimed to have sold pot to Dan Quayle in 1988. Just the kind of person you want associated with your child's favorite toy. Some free advice to Lego — want to fix this PR nightmare? Do the right thing and help the wounded warriors already.

I hate to quote someone's post in entirety, but there's no succincter way to put it than how James Robbins did. There is some question as to whether Brett Kimberlin's claims to have sold marijuana to Dan Quayle were true or just an attempt by Kimberlin to harm Dan Quayle's political career. And just how much do we want to reward someone who put a bomb in a high school parking lot? Of course, Lego is too cowardly to outright admit that they hate our president and our soldiers - they couch their anti-USA sentiment thusly:
Kelsie encourages other kids to sing about peace and her choir sang a re-make of John Lennon's song, 'Happy Xmas, War is Over.' The video of 'Happy Springtime' has been viewed on YouTube almost 50,000 times and the song has played on MySpace almost 200,000 times.

They're too cowardly to even mention the full title in their press release. Frankly, after having skimmed through the video, I don't see any indication that a child had much of anything to do with the production of it. It looks to me like the entire video is a vehicle for giving the Speedway Bomber recognition and money.

(h/t Discarded Lies)

Update Nov 12: Lego sent me an email claiming they had no idea of the content of the video. Apparently they decided that they were going to judge the essays as a standalone effort, and "made the decision to not regard, consider or otherwise evaluate any ancillary materials, including pictures, collages, paintings, songs or online videos". Whether this decision was made prior to someone at Lego seeing the video is unclear, but they claim they had no knowledge of the video.

Leave it to someone on the left, and a terrorist to boot, to exploit their child and deceive or collaborate, depending on how involved you believe Lego is, for personal gain and to push a message on to a toy company that now claims they take no political positions.

Full text of the two emails below. I forwarded the first one to James Robbins, but did not receive a reply, although he posted the text of the email on NRO. I'm still waiting to hear if Lego has provided kits for therapy for the soldiers at Walter Reed. (Which is NOT a political move, leftwing moonbats - keep in mind that claiming you support the troops but oppose the war actually means supporting the troops, whether you agree with their ideology or how they ended up in Walter Reed.)
Thank you for your interest in LEGO® brand toys. We are always delighted to hear from a loyal LEGO enthusiast.

A blogger at the National Review incorrectly wrote that LEGO Systems had denied a donation request from Walter Reed Hospital to support troops and their families. The company’s community relations department responded favorably to the request via voicemail, and details have yet to be finalized on that donation request; however, it was not denied. In fact, the company has historically contributed to several organizations that support the families of men and women who serve the country, and continues to do so. For many years, LEGO Systems has taken great pride in making contributions to such programs as the United States Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program and Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to U.S Troops.

LEGO Systems does not endorse one political perspective over another. In its November 8, 2007 issue, The Washington Post ran a story implicating LEGO Systems’ recognition of an 8-year old girl’s creativity through an essay contest as endorsement of a political agenda.

LEGO Systems sponsored a contest to identify and honor 10 children’s creativity. One of the winning entries told of a girl’s endeavors to “sing for peace” by rallying her choral group to sing a peace song. She indicated she would use the money to “spread the word of peace and music and get more kids involved in saving the planet,” which the company finds compelling and commendable. Because the contest was essay-based, LEGO Systems did not regard, consider or otherwise evaluate any ancillary materials, including pictures, collages, paintings and online videos, and as such, was not aware of the specific content of the song.

While LEGO Systems does not ever endorse any extreme messages, it does always endeavor to encourage creativity among children. The intent of the contest was to highlight and celebrate children’s creativity, and LEGO Systems regrets any confusion the Washington Post article causes.

Alice, thank you again for contacting us. We wish your family many happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come.

Thank you for your follow up email.

The girl mentioned in her entry that her song was shared on MySpace and YouTube, which supports her claim that the prize money would be used to “spread the word of peace and music and get more kids involved in saving the planet.” As previously mentioned, because the contest was essay-based, LEGO Systems made the decision to not regard, consider or otherwise evaluate any ancillary materials, including pictures, collages, paintings, songs or online videos, and as such, we were not aware of the specific content of the song or the video. That decision, intended to promote equity among all entrants, some of whom had not submitted ancillary materials, is being re-evaluated for future programs.

As a toy company, LEGO Systems does not take political positions. We are disappointed and deeply regret that our good intentions of rewarding children’s creativity has been used by others for political purpose. This certainly was not the intention of the contest, nor should this situation be perceived as a corporate position on politics. LEGO Systems does not endorse any political or extreme messages. It does always endeavor to encourage creativity among children. The intent of the contest was to highlight and celebrate children’s creativity, and LEGO Systems regrets any confusion or unintended sentiment that this situation causes.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again if we can be of additional assistance to you.

07 November 2007

Please help Weber Elementary

This slipped under my radar until a fundraiser at my son's school this week.

I kited this pic from the school's website, but I'm hoping they won't mind.

Weber Elementary School in Arvada, CO sustained an estimated $3 million in damage due to an arsonist last June. Most of the damage was in the library. I have been told by a Scholastic Books representative that their library has no books. Parents were being asked to donate a dollar at my son's school's book fair to help purchase books for Weber.

I know how much I enjoyed the library at my elementary school growing up, and how much I hated it when we moved to a school that had a poor library. And I've seen how much MadLibs loves checking out and bringing home books from the library at his school. It almost makes me want to cry to think there's an entire school of kids that are missing that opportunity this year.

So if you've got some spare pocket change, or some gently used books that are lying around, please help Weber rebuild their library.

The mailing address for the school is:

Weber Elementary
8725 West 81st Place
Arvada, CO 80005

Flippity flippity flop flop flop...

...kinda like a dying fish.

I think John Edwards has just removed himself from Hillary's VP list. This video is from the Edwards campaign. It may be the ballsiest thing John Edwards has ever done.

(h/t AoSHQ)

02 November 2007

How to solve the China problem

Why doesn't America just make it a rule that we only import things from China that should actually contain lead? It seems like they have a surplus of it, since it's ending up in everything else. For instance, we could make sure we have plenty of kryptonite shielding. And bullets. I'm certain China could make some bullets that contain lead.