Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Donald Thompson, who retired from the Oklahoma trial bench in 2004, was just convicted of using a penis pump to masturbate while presiding over several trials between 2001 and 2003. He was sentenced to four years in prison, and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine. Here's more, including the probable cause afidavit that spells out the allegations in, er, gory detail. I also wonder, along with the blogger: how did the Court come up with the amount of the $40,000 fine for these acts?

Yuck. One may only hope that this guy isn't representative of our, uh, fine jurists across the country. Oh, God, I hope not.
ATLA has released an indictment of the insurance industry's questionable tactics post-Katrina as well as following other natural disasters. The report focuses on Big Insurance's spinning the hurricane from the outset, as "the Great New Orleans Flood." The report also notes that Big Insurance showed a whopping $44.8 billion profit in 2005, and raised its surplus more than 7% to $427 billion. Reference to previous natrual disasters demonstrates that Big Insurance has a long track record in such potentially fraudulent, bad faith tactics.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Here's a neat web site, which shows the power of the Internet when used by motivated private individuals. This Israeli couple put together various informational presentations, among which is "Pipeline of Hatred."

This nifty Powerpoint-type presentation graphically illustrates how classic anti-semitism [hatred of Jews as a religious group] is being morphed by Islamic radicalism into a contemporary form of anti-semitism [hatred of the Jewish State of Israel]. The presentation also shows graphically how geographically insignificant Israel is, compared to Islamic staes throughout Africa and the Middle East. The other slide that got to me was the graphic illustration of the number of violent conflicts involving radical Islam currently ongoing in the world. It strikes me that this surge of violent Islamic fundamentalism is much more dangerous to our western way of life than was communism in its heyday.

Well worth a few minutes of your time.

The New Republic Online has an [unscientific] poll on Edwards'spotential as Democratic standard-bearer in 2008. Its conclusion: "A shoo-in for 2008, perhaps? TNR readers have answered that question with a resounding, Eh, maybe. How about Al Gore?"

Some of the comments cited were kind of ridiculous. One commenter thought he was too young [he's in his 50s, for God's sake], and some were turned off because he used to represent injured victims of negligence. Others were suspicious of a "thin resume."

But consider this: Edwards made a [very good] living representing people, as opposed to the insurance industry, big business or faceless corporations. He is plenty old enough, in fact older, I believe than JFK or Bill Clinton were when they first entered the presidency. And, in terms of resume, Edwards is not a professional politician. He actually was out in the real world working for a living; he came to public service in his middle age. Given the no-substance platitudes we are accustomed to hearing from the professional pols, I think it's refreshing to have someone want the job bcause he wants to serve.

In any event, who else on the Democratic side is centrist enough to actually have a chance of winning in 2008. I mean, I hate to be a spoilsport, but it is about winning. I think I've said it before: I'm sick of goint down with the ship of "rightness." I'd rather find the candidate that really represents the political center, and give myself the best chance of prevailing. Appropos of the lottery, you can't serve if you don't win.