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There is a reason why murder mysteries ask “who done it?” …

... and not "to whom was it done?"

Breitbart.com has an AFP story today with the headline "Nearly half US murder victims are black: report". The article starts out by telling us:

"African-Americans are victims of nearly half the murders committed in the United States despite making up only 13 percent of the population ... Around 8,000 of nearly 16,500 murder victims in 2005, or 49 percent, were black Americans, according to the report released by the statistics bureau of the Department of Justice."

The article then gives a bunch of other statistics about murder victims, including this tidbit:

"Most murder victims -- 93 percent of blacks and 85 percent of whites -- were killed by someone of their own race."

If these statistics are accurate, blacks were responsible for 93% of murders committed in 2005 in which the victim was black (7,440) and 15% of murders in which the victim was white (1,275), or 8,715 out of 16,500 murders. That means that blacks, who make up 13% of the population, committed 53% of U.S. murders in 2005.

It is unfortunate that blacks make up 49% of murder victims in this country, but I am more interested in the fact that they commit 53% of the murders. After all, if I want to avoid being murdered, isn't it more important to know who is doing the killing (so I can avoid those people) then to know who the last victim was?

Of course the media would rather describe blacks as victims of violent crime than perpetrators of violent crime. It is so much more PC, don't you know.


Randy Newman - Little Criminals - Little Criminals
iTunes is currently playing: Little Criminals from the album Little Criminals by Randy Newman.
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Explaining the housing crash:

From the Modesto Bee:

In a time when real estate stories are filled with foreclosures, loans gone sideways and homeowners on the brink of financial ruin, lending professionals say avoiding such traps requires a simple step. That step is to read through and understand every detail before committing to a home mortgage, though many consumers admit they don't.

In a recent poll of about 1,000 adults by Bankrate.com, about 34 percent of homeowners had no idea what kind of mortgage they had, said Greg McBride, a senior analyst for the financial information Web site.



Alison Moyet - Alf - Steal Me Blind
iTunes is currently playing: Steal Me Blind from the album Alf by Alison Moyet.
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Remember the old days …

... when you could only get a loan if you could prove you didn't really need it?

From MSNBC.com:

Washington Mutual, another big lender, in March stopped offering [no money down] loans to subprime borrowers, typically people with poor credit. It also reduced the size of loans to other borrowers.

"It used to be that we would finance a loan up to $1 million with no down payment for a first-time home buyer," said Daniel H. Aminoff, a senior loan consultant at Washington Mutual Home Loans in Alexandria. "But as of March, we will only finance a loan of $417,000 with no down payment."

AND

Many lenders now place more emphasis on job stability and low debt when writing no-down-payment loans. Almost all verify a borrower's income and employment, which was not the case during the housing boom.

iTunes is currently playing: Back Down To Earth from the album Boys In The Trees by Carly Simon.
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Here a bubble, there a bubble …

I've been reading a number of blogs lately that document the housing crash which is going on all around us. One blog, called the Housing Bubble, includes a gallery of photos taken around the country that show the current state of things. Here are a few that I particularly like:

Talk about an incurable defect ...

WHO would buy a house next door to THAT THING, in ANY kind of market?? Better yet, why did someone build a house there in the first place?



When someone says "I want a place with a view", they probably don't mean a view of a GAS STATION!!



And here is something for flippers to play while they wait for prospective buyers to show up at their open houses ... and wait ... and wait ... (Image is the creation of Aaron Erimez. Thanks, Aaron!)

iTunes is currently playing: House Of Cards from the album Stones In The Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
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If you have ceramic tile in your house …

... hurry to Linens and Things and buy a SONIC SCRUBBER while they are still available.

SonicScrubber - Cleans filthy grout with no scrubbing!

Use it with Comet Soft Cleanser Cream with Bleach ...

Comet Liquid Cleanser with Bleach

... and watch what happens. This thing is amazing -- and worth every penny of the $12.99 price tag.

You're welcome!

Presto!  Grout goes from black to white in the blink of an eye.

iTunes is currently playing: Rest For The Weary from the album The Rainy Season by Marc Cohn.
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“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

My copy arrived from Amazon via UPS at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, the 21st. I finished it shortly before 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, the 22nd.

Wow. If you liked the first six books, you will LOVE #7. It was everything I had hoped for and then some. And it will make an amazing movie. I can hardly wait.

I'm sorry I didn't have time to re-read all six books before "Deathly Hallows" came out. I plan to re-read all seven one of these days. Maybe before I go see movie #7.

iTunes is currently playing: Seven Years from the album Tigerlily by Natalie Merchant.
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This made me laugh.

Text of rejection slip from editor A.J. Fifield to writer Gertrude Stein:

"I am only one, only one, only. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain ... I cannot read your MS three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly."

From Authors Guild Bulletin - Spring 2007.

iTunes is currently playing: Speak Like A Child from the album The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council by The Style Council.
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“You may ask yourself: HOW DID I GET HERE?”

... or ...

"You may say to yourself: MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE!?"

Old people from Florida spend the summer at the Jersey Shore.

iTunes is currently playing: Once In A Lifetime from the album Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads.
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This quote makes me think of Sarah.

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of Library."

- Jorge Luis Borges

iTunes is currently playing: The Book I Read from the [bootleg] album Live at the Sun Palace (Tokyo) by Talking Heads.
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Why I sometimes miss the place

From the L.A.Times:

Los Angeles' favorite cat seems to have nine lives.

The three-sided "Felix" automobile dealership sign near downtown that has survived earthquakes, fires, riots and recession escaped another close call Thursday as the city's Cultural Heritage Commission voted to declare it a historic-cultural monument.

Commissioners rejected recommendations by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and downtown-area City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who favor redevelopment of the South Figueroa Street corner where the cartoon cat figure has loomed large for half a century.

"It is literally a modern totem pole," said sign preservation advocate Jim Childs. "It really explains the evolution of the automobile and Los Angeles."

Felix Chevrolet Sign Saved
(Gary Friedman / LAT)
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American Life in Poetry: Column 120

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

The loss of youth and innocence is one of the great themes of literature. Here the California poet Kim Noriega looks deeply into a photograph from forty years ago.


Heaven, 1963

It's my favorite photo--
captioned, "Daddy and His Sweetheart."
It's in black and white,
it's before Pabst Blue Ribbon,
before his tongue became a knife
that made my mother bleed,
and before he blackened my eye
the time he thought I meant to end my life.

He's standing in our yard on Porter Road
beneath the old chestnut tree.
He's wearing sunglasses,
a light cotton shirt,
and a dreamy expression.

He's twenty-seven.
I'm two.
My hair, still baby curls,
is being tossed by a gentle breeze.
I'm fast asleep in his arms.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From "Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets" (Huntington Beach, CA, Tebot Bach, 2006), 117. Copyright (c) 2006 by Kim Noriega. Reprinted with permission of the author and Tebot Bach. Introduction copyright (c) 2006 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

iTunes is currently playing: Picture This from the album Picture This by Jim Brickman.
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Finally … pictures of Tracie & Waylon’s Wonderful Wedding



Click here to see the photo album.

iTunes is currently playing: Two Hearts from the album Phil Collins: Hits by Phil Collins.
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YOU CALLED ME WITH THAT ^#%^& ????

When we were in Vegas, Dan played in his first WSOP event, a $1500 No Limit Hold'em tournament. (A few days earlier, he won a tournament in Seattle that, interestingly, paid $1500 for first!) Although he did not cash in the WSOP event, he did outlast over 2000 players, finishing around 300th.

The whole experience was a blast for both of us. Anyone can wander around the Rio and watch the tournaments. I spent part of the day watching Dan and part of the day star-gazing. I saw the following pros: Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Tilly, Phil Gordon, Phil Hellmuth, Sean "Sheiky" Sheikan, Barry "Robin Hood" Greenstein, "The Professor" Howard Lederer, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, Hassan Habib, Daniel Negraneau, Kristy Gazes, Kenna James, Andrew Black, Eli Elezra (who won his first bracelet while playing in another tournament on the other side of the room), Lee Watkinson (who played at Dan's table for quite a while), David "the Dragon" Phan (who also played at Dan's table), Men "The Master" Nguyen, Vanessa Rousseau, Chad Brown, Paul Wolfe, Nam Le, John Juanda, Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier, Erick Lindgren, Dutch Boyd, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, and Ted Forrest. Dan also saw: Mike Sexton, Gavin Smith, Annie Duke, Jennifer Harman, John Phan, Marcel Luske, David Williams, Chau Giang, David Benyamine, and Phil Ivey. Next time around I hope to see Sammy Farha, who is one of my faves.

They have a lot of rules about photography (no cameras with interchangeable lenses, no lenses longer than 2 inches, no flash) so it was hard to get decent pics, but here are a few that didn't come out too bad.



Dan gets off to a great start at his first WSOP event.



Barry Greenstein, the "Robin Hood of Poker", gives all his tournament winnings to charity.



Annie Duke's brother, Howard Lederer (aka "The Professor"), ponders his next move.



Former world champ and class act, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, plays without his goofy sunglasses.



Sean "Sheiky" Sheikan gives no hint of how annoying he can be in this picture.

iTunes is currently playing: Take Me To The River from the album Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads.
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Yes, I am married to a programming god.

PCmover at Fry's in Las Vegas

iTunes is currently playing: Move It On Over from the album 24 Greatest Hits by Hank Williams.
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Imagine that you work for the phone company …

... and you want to tell the world that someone is a jerk.

This message appears on a telephone pole on Rt. 9 in Lanoka Harbor, NJ.

Who is Steve and what did he do (and to whom??)



iTunes is currently playing: Everybody Loves A Clown from the album Greatest Hits by Gary Lewis & The Playboys.
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The EU wants to criminalize stupidity

EU aims to criminalise Holocaust denial

Laws that make denying or trivialising the Holocaust a criminal offence punishable by jail sentences will be introduced across the European Union, according to a proposal expecting to win backing from ministers Thursday. Offenders will face up to three years in jail under the proposed legislation, which will also apply to inciting violence against ethnic, religious or national groups.

...

Diplomats stressed the provision had been carefully worded to include only denial of the Holocaust – the Nazi mass murder of Jews during the second world war – and the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

...

Holocaust denial is already a criminal offence in several European countries, including Germany and Austria. It is not a specific crime in Britain, though UK officials said it could already be tackled under existing legislation.

...

In an attempt to assuage Turkish fears, several EU diplomats said the provisions would not penalise the denial of mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman troops in the aftermath of the 1915 collapse of the Ottoman empire. Turkey strongly rejects claims that this episode amounted to genocide.

iTunes is currently playing: No Such Thing from the album Any Given Thursday by John Mayer.
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Video is better than a still image

I came across this video of the self-described "anarchists" in Portland who burned a U.S. soldier in effigy during the recent anti-war protest discussed below.  Note that the brave anarchists are all wearing masks.  (Maybe they are afraid if their parents see what they are doing, they will be cut off financially and have to get a job or something.)  Note, too, the OH SO CLEVER lyrics they are singing:

"Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the soldiers on the top. Put the fascists in the middle and we'll burn the fucking lot."

But don't forget. They support the troops. They just don't support the war.







iTunes is currently playing: You're Just A No Account from the album Billie Holiday - CD2 The Man I Love - Past Perfect, Disc 7 by Billie Holiday.
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How the anti-war folks support the troops

An AP story describes an anti-war protest that took place in Portland, Oregon, on March 19th. Interestingly, the article makes no mention of the fact that these protestors burned a U.S. soldier in effigy.

Yet we are to believe that the anti-war folks support the troops, they just don't support the war. (I'm sure that any member of our military who saw these pictures truly feels the love!!)

Oh, and the mainstream media is balanced and objective, of course.

(Click here for more pics.)





iTunes is currently playing: Life During Wartime from the album Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads.

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Hoosiers LOVE their death penalty!

From the [Hammond] Times Online:


Yes, I am embarrassed.

iTunes is currently playing: Cold, Cold Heart from the album 24 Greatest Hits by Hank Williams.

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25 to 50 million people in this country play poker …

... and they all blame the Republican Party for the stupid anti-gambling legislation that was attached to the port security bill signed by Bush a few months ago.

Poker  players, unite!





iTunes is currently playing: History Repeating from the album Decksandrumsandrockandroll by Propellerheads & Miss Shirley Bassey.
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