Today’s my sister’s birthday. Happy

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:00 am

Today’s my sister’s birthday. Happy day, Adrienne!

He’s cute, he’s black, he’s

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:33 am

He’s cute, he’s black, he’s on the web. Kittie Art for the masses.

No prescription for the Pill?

Filed under:General — eric @ 6:17 am

No prescription for the Pill? I think that’s a good thing.

For the very best in

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:38 am

For the very best in Barbie satire, there’s The Decline of Civilization Barbie Page.

Back in April, CNN’s law

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:16 am

Back in April, CNN’s law site ran a story titled What the “Partial-Birth” Abortion Case is Really About. It talks about the distiction between a “facial challenge” and an “as applied challenge”. Basically, a facial challenge tries to show that a law is invalid under all possible applications — for example, a law that mandates each public school day begin with a sectarian prayer. in 1987’s United States v. Salerno, the court ruled that a facial challenge can succeed only if a law cannot operate constitutionally under any set of circumstances. If a law has a single constitutional application, it will survive the challenge. An as applied challenge works in the other direction. Such a chalenge agrees that the law has a constitutional application, but it can’t be applied to him or her. For example, a law that mandates each public school day begin with the pledge of allegiance. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, so a student can’t be forced to recite the pledge. The law would stand, with the provision that people could opt out.

The CNN article, using the example above, says that the court has refrained from using the Salerno ruling in abortion cases. More important than whether the Nebraska law stood or fell was whether the court quoted Salerno and used it in its decision. It turns out that it was not mentioned once, and only Thomas used the concept of facial challenges, and then only at the end of his opinion.

Justice Thomas sure likes his

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:25 am

Justice Thomas sure likes his footnotes. I think he’s got more footnote than body in his dissenting opinion. And he’s not one to mince words, either. He’s by far the most graphic. Take care when reading.

I have just about finished

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:41 am

I have just about finished reading the Supreme Court opinions on the Nebraska “partial-birth” abortion case released yesterday. (It’s a pdf document. Requires Adobe Acrobat reader.) To recap: the court struck down a Nebraska ban on the procedure with a 5-4 vote. Pro-choice people are calling it a victory but pro-life people are quick to point out that the court left plenty of room to re-draft the ban and have it stand. If you can, read the opinions for yourself. The news agencies won’t give you the details you need to form an informed opinion of your own. My thoughts are all a-jumble on this case, but I’m glad the court went the way it did. Here’s what’s led me to this decision:

  • Even though I grew up thinking otherwise, I believe that a woman has the right to end her pregnancy, and in a way she and her doctor see best.
  • Nebraska drafted a law that would outlaw one (admittedly chilling) method of abortion, strictly on moral grounds. The Supreme Court has given states that right, so long as undue hardships are not placed on the woman. Leading medical organizations (including the AMA) have opined that this procedure is medically unnecessary, since alternatives exist with similar risks to the woman. As written, however, the law could be interpreted by an over-zealous prosecutor to ban some of those more common alternatives.
  • The Nebraska doctor who performs the procedure, Dr. Carhart, sounds (based entirely on quotes in the court’s papers) more like the Simpson’s Dr. Nick Riviera than someone I would trust with my body. His sole method of performing abortions in pregnancies over 12 weeks is this “partial-birth” method, regardless of what alternatives exist. However, he is one of only three doctors in the entire state that perform abortions of any kind. I don’t know why this is, but it undoubtably severely limits a Nebraska woman’s options.
  • In this particular case, upholding the ban would have imposed undue hardships on women who were seeking abortions in their second trimester by severely limiting access to an abortion provider. Providers would choose not to do business in Nebraska (even more so) for fear of the litigation by prosecuters applying the law to procedures beyond the original intent.

Justice O’Conner wrote that she would have voted the other way had the legislation provided for a doctor to determine the procedure was medically the best option to terminate a non-viable fetus. Of course, that doorway would make the entire ban moot, as Dr. Carhart could decide that for any patient he sees.

It’s a sticky wicket for the states. They have the right to ban a procedure they find morally repugnant, but they have to do that in a way that doesn’t infringe on a woman’s right to end her pregnancy. For me, it’s a clear call to find and use better, earlier, ways to abort. Like RU-232, or lasers. Perhaps better access to these easier methods early on would leave few, if any, women 19 weeks along still looking for a way out.


The Egg Farm Dairy has

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:46 am

The Egg Farm Dairy has been busily setting the dairy industry back 100 years. It looks like a wonderful place, and you can order cheese, butters, creams, and related items off the site. This is what I want to do when I grow up.

The tomatoes are ripening as

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:22 am

The tomatoes are ripening as fast as I can eat them. This morning it was Tomato and Smoked Gouda Omlette. I need to make another couple batches of mozzarella so I can feast on the many varieties of caprese. I grew 16 square feet of basil, but I don’t think I can use any of it. It looks like basil, but it sure doesn’t taste like it. It doesn’t taste like anything, and that’s the problem. I’ve no idea what the deal is.


You like S’mores? Crunchy graham,

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:58 pm

You like S’mores? Crunchy graham, sticky marshmallow, gooey chocolate. Mmmmm-mmmm! At my sister’s recent wedding, we all sat around the fire the night before, munching on s’mores. Now, as regular readers know, I’m all for making food from scratch. However, there are limits, and this s’mores recipe may just cross the line. Homemade marshmallow. Homemade chocolate. And, yes, homemade graham cracker. Well, maybe someday I’ll try it.

I can’t think of a

Filed under:General — eric @ 8:44 am

I can’t think of a better way to prepare for a day at the office than skankin’ in the car during the drive into town. Today’s dance inducers: Johnny Socko.


A whole mess of new

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:34 am

A whole mess of new undersea species, including many “living fossils”, have recently been discovered on isolated sea mounts south of Tasmania. (Published in this week’s Nature, registration required.) This includes several new species of Crinoids, also called Sea Lillies. Those are the animals that look like flowers you always see drawn in pictures showing ancient ocean bottoms crawling with trilobites. I’ve long liked Crinoids — the modern species are beautiful creatures, and when I took a paleontology class (focusing on simple sea life) crinoid bits were a common sight on our field trips. One trouble with studying fossil crinoids is when they die, they disintegrate into small stoney bits. The stem is made of disks with a hole in the middle and ridges like poker chips. Those are pretty common (known as “indian beads” sometimes, because to the uninformed, they look like that’s what they could be), but you can’t tell what species they came from. The only way to identify one is to find an intact head (”calyx”), and my professor told us we’d never find one of those. The next week, I did find one on one of our field trips. It remains one of my most exciting moments (I’m a nerd, through and through), and I’ve got the fossil in a box in my house.

She said, “You know I

Filed under:General — eric @ 2:56 am

She said, “You know I don’t feel any romance,
when I look at you I don’t see stars,
but I love the time that we spend together
on the road in all those funky bars”
She may be short on sugar, but you know I think she’s sweet on me.

I miss Apricot Jam.

I staked my tomato plants

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:14 am

I staked my tomato plants this weekend. And by “staked”, I mean “trussed like a roasting turkey”. I planted the things (six plants each of four varieties: cherry, roma, yellow, and an heirloom Amish red) backin April along a fence with the plan to later put in supports. I never got around to it, and by now the plants have gotten huge. Full of fruit in varying degrees of ripeness. Sprawling over six feet from the fence in some places. So, I used cotton twine, a lot of twine, to truss up support nets to hold the plants against the fence. It’ll make harvesting much easier and hopefully keep many pests away.


HelloMiMi tries her BEST to

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:53 am

HelloMiMi tries her BEST to find Special Hello Kitty products that you may not even know existed before coming, I am sure you will be SUPRISE at how many Hello Kitty goods are out there… I’ve seen a lot of Hello Kitty stuff in my day, but nothing like what you can apparently find in the motherland. My favorite? The Hello Kitty teeth, hands down. HelloMiMi has got Hello Kitty about covered, I think.

The first space shuttle launch

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:18 am

The first space shuttle launch took place on April 12, 1981, and the flight was a huge success. Remember? Well, “the Bolsheviks who now control NASA bent over backwards to paint the image of an abnormally perfect shuttle flight. Meanwhile the actual Shuttle mission, which was carried out in secret, did not go according to plan.” This quote comes from my absolute favorite wacked-out conspiracy rambling of all time: the Dr. Beter AUDIO LETTER #64. I first read this back in college (pre-internet), courtesy of usenet kook Robert E. McElwaine (”UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information is ENCOURAGED…“). If there’s one piece of conspiracy madness you read this weekend, read Dr. Beter.


From South Africa’s Independant Newspapers

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:58 am

From South Africa’s Independant Newspapers group comes Strange but True, where your odd questions get answered. For instance: How did Mr. and Mrs. T-Rex get it on? How does phantom limb syndrom affect your sex life? Can humans and chimps cross-breed? They’re not all about sex — but many are.


NASA officials have briefed the

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:47 am

NASA officials have briefed the White House on a “major” Mars announcement to be made at a press conference next week. Discovery.com reports that NASA may have found water, but we know that really they’re going to announce the Phobos slamming into Earth thing.

Are weblogs getting boring? My

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:06 am

Are weblogs getting boring? My take on the question compares weblogging tools to bread machines. BTW: I use Blogger, but all my bread is made by hand.

When I came home from

Filed under:General — eric @ 6:12 am

Flattened GardenWhen I came home from rehearsal last night, it was nearly dark. Fog had rolled in, making the countryside faintly glow with what light was left. Lightning bugs and lightning flickered in every direction. The yard was full of branches and leaves, some large and some small. The ground was soggy, the air was heavy. It was clear that I’d just missed one of nature’s more violent displays. I went to the garden, and what I saw was awesome. It was flat. Where six foot tall plants were that morning, there was a jumble of mis-shapened greenery. The picture to the left is what I took this morning of the amaranth, quinoa, and corn. I don’t think the damage is permanent, but I’ll know more when I get home tonight.

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