You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for November, 2002.

Blowin’ in the Wind

November 27th, 2002

$50,000 fell off an armored truck in Minneapolis this morning on I-94. Drivers of 20-30 cars stopped to gather money and snarled traffic for miles. When the police arrived, they collected the money (from the ground and from the drivers), counted it and returned it to the credit union whose bag had fallen off the truck.

The really amazing thing about this story is that all but one of the drivers willingly handed over the cash.

Let’s Talk Turkey

November 27th, 2002

In addition to the ubiquitous travel and cooking articles, I found some interesting holiday-themed stories in regional U.S. newspapers today:

• Tips on how to converse with your family on Thanksgiving (The Kansas City Star)

• The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest nights of the year for pizza deliveries (The Norfolk-Virginian Pilot)

• Groundskeepers at 2 universities are spraying campus evergreens with a mixture of coyote urine and skunk musk to discourage those who might cut them down & use them as Christmas trees (The Oregonian)

• How a person’s zodiac sign influences Thanksgiving (The Arizona Republic)

• Michael Gannon, a University of Florida history professor argues that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565 (The Orlando Sentinel)

• A profile of Volk Enterprises, the company that makes those pop-up turkey timers (The Sacramento Bee)

Turkey Daze

November 27th, 2002

I can’t get the FoodTV page to load — do you suppose that’s because people are overloading the server by frantically searching for Thanksgiving recipes?

Who’s lucky?

November 26th, 2002

I cannot even begin to form a coherent comment on this article:

“The editorial writers [of the Wall Street Journal] are roiled by the fact that the richest Americans, those with incomes of more than $500,000 a year, account for 28 percent of total tax revenue and that the top 5 percent ‘coughed up more than half of total tax revenue.’ The Journal contrasts these unfortunate souls with the thriving person who earns $12,000 a year and ends up ‘paying a little less than 4 percent of income in taxes.’”

The WSJ editorial goes on to refer to those who pay no federal income taxes (due to their non-existant or extremely small earnings) as “lucky duckies.” Now I ask you, who would you class as lucky? The person earning less than $12,000 a year and paying no federal taxes or the person making $500,000 (or even $50,000) a year and paying 15-30% in taxes?

Is the economy in such bad shape that we must begin taking even more from the poorest among us? What the hell motivates people like this?! Even Ronald Regan supported the Earned Income Tax Credit and other programs that allowed the working poor to keep more of their income. I never, ever, ever thought I would find myself longing for the good old days of the Gipper. But here I am.

Help?

November 26th, 2002

I’ve been searching for a comprehensive history of volunteer fire departments. I’ve found several histories of this or that department, but what I’m looking for is a general history of volunteer firefighting in the United States. Any suggestions? I’m looking for a web reference, but book suggestions would also be welcome.

Gack!

November 21st, 2002

There’s only 33 days left until Christmas. Maybe knitting gifts for everyone in my immeadiate family wasn’t such a great idea.

I hope no one minds if I knit through Thanksgiving dinner next week (knit one, eat turkey, purl two, eat stuffing, knit one, more turkey….)

Wine Woes

November 21st, 2002

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman declared New York State’s ban on wine shipments unconstitutional. This is a big deal — it could open up the second largest U.S. wine market to direct shipments of wine from smaller California Vinters who specialize in direct sales. However, the floodgates aren’t open just yet — the current law still has to be rewritten.

Many states have various restrictions on interstate shipments of alcoholic beverages across their borders. Most of these are hold-overs from the 1930s, when there was great concern about the effect of Prohibition’s repeal on states that chose to remain dry and on local control of the alcoholic beverage industry.

However, New York’s law bans shipments by out-of-state winneries direct to New York consumers, but it allows shipments by in-state winneries to consumers. This was the basis for the current challenge to the law, and Judge Richard Berman ruled that this discrimination made the law unconstitutional.

IBOT, Ubot, webot

November 21st, 2002

The Independence IBOT Mobility 3000, the first wheelchair to climb stairs, was recommended for sale by an FDA advisory panel today. Since the FDA usually adopts the recommendations of its panels, this is a huge step forward for the revolutionary wheelchair invented by Dean Kamen (inventor of segway).

This story from June includes a picture of the chair in action.

Stupid, stupid, stupid

November 20th, 2002

In a week filled with news of stupid events, this takes the cake: Army Fires Arabic Linguists for Being Gay (found via 12 Frogs)

“Despite a shortage of qualified Arabic linguists in the intelligence and defense fields, the U.S. Army has fired a significant number of language specialists trained at the military’s Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California, because they are gay.”

I can’t believe that the U.S. Army is more afraid of homosexuals than Arab terrorists. We are a nation of idiots.

[Update: Here's an earlier story about the dismissals (filched from Blogged Down). The Washington Post has condemned the firings.]

Just in case

November 15th, 2002

If you ever find yourself needing to know what kind of sound a badger makes (and believe it or not, I needed to know that today), The Badger Vocal Communication Page is an excellent resource.