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Saturday, July 06, 2002
William Dennis coat of arms?
Ancestral shield for William Dennis?I found several references to a William Dennis Of Orleigh during my search for my namesake. He was the sheriff of Devon, and the coat-of-arms may refer to that title. The site where I found this information did not really give much information about him, other than he lived in the 15th (and maybe the 16th) century, married Anne Stucley, and had three children: George, Nicholas and Elizabeth.

Catching readers' attention is no easy task
Dave Barry (right), is a great columnist for the Miami Herald. I found this column on the trouble newspapers have
attracting readers to be especially funny, perhaps because I find myself wondering how to do just that every week.

Bush does something right
Bush headshotPresident Bush is right to refuse to let the United States participate in the International Criminal Court, and has threatened to pull U.S. troops out of peacekeeping missions because of the I.C.C. This article in The Guardian explains it all. The Bush administration is arguing ICC could be a forum for politically motivated actions against its troops serving overseas. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted that safeguards built into the ICC's statute made it "inconceivable" for British peacekeeping forces - or their American counterparts - to risk prosecution for alleged war crimes. Individual members of armed forces would only be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide if their own courts took no action. "We understand the concerns of the United States, they are legitimate concerns, but our belief is they will be met," the prime minister said. In other words, Americans would prosecuted only if U.S. courts refused to do so. Isn't that Bush's point? The ICC would give a bunch of third-world nations, many controlled by terrorists and human rights abusers of the worst sort, the power to prosecute Americans on trumped-up charges that no U.S. court would dream of prosecuting. I am sure Lybia and Iran would love to prosecute the pilots who carried out legal bombing missions. Any friendly fire mishaps would be prosecuted.
Just because the Europeans have given up their nations' indivudual identity and laws, that doesn't mean we have to do likewise.

Friday, July 05, 2002
How to handle hate
Matt Hale Matt Hale (right), who leads the World Church of the Creator from his parent's East Peoria basement, is running for city council. He and his merry band of losers occasionally hold rallies in Peoria and often disturb property owners by throwing their racist literature (on those rare occasion these mostly unemployed people can scrape together enough scratch to pay for the printing) on people's property. The Poynter Institute's website has a great article on how newspapers should cover their racist activities. It has a lot of good advice, including having resources on hand in case their events turn violent. The writer also advocates using their own language to show the public they are not the gentle, non-violent expressers of protected opinion they say they are. The ADL has its own report on the WCOTC.

Last strike for the Splendid Splinter
Ted WilliamsThe last man to hit higher than .400 in a single season died July 5. Ted Williams (right) also served two tours with the U.S. Marine Corps, and saw combat a fighter pilot in Korea. He was a pilot instructor in WWII. Williams lost five years of prime playing years, which may have kept him from beign the one who broke Babe Ruth's total homerun reecord. I'll always remember when Williams paid a visit to the 1999 All-Star Game held at Fenway Park. All those overpaid athletes swarmed around and fawned over a man who never earned in a lifetime what these less-talented players earn in a year. For a good look at William's career and accomplishments, see TedWilliams.com. Despite better stats than over-rated dandy Joe DiMaggio, the "Yankee Clipper" was considered by some to be the better ballplayer. More rational thought prevailed in recent years, and Williams is considered by most to be the best player of that era.

Thursday, July 04, 2002
House of cards
house drawingThe Peoria Journal-Star is reporting that traffic clogging streets in a Goodfield, Ill. subdivision is due to sightseers anxious see a perfectly acceptable home before it is demolished by village officials. It seems that the builder missed several deadlines to complete construction. There is nothing wrong with the house, except that it ended up costing more that the owner originally thought.
I'll tell you what has them worried. There is nothing wrong with that home other than the fact the Clark has run afoul of the rules. His paperwork is not in order. That is it. The home is not a danger to anyone.
Yet there it stands, evidence that precious rules and regulations can be violated without harming anyone. The rules are not needed. People are perfectly capable of using their own best judgment. They don't need excessive zoning and building codes and they certainly don't need the massive bureaucracy cities, villages and states have allowed to build up in order to protect us. We don't need them, and the Village of Goodfield is desperate that we do not find out.

Three cheers for Mike Button
slap on the cuffs When the state police raided a fireworks stand in Creve Coeur this week, they tried to shut it down. Troopers said the fireworks were illegal. The owner said his stuff was legal and refused to close. Along came new Creve Coeur Police Chief Mike Button, who refused to put a business out of work without proof he was doing something wrong.

"The problem here is where to draw the line, because I'm not a pyrotechnic expert," Button told the Peoria Journal-Star.
"I'm not going to come in here on (Davis') last two busiest days and shut them down to find out two weeks from now that all this stuff is legal and end up getting sued over it."

Wow. A law enforcement official with a reluctance to put someone out of business. Who would have thought there was such a creature? Button took a lot of grief (most of it well-deserved) before he quit his job in Peoria, but he deserves credit for common sense for his action -- or lack thereof -- this week.

Cosby is getting weird
Bill CosbyI have mixed feelings about Bill Cosby. I loved his stand-up comedy, which had a certain edge to it. He was no Richard Pryor, of course, but there was always an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and anger to it if you listened carefully. His recent television shows (The Cosby Show and Cosby) were sugar-coated, but redeamable in their sincerity. But there was always an air of hypocrisy about him. He claims to be a doctor, and in fact insists the honorific "Dr." precede his name in his show's closing credit. The fact is that he never did anything resembling actual course work to earn his degree. He met with a committee, espoused his views on the subject of education, and was awarded the degree. Apparently, doctorates of education come cheap if you are a celebrity. But still, it is sad to see him fall under the influence of a "spiritual advisor" as he gets older and more confused.

Political Correctness run amuck
In the state of Washington, it is now illegal to use the word "oriental" in any government document. Also, in England, they changed the name of the play "Hunchback of Notre Dame" to "The Bellringer of Notre Dame."

Sovereign nation
Old GloryOn this date in 1776 (give or take a day or two), 13 British colonies in the Americas decided to become the United States of America. The little nation born on this date was a little experiment in democracy that turned into the most successful of freedom and liberty the world has ever seen. There are those who want the United States to give up its sovereignty in order to secure a safety through an international criminal court. They believe the next Hitler could have been prevented had there been adequate international law in the 1930s. They are wrong. It would have been used to put the pilots who bombed Dresden on trial. Truman would have been tried for ordering the atomic bomb be used against Japan. The New York Daily News has a good column on this issue.

Monday, July 01, 2002
Big, fat, hairy deal
That's the only rational reaction to news that the 9th Circuit Federal Court in California has ruled that the phrase "one nation, under God" makes the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.
First, the court was right, no matter what the polls say. If polls to decided issues of state-established religions, being Jewish or Catholic would be illegal.
Second, whether of not the pledge mentions God, or even whether it is recited in school or not, is utterly irrelevant to our quality of life or the preservation of our republic. U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft's relentless assault on basic civil liberties since Sept. 11 is of far greater threat.
Third, politicians may have been genuinely concerned when they first heard of the decision. But that lasted a second before their thoughts of how to use it to their political advantage by demonstrating how they were defending God and country against a liberal assault. One bozo even wants to amend the Constitution. Feh.