Saturday, May 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Troops ‘must back Mugabe or quit’

Zimbabwe’s army chief has told soldiers they must leave the military if they do not vote for incumbent President Robert Mugabe in next month’s run-off poll.

Chief-of-staff Maj Gen Martin Chedondo said soldiers had signed up to protect Mr Mugabe’s principles of defending the revolution, state media reported.

“If you have other thoughts, then you should remove that uniform,” he said.


“Soldiers are not apolitical; only mercenaries are apolitical,” said the general. “We should therefore stand behind our commander-in-chief.”

Apart from the obvious election-based problem here, this does not bode well (to put it mildly) for the prospect of a peaceful transition, should Mugabe lose the run-off.

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Friday, May 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the LAT: ‘Legal Weed’ is just beer, but Feds want to cap sales

The federal government is telling the owner of a small brewery here [Weed, CA] that the pun he’s placed on caps of his Weed Ales crosses a line.

“Try Legal Weed,” the caps joke.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau says those three little words allude to marijuana use.


The bureau’s bureaucrats have told Dillmann he needs to stop using the “Try Legal Weed” bottle caps. If he doesn’t, he could risk fines or sanctions. His worst fear: being forced out of business.

This, of course, insane. First, it is a play on words. Second, even if it was a plea for the usage of marijuana, I was unaware that the First Amendment had been repealed when it came to the subject of cannabis. Indeed, as Vaune Dillmann, owner of the brewery, said:

“This is ludicrous, bizarre, like meeting Big Brother face-to-face,” he grumbled recently. “Forget freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment. They are the regulatory gods, a judge and jury all rolled into one. This is a life-or-death issue for my business.”

According to said regulatory gods (in this case, spokesman Art Resnick):

“We consider it to be a drug reference, and find it to be false and misleading to the consumer in terms of what may or may not be the properties contained within that product,”

Well, good to see the feds wisely using their limited resources to keep us all safe from puns on bottle caps.

h/t: Jenda via e-mail who pointed me to this ABA Journal piece.

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By Steven L. Taylor

h/t: James Joyner

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By Steven L. Taylor

The reconquista (last seen in Texas) has moved all the way up to the Pacific northwest (via the Seattle Times): “Marineros” jerseys part of Mariners’ salute to Latin American players

The Mariners have celebrated Latinos in baseball annually in recent years. In 2024, they will do so as Los Marineros.

Players will don the same white home uniforms Saturday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field, with one distinguishable difference — the front of their jerseys will say “Marineros,” the Spanish translation of the team name.

It will be the first time the team has done so, and is the most prominent gesture of all of the team’s previous yearly salutes to Latin American “beisbol.”

(Thanks all that is Good and Right that he wasn’t wearing a scarf!)

It gets worse!

Traditional Latin music and dance and small ceremonies have marked the occasion in years past. So have stadium public-address announcements in Spanish, which will take place again on Saturday. This year, however, there is the wearing of the Spanish-language jerseys, which has also been done by the Milwaukee Brewers (“Cerveceros”) and San Francisco Giants (“Gigantes”). Also, the first 25,000 fans at the game will get a commemorative souvenir: “Marineros” baseball caps.

We’re all doomed.

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By Steven L. Taylor

The trickle of SD’s Obama’s way continues (via the AP): Obama Picks Up 2 Texas Superdelegates

Barack Obama picked up two Texas superdelegates, bringing him within 42 delegates of locking up the Democratic presidential nomination.

Texas Democratic Party chairman Boyd Richie and his wife, Democratic National Committee member Betty Richie, endorsed Barack Obama for president late Thursday.

Texas has 32 superdelegates and the Richies were among a handful of those remaining who had not committed to either Obama or rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.


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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Comic powerhouse Harvey Korman dies at 81

Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to “The Carol Burnett Show” and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in “Blazing Saddles,” died Thursday. He was 81.

Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.

I have fond memories of Korman on The Carol Burnett Show–may he rest in peace.

Update: Much more here.

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Thursday, May 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: NBA: Foul should have been called at end of Game 4

The NBA acknowledged Wednesday that a foul should have been called on the final possession of Game 4 in the Western Conference finals, which would have given the San Antonio Spurs a chance to even the series.

Ah well. The thing that has annoyed me about the non-call has more been the coverage than the non-call itself. A lot of commentators (including those covering the game, as well as Mike Wilbon) have stated that Barry have better “sold” the foul. However, these are the same guys who seem to always be griping that there is too much flopping in basketball to get calls. So which is it: should guys play up and “sell” the fouls or what? You can’t have it both ways.

At least my brother was happy with the outcome…

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Ballot Access News: Cynthia McKinney Close to Clinching Green Party Nomination

Cynthia McKinney now has the support of over 50% of the delegates to the Green Party national convention who have been chosen so far. Although not all state Green Parties have chosen their delegates, most of them have, so it is very likely that she will obtain the nomination

The convention isn’t until July 10th-13th–which means if Hillary doesn’t find a way to grab the Democratic nomination, maybe she can scoot over the Green’s convention and harass them for their nod!

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: U.S. Growth Better Than Expected

The economy plodded ahead at a 0.9 percent pace in the first quarter — slightly better than first estimated — but still underscoring caution on the part of consumers and businesses walloped by housing, credit and financial problems.

Ok, so 0.9 is better than 0.6, although point-oh anything ain’t too swift. But, still not technically a recession. Regardless of the numbers:

Consumers — whose spending is the economy’s lifeblood — are feeling the pressure from the economy’s problems.

They increased spending at a 1 percent pace in the first quarter. That was the slowest since the last recession in 2024. Consumers are pulling back as high energy and food prices leave them with less money to spend on other things. Falling home values are making many homeowners feel less wealthy and less inclined to spend. And, the credit crunch has made it harder to finance big-ticket purchases.

Businesses also showed some caution, cutting spending on equipment and software. However, investment in commercial construction was not as weak as the government first estimated, contributing to the upward revision to first-quarter G.D.P.

Some other numbers:

Even if economic activity strengthens later this year, the unemployment rate — now at 5 percent — is expected to climb to 6 percent or higher early next year. Businesses, which have trimmed their work forces to cope with the slowdown, will be reluctant to bulk back up until they feel certain the economy’s recovery will be enduring.

An inflation measure linked to the report showed that prices grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in the first quarter. That was the same as initially estimated and down from a 3.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

Excluding food and energy prices, “core” inflation increased at 2.1 percent pace in the first quarter. That was down slightly from the government’s first estimate of a 2.2 percent increase for the period and also marked a moderation from the fourth quarter’s 2.5 percent growth rate. Still, the core inflation figure outside the Fed’s comfort zone. The upper level of the Fed’s inflation tolerance is 2 percent.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Here’s a hint:


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