A practical if strange idea from those wacky Germans.

German sex educators plan spray-on condom

Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:25am ET
BERLIN (Reuters) – German sex educators plan to launch a spray-on condom tailor-made for all sizes.

Jan Vinzenz Krause from the Institute for Condom Consultancy, a Singen-based practice that offers advice on condom use, told Reuters on Thursday the product aimed to help people enjoy better and safer sex lives.

“We’re trying to develop the perfect condom for men that’s suited to every size of penis,” he said. “We’re very serious.”

Krause’s team (spraykondom.de) is developing a type of spray can into which the man inserts his penis first. At the push of a button it is then coated in a rubber condom.

I have nothing to add.

Where’s the ACLU when we need it?

Town makes it illegal to fly a foreign flag

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN
Adjust font size:

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) — This is where we’ve arrived in this country: You have the constitutional right to burn an American flag, but you can get into trouble for simply flying a foreign one.

At least you can in the 30,000-person town of Pahrump, Nevada, which is close to Las Vegas and even closer to stepping over the line with an idiotic, intolerant and insulting ban on foreign (read: Mexican) flags. The town council voted last week, 3-2, to approve an ordinance that makes it illegal to display a foreign flag — unless an American flag is flown above it. Scofflaws face a $50 fine and 30 hours of community service.

Pahrump resident Michael Miraglia proposed the ban because, he said, he got upset when he saw immigrant activists marching through U.S. cities last spring, waving Mexican flags. Mr. Miraglia told USA Today that he was especially miffed that “we had Mexican restaurants closed that day.”

So that’s what started all this — the fact that some guy who’s addicted to Mexican food couldn’t get his burrito fix. It’s our cultural schizophrenia. Americans love Mexican food, even if they don’t always love Mexicans. They never ask themselves: If they succeed in getting rid of all the Mexicans — as some would, no doubt, like to do — who’s going to make the food?

I look forward to the lawsuit and reading about the town of Pahrump smacked down hard in the courts.

Economic populism, from perhaps a surprising place.


Class Struggle: American workers have a chance to be heard.

BY JIM WEBB
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

The most important–and unfortunately the least debated–issue in politics today is our society’s steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

The most important–and unfortunately the least debated–issue in politics today is our society’s steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.
[…]
Mr. Webb is the Democratic senator-elect from Virginia.

Very much worth reading the rest. I am very much (and very positively!) surprised to see this coming from Senator-elect Webb, who as you may recall was in Reagan’s cabinet… I’d assumed he was going to be one of the more conservative new Senators. Instead, it looks like he’s going to be one to watch in a very good way: we need more folks in Washington willing to talk about class issues and our economic problems in an honest manner. (former) Senator Edwards brought these issues up in the 2004 presidential campaign but for the most part they seem to be forgotten in all of the other hot-button debates whether on the so-called “war on terror” or on “values.”

via DailyKos, part of their coverage of why the meme that “the new Democrats are conservative” is a myth.

(fixed blockquote in the wrong place bad line break)

Perhaps it was a Tom Lehrer fan?

Oh, wait… that’s poisoning pigeons, not swallowing them…

Pelican swallows pigeon in park

Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK

Families and tourists in a London park were left shocked when a pelican picked up and swallowed a pigeon.

The unusual wildlife spectacle in St James’s Park was caught on camera by photographer Cathal McNaughton.

Sorry for yet another late post, this and the Thailand one I dropped a link into here when fresh and never got around to posting it.

Back to normal in Thailand

Belated coverage here on CH, but…

Thailand to lift post-coup ban

POSTED: 9:38 p.m. EST, November 9, 2006

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly agreed to ease a restriction imposed after September’s coup d’etat, voting unanimously to lift a ban on public gatherings of more than five people, the head of the body said.

Assembly President Meechai Ruchupan on Thursday announced the decision of the military-appointed assembly, which becomes effective when it is published in the Royal Gazette, a pro-forma action expected to take place soon.

The ban was issued when the military seized power in the Sep. 19 coup against elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It later handed over administrative control to a civilian prime minister who is supposed to head an interim government for a year until a general election can be held.

There is NO right not to be offended.

Via RASSF:
Vatican urges Israel to ban Jerusalem gay parade

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican has condemned a gay pride parade due to be held in Jerusalem on Friday as offensive to religious believers and urged Israeli authorities to stop it taking place.

“It is with bitterness that we have learned that the day after tomorrow, November 10, 2006, there is scheduled in Jerusalem a so-called ‘gay pride parade’,” the Vatican said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

In a letter to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the Vatican urged authorities to withdraw permission for the parade which is expected to attract up to 8,000 people.

“The Holy See has reiterated on many occasions that the right to freedom of expression, sanctioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is subject to just limits, in particular when the exercise of this right would offend the religious sentiments of believers,” the letter said.

I loved the last passage in particular.

What a jerk this pope is (or the papacy in general is?) – there is no right not to be offended, whether for any one individual, one religion, or (ignoring large numbers of believers of each of the three who don’t care) a group of three religions. And the only “just limits” I can think of are a matter of speech that puts others at real threat of harm (such as the classic example of “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”)

“And I for one welcome our new insect overlords”

First, I am incredibly psyched on the national victories. House? Check, and at a greater margin that I would have expected. Senate? Technically still up in the air, but looking very positive.

Second, California sucks less than I thought last night. When I last checked before bed, it was looking like Republicans were going to take several key state offices, besides the Governators – in particular the Secretary of State’s. I’m very pleased to see today that the Dem (Bowen) has won that race, as well as a couple of others.

California still sucks, the CA Democratic party included – I can’t believe that our primary choices were both the worst of Sacramento machine pols, and between a DINO wannabe Republican like Westly, or a nearly nebbish moderate like Angelides at that.

At least Arnold (A) will be term-limited out for the 2010 election, and (B) can’t become president. But f___, four more years of the governator? Odds are I’ll be out of California before he’s out of office.

“Hey Stupid That Ain’t News No More:” Senate 2006 Edition

CNN projects tonight that among others, Senators Dick Lugar and Edward (Ted) Kennedy will keep their seats.

Lugar: running with only 3rd-party opposition.
Kennedy: OK, there technically was a Republican running against him, but…

This kind of “news of the obvious” makes watching the returns tonight harder, and some of the “basically inevitable, if not quite so glaringly silly” ones like the election of Sanders or the re-election of Snowe and Byrd

In better news, DailyKos is saying Sherrod Brown will take the Senate seat in Ohio, although CNN has not yet called that race.