Beer heist!

Shawn Pogatchnik reports for the Associated Press:

Irish police were hunting for a beer bandit who stole 450 full kegs from the Guinness brewery – the largest heist ever at Ireland’s largest brewer.

National police said a lone man drove into the brewery – a Dublin landmark and top tourist attraction – on Wednesday and hitched his truck to a fully loaded trailer awaiting delivery to city pubs ….

…. Police said the raider took 180 kegs of Guinness stout, 180 kegs of U.S. lager Budweiser and 90 kegs of Danish beer Carlsberg. Guinness brews both of those foreign brands under license for sale in Ireland ….

…. Each keg holds about 88 British-sized pints, the most common serving size in Ireland, equivalent to 20 ounces each. The total theft involves 39,600 pints with a retail value exceeding $235,000.

What really disturbs me the most is the idea that “Guinness” and “Budweiser” appear in the same sentence, much less are brewed by the same company in Ireland.

While police have not released any details about the suspect—there may not be any details to give—they have suggested that it will be difficult for the thief to sell the stolen beer.

So what we have, apparently, is a stolen trailer full of beer that cannot be sold. Seems to me the suspect should be easy to find on an island approximately the size of South Carolina. (Insert your preferred bad joke here.)

Write your own punchline

Something about “traditional marriage” goes here. Or maybe “family values”. Paul Foy reports for the Associated Press:

A couple accused of kidnapping their daughter on the eve of her wedding pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge and a judge ordered mental-health professionals to evaluate them for actions he called “clearly irrational.”

Julia Redd, 58, and husband Lemuel Redd, 60, pleaded guilty to custodial interference, a misdemeanor, capping the legal end of a family spat over their daughter Julianna’s choice for a husband ….

…. The parents had originally been charged with kidnapping their 20-year-old daughter in August 2006. The Redds had picked up her to take her shopping to buy religious garments for the ceremony in a Mormon temple, but instead drove more than 200 miles to Grand Junction, Colo., where they spent a night in a motel.

Their daughter has said her parents berated her on the drive, accusing her of breaking the Old Testament’s Fourth Commandment, which says to honor parents. She said they called her fiance “evil and wicked.”

Lori Drew: I will see you in Hell

A couple of weeks ago, Steve Pokin brought us the appalling story of a young girl’s suicide, a tragedy brought on by a MySpace conspiracy intended to hurt her feelings. The last known inbound transmission, the one that pushed her over the edge, read,

Everybody in O’Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.

What a horrible thing for children to do to one another. They do not know the power of their words, cannot grasp the depth of what they wish upon one another.

Oh, wait. Wrong sermon.

This harassment campaign was coordinated by a 47 year-old woman, the mother of one of the dead girl’s friends. Her name is Lori Drew, she will not be charged with any crime, despite enlisting a neighborhood girl in the campaign and, in the wake of Megan Meier’s suicide, ordering the girl to remain silent. In response to the incident, a local law has made internet harassment a misdemeanor worth 90 days and a $500 fine.

Ms. Drew, pray the atheists are right.  Otherwise, I will so be seeing you in Hell.

Update on Lott: This … isn’t … happening …?

This can’t actually be happening, can it?

Big Head DC has broken a story strongly implying that Sen. Lott’s aforementioned resignation comes in advance of a brewing gay sex scandal.

Once upon a time, there was a twentysomething boy-next-door type with reddish blond hair and a brilliantly white smile. Not one to shy away from attention, he wrote a blog called “Fifteen Minutes,” and also became a freelance writer for various publications, including The Stranger in Seattle. He’d often focus on his non-traditional lifestyle as a gay male escort — a topic that often fascinated his readers, which, in turn, helped him to garner a substantial amount of powerful business acquaintances through the years ….

…. Many of his clients greatly appreciate his professionalism. In fact, according to one 66-year-old patron who reviewed him on a gay escort site, he is “a very reliable escort who keeps you informed.”

The boy happens to be real, and his “stage name” is Benjamin Nicholas. One of the politicos Big Head DC has learned he’s alleged to have been involved with is the married Sen. Trent Lott, 66, who unexpectedly announced his retirement on Monday. Lott is well-known to have been against a plethora of gay rights issues throughout his terms in Congress. He was also good friends with Sen. Larry Craig throughout his time in Congress.

Nicholas told Big Head DC today via e-mail that he didn’t want to go on the record to talk about his dealings with Lott, because, said Nicholas, “Trent is going through his fair share of scrutiny right now and I don’t want to add to it.” However, e-mail and other records confirm that the two have met on at least two occasions.

“All I can say at this point is no comment,” Nicholas told us. “It’s the professional thing for me to do.”

Seriously … this isn’t happening. Is it?

Sen. Trent Lott resigns in a cloud of mystery

Watch out for the spatter. As speculation flies in the wake of an announcement by Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) that he will retire at year’s end, we can only wonder what exactly hit which fan.

Trish and I have decided it’s time for us to do something else. We went to First Baptist Church recently in Jackson. I must say, we were up there and we went to First Baptist Jackson and the pastor there, Stan Buckley, just happened to preach on Ecclesiastes 3:1.

“There’s a time for everything and everything — a special time for everything under heaven”: I believe that’s the paraphrase, but he just seemed to be speaking to me and to us.

While the prominent and controversial Republican invoked Biblical wisdom in his press release, early scuttlebutt suggests—as it almost always will—something a little less noble. Big Head DC suggests that Lott’s departure comes in the face of a potentially “huge” sex scandal.

Hustler’s Larry Flynt may have played a role in the sudden and unexpected announcement of the resignation of Sen. Trent Lott this morning. Flynt was already involved earlier this year in uncovering Sen. David Vitter’s involvement with the so-called DC Madam escort service. He has said he would reveal more “huge” tawdry politico sex scandals by year’s end.

Some are speculating that a sex scandal is involved in the odd Trent development, although the unofficial spin is that the exit of the Republican Senate Minority Whip may be linked to a new post-Senate career lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. He is believed to be in good health.

Neither libido nor greed make for a dignified departure. Over at, Paul Kane offers some less-scandalous analysis:

Lott said that he was going to move into the private sector after 35 years in Congress, but denied that he was getting out before a new two-year “cooling-off” restriction takes effect on Jan. 1. The restriction bars lawmakers from taking lobbying jobs for two years after they leave public service. Lott also denied that health issues were the cause. “Let me make it clear: There are no problems, I feel fine,” he said ….

…. While the seat is likely to remain in GOP hands because of Mississippi’s conservative tilt, Lott’s resignation is a highly symbolic blow to Republicans who have already seen a handful of veteran incumbents announce their retirements rather than seek re-election next year. Several of the retirees are former committee chairmen leaving in part because they are unlikely to reclaim their gavels any time soon, but none possess the inside knowledge of the chamber and its parliamentary procedures like Lott.

Lott acknowledged that this year, filled with somewhat intractable fights over Iraq war policy and most domestic issues, has been “awfully tough”. And GOP aides said Lott grew tired of the political infighting in the Senate as Republicans have been forced into a position of merely blocking a Democratic agenda.

It has been a long run for Senator Lott, whose troubles in 2002 following his praise of former Sen. Strom Thurmond’s failed segregationist presidential bid may well have been a harbinger of the GOP’s coming meltdown. At a celebration for Helms’ retirement, Lott explained that had Thurmond been elected president, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years”. While spokesman Ron Bonjean attempted to play down the remarks, saying that Lott intended only to “pay tribute to a remarkable man”, and thatit was wrong to “read anything more into these comments”, the appeal went nearly unheard as the national press picked up a Mississippi newspaper report about similar words spoken at a 1980 campaign event in support of Ronald Reagan.

In the wake of the 2002 scandal, Lott lost his Senate leadership position, and Sen. Bill Frist rose to take his place. And while issues of civil rights, a failed domestic agenda, a difficult domestic economy, and stagnant-at-best wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dogged the Republican party, it may well have been Frist’s histrionics in the Schiavo controversy that finally began the GOP’s irreversible slide toward midterm defeat in November, 2006.

So it isn’t hard to accept that Lott is exhausted. After all, as Congressional Democrats seem to take every opportunity to hurt their party’s chances in the 2008 election, Republicans seem unable to capitalize. While the Democrats have never fully recovered from their Clintonian meltdown, the GOP seems to have utterly failed to learn anything by watching their counterparts’ implosion. In fact, if it is possible at all, the GOP’s decline seems to have taken an uglier tone as all its factions fall into disarray. The neocon concession to certain liberal budgetary concerns leaves the economic conservatives confused and alienated while the desperate play for tax cuts has only escorted the economy into a growing sense of chaos. Social conservatives find themselves in dire straits as their untenable political ambitions stretch to the limits. If their position was not precarious enough before, arguing for institutional gender discrimination, against potentially lifesaving medical research, and, of late, for the right for professionals to withhold medical treatment from patients for assertions of conscience, the widespread accusations of sexual misconduct against conservative politicians and civic leaders will only drive GOP social policy deeper into crisis.

If, as some suggest, Lott faces a major sex scandal of his own, could we blame the Senator for deciding to not have this fight? Certainly, he could not hope to forestall a hit by Larry Flynt, but perhaps he can minimize the impact. If Lott is on his way out, or already out the door as Flynt starts spilling details, the party can at least call it old news and remove the scandal from GOP offices to the retiring Senator’s front lawn.

Time alone will bring us the details, and in the sordid world of Washington politics, it is doubtful that we will get through this period without hearing at least some of the naughty bits. The party of sharks is in disarray, and an old man who has served his country for thirty-five years in Congress is not prepared for another feeding frenzy. At a time when Republicans struggle between factional principles and the need for electoral appeal, the passing of another old-school, frat-boy conservative may well serve the GOP’s future. The last five years have cast Lott as a powerful symbol of so many things amiss about the Republican Party, and it may well be that, regardless of the reasons, his resignation from the U.S. Senate will be seen as at least a small step toward repairing the damage of these Bush years.

The state of Metal Health: DuBrow dead at 52

Quiet Riot bandmates Rudy Garni (bass) and Frankie Banali (drums) have confirmed the passing of singer Kevin DuBrow, age 52, in Las Vegas, Nevada. MTV reports that Chavis Records, QR’s latest label, has also confirmed the death, noting:

“DuBrow’s body was found by friends on Sunday, November 25, in his Las Vegas home,” reads the label’s site. “As I mourn his death with a heavy heart, I will remember hearing his voice and the music for the very first time on the radio back in 1983. I will remember all the great music Kevin and Quiet Riot gave to so many of us over the years and I will say, ‘Thank you, Kevin. May you rest in peace.'”

DuBrow’s bandmates have requested both privacy during their mourning, and dignity for the dead as speculation reportedly abounds regarding the cause of death.

Ain’t so crazee now, I guess. Raise a glass, rip a bong, and turn it up one last time.

Patriotism: A menace to society

Emma Goldman (in)famously wrote of patriotism as a menace to liberty, and it is easy enough, as an American, to agree. But this story comes from abroad, as Reuters reports on the latest attempt to boost patriotism in Thailand:

A proposed new law to boost patriotism in Thailand would be “chaotic” because it would require motorists to stop when the national anthem is played twice a day, lawmakers said Friday.

A vote on the Flag Bill proposed by a group of retired and active duty generals in the army-appointed parliament was deferred Thursday to allow a committee to study it ….

…. “The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds, so why can’t motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country?,” retired General and NLA member Pricha Rochanasena, 70, told Reuters.

“They already spend more time in traffic jams anyway,” he said, referring to Bangkok’s notoriously congested streets.

Note the word require in the above excerpt. The bill apparently does not propose any penalties for violators, so the notion of a requirement seems rather silly. According to Pricha, the bill is intended to allow motorists to be patriotic.

I find myself wondering what a traffic jam in Thailand sounds like. Perhaps legislators can reach a compromise legalizing road rage against motorists who honk their horns while the anthem is playing. And maybe a rider to require child prostitutes to stop faking orgasms during the twice-a-day playback.

You know. Patriotism. It will fix any country’s ills.

Minions of Cthulhu?

Two words suffice: Giant scorpion

Science Daily broke the news:

The discovery of a giant fossilised claw from an ancient sea scorpion indicates that when alive it would have been about two and a half meters long, much taller than the average man ….

…. The claw is from a sea scorpion (eurypterid) Jaekelopterus rhenaniae that lived between 460 and 255 million years ago. It is 46 centimetres long, indicating that the sea scorpion to which it belonged was around 2.5 metres (8 feet) long — almost half a metre longer than previous estimates for these arthropods and the largest one ever to have evolved.

Eurypterids are believed to be the extinct aquatic ancestors of scorpions and possibly all arachnids.

Some geologists believe that giant arthropods evolved due to higher levels of oxygen in the atmosphere in the past. Others, that they evolved in an ‘arms race’ alongside their likely prey, the early armoured fish.

Heh. “Arms race”. Forty-six centimeters. A scorpion with a claw a foot and a half long. The quote of the day actually comes from Dr. Simon Braddy, of the University of Bristol: “We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies, but we never realised, until now, just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were.”

Oh, gee, you think? You didn’t realize?

Actually, what is even more disturbing is the notion of a scientist using the phrase “super-sized”. If I want super-size, I’ll go up the street and get a crappy slab of dead cow at McDonald’s. (And what the hell are you putting in the burgers these days to make them taste so damnably rancid?)

But what ever happened to perfectly wonderful words like enormous or gargantuan? Oh, you felt like alliterating? Why not scary? You know, like “… monster millipedes, scary freakin’ scorpions, colossal cockroaches …”?

Because what’s really scary about this thing is that the previous estimate for these things was around six feet long. Makes me feel a hell of a lot better. You?

Just remember this thing next time you’re out for lobster.

I wonder what Lovecraft would say? Oh. Right.