December 27, 2002
Joel Roberts Poinsett
Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first American ambassador to Mexico, Martin Van Buren's Secretary of War, and a founder of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts, which later became the Smithsonian Institute. But his most lasting legacy at Christmastime is as the namesake and American "discoverer" of the poinsettia.
posted by jonp72 at 8:48 PM PST - 4 comments

New Year's Gastronomy
Black-eyed peas before noontime is a good luck custom in the U.S. southern states, often served in Hoppin John. Spaniards favor twelve grapes at midnight, Greeks munch on a slice of vasilopita bread baked with a foil-wrapped coin, the Dutch breakfast on hot oliebollen, while the intrepid Japanese defy death by snacking down on mochi rice cakes. Every culture seems to have a traditional food or beverage to celebrate the New Year - do you have a gastronomical favorite to mark the occasion?
posted by madamjujujive at 7:59 PM PST - 26 comments

Canada Guns
Jan 1 - 100% Canadian Gun Registration. I'm surprised that the London gun crime epidemic, after they outlawed guns, hasn't slowed down gun control elsewhere. I know it's a contentious issue, so I'll just try to keep the question focused: will gun registration work in Canada?
posted by kablam at 6:24 PM PST - 29 comments

Ice-T to promote Ice-C
Ice-T to promote ice cream I wonder if they'll have an Ice Tea flavor.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 12:57 PM PST - 27 comments

The tragedy of private zoos in China
Private zoos in China. This is one of the saddest pieces I've ever read--all the stories are terrible but especially the one on the bears. I thought the article made a good point on the focus on human right violations in China with a lack of attention on the treatment of animals. There should be some kind of organization either from outside or internally that addresses this issue.
posted by zinegurl at 10:57 AM PST - 18 comments

Monkey Painting
Monkey Painting. No, it's not monkeys that paint, but rather a new fad in low-rent art circles. They're selling like hotcakes on ebay. But don't forget sock monkeys, sea monkeys, and of course, those monkeys typing out Shakespeare.
posted by vraxoin at 10:39 AM PST - 32 comments

e Fly Guy
The Fly Guy is a Flash toy/game/greeting card with lots to explore and a seemingly (but not actually) endless number of things to interact with. Nothing groundbreaking, just cute and amusing. Enjoy!
posted by jonson at 10:14 AM PST - 18 comments

Step in the right direction for the War on Drugs?
Michigan to Drop Minimum Sentence Rules for Drug Crimes. Although many people have known for years that minimum sentencing rules for drug offenses are seriously flawed, some states seem to be finally doing something about it.
posted by gwint at 9:11 AM PST - 5 comments

Ad Aware dead?
Is the Ad Aware project dead? Luckily the SpyBot application is still being updated and its still free.
posted by skallas at 8:20 AM PST - 25 comments

FDA now officially useless?
FDA now officially useless? Well, it's looking that way.. They are now about to allow unverified health claims on food labels. They say this is a good thing. I wonder... What function does the FDA have now if it's not to protect the consumer from wild and potentially false claims on their food products?
posted by eas98 at 7:11 AM PST - 13 comments

corporations as persons
Are Corporations Legally Persons?

Orthodoxy has it the Supreme Court decided in 1886, in a case called Santa Clara County v. the Southern Pacific Railroad, that corporations were indeed legal persons. I express that view myself, in a recent book. So do many others. So do many law schools. We are all wrong.

Mr. Hartmann undertook instead a conscientious search. He finally found the contemporary casebook, published in 1886, blew the dust away, and read Santa Clara County in the original, so to speak. Nowhere in the formal, written decision of the Court did he find corporate personhood mentioned. Not a word. The Supreme Court did NOT establish corporate personhood in Santa Clara County.


Pardon me while I go to the bookstore. This looks to be a book well worth reading. Imagine the US government controlled by the best interests of real people instead of corporations.
posted by nofundy at 6:44 AM PST - 25 comments

Paul Martin --or-- Sayed Anwar
Is the Washington Times perpetuating a fraud? the Palestine Media Watch is reporting on a rumour that has been floating around for a while, that the Washington Times' "Sayed Anwar" is actually Paul Martin, a correspondent out of their London office. Now while this Times doesn't boast the circulation of the NYTimes or even the LA Times, it still lands on the doorstep of the President of the US every day. How's this for journalistic integrity?
posted by djspicerack at 6:39 AM PST - 15 comments

Affordable Housing vs. Property Values, what to do?
DC Suburbs slowly getting denser I've been a participant for the past 5 years in what is easily the 2nd-3rd most insane housing market in the US: Washington DC. Apartment occupancy is 99% in the desirable areas, and "affordable starter homes" (in finger quotes) are priced at $250-$350k. People with good jobs can barely afford this. So what happens to folks who are just getting their feet on the ground in the country? More the merrier. How do you strike a balance between providing affordable housing that is accessible to living-wage jobs without running out the existing neighbors?
posted by cpfeifer at 5:40 AM PST - 50 comments

Persons of the year?
Time Magazine's 2002 Persons of the Year. A distinction that has been given to such newsmakers as Gandhi, Hitler, Jeff Bezos, a machine, and a planet, now belongs to three whistleblowers at Enron, WorldCom, and the FBI. Is Time magazine way off or right on target?
posted by MarkO at 12:55 AM PST - 29 comments