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Just a quickie for now, for the reason below. ^_^

I'm very pleased to announce that, at long last, the first red panda and rabbit clips are finally available. ^_^ The four red panda clips are simply illustrative, whilst the latter clip is a little montage of footage of a small group of wild rabbits I happened upon, appropriately enough, at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I'm afraid there's a lot of shakiness in the latter, as I was on a fairly high zoom at the time - but, it's still highly enjoyable to see lapines running free. (Literally!) I hope I'll be able to say the same of red pandas in the next few years..

Feel free to link away, if you like - I don't have a button graphic at the moment, lacking l337 P-5h0p 5|<1llz, but I'll try to come up with one eventually. The site layout's very, very simple, and its coding may cause either nausea or bouts of nostalgia in huskyteer.. but it hopefully does the job without causing bleeding eyeballs.

It appears the Supreme Court recently ruled that federal judges aren't required to follow mandatory sentencing "guidelines".

I know I've mentioned it before, but it's really quite a nifty body of work: the Powerpuff Girls, manga style, a few years later on. (So, Dexter and Samurai Jack don't appear in the original.. so what? ^_^) Quite professional in appearance, fully colored, and around 100 pages complete so far. Worth a look, even if just for a glimpse at a more realistic appearance of the characters. There's also a brief Flash trailer (638K) available, which doesn't seem to fall into canon, but it's worth watching regardless of relevance. (The artwork style reminds me of Pilot's, for what it's worth)

"Canada minister in pizza scandal" - the sort of headline you just don't see too often. The actual story summary was regrettably quite un-salacious: "Canada's immigration minister resigns, denying allegations she offered help an immigrant avoid deportation in exchange for pizza and garlic bread." But, terribly Canadian. ^_^
Just for reference, the allegations made by the pizza shop owner (who was about to be turfed out of the country) have not been proved. In fact, last I heard the guy wasn't making any public comments either.

Besides, everyone knows Canada favors exotic dancers over pizza guys anyway.

Although it looks like that's coming to an end too. http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/12/02/exotic-dancers041202.html
I think I recall it was Canadian immigration officials that also required actual proof of being able to dance, in order to verify their claim to their profession. ^_^;

'Course, if I were Ruler of the World, I'd let people move wherever they liked. If corporations can, why not individuals too? Surely someone who's willing to forego their home turf, in order to set off for pastures new, is visibly demonstrating far greater motivation to succeed in that new locality, than someone who simply happened to pop into the world thereabouts. So often we hear the old saw of "they're taking our jobs!", when these people are just as likely, if not moreso, to help create new jobs. (The immigration boom in the US, well into the 20th century, hardly hurt the economy, after all!)
woohoo!!! Remind me to stock up on homemade pizza and garlic bread before trying to enter Canada illegally!
Heh, that would rock. ^_^
I can just see it now..

"I'm sorry, Miss. We think you may be intending to remain here.."

"- Are you sure? I've got pizza.. Chicago style stuffed pizza.."

I guess Canadian immigration works on the barter system. You want to become a Canadian? Well then, help get me re-elected. Can't do that? Well then, gimme a pizza and I will see what I can do.

That's quite a tip for pizza delivery!
Reminds me of the Bart vs Australia episode of The Simpsons.. ("'Ey! Prime Minister!")

This is, of course, nothing more or less than the democratisation of the lobby system, and as such, should be wholeheartedly supported. Individual size pizza for an individual application, family size for a family.. although postal applications would probably be discouraged.

Although, one must be careful with the toppings. "Ground beef.. and chicken, on the same half? I don't think so, Mister." (I'd have said anchovies, but, having followed along with the public disdain for the creatures for years, I wound up trying one place's version of a capricciosa, and discovered they can be really good: pepperoni, anchovies, and capers, on a tasty base, fresh tomato sauce and the usual herbs, and some mozzarella. Good stuff, even if it probably fulfills one's salt requirement for the coming week)
'Mandatory sentencing' is a long, slow pissing match that's been going on here between the legislature and the judiciary since about 1980 or so. It's going to continue for many more years. What it comes down to is that while the legislature has the power to define crimes and the punishments for them, judges have the power to interpret those definitions. Legislators feel that this renders their powers meaningless if someone else is allowed to decide what their legislation means. Judges, of course, see it quite differently.

I pretty much have to agree with Ginsberg. It's unconstitutional to force judges to follow written guidelines, since the Constitution gives them the power of interpreting the law. At the same time, it's unconstitutional of a judge to deliberately ignore the clear intent of a law, or to deliberately misinterpret it.

If both sides were approaching the situation with goodwill, then they'd pretend that the guidelines are just a clarifying document, and the judiciary would follow them not from compulsion, but because they made congress' intent clear. That won't happen. Both sides are trying to grab more control than the Constitution allows them, primarily to stop the other side from doing the same.
And, of course, ultimately neither solution is guaranteed to result in a fair sentence - complete discretion can (and does) result in wildly disparate lengths of incarceration or other penalties for similar offenses, whilst mandatory sentencing clamps the problem to the other end of the scale.

At the end of it, yes, I'd say the decision should lie with the judges, and with their knowledge and understanding of the specific case in question. That's part of their very duty, after all. Obviously, this SCOTUS decision won't end the matter, but at least there's another point of clarification added.

(Is Rehnquist still with us? Seemed to be in a pretty poor way, last October..)

Rehnquist was reliably spotted in the Capitol building last week. I'm expecting he'll put in an appearance for the inauguration too. Everyone keeps expecting him to die, but then again, everyone's been expecting the Pope to die for the last five years or so...
Awww! Thanks so much for linking to those snimal clips-- I was naturally most partial to the rabbit one, which was tremendously cute. =:D
Oh, no problem! I'm really pleased to finally be able to share them. As you might have guessed, I love spending time at good zoos, recording what I can. The rabbits that day were quite a surprise - how could I not try capturing what I could? ^_^ Those kinds of opportunities just don't come up often.. (and when they do, well - there was one time the previous housemate and I were wandering through one of the local woods, and in just that one trip, happened upon small deer and a fox. It also happened to be one of those rare occasions when I'd taken my contacts out.. :-P I still saw them, but more in a Jedi-like detection of their presence, than a Buddhist conjunction with their souls :)

Locally, I'm surprised how little wildlife there appears to be - birds, of course, but I don't think I've seen anything on the ground, aside from cows, and quite a few horses. Then again, a lot of the soil around probably isn't amenable to lapine habitation - much of it's gravelly, or even solid, being a former coal mining region.

Wouldn't night vision goggles be fun to play with? ^_^

I wonder where else in the world bamboo grows wild? I was just idly musing the idea of release programs for red pandas.. after all, even in the wild, while young bamboo's often the snack of choice, other goodies like berries and eggs are perfectly enjoyable as well. Ah, to have a few million to play with, and be able to set up a few square miles of suitable forestland for red panda enjoyment. (And I should imagine red panda and rabbits could get on well enough, for that matter)

Yay! I'm rambling! ^_^
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Mostly the former. ^_^ (Speaking of anime, I still have the last two episode of Yakitate Japan to enjoy, plus three new episodes of Twin Spica.. and the final three of Paranoia Agent, for that matter, although at this point, I'm tempted to just rewatch the entire thing, at thirteen total. Need to remember to extract the opening and closing themes for that, too.. they're good at giving an indication of the series, as well as being good little music pieces in their own right)

Of course, once those five clips were all ready to roll, and bring the site back into meaningful existence (it's been up previously, serving some red panda images, but mostly, the domain's been for email use), I was sufficiently energised to overshoot even my usual bedtime.. but then, I just wasn't really feeling tired, so I wound up just vaguely waiting and waiting to begin the snooze. Thankfully, the Dear Baby™ was quiet today, or at least, well contained, so I actually managed quite a reasonable few hours.

Next up, I think I'd like to bring in some of the Singapore raccoons - a group of a dozen or so are present at the zoo there, welcoming visitors, and asking nothing more than a contribution to their ongoing well-being in return, which seems eminently reasonable. There's also, I think, another couple minutes of the Wild Animal Park rabbits - I was wanting to avoid making any one clip too long, to avoid huge filesizes. Wish I had more, of course, but they obviously had other things to do that day. I felt quite treated, to have seen such a grouping, enjoying themselves so freely, and in such a public area! (It's well away from the "main" footway areas of the Wild Animal Park, towards where the 'roos used to be, so there weren't all that many people around, and they'd obviously had some familiarity with people being around, whilst still being quite plainly not tame park furniture)

The raccoon count in the Singapore Zoo is up to around fifteen or sixteen now -- I'm not exactly sure; they're hard to count exactly particularly since there's so many places they can hide -- but they are really quite busy, when they're not just done eating.

Nice buns. ;-) Heh, sorry.
I really liked the cute baby bunny. It was so tiny!
Cute! Cute! Cute! Cute! Cute! Cute! Cuuuuuuuuuuuuute!

BTW, I heard on the radio today that the species of the order Rodentia make up 40% of the species of Mammalia, and that there are more individual rodents on the planet than all other mammals put together! And that's adorable rodents like little wild bunnies and the scary, plague-bearing kinds, too :-)