Lottery Post Journal

Gas Price Map

Here's a fascinating view of the United States, showing each counties' average gas price.  You can right-click on the map to see the actual sample price for that county.

http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap.aspx

Minutemen to Bush: Build fence or we will

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Minuteman border watch leader Chris Simcox has a message for President Bush: Build new security fencing along the border with Mexico or private citizens will.

Simcox said Wednesday that he's sending an ultimatum to the president, through the media, of course - "You can't get through to the president any other way" - to deploy military reserves and the National Guard to the Arizona border by May 25.

Or, Simcox said, by the Memorial Day weekend Minuteman Civil Defense Corps volunteers and supporters will break ground to start erecting fencing privately.

"We have had landowners approach," Simcox said in an interview. "We've been working on this idea for a while. We're going to show the federal government how easy it is to build these security fences, how inexpensively they can be built when built by private people and free enterprise."

Simcox said a half-dozen landowners along the Arizona-Mexico border have said they will allow fencing to be placed on their borderlands, and others in California, Texas and New Mexico have agreed to do so as well.

"Certainly, as with everything else, we're only able to cover a small portion of the border," Simcox said. "The state and federal government have bought up most of the land around the border. I suspect that's why we'll never get control of the border."

But he said the plan is to put up secure fencing that truly will be an effective deterrent, and to show how easily it can be accomplished.

Simcox gave this description of the envisioned barrier-and-fencing complex:

Start with a 6-foot deep trench so a vehicle can't crash through; behind it, roll of concertina (coiled, razor-edged barbed wire), in front of a 15-foot high heavy-gauge steel mesh fence angled outward at the top.

Behind the fence will be a 60- to 70-foot wide unpaved but graded dirt road, along with inexpensive, mounted video cameras that can be monitored from home computers. On the other side of the road will be a second, 15-foot fence, with more concertina wire on its outside.

"It's a very simple, effective design based on feedback we've had from Border Patrol and the military," Simcox said. "It's a fence that can be built on the cheap, effective and secure."

Simcox said supporters will try to build the fencing with volunteer labor. Surveyors and contractors have offered to help with the design and survey work, he said, and some have said they will provide heavy equipment.

Simcox said those involved in the planning hope to keep costs to between $125 and $150 a foot.

Access to land literally on the border is an issue because so much is state-leased trust property or federally owned, he said.

"You may have to deal with a situation where private property owners erect their own fences and may be faced with the president sending the National Guard to prevent them from protecting their private property," Simcox said.

He said the Minuteman plan is "to keep turning up the heat" until President Bush has to respond somehow.

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On the Net:

Minuteman Civil Defense Corps: http://www.minutemanhq.com

Let Freedom Ring: http://weneedafence.com

We Need a Fence (dot-com)

I support this concept 100%.

http://weneedafence.com/

Check out what it could look like (click for full-size):

Border fence

Political correctness hits a new low

The BBC News posted a story today about the word "spaz".  Apparently there are people out there who now get offended (!) when they hear the word "spaz".

I am here to tell people offended by that word that they themselves are "spazzes".

The word "spaz" means someone who is inept, said in a lighthearted manner.  How some people take the word to be a derogatory, mean-spirited slur is beyond my ability to comprehend.

The BBC even seems to do a full investigation on the word "spaz", as if there is some deep meaning to it.

They even criticize (or should I say, "criticise") Tiger Woods for his self-evaluation that he played like a "spaz".

Spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz, spaz.

(I just wanted to write it a bunch of times to show how ridiculous the whole thing is.)

Here's the story, enjoy!


The s-word

Golfer Tiger Woods has been criticised for saying he played like 'a spaz'. Can using the word ever be right?

Two years ago I was involved in a linguistic incident at work. I called a disabled colleague a spaz after hearing he'd spilt coffee over yet another expensive bit of computer kit.

My colleague laughed it off. It was a friendly bit of banter - spaz in this case meaning I thought he was being a bit of a stereotype like the helpless disabled people you used to see in telethons and charity posters.

I use the term with irony as someone who was regularly called a "spaz" in the school playground, though I'm visually impaired and not what we once called "a spastic".

To confuse the issue, a non-disabled colleague had overheard and told me that she found that term offensive and thanked me not to use it in front of her. I was offended that she was offended because I didn't feel it was her place to be offended... after all, it's not her word and she wouldn't have been taunted with it.

Bigger punch

There is a history of minority groups reclaiming words once used against them. Gay people refer to each other as queer or queens. Black people use nigger in a friendly way. It's about humour, irony and taking the sting out of once powerful and hurtful taunts. It ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it.

So what did Tiger Woods mean when he said: "I was so in control from tee to green, the best I've played for years... But as soon as I got on the green I was a spaz."

He was describing a poor performance. A flawed performance. An impaired performance. Many e-mails to the Ouch! website on Tuesday were from people wanting to point out that spaz means something different in America. "It just means idiot," one reader wrote. Idiot with an etymological nod towards spasticity though?

Is the fact that a nation has lost sight of the origins of the word a good or bad thing? Is it harmful or is it genuinely meaningless now?

ADAPT is America's biggest grassroots disability rights organisation. I rang round some of their members and found out that they didn't even know about the Woods story as it wasn't reported as widely over there. But they did have views on the s-word.

"When people say 'you're such a spaz' they're talking about someone with cerebral palsy," says Nancy Salandra from Philadelphia ADAPT. "People use it all the time but they are wrong. It's part of the language now, like retard, but it doesn't make it right."

"I would think that anybody in the disability community would see it as offensive," says Babs Johnson of National ADAPT. "It would be looked upon as someone having a fit or seizure or something like that. Body movements that you're not able to control."

Ugly

Tiger Woods used the word in a live TV interview. An article on Tuesday in online newspaper The Age tracked the reporting of Woods comments and found that spaz was edited out of subsequent news packages. They also say that an LA Times reporter got Tiger to re-word his sentence replacing spaz with wreck so he could report it with no problems.

In the UK, the words spaz and spastic seem to pack a bigger punch. I think we can firmly place the blame at the door of Blue Peter for this.

Never was its potency or currency so big as when the programme featured Joey Deacon in the early 1980s, believing the story of a 60-year-old man with cerebral palsy overcoming the odds would touch the hearts of under-12s.

Oh, how wrong. It unleashed a monster. Spaz, spastic, spacker, joey, spazmo - all became familiar phrases that year and were still being used years later by gurning children in the playground. Spaz became synonymous with useless incompetence - the type you see in disabled people portrayed badly on TV.

Joey even got a mention in a Human League song and on Minder. Not long after, The Spastics Society famously changed its name to Scope. They should have charged Blue Peter for the re-branding expenses.

Humour

Interestingly though, Scope were criticised by many younger disabled people last October after they came out against a new US brand of wheelchair, The Spazz, which started selling in Britain.

They said: "It may be a good chair but we can't accept the name. If it carries on, it won't be long before children are calling each other 'spazzo' in the playground again."

It was felt that Scope didn't appreciate the irony and humour, used empoweringly, by a company trying to associate something positive with a previously negative word.

Though this golfing incident has whipped up some interesting discussions around language, I'm convinced Tiger never meant to use the word offensively.

But has this whole debate just fanned the flames of those who rail against so-called political correctness or has it made people think about how they might subconsciously be putting disabled people down?