Monday, October 27, 2003

Glad to hear the Middle East is in good hands now...

After Tony and Kofi fail, Brad and Jennifer try Mid-East diplomacy
By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem
from The Telegraph
(Filed: 26/10/2003)

Bill Clinton failed, Tony Blair drew a blank and Kofi Annan made little progress. But now a team of Hollywood film stars is about to visit the Middle East on a private peace mission, in the belief that their charms will work magic on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Brad Pitt, his wife, Jennifer Aniston, and Danny DeVito are among the stars who aim to succeed where world statesmen have stumbled.

"The past few years of conflict mean that yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians will grow up in hatred," reads a statement from Pitt and Aniston. "We cannot allow that to happen."

Here's the whole story. Now, if only we could get them to take on HOA mediation...
Oppression: pick your brand, public or private
Apropos Oak Park, this place bans handguns, overnight parking on the streets, nuclear weapons (via signs posted at all main street entrances to the village), and all forms of non-niceness. It's the municipal equivalent of an HOA.
HOA tackles swingset blight
Now, here's something to be proud of. Stamping out those kiddie swing sets that are a little too tall. Way to go, board members. Nothing like grabbing favorable press for your community.

"Kids' play-set clash pits Gilbert families vs. HOA"

by Stephanie Paterik
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 25, 2003 12:00 AM

"Joel and Kerri Pogar have written the governor, rounded up their neighbors and spent six months in a law library drafting a suit against their homeowners association.

"The issue at hand? A backyard play set.

"The Gilbert couple say the HOA in Power Ranch, one of the town's poshest neighborhoods, forced them to get rid of a $4,000 play set because it was 2 feet higher than the 10 feet allowed by HOA design standards."

Read it all here.
Moving is hell
My wife and kids and I are in the middle of packing for a move from The People's Republic of Oak Park, Illinois, in the heart of Cook County, to a suburban setting in Lake County where I am told there are Republicans. Not in museums or zoos, either. They actually roam around free and even vote. All our neighbors here in OP--one of the strongest bastions of the left wing to be found on any continent--think that we will be shocked by the Neanderthal mentality that will surround us. I kind of doubt it. I have no problem seeing a flag flying from most every porch. Ours is up every day, along with a "We Support our Troops" sign, and we are a little tired of being the only ones. In fact, I think HOAs would be better places if they were a little less tightly-wound about this whole flag thing. When did the American flag ever reduce property values?