Wednesday, December 29, 2004


You can now post comments without having to go through the mildly rigorous process of filling out the usual form and assigning yourself a screen name. To attach a comment to specific post, click comments, post a comment and then post anonymously. If you wish to be identified, leave your name at the end of your wit.

Use it.

Strib columnist unhinged.

Powerline, a MN blog named TIME Magazine's Blog of the Year, has come under attack from Nick Coleman of the Mpls Star Tribune. Although Powerline delivers a beating to Mr. Coleman every time he mounts an offensive through the Strib opinion page, he's reslilient and shameless enough to pick himself out of the dirt for more pummeling.

Powerline broke the CBS/Rathergate memos as fakes and Coleman resorts to name-calling in the absence of real journalism. If you decide to suffer through his fresh installment, you'll find petty prissyness throughout.

The Strib editors went to print with Coleman making assumptions about Powerline's anatomy based on their pen-names. Although it didn't bother me, I'm using it as an excuse to send Coleman the following e-mail.
Mr. Coleman,

I LOVE reading your columns. I click with anticipation each week to see what new and creative ways you'll employ to embarrass yourself. It's sadistically fun to watch, kind of like a bird who's gone head-long into a window spending it's last moments of relevance flopping the life out of itself.

Especially when it's not associated with a car, house or boat, pontification on someone's wedding tackle is really really funny. But please note the psychological term: Projection, n: The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious defense against anxiety or guilt.

Satisfied with what's in my genes, I haven't myself used innuendo as a slam since I got my driver's license, but I expelled a number of other silly things a few years after puberty.

I think you're really galvanizing your place in the elite Media-ocrity Hall of Fame when indicting those 'extreme right-wing partisan hacks' with only your imagination as evidence. Your willingness to charge Powerline as "out of the mainstream" when only tens of thousands of blog readers per day visit their sites is as impotent as it is factually inconvenient for you. A record 60 million voters would likely cheer in part the metaphorical blog of David warming his slinging-arm for an appointment with the MSM's Goliath. Remember how that one ended?

Looking forward to next week's new low,


When can we call it treason?

Not satisfied with making a fool of himself on only two continents, Ramsey Clark - Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson and lefty lawyer who campaigned in vain to defend the war crimes of Slobodan Milosevic - will head Saddam Hussein's defense.
Clark said in the Jordanian capital Amman that his principle concern was protecting the former president's rights, who only saw a lawyer for the first time this month - a year after his capture.

"In international law, anyone accused of crime has the right to be tried by a confident, independent and impartial court, and there can be no fair trail without those qualities," he said.

"The special court in Iraq was created by the Iraqi governing council, which is nothing more than a creation of the US military occupation and has no authority in law as a criminal court," he said.

Clark also said the US itself must be tried for the November assault on Falluja, destruction of houses, torture in prisons and its role in the deaths of thousands of Iraqis in the war.
How much material "aid and comfort to the enemy" does a US citizen need to give before we call it treason?

The Left unhappy Bush isn't personally plucking people from trees.

Racing their delinquent UN counterparts to the sleazy bottom by politicizing the tsunami catastrophe, the Washington Post chronicles the repulsing opinions of Bush's perceived 'sensitivity' and attempts a comparison to the war on terror:
The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.
Would helping dig the mass graves and burn decaying bodies be a more sensitive reaction for Bush?
Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.
If we could just get FED/EX to deliver the tens of tons of US donations by Next Day Air, we'd be sufficiently urgent. And what would say "caring" more than President Bush to personally sign letters of condolence to a couple thousand Indonesians every day for the next few months.
Gelb said what appears to be a grudging increase in effort sends the wrong message, at a time when dollar totals matter less than a clear statement about U.S. intentions. Noting that the disaster occurred at a time when large numbers of people in many nations -- especially Muslim ones such as Indonesia -- object to U.S. policies in Iraq, he said Bush was missing an opportunity to demonstrate American benevolence.
Oh, you mean 'grudging' by "only" contributing this (via CQ)
United States: initial pledge of $35 million, 12 U.S. Navy vessels, 5,000 sailors for support, rescue and humanitarian aid
Australia: $26M, plus five military transports and 50 specialists
Austria: $1.36M
Belgium: One military transport to deliver UNICEF aid
Britain: 370K (pounds), $100K, plus $481K of materials to Sri Lanka
Denmark: 45 tonnes of supplies, $1.82M
EU: "Ready to release" 30M Euro, 3M Euro already released.
France: 100K Euros ($140,000)
Finland: 500K Euro.
Germany: 2M Euro.
Greece: 17 doctors and staff.
Italy: 2 helicopters and crew.
Netherlands: 2M Euros.
Poland: $336K
Spain: 1M Euros pledged, 19 volunteers
Sweden: Two communications specialists and some tents and radios.
Please note France, Germany, Spain and the absence of Russia and China - countries who've officially arranged a Coalition of the Unwilling in both war and humanitarian aid.
"People do watch and see what we do," he said. "Here's an opportunity to remind people of the good we do, and he [Bush] can do it without changing his policy on Iraq or terrorism."
So until we decide to stop ridding the world of terrorists by means other than empty negotiations, we're going to have to make it up to the world by looking into our crystal ball, determine what our total out of pocket will be and offer it up as penance for Bush not roping into Sri Lanka from a helicopter for a press conference complete with hot coffee and Danish.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Confirmed: Expedition 1, Squirrel 0

If you don't know what I'm talking about, the story is here.

U.S. pledges world's largest support for tsunami aid, UN calls it 'stingy'

In a little reminder why their planetary presence is useless, a UN official takes time off his busy schedule of whitwashing the UN's rape and prostituting of children in Congo, pleading ignorance to the world's largest swindle called the Oil For Food program, the illegal proceeds of which are helping fund suicide bombers in Israel and Iraq and turning a blind eye to the genocide in Sudan which has killed over 80,000.

Still, the UN has found time to make their case for why the U.S. should withdraw all financial support for a corrupt organization that makes it a point to wizz all over our generosity:
"The United States, at the president's direction, will be a leading partner in one of the most significant relief, rescue and recovery challenges that the world has ever known," said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy.

But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.

"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."
I'd appreciate if a guy from country with an economy the size of Nebraska's didn't lecture us for not also having a 62% income tax. We'll give millions because we're kind and we'll give 100's of milllions because the American people will volunteer their money through useful organizations like World Vision.

There hasn't been a major disaster that the US hasn't pledged financial and personnel support - even in countries that support terrorism. Remember the earthquake in Bam, Iran a year ago Sunday that killed 36,000 people? It must have gone unnoticed to the UN that the U.S. would offer help to a country bent on our destruction - just because our fellow man suffering. BTW, Iran declined our help.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm a killer.

Question: What's less agile than a lumbering 6000 pound SUV? Answer: The squirrel I ran over with it this morning.

I was going to stop, but what could I really do? Surely his injuries would be more severe than my small-mammal CPR training could remedy, right? As I barreled toward the little fella at scale speed of 430 miles per hour, I had that telepathic conversation with him I think most people have when they're about to remove one of a small animal's 3 dimensions: "Go. Wait. Go, left, no - right. STOP!" bump bump "Crap!"

While I slow I wonder if my neighbors witnessed the hit and run. What will they think if I continue my journey while one of God's creatures writhes motionless in pain and his tail remains the only sign of jittery life? Do I turn around and euthanize him with a pair of Good Years to put him out of the agonizing misery? I decide my neighbors would brand me a heathen if I whipped a 180 and charged at a mortally wounded and freshly crippled squirrel.

I convince myself he's just dazed and that he'll get up. It's my conscience distracting me while I turn the corner and the carnage disappears from my rear-view mirror. They say that after your first, killing gets easier. I fix my eyes forward so as not to test the theory.

Had he stayed in one spot, he'd have gotten a thorough - albeit brief - look at the underside of my Expedition, been able to wipe his brow in a feeling of relief, saunter up yonder tree and live to play chicken another day. Instead, Mr. Squirrel, plump from what must have been a festive holiday season, made an effort to juke out a full-size SUV that maneuvers like a full size SUV. As the morning was a little foggy, the road a little slick and my mentally helpful morning coffee still 10 minutes into the future, his was not the healthy decision.

I feel really bad. I half expect a pack of squirrels to create a roadside shrine for their fallen comrade, complete with squirrel scribblings on a makeshift cross in an effort to designate London Road a official Squirrel X-ing.

I'm hoping on hope that my travels home will be death-free. I'd drive home with my hand planted firmly on the horn if I knew it would do any good. Keep your fingers crossed.

Boston Global application.

When debating the Iraq war I try to parallel the media coverage of it and the net effect on the public psyche to something domestic. I know it's easier for my gray matter to process an analogy to something less that 8 thousand miles away. An article in today's Boston Globe on violence in New York helps my endeavor:
NEW YORK -- When one of her sons was gunned down, Louise Brown found the body on a street, streaked with rain and blood.

More suffering was to come: Two more of Brown's five sons have died in shootings in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the latest three months ago.

Brown's triple tragedy is a black mark on the city's well-promoted success story of less bloodshed across the five boroughs.

Citywide, serious crime is expected to fall for the 13th straight year in 2004. The homicide tally so far this year is down 4.4 percent from last year and should stay below 600 for the third year in a row, a level comparable to that in the early 1960s. New York had a record 2,245 killings in 1990.

Still, through Dec. 19, killings were up by 40 percent in Brown's neighborhood of Bushwick, by 107 percent in the adjacent Brownsville section, and by 70 percent in Coney Island, where her third son was killed.

Why some poverty-stricken pockets of Brooklyn remain prone to surges in lethal violence defies ready explanation. Police say an entrenched drug trade can be a cause. But they also view some spikes as "unconnected events happening closer together," said Paul Browne, top spokesman for the NYPD.

Brown began the familiar process of identifying a bloodied corpse, collecting a death certificate, and planning a funeral she could not afford. The experience has made her wonder whether crime is down in any meaningful way, and how deadly weapons end up in angry young hands.
Although the overall decline in violent crimes has dropped for 13 straight years in New York, a statistic can't ease Ms. Brown's pain. The heart-wrenching story of a woman in a different kind of war-ravaged area is much more sensational to a newspaper reporter than the success of 13 straight years of steady decline in violent crimes.

Ms. Brown's loss it tragic. I use her for an example for no other reason than to point out that bad things happen even when things are getting better. Ms. Brown's proximity to the concentration of New York's violence correctly makes her question the declining frequency of violent crime. At the same time, what happens in pockets of Brooklyn is no more a reflection of Brooklyn immediately and New York as a whole. Draw your own global conclusions.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

A six year-old gets it.

OK, class, finish coloring your snowpeople and listen carefully. Mary had very good question about why we're seeing and hearing less Christmas around us. If anything I say needs clarification, I'll take questions at the end. Mikey? Oh yes, clarification does mean 'to make more clear.' Very good.

Here's what we know about the United States. 1) 82% of Americans consider themselves Christian. 2) Over 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas. This discrepancy makes clear that you're free to celebrate the birth of Jesus as a matter of convenience when it involves presents. 3) Christmas is a federal holiday. 4) The U.S. was founded on Christian principles.

The reason you're seeing less Chrismas trees and manger scenes, hearing fewer Christmas carols and had your Christmas program re-named "Winter Gobbledygoo" is because there are mean people called Liberals who want to steal Christmas, kill Santa, unemploy his elves and set his reindeer free. Liberals believe we have to "exclude" nearly an entire population that celebrates Christmas in order to "include" a few who've decided not to celebrate hundreds of years of American cultural tradition.

You see, Mary, when your "Muslim History" teacher punishes you with detention for quietly singing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" it's because there may be 3 or 4 kids somewhere in your school who don't believe that you should give gifts to people you love in the spirit of Jesus' giving. Yes, Mary, I know that Christmas trees and manger scenes can't hurt people's feelings, but Liberals think they do. That's right, Christmas carols are fun to sing and do make people happy. It's very nice of you to offer to teach them the words, but they still may never sing along.

You see, liberalism means that in order to make a tiny-tiny minority equal, you have to treat the overwhelming majority unequally. Yes, I know you're only 6, Mary. You're right, it doesn't make sense. Liberal ideas never do.

Correct, you and 30 of your friends should still play soccer on "Soccer Day" even if 2 of your classmates don't agree with the event. That's right, the best idea isn't to change the name to "Kick the Round Ball at a Goal and Don't Keep Score Day," the best idea is for them to find something else to play or not play at all. You can ask them to join you, because that's the spirit of the game, but kindly understand if they'd rather sit and pout.

You have two assignments, class. First, wish a sincere Merry Christmas to as many people as you can between now and Sunday. Don't expect them to wish it back, as they may be one of the 13-17 people in your city who don't celebrate. If someone tells you they don't believe in Christmas, ask if they're Jewish. If they say 'yes,' wish them a belated Happy Hanukkah and give them a warm smile. If they say 'no,' wish them a "Merry not-Christmas." This way, you'll be politely reminding them that you're unwilling to obscure the importance of the season with a vanilla "Happy Holidays" when our Founding Father's belief in Jesus is the reason you can sing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" without having your tongue cut off. Sorry, Mary, I know that's gross, but it used to happen in bad parts of the world until we went there and put a stop to it.

Second, pray for all our soldiers and their families a few times per day. Without them, we wouldn't have Christmas carols, nativity scenes or the right of the mean people to take them down. Yes, Mary, freedom means people can use it to say naughty things about the people that provide it.

Some people will be mean to you for nicely wishing them a "Merry Christmas." That's OK. Someday liberals will make it illegal to be mean so that the happy majority of the country will have to lower their happiness in order to "include" all the unhappy people. That way, we'll all be guaranteed to go through life without ever having hurt feelings. Yes, Mary, I know that's impossible. Yes, I know you're only 6.

Any questions? None? You're right, Mary, that was pretty simple.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

ACLU cries fowl when screeners follow their rules.

Having successfully terrorized airline screeners with threats of litigation for focused scrutiny of the most logical group of possible terrorists - young Arab men - the American Civil Liberties Union is coming to terms with screeners following their rules of having to give equal security attention to each ethnic group.
"The TSA is subjecting many women to groping and sexual harassment that does not serve any real, justified security purpose," said Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.
The punchline is that the "real, justified security purpose" is of course focusing airport security resources on the same group that has comprised 99% of terrorist attacks in the U.S. - young Middle-Eastern males. The [get]ACLU deems it 'insensitive' for more than two Arab males per flight to be pulled aside for closer examination - no matter how many are on a flight - so as not to be construed as "profiling." Well, profiling works. At the smae time, the ACLU's view is:
At the very least, proposed changes to restrict liberty [more inspecion] should be examined and debated in public; they should be proven effective in increasing safety and security; and they should be fairly applied in a non-discriminatory manner.

...government officials should increase their efforts to prevent and punish unwarranted, bigoted attacks [more airport scrutiny] on fellow citizens of Arab descent and members of religious minorities, including Muslims and Sikhs. With roughly 6.5 million Muslims in the United States and 3.5 million Arab Americans, we must not treat our neighbors, friends and co-workers as the enemy.
Well, on September 11th some those neighbors, friends and co-workers highjacked and crashed a few airliners in New York and Boston. 100% of them were of Arab descent and half of them were named Mohammed. Had we decided not to shake down every other 70 year old grandma in the sake of 'fairness,' New York would have a couple million more square feet of office space and a few thousand people would still be celebrating Christmas a couple days. Never trust an organization that puts the feelings of a few of us ahead of the safety of all of us.

Terrorists accidentally kidnap friendlies, allow them safe return

Kidnapped 4 months ago because they looked American, 2 French journalists were released after terrorists took a strangely long time figuring out what the rest of the world has known for decades - the French pose no threat:
PARIS (Reuters) - Two French journalists freed after a 4-month hostage ordeal in Iraq home to a heroes' welcome on Wednesday as a relieved government basked in national joy at their release.

"We played the 'French journalists' card," said Malbrunot. They stressed to their captors that they were not Americans and France had not supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq. They were close to bombings by U.S. forces on two occasions, he added.

"We were not badly treated," said Chesnot, 37, a Radio France Internationale correspondent. He said neither had been beaten or forced to endure mock executions. Both looked healthy but thinner than before.
Friends in low places.

Penalty called for offensive pilsner marketing

Although it's nearly impossible to malign some organizations into further irrelevance when their highest achievement has peaked at a modest subterranean level, I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Not having smelled alchohol since 1972, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has involuntarily entered itself as a candidate of the Spanktuary's "Taking Itself Too Seriously to be Taken Seriously Award." Showing the effects of years and years of constant sobriety, the group you've never heard of before or will again has taken offense to fictional pilsner pilfering:
ST. LOUIS -- A consumer watchdog group is throwing a flag on Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.'s commercials featuring beer-stealing football referees who lie to and run from police, arguing the spots wrongly depict lawlessness.

"One can't help wonder whether the ads also have some other message in mind, namely, that breaking the law and bamboozling law enforcement efforts is a fine way to get a Bud Light," wrote Hacker, chief of the center's Alcohol Policies Project. "Is that a message that Anheuser-Busch wants to send our millions of underage persons and adults who tuned into these games?"

One can't help but wonder if Mr. Hacker has ever found himself pleading to God that "I'll never do this again if you save me from throwing up." Anyone who's ever had a hangover knows that a referee's eyesight is too poor to bamboozle Bud Light from a horde of thirsty fans. If Mr. Hacker had gone through a 12 step Buzz Kill Anonymous program, he'd know that the best way for a hoser to score free beer is to raise a baby mouse in a bottle, return it to the brewery when it's mature and claim that's how you found it, eh.

Third time is the charm.

Not satisfied with the results of the Washington state race for Governor in the election and two separate recounts, Democrats miraculously found enough boxed votes in an unidentified warehouse during the the third recount. Successful rigging in place, Democrats are claiming victory and requesting a concession:
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that more than 700 belatedly discovered ballots from Seattle's King County should be counted in the extraordinarily close governor's race.

Republican Dino Rossi won the first count by 261 votes and won a machine recount by 42 votes, out of 2.9 million ballots cast. The hand recount did not include the 700-plus ballots cast in heavily Democratic King County that could widen any Gregoire lead.

The head of the state Democratic Party said that recount results from King County give Democrat Christine Gregoire an eight-vote victory in the closest governor's race in state history.

"We're confident Christine Gregoire has been elected the governor of the state of Washington," Democratic Chairman Paul Berendt said. "I believe Dino Rossi should concede."
The Democratic Chairman was stunningly silent about a concession by Democrats when the first recount had his candidate losing by more than 326% of the margin he's now claiming requires a speedy concession. A Dem insider was heard to say they'd have held 32 recounts to come to this desired conclusion.

This makes clear that Democrats aren't the limp-wristed, over-sensitive pacifists everyone thought. Democrats are willing to fight as long as the battlefield is the courtroom and the weapons don't go "BOOM!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Fake but funny.

Thanks to CQ for pictures of this guy's bad day. The first amphibious crane is real, the second isn't.

Helping make life more painful.

Finally, I may have the chance to help make America a more painful place to live. Not having taken Celebrex or Vioxx for relief from chronic pain, I was encouraged to read that Aleve has now been identified to increase a user's risk of heart attack or stroke by 50%. I take Aleve once in a while for minor headaches, so I'll be looking forward to the form letter from a group of starving lawyers who'll pitch me on the evils of Aleve and how the big bad drug companies really don't want to keep me from pain but rather debilitate me with paralysis after the stroke I'm sure to get ingesting 100mg of naproxen over 10 years.

The multi-billion dollar Celebrex/Vioxx lawsuit will continue the class-action lawsuit legacy of never saving a single patient. Although there may be a handful of predatory doctors or drug companies, lawsuits generally serve to put good doctors and companies out of business because we hold it against them that medicine isn't a perfect practice. And as lawyers continually seem to be shocked that even synthetic drugs are bad. The cumulative effect is that life gets harder for the masses that could benefit from the drug that a company is now afraid to bring to the market.

As the lawyers swim in the cash they'll terrorize out of the drug companies, they'll herald the settlement a "victory for those who've been hurt by the callous profiteering of Big Drug Inc.," because medicine should be practiced in a vacuum, free of side-effects, even in people with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions and sensitivity to medication.

The signal to drug companies is clear: If you spend 10's of years and billions of dollars developing a drug that make life easier for millions of people but has tragic side-effects on just a few, we'll to sue you out of business and make sure you have no intentions of making life easier for the masses again.

One day you're likely open the medicine cabinet and wonder why you can't get a good pain reliever, cholesterol inhibitor, allergy medicine, blood thinner, anti-depressant or 4-hour-superman pill.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The power of a teddy bear.

Blackfive posts a story about the power of a teddy bear:

Via Seamus, this email is a thank you from a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Iraq. It was sent two days ago:

Just wanted to write to you and tell you another story about an experience we had over here.

As you know, I asked for toys for the Iraqi children over here and several people (Americans that support us) sent them over by the box. On each patrol we take through the city, we take as many toys as will fit in our pockets and hand them out as we can. The kids take the toys and run to show them off as if they were worth a million bucks. We are as friendly as we can be to everyone we see, but especially so with the kids. Most of them don't have any idea what is going on and are completely innocent in all of this.

On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle stopped in the middle of the street. This is not normal and is very unsafe, so the following vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in the road and said she just would not budge. The command vehicle told the lead to simply go around her and to be kind as they did. The street was wide enough to allow this maneuver and so they waved to her as they drove around.

As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her sitting there and in her arms she was clutching a little bear that we had handed her a few patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection to the girl, I radioed that we were going to stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got out the make sure she was OK. The little girl looked scared and concerned, but there was a warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to a mine in the road.

Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine convoy assumed a defensive posture around the site. The mine was destroyed in place.

It was the heart of an American that sent that toy. It was the heart of an American that gave that toy to that little girl. It was the heart of an American that protected that convoy from that mine. Sure, she was a little Iraqi girl and she had no knowledge of purple mountain's majesty or fruited plains. It was a heart of acceptance, of tolerance, of peace and grace, even through the inconveniences of conflict that saved that convoy from hitting that mine. Those attributes are what keep Americans hearts beating. She may have no affiliation at all with the United States, but she knows what it is to be brave and if we can continue to support her and her new government, she will know what it is to be free. Isn't that what Americans are, the free and the brave?

If you sent over a toy or a Marine (US Service member) you took part in this. You are a reason that Iraq has to believe in a better future. Thank you so much for supporting us and for supporting our cause over here.

Semper Fi,
GySgt / USMC

I've already seen one.

A sign in the Bank Lobby reads: "Please note that this bank is
installing new "Drive-through" teller machines. Customers using this new
facility are requested to use the below outlined procedures when accessing
their accounts.

MALE & FEMALE procedures have been developed after months of careful


1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
3. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.
4. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
5. Drive off.


1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required amount to align car window with the
3. Set parking brake, put the window down
4. Find handbag; remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card.
5. Turn the radio down.
6. Attempt to insert card into machine.
7. Open the car door to allow easy access to machine due to its
excessive distance from the vehicle.
8. Insert card.
9. Reinsert card the right way up.
10. Dig through handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN.
12. Press cancel and reenter correct PIN.
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check make up in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt.
16. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place cash inside.
17. Place receipt in back of checkbook.
18. Recheck make-up again.
19. Drive forward 2 feet.
20. Reverse back to cash machine.
21. Retrieve card.
22. Re-empty hand bag, locate cardholder, and place card into the slot provided.
23. Give appropriate one-fingered hand signal to irate male driver lined up behind you.
24. Restart stalled engine and pull away.
25. Drive for 2 to 3 miles.
26. Release Parking Brake

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Norwegian-American voting bloc.

Norwegians are a crafty bunch. In a year of unprecedented spending, they managed to rangle Rep. Martin Sabo(D) for a million pork-soaked bucks to partially fund some improvements to Seattle's Norwegian American Foundation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A group of Norwegian-Americans successfully lobbied Congress for $1 million this year. A little-known provision in a 2,900-page spending bill passed last month directs the money to the Norwegian American Foundation, a group with Minnesota ties that includes former Vice President Walter Mondale and other prominent figures of Norwegian descent.

The purpose of the funds, quietly obtained by Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn., is to honor the 100th anniversary of Norway's peaceful independence from Sweden in 1905.
I'm glad Norwegians have always been a peaceful people, but I think it's lutefisk to spend $1 million of taxpayer's money on something Ole and Sven could have built in an afternoon with some refrigerator boxes and duct tape.

Iran: Can we be next?

The Washington Times reports the great lengths to which Iran will go to be the next forcefully removed member of the Axis of Evil.
TEHRAN — The 300 men filling out forms in the offices of an Iranian aid group were offered three choices: Train for suicide attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, for suicide attacks against Israelis or to assassinate British author Salman Rushdie.

It looked at first glance like a gathering on the fringes of a society divided between moderates, who want better relations with the world, and hard-line Muslim militants hostile toward the United States and Israel.

But the presence of two key figures — a prominent Iranian lawmaker and a member of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards — lent the meeting more legitimacy and was a clear indication of at least tacit support from some within Iran's government.
The terrorist version of Pro Source, the mullahcracy of Iran is hiring temps for short-term work. Only in the case of Iran, part of the worker's sick job description is to terminate himself and any thug with a thumb is well-qualified.

Can you help us?

Last night at the weekly dinner at their home, a married couple from church mentioned they've adopted a needy family in time for Christmas. I think this family's story is compelling and I'm hoping on short notice you can find it in your heart to help us help them.

So that she remains anonymous, I'll refer to the wife of the needy family by the name Erica. Erica's husband recently went through a 3 month treatment for alcohol abuse. It's been challenging for him to adjust to this new life and he has yet to get himself a job. Erica is the sole source of income, working two full time jobs in the hotel service industry. She works 80 hours a week to provide for her husband and 18 year old son along with her daughter's 3 children ages 14-16, whom Erica took custody when her daughter passed away a year ago.

Any relief is welcome and appreciated. Gift cards would be ideal. Target, Marshalls, Cub Foods, Wal Mart, etc. Anything that can provide some relief for a wonderful family. I'll make every effort to pick up any of your generous gifts over the weekend so that we can give them to Erica and her family on Monday. E-mail or call me.

At the very least, please keep them in your prayers.

Thank you for helping make this a Merry Christmas!

Iraqis Eagerly Await Election

Thanks to Powerline for pointing out this poll of Iraqis regarding the upcoming elections.
Last night, the Trunk and I taped a television show. We waited for the taping to start in a green room that included a couple of liberals who derided the "disaster" in Iraq and sneered at next month's elections. Why? Beats me. Arabs are about to vote in an election, I believe, for the first time in world history (except in Israel, of course). Why isn't that worth celebrating?

Haider Ajani has translated the results of a poll of 5,000 Iraqis, taken in and around Baghdad, that appeared yesterday in the Arabic newspaper Alsabah:

What will you base your vote on?
Political agenda----------------------------65%
Factional origin----------------------------14%
Party Affiliation---------------------------- 4%
National Background----------------------12%
Other reasons--------------------------------5%

Do you support dialog with the deposed Baathists?

Do not know----------------------------------1%

Do you support the postponing the election?

Do not know---------------------------------2%

Do you think the elections will take place as scheduled?

Do not know---------------------------------4%

As we've said before, the only people who want the elections postponed are the ones who want them never to gake place. The vast majority of Iraqis can't wait to begin exercising their privileges as free citizens. And it's good to see that an overwhelming majority expect the U.S. to stand by its commitment to January elections, rather than giving in to the terrorists and Democrats. They have learned, I guess, that President Bush is a man who says what he means and means what he says. As, thankfully, have we.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

ACLU more oppressive than Cuba

The efforts of the ACLU to remove faith from Christmas hasn't been met with much resistance here in the US as schools and businesses ban references to Jesus in both displays and songs in order to prevent 100's of lawyers getting caught in their chimneys.

Many organizations have been relenting under threats of terrorism by litigation from the ACLU by modifying "Winter Breaks," "Winter Songs" and "Winter Whateverland." Finally 10 days before Christmas, the Communist dictatorship of Cuba is getting with the program of banning Christmas, but they're a little more understanding:
Cuba's most senior US diplomat says he has been warned by the government of serious consequences unless he takes down Christmas decorations in Havana. James Cason says he will not remove the display at the American interests section, which includes a reference to 75 dissidents jailed last year.

Fourteen have been freed since the arrests took place in March 2003, in a major clampdown on political dissent.

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs in the capital, Havana, says the display does seem designed to irritate the Cuban government.

He adds that the government cancelled Christmas as a holiday for several decades in an apparent bid to increase sugar production.

Cuba has twice told US diplomats to remove all decorations immediately.

The display at the US interests section - so-called because the United States and Cuba do not have diplomatic relations - includes a huge white Santa Claus, an image of galloping reindeer and a flashing sign wishing Cubans a Happy Christmas.

James Cason, head of the interests section, says the decorations will remain in place until the end of the holidays and that any action taken by Cuba against US personnel or the US mission in Havana will not affect his government's determination to draw attention to human rights.

"We're prepared to pay whatever price for the things we believe in," Mr Cason said.

"They could expel us, they could continue to hinder our activities... We don't know what they're going to do."
The article is unclear whether Christmas exists again in Cuba after being "banned for decades." What is clear is that a communist dictatorship has warned twice about "serious consequences" but will never end up putting teeth to their warnings. But the ACLU will open all your presents, burn your Christmas tree, defecate on your nativity scene, steal Santa's cookies, spike your eggnog, break your Neil Diamond Christmas CD's but defend the guy who molests your elves on the way out.

Maybe she was fine with it.

In a millionaire version of Jerry Springer, frequent Colorado courtroom visitor Kobe Bryant is upset that teammate Karl Malone, nicknamed the "Mailman" because he gets paid even when he doesn't deliver, tried making a pass at someone not on the team - Kobe's wife. Referring to how his wife interpreted Malone's proposed delivery of another sort, Bryant said:said:
"My wife wasn't going to stand for it. She felt uncomfortable being around him to the point that she felt she had to call his wife and tell her."
Kobe didn't comment on his wife's comfort level with his admitted infidelity with a 19 year old girl or whether she called Mrs. Malone to complain.

A word from the Ayatollah Khomeini

Maybe some of you are uncomfortable with the sarcasm I embed in unnaffectionately referring to Islam every other day as the "Religion of Peace" when I bring you another story of a Muslim stoning, amputation or beheading. Often comfort doesn't accompany reality.

I'm not foolish enough to believe peace is at Islam's core when none an estimated billion Muslims have ever protested when a mentally handicapped Iranian girl is sentenced to death for having pre-marital sex after being sold into prostitution at the age of 8 by her mother. Or when two Muslim teens stone a girl to death for denying their advances. In the unlikely event that the Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR) does make a statement, it ignores the violence and tries to sell Islam as peaceful and tolerant.

I'm not buying it. Never will. Not when participants of a Muslim demostration last Friday oozed down the streets of Dearborn, Michigan carrying pictures of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who said this about the duties of all Muslim males:
As Khomeini himself put it: “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world....But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”

The goal of this conquest would be to establish the hegemony of Islamic law. As Khomeini put it: “What is the good of us [i.e., the mullahs] asking for the hand of a thief to be severed or an adulteress to be stoned to death when all we can do is recommend such punishments, having no power to implement them?”

Khomeini accordingly delivered notorious rebuke to the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace crowd: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter [their armies].... Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”
If onverting the planet to Islam and killing those who refuse are two main tenets of Islam, I wouldn't take it so seriously.

France builds world's tallest terror-magnet

Displaying versatility, France not only knows how to burn them, they can build 'em too. France builds the world's tallest bridge:
Thundering fighter jets streamed the blue, white and red of the French tricolor as President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday dedicated the world's tallest bridge, a skyway span dwarfing the Eiffel Tower by more than 50 feet.

Ahead of its public opening Thursday, the Millau bridge in southern France has been celebrated as a work of art combining the strength of cement and steel with the "delicacy of a butterfly."

Images of the bridge, which dominates the Rhone Valley countryside for miles, have appeared in national media for days.

Chirac underscored the national pride stirred by the viaduct by lifting a French flag from its ceremonial plaque, followed by air force jets trailing the colors of France.

"This exceptional opening will go down in industrial and technological history," Chirac said, praising the designers and builders for creating "a prodigy of art and architecture -- a new emblem of French civil engineering."

The bridge will serve as a symbol of "a modern and conquering France," he said.
There's just one problem with the bridge being that symbol of "a modern and conquering France," the brigde was designed by a Brit.
Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the steel-and-concrete bridge with its streamlined diagonal suspension cables rests on seven pillars -- the tallest measuring 1,122 feet, making it 53 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower.
I hate to think that a bridge built across a valley with nothing in sight "for miles" could also become a symbol of another sort for Muslim terrorists.

The Wall Street Journal and me.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal used my small contribution and commentary for this page. (free subscription required) I received the following thanks at the end of the page:
Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to Chachi Rutherford, Robert Owen, Joseph Braunfeld...
It's the little things.

Hamas says no mas.

The surgical strikes by the Israeli Defense Forces on leaders of the terrorist group Hamas are clearly paying off:
Fearing an Israeli reprisal attack, Hamas has decided to cancel a major rally marking the 17th anniversary of its founding.

The rally was supposed to be held in one of Gaza City's stadiums on Friday, but Hamas decided to postpone it indefinitely out of fear that Israel would target the Islamic movement's leaders in retaliation for Sunday's attack on an IDF outpost near Rafah, in which five soldiers were killed and six others wounded.

"For security reasons, and because of Israeli threats to target Palestinians, Hamas has decided to call off the annual rally," said Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. "We are aware that the decision will come as bad news to Hamas supporters, who have been looking forward to seeing the Hamas leaders for the first time in more than one year."

Hamas, in a statement on the anniversary of its establishment, reiterated its opposition to a cease-fire with Israel and said the "resistance remains our strategic option."

Reversing a 17 year tradition designed to stoke Jewish hatred in Palestinians is a big deal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

10% of Minnesota Democrats can't read or write.

Not only did 10% of Minnesota's Democratic electors not give John Kerry his deserved vote, they couldn't spell "Edwards":
Voting irregularities were few in Minnesota this year -- until it really counted.

Defeated Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry likely is going to get one less electoral vote nationally than he should have -- 251 instead of 252 -- because of an apparent mistake Monday by one of Minnesota's 10 DFL electors.

One of the 10 handwritten ballots cast for president carried the name of vice presidential candidate John Edwards (actually spelled "Ewards" on the ballot) rather than Kerry.

"I was shocked ... this will go in the history books," said Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, who presided over a ceremony that normally is uneventful.
Kiffmeyer said she was unaware of any other such apparent mistake in Minnesota, although there have been cases in other states of "faithless electors" casting ballots for candidates other than those to which they were committed.

There was stunned silence after the announcement that Edwards had gotten a vote for president, but none of the 10 electors volunteered that they voted for Edwards as a protest, nor did anyone step forward to admit an error.

"It was perhaps a senior moment," said elector Michael Meuers, 60, a Bemidji marketing consultant for a health care firm, the second-youngest member of the Minnesota delegation to the Electoral College.

Meuers said he was certain that the Edwards ballot wasn't his, but he noted that "both the candidates were named John, and the ballots looked pretty much alike."

This year's DFL Party electors were typical -- senior party activists typically chosen for their long years of service. They ranged in age from 52 to 83.

"These are not paid political professionals," said Bill Amberg, the DFL Party's communications director. "It was clear that everybody thought they had voted for Kerry, and all 10 of these folks were for Kerry during the pre-nomination period. There is no sign of protest."

Kiffmeyer, a Republican and the state's chief election official, said that there apparently is nothing that can be done once the secret ballots are cast.

"It's not that important, since we're not at a 269-to-269 tie in the electoral vote," said DFL Party Chair Mike Erlandson. "This isn't the biggest story in America today. It's the recount in Ohio [the crucial battleground state that helped carry the nation for President Bush] and the questions that so many people have over voting machines."

Mike, anyone living in a post December 6th world knows that Ohio certified the vote that day, you silly goose. You should be looking ahead to '08 because someone named "Ewards" is poised to make a run. Now get out there and find him!

Monday, December 13, 2004

California to treat Peterson like a Ukrainian Opposition Candidate.

The US justice system is 1 for 2 on what to do with husbands who commission a double murder with a knife. OJ getting away assured that Scott Peterson wouldn't.

Provided one of the thousands of deviant roomates at San Quentin allow him to survive long enough, the state of California is going to treat Scott Peterson like Ukraine's KGB treats an opposition candidate.

Mysterious Explosion.

Take two guesses what happened here:
GAZA CITY (AFP) - A member of the radical Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad was killed in a mystery explosion in his house in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip, medical sources and witnesses said.

Medics at the hospital in Khan Yunis named the victim as Majed Abu Salem. It was not immediately known whether the blast, which partially destroyed Abu Salem's home, had caused any other casualties.

My two guesses: 1. The pilot light went out while pre-heating the oven for Christmas cookies. 2. Majed found out a little late his bomb belt was on too tight.

Palestinians don't celebrate number one, so Majed must have gone number two.

Merry Chrismas to me.

Last week, the male-mail-man delivered the only postal-delivered Christmas card I'll get this year. Why is it that when I am in zero rush to open the monthly mail asking for donations from people like the heat, elec, cable and mortagage folk, I forgo the letter-opening contraption and destroy the outer envelope in multiple ham-handed tugs? Yet a envelope with a gold-embossed return address of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. - something I'm excited to open, gets the slowly patient care of a sharp utensil run carefully along the top in order to maintain its pristine condition? No hurry - destruction. Big hurry - loving care. Paradox.

I closely inspected the signatures on the card by holding up to the light at every conceivable angle, hoping that I'd detect even the slightest indentation. There was none. I review the back of the card for ridges. None. Darn it. If nothing else, the Bush Administration has REALLY good digital auto-signatures. Better than last year's and better than my birthday card. Oh well, maybe next year.

Then I began to wonder. Why have I already maxed out on the Christmas cards that I'll get from the postal service this year? Surely I'll get cards when I get justly jollyfied on this year's Christmas Party Circuit, but the card from the First Family is the only one I'll get by mail. Why? Is a single guy any less important during the holidays? Does he need less love? Then I recall that getting a Christmas card usually begins by someone receiving yours, which eternally adds you to their list. Even if you move 9 times in 5 years, you can never escape Christmas cards. But sending out a Christmas card usually requires one of two things: a wife or kids.

Having a spouse automatically means you start down the path to forever with a comprehensive list of people you've thanked for all the machinery and utensils you'll use to prepare and serve the holiday's meal. A spouse also means that in the last 12 months you've taken no less than 1,408 cute pictures with 704 different backgrounds of which to choose THE PICTURE that will adorn this year's Christmas greetings - even if there isn't a speck of snow or a conifer tree anywhere in it. Any picture including your pet gets high priority, unless your pet is a fish or armadillo.

And kids. They're always cute, even when they're not. What says "they're growing up" more than a picture to your annual pen-pal with a short essay on what the kids have been up to in the last 362 and a half days? One year - braces. The next - perfect pearly whites. One year - perm. Next year - a bob. Anticipation in every envelope.

Having a wife and kids makes Christmas card giving/receiving possible and necessary. I don't have either and I'm not going to rush out and get one or both just to realize the warmth of a fuller mail box or glossy portraits to remove from the center island in early February. Someday when I satisfy one of the above criteria, you'll get a card from me. Until then, I'll save myself from fierce inquiry when now's Christmas cards would contain my self-taken photo from arms-length where only half my cheery face but all my anorexic Christmas tree are visible, expecially when that Christmas card would arrive just before Easter.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Another CBS Delay?

LGF reports that Jim Geraghty's souces tell him CBS may delay the investigative report another month:
Just heard from a person familiar with the network’s inner workings that the report by ex-U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi, former head of The Associated Press, may not be coming out until January.

CBS News President Andrew Heyward said on September 20, 2004 that he hoped the panel will report in “weeks, not months.”

Candidates for the Spanktuary Bootcamp

Draw your own conclusions as to the political leanings of a mother and father who ineffectively 'beg and plead' to get their kids to help around the house and resort to going on strike in hopes of affecting change.
DELTONA, Fla. (AP) _ Dec. 8, 2004 — Even though the dishes, garbage and dirty laundry were piling up, homeowners Cat and Harlan Barnard were getting no help from their two children.

After begging and pleading with their 17-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter to help out around the house, the Barnards decided they were fed up. So they went on strike and moved out to the front yard.

"This was our last-ditch effort," Cat Barnard said.

Since Monday morning, the Barnards have lived in a tent in their front yard, going inside the house only to use the restroom or shower. The couple sits on lawn chairs and roasts marshmallows over a hibachi.

I'll bet a Smore that Cat n' Harlan have never treated their kids to the business end of a wooden spoon. It may not be too late. The Spanktuary Bootcamp specializes in the kind of tough-love needed to whip parents into shape.


Famished by years at sea with no sustenance from a major win to reverse their vitamin C deficiency, the scurvied passengers on the USS Democrat are organizing a mutiny:
WASHINGTON - Liberal powerhouse MoveOn has a message for the "professional election losers" who run the Democratic Party: "We bought it, we own it, we're going to take it back."

A scathing e-mail from the head of MoveOn's political action committee to the group's supporters on Thursday targets outgoing Democratic National Committee (news - web sites) chairman Terry McAuliffe as a tool of corporate donors who alienated both traditional and progressive Democrats.
"For years, the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base," said the e-mail from MoveOn PAC's Eli Pariser. "But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers."

Under McAuliffe's leadership, the message said, the party coddled the same corporate donors that fund Republicans to bring in money at the expense of vision and integrity.

"In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive," the message continued. "Now it's our party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back."

If MoveOn does take the reigns - even behind the scenes - future politics will reach an unimagined low. MoveOn was the staging area for scores of 'commercials' and cartoons advocating violence on Bush, his administration and supporters of the war.

Will there be one less Californian?

Only because the case involves a sensitive subject for many Americans do I mention it again, but I'm wondering what Scott Peterson's eventual sentencing will mean. Although I thought at the time that capital punishment was already ruled out, I advertised my idea of justice here.

I don't necessarily like the idea of stopping a man's heart as punishment for a double-murder, but even less, I dislike sending the message that killing your wife and unborn child because you have a new girlfriend will get you a free place to live and 3 hot squares a day. The Capital Punishment argument will never be won. Both sides of politics and both sides of religion can all come to different, resonable conclusions. I happen to support it and understand and appreciate why some don't.

The whole "eye for an eye" in the Bible required the punishment to fit the crime. As much as I'd like to resuscitate Scott Peterson after he spends 5 minutes at the bottom of the sea - only to do it again for an eternal period, you can't kill him twice. And what will punishing Scott Peterson with death accomplish? If you believe the threat of death is a deterrent to capital crimes, it acts as incentive for other malcontents to reconsider their larceny of human life - mainly the pre-meditated variety.

Even if Peterson is sentenced to death [I think he will be], he may never die by I.V. Either his fellow inmates will save taxpayers the $35K cost of lethal injection by making sure he falls on a sharp object, or years of appeals will allow Scott Peterson the comparably generous death brought by old age.

I don't hope the jury sentences Scott Peterson to death for my sake, but rather for the sake of all the other devoted, loving wives and mothers-to-be who couldn't possibly know they're living with a monster.

Mysterious Ways.

After decades of study on the subject, the world's foremost atheist has concluded:
NEW YORK - A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God — more or less — based on scientific evidence, and he says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting that belief [in God] is a mistake, the professor, Antony Flew, has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife.

... biologists’ investigation of DNA “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce [life], that intelligence must have been involved,” Flew says in the new video, “Has Science Discovered God?”

Last week, Richard Carrier, a writer and Columbia University graduate student, posted new material based on correspondence with Flew on the atheistic Web page Carrier reassured atheists that Flew accepted only a “minimal God” and believed in no afterlife.

Flew’s “name and stature are big. Whenever you hear people talk about atheists, Flew always comes up,” Carrier said. Still, when it comes to Flew’s reversal, “apart from curiosity, I don’t think it’s like a big deal.”

Mr. Carrier, I don't think it's 'like a big deal' either. It's, like, a really big deal.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

CBS fake document report due tomorrow.

Word around the campfire at Little Green Footballs is that the 'internal investigation' of the fake CBS documents is coming tomorrow. Here's what you need to know:

Although not a typography expert, Dr. David Haley was hired for the investigation by CBS to 'authenticate' the documents in the Bush/ANG story. Dr. Haley contributed to the Kerry campaign, which may help explain why Dr. Haley - despite his failure to produce a typewriter or document other than what he created with a computer - has come to the conclusion that the documents are 'authentic.' An actual typography expert, Dr. Joseph Newcomer has already dismantled the 'findings' that CBS will use tomorrow to mislead the nation.

Bottom line. CBS paid a man who isn't a document expert to vet their fake documents. In addition to not having a reputation in document authentification to tarnish by finding widely known fakes 'authentic,' Dr. Haley had a monetary stake in the election of John Kerry.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

What does the Intelligence Reform Bill really mean?

I had some questions on what the Intelligence Reform Bill would really mean. Powerline lays it out:
Sometimes the current political situation seems like the best of all possible worlds. On our side, a master politician in the White House; on the other side, a party that seems only semi-serious about the defining issue of our times -- the war on terrorism. But this week we were reminded that the semi-serious opposition, and even the master politician, can be mixed blessings. I'm referring to the imminent passage of intelligence reorganization legislation.

The legislation essentially adopts the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. As discussed here and in the links contained here, little in that commission's performance suggests that it should be the final arbiter on matters pertaining to intelligence. Nor do the recommendations themselves. As one would expect of a body dominated by liberals (liberal Republican chairman Thomas Kean and an array of liberal and mostly opportunistic Democrats), the commission recommended the creation of an intelligence uber-bureaucracy and a diminution of Defense Department's ability to control battlefield intelligence, while essentially ignoring major immigration concerns that go to the heart of our ability to combat terrorism in this country. That's the downside of a semi-serious opposition party.

It was then up to the master politician to sell this package to skeptical Republicans in Congress, or decline to do so. The Democrats, the MSM, and the 9/11 families (at least those covered by the MSM) clamored for the president to use his vaunted "political capital" to beat down Republican opposition, as if taking the path of least resistance constitutes using up political capital. The feckless Kean fronted for the liberal Democrats, going so far as to suggest that, without this legislation, another attack on the homeland was inevitable. With the ante raised to this level, the smart political move became clear -- push the flawed bill through (with an arguably helpful modification on the issue of battlefield intelligence), leaving the Democrats no room to profit from a successful terrorist attack. The president acted accordingly.

So, in the end, neither party gained an advantage from the intelligence reform process, nor did the American people.

It's a bummer that after all the time and money, hearing and accusations, all we have to show is another layer of government and an easier way for illegals to get a driver's license. Consider that the nineteen 9/11 highjackers had 64 legal identifying documents (including DL's) between them.

All Estrogen School to Admit Men

This is funny.
NEW YORK — A decision by Wells College, which has been all-women since 1868, to begin admitting male students in order to boost enrollment has riled female students.

Many students are threatening to leave the upstate New York college, but two have moved beyond threats and filed a lawsuit that says the decision to enroll men constitutes a breach of contract and fraud.

College administrators say the decision was necessary for the school's financial survival, because there aren't enough female applicants. Administrators don't want to admit men until the current freshman class graduates in 2008, and say the heart and soul of the school won't change.

"We are surviving as a college that will continue to educate women and will do so in a way that honors our history and meets the needs of current generations of students," said Wells spokeswoman Ann Rollo.

But many of the young women at the Aurora, N.Y., school say allowing men to attend would compromise the tight-knit community.

"We all leave our doors unlocked. We can run around in our nighties. It's all girls and we feel really safe and that will change," said student Starbuck Hersey.

Uh, Starbuck, is your middle name McDonald? And they're called b-o-y-s, not criminals.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ecoterrorists don't get their way, cause $10 million in damages.

What's the best way to react if your efforts to save a 'magnolia bog' prove unsuccessful? If you're an 'environmentalist' in Maryland, you set fire to 41 homes in a new subdivision.
INDIAN HEAD, Md. -- Investigators suspect arson in the fires that burned more than 40 homes in a posh subdivision under construction near a nature preserve, and the FBI said it would look into ecoterrorism as a possible motive.

Some $10 million in damage was done as 41 homes Monday at the Hunters Brooke subdivision, about 25 miles south of Washington. A dozen of the homes were destroyed.

Environmental and community groups tried to block the development in a lawsuit last year that claimed it would hurt one of the nation's last undisturbed magnolia bogs.

In recent years, radical environmentalists have set fires at luxury housing developments under construction in San Diego and Detroit's outer suburbs and at a resort in Vail, Colo. The Earth Liberation Front has also claimed responsibility for fires at lumberyards and sport-utility vehicle dealerships.

The group has caused more than $100 million in damage since 1996, the FBI says.

Environmental groups and some county residents sued the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers last year, claiming they had violated the Clean Water Act by granting permits that allowed construction at the site.

Apparently, ecoterrorists know something about magnolias that most of us don't. I'd have never thought that building luxury homes near a magnolia bog could hurt the friendly foliage and violate the Clean Water Act, while the burning 41 $500K dollar homes and the smoke, soot, runoff and chemicals needed to extinguish them assist our botanical buddies by making their water cleaner.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Looking for a new way to waste a hundred grand?

Send your impressionable kid to Yale. In return, you'll get a sniveling, spineless bigot with great job prospects.

Doing his/her best to refuse the accompishments of one the brightest women in the world, this college sophomore writing in Yale's school paper questions whether Condi Rice is black.
Is Condoleezza Rice really a black woman?

While she may appear on the outside to share the color and therefore sentiments of black people, actions speak louder than both words and skin.

Rice's appointment is typical of the Bush administration's cabinet-appointing sleight of hand. Supposedly "minority" political figures Clarence Thomas, newly elected Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, maniac Alan Keyes, and the barely tolerable Alberto Gonzales, our future attorney general, are the bright face the Republican party puts on perennially anti-minority decision-making.

"Supposedly minority?" I don't think you can consider two Blacks and two Hispanics people of pallor. And what about appointing talented black people to positions of power is "anti-minority." Name me one minority person in Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry's administration or campaign. Somebody named "Nobody" is the correct answer.
As mentioned on a recent edition of CNN's "Crossfire," Gonzales' remarkable success story was likely aided by policy with unmistakable and historic Democratic backing. Ideas like Pell grants, literacy education, Head Start and affirmative action undoubtedly contributed to Gonzales' success.

"Affirmative Action undoubtedly contributed to Gonzales' success?" You see, to the the left, it's inconceivable that a person in a minority group could excel on their own merits. The Left enjoys swimming in unchallenged racism because they cloak their loathing with a patronizing, condecending tone and poo-poo the accomplishments of the outstanding minorities that don't toe the liberal line.
To a lesser extent, the good Dr. Rice may also have made it where she is as a direct result of these policies. But oh, how quick these minority defectors are to jump onto the Republican bandwagon, neatly pulling the ladder up after them.

There are dozens of accolades that could be used to describe Dr. Rice, and 'minority defector' isn't one of them. And 'pulling up the ladder?' What better way to encourage minorites to break the cycle in their own lives than for a black woman who came from nothing to prove that you can be anything you want to be - no matter life's circumstances or political persuasion?

A liberal wants to kill Frosty the Snowman.

For a long time I've felt that on average, liberals are a more unhappy group than conservatives. In one liberal household I know, the most happy person can only be as happy as the least happy person. If someone is found in violation of the unwritten "Maximum Happiness Quotient," the others in the houshold make sure the offender's happiness is quickly brought down to the level of the least happy person. Pretty soon there's no point accepting a little joy into your life when you have to shed any excess when you open the garage door.

What else would explain the visceral liberal hate for anything positive? Constanlty projecting the displeasure of their own life onto others through hateful columns, mean editorials, mindless vandalism and violent protests, liberals may be the only people in the world who hold it against people for not always feeling like a victim.

Marueen Dowd unintentionally proves my point. A professional columnist who never met a room she didn't make brighter by leaving it, Dowd's botonist advised her to stop talking to her plants because it was killing them. Evidently upset her doctor won't renew her Zoloft prescription, Dowd had this to say about Christmas:
If I hear "Frosty the Snowman" one more time, I'll rip his frozen face off.

It's a scientific fact, or should be, that Christmas music can turn you into a fruitcake. It either sends you into a Pavlovian shopping trance, buying stupid things like the Robosapien, or, if you hear repeated Clockwork-Orange choruses of "Ring, Christmas Bells" drilling into your brain with that slasher-movie staccato, makes you feel as possessed with Christmas spirit as Norman Bates.

I've never said this out loud before, but I can't stand Christmas.

Everyone in my family loves it except me, and they can't fathom why I get the mullygrubs, as a Southern friend of mine used to call a low-level depression, from Thanksgiving straight through New Year.

"You're weird," my mom says. This from a woman who once left up our Christmas tree until April 3, and who listens to a radio station that plays carols 24/7 all month.

My equally demonic sister has a whole collection of rodents dressed in holiday clothes that she puts up around her house. There's a mouse Santa Claus and mouse Mrs. Claus and mice elves and a miniature Christmas village with mice, and some rat Cinderella coachmen in pink waistcoats and rats in red velvet vests and more rats, wearing frilly red-and-white nightshirts and nightcaps and holding little candles, leading you up the steps to bed. It's beyond creepy.

My mom and sister both blissfully sat through "It's a Wonderful Life" again on Thanksgiving weekend, while even hearing a mere snatch of that movie makes me want to scarf down a fistful of antidepressants - and join all the other women in America who are on a holiday high - except our family doctor is a Scrooge about designer drugs, leaving me to self-medicate as Clarence gets his wings with extra brandy in the eggnog.

I've given a lot of thought to why others' season of joy is my season of doom - besides the obvious fact that yuppies have drenched the holidays in ever more absurd levels of consumerism.

I think it has to do with how stressed out my mom and sister would get on Christmas Day when I was little. I remember them snapping at me; they seemed tense because of all the aprons to be sashed and potatoes to be mashed. (In our traditional Irish household, women slaved and men were waited on.)

It might be exacerbated by the stress I feel when I think of all the money I've spent on lavishing boyfriends with presents over the years, guys who are now living with other women who are enjoying my lovingly picked out presents which I'm no doubt still paying for in credit card interest charges.

So now, on top of all the stress related to having a president and vice president who scared us to death about terrorists to get re-elected, I have to be stressed about the fact that my holiday stress might cause me to turn into an old bat - instantly, just like it happened in Grimm's fairy tales, when a girl would be cursed and suddenly become a crone.

Yep. I definitely need to rip Frosty's face off.

Please, Scroogette, don't assault Frosty.
Ostensibly, Dowd's hostility to Christmas comes from her generosity towards past boyfriends who came to terms with her depravity and kept the watches, DVD players and neckties as compensation for having to endure her wretchedness.

It would be inappropriate of me to question the matrimonial eligibility of a woman who needs to be kept away from sharp objects during "It's a Wonderful Life." So I won't. Only an Ice Queen wouldn't be perennially moved by that movie.

Wait a minute. Snowman + Ice Queen? Hmmm

HillaryCare continues 10th straight year of failure in Tennessee.

Because I mentioned HillaryCare in a post last week, I thought I'd follow up with this story from today's Wall Street Journal, as Tennessee has become a case-study in the massive failure of government managed healthcare.

HillaryCare in Tennessee
The disaster that might have been for the entire country.

Monday, December 6, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

We think it was Justice Brandeis who said the states should be laboratories for reform. Regarding health care, Tennessee tried a decade ago and the price is now coming due. Hillary Rodham Clinton should call her pollster if she plans on carrying the state in 2008.

In 1994, Tennessee passed what was then a very hot New Democrat idea--call it government managed care--a version of the reform the former first lady was also pitching nationwide. TennCare promised the impossible dream of politicians everywhere: Lower health-care costs while covering more of the "uninsured." They got the impossible, all right. After 10 years of mismanagement and lawsuits, TennCare now eats up one-third of the state's entire budget and is growing fast. Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is preparing to pull the plug and return the state to the less lunatic subsidies of Medicaid.

The TennCare concept was for the state to operate like an HMO, providing health insurance to those who needed it and paying the premiums for those who couldn't afford it. The idea was even sold as a cost savings because it would provide "managed care" (volume discounts, preventative care, etc.). TennCare opened enrollment to hundreds of thousands of people who did not qualify for Medicaid, even to some six-figure earners. Costs quickly exploded, and despite attempts to tighten eligibility rules the program still covers 1.3 million of the state's 5.8 million people.
The skyrocketing costs led previous Governor Don Sundquist, the Republican who had inherited the program, to try to impose a state income tax. His efforts failed, fortunately, but in 2002 Mr. Bredesen was elected promising to cut TennCare's costs.

That, too, has been impossible. Left-wing legal activists have sued the state with impunity to underwrite the cost of nearly unlimited care. A Nashville non-profit called the Tennessee Justice Center has hamstrung reforms for years by suing to enforce a series of consent decrees, some of which predate TennCare.

Prescription drug costs alone increased 23% last year, as there are effectively no limits on the number or types of drugs the system will pay for. If a doctor prescribes aspirin, TennCare pays for it. Ditto for antacids for heartburn and other over-the-counter products. If TennCare denies a claim for a drug or any other type of care, an appeal can be filed for next to nothing. Fighting each appeal costs the state as much as $1,600 in legal fees. With 10,000 appeals filed every month, it's often easier and cheaper to pay a claim, regardless of the merits.

TennCare is now in worse shape than it was a decade ago. Three of the 11 privately run Managed Care Organizations that insured TennCare patients and administered the program have fallen into receivership. Amid the legal wrangling, Blue Cross Blue Shield all but pulled out of the program. Today the state has assumed all the insurance risk and pays most of the premiums.

Mr. Bredesen has proposed numerous reforms to reduce costs by limiting care, and the legislature overwhelmingly endorsed them earlier this year. But they sit in limbo while the Governor negotiates with the Tennessee Justice Center to end its lawsuits. With the talks at an impasse, Mr. Bredesen has instructed state officials to start thinking about dismantling TennCare. "It makes no sense for one facet of our responsibilities--health care--to be able to come to the table first and eat and drink all it wants, and then if there is anything left over, we then can consider our other responsibilities," he told the Tennessee School Board Association recently.

Good for Mr. Bredesen for recognizing that the entitlement mentality inevitably leads to fiscal perdition. Has he told Mrs. Clinton, not to mention certain Republicans in Washington?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Europe questions multi-culturalism.

Still stuck in 429 B.C., a couple teenage practitioners of the 'Religion of Peace' stone a girl to death in France. No word yet on whether a violent video game caused them to snap:
DAYS before she was due to be married, Ghofrane Haddaoui, 23, refused the advances of a teenage boy and paid with her life. Lured to waste ground near her home in Marseilles, the Tunisian-born Frenchwoman was stoned to death, her skull smashed by rocks hurled by at least two young men, according to police.

Although the circumstances of the murder are not clear, the horrific "lapidation" of the young Muslim stoked a French belief that the country can no longer tolerate the excesses of an alien culture in its midst.

The shift is not just a reaction to exceptional violence such as the Madrid train bombings, or the murder of Theo van Gogh, the anti-Islamic Dutch film-maker, by a Dutch-Moroccan. It stems from a belief that more muscular methods are needed to integrate Europe's 13-million strong Muslim community and to combat creeds that breed extremists and ultimately, terrorism. With mixed results, governments are trying to quell the scourge by co-opting Muslim leaders to promote a moderate European Islam.

In Germany, with its three million mainly Turkish Muslims, and France, with its five million of mainly North African descent, television viewers were shocked when local young Muslims approved of Van Gogh's murder. If you insult Islam, you have to pay,” was a typical response.

"The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart," said Angela Merkel, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrat opposition. "Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots." Italy's traditional tolerance towards immigrants has been eroded by fear of Islamism. An Ipsos poll in September showed that 48 per cent of Italians believed that a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West was under way and that Islam was "a religion more fanatical than any other".

I'm sorry it took the Madrid bombing, murder of an anti-Muslim filmmaker and the stoning of a Muslim girl to begin a European awakening. Europe has never been accused of a developed ability to identify a threat.

But the Left in the U.S. is intent on not learning the lessons of Europe. Stoned by concerns at 'offending' people of other faiths by washing all signs of God out of a country and a culture based on it, the Left feels that if we just make the US a more comfortable place for people of other faiths to live, utopian harmony will soon follow.

Recall the old adage - "When in Rome, do as the Romans." What about when in the US? Fearing conflict from people who choose to be insulted by the history of the country they've decided to live in, the Left would rather atrophy America's Christian foundation by not allowing its free exercise.

The liberal Left has adopted secularism as its religion, at the expense of whittling the identity of the what the Founding Fathers, precisely had in mind. One nation, Under God. Afterall, the First Amendment of the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof..." Always selective, the Left leaves out that second, inconvenient part. With most of Europe nearly void of Christianity, the 35 million Muslims are in a great position to begin fulfilling the main tenet of Islam - converting the entire world, killing those who don't obey.

If we allow the Left to assail us in small incremental steps by removing God from American culture, future generations will find themselves asking, "Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?"

Friday, December 03, 2004

Cops eat evidence.

Cops find stolen Krispy Kreme truck, then eat the evidence:
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Police followed a trail of doughnuts to find a stolen Krispy Kreme delivery truck.

"It has a happy ending," Swatara Township Sgt. Robert Simmonds said. "The donuts were brought back to the police station, and the cops are eating the evidence."
I'm just happy it wasn't a stolen manure truck.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Proof you don't have to be stable to hate Bush.

During Bush's recent trip up north, warm Candian greetings were everywhere.

What's Auschwitz?

If you know the significance of Auschwitz, you're smarter than half of Britain.
LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly half of Britons in a poll said they had never heard of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in southern Poland that became a symbol of the Holocaust and the attempted genocide of the Jews.

The results of the survey conducted by the BBC were released on Thursday as Britain's public broadcaster announced it will show a new series next January to mark the 60th anniversary of the concentration camp's liberation.
"We were amazed by the results of our audience research," said Laurence Rees, a producer on the series, "Auschwitz: The Nazis & the 'Final Solution."'

"It's easy to presume that the horrors of Auschwitz are engrained in the nation's collective memory, but obviously this is not the case," Rees said.

The survey found that 45 percent of those surveyed had not heard of Auschwitz. Historians estimate that anywhere from one million to three million people, about 90 percent of them Jews, were killed there.

London, England is 348 miles from Poland. Although England isn't officially considered "Europe," the dominant political philosophy and culture is.

I'd venture a guess that those same statistics apply to other European countries too. How can the European/liberal culture avert repeating history if they're not 'au courant' of the monolithic historical events that happened just down the block? Never underestimate the power of European liberal denial. In this case, they've expunged part of history from their consciousness. You don't have to confront evil when you're ignorant to it's existence.

Kabul, Afghanistan Golf Course Reopens

We're spreading golf through the Middle East! Kabul Golf Club Re-opens after 30 years:

Some 40 golfers entered the competition on a course in a picturesque valley, once a battlefield, outside the capital, Kabul. The land on which the Kabul Golf Club stands was the scene of clashes between rival Mujahideen factions in the 1990s.

It remained shut when the Taleban swept to power. Golf, a game they associated with wealthy Western diplomats, was one of many sports they banned. Now it has finally reopened but the process was not without its problems.

High hopes

The area first had to be made safe by clearing stray landmines and a lack of irrigation has meant that many of the "greens" are actually dark grey, made from oiled sand.

Setting off down the fairway

Security fears have meant that many of those who took part in the tournament were accompanied by Kalashnikov-carrying caddies.

But the owners have high hopes for the club, whose annual membership costs 7,500 Afghanis ($160). "In the past there was a lot of killing going on here," club pro Mohamad Afzal Abdul told Reuters news agency. "Right now we are trying to fix up this area and give people some hope to understand a better life."

Sometimes the little things tell us the most about Afghani's life returning to something more normal than the years of Taliban rule.

I'm hoping to schedule a round there in the next few months. It's my only shot at being the best golfer in an entire country, as long as I don't bring my dad.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Doctors deciding which children live and die.

Because the following story involves the natural downside to one of the left's pet projects - socialized medicine, AKA "Healthcare for everyone," you won't read about this in the MSM. By pure coincidence, the only domestic article I could find on the subject was from an October issue from the paper in Grand Forks, North Dakota - where I was born. The Groningen Protocol, having just become law in the Netherlands:
Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.

The hospital, beyond confirming the protocol in general terms, refused to discuss its details.

"It is for very sad cases," said a hospital spokesman, who declined to be identified. "After years of discussions, we made our own protocol to cover the small number of infants born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no hope for life. Our estimate is that it will not be used but 10 to 15 times a year."

A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors.

The protocol was written by hospital doctors and officials, with help from Dutch prosecutors. It's being studied by lawmakers as potential law.

Under the protocol, assisted infant deaths are investigated, but so far all of them have been determined to have been in the patients' best interests.

Socialism at it's best: "free" assisted suicides for children up to the age of 12 when the child is deemed by the doctor (zero parental control) to "have been born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no hope for life."

This is what happens when liberals make laws. Wanting to satisfy the here and now, future consequences get fogged by their un-thought 'good intentions.' We all know where that road leads. Free healthcare just means the patient doesn't make the check out to the hospital. Instead, the Dutch government confiscates up to 52% of income in the form of taxes. And when the government is 'paying' your bills, they reserve the right to make critical life and death decisions for you.

If your health or the health of your family become too big a liability, you're cut off. Need that heart transplant? Go to John's Hopkins in the US, bloke! Need that kidney? Head to Mayo, you bloody fool! Your kid is born with cerebral palsy? A lethal shot costs less than a lifetime of therapy, ol' chap!

If you don't think it's possible that a doting doctor would 'euthanize' a human child just because the economics of sustaining it's life, grab your insurance card and treat yourself to a Colonoscopy. Your head will be found nearby.

Huge draws on the Dutch medical system will be averted by allowing the doctor sole discretion to 'euthanize' the child. They've only come up with an official name for it because it's been happening frequently for years. When you don't answer to God, you have to answer to something. Law is the god of the left.

Why should you care what the Netherlands are doing? Because it's an example of how the liberal agenda for socialized healthcare can slowly erode our morality over generations. The Left will never admit they want you to become more dependent on their fantasy of the healing power of government and it's money. That's why we have to oppose their efforts to socialize medicine here in the US (remember Hillarycare?).

Having given up their major decision-making power to government, Dutch families are now coming to terms with the real cost of 'free' healthcare.

Supporting the troops.

I appreciate when thoughtful people take time out of their busy lives to arrange something like this tribute. (Thanks for the e-mail, Eddie.)

Always working to free myself of the complacency that relative safety allows, occasional reminders like the above link guard me from taking things for granted.

My chat with the Gipper's son.

Michael Reagan is sending me an autographed copy of his new book. Nice! I called his radio show yesterday and told him that "I want to be the first person to wish you a Merry Christmas." Turns out that I was. He thought it funny and offered a me a copy of his new book, "Twice Adopted." With wit, I asked if he'd sign it. "Indeed!" he grinned.

So, this morning I went to his website. With pockets full of pride at my once-in-a-lifetime feat, I wanted to find out more about the upcoming treasure to be delivered by UPS, FED/EX, USPS, DHL, Donkey, Mule or Pony Express. Just as I'm day-dreaming about what it would be like to be the only kid on the block with an autographed book from the Gipper's son, I was met with dismay to learn that anyone brandishing $26 can get Michael's John Hancock, too.

Pride began to leak out of my pockets and pool in my size 16's [ok, 11's]. For about 9 and a half hours I thought I had accomplished something grand, only to deflate upon learning that for little more than a couple dozen bucks, I could have saved myself 14 minutes of hold time and a tri-peat of my name, spelling and address. [To his screener: Yes, my name is Chachi. No, it isn't my real name. Yes, like Joni loves. Yes, like Happy Days.] The sweet pain of being me. But then again, had I not called him on the 30th of November, I may not have been The First to Wish Michael Reagan a Merry Christmas in '04.

It suits my ego just fine that soon I'll have documented proof.

Thanks again for your generosity, Mr. Reagan. I appreciate your early holiday spirit of giving and I look forward to reading your new book. You and yours are continually in my prayers. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Easter, too.

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