Friday, October 31, 2003

Remembering the Fires of 2002

As California continues to burn, I am reminded of the Arizona fires in 2002. Then, as now, foresters called for thinning and controlled burns as management tools to prevent such conflagrations from getting out of hand. Kirstin Stade, spokesperson for the environmental group "Forest Guardians" allowed at the time that "the group supports forest thinning so long as it does not benefit commercial loggers and is done with solar-powered chain saws." Solar-powered chain saws???

So, where is good ole Kirstin today? Well, the 1995 Stanford grad with a degree in "Earth Systems" has moved on from her days with the Forest Guardians and solar saws. She is now a member of the Portland band "Fools in Paradise," which specializes in traditional Zimbabwe marimba music. She's still a dedicated environmentalist, though, and her personal website offers this helpful explanation: "My passion for western wildlands and the life they support began in my college years, when I spent a summer living in an alcove beneath a rock outcropping in a canyon in southern Utah, and came to feel an incredible kinship with these fragile and beautiful ecosystems."

Fools in paradise, indeed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Are Anti-War Protestors Anti-American?

What to make of the "anti-war" protests this past weekend? Curiously, the same people who were against the start of the war are now against the end of the war. We heard the anti-war contingent insist for months that they were not pro-Saddam, merely pro-peace. Now, with an opportunity for the people of Iraq to create a peaceful, prosperous country for the first time in generations, the anti-war crowd would have us drop everything and leave the country to what would surely be a bloody civil war between Baathists, Islamists, Kurds, Terrorists, Iranians, al-Qaeda, and anyone else that wandered in. Clearly, demanding the US Military be removed from Iraq is not pro-peace, since war would surely ensue.

If not pro-peace, what then? The answer can be found at the protest sponsor's web site. These protests were sponsored and organized by a group called International ANSWER, which stands for "Act Now to Stop War & End Racism!" A noble thought, but who are they? ANSWER was created shortly after September 11, 2001 by the International Action Center, and is closely allied with both that organization and the Worker's World Party. These are communist organizations, folks. Brian Becker, member of the secretariat of the World Workers Party, national co-director for the IAC and a member of the national ANSWER steering committee, has been invited to speak in Pyongyang, North Korea.

These people are unabashed Marxists, pure and simple. They are not opposed to war. Rather, they see discontent centered around the war and the Bush administration as an "opportunity to open up a new chapter in the struggle for worldwide socialism. There is a relatively large political movement that has been radicalized and mobilized by the war. There have been huge demonstrations like the ones last spring. This movement needs a worldwide revolutionary socialist perspective. Armed with such a perspective, the movement will be far better prepared to uphold real internationalism in the struggle."

Does this sound like a pro-peace sentiment? Not to me. It sounds like an cynical plan to hijack a youthful movement, full of energy and naivete, and redirect it into all-out class warfare. The entire text of that discussion, as presented by Larry Holmes at a Worker's World Party meeting can be found here, and it's worth reading.

In short, ANSWER, a front for two communist organizations joined at the hip to each other, is using anti-war sentiment as a cover to revive the communist revolution. And that is what these protests were designed to advance. So, although not all the protestors were anti-American, the protest organizers certainly were, and I will happily label them so.
I changed templates today to increase readability. Unfortunately, this resulted in all comments being lost. Not such a big loss, though - there were only 4 and I made 2 of 'em! You can now comment by clicking on "Shout Out" below each entry.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Fox News has a story about a new web site in which students rate their teachers, and are allowed to add commentary as well. It seems to me this is really unfair to teachers. What qualifies a 15 year old to rate a teacher? I never really appreciated my teachers until years after taking their classes. I looked at some of the posts for teachers I had (granted there aren't many still in business), and most are nothing more than childish rants. Let's hope this site never gets much traction beyond a passing novelty.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Saturday morning Suzy was cutting out the daily crossword puzzle from the paper, which we dutifully send to Frog Mom every couple weeks. She came across a week-old ad for a "3rd Annual Harvest Celebration" at the Moonrise Bay Winery, to be held that afternoon. Lacking other pressing obligations, and ignoring the growing pile of laundry and dirty floors, we set out for Knott's Island, NC to check out the festivities.

After more than an hour of driving, through southern Virginia Beach and a national wildlife refuge, we arrived at a beautiful little winery on the shores of Currituck Sound. There were about 150 people in attendence, a curious mix of yuppie types in BMWs, country types in old pickups, and biker types on Harleys. For $15, everyone was entitled to all the wine one could drink, all the pig one could pick, and all the bluegrass one could hope for. Unfortunately, "all the wine one could drink" was severely limited by the narrow, winding, water-logged drive to be negotiated subsequently.

A Golden Lab, eager to retrieve, passed the afternoon carrying a wooden stake to anyone that looked her way, begging for a good long throw. People were happy to oblige, and the Lab dutifully chased that stick across ditches, into hedgerows, into lakes, and across fields.

The wine was very good, the people very friendly. We look forward to attending the 4th Annual Harvest Celebration next year.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Associated Press is reporting that Medicare is undertaking a $30 million ad campaign to make itself better-known to its 40 million participants. That's $750,000 per participant.

If Medicare would tell me what they want people to know, I would gladly visit ten participants in the next ten days and explain to them in person for the bargain price of $5 million. That would save Medicare $2.5 million. Just pitching in to reduce government waste.
Norfolk-based PETA has started a disturbing trend: Left-wingers getting naked for their cause. It started with Fur, and has since moved to encompass Peace, Genetically Modified Crops, and retail giant The Gap. Even the Dixie Chicks joined the fray. At least the Chicks are attractive; the rest of these clowns are aging hippies that no one really cares to see in the altogether.

If this is the best way these Socialist "activists" can come up with to make their point and influence others, they are truly intellectually bankrupt. Furthermore, if the freak show protests that have come to symbolize the far left are reduced to "Stripping for -insert cause du jour here -" to be even noticed, it shows how far afield of rational discourse they really are.

To anyone planning anymore of this nonsense I say this: Please do us all a favor and put your clothes back on, shut your inane pie holes, and go home.
Is anyone else as creeped out by this Michael Schiavo character as I am? I understand the argument that no one would want to live in a vegetative state is compelling, but without a written statement of her wishes, the zeal with which he is pursuing her demise is downright gruesome. I see today that he has moved his poor wife to an undisclosed location so her parents can't visit her and denied them any information on her condition. He has also barred her Priest from visiting.

Meanwhile, his lawyers are pursuing a court order to remove food and water from her. Finally, he can't account for how he spent the considerable malpractice settlement he won years ago, and he stands to receive a life insurance benefit on Terri's passing.

The right thing for this man to do is relinquish guardianship of his wife to her family; he has too much to gain from her death, and his morbid, divisive behaviors have tainted his credibility.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The Midtown Tunnel,, which connects Norfolk with Portsmouth under the Elizabeth River. During the recent storm, VDOT workers were unable to close the floodgates in time, and the river poured in. The tunnel has since reopened, but the link above provides a visual you don't often see - an automobile tunnel filled to the brim with water.
Apple's Itunes music software is now available for your PC. I have been using it on my Mac at home for a couple years now, and it works great. Very easy and powerful way to organize and listen to your music. It also allows access to Apple's music store, where you can download thousands of tunes for 99 cents a throw.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." . . . Friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American. . . . Never has American prestige in Europe been lower. . . . Instead of coming in with a bold plan of relief and reconstruction we came in full of evasions and apologies. . . . A great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease. The taste of victory had gone sour in the mouth of every thoughtful American I met.

Is that from the New York Times, 2003? Nope. Try Life magazine, 1946.

Friday, October 17, 2003

I spent all day today trying to think of something to say about the Yankees stunning come-from-behind win over the Red Sox last night. I have finally decided there isn't anything I could write that would be eloquent enough to do it justice. I received this humorous anecdote in an email today and reproduce to for your enjoyment.

Social Studies lessons:

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
You vote people into office that put a tax on your cows,
forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax.
The people you voted for then take the tax money, buy a cow and give it to your neighbor.
You feel righteous.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

You have two cows.
The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

You have two cows.
The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours the milk down the drain.

You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when one cow drops dead.
You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows. You go to lunch.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give
excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows. You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two.
You can't milk them because you can't touch the cows' private parts.
Then you kill them and claim a US bomb blew them up while they were in the hospital.

You have two bulls.
Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.

You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people, who like the brown one best, vote for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which is the best-looking one.

You have fifteen million cows.
You have to choose which one will be the leader of the herd, so you pick some fat cow from Arkansas.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Remember Ed Asner? He played the gruff but lovable Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. He was asked recently who he would most like to play, and he responded "Joseph Stalin," explaining the Stalin was "hugely misunderstood."

Let's review some of Joe Stalin's "highlights." He was a terrorist and armed robber prior to the Bolsheviks seizing power, and became dictator of the USSR in the late 1920s. In the 1930s he sent millions into slave labor in the Gulags, and his agriculture program resulted in the deaths of millions of peasants. His political purges killed hundreds of thousands more. A more complete analysis can be found here.

Why does Ed Asner think there is a misunderstanding of Joe Stalin? One can only guess. But speaking to a Canadian audience, he said that "We (Americans) are pigs." And apparently, we are racist pigs at that. "there is a strong streak of racism, and whenever we engage in foreign adventures. Our whole history in regime change has been of people of different color." That's right. We ousted Saddam and his murderous thugocracy and are now building schools, setting up town councils, repairing infrastructure, and protect Iraqi civilians from terrorists because we are racist.

Can anyone really take this guy seriously? Americans, those racist pigs, "misunderstand" a savage dictator, and Ed Freakin' Asner has some insight that we lack? And it brings him to these conclusions? How muddled must his thinking be?

It is worth noting that Asner, in addition to Stalin and Hussein, has defended Fidel Castro for his "fair and judicious" trials.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

If you haven't added the Google Toolbar to your web browser, do it now. Not only do you get convenient web searching without going back to Google's home page, but you get a terrific built-in popup blocker. Highly recommended.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Mary Jo Melone, writing in the St. Petersburgh Times, bemoans the fact that many women ignored the last minute allegations against Arnold and voted for him. She offers the following analysis regarding comparisons between Governor-elect Schwarzenegger and former President Clinton:

"As the campaign ended, we heard Schwarzenegger compared to the illustrious and sexually industrious Bill Clinton. You know what followed. If Clinton could be forgiven, why not Schwarzenegger?
There was a difference, if not in their conduct than in their choices. Clinton's women wanted him."

Wow. They did, did they? Certainly one could argue that some of Clinton's women wanted him. One would be hard pressed (no pun intended), however, to make a plausible case that Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaderick, and Christine Zercher "wanted him" and, by extension "wanted it." Beyond that, the rank hypocrisiy of a woman using the completely reprehensible "she wanted it" argument as an apology for boorish (or worse) behavior is breathtaking.
Well, we are getting geared up for a couple sniper trials. The John Allen Mohammad trial starts Tuesday in Virginia Beach, and his protege Lee Boyd Malvo will be tried in soon in Chesapeake. I can't wait until the national press gets a look at Chesapeake City Hall.

"This is Dan Rather, reporting live from the Taj Mahal in Chesapeake, Virginia."

The sight of Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer attacking Pedro Martinez has been eclipsed by his tearful apology. New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, apparently subscribing to the ever popular slippery slope argument and ignoring the fact that Zim swung first, had this helpful analysis:

"If that happened in New York we would have arrested the perpetrator," Bloomberg said. "Nobody should throw a 70-year-old man to the ground, period. You start doing that pretty soon you're going to throw a 61-year-old man to the ground, and I have a big vested interest in that."

Way to Cowboy Up, Mike. If that's your attitude, I'm sure glad I don't play for the Rangers.

Friday, October 10, 2003

About The Author

Name: Kurt
Date of Birth: 3 December 1959
Grew Up: Ridgewood, New Jersey
Now Living: Ocean View section of Norfolk (you can see the carriers from here)
Profession: Architect
Marital Status: Very Happily
Political Affiliation: None, leaning Libertarian
Interests and Hobbies:
  • Surfing

  • Kayaking

  • Running

  • Coin Collecting

  • Firearms

  • McSorley's Old Ale House

  • Yankee Baseball