Friday, April 16, 2004

Move It On Over

Due to some difficulties with my template and Blogspot, I am relocating the Frog's Blog. I have also revamped the template and given it a new name, The Shallow End of the Gene Pool.

Surf on over to this site, and be sure to update your Favorites list!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Happy April 15th

I had pre-written the following to be posted today:
In celebration of the fifteenth of April, I am writing checks to the Internal Revenue Service totalling over four thousand freaking dollars above and beyond my witholding at work and quarterly estimated payments. I think the best way to achieve tax reform in this country would be to eliminate employer witholding. Make everyone that pays taxes write a single check for the amount they owe. Better yet, move tax day to coincide with election day, and watch a flat tax or national sales tax movement sweep aross the nation.
Since then, I have heard of a better way to ensure tax reform.

  • Convene a joint session of congress. Make them all sit in the chamber together exactly as they do during the State of the Union Address

  • Make all 535 members of congress, plus the Supreme Court, do their own tax returns that day. Televised on C-Span. No help. No accountants. No attorneys. No computers. Just eight hours on April 15th, a number two pencil, an IRS instruction guide, and an eraser. Oh, and a rack of IRS forms like you find at the library, in case they screw up and need a new one.

  • Now that is a program I would tune in to see. I don't care about any of the numbers they write down. I just want to watch them curse, knit their brows, break pencils, and run their fingers throught their hair in exasperation as they navigate the byzantine maze of forms, penalties, deductions, and credits that they have created for us to wade through.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    To what use the Military?

    In September 2001, GW Bush had yet to use the military. Since then, in direct respose to attacks upon our homeland, Bush has eliminateed two despotic regimes and liberated 50 million people.

    In contrast, Bill Clinton's major military adventures in Haiti, Serbia, and Iraq, were not based upon any threat, real or overt, to the United States. Indeed, Clinton proclaimed that the use of military power in the absence of national interest represented "America at its best."

    In my mind, this is a core schism between liberal and conservative thought. Liberals believe power projected for altruistic goals is morally superior to power projected in self-interest. Conservatives believe that our military might is our line of defense against real enemies, and its use requires no more justification than a threat to our vital interests. To little surprise, I tend to agree with the latter view.

    World's Worst Liar

    The "Bush Lied" accusation by political opponents concerning weapons of mass destruction is easily refuted thusly:
    In order to believe "Bush lied" one must believe he followed this course:

  • Knowing a priori that Iraq had no such weapons, he invaded Iraq anyway.

  • He made no effort to cover up his lie by ensuring that such weapons would be found.

  • Say what you will about George W. Bush, but it strains credibility to assert that he would knowingly lie about the grounds for war, and subsequently go to war with no plan to substantiate his knowingly unfounded grounds. I would argue that the lack of WMD in Iraq is proof of Bush's sincerity, rather than vice verca. If he had known there were no WMD in Iraq, and was still hell-bent on war, he would have either made another argument or made sure WMD were found. He did neither.

    Vietnam Redux

    Last night I watched Chris Matthews, Pat Robertson, and Doris Kearns Goodwin debate the Iraq war in the context of Vietnam. The most tiresome legacy of the baby boom generation is their compulsion to analyze all foreign policy through the prism of Vietnam. Is this another Vietnam? Are we in a Vietnam quagmire? Remember the Tet offensive? And on and on.

    It's been forty years since Vietnam. Can we possibly find a more modern analogy than the glory years of the baby boomers, the sixties, to reference in terms of foreign policy? Enough already!

    Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    Democrats Gone Wild!

    Florida Democrats have placed an ad in the St. Petersburgh paper with the following admonition concerning Donald Rumsfeld:
    We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger
    Don't worry, though. They don't really mean to shoot him:
    When asked if the ad was a challenge to inflict violence on Rumsfeld, McCall explained: "'Pull the trigger' means let Rumsfeld know where we stand, not to shoot him!"
    Of course! I often say "I am going to pull the trigger" just before I explain my position on the issues. It's obviously a very common euphemism, broadly used throughout the land.

    Hat Tip: Drudge

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    Quote of the Day

    No further comment is required:
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

    John Stuart Mill.

    Hat tip: Boortz

    Sunday, April 11, 2004

    Happy Easter!

    Saturday night, the wife noticed the kitchen faucet (Price Phister $150 thank you) was running slow. I told her I would fix it tomorrow as soon as I completed the yard work.

    Well, Easter Sunday dawned gloomy and rainy, so the faucet was "in play." I removed the aerator to see if it was clogged, breaking the metal screen in the process. The aerator looked okay (albeit now broken), so I removed the faucet pipe to check it.

    The first order of business was to replace the broken aerator, so I set out to Lowes. The didn't have the right size; I stopped at Home Depot and picked one up there,
    Returning home, I discovered that the aerator had the proper diameter for my decorative faucet, but it was too deep and obscured the threads. I also discovered that the faucet itself was now leaking at the sink, and needed a new "O" ring. It was noon.

    My wife wanted to go to Nordstrom to check out the sale rack, so I went along with the idea of picking up a proper aerator and O-ring on the way home. Nordstrom was closed for the Easter, and Taylor's Do-It Center didn't have the right size O-ring. It was 2:00, and I paused briefly to watch a Yankee scoring threat evaporate. Over at Ocean View Hardware, I located my O-ring.

    Still needing an aerator, I headed to a second Taylor's, cognizant of the unwritten rule that you can't go back to the same store for the same project more than once in six hours. No luck. On the way home, I stopped at an Ace, and the helpful hardware man helped me canibilize a stock aerator and fit it into my faucet, which now runs properly, if slowly. It was 4 PM.

    Saturday night: a slow faucet. Sunday's solution: two big-box home improvement centers, four hardware stores, about six hours, and thankfully only $12.The result of my herculean effort: slow faucet. I think it might stay that way for a little while.

    Friday, April 09, 2004

    Iraqi Hostages

    How sad to see young Japanese aid workers, trying to help rebuild a modern civilization for the people of Iraq, blindfolded and held at knifepoint by radical Muslim thugs in Iraq. The specter of the Japanese, who, after the horror of two nuclear bombs, became an essentially passivist nation, being held hostage and threatened with being "burned alive" is chillling indeed. To their credit, the Japanese are refusing to give in to this thuggery.

    The middle east is truly a hornet's nest, filled with very bad people shrouding their barbarianism in religion. This will be a long battle.

    LGBTQ Toilets

    I was marking up some drawings for a new residence village at a liberal northeastern university the other day. Examining some toilet details, I discivered that someone had placed a toilet paper holder next to a urinal.

    At this point, the smug wise-guy in me took over, and I asked the project manager what female-right-out-of-college intern had been in charge of locating toilet accessories, as clearly no man uses toilet paper at a urinal.

    It turns out, however, that it is I that is the rube. The public restroom in question, which contains two toilet stalls and the aforementioned urinal stall, is not a men's room. Neither, it seems, is it a women's room. It is in fact, a gender neutral room! The idea is that transgendered, transexual, and "gender questioning" individuals need a separate toilet facility so that they don't need to interract with us heathen heterosexuals!

    What do we do when the transexuals decide they don't want to share a bathroom with the transgendered, who are in turn looking to avoid the questioning? And how did the freewheeling, liberal, queer people become so uptight over individual bathroom rights? With Muslim fundamentalists seeking to destroy our very civilization, it is stupefying the kind of "social problems" our fellow citizens seek to address.

    Daylight Savings Time

    Wednesday night I finally completed re-setting all our clocks to daylight savings time. It took several days because we have so many digital clocks attached to appliances, and I usually can't figure out what I am doing without digging out the owner's manuals. With a sigh of relief, after re-setting four bedroom clocks, the telephone answering machine, the microwave, stove, about six wristwatches, two auto clocks, and the VCR, I declared "mission accomplished."

    Last night, we dragged into the house at about 7:30 only to discover - the power had been out for about two hours and all our clocks needed to be re-re-set! Well, at least I know where all the manuals are and I don't have to mess with the wristwatches or cars.

    Thursday, April 08, 2004

    Say What?

    Judy Woodruff, interviewing Democratic Presidential hopeful John Kerry, asked him a pretty simple and direct question: "What exactly - right now - would you do differently?" Kerry's response is telling:
    Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made. The president needs to step up and acknowledge that there are difficulties and that the world needs to be involved and they need to reverse their policy that countries that were not involved in supporting us are not going to be part of the reconstruction.
    Got that? Woodruff, being a good soldier, gave Kerry a chance to back away from that nonsense:
    Senator, you said it was a mistake, not your mistake, but you called it a mistake and also said you wouldn't cut and run. You've acknowledged there may need to be more troops. If there were a President Kerry, he might have to send in more troops. I want to ask you the question you asked during the Vietnam War. How do you ask a be the last to die for a mistake?
    Kerry remained elusive and seemingly incoherent:
    Well, the mistake that I'm talking about, Judy, is not the effort to fight and have -- not the effort to have a stable Iraq. The mistake is in the way that they are going about it. So I would change the way you're going about it. I mean again and again I have said, I laid out with great specificity months ago, the steps that they should have taken, and I believe that those people who have been in touch with people in the international community know there is a different and better way to put together an effort that could legitimize a government in Iraq. If we insist on doing this through our provisional government authority, if we insist on being totally in control the way we are today, we're going to having an impossible time legitimately bringing people to the table.
    There it is! Buried in the middle of that stream of unconsciousness is the answer to the question. Sort of. So I would change the way you're going about it. I mean again and again I have said, I laid out with great specificity months ag. . .

    Got that voters? Pay attention to Mr. Kerry. Continual attention. Daily, continual attention. He told you months ago, with great specificity no less, what he would do, and if you missed it, that's your fault.

    Chinese Water Torture

    The time difference between here and Iraq makes (to me anyway) the war effort seem even more tragic than it is. Wednesday night, just before I went to bed, it was reported that 12 Marines had been killed in Najaf. That report was repeated, with updated information and by different correspondents, early Thursday morning, at mid-day, and again on the evening news. The cumulative effect in my mind left me feeling that upwards of 36 Marines had been killed in three attacks. The 24 hour news cycle makes following events in the middle east emotionally more draining than it would be otherwise.

    Condoleeza Rice

    So today is Condi Rice's return engagement with the 9/11 Commission. All three major networks and PBS are pre-empting their regular programming to carry the spectacle live. Why? They haven't done this for any other testimony. Clearly, the networks are hoping to catch Ms. Rice in a stumble, which they hope to over-analyze and repeat endlessly. My bet? Condoleeza Rice will demonstrate emphatically why this President and his administration should be returned to office.

    Watch the news on this one. How much is really devoted to Ms. Rices's words, and how much is devoted to re-broadcasting pompous, self-absorbant questioning from the commission? The answer to that question will tell you if this is a fact-finding mission or a political photo-op.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004

    Who's Teaching our Young People?

    Here's the story of one professor inside academia, a woman named Kerri F. Dunn.

    On March 9, Ms. Dunn, a visiting psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College, was speaking at a forum on racism. Upon returning to her car, she discovered it vandalized, with smashed window, slashed tires, and racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic graffiti. It was described a "vicious hate crime" and "the worst incident of hate in recent history at the Claremont Colleges."

    Oh, the horror. All classes were canceled the following day. There were sit-ins and rallies. Students wept openly in each others arms in a narcissistic display of melodrama.

    A police investigation revealed, however, that Ms. Dunn had vandalized her own car (which she denied inspite of two eyewitness reports).

    We are learning more about Ms. Dunn. In 1999 she was arrested for driving with a fictitious license plate and shoplifting a sweater. In 2000, she was arrested for shoplifting jewelry and shoes, and described as "belligerent and uncooperative."

    So this criminal, willing to stir up fear and disrupt campus life for her own personal agenda is teaching psychology to young minds. Dunn needs to get her own house cleaned before she starts messing around in someone else's.

    Dispatch from the Religion of Peace

    Yahoo News is reporting that al Queda is inciting more chaos in Iraq:
    A man claiming to be a senior al-Qaida figure that the United States believes is operating in Iraq has released a tape calling for the country's Sunni Muslims to fight Shiites and claiming responsibility for high-profile attacks there.

    The speaker on the tape claimed responsibility for a March 17 car bombing of a Baghdad hotel that killed seven people.

    The speaker also said that his group carried out the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim . . . Al-Hakim was killed by a car bomb.

    The speaker also threatened to kill Gen. John Abizaid, head of the Central Command; L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq; and "their generals, soldiers and associates."

    One theme of the tape echoed that of a letter U.S. authorities released earlier this year in which al-Zarqawi purportedly wrote to other al-Qaida leaders that the best way to undermine U.S. policy in Iraq was to turn the country's religious communities against each other.

    He called upon Sunni Muslims in Iraq to "burn the earth under the occupiers' feet."
    How lovely. These are the people the Democrats would deal with using their "nuanced" policy. I say we send them to meet Allah pronto, rather than have them meet with Madeleine Albright.

    Monday, April 05, 2004

    Dispatch from the Religion of Peace

    Victor Davis Hanson has a terrific essay detailing the atrocities committed in the name of Islam:
    (B)ombs in Spain; fiery clerics promising death in England, even as explosive devices are uncovered in France. In-between accounts of bombings in Iraq, we get the normal murdering in Israel, and daily assassination in Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, and Chechnya. Murder, dismemberment, torture—these all seem to be the acceptable tools of Islamic fundamentalism and condoned as part of justifiable Middle East rage.

    The Taliban strung up infidels from construction cranes and watched, like Romans of old, gory stoning and decapitations in soccer stadiums built with UN largess. In the last two years, Palestinian mobs have torn apart Israeli soldiers, lynched their own, wired children with suicide bombing vests, and machine-gunned down women and children—between sickening scenes of smearing themselves with the blood of “martyrs.”

    Daniel Pearl had his head cut off on tape; an American diplomat was riddled with bullets in Jordan. Or should we turn to Lebanon and gaze at the work of Hezbollah—its posters of decapitated Israeli soldiers proudly on display? Some will interject that the Saudis are not to be forgotten—whose religious police recently allowed trapped school girls to be incinerated rather than have them leave the flaming building unescorted, engage in public amputations, and behead adulteresses.
    Could it be any clearer why we must win in Iraq and somehow start a process for bringing Muslims into the modern world?


    Fox news reports that Deanna Laney has been acquitted.
    A jury found that Deanna Laney was legally insane May 9 when she killed her two older sons, ages 6 and 8, in the front yard and left the youngest, now 2, maimed in his crib.
    Radio talkshow host Mark Davis had a listener question why it seems to so often be mothers murdering their children. Davis did a little research and discovered the following:

  • In 1994, the last year available, 1111 children were killed by their parent.

  • 611 (55%) were killed by their biological mothers.

  • 438 (39%) were killed by step-fathers or boyfriends.
  • 62 (5%) were killed by their biological fathers.

  • There is a fascinating thesis for a future psychology major in those numbers.