Monday, October 31, 2005

Good Stuff

Follow along at Bare Knuckle Politics to track the Leftist reaction to the Alito SCOTUS nomination:
  • Daily KOS: Samuel Alito is a MORAL DEGENERATE who strip searches little girls.
  • Daily KOS: Scalito opposes basic family values.
  • CBS Reporter: Is Alito sloppy seconds?
  • Harry Reid: Alito is ‘too radical’.
  • Think Progress: Alito would allow race-based discrimination.
  • Attytood: Samuel Alito is a draft dodger.
  • Chuck Schumer: Judge Samuel Alito is a divider not a uniter.
  • Rude Pundit: Samuel Alito, Another Motherf*cker For America.
  • John Kerry: Aliton nomination will reopen ‘wounds in America’.
  • Nancy Pelosi: The radical right is responsible for this nomination.
  • Brady Campaign: Alito is ‘Machine Gun Sammy’.
  • Follow along at Bare Knuckle! Man, this is fun!

    S-L-O-W Halloween

    Well, it was a pretty slow night, spook-wise. I imagine with Halloween falling on a Monday night, most families went to parties on Saturday or Sunday and left tonight alone. Not even a sign of the usual cadre of uncostumed teens holding out their hands and demanding candy.

    The good news? We have lots of candy left to eat!

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Mom's Tax Dollars at Work

    As a resident of Wilmington, I am sure my Mom will be thrilled to learn that her tax dollars are going to good use:
    The orgasm festival is going to take place on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill on Thursday, November 10th. There are going to be "pin the finger on the clitoris" and “locate the g-spot” games followed by contests to see how quickly and properly people of both sexes can put condoms on bananas.

    Jessica Polka, an executive board member for the co-sponsor of the event, was recently quoted as saying that “We also have the goal of trying to work toward fighting the social stigma against female sexuality.” In other words, she wants college women to become whores without being ostracized.
    And people complain about the boorish behavior of the student-athletes. The student-feminists merit similar scrunity.

    Snow then Sun

    We had about a half inch of the white fluffy stuff yesterday and a gorgeous sunny fall leaf raking day today.

    Wicked Bizah as they say in Southie, but global warming?

    Nope, just New England.

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    What a Mess

    I drove into work this morning and ran right into the Presidential juggernaut. St. Paul's Blvd, (and what's the ACLU going to do about that? by the way?) the main drag into town and running past the site of President Bush's speech this morning, was closed. Blocked by four dump trucks filled with sand. The protesters adolescents with signs children with crayon drawings were out in force, wielding signs of highly nuanced and thoughtful political commentary, such as "War=Terrorism" and "bush=liar." Apparently the author of the latter lacked a caps lock on her right hand. It was raining, so everything looked pretty wilted.

    Still, I was struck by the dissonance of seeing these people, proclaiming their doom and gloom politics of dead civilians, doomed soldiers, destruction, AIDS, global warming, et al, standing out in the rain smiling and waving at passing motorists. And laughing amongst themselves. I was ready to roll down the window and ask them "What's so funny?" but the light changed and I had to get to work. The only conclusion I could reach was that it wasn't really about conveying the message. If it was, they would have made the effort to make their signs look at least graphically presentable, rather than cartoonishly lettered on brown cardboard. It was about them being seen on the street corner holding a sign. Any sign, as long as they and their buddies approved of the message.

    Freaking narcissistic rabble.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    TV saga continues

    Cousin Don was kind enough to make a recommendation for a new TV set, and in doing so, pretty obviously implied that I was out of my league on the repair front. Which I pretty much knew.

    Anyhow, Don's suggestion was well taken, but too large to fit in the existing cabinet, which, due to local (i.e. sitting across the room as I type) political considerations, cannot be replaced or upgraded. So I have settled on this baby, illustrated here. Attention Cuz Don: You have about 24 hours to talk me out of it. After that, the credit card is on fire.

    New TV....

    What should Kurt buy for his next TV?

    My suggestion is here.

    Suggestions anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

    " In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. "Voodoo" economics. "

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    TV Trouble

    We arrived home this evening, grabbed the remote, and flipped on the television to catch the local news. Nothing. Walked over and manually pressed the power button, just like in the "olden days." Still nothing. Our TV is a 1992 RCA Circuit City floor model, so it doesn't really owe us anything. Still, the picture was excellent, so it was worth a rescue effort. Time for some serious troubleshooting.

    Said troubleshooting was complicated by the array of paraphernalia around and on top of the TV, as well as by the 500 pound wood armoir in which it resides. After disconnecting the TiVo, DVD player, and VCR and removing the complete Sopranos anthology from the perimeter, I was able to spin the TV around far enough to get to the power cord. That was fine, so I went to unplug it and try a new outlet. I immediately discovered that the space between the armoir and the wall is exactly the same width as my forearm, so as soon as I reached in to pull the plug, I could no longer see what I was doing. The armoir was too heavy to move, and this summer's project to mount it on castors remains undone, so I struggled on, sweat starting to bead on my brow and run down my sides. Thankfully, the wife was enormously helpful, sipping her cocktail and offering useful suggestions like, "could it be on a timer?" and "maybe the battery in the remote is bad."

    Eventually, I extracted the box from the cabinet, set it on the floor (that thing must weigh a hundred pounds), and plugged it into various outlets around the living room with no results. Now, my knowledge of electronics is not exactly boundless. In fact, it is quite limited. Some would say even rudimentary, and I would consider that a compliment.

    Nonetheless, I pulled out my trusty Craftsman tool set, which I normally reserve for pretending to work on cars, and set to work removing the back, this time pretending to work on TVs. My intention: replace a blown fuse. This is within my skill set, for two reasons: 1) I know what a fuse looks like, and 2) there is a Radio Shack close by the house.

    The back of the box was fairly easily removed by breaking two plastic clips (it doesn't work now, what do I care about a couple clips) and removing about ten self-tapping screws. The reveal: a huge CRT as expected, and a tiny circuit board, which was considerably less than expected. Following the power from the tap at the back of the cabinet, through what I presume to be a transformer, and into the circuitry revealed absolutely nothing that to me resembled a fuse. Stymied. 100 pound TV in the middle of the living room. 7 PM. No food. No news.

    Time to make something happen, as the wife was getting bored playing with the new iPod Nano. I ran upstairs, got the little 20-incher from the bedroom and hooked it up to the TiVo. The DVD and VCR were canned due to lack of inputs, and the 13-inch kitchen set relocated to the bedroom. Now I have a 27-inch, 100-pound sculpture (back removed, broken clips, thank you very much) sitting in the living room. The binoculars are on the coffee table so we can see the little bedroom TV, which now looks like Jonah sitting in that whale of an armoir. After the sewage spill, which has been cleaned but not repaired, it feels like everything is disintegrating around me.

    Any TV repair tips, there, Enginerd Don?

    Cultural Marxism

    Here is a fascinating essay on the origins of political correctness:
    To translate Marxism from economic into cultural terms, the members of the Frankfurt School - - Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Eric Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, to name the most important - - had to contradict Marx on several points. They argued that culture was not just part of what Marx had called society’s “superstructure,” but an independent and very important variable. They also said that the working class would not lead a Marxist revolution, because it was becoming part of the middle class, the hated bourgeoisie.

    Who would? In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question: a coalition of blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals.
    That sounds an awful lot like the constituency of the modern Democrat Party, doesn't it?
    Fatefully for America, when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the Frankfurt School fled - - and reestablished itself in New York City. There, it shifted its focus from destroying traditional Western culture in Germany to destroying it in the United States. To do so, it invented “Critical Theory.” What is the theory? To criticize every traditional institution, starting with the family, brutally and unremittingly, in order to bring them down. It wrote a series of “studies in prejudice,” which said that anyone who believes in traditional Western culture is prejudiced, a “racist” or “sexist” of “fascist” - - and is also mentally ill.
    I had no idea this kind of nonsense was actually planned out. I had always assumed that political correctness had sort of evolved on its own.
    Marcuse also argued for what he called “liberating tolerance,” which he defined as tolerance for all ideas coming from the Left and intolerance for any ideas coming from the Right. In the 1960s, Marcuse became the chief “guru” of the New Left, and he injected the cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School into the baby boom generation, to the point where it is now America’s state ideology.

    The next conservatism should unmask multiculturalism and Political Correctness and tell the American people what they really are: cultural Marxism. Its goal remains what Lukacs and Gramsci set in 1919: destroying Western culture and the Christian religion.
    But who on the left would ever believe it, let alone tolerate such an unmasking? There's lots more - read the whole thing.

    Hat Tip: Political Correctness Watch

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    I'll Vouch for That

    Check out this boorish behavior by a White Sox fan at the World Series:
    Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen issued a public apology on behalf of his organization to Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, whose wife was slapped by a fan in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Apparently, this paragon of bravery walked up to the little lady, slapped her upside the head, and took off. Fortunately, he slapped the wrong girl.
    "He slapped her and ran," Biggio said of the fan who struck his wife, Patty. "She ran after him. My brother-in-law ended up putting him against the wall. That's pretty sorry."

    Asked if Patty had been hurt, Biggio said his New Jersey-raised wife held her own.

    "You don't slap a New Jersey girl and get away with it," he said.
    Hat tip: Michelle

    Great News! Right?

    A breakthrough in breast cancer treatment:
    Studies in the Oct. 20, 2005, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that Herceptin, a drug already shown to prolong survival in patients with advanced breast cancer, can also cut in half the recurrence of a common form of early breast cancer.

    "The results are simply stunning,'' Gabriel Hortobagyi, a breast cancer specialist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, said in an editorial in the Journal. The tests "show highly significant reductions in the risk of recurrence, of a magnitude seldom observed."
    That's terrific! We should all be celebrating that kind of news! Right? Right? Wrong.
    However, one group not enthusiastic about the news is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), because Genentech uses animals in its drug testing, a requirement for FDA approval.

    "Caring people wouldn't think of offering up their beloved companion animals for hideous experiments," the site says, recommending that people make donations to organizations that "support cutting-edge non-animal studies" and not those "which fall back on cruel, archaic and unreliable animal tests."
    It's truly amazing where people will go in devotion to an ideology. Like the "all-abortions-all-the-time" feminists who have been driven to supporting late term partial birth abortions and opposing parental notification for abortions on 13 year olds, the "animals are people too" crowd finds itself on the bad news side of a human trial of a treatment that will evidently save thousands of women.
    Here is an interesting interview with the Peter Schweizer, the author of a new book outlining liberal hypocrisy. Among the revelations:

  • Peter Singer, who advocates euthanizing the terminally ill and disabled, has hired a team of providers to care for his mother suffering from Alzheimer's.

  • Michael Moore, who calls stock market investment "morally wrong," owns a portfolio including Halliburton and Boeing.

  • Nancy Pelosi, who bashes Wal-Mart for not allowing unions to run their business, uses non-union workers exclusively on her vinyard, and in her hotel and restaurants.

  • Barbra Streisand spends $22,000 annually on our "most precious resource," potable water, mostly to keep her landscaping green.

  • Al Franken, calls conservatives "racists." But over the course of his career less than 1% of his staff hires have been black people. Bob Jones University, which Franken labels a "racist" institution, employs a higher percentage of blacks.

  • Ralph Nader fired some of his employees for trying to form a union.

  • Michael Moore labels people living in mostly white neighborhoods racist latent segregationists. Moore lives in a Michigan town of 2500 people, not one of whom is black.

    Having written the book, Schweizer draws this fairly obvious but still instructive conclusion: It's another reminder that the ideas the left want to impose on the rest of us are so fundamentally bad that they don't even try to live by them. At the end of the day, when all the fun is done, I hope people view this as a book about ideas and the failure of liberal/Left ideas. They don't work for the leading lights of the Left. How could they possibly work for our country?

  • Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick are touring the Clinton Library. And pulling out the long knives:
    That president has never apologized for his vicious behavior. That president and his wife orchestrated frightening, retaliatory intimidation tactics against us for daring to tell the truth about the assaults against us.

    They are teaching perpetrators of violence against women that as long as you are pro-abortion enough to have the political support of the National Organization for Women, any crimes you commit against women in your “personal life” will be overlooked.
    With scandal fever again running rampant in Washington over some security leaks, it's almost easy to forget the kind of scandals Bill Clinton rained upon this country. Unless, I guess you were on the receiving end.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    The Humorless Left - Still Yet Again

    I previously noted (here and here) how humorless the left have become. Now we see even leftist comedians aren't very funny. Here we have lefty "comedian" Al Franken with his rolling-on-the-floor take on the still unresolved Karl Rove-Scooter Libby-CIA nonsense:
    "And so basically, what it looks like is going to happen is that Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed” because “outing a CIA agent is treason,” left-wing author and radio talk show host Al Franken asserted Friday night, to audience laughter, on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Franken qualified his hard-edged satire: "Yeah. And I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed it looks like." Franken later suggested that President Bush is at risk of receiving the same punishment, since Karl Rove likely told him what he did, but he added a caveat: “I think, by the way, that we should never ever, ever, ever execute a sitting President."
    That's rich, Al. You're a funny guy. Rove and Libby are "going to be executed," which makes you ambivalent because you are against the death penalty. Franken and his ilk have no problem sparing the lives of cop killers, but when he thinks capital punishment might be applicable to his political opponents, he needs to step back and re-evaluate his position. And he fancies that witty reparte.

    What a horse's behind.

    The Sexiest Woman Alive

    Esquire Magazine has declared Jessica Biel as "The Sexiest Woman Alive 2005."

    I say alright... but I really think Jessica and Eva Longoria, Maxim's Hot 100 #1 for 2005, should mud wrestle on Pay per View TV for bragging rights.

    Oh, what the hell, I'm a generous guy, feeling sympathy for the poor ratings on that liberal TV station, let it be broadcast late night on PBS. Now that's educational.

    Maybe Oscar the Grouch & Grover can do the play-by-play and color.

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Federalism & Roe vs. Wade via Meirs, Maher, and Coulter

    Despite my previous post and the title of this one, I am not insinuating another orgy behind tumbleweeds.

    I was watching a random episode of Bill Maher's HBO show that had Ann Coulter discussing Harriet Meirs Supreme Court appointment.

    Now given the fact that both Ann and Bill went to that little school in Ithaca, NY, I'm not surprised that they made an interesting point. Go Big Red! Screw BU- Harvard too!

    The point was that Roe vs. Wade is a decision that should be and should have been handled at the state level.

    It is a point that has been made many times before, but what occurred to me is how many decisions are based upon the premise the "bewildered herd" (to steal terminology from uber-lefty Noam Chomsky) can't decide what is right and wrong for itself.

    For example, I wonder how long it would have taken for the problems of segregation in Education to go away without the direct order of the Supreme Court. Would it have led to a smoother albeit delayed transition, or would we have had even worse race riots and chaos throughout the sixties, the seventies, and even into the eighties.

    Similarly with gay marriage, it appears that the next generation doesn't see sexual preference as such a big deal. So, why don't the lefties cool their heels for a little bit until the majority is soundly on their side?

    It is also ironic that many of the same people who would love to live in a Chomsky-esque lefty utopia have used the courts to shove their will down the public's throat.

    Is it simply because they, the morally superior liberal intellectuals, foolishly believe the "bewildered herd" will never come to the same conclusion if given enough time?

    Saturday, October 22, 2005

    End of World - New Yorkers Hardest Hit

    I just watched a Hurricane Wilma update on Fox News, and the weather guy was speculating on the storm's possible trajectory after crossing Florida. One possible track had the storm following directly along the east coast, crossing Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Morehead City, Norfolk, Ocean City, Cape May, Atlantic City, and into Long Island and New England.

    Brian's analysis of the potential impact of that scenario? He said it would cause big problems in the northeast. How parochial can these people get?

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Template Improvements

    In an effort to make the old blog a little more attractive and hopefully more readable, I have made some color changes:

  • Post titles have been changed from that awful straw color to black.
  • Links have been changed from a barely visible pale cyan to light royal blue.
  • Followed links have been changed from a crummy plum color to dark royal blue, which hopefully complements the light blue links.
  • Block quotes now carry a pale acqua background to better distinguish the words of others from the words of Cousins Kurt and Don.

    I hope this helps make things a little easier on the eye. If not, or if you have suggestions to further improve the "look and feel" hereabouts, please drop me a line.
  • Supreme Court Nominees

    I have been silent on the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, largely because the Constitution doesn't allow us to elect Supreme Court justices. Rather, we get to elect a President and he gets to select justices. Now along comes Power Line and sums up my feelings completely:
    One nuance I find particularly noteworthy is the way in which many conservatives ignore the tension between opposing Miers on ideological grounds and having spent the past five years arguing that the president has the right to have qualified nominees confirmed regardless of their ideology, so long as they are not extreme. Indeed, while conservatives argued that liberal Democrats should vote to confirm qualified conservative nominees (and that moderate Republican Senators certainly should), some conservatives now oppose Miers because she may be moderate or because she's not the right kind of conservative.
    And there's more by the same author here:
    Miers has achieved just about everything a lawyer can accomplish--head of a substantial law firm, head of the state bar association, and top legal adviser to the president. She also has a background in local politics. Only by insisting that a Supreme Court nominee possess either judicial experience or a portfolio of scholarly writings can one pronounce Miers unqualified. But this has never been the standard, and it's not clear why (ideological considerations aside) Republicans should invent a new standard with which to deal a blow to a Republican president.

    The Humorless Left - Again

    Sunday in this post I observed the apparent lack of good humor on the left:
    I love liberals because they are so predictably humorless and over-the-top. Give 'em a gentle nudge in the ribs just for fun, and they squeal like stuck pigs.
    Now, via Tim Blair comes this from Australia:
    Perhaps more important, it shows how the Australian Left, or at least those members who blog, has become a bunch of whining, humourless, self-absorbed bores.

    This doesn't necessarily mean the Right is correct and morally superior, or that the Left is behind and lacking scruples.

    It does mean Right-wing blogs are more fun to read and thus their messages are more frequently seen by non-combatants.

    And humour can do more to destroy an argument and puncture a buffoon than earnest, self-important dreariness.
    I'm sure if I was more proficient at humor, we would have more readers around here. But at least I know that I'm not getting much humor out of my writing, and that I should try to do better. According to the article, the left is humorless because they are to damn self-important for that:
    People convinced of their own purity of soul and vision, and of unalloyed evil in others, rarely find room for real dissent, or genuine laughter.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Minimum Wage

    The New York Times reports on the Senate's failure to raise the minimum wage:
    WASHINGTON -- Senate proposals to raise the minimum wage were rejected Wednesday, making it unlikely that the lowest allowable wage, $5.15 an hour since 1997, will rise in the foreseeable future.
    "The lowest allowable wage." What to make of that? If we assume, and this is not a stretch, that employers will not pay employees in excess of what they are capable of producing, doesn't the "lowest allowable wage" represent the "minimum level of productivity?" And what becomes of people unable to meet the minimum level of productivity? The CATO Institute has a good analysis:
    Simply stated, if the government coercively raises the price of some good (such as labor) above its market value, the demand for that good will fall, and some of the supply will become "disemployed." Unfortunately, in the case of minimum wages, the disemployed goods are human beings. The worker who is not quite worth the newly imposed price loses out. Typically, the losers include young workers who have too little experience to be worth the new minimum and marginal workers who, for whatever reason, cannot produce very much. First and foremost, minimum-wage legislation hurts the least employable by making them unemployable, in effect pricing them out of the market.

    An individual will not be hired at $5.05 an hour if an employer feels that he is unlikely to produce at least that much value for the firm. This is common business sense. Thus, individuals whom employers perceive to be incapable of producing value at the arbitrarily set minimum rate are not hired at all, and people who could have been employed at market wages are put on the street.
    That's right. The minimum wage hurts the least of us the most. And beyond the minimum wage groups like ACORN have decided to advocate for a "living wage." If the minimum wage makes the marginally employable unemployable, what would a so-called "living wage" do? Thomas Sowell has the answers:
    Just what is a living wage? It usually means enough income to support a family of four on one paycheck. This idea has swept through various communities, churches and academic institutions.

    Facts have never yet caught up with this idea and analysis is lagging even farther behind.

    First of all, do most low-wage workers actually have a family of four to support on one paycheck? According to a recent study by the Cato Institute, fewer than one out of five minimum wage workers has a family to support. These are usually young people just starting out.

    So the premise is false from the beginning. But it is still a great phrase, and that is apparently what matters, considering all the politicians, academics and church groups who are stampeding all and sundry toward the living wage concept.

    What the so-called living wage really amounts to is simply a local minimum wage policy requiring much higher pay rates than the federal minimum wage law. It's a new minimum wage.


    While trying to solve a non-problem -- supporting families that don't exist, in most cases -- the living wage crusade creates a very real problem of low-skilled workers having trouble finding a job at all.

    People in minimum wage jobs do not stay at the minimum wage permanently. Their pay increases as they accumulate experience and develop skills. It increases an average of 30 percent in just their first year of employment, according to the Cato Institute study. Other studies show that low-income people become average-income people in a few years and high-income people later in life.

    All of this depends on their having a job in the first place, however. But the living wage kills jobs.

    As imposed wage rates rise, so do job qualifications, so that less skilled or less experienced workers become "unemployable." Think about it. Every one of us would be "unemployable" if our pay rates were raised high enough.
    As the Democrats decry the failure to increase the minimum wage, it's important to remember that minimum and living wage laws do more to hurt the very people they purport to help.

    Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

    From the Washington Times:
    BAGHDAD - The president of the Iraqi Red Crescent has urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to stop sending aid marked with red crosses after the internationally protected symbol almost cost four staffers their lives.

    Two truck drivers and two volunteers were delivering water and medicine to the city of Haditha four weeks ago when they were captured by insurgents, said Said Hakki, a neurology professor who returned from Florida last year to take charge of Iraqi relief operations.

    "They were seized by a terrorist group who threatened to behead them because they thought the crosses on the water and food containers meant the men were Christian missionaries," said Mr. Hakki, who made his plea during a visit last week to ICRC headquarters in Geneva.

    He said the terrorists seemed unmoved by the fact that the two trucks themselves were marked with the red crescent symbol typically used in Muslim countries.


    Mr. Hakki said the kidnappers had bound and blindfolded the four men and told them to say their final prayers before the aid workers convinced their captors that they were Sunni Muslims from Fallujah and that their supervisor was a Sunni with strong tribal connections in the area.

    The four men then were hauled in front of an impromptu court headed by a long-bearded Algerian. In a series of frantic calls from their satellite phones, the drivers were able to reach Red Crescent officials, who enlisted the support of a local tribal leader.
    Although the so-called "insurgents" were prepared to behead the workers, they weren't above keeping the booty for themselves: "The men eventually were released, although the insurgents kept the trucks and their contents." That's some religion they're running over there.

    Cindy Redux

    Some time ago, early in the Cindy Sheehan saga, Cousin Don opined thusly
    Although I think my cousin is technically accurate in describing Cindy Sheehan as a "nutjob," I think she has good reason to be that way. This woman's life is a mess. And I feel a lot of heartfelt compassion for her . . .

    This woman thrust herself into the national spotlight, but I honestly believe it was because of the mess her life has become not some calculated intent for this to become the three ring circus the cable networks have turned it into.
    Since then, the media have largely moved on. But Cindy continues to mouth off. And she thinks Hillary Clinton is insufficiently left wing!
    Cindy Sheehan, the so-called "peace mom" on a crusade to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, is publicly blasting Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for her continued support of the ongoing conflict.

    "I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys," Sheehan writes.
    Hillary Clinton is a political animal? Gee, Cindy, do ya think? Hillary responds:
    She was granted a meeting with Sen. Clinton to discuss the war effort, but says the Democrat "apparently" didn't listen, as the senator told a reporter for the Village Voice, "My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain. ... I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal. ... I don't think it's the right time to withdraw."

    "That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me," Sheehan said.
    Wow. Cindy Sheehan gives Hillary a piece of her mind, Hillary responds with (and I can't believe I'm typing this) a sensible rationale for her position, and Sheehan accuses her of not listening. In Cindy's world, anyone who doesn't see Iraq through her vision is a not-listening ditto-head: if you don't "ditto Cindy" it's because you aren't listening. The irony is too delicious to ignore.

    Well so much for "tolerance" and "diversity" of opinion. This woman is not only irrational, she has delusions of grandeur (although having personally met Bush, McCain, Dole, Clinton, and Jesse Jackson, and having been arrested on national TV, one could argue that Cindy has managed to convert her delusions of grandeur into a sort of reality).

    New Blog Alert

    Via Dissecting Leftism, I followed a link to One Cosmos, which promises the following:
    Exploring the Intersection of Parapolitics, Biocosmology, Neuro-Developmental Pslackology, Transdimensional Anthropology, World Historical Evolution, Advanced Leisure Studies, Post-Primate Theology, Overmental Mysticism, Vertical Recollection, Cognitive Onanism, and the Bo Diddley Beat
    And here's an excerpt from a recent entry:
    “I’m getting there. The Arab world is stuck in the wayback machine, mired in the dark ages, right? If every other country were in the same neuro-developmental time, then their oil would be worthless, because there’d be no advanced nation that would have any use for it. But because there are countries ‘from the psychological future,’ the petrodollars flow in, from the future to the past--from the cognitive first world to the cognitive third world.”
    The author, "Gagdad Bob," seems to be a psychologist, and has some interesting takes on the news of the day. Now added to the blogroll for your convenience.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    The original Apple Music...

    The original and better sounding but sadly less portable Apple music...

    (By the way for those who don't get the joke, that's Rubber Soul by the Beatles who founded Apple Music Corporation many years ago)

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    It's in the Mail

    It's in the mail. A brandy-new iPod Nano. 1000 songs. On a credit card. Heck, I don't like 1000 songs.

    I mean, c'mon. My music "coming of age" dates from the mid-70s to mid-80s. Somehow, I doubt Steve Jobs envisioned his cutting edge Y2K product loaded up with vintage Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller, Bob Seger, Ian Hunter, or even Widespread Panic.

    I will enjoy those old classics while riding the bus.

    Unions can kill an Industry

    Check out this stunning report from Detroit:
    Ken Pool is making good money. On weekdays, he shows up at 7 a.m. at Ford Motor Co.'s Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, signs in, and then starts working -- on a crossword puzzle. Pool hates the monotony, but the pay is good: more than $31 an hour, plus benefits.

    "We just go in and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper," he says. "Otherwise, I've just sat."

    Pool is one of more than 12,000 American autoworkers who, instead of installing windshields or bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank set up by Detroit automakers and Delphi Corp. as part of an extraordinary job security agreement with the United Auto Workers union.
    Unbelievable. These guys are pulling in over $60,000 a year (plus benefits!) for doing nothing.When a gangster sets up a bank of no-work jobs, it's a crime. When a union does it, it's a industry "concession."

    How can any business be expected to survive, let alone prosper, with expenses like this on the books?

    Hat Tip: Betsy.

    Kennedy Attempts Rescue

    Finally, finally, Ted Kennedy has attempted to rescue someone in trouble in the water.
    Kennedy and a friend tried to rescue the men using a 13-foot boat but rough waters forced them back.
    This time, Kennedy actually called the Hyannis Fire Department for help. Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    I love liberals because they are so predictably humorless and over-the-top. Give 'em a gentle nudge in the ribs just for fun, and they squeal like stuck pigs. Case in point is the reaction to a new book, Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! The book portrays a couple kids setting up a lemonade stand and describes the obstacles in their way:
    Two of the book's villains, who resemble Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, and Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, tax the boys' profits, restrict the amount of sugar they can use in their drinks and require them to serve broccoli, too.

    A liberal lawyer, "Mr. Fussman," harasses the boys for putting a picture of Jesus on their stand.
    Like I said, a little gentle ribbing, right? WRONG!
    Liberals have lambasted the book as "brainwashing" and "Nazi propaganda."
    Brainwashing? Nazi propaganda? Over sugar and broccoli? Are these people for real? Apparently so, because they also think a good old-fashioned book burning may be in order:
    "If ever there was a book that public libraries should ban, it is this one," one outraged reviewer wrote on
    Man, that's good stuff. You can't make that up. And the author promises more silly outrages in the near future.
    "Help! Mom! Hollywood Is in My Hamper," which takes on politicking liberal celebrities, is due in March, she said, and lawyers and judges soon will be the stars of their own "Help! Mom!" books.

    Does chicken little have the flu?

    Recent outbreaks of the avian flu (H5N1) in Romania and Turkey and previous outbreaks in Asia are spurring a flurry of recent press coverage about a coming epidemic.

    One Texas based TV station's website has a story titled Fears About Bird Flu Pandemic In East Texas Are Premature, and another source from Scranton, PA.

    So, what do we really know (most of these "factoids" come from TIME magazine:

    1. The virus has a mortality rate of 50% or greater - not good
    2. The virus has not mutated significantly in recent cases - good
    3. Some limited protection may come from previous flu vaccines - good
    4. The only vaccine available for H5N1 takes a ton of vaccine per individuals which given limited manufacturing capacity - not good
    5. Current anti-virals need to be administered really quickly after infection to be effective - not good
    6. Poultry handling and slaughter techniques in many of the infected regions are not as sanitary as the US and Canada

    Other "hypothetical" factoids from my head:

    1. The virus has many, many hosts giving it ample chances to mutate
    2. To date, the virus has mainly been in underdeveloped populations so the death rate may not be quite as high in a population that had been vaccinated against many strains of flu annually

    Other nonsensical "factoids":

    1. Personally I think I'll start eating more frogs and pork - sorry Kermit and Miss Piggy
    2. Why aren't we freaking out about Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease still?
    3. Newspapers and Magazines are desperate for more sensational disaster stories because O.J. has killed anyone recently and Bush doesn't sleep with his interns

    Vicious unsubstantiated rumors

    It seems Harriet Miers and Laura Bush were one year apart at SMU.

    Harriet frequently goes on long runs with George W. Bush and has been engaged but never married.

    George was known to be quite wild in his younger years.

    HMMM... I wonder have George and Harriet ever run off behind the tumbleweeds during one of these hot and sweaty runs?

    Could explain a ton about what people don't understand about this nomination?

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Toledo Mayhem

    This afternoon I watched rioting, looting, and arson in Toledo, Ohio. The justification? Protest of a neo-nazi rally that never happened.

    I didn't know quite how to react to this turn of events, but Mike Pechar, the Interested Participant, sums it up nicely:
    So, in summary, the white supremacists organize a march to ostensibly protest black criminal gangs and the black community responds by rioting, looting, and setting at least one building on fire -- in their own neighborhood. The logic escapes me.

    Students in Arizona say...(fixed links)

    "Serves them right!"

    Yes, boys and girls-- now thanks to the no-nonsense, detention giving, ruler knuckle smacking state of Arizona, teachers in Arizona public schools will be required to take a test in order to teach.

    And guess what kids, the teachers aren't happy about it.

    Well, students, you should all remind those teachers how you really didn't give a hoot about where New Jersey was located, and really didn't care much about filling out that map of the 49 other states also. Although, boys and girls, since you live in Arizona, we will forgive you if you think Mexico is a state also.

    No word yet on whether this test will require a number 2 pencil or not.


    Friday, October 14, 2005

    The President's "Staged" Photo-Op

    Michelle says "spread the word." Who am I to argue with the likes of Michelle? So here goes.

    The press is breathless and disturbed over the fact that some troops were briefed prior to their interview with President Bush. Here's what one of the actual participants has to say about that:
    Yesterday, I (bottom right corner in the picture) was chosen to be among a small group of soldiers assigned to the 42ID's Task Force Liberty that would speak to President Bush, our Commander-in-Chief. The interview went well, but I would like to respond to what most of the mass-media has dubbed as, "A Staged Event."

    First of all, we were told that we would be speaking with the President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, so I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us NOT to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President.

    We were given an idea as to what topics he may discuss with us, but it's the President of the United States; He will choose which way his conversation with us may go.

    We practiced passing the microphone around to one another, so we wouldn't choke someone on live TV. We had an idea as to who we thought should answer what types of questions, unless President Bush called on one of us specifically.
    So the soldiers didn't think it was "staged." What do they think of the press's portrayal of the event?
    It makes my stomach ache to think that we are helping to preserve free speech in the US, while the media uses that freedom to try to RIP DOWN the President and our morale, as US Soldiers. They seem to be enjoying the fact that they are tearing the country apart.


    The question I was most asked while I was home on leave in June was, "So...What's REALLY going on over there?" Does that not tell you something?! Who has confidence in the media to tell the WHOLE STORY? It's like they WANT this to turn into another Vietnam. I hate to break it to them, but it's not.
    Thank the Lord for the internet. Without it, we would be left with nothing but anti-American media spin and it would be another Vietnam.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Model Airplane Mania

    When an anal-retentative German decides to make a radio-controlled model airplane, you get something like this.

    On the other hand, if a good old boy down south gets the same jones, this is a more likely result.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Nostalgia Post

    a link to Sam's Toybox, displaying a collection of classic toys from the 60s and 70s.

    And this site serves as a clearinghouse for pictures of restored bikes, most of them Schwinn Sting-Rays.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    This is "News"

    This report from Fox News is curious at best:
    AUSTIN, Texas - Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, who once owned a .45-caliber revolver, is not licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Texas. State officials refused Monday to reveal whether she has ever been licensed.
    And the point is what? I have a .38, but have not yet applied for a concealed carry permit. Is Fox implying that Miers should have applied for a permit, or that she shouldn't have had the gun without one? Either way, it's a non-starter, because it's not against any law to own a gun and not conceal it without a concealed permit. Which the report goes on to state:
    A person in Texas can own a gun without a concealed handgun license. Texas is one of 43 states that allow concealed weapons, and more than 230,000 residents are registered under the law.
    Again, not only were no laws broken, but 43 states share the same laws. So the point of this "news" story is exactly what?

    The "story" goes on to note this fascinating anecdote: "On the issue of licensing charitable bingo groups, Miers was asked if the Ku Klux Klan (search) could qualify to run a bingo operation. 'Well, I would certainly hope not," she replied." That's some scintillating reporting as well. But never fear. Fox finishes with a flourish:
    Later that year, in October, Miers wrote a note to Bush saying that she hopes the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, recognize that their parents are "cool."

    Rabbit Season! Duck Season!

    I received this humorous description of the machiavellian beauracracy one needs to traverse in order to go duck hunting in Virginia:
    I just returned from a trip to the Courthouse, after a call from Than Greene reminding me to get my yearly duck blind license. I love this stuff because it’s a combination of the good old boy South, pirates of the Caribbean, mysteries and miseries of duck hunting, and government fraud. Than is one of the Ship Cabin boys and he gives me a heads up when I need it. (“Nathaniel Greene” perhaps, although this is Virginia so it could be “Thanatopsis” or “Thanatheria:” we hate to give away a person’s sexual identity with their paper name.)

    I’d guess there are perhaps 100 “deep water” (in my case about 6 feet deep, and as distinguished from “shore” blinds, which are for pantywaists) blind locations in Back Bay, and perhaps 25 deep water blinds. September 30 is the last day to pay for the 2006 license, although until this year there was no way to know that: the Clerk didn’t send any notice. If you don’t pay, your blind location (or blind license – who knows) “goes into a lottery” that no one has ever actually seen conducted. You can’t pay by mail, only in person, and you have to pay cash: like a speakeasy. The Clerk of the Court (charged by the Commonwealth with running this operation) will not show you the list of blind numbers or who has paid. (It’s the same place marriage licenses are issued, so you get a quick lesson in the weaker aspects of western civilization too.)

    So I paid $27 for a yearly right to have a duck blind at a certain but poorly defined location in Back Bay. My 1920-era description says “750 yards southeast of the clubhouse” but neglects to mention which clubhouse. There is no map of the locations in 1920. One year we put the license on a salt-treated 4 x 4 and stuck that in the water where Back Bay Blanton (the previous owner of the location) judged the right location (“You know I never actually hunted from this blind, so I’m not real sure...” says he, as we circle around in the pouring cold rain and he looks grimly for landmarks on the shore), but someone pulled that out later. Hunters in boats were not allowed to shoot within 500 yards of such stakes, so they pull them out: as of this year only a genuine blind counts: not the stake.

    “Do you want to buy a (Federal) duck stamp too?” (It really is a stamp with a painting of a duck on it.) “What do I get for that?” “Nothing: you have to have one to get the blind license.” “Well then: yes.” On the stamp back it says in very small light grey type “...waterfowl stamps must be in possession of licensee with respective stamp validations on the license.” What validations? What license? I can’t see why carrying a gooey little postage stamp, in addition to the actual metal duck blind license plate the stamp entitled me to, is a useful thing. Virginia has only two game wardens and they are chasing bear claw pirates in the Appalachians; the blind is actually for hunters, not ducks, and I don’t have a hunting license anyway. But $27 is a very reasonable price for all this administration and paper brou-ha-ha: absolutely none of it affects what actually happens on Back Bay.

    You have to BUILD the blind, if you build one at all, by November 1: the true hunters don’t want you out there pounding away during the season. No one has a map of where the state designated the locations in 1920 to keep hunters from accidentally peppering the next blind over with shot, and most boys who have blinds have inched them over the years to where they thought the ducks really were. Most people don’t even build a blind: it’s a nuisance and it’s very cold out there before a winter dawn. I have not yet met a rocket scientist in a duck blind: I guess they don’t like the cold, or maybe the ducks, or maybe cold wet dogs.

    There are several signs in the Clerk’s office saying “If you don’t have a blind or don’t use the one you have, please sell the license (a private sale of an annual state license? Should I sell my car’s license plate to someone who’d use it more?) to someone who will use it.” They apparently don’t realize that the very reason most boys keep the license is to keep others from hunting there: not to hunt there themselves. The Ship Cabin boys have 6 blind licenses: one with an actual blind and five to keep everyone else away from the first. (One of their locations is “100 yards off the south tip of Big Island.” Big Island disappeared 30 years ago.) The Ram Island boys (Ram Island disappeared before 1950.) have only one blind, and they lease it to the Ship Cabin Club.

    Dean Davis put some of his blinds in the names of his grandchildren when they said a few years ago that you couldn’t have more than two. He “sold one of his blinds to Sonny Stallings for $5,000.” Selling something you don’t own is a way of life around the Bay: only slightly frowned on because it’s often very hard to tell just what marshy, undefined mess you do own. Sonny is regarded as a sharp sportsman for that move. Unfortunately they can’t agree just WHICH of Dean’s locations Sonny bought: Dean is dead, his son is a contentious idiot, and the grandchildren can be deprived of their property as easily as they were given it, apparently. (I can’t imagine that six year olds toodled in to pay for a blind license. Maybe so. Who knows.)

    So the summary is correct. I have a license plate for a blind I don’t have, to hunt ducks I don’t shoot, with a gun I don’t own. (I am actually a good shot, let it be known: depends on how far away things are.) But no one ELSE has this license damn it, and the whole business builds character.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Red Sox lose and the Sox fans say....

    That wasn't so bad. No 10th inning heart wrenching defeat to the hated Yankees; just a painless sweep by a team cursed by Shoeless Joe.

    Now all of New England will just cheer for whoever is playing the Yankees.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    This CNN report, posted October 7th, indicates the terrorists have surrendered Afghanistan:
    Reading from a summary of the letter, Whitman said al-Zawahiri concedes that al Qaeda has lost many key leaders, is resigned to defeat in Afghanistan, and that its lines of communication and funding sources have been seriously disrupted. Al-Zawahiri includes a plea for financial support, indicating he is strapped for money, Whitman said.
    Man, that's good news! Here's the New York Times report on the same story:

    *cue crickets chirping*

    Okay, so it has been apparent the terrorists haven't been gaining ground in Afghanistan for some time now. But the letter, written by bin Laden's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, also discusses operations in that country. And those don't meet al-Zawahiri's approval, either:
    In the letter, al-Zawahiri warns that some of the tactics currently employed by the insurgency, including the slaughtering of hostages and the suicide bombings of Muslim civilians, may risk alienating the "Muslim masses," Whitman said Thursday.
    That's right, al-Qaeda thinks the Iraq insurgency is alienating other Muslims! That's good news, too. Right? Of course it is! Because without support from the rest of Muslimia, the insurgency will eventually collapse. So what does the Times have to say about our greatly improved odds of victory in creating a stable and peaceful Iraq?
    Six marines were killed in two roadside bomb attacks in western Iraq on Thursday as the United States command pressed a two-pronged offensive against insurgent strongholds along the Euphrates River, American officials announced today.
    Yeah, why muddy things up with some good news? Run with more death and destruction. The report makes no mention of the results of the "two-pronged offensive," so they must have been good news for our side. Does anyone have any doubt that if the insurgents had beaten back the U.S. offensive, that story would have been above the fold on page one?

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    When Liberals Collide

    From The Virginian-Pilot:
    The people working to build the area’s first permanent housing for the homeless are proud that their project would turn a run-down warehouse at the edge of Park Place into a residential complex – a place to call home.
    What liberal could be against permanent housing for the homeless? That's good, right? Wrong! The historians think it's going to be too, well . . . "homey:"
    But state historians bristle because the design looks too “residential and suburban.” They say it must retain its warehouse look because parts of the building are historically significant and date back to 1928.
    Gotta preserve those roaring 20s wharehouses, don't ya know. Let the homeless stay on the streets a few more months while the taxpayers foot the bill to redesign the project and satisfy the State Historians.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Yankees Win

    Red Sox lose:

    NYY 4, LAA 2
    WP: Mussina LP: Colon

    CHW 14, BOS 3
    WP: Contreras LP: Clement

    Sleep tight, with visions of sugarplums, at least for Tuesday night. Tomorrow: Let the games resume.

    The Yanks west coast game doesn't start until ten eastern, so we're in for a long night.

    Update: And a long night it was. The Yankees lost a game that didn't end until after 1AM eastern time. I'm still yawning here.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Rednecks aren't just in the South

    This isn't in Jasper County, Georgia. It's Maine!

    Honey, do you smell something?

    We live in a three story house, with a garage, utility room, and guest room with bath on the first floor, living room, dining, and kitchen on the second floor, and two bedrooms on the third floor.

    This morning I woke up, dressed, and went downstairs to go to work. I reached the second floor and noticed a nasty odor. Down the stairs to the first floor I went, where I discovered . . . raw sewage.

    The tub was nearly full and the toilet had overflowed. The bathroom floor was covered, the carpet in the guest room about 50% soaked, and the laundry had a nice sheen on the floor as well. The stench was horrendous.

    I raced back up stairs to tell my wife to stop running any water and pulled out the yellow pages. It is startling how many contractors there are that specialize in cleaning up sewage spills. This must be more common than I could have guessed. Anyway, confronted with an array of options, I settled on DiR-DECON, because they promised to clean up after “suicides, homicides, human decomposition, accidents, gross filth (whatever that is), and sewer.” I figured with that resume, my little spill wouldn’t look bad to these people. While I waited on the cleanup crew, I also called Atomic Plumbing to come out and see what was up with the pipes.

    The cleanup “crew” turned out to be one guy in a white van with a trailer. He took a look around, I signed a work order, and he put on a biohazad suit, pulled a blue hose out of his van and started sucking up the sewage. It turns out that sewage can’t be simply cleaned off something porous, because you can’t get the bacteria out. So all the wood base and shoe mold had to be removed, and the carpet torn out. The vinyl flooring had to come up because the water had worked its way underneath. Everything was bagged as hazardous waste, and taken to an incinerator. It took this guy about six hours to vacuum up the sewage, tear out all the finishes, and decontaminate the exposed floor slab.

    Meanwhile, out in the yard, the plumbers (there were two of them) arrived and began snaking out my main sewer line. They got out almost to the sidewalk, but the snake would go no further. That was where the digging commenced.

    A little ways down they uncovered the top of a city cleanout that had been buried. Below that, at the point where my line connected to the cleanout, it had cracked off, allowing dirt into the sewer line and clogging it up. That was pretty easily fixed, and this time I had them install the cleanout at grade level so I could find it again in the future.

    Missed a whole day of work, but at least the house doesn’t smell like ass anymore. And at least the house isn’t located in New Orleans, either. So I'm not really complaining.

    Plumbing repairs: $667.70
    Cleanup: $1785.84
    No sewage in the house: Priceless.

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    ACLU Duplicity

    The ACLU on releasing new photographs of prostitutes and their clients:
    Delaware ACLU Executive Director Drew Fennell said public humiliation should not be used as a law enforcement tactic. He said the photos are degrading not only to the individual, but the person’s family, friends and employer.
    The ACLU on releasing old photographs of American soldiers abusing Abu Ghraib prisoners:
    Today’s historic ruling is a step toward ensuring that our government’s leaders are held accountable for the abuse and torture that happened on their watch. The American public has a right to know what happened in American detention centers, and how our leaders let it occur.

    Hat tip: Knowledge is Power

    Yankees - Red Sox *YAWN*

    Well, that was a letdown. I expected three meaningful, hardfought games. Instead, the Yanks lost two of three, still managed to claim the AL East on a technicality, and then the Sox backed into the playoffs in the middle of game 3 when the Indians lost. A spring training game ensued, and all drama vanished. What a disappointment.

    There was an interesting moment in the middle innings, as starters were being replaced by Triple-A call-ups. Red Sox manager Terry Fraancona allowed David Ortiz, trailing Yankee 3rd Baseman Alex Rodriquez by one in the AL homerun derby to remain in the game for a final at-bat to catch A-Rod. Joe Torre obliged by walking Ortiz, obviously intentionally.

    Let's hope the playoff games are more dramatic than this weekend.