Christmas Idea of the Week
Your moment of zen: "Duct tape is like the force: It has a dark side and a light side and it holds the universe together."
- Carl Zwanzig
Shoppers did not hold back this holiday weekend, spending a whopping $27.8 billion and setting the tone for what retailers hope will be a very merry Christmas, according to the National Retail Federation.Typically, the New York Times has already identified the dark cloud behind the silver lining. Case in point:
As the nation's retail executives began poring over, and in some cases despairing over, sales receipts from the holiday weekend, one pattern became clearer: consumers mobbed discount chains, with their $398 laptops and 5 a.m. openings, but largely shopped right past other specialty retailers at the mall.Is there any story The Times can't spin into "despair?"
A woman who won a $65.4 million Powerball jackpot with her husband five years ago was found dead at her home overlooking the Ohio River, where she had apparently been for days before anyone found her, police said.Dead and alone with sixty five million. How is her husband taking the tragedy? As well as can be expected, given his condition:
Metcalf died in 2003 at age 45 while living in a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate built in Corbin, Kentucky. His death followed multiple run-ins with the law, including a child-support dispute from a previous marriage and a drunken-driving charge filed before he hit the jackpot.In my mind, money earned is always better spent than money acquired.
In his first tour, he noticed that members of the press were reluctant to photograph Iraqis laughing, giving the thumbs up sign, or cheering. Yet Bowers saw plenty that would have made fine snapshots. In Baghdad, Al Kut and Al-Nasiriyah, Bowers reported no signs of anti-American feeling at all among Iraqis.Nice. Our own press is against us. But it gets worse:
At the same site, the Marines had repaired an old Ferris wheel. The motor was dead, but when two Marines pushed and pulled by hand they could get the thing turning to give rides to the children of the Iraqi employees. They did so for hours on end. A photographer from a large American media company watched impassively. "Why don't you take a picture of this?" demanded one Marine. The photographer snorted, "That's not my job."The American media turn my stomach.
Massachusetts' attorney general is launching an investigation into several supermarkets that stayed open opened on Thanksgiving in defiance of the state's Puritan-era Blue Laws. [...]Boortz summed the whole thing up very well:
Reilly's office had earlier warned the Whole Foods supermarket chain not to open on Thanksgiving after a competitor complained.
If Whole Foods opens this Thursday, criminal charges will be filed. Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American Revolution, and now a state where people can be charged with crimes for selling perfectly legal products on days that their competitors don't want them to. Amazing.
A question mark imposed over a photo of a gay-pride flag prompted Stetson University officials to halt distribution of a student-run magazine. [...]Now, wait a minute here. A question mark is hostile to homosexuals" and constitutes "hate speech?" A question mark constitutes an "attack?"
Superimposed on the flag is an almost transparent question mark, something Wasser, 21, feared could be interpreted as hostile to homosexuals. He complained to university officials, who agreed and asked magazine staffers not to distribute it on campus.
"I was afraid that back cover could be seen as an attack on myself or on the people that flag represents, or the movement, which makes it a hate speech," Wasser said Friday.
The Irish rocker also predicted that his music will still be around in 100 years, explaining that his songs occupy "an emotional terrain that didn't exist before our group did."That's right, Bono. You single handedly created a brand new "emotional terrain" for all of humanity. That and 75 cents will get you a cup of coffee. Get over yourself.
I got better treatment in there than I do at some hotels. I'm telling you, it was picturesque, said Thistle, who served an 18-month sentence on drug charges.Meanwhile the DA has the gaul to defend the terms of the plea bargin, based mainly on the fact that the man the prince sent flying 150 ft in the air to his death with the hood of the royal BMW was drunk and high while walking.
It was better than a B&B, Thistle said. My friends asked me why I wanted to leave.
Murtha, a 73-year-old Marine veteran decorated for combat service in Vietnam, issued his call for a troop withdrawal at a news conference on Thursday.So tonight, 24 hours later, the Republicans said, OK, buddy, let's vote on that pullout. Put up or shut up. The result? The House voted 403-3 to reject a nonbinding resolution calling for an immediate troop withdrawal.
Democrats said it was a political stunt and quickly decided to vote against it in an attempt to drain it of significance.This is too much. The Dems line up a littany of criminal accusations, but when asked to back them up on the record, only three will do so. And then they accuse the Republicans of practicing the "rankist politics." Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
"A disgrace," declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame," added Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat.
The sad truth is that they've painted themselves into the corner where they cannot allow the United States to win this war. The political damage to them would be too great. It's not so much they actively want the US to be defeated, humiliated, and further threatened; it's just at this point they cannot afford any other outcome.
...employees of TV company Endemol NV had worked for weeks setting up more than 4 million dominoes in an attempt to break the official Guinness World Record for falling dominoes.Unfortunately, a sparrow flew into the hall and managed to knock over 23,000 of the dominoes. So they shot and killed it. And the reaction?
The Dutch animal protection agency demanded prosecution Tuesday for the shooting of a sparrow that knocked over 23,000 dominoes during an attempt to set a world record.Prosecution? How, pray tell, does one deal with a bird in an exhibition hall? Point him to the door? Set out a trail of bread crumbs? Birds are, after all, pretty hard to catch, what with that flight thing they do and all. Particularly with 4 million dominoes covering the floor. But that doesn't matter to the activists.
"I think they were awfully fast to pull out a rifle. If a person started knocking over a few dominoes they wouldn't shoot him would they?"Perhaps ironically, Hans has hit on something that would have made better TV than seeing the domino drop. Personally, I would pay good money to see animal rights activists trying to sedate a wild sparrow indoors while simultaneously avoiding 4 million dominoes.
Hans Peeters, director of the Netherlands Bird Protection agency, said the killing was uncalled for.
"They could have captured it or sedated it or something," he said.
...where the unrest first flared on Oct. 27 after two youths jumped over the wall of a electrical substation, thinking they were being pursued by the police, and were electrocuted.The Associated Press describes them this way:
...angry over the accidental deaths of two teenagers, of Mauritanian and Tunisian descent, who were electrocuted while hiding from police in a power substation.CNS News puts it this way before noting their African heritage:
The clashes, which began Oct. 27 when two teenagers hiding from police were electrocuted in an electrical facility...But CNN, the ever-politically-correct news outlet, tries to convey the message that these were black teenagers and trips all over itself:
Hard to say because it's been 11 days since two African-American teenagers were killed, electrocuted during a police chase, which prompted all of this.African American? Born in France to north African parents, and CNN can't figure out they're not Americans?
Still, I thought that something good could eventually come of all this, if we could just find a way to cross-pollenate the French and Muslims, and create a hybrid race of Muslims that surrender. But if they really wanted to end the violence, I thought it would be a good idea to award the soccer World Cup to France so that their people could counter-riot. It would be a battle between all the hooligans at the bars vs. Allah-huligan ackbars.
Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."
Since then riots have swelled into a broader challenge against the French state and its security forces. The violence has exposed deep discontent in neighborhoods where African and
Muslim immigrantsand their French-born children are trapped by poverty, unemployment, racial discrimination, crime, poor education and housing.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court dismissed the appeal filed by parents who had sued the Palmdale School District over a sex survey handed to students in the 1st, 3rd and 5th grades. The court, in upholding a lower court decision, ruled that "there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children."Got that, Don? Your budding linebacker is subject to sexual propaganda, starting no later than the 1st grade, from all sorts of venues, and you have no fundamental right to influence it. But the Ninth Circus wasn't done.
Furthermore, parents have no fundamental right to influence their children on sexual matters "in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs," the court stated.Got that, Don? If the State decides your "influence" on matters of values or religion is inappropriate, you are SOL, buddy.
"On the merits, there is no justification for the Republican court splitting proposal. It is simply a partisan exercise to appease the radical right," Pelosi said in a press release.To Nancy Pelosi, if you think you have a right (I would call it an obligation) to influence your children on matters of sex or religion, you are a member of the "radical right." And the Democrats wonder why they lose the "values" vote.
Carter was an awful president but is perhaps an even worse human being. ...More tidbits from the Carter era: Inflation 13.3%; Mortgage rates 20%; Unemployment 8%; Crime increased by 50%; Approval rate 25%. And the Carter solution? "Get used to it."
Carter’s abetting of the fall of the Shah of Iran represented the singular achievement of the Islamic terrorists we are fighting today. ...
To this day he proudly insists that he was the first American president in 50 years to avoid sending troops into combat, which is why he calls the failed effort to rescue the Iranian hostages a “humanitarian mission.” ...
Carter not only stood by idly as Islamic terrorists gained their first nation state in Iran, but openly rooted for the communist takeover of Nicaragua. ...
Alito's politically conservative views were not in dispute. "Of course he's against abortion," his 90-year-old mother Rose told reporters at her home in Hamilton, N.J.That's right, there were actually reporters who went to the home of a 90-year-old Catholic woman and asked for her 55-year-old son's position on abortion. And if you called them reporters, they would probably sniff and ask you to refer to them as "journalists."
The quiet neighborhood Mrs. Alito has lived in for over 50 years has been turned upside down all week by a swarm of national reporters who have phoned and shown up at the doorstep of not only her but many of her neighbors. ...Coyotes is too good for these people. "Leeches" or "vultures" are better.
One neighbor, who asked the DRUDGE REPORT to withhold their name so the press wouldn’t call them at home, was stunned at the treatment the 90 year-old grandmother had received. “Mama Alito is just a sweet lady and we don’t understand why she is being hounded by these reporters. She can’t even go outside and tend to her fall flowers. She’s just a proud mother, what do they want?”
When told of the latest Alito episode one Washington insider said, “Why are they harassing Judge Alito’s 90 year-old mother when he has written over 350 legal opinions? The media should leave Judge Alito’s mother alone. ”
The Democratic Party is America's last, best hope to bridge the divisions of class, race, region, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We will succeed if we continue to govern by the same principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth — the principles of strength, inclusion and opportunity.With those platitudes in mind, it is instructive indeed to see how the party of inclusion and opportunity treats a black Republican:
Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.Nice. Oh, yeah, the Democrats are also real big on the Constitutional "right to privacy." You know that one, the one that guarantees that a woman can abort her husband's child without telling him. So how do the Dems demonstrate their respect for the right to privacy? Like this:
Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log.
Operatives for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) also obtained a copy of (Steele's) credit report - the only Republican candidate so targeted.Not much privacy afforded there. The diverse and tolerant Democrats go on to say that racist tactics are A-OK with them, as long as they are directed against Republicans:
State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, a black Baltimore Democrat, said she does not expect her party to pull any punches, including racial jabs at Mr. Steele, in the race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.There you have it. A Democratic state senator admits, unapologetically, that her party represents democracy at its worst. No argument here.
"Party trumps race, especially on the national level," she said. "If you are bold enough to run, you have to take whatever the voters are going to give you. It's democracy, perhaps at its worse, but it is democracy."