Twitter Updates

What People Say:
"I never thought I'd read the phrase Crazy Politico's Rantings in the NYT. I'll bet they never thought they'd print anything like that phrase either." TLB

Blogroll Me!

My Blog Rolls

American Flag Bloggers

American Flags

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy 2006

Happy New Year Welcome to 2006

To all of my loyal (and any new) readers out there, I hope that 2006 is a very happy year for all of you. I'm not a New Years resolution kind of guy, because I never follow through on them. But that doesn't mean I don't have some things I'd like to see happen in 2006, and some things I'm going to try and accomplish in this new year. So here's my wish list and some goals for the new year.

1. I would love to see a peaceful, cooperative resolution to the nuclear issues with Iran and North Korea. I don't hold a lot of hope for it, but I'd love to see it.

2. I'd like to see the mainstream media start acknowledging good things in the world, not just bad. To that end, I don't want to turn on the news and see another airplane with a problem as it circles the airport. It looks like the news channels are on a death watch when they do that.

3. I'd love to see American's realize we aren't red and blue, the news calls us that. We are all kinds of different people, and two general classifications don't work.

4. I would like to see Dr. Z from Sports Illustrated, The Baldwins, and all the other folks who've promised to move out of the US because George Bush won elections make good on their promises. I e-mailed Dr. Z about 5 times after the election and asked if he'd found his house in New Zealand yet. He doesn't answer.

5. I want to spend more time with my family, both wife and kids, and brothers and parents. Hopefully I find some work in that end of the country fairly soon. Otherwise it's more airline tickets, and I'm tired of airports.

6. I'd like to see Chevy, Ford or Chrysler come out with a hybrid car that makes people want to buy it. Scratch that hybrid up there.... ANY CAR! I'd love to see the US back at the forefront of the auto industry, but sadly, we are on the bottom of it. I now own 3 of the Korean cars I used to laugh at, because the US cars just aren't as good, as cheap, or as well covered. I'm sad about that

7. I'd like people to forget about skin color, racial orgins, etc, and treat each other the way they'd like to be treated. The golden rule does work, but too few remember what it is. (Hint: It isn't 'Do unto others, then split')

8. Finally, I guess I will make a resolution. I WILL learn at least two of the songs out of the book my daughter bought me for Christmas before I move back to Illinois. No matter how much it makes my fingers hurt. To all, a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year.
Read The Full Post!

Fluff For Greta

Greta, the Hooah Wife, stopped by my blog yesterday looking for fluff and got whacked with creationism and intelligent design instead, so I promised her some fluff. Since she didn't specify a flavor, I'm giving her Orange Fluff, one of my favorite easy deserts...

2 medium cans mandarin oranges
1 large box orange flavored jello
1 qt. small curd cottage cheese
1 container (medium sized) of Cool Whip

Throw everything except the oranges in a bowl, and mix until the jello isn't gritty in the cool whip. Depending on your taste you may want a little less cottage cheese, so you can mix it in slowly until it's at a consistency you prefer.

Fold in the oranges, drained. Chill for about 30 minutes to an hour, and enjoy.
It's easy to make, and everyone (except my daughter) likes it, I haven't tried it with french vanilla cool whip, but that might be alright too.

The rest of today's fluff. It's the eve of a new year, and I'll be doing as I have for the last 15 years or so, sitting around not worrying about parties, etc. Instead I'm going to work on my guitar playing a bit, work on a couple of web pages, and maybe watch a movie. I got Enemy at the Gates for Christmas, and love the flick, even though it's rather depressing.

I'll also be catching up on my blog roll reading, since I went on vacation I haven't hit everyone as much as I should, and I'm going to try and make up for it.

I hope that if you are going out for the parties tonight that you are safe about it. Remember, while you can make sure you don't drink and drive, you can't control the other folks on the road, so use extra caution.

Have fun, be safe, and find someone cute to kiss at midnight.
Read The Full Post!

Friday, December 30, 2005

And Guess Who's Pissed!

The Department of Justice has started an inquiry in the leaking of information in the domestic 'spying' program that NSA is running. Guess who's hacked off about it. Go to Stop the ACLU to find out.

Considering this is how the Plamegate investigation started it will be interesting to hear the left spin this as "retribution" towards news organizations.
Read The Full Post!

Intelligent Evolution Anyone?

I went to Lone Pony's blog today, and she had a very well written, and thoughtful piece on her teaching style, and how she deals with her own beliefs on creationism/ID, and what she teaches. It got me thinking quite a bit about the idea of intelligent design (creationism) and the Darwin Theory of Evolution. I wrote a fairly long answer to her post, deleted it, and decided I should weigh in with more room, like on my own blog.

Then I went to People Covered in Fish, scrolled down, and he also had a long post on the idea of ID vs. Evolution. That capped it, I needed to post something on this subject. Not because I want to follow on their coat tails, but because I think both THEORIES are wrong, and right, and need to be intermingled.

Stick with me, this post is a bumpy ride that took about 3 rewrites, and I still don't think I've totally conveyed my thoughts on the two theories, but it's about as close as I can come on 4 hours of sleep and too much coffee today.

Evolutionary Evidence has a large amount of data showing that human and 'great ape' chromosomes are very similar, and very different, and uses that evidence to work towards convincing readers of the evolutionary theory.

But when you go to other references, like PubMed, and Karger, and look at the time lines of most species genetic mutations, and you realize that 95 million years or so isn't long enough for the mutation/evolution from ape to human.

Darwin himself admitted that if there were an "irreducibly complex system", one that wouldn't follow his theory of design, the theory itself would be proven false. The truth is science has found thousands of them, and ignored Darwin's warnings on his theory. They still push it, for a lack of other "credible theories".

Where does that leave us? We have a lot of traits (but not enough chromosomes) of apes, where some believe we evolved from. However, there doesn't seem to have been enough time from the introduction of human / primate life for use to have evolved completely from the apes.

What all this means is somewhere one has to take a leap of faith, either on the side of science and Darwinism, or on the side of creationism and a higher being than ourselves.

Or, you can do like me, and split the difference. I have no problem believing that we evolved, from a point. I don't think it was from the accidental collision of two protien cells with the right alignment, weakened cell walls and the right electrical charge at the perfect momemt.

At the same time I have a hard time with the big bang theory, and the idea that everything in the universe is the result of a huge explosion of something, that we don't know the origin of. What I chose to believe, based on both ID and evolution is more of a "parallel theory of evolution".

I believe something out there planned this, or at least started it. I don't buy the Bible's six day creation scenario anymore than I'm sure of the Big Bang. I think that some sort intelligence out there, tossed the right proteins together to form life. I don't believe that through constant (over a billion or so years) accidents that one celled organism evolved to us; we started a little higher on the chain than that.

For the scientific folks, who look to the similarities of man and ape, I look at the different ape species. Like humans and other apes, they have very similar traits, but so far off science has decided they must have evolved separately. But they won't say humans and apes evolved separately, because that blows the theory of evolution.

I also don't believe we are the only intelligent life in the universe. Lets face it with the size of the universe, if evolution alone were true, the odds are there is something else out there. If it was intelligent design, I have a hard time believing a Creator would see the peak of his creation in a group that will watch Fear Factor and Oprah, and invented the Clapper.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Counterpoint: The Year in Good News

Updated at 12:45pm 12/30/05.....
I just finished reading David Ignatius' 2005 year in review column, "The Year in Bad News", I feel sorry for David, pessimism has taken him over it seems. I know a little about pessimism, because I teach it for a living. We teach students to make fishbone diagrams that go from the mostly likely bad thing to the worst case scenario, nothing good on it. It seems David, by the tone of his column, would fit in with that group.

So here are some counterpoints to his "Bad News" year.

1) Iraqi Elections and Government. While David sees it as a corrupt, Mafia like cabal, I see a growth in a nation that hasn't had true governance in decades. Much like Eastern Europe shortly after the wall fell, there will be problems, it's a matter of how they deal with it.

2) The US Government. Poor David longs for a parliamentary system, because then GWB would have been gone. I'm glad we don't have one, not necessarily because I want Bush to stay around, or think he's doing great. No, it's because I remember what Italy was like in the 1980's when they switched governments more than most folks do socks. I'll take a stable, slightly dysfunctional government over an unstable, dysfunctional government every day of the week.

3) Russia and China. I'll have to agree with most of what he wrote on them. Russia is especially worrying to me because Putin seems to be putting them back on the road to dictatorship, in a sneaky kind of way.

4) Big Media. I got a laugh out of reading his obituary (that is what he wrote, he just doesn't know it). Declining readers of newspapers, declining viewers on network news, and much like Kathleen Parker a few days ago, it's the "new media" that is to blame, with it's "feeding on popular anger at the Mainstream Media and its claims of impartiality". He does hit them on some of their own problems, but makes a mistake in his closing:

Maybe the lesson of 2005 was the same for the media as for the
politicians: Hang on tight to your values, and don't be afraid to let that
passion animate your work; be careful about making promises you can't or
shouldn't keep; and don't try to please everyone, or you may end up pleasing
nobody at all.

Especially in the media, letting passion override the desire for truth is what's killing them. Mary Mapes and Dan Rather proved that point pretty well for us.

The same can be said for politicians, he notes in his wish for a parlimentary government that a new government would be formed by the GOP if Bush were ousted because the Democrats are so disjointed. The reason behind that is they too have let passion, their passion to see Bush fail, drive their actions.

Here's a few more good news things for David to ponder.

5) The Economy. Contrary to popular belief, it still hasn't tanked. High energy prices, a big trade deficit, and the dollar is getting stronger, not weaker overseas, unlike the view we keep hearing of the "should happens". Unemployment is also very low historically, and probably better poised than the 1990's tech boom to stay that way.

6) Safety. Whether he likes it or not, we haven't been hit by another terrorist attack in over 4 years. Yes there are some issues with the way the government is keeping us safe, and I'm sure we'll have a debate on it in '06, but we are generally safer than we were a few years back.

7) New Media. The old media doesn't much like bloggers and the internet media, because we are much harder to pin down. But the truth is this outlet is doing some good, by balancing media, both right and left, on a lot of issue. There is some bad to it, also, in that some folks in this venue are just as guilty of bias and ignoring both sides of the issue. The difference is that most of the folks in the internet media admit it.

So I'm going to go to work today, and write a new lesson, teaching students to be as pessimistic as possible about what they face in a war, but leave the office and be optimistic about what I face in the coming year.

Update, one other thing to be happy about, I'm not the guy in this story (which I mentioned in October), who became the most clicked on article at the Seattle Times, and possibly their most read EVER! People need to get a life if this is what they want for 'news'.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Nancy, Howard Will Show You How to Scream

Evidently Nancy Pelosi's constant chatter of the GOP's "culture of corruption" isn't sinking in. The latest NPR poll (very unbiased, coming from them, we know), shows that by a margin of 43% to 41% those polled felt George W. Bush would do a better job than the Democrats of cleaning up the federal government's problems in that area.

Nancy has been all over TV talking about this, introduced a House Resolution decrying it, and still can't get folks to believe she and her cohorts will do a better job of cleaning up the city.

Chris at The Fix has more on the poll and other numbers, this one just stood out to me.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Economy Makes News

There hasn't been much talk about the economy lately, mostly in my opinion, because the news is fairly good, and that doesn't sell papers.

However, the Washington Post did have a fairly balanced editorial today on the state of the economy. While it is fairly balanced, I believe they have at least one point wrong, or at least not well explained.

It is true that wages haven't kept up with economic growth, and I'm pretty sure that the WaPo is correct in their assumption that the rising cost of healthcare and other benefits is probably the reason for that. Those costs (according to the editorial) have gone up about 5-6% per year since 2001. That's a big jump, unfortunately wages have only been rising at about 0.8% over the same period.

They are also correct in their thought that manufacturing wages especially haven't kept up, when compared with the white collar folks in the world. However, I think that they missed a small point in there. Our manufacturing base has been, on average, overpaid compared to the rest of the G-7 over the last 2 or 3 decades. The UAW, and steelworkers unions and others had, for a number of years, a fairly captive market, and milked it for all it was worth, and then some.

But we look now, and GM says they can't afford the $56/hr in wages and benefits they pay at their plants, Delphi is in the same boat, and Ford will be out shortly with the same type of data. But take a look at the number, $56 per hour. That type of number is unsustainable in an economy that competes in the world market place.

So, while manufacturing hasn't risen as fast as others in wages, maybe it's not as much education, as the Post points out, but may just be a natural economic equalization happening. For those jobs to survive they can't have that kind of wage rate, and it will have to slow it's growth, or fall, to become marketable against the world.

While it may seem like I'm picking on auto workers, they and their brothers in the parts industry, make up a huge part of the US manufacturing base. When they get hit with pay cuts or freezes, its disproportionately skews the numbers for the whole sector. In fact, if someone could point me to the numbers minus the auto workers, I'd appreciate it.

Technorati Tags: , ,
Read The Full Post!

More on Domestic Spying

I know this subject is getting old to folks, but something I saw on the Chicago news really ticked me off the other night.

The press has been widely reporting the that the US has been watching, in it's domestic survellience program, Muslim groups a little closer than some other groups. While I was home with the family, I was watching the news, and a local (Chicago) Islamic leader was on complaining about the fact that the "war on terror" is in many ways becoming a war on Islam.

Well, EXCUUUUUUSSSSE MEEEEE!, in the words of John Belushi Steve Martin from years gone by, but what does he expect. Off the top of my head I could think of 21 reasons for that. 19 hijackers, Bin Laden and Zarqawi.

But, it doesn't take much looking to find more reasons. Just look here. There is a "Toll of Terrorism" website, with a chronology of terrorist attacks against the US. I've highlighted the one's that were confirmed, or suspected of being conducted by muslim extremists.

September 11, 2001 - Terrorists hijack four U.S. commercial airliners taking off from various locations in the United States in a coordinated suicide attack. In separate attacks, two of the airliners crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, NY which catch fire and eventually collapse. A third airliner crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, causing extensive damage. The fourth airliner, also believed to be heading towards Washington, DC, crashes outside Shanksville, PA, killing all 45 people on board. Casualty estimates from New York put the possible death toll close to 3,000, while 189 people have been lost at the Pentagon crash site.

October 12, 2000 - A terrorist bomb damages the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39.

August 7, 1998 - Terrorist bombs destroy the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi, 12 Americans are among the 212 killed, and over 5,000 are wounded, including 6 Americans. In Dar es Salaam, one U.S. citizen is wounded among the 11 killed and 72 injured.

June 21, 1998 - Rocket-propelled grenades explode near the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

July 27, 1996 - A pipe bomb explodes during the Olympic games in Atlanta, killing one person and wounding 111.

June 25, 1996 - A bomb aboard a fuel truck explodes outside a U.S. Air Force installation in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The bomb killed 19 U.S. military personnel in the Khobar Towers housing facility, and wounded 515, including 240 Americans.

November 13, 1995 - A car bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills 7 people, 5 of them American military and civilian advisers for National Guard training. The "Tigers of the Gulf," "Islamist Movement for Change," and "Fighting Advocates of God" claim responsibility.

April 19, 1995 - A car bomb destroys the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding over 600.

February. 1993 - A bomb in a van explodes in the underground parking garage in New York's World Trade Center, killing 6 people and wounding 1,042.

December 21, 1988 - A bomb destroys Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 are killed including 189 Americans, as are 11 people on the ground.

April 1986 - An explosion damages a TWA flight as it prepares to land in Athens, Greece. Four people are killed when they are sucked out of the aircraft.

April 1986 - A bomb destroys a West Berlin disco frequented by U.S. servicemen, killing one American and one German woman and wounding 150, including 44 Americans.

December 1985 - Simultaneous suicide attacks are carried out against U.S. and Israeli check-in desks at Rome and Vienna international airports. The two attacks killed 20 people, including 4 terrorists.

November 1985 - Hijackers aboard an Egyptair flight kill one American. Egyptian commandos later storm the aircraft on the isle of Malta, and 60 people are killed.

October 1985 - Palestinian terrorists hijack the cruise liner Achille Lauro (in response to the Israeli attack on PLO headquarters in Tunisia). Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly, wheelchair-bound American, is killed and thrown overboard.

August 1985 - A car bomb at a U.S. military base in Frankfurt, Germany kills 2 and injures 20. A U.S. soldier murdered for his identity papers is found a day after the explosion.

June 1985 - A TWA airliner is hijacked over the Mediterranean, the start of a two-week hostage ordeal. The last 39 passengers are eventually released in Damascus after being held in various locations in Beirut.

June 1985 - In San Salvador, El Salvador, 13 people are killed in a machine gun attack at an outdoor café, including 4 U.S. Marines and 2 American businessmen.

April 1985 - A bomb explodes in a restaurant near a U.S. air base in Madrid, Spain, killing 18, all Spaniards, and wounding 82, including 15 Americans.

November 1984 - A bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia kills a passer-by. The attack was preceded by death threats against U.S. officials by drug traffickers.

October 1983 - A suicide car bomb attack against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut kills 241 servicemen. A simultaneous attack on a French base kills 58 paratroopers.

April 1983 - A suicide car bombing against the U.S. embassy in Beirut kills 63, including 17 Americans.

So, by looking at the list, we see that 75% of the terrorist attacks targeting American's in the last 22 years were carried out by muslim extremists. So when the Iman is next on TV, I'd like the talking heads to ask him, "Should we be targeting protestants, who aren't carrying out these attacks?"

Politechnical has some info on exactly what the NSA has been gathering, and what it's been used for. Interesting stuff....

David Ignatius at the Wasthington Post has a good editorial on this also.
technorati tags: , ,
Read The Full Post!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I'm Done Traveling

I made it back to Virginia safely today. It wasn't a bad drive at all, I made very good time yesterday, driving 550 miles in well under 10 hours, including lunch and dinner breaks. If there are any Indiana, Ohio or West Virginia troopers reading this, don't do the math on my speed.

I had planned (in my original post) to stop in Columbus, Ohio but it was too early, so I continued on to Wheeling WV. That's when the freezing rain started, so I decided a room for the night was a good idea, and stopped at Dallas Pike, which consists of a truck stop, two hotels, two bars, and a porno theater.

Today I drove my favorite part of the trip, on I-68 through the Cumberland Gap and the eastern Continental Divide. There was a little bit of snow at lower levels, but as I hit the 2300 ft. mark, it became much deeper, and fresh looking. Glad I didn't drive last night, I'd have been in the middle of it.

However, it did make for a few nice pictures. These were taken at the first Maryland information center on the interstate. If you click them you get the 800x600 versions.

As you can see I'm not the worlds greatest photographer,
but they do show a nice view of the area, and how nice it looks with new snow on the ground. I love the look of snow and ice covered trees. There was a better spot to get a picture of it, but I think the trucker behind me would have gotten angry at me for stopping on a 6% upgrade to take pictures.

To all who wished me a safe trip back, thank you, I appreciate it. My next trip home is in two weeks, but I'll let Northwest Airlines handle it instead of driving.

Normal opinionated blogging will return in a few hours, after I finish putting all my stuff away, and rearranging some things so that I have room for the Linux box I built while on vacation.
Read The Full Post!

Monday, December 26, 2005

I'm A Travelin' Man

I'll be back on the road again today, heading from Zion Illinois back to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Unfortunately that means I'm going back to work too.

While it is only an 860 mile drive, since I'm doing it alone I take two days for the trip. The first is pretty boring, from Illinois to about Columbus, Ohio. Fairly flat, easy to make good time, but boring.

Thank goodness for cruise control, Indiana cops are no fun if you don't have boobs; and it's easy to speed in that state. My wife got out of a ticket there in July, and considering how fast she was driving, I can only think of 38 reasons why.

Tomorrow's part of the trip I like. The drive to Wheeling, WV, is also boring, but from there to Fredericksburg is a beautiful ride. Driving the Cumberland Gap on I-68 and then through the Shenandoah Valley on US-17 there is some great scenery. I'll remember to keep the camera up in the front of the car this time. On the way here I thought I had this great picture of ice covered trees everywhere for miles in West Virginia, except the camera was too cold to function.

So there won't be any more postings today or until late tomorrow night for that matter. Instead, I'll give you some newer blogs on the roll to read:

A Pilgrams Digression - Matthew is responsible for the "Comment to Column" post here a few weeks ago. A little more liberal than my normal reading, but an outstanding writer.

Cutting Edge of Ecstacy - Another conservative blogger. Found through Dane Bramage on the blogroll.

Iowa Hawk is a conservative and humorous blogger.

Mahndisa's Thoughts I used to think of her as a conservative blogger. The more I read the more I realize that categorizing her is unfair. She's a free thinker, which is something I hope to grow up to be one day.

Politechnical - Another conservative view blog. Well written stuff, check out his latest post on "Another Rove Leak".

Enjoy your trip through the Blogosphere, while I enjoy mine through the midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.

technorati tags: ,
Read The Full Post!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Too Much Time on My Hands

I couldn't wait for Santa, and I ended up waking at 4:30 this morning. So I decided I would, once and for all, get a dual sidebar template to work. This has been tested in IE6, Firefox 1.07 (Win), Konqueror (Debian Linux, KDE 3.4.2) and Firefox 1.07 (Linux).

The site W3 Schools was very helpful in getting the alignment to work in both 800x600 and 1024x768. It's a great reference site for HTML, CSS, and XML code. If you notice any bugs please leave a comment.

The page should auto-size for your screen resolution and maintain the formatting (try it by resizing the window you are using).

Recent posts are now on the top of the left sidebar, if you see a title that doesn't look familiar, check it out. With the added space I plan on adding a few more tweaks to the right sidebar, and leaving just the blogrolls and search window on the left.

Merry Christmas all. Time to get my son ready, he's heading to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field for the Packers Bears game in an hour or so. GO PACKERS!
Read The Full Post!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas To All

Merry Christmas to everyone who happens to wander by my blog today and tomorrow. Even if you are a non-Christian type who doesn't celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas. Get over it and give it some thought.

The Christian idea behind the holiday isn't only celebrating the birth of Christ. Because they believe he is the savior, it's also the season to celebrate hope. Because Christ was also known as "The Prince of Peace", it's a season to celebrate and hope for peace on earth. For 33 years Christ helped the poor and infirm, so it's a season of giving.

So, I believe, if you can't get into the whole Christ is the reason for Christmas idea, you should be able to get into the rest of the ideals of Christmas. I don't care what religion you are, or aren't, if hope, peace and charity aren't things you wish to occassionally reaffirm, I'm not sure I wish to be around you.

Without saying "Merry Christmas" we could each do something along the lines above, to promote the ideals of the season. For instance, I read of a person a week or so ago who goes out for dinner every Christmas Eve, to a less than grand restaurant, and leaves a $100 tip.

I've written of my late Grandmother before, and her Thanksgiving habits of working at the Salvation Army. At Christmas, even into her 90's, she helped bake hundreds of dozens of cookies, for jail inmates. She believed it gave hope to the guys in the county jail, and that with hope can come redemption.

If you don't think you can help make peace on earth? Try making it in your own neighborhood. Give a gift basket to that neighbor who's tree encroaches on your yard, and you argue with. Give a phone call to the person you haven't spoken to for years because of a reason you can't remember, and wish them well.

I hope I've given you some food for thought, have a Merry, and safe Christmas everyone.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Should Bush Be Impeached?

(Because it has generated a rather lively debate, this post will stay on top through the 23rd.
Read down the page for newer posts.)
More Good Info at People Covered in Fish.

I bring up this subject because a liberal opinion writer, Dan Froomkin, of the Washington Post's (misnamed) online blog "White House Briefing" has decided today to toss out every name he can find that has mentioned, as he calls it, the "I" word.

I pick on Dan, and the title of his online column, because his column is no more a White House Briefing than my blog is a home decorating idea center. Were he to name it "White House Bashing", then it would at least accurately convey his style.

Froomkin has rolled out anyone who's used the word "Impeachment" about Bush and the spying program for today's opinion piece. Newsweek, CNN, the NY Times, etc have all gone ga-ga over the idea of impeachment.

I for one think it might not be a bad idea. I agree with Jonah Goldberg at National Review, when he says:

"..The main reason Bush's poll numbers would skyrocket if he were impeached is that at the end of the day the American people will support what he did. The legal defense of Bush's ongoing use of warrantless wiretaps is debatable. But the political case for what he did is rock-solid."

In fact, much like the Clinton impeachment for getting a little in the Oval Office, I think most American's would see it not as trying to protect their rights, but instead as political retribution.
In fact, this is almost a perfect example of the Democrats being out of ideas of their own, and borrowing them from the GOP, even if they are bad ones.

So, if the Dem's take back the House in '06; which I believe is much less likely than they do; I say bring it on! And make sure when you do, you bring all the big guns with you. Get Hillary, John Edwards, John Warner, and everyone else who might run in '08 on tape supporting it.

I actually think one of the first bits of defense work by the President would be this quote:

Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, the Clinton administration believes the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes."

Then, when the Democrats realize that playing politics with national security is a very bad public relations move, especially when the same tactics were used in their "model" administration, it'll be too late for 2008.

Macsmind has a great piece on this issue over at his blog. Read it here.

12/23- Tom Daschle and Charles Krauthammer both have op/ed pieces on the NSA and impeachement issues.

Technorati Tags:
Read The Full Post!

How to Terrorize a Waitress

Sorry Satu, if you read this, but I gave a waitress a very hard time a few days ago. She was well compensated for it, though.

A few days ago I turned 41, yes, I'm now officially "over 40" now, which hurts sometimes, but not as much as a broken bone.

The wife and kids took me out to dinner, my choice, and I asked to go to Joe's Crab Shack. Joe's isn't the worlds best seafood, but not a bad place, and usually kind of fun to eat at. Unlike other restaurants, though, when you tell them it's someone's birthday they don't sing "Happy Birthday" and bring out cake, they try and embarrass the birthday Boy/Girl (man/woman). I knew this, because I'd been there last year for my birthday.

Throughout dinner I was pretty well behaved, just kidding around with the (very young) girl who was our server. The girl seemed genuinely happy when my daughter told her it was my birthday, because then she could embarrass me a little. HA! I got the last laugh.

When she showed up at the table with the broomstick pony and cowboy hat I let her give me the whole explanation of how I was to ride around the restaurant on the pony, and the customers would tell me happy birthday.

She looked shocked when I asked "Is there something else I could do, I rode the pony last year?" She said "You knew about this? And still let them bring you here?" "Let them", I said, "I asked them to bring me here!".

The poor girl looked totally dejected, like I'd ruined her night, as she sulked over to the corner and found me a firemans hat (with siren) and fake hose instead.

Don't worry, she was well compensated for her embarrassment.

My parents took me out last night for dinner, I was nicer to the waitress, only because my Dad was there, and he's enough for them to handle.

It was an interesting dinner, the restaurant, Passport Pointe, in Waukesha, WI, is in a converted bank building. It's actually in the building where I opened my first bank account, 26 years ago. Our table was in the actual bank vault, door on and all, it can't be locked anymore for insurance reasons.

I thought it was kind of cool to eat dinner in the very vault that my first paycheck was placed when I cashed it. The food was also outstanding, with enormous portions, so if you drive through Waukesha, stop in at the place, I highly recommend the Speidini.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best Post Awards

Mr. Snitch is running a "Best Posts of 2005" awards on his blog. I've nominated Jeff H. at Think Sink and my (minor) collaboration on the voting for the rights to Jessica Simpson. He'll be taking nominations through the end of the year, so if you or someone you know wrote something great, nominate it.

And when the voting starts, vote for Jeff H's great job with Jessica and photoshop, he deserves the credit for that one!

Read The Full Post!

The Politics of the Domestic Spying Case

** UPDATED ** New coverage at bottom of the article
There is lots of news coverage today on the "domestic spying" authorized by the President shortly after 9/11. A judge from the FISA court has resigned, according to a few of his collegues, in protest of the actions.

Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snow are both up in arms over it and want hearings to be held on this. Jay Rockefeller released his memo saying he wasn't comfortable with the program.

My big question is why didn't the Senators do something between 2001 and now about this? Rockefeller has been on the committee since this started, and when he finally objected in 2003, was the ranking minority member.

I understand the classified end of it, but it is not as if the Senate and House intelligence committees haven't held classified hearings in the past. They have issued suppeonas, and taken testimony that never makes the congressional record, so it wouldn't have been unheard of.

While the minority party is somewhat limited in what they can do in the Senate, they have a number of ways to make things happen. They could have "blue carded" every Presidential appointment, and said until they were happy with answers on certain national security issues, they wouldn't release nominees for votes. (Olympia Snow, a republican, is a master of this tactic). No need to expose the classified information, just ask for more information.

But the big thing that makes me wonder is the timing of Rockefellers memo. You see, he was the second ranking MAJORITY member of the Intelligence Committee when this program started, and Bob Graham was the ranking MAJORITY member. The Democrats controlled the Senate when this program was started in late 2001, and continued to until January of 2003. If the concerns were so grave about this program, why didn't they order a hearing on the matter, it would have been well within their rights to do so.

Rockefeller's problems with this evidently didn't start until July 2003, yet according to others on the committee which he was on, they were briefed a number of times in 2002, why, as a ranking member of the committee, not complain then? The committee held dozens of closed hearings on intelligence, why not bring up the issue during them, and if the majority of the committee had a problem with the send the President a memo requesting the program be stopped?

I believe that politics, played a major role in this. The Democrats only controlled the Senate because of Jim Jeffords defection from the GOP. At the time this started it wasn't too hard to see that the GOP would take it back, only because of the Presidents high approval ratings after 9/11. By not raising concerns when they were in the majority in the Senate, they would be able to brush it off as another GOP issue if and when it finally became public.

** UPDATE **

Drudge has some interesting info on this posted here. These "reminders" from Matt should lead folks to question even more whether politics or the law are the reason for the outrage in Congress right now.

Because I'm in a good mood, I'll post his info, incase the flash file goes away:


Bill Clinton Signed Executive Order that allowed Attorney General to do searches without court approval

Clinton, February 9, 1995: "The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order

"WASH POST, July 15, 1994, "Administration Backing No-Warrant Spy Searches": Extend not only to searches of the homes of U.S. citizens but also -- in the delicate words of a Justice Department official -- to "places where you wouldn't find or would be unlikely to find information involving a U.S. citizen... would allow the government to use classified electronic surveillance techniques, such as infrared sensors to observe people inside their homes, without a court order."Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, the Clinton administration believes the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes."Secret searches and wiretaps of Aldrich Ames's office and home in June and October 1993, both without a federal warrant.Government officials decided in the Ames case that no warrant was required because the searches were conducted for "foreign intelligence purposes."Government lawyers have used this principle to justify other secret searches by U.S. authorities."The number of such secret searches conducted each year is classified..."

Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: "Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order."

In another update, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is arranging a briefing for all FISA judges on the program.

Technorati Tags:

Robosquirrel at People Covered In Fish has a good rant on this subject also.

Newsweek's coverage is in Jonathan Alter's Bush's Snoopgate which basically calls him guilty, though ignores the above examples of other presidents using the same logic to do much more intrusive seaches.
Read The Full Post!

Were they Tortured?

This is a long post, you'll have to click the "read full post link" to see it all. Please read it, and comment on the issue of whether or not this is torture. After I read the comments later today I'll post my own with the resolution of the story. I will tell you now this is a true occurrence

They were startled and forced from a deep sleep at 12am. Nearly a dozen masked men, carrying what looked like rubber paddles screaming woke up 18 people.

They were forced up, and told "Scum, you are worthless scum and need to be cleaned, get to the showers!" In all 18 were rounded up from the sleeping area and forced into a trio of 4x4 shower stalls, six per stall, all near naked and huddled together. Then they turned on the water, cold salt water poured from the open pipes, soaking all.

The screaming continued as the soap was dumped on them "You are all worthless scum! Get Clean!". For nearly 30 minutes they were forced, in the cold salt water, to wash each other, before they were pulled from the showers and taken outside, still wet, and forced to get on their hands and knees on the hard rough surface.

Each was given a handler, who put a leash made of rope on them. "Pushups Scum! Do Pushups, NOW!" the largest and loudest of the handlers screamed. On the rough surface, which scuffed the skin, they did pushup as another handler screamed questions "Which one of you bastards attacked the Colonel? Fess up and it will be easier". No one answered. The screaming got louder "Which one of you assholes strung up Oscar? We found him hanging, WHO DID IT!!" No one answered.

They were all ordered to get on their bellies, the gravel like surface scraping as they did. "Swim jerk offs, there are sharks chasing you! Swim!" As they kicked the knees and elbows were roughed up as they hit the ground in the mock swimming motion. The same questions about Oscar and the Colonel were screamed, and still no one answered. For over an hour this went on, before suddenly their leader put a stop to it, and told the handler to put them back to bed.

At 4:30 it started again, everyone woken by the screaming handlers. "Get dressed, you have 1 minute to be in formation in the lounge, don't be late!" he slapped his hard paddle against the bunks to make his point that being late would mean something less than fun.

The handlers, all with masks, t-shirts with slogans about killing the scum, waited in the lounge, slapping the paddles against tables screaming.

"On your knees scum!" was the first command in the lounge, the handlers came by and put the leashes back on each of their charges. Time for confession, each of you will be given the chance to tell the Padre who attacked the colonel and who hung Oscar. We are very pissed about Oscar and want to know who did it.

The man dressed somewhat like a priest came and offered each of the men something like communion, but it stunk of rotted something. "Eat your communion and confess that you did it!" the priest screamed. Each was fed a wafer of something, but none would confess. Each received five lashes with the paddles for not coming clean.

The head handler order then all into a single file line, on hands and knees, "Take them to the staging area". When they had crawled nearly 100 yards, up and down stairs, then outside, they were put into a larger group of nearly 100, all with handlers screaming at them. "Today you will pay for what happened last night. One of you will confess to hanging Oscar, and attacking the Colonel. All of you will pay for it", the man who seemed to be in charge screamed.

Groups of 10 at a time were taken up a final stair case every 10 minutes or so. When they reached the top they saw an array of props set up. Coffins, toilets, troughs , table , long tubes, huge chairs.

Each was lead from station to station. "Did you attack the Colonel?" The answer was always "no", and then it would begin. At the toilet, which was filled with something that stunk and was brown, they would be forced to bob for apples, most throwing up.

If they still didn't answer correctly they were taken to the "tube" 80 feet long, full of old trash, food, and the vomit of those before them. The same questions were asked, and the result was always "no", and they were sent through the tube. The handlers screamed for them to crawl faster through the 2.5 foot diameter tube. There was no choice but have their faces in the slop in the bottom.

They were taken to the confessors chair, where a huge, hairy man sat. His belly was covered in lard, with something in his navel. "Did you kill Oscar?" "Did you attack the Colonel?" When the answer was no, their faces were forced to the fat belly, and forced to retrieve whatever it was in his navel, and swallow it.

After nearly 2 hours, and 10 stations, none had confessed, and were taken to a new area. It continued until all 100 had gone through. No one confessed to hanging Oscar or attacking the colonel.

(please click "read full post" to see the full story)
I will give the followup sometime this evening.
Follow up:

No, it wasn't torture, it was my military (Navy & Marine) initiation into the Royal Order of Shellbacks, which is done on your first crossing of the equator, in 1986. (Ascan wasn't there, he was with me the third time I crossed).

I was the one who hanged Oscar, (who is the man overboard dummy on Navy ships) from the aft 70 ton boom on a cargo ship. To the lookout at 11pm, it was kind of frightening.

I was also in the group who kidnapped, and slightly degraded the Colonel who was the Office In Charge of our landing force. I paid for that, cuz someone ratted us out.

I also spent a few 10 minute stints in a coffin (not alone) full of rotted potatoes, two stints in a bathtub full of ice cubes, and various other less than fun activities.

But my point is, as some folks in the comments thought, what one defines as "torture" is totally dependent on the point of view, and what they are trying to get from that definition. Some of the folks in Congress who are complaining that rap music, "stinky hoods", etc are torture went through this same initiation, probably worse if they were in before I joined, and know better. They didn't call it torture when it was done to them.

(On a side note, the Navy has clamped down on initiations over the last 10 years, and stuff I went through would be forbidden. Mostly because they were afraid of offending the sensibilities of the fairer sex when they began assigning them to combatants.)

Technorati Tags: &

Read The Full Post!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Presidential Powers, Post 9/11

As I was reading the WaPo's editorial, "Going To Far" I was amazed in the first 3 paragraphs, how much the paper's editorial board seemed to be in agreement with the President and VP on America, Post 9/11. They even had a great quote:

Mr. Cheney is right that complacency is a danger. It's good that the president keeps the terrorist threat uppermost in his mind. And it's fair to ask: If there were an attack tomorrow, would we still be complaining the day after about torture, or secret detentions, or spying on Americans?
But then I figured it out, they wanted to loosen up Ol' Cheney and GW, get them to relax their stance, so it would be easier to kick them in the sack. It's bad enough when you get kicked there, but when it's done with the pointy Italian shoes of misguided and misinformed rhetoric, it's even worse.

For instance, on the issue of enemy combatants, the Post says:

The overreaching began with the administration's refusal to hold hearings, as called for by the Geneva Conventions, to determine whether captured fighters deserved prisoner-of-war status and with its decision to set aside Army procedures for handling prisoners under those conventions.
That would be true, if the detainees were actual members of an Army or Militia associated with a legitimate government. Since they never were uniformed members of the Iraq/Afghan militaries, they aren't protected by that article of the Geneva conventions, and they aren't required to have a trial. (My rant on torture has a link to the page of the convention that applies.)

The convention only requires such hearings when there is doubt as to the status of someone who is captured. The Iraqi Army members, and Afghan Army, when they were captured were treated as POW's. The insurgents aren't, because they don't deserve it.

Another of their issues is with the possible mistreatment of US Soldiers, and other folks captured:

One is the grave harm they've done to U.S. prestige throughout the world and, more specifically, to the United States' ability to demand fair treatment for its soldiers and to urge other nations to respect human rights.

I can almost agree on the human rights end of it. However, lest the Post forget, there are tons of Islamic websites all to happy to show the treatment their "detainees" receive. Normally an execution style shooting as happened a few days ago, or a beheading.

As for prestige and world standing, if those are the true concern of the Post's Editors, shame on them. Protection of the US should be our concern. If we tick off a few of the appologists who have spent decades pampering Hammas and Hezbolla as they murder innocents, who cares!

The fact that much of Europe has decided placating radical islamic murderers, terrorists, and idealogues doesn't make it the correct course for the US.

Technorati Tags:
Read The Full Post!

Dem's Gearing Up Attacks for 2008

Over at "The Fix" Chris has a link to the DNC's talking points on many potential GOP candidates for President in 2008.

A couple of their memo's could have implications before 2008, specifically the one on John McCain, who has been a help to them of late. If he starts feeling like the Dem's are attacking him for thinking of running his cooperation level may drop considerably. That would hurt the Dem's in congress now, and running up to the election, when they'll need a couple of legislative victories to tout.

The same can be true of Chuck Hagel, who is more centrist than other possible candidates, and doesn't always agree with the president. If he were to quit being vocal about his opposition to some Bush initiatives it would remove a Democratic talking point of disunity.

While they have 11 potential candidates on the list, one notable exception is Condi Rice. While she has repeatedly said she isn't going to run, the draft Condi movement is fairly strong, and since she beats most Democrats in 1 on 1 polls, she could be a real threat. She's also a problem because one has to be careful how they attack her without sounding like Ted Rall.

Technorati Tags: ,,,
Read The Full Post!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Waves Are for More Than Surfing

I was looking around the web today for a particular .wav file, and found the the motherload, a repository of .wav files for any occasion.

Ladies, when you think you finally have met Mr. Right and then find out he doesn't "measure up".

For folks who wonder about God and his habits, check this out.

And for you men out there, who know you are in charge, heres your song.

When you go out for lunch, and can't decide if the Hunan Chinese Buffet is right, listen to this.

And finally, if you are sick and twisted like me, and especially if you have teenagers, play this for them right before they go to bed (R-rated).

Anyway, enjoy the files, the page they are linked to is http://www.ilovewavs.com
Read The Full Post!

You're Kidding, The Media is Biased?

It took a UCLA study to show it, but The Wall Street Journal is the most left leaning newspaper in America, followed by the Times in NY, then LA. Wait, the Journal is the most left leaning? Wait, I just reread the study (here) and it's based on NEWS content of news outlets, not editorial content.

The study was done in an interesting way, by scouring the news, both print and televised, for references to think tanks, and interest groups. It also compared their usage and quotes from Senators and Representatives. It used the American's for Democratic Action scale to judge lawmakers, and then those ADA scores were given to papers when they referenced the lawmaker.

The authors had these bits to say about the study:
"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the studies lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to
members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

Funny findings, Drudge came out slightly left of center, WSJ being number one most liberal in news coverage, which is completely opposite their editorial page.

So, next time someone talks to you about the "vast right wing conspiracy to vilify the media", point to the study, which shows 18 of the 20 major outlets in the country do publish with a liberal tilt. Then give them a copy of the Washington Times.

Technorati Tags: , ,
Read The Full Post!

Lot of Iraq

After the President's speech on Iraq last night, there is of course a ton of news and analysis on what he said, what it means, and why he televised the speech.

Starting with the positive, not so much of the speech but of the Iraq invasion as a whole and it's effect on the Arab world, is Jackson Diehl. He points out in his column today that democracy is indeed gaining momentum in the Middle East. If folks care to remember, the spread of democracy in the region was one of the reasons for the invasion.

The Post's analysis piece, "Bush Brings More Realistic View of War to Forefront" praises the president for being more honest on his mistakes in Iraq, and talking about where things haven't gone right. But like most analysis, it puts Bush's statements on the amount of time it take to make Iraq a stable democracy in the column of a "change of direction". This is false, Bush has stated since the invasion that it wouldn't be quick, and that recovering from decades of tyranny won't be immediate.

Newsweek has two items in this weeks end of year issue on Iraq, one is about deciding when the troops return home. This is a good piece on both the positives, and the things still to be overcome before everyone gets withdrawn.

The other is an interview with General Casey on the situation on the ground, and the general job of putting Iraq back on track. Casey is a good interview because he's not all rah-rah, but is honest on the topics he's asked about.

Enjoy the reading.

Technorati Tags: ,,
Read The Full Post!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Justice Ruled

Twas the night before Christmas and all through San Quentin,
the crips were protesting, and liberals were ventin'.
The cyanide hung by the chamber with care,
in hopes that the reaper soon would be there.
The inmates were nestled all snug in their bed;
except for Old Tookie, who soon would be dead.
And me with my beer mug, dressed warm in my flannel,
had curled up to watch it, on the Fox News Channel.
I set up my TIVO to record the news station,
and thoroughly loved the momentous occasion.
It seemed lady justice had gotten her way,
and that there would be one less savage today.
When outside the jail there arose such a clatter,
the cameras all turned to see what was the matter.
When what to my civilized eyes did appear,
but a lineup of actors, all liberal, half queer.
The misguided freaks drew many curious looks,
as they proclaimed his innocence; while clutching his books.
The tears then flew out from Sarandon's eyes,
as she nominated him again for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The actors were tethered to an ACLU sleigh,
all towing the line of the urban decay.
On Asner, on Penn, on liberal cop-haters,
On Sharpton, on Jesse and other race-baiters.
Then at 12:01 all curled up like a beetle,
Tookie cried like a bitch as they gave him the needle.
When up from the actors there arose such a cry,
they had failed in their mission, and Tookie DID DIE !!
I heard Bill O'Reilly say, as I turned out my light,
Merry Christmas to all ... there was justice tonight!!
Read The Full Post!

Novel Concept

Don't worry Paula, the title doesn't refer to me becoming a novelist. Instead, it refers to Bruce Fein's column in today's Washington Post

He recommends that instead of being stealthy about his beliefs, Sam Alito should be open with them, even if they do include overturning Roe and a few other dubious decisions by the court.

One of his better points is that America has become more conservative over the years since Judge Bork's name became synonymous with failed judicial nominees. With a more liberal Senate than today, and no counterweights to places like CNN and the Post and NY Times, it was hard for folks to get both sides of Bork's views.

Today with the rise of the net, Fox News, and talk radio, Fein is correct, it's pretty easy to figure out where Alito stands on issues, irregardless of what parts of it get to the press. I believe that the rise of those items are why the Democrats occasionally bring up returning to the "fairness doctrine", basically to shut up Limbaugh since Air America hasn't been able to do it in the marketplace.

I think Fein is also correct in his belief that Alito should be upfront about his views. In fact, he should be vocal about them, within the limits of judicial precedence. In other words, a general question on Roe's basis would be okay, but a specific one about minors informing parents, which will be before the court, or partial birth abortion would have to be off limits.

If he believes that Roe was a reach, and the underlying theory wasn't Constitutionally correct, he should say it, and explain exactly why. He should even point out the hundreds of other legal scholars who have made this point.

That would put more pressure on the President and conservative interest groups to stand up for his views, but it would also make the debate a constitutional one, not the standard "back alley abortion" emotional WHINE of the left. But as Fein points out, the country is generally more conservative than it was 20 years ago. If folks don't buy that, just look at election results since 1984. A democrat hasn't won a majority of the vote since 1976, while GOP/conservatives like Perot have won the majority. The Senate and House are both controlled by the GOP and those leads have increased in the last 6 years.

And, you can go look at "I Play With Polls" my post about research polls on abortion, where a large majority prefer limits on the procedure.

The left's obvious response would be a filibuster of Alito, which would finally bring the vote on the Constitutional/Nuclear option, outlawing that tactic with judicial nominees. That wouldn't be a bad thing, I don't think either party should be filibustering judges. The great thing about our courts is that they run back and forth from conservative to liberal. Changes in leadership result in changes in the courts, as it should be.

(For those wondering why I'm posting on vacation, wife is napping, kids are out of the house, gotta do something to kill time).

Technorati Tags: ,,
Read The Full Post!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

House Gets Tough, Will The Senate?

The House passed a new illegal immigration reform bill last night that is tougher on many things than the White House wanted, has a fence provision, and doesn't include a guest worker program.

The President will probably buy off on all of this bill as a start if it went through the Senate unchanged, but it won't. The Senate is working on it's own version, with John McCain and Ted Kennedy leading the way. It will probably include the guest worker program, and not the fence.

One of the more controversial bits that didn't make it into the bill was an ammendment to end birthright citizenship for those born to illegals in the country. The 90 or so House sponsors were pressured to not put it in, as it would have jeopardized the entire bill. I'd like to see it taken up at some point though.

Employers could face up to $25,000 in fines for hiring illegals, and would be required to go through a national database of Social Security numbers to verify the records an employee shows are correct. If nothing else an entire new cottage industry of birth/social security verification companies will show up because of this.

While the fence provision doesn't cover the whole border, it will cover nearly 700 miles of the border in some of the most popular crossing areas.

Finally, the lack of a guest worker program is shortsighted. I'm sure that it will be rectified when the conference committee meets to work the two bills into a passable law, but should be in both of them in some form. Whether some folks like it or not, we have a requirement for immigrant labor in this country. I'd like to see that need controlled, and the ability to attain it put above the board.

Technorati Tags: and
Read The Full Post!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thanks,News and Notes

I had a couple of subjects I'd wanted to touch on tonight, but I'm tired, and decided to do a news round up on those subjects, and point you to some blogs that have already hit them.

But first, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Greta, the Hooah Wife, for my award. She saw fit to give me an award as the "Best Deranged Commenter" on her blog. Thank you very much Greta.... Wait, I just looked that word up. What the hell kind of award is that?

Note to Greta, the last blogger to give me an award was Nedreck Milhunky, and he's gone out of business! (I miss his blog, too). Not saying it's going to happen to you, just sayin...

For the news, Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority leader, has come up with the most convuluted chunk of logic I've seen in a while. She claims that the Democrats are better without a coherent strategy for Iraq. Read more about it at MacMind. Just don't look at the picture!

Mudville Gazette has an outstanding piece on Marine LT. Ryan McGlothlin, I read the LA Times story on him, and it is incredible. He's a post 9/11 Marine, who gave up more than most of us could imagine to become one. My prayers to his family.

Booker Rising has an outstanding piece on last nights finale of "The Apprentice" and the strange twist in it. If you haven't read Booker Rising, it's a mostly conservative blog by African Americans which gives a very good nightly round up of blogs and news.

Atlas Shrugs covers the filibuster of the Patriot Act renewal, and has some reminders on the Act.
I think this is going to backfire on some folks, and they don't realize it.

Camp Katrina has a good piece on "Teaching Iraqis How to Do More Than Kill People and Break Things". He also won one of Greta's awards.

Finally, Some Soldiers Mom with "Iraqis send Jack Murtha and Howard Dean a message". Also check out her piece on the upcoming return of some of our Soldiers in Iraq.

My last note. I'll probably get one post up on the morning, and then won't be online until Sunday night, as I'm going on vacation. But, since my wife has to work the week I'm in Illinois, I'll have plenty of time to get more stuff posted the rest of the week.
Read The Full Post!

Here's a Laugh

I'm reading the Post this morning, when I come across this story...Democrats Criticize Bush For Saying DeLay's Innocent. Bush was asked on Fox News if he felt DeLay was innocent, and he said yes. Afterwards, Pelosi, Reid, and Schumer, (Curly, Larry, Shemp?) had fits, calling it jury tampering.

Wait, isn't this the party that introduced a resolution, based on DeLay, criticizing the "culture of corruption"? Hasn't Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the House, basically called DeLay guilty of these charges, before a trial?

How the Democrats can say with a straight face that the President's comment amounts to jury tampering, while ignoring their own comments amuses me. Maybe they have an inferiority complex. Maybe they feel since they don't control either chamber of Congress or the White House their words don't matter. Let's look at some of those comments:

"The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom Delay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people." — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California

"Today, the state of Texas is doing what the Republican-controlled federal government has failed repeatedly to do, which is to hold Republicans in Washington accountable for their culture of corruption."
— Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

"The criminal indictment of Tom DeLay is the first chink in the armor of corruption that has so clouded, consumed and controlled the Republican majority over the past few years," — Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.

So, if President Bush is guilty of jury tampering, should the folks above also admit guilt?

Read the quotes yourself here.

Read The Full Post!

Luckily, He's Back to Normal

Earlier this week I posted of my dilema, I actually agreed with a good part of EJ Dionne's column in the Washington Post, something that rarely happens. True to form, EJ is back to his clueless, one sided self today.

EJ's rant this week is on supply side economics, something that actually works quite well. He also opines about Bill Clinton's tax increases, and how the deficit was reduced and budget balanced by them. Oh how Bill stuck it too the rich, and gave to the poor.

If his information was right, I might agree with him, except Clinton cut taxes in 1997 after he gave us the biggest tax increase in history in 1993. In fact, Clinton's 1997 proposal for taxes INCREASED the lowest 20% of taxpayers taxes by an average of $46 per year (Citizens for Tax Justice Numbers).

In fact, what ended up passing in 1997, and spurring the economy, was a huge tax break, most of which went to the upper tax brackets. Sound familiar? It was a case of supply side tax breaks, which spurred the economy.

Another part of his arguement is true, the budget did get balanced, sort of. As long as you don't mind counting social security reciepts as general revenue, the budget did balance. However, if we'd have done as Clinton promised, and locked that money up, there still would have been $200 million dollar deficits. But the feds have always been good with accounting tricks.

That said, I'd like to see them work in the framework agreement that we used then to keep spending under control. But that framework needs some rework, because of the increases in "mandatory spending" requirements (welfare, social security, medicare). When Clinton came into office those programs were about 45% of the budget, today they are about 65% of it, so cutting from "discretionary programs" only is no longer an option.

While EJ is happy to talk about the booming economy during the Clinton years, he neglects to mention that most of it was a tech bubble, that began it's implosion in early 2000. Clinton was still in office when the bust started, and it continued through 2001, when we were still running on his last budget. Nearly 100% of the stock market losses from the 1998-2000 boom were incurred while Clinton was either in office, or his budget was in effect.

Finally, he beats the (out of tune) drum of the rich got all of Bush's tax breaks. They got most of the cash, true. They have to, they pay the taxes. As I've posted before the upper 50% of tax payers cover about 90% of the tax bill of the country. If you look at percentages, not dollars, though the lower end of the scale got the biggest breaks, about 25% under Bush's cuts. In fact, if you are a family of four making $40,000 a year, you probably don't pay income tax anymore. It comes out of your check, but come tax time, you get it all back. This was not true during the Clinton years.

Thanks, E.J. for returning to your normal for, it made today's column so much easier to write.

Technorati Tags: and
Read The Full Post!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Time For Christmas Humor

Christmas Carols for the Psychologically Challenged

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Queens Disoriented Are

3. Amnesia --- I Don't Know if I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars andBuses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and ...

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8 . Full Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...

10. Agoraphobia --- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House

11. Senile Dementia --- Walking in a Winter Wonderland Miles From My House in My Slippers and Robe

12. Oppositional Defiant Disorder --- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
So I Burned Down the House

Technorati Tags:
Read The Full Post!

Proxmire Dies at 90

Former Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) died at age 90. Bill Proxmire was special to me, not just because I grew up in Wisconsin and he was my Senator, but because I really connected with his fiscally conservative side.

In school a lot of my teachers brought up his Golden Fleece awards, in which he chastised the government for wasting money. The only two things that were off limits to those awards were the Federal Dairy Price support program (still in effect, and the reason milk is almost $3.00 per gallon), and military contracts to Oshkosh trucks, two things that supported the state economy.

While Brett Favre gets a lot of attention for 200 straight football games started, Proxmire made an incredible 10,000 straight Senate roll call votes. Ask your Senator how close he/she is to that number. Most today don't make it into double digits.

Campaign finance reform, championed by current Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, was unneccesary to Proxmire. He spent about $200 per campaign in his last few re-election bids. Most of it was buy stamps to send contributions back. Hey Russ, why not try that!

Another lesson for today's politicians, from both parties, stand up to the leadership if you think they are wrong. Proxmire gave his famous "Good Bye Speech" to the Senate, his freshman year when he stood up to Lyndon Johnson about committee selections. He served 30 more years after that speech. Evidently voters like principled politicians, not someone who rolls over as soon as the party tells them too.

Washington Post has a very good 3 page article online here.

Technorati Tags: senate
Read The Full Post!

From Comment to Column

The following is a comment I received in response to "Time to Vote". I'm posting it here, because Matthew, who runs A Pilgrim's Digression, asks some very good questions about the media. While our viewpoints on most subjects aren't the same, he's a very good writer. Check out his page.

I haven't watched MSNBC in awhile. I used to watch Chris Matthews but quickly grew tired of his wretched ignorance and stumbling, bumbling question style. I guess I excuse MSNBC this way: it's a counter weight to Fox. I'm sure you'd say the opposite: Fox is a counter weight to MSNBC! So it goes.

The way I look at the debate over the media is this: people who bother to watch the news, any news, these days, let alone actually read a physical newspaper or news website, are not mindless automatons being programmed for despair and defeatism by a pessimistic media. People who follow the news these days can think for themselves and decide for themselves what is fair and right
and accurate.

I am always astonished how Conservatives like Limbaugh and Hannity complain about us liberals and our supposed condescension to the American public. It seems far more condescending, to me, to assume that people who follow the news in a free, open society are so mindless that they can be easily controlled and manipulated by the media. On the contrary, I'd say. I know that mindless person isn't you, or me, or your readers or anyone else I know who is informed of the day's events. So who is he/she? I think that person is a straw man.

My response to the above "straw man" concept is that a person who is getting news from many sources is probably, as he said, not being manipulated by the media. However, if I'm a one source person, either left or right, I may well be. The example I used was the NY Times. If you read just them as your only newspaper, you would think that the public is disgusted by the GOP's corruption problem. However, if you read the Wall Street Journal also, you find out the public thinks both parties have a corruption issue.

What do you think about the media and it's influence?

Technorati Tags: and ,
Read The Full Post!

Iraq Voting Begins

Today is the day Iraqi's go to the polls to vote for their parliment. There is obviously tons of coverage of this very historic event, both in the blog world and the "normal" media.

Washington Post has two articles on the subject. One is on the dangers being faced during the elections, the other on Ayad Allawi and his quest to keep the country from becoming an Islamic regime.

Iraq the Model is live blogging from Iraq for Pajama's Media (or whoever they are now). It's a really good read.

Clarity and Resolve has an article "Death Cult Electioneering" about Hammas and there desire to continue their Jihad. While it's about voting in the Palestinian Authority, it shows certain whack job groups are going to remain a problem in the region for a long while.

IraqPundit has a great article called Purple Reign, which rips a BBC reporter a new exhaust pipe for not understaning Iraq.

Hope this gets you started. If you've written something about this let me know, I may add it to the list of links.
Read The Full Post!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

News, and Other Stuff

I was thinking of what to blog tonight, and decided on some interesting news pieces I found today. Some are relevant and important, others, well they aren't, they just made me giggle.

First off the President gave a speech in which he admitted that some of the intel going into the Iraq war was wrong, and that it's his responsibility to fix the intelligence system to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's a good start. He also said that if he knew then what he knows now, he'd do the same thing. I'm sure that won't play well on the left, but what it really does is show he believes in his convictions, that Iraq was a problem and had to be changed.

Also in the news, the Patriot Act renewal is running into problems in the Senate. Russ Feingold has threatened a filibuster of the renewal of the act, and has now been joined by a bunch of folks who voted for it. Devin Nunes, congressman from California's 21st district has an outstanding list of myths about the Patriot Act, which I think everyone wanting a filibuster should be required to read.

I think that Russ has every right to complain, he was the lone Senate dissenter in 2001 on the PA. The others, I don't have much respect for, they are basically saying today that they voted yes for political expediency with the 2002 elections over the horizon, and now want a do over to appeal to the base.

Taxes are also in the news... Congress is running out of time to fix the Alterative Minimum Tax for this tax year. For those who don't know, this was enacted in the 1970's when the rich really didn't pay taxes, even with a 70% tax bracket. Unfortunately, more and more folks now fall under this tax because the trip wire for it was never raised, so as wages have gone up many in the middle class are now paying the ATM. Last year I got hit for an extra $369 in ATM because the $15,000 my wife and I had already paid wasn't enough.

Finally for news, the last thing is one that didn't happen when I was in school, and I'm ticked off. No, it's not another hot teacher doing a 14 year old boy. This time a guy got a girl to give his buddy a hummer DURING CLASS! Where were these chicks when I was in school....

Poll Info. While the public view of the Prez in the latest NBC/WSJ poll is still low, 39%, congress gets a 25% approval rating. Also of note, while 12% of people polled said the GOP has the biggest corruption problem, and only 5% said Democrats, an amazing 79% said BOTH PARTIES have a large corruption problem. Guess Nancy hasn't been getting her "culture of corruption" message across very well.

There are also some new blogs on the roll:
Iraq the Model, The Bos'n Locker, People Covered in Fish, Less People Less Idiots, Dane Bramage, Cold Hearted Truth, and Cobb

Technorati Tags: and , ,
Read The Full Post!

Time to Vote!

About the time we all get home from work tonight we'll start hearing about the Iraqi elections. They've already started early voting, and tomorrow they being actual voting, about 32 months after we kicked out Saddam. This will be their third round of elections this year.

If you wonder how successful that is, Germany surrendered in May, 1945, and elected it's first Parliment in August 1949, over four years later! Japan's full 'Treaty of Peace' after WWII wasn't even signed until 1951, and they regained full sovereignty on April 28, 1952, 6 and half years after the war.

I'm not saying things have been perfect, or that they will be for this election. There has been some pre-election violence against some of the political parties running. But this is the most inclusive round of elections to date. Even most of the major opposition Sunni clerics have told their followers to vote. They realize that working in the framework of the consitution, with an elected body will be to their advantage.

I pointed out Germany and Japan because we forget that things are moving fast in Iraq, despite the MSM and most of the far left's grumbling. They didn't give much play earlier this year to Bosnian complaints that the recovery and elections in their country are going very slow. Bosnia, wasn't that like, 10 years ago? Yup, and they still don't have a fully functioning government, and the US troops are still there, and in Kosvo.

Approving a constitution, and two government elections in this timeframe are unheard of. But the 24 hour news cycle makes everything seem slow. We've gotten used to seeing a story on the TV before work, and when we get home some other story has replaced it. Thank God CNN, MSNBC and FOX weren't around in 1941, we'd have never made it through WWII.

Technorati Tags: and
Tracked back to Iraq the Model, read his incredible (first hand) account of waiting to vote.
Read The Full Post!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I've been Tagged

Rebekah at Eye of the Storm tagged me.
Here are the rules of the game. When you are tagged you must blog about 5 oddball habits that you have, then you must tag 5 more people. However, I don't like tag games, so hopefully her other four send out more tags. I agreed to this because the kitty picture on her blog is so cute.

Here are my five:
1: I never sleep naked. It bugs me for some reason.
2: I teach for a living, and even though I spend my time in front of groups, I'm uncomfortable in groups of people I don't know.
3: I like to play "Stump the Jokester", if you have an old joke start it out, and about 80% of the time I can give you the punch line before you finish. If we are in a bar, I'll buy you a beer if I can't.
4: I habitually dress modestly and have an aversion to resembling a street-walker. That's really odd, believe me. Wait! That was Rebekah's. Sorry.
4: (Mine) I'm afraid of heights if there isn't something solid around. The top of the Space Needle is one of the scariest places I've been, but Hoover Dam didn't bother me.
5: I don't like midget porn, even though I did 20 years in the Navy. See, Sailors aren't as weird as you all think.

If you want to volunteer to be tagged, like Paula at Ultra Blog, let me know and I'll give you a gratuitous link, too.
Read The Full Post!