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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sheehan Detained By Capital Police

This Just In.....

From Fox News, and the AP Cindy Sheehan was invited to attend the State of the Union Address by Lynn Woolsey (D-Ca), but was detained by Capital Police when she tried to unfurl some sort of banner in the chambers, which is against the rules.

I'm heartbroken, but will post more when I find it.


Yahoo! News say's she was arrested.
WaPo has a few AP links.

Wigderson Library & Pub gives us a look at her banner.


Cindy was arrest, charged with a misdemeanor and released. The charge was demonstrating in the capital.

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Alito Confirmed

Samuel Alito has been confirmed and sworn in as the 110th Justice to sit on the Supreme Court.

For Senators Kerry, Kennedy, Feingold, and the 22 others who tried to keep him from being confirmed, here's a picture for you (and your moonbat friends)

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Eating Their Own

There is a very good article in the Washington Post this morning about one of the big problems in the Democratic Party. It's called cannibalism, as Dana Milbank notices in "Tasting Victory, Liberals Instead Have a Food Fight".

He starts with an interpretation of a poll from ABC News, and the expected result:

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds congressional Democrats in the best position they've held in 14 years, besting President Bush and Republican lawmakers on Iraq, the economy, health care, immigration, ethics and more.

All of which can mean only one thing: It is time for the Democrats to eat their own.
This is true, it's where the Democratic Party has found it's biggest problems lately. They can't seem to leave "good" alone. But there is a reason for their problem, the very make up of the party.

For years the Democrats have pandered to every actual and supposedly oppressed group in the country, telling them that they are the way for their voices to be heard. They've become the umbrella party for the non-conservative, non-religious, anti-establishment folks.

The problem is everyone of those groups does want it's voice to be heard, and some of the voices are a little bit, well, kooky. And the kooky voices, now many in number are drowning out the reasonable voices that could possibly bring the party back into power.

A commenter on Kos yesterday pointed out that the right is probably taking in every word that's written there, and going to throw them in the face of the Democrats, a very reasonable thought. Then he went into an f-bomb ladened tirade, showing his own kookiness.

What I think this shows, and will show in the next few years, is that we've outgrown our two party system. The Democratic umbrella is going to have to shrink a little bit for that party to get back to a majority in either house, or regain the White House.

The GOP suffered the same problem in 1992 and 1996, when fiscal conservatives bolted in big enough numbers to vote for Ross Perot to give Bill Clinton 2 terms. In 2000, though Perot's movement lost steam when it turned too kookie for most of the folks it had attracted. Most of the folks who voted for him returned to the GOP.

Nader did the same thing in 2000, probably costing Al Gore his shot at the White House. In '04 he wasn't a player, because he went too far.

Soon, though, a charismatic liberal will show up to run for the Greens or another party that will pull enough folks away from the Democrats that they can actually repair the damage the nuts have done to their party. It's going to mean a smaller party, at first, but will actually grow it as the Reagan Democrats and other centrists who've left the party feel it's safe to return.

As long as the Democrats try to be all things to all groups, they will be the minority in Congress, and have a hard time winning the White House.

When they find their base again, and become a reasonable thing to most people, they might have a chance at winning some elections. They might also have to deal with giving up some seats in the short term to a Green party, to show the folks in the middle they've abandonded that they want them back.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Humor or News? That Is The Question!

I had a great idea for a humorous post tonight, and at the same time there is a bunch of stuff in the news that should be blogged. Then, strolling through the blog roll I decided I'll give you a link for news, and a few laughs (I hope) instead.

Alito's cloture vote wasn't close, 72-25, and the Kos folks are Pissed Off! Go over to Ann Althouse and check out some of the comments from Daily Kos about the vote. Once again the "kinder, gentler party" shows its true colors.

If you want to go to Kos, the article is here, you are stronger than me if you go. The Kos link can be considered news or humor, depending on your perspective.

As most folks know, I work for a "Ginormous Mega-Corp" in the vast military industrial complex, as such we are required every year to do some corporate compliance training to show Uncle Sam that we employees are indoctrinated properly to doing government business.
So I was doing the "Harassment in the Workplace" training (on the net) today, and had to answer questions on whether certain things were "quid pro quo" harassment (this for that), or "hostile workplace" harassment. That's when I came across the following, and started to laugh.
(Names changed, to protect the company from my sense of humor)

James has worked in his department for over six months and enjoys his job. A position has recently become available that would be a promotion for him. During a meeting with his manager, Jill, he expressed his interest in applying for the position. Jill told James that she would consider his request if he accompanied her on a romantic ski weekend.
This is an example of:

Hostile Work Environment

Quid Pro Quo
There should be a third choice for this question.
"It Depends on What Jill Looks Like", because while "Quid Pro Quo" is probably the correct answer, but if Jill is a very large, unattractive woman, the guys at work would turn it into a "Hostile Work Environment" in a heart beat if James got caught taking her up on the offer.*
*(the author wants you to know, this is called satire, it's meant to be bitingly funny, if you don't get it, or have a problem with me making sexual harassment into the butt of a joke, GET OVER IT!)
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Thanks Peakah!

Peakah, at Peakah's Provocations has nominated me (and a few other folks, but who cares :) for a "The Best So Far, Blog Awards, January 2006" in the political blog category, at Bloggin' Out Loud.

Nominations for the awards are being taken until Wednesday via e-mail at BestSoFar@RightThinking.net. You may nominate up to 3 in each cateogory:
1. January's Best Pet Blogs
2. January's Best Political Blogs
3. January's Best LinkFest Blogs
4. January's Best Religious Blogs
5. January's Best Humor Blogs
6. January's Best Personal Blogs

Voting is the 1st through the 5th of February at the same e-mail: BestSoFar@RightThinking.net
And I've nominated Jeff H. at Think Sink for Best Humor Blog, and Lone Pony for best personal blog.
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Why That Career?

There are a couple of interesting health care articles in the papers today, that made me wonder why certain people would get into the health care professions.

The first, four pharmacists in Illinois are suing Walgreens for firing them. They claim they were released, in violation of the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, because they wouldn't sign pledges to dispense the "morning after" birth control pill.

I'm generally not a supporter of that drug, but I do wonder why you would get into a profession that you know will require you to dispense things you have a moral problem with? Illinois and Wisconsin have been centers of a battle over pharmacists rights to refuse to dispense drugs they have "moral objections" too.

The second article discusses broader measures to protect health care workers in general from having to treat patients or provide treatments that go against their personal beliefs. I have a major problem with this. Who protects patients? What happens to the guy or gal in the Webmiztris' home town of Bumfuck, Pa. when the only two doctors on call decide they don't "personally believe in _______ (place lifestyle choice, etc here)" but a patient who fits that criteria comes into the emergency room?

I'm all for personal choice, and not being forced into doing something that you find morally questionable. At the same time, you should be personally responsible enough to know that certain professions would probably require you to get in those situations, and avoid those professions.

It's not just medical professionals. There have been a number of cases in the last few years of Military Chaplains wanting to preach consciencious objection to the troops, because that is what their religion says. Well wait a minute, why would you chose the military (and probably take ROTC money to get your degree) if you don't believe in what they do?

So, if you are reading this and are young enough to be picking a career, pick one that won't require you to make moral choices you don't like or one where those choices can be made without affecting others.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Since Ascan Asked....

I posted "Where I've Been" in the US earlier today. And, since Ascan asked in the comments, I went back and found the link to do places I've visited in the world. I'm not sure that the map is accurate though, since I know I crossed the equator to get to Ecuador, but it doesn't look that far south on the map.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands
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School Choice, What it Really Is.

Last night I was working on a long follow up post about school choice, what it's about, why it's important. I just hit the delete button. Not because I had a sudden epiphany, and think the idea is bad, but because I can't say it better than Mike Holt does in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Op/Ed piece today. Read it here.

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h/t to Charlie...
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Is Slow Growth The Answer?

In Northern Virginia, and many other areas around the country transportation issues abound for planners, at the state and local level. Development and growth have made traffic problems, especially in the "Beltway" area around Washington D.C. very close to intolerable.

One of the big catch phrases running around in Richmond right now is "slow growth", basically government trying to make it harder for new businesses and housing developments to open up in certain areas, and limiting density, to try and curb traffic.

As someone who spent a good part of his adult life living in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas, I can tell them that it isn't going to work. Curbing growth in Fairfax, Alexandria or Arlington isn't going to make traffic clear up on the beltway around DC.

What it will do is push traffic farther away, to areas that are even less equipped to deal with it, and less likely to make mass transit a real option for getting folks to the city. Washington isn't going to quit growing. Because it's the hub of the federal government, there will always be a need for, and growth of industries that support, or depend on the government. Those industries want to be closer, not farther from where they do their business.

The other side of the slow growth option is that it immediately makes housing and commercial real estate costs go up in the areas nearer the jobs folks are already commuting to. Because many of those areas are pretty dense already the price increases have become very evident over the last few years.

San Diego tried the "out not up" strategy, mandating lower density developments in the county, restricting the numbers of multi-family units that could be built, and limiting the size of certain commercial developments.

The problem was, "out" wasn't developed to handle the influx of new residents, there wasn't sufficient mass transit, and the jobs were still in the city. Instead of 5 miles of backed up traffic from 7:30 to 9:00am they ended up with 10 miles backed up starting at 6:30.

My 11 mile drive to work took about 20 minutes if I left home at 6:10am, but if I waited until 6:30 to leave, it took between 35 and 40 minutes. And now, the county is chasing the "out not up" area with new roads, light rail lines, etc, but not keeping up to it.

L.A. was even worse, as early as 1985 I worked with people who were living 70 miles from work, and commuting two hours each way because of the lack of vertical growth in the city area.

In my humble opinion, Northern Virginia is in for the same kind of traffic disaster that Los Angeles and San Diego already experience, unless they look up, not out for their solutions. It's already begun, with traffic backing up for 20 miles south of Washington DC by 7am every weekday.

Encouraging growth closer to DC, but in an upward fashion makes more sense. Shorter runs to extend rail lines, which encourages more use of mass transit, shorter rides on buses to work, and less lane miles of new roads are required if they encourage vertical development.

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Track Back at Don Surber, who has a nice Alito rant up this morning, and Stop the ACLU.
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Where I've Been..

Found the link to this on PJ Maximum, The Uber-Conservatives blog. I often mention I lived in a lot of states. To get to most of them I've driven, so I've also seen a lot of states. (Note: I didn't drive to Alaska or Hawaii).

In fact, I don't have many left. I don't count Michigan because the only time I've been there is to stop in the airport at Detroit. I have tacky refrigerator magnets from many of them, because one can never have too many ugly magnets on the fridge.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.
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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Comeback Trail?

Great post at Bull Moose from yesterday entitled "The One". If you want to know why the Democrats probably won't get the House or Senate in '06 or the White House in 2008, check out a moderate Democrat's view on the latest darling of the farther left end of their party.

The guy that has become their chosen one, in the Moose's words "...would be a disaster for the donkey. But, there is an unmistakable pull in the party toward the port side. Filibusters are being hatched in Davos, and the inmates have taken over the asylum."

After I read it, though, it gave me a pause to think about the inmates and the asylum. Maybe it wouldn't be bad for the far left crowd to actually be the one's to cause the Dem's to gain some seats in the House and Senate in 2006. Not take control of either, just gain enough seats to look respectable.

I say this, because I think it would embolden them in 2008. It might even get them to think that they could win the White House on a strongly progressive platform. History has shown that to be a losing path, not just recently, but since 1968 when Damaged Goods Dick Nixon was elected.

Jimmy Carter wasn't elected in 1976 because we wanted to move to the left, he was elected because of the damage Nixon had done to the GOP. Clinton wasn't elected in 1992 or 1996 because we wanted to move left, he was generally running on centrist platforms, and against a GOP split by Perot being on the ticket.

A few hard left progressive pick ups in 2006 would embolden the moonbat end of the Democrats to believe that is a winning ticket nationally. They would probably force the party to nominate someone who has little chance in a national election.

Just about any moderate republican would wax a Kerry, Gore, or farther left candidate from the Democrats, and as the Moose said, it would be a disaster for the Donkey.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Duty to Filibuster?

Because I would never subject my readers to certain things, I occasionally do the dirty work for you. Tonight much like the annoying "Bud Light Daredevil", I delved where no sane conservative would go. I read an article from "The Nation", and I'll probably need two showers afterwards.

I saw the headline for "Checks, Balances and the Duty to Filibuster" on Yahoo! News, and decided I would actually go to the source for the info on this new "duty" of Senators.

So I read John Nichols article, and got an a pretty good laugh from it. Mr. Nichols evidently believed when he wrote this piece that no one would look up his esteemed source, George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley.

With quotes like this from Mr. Turley one would think we should all be concerned about the confirmation of Judge Alito.

"In my years as an academic and a litigator, I have rarely seen the equal of Alito's bias in favor of the government. To put it bluntly, when it comes to reviewing government abuse, Samuel Alito is an empty robe."

These woul be pretty serious words from a constitutional scholar, if he were one who didn't have an agenda of his own.

Let's look at the titles of some of the articles off of Mr. Turley's website:

11/24/04 Hook or Crook in Washington; GOP's gutting of ethics rule should be no surprise.

11/15/04 Ashcroft kicks screen door

10/20/04 6 degrees of Karl Rove;Look close and you will find a Rove connection to everything from the rise of rickets in Arkansas to distemper among Labradors .

Maybe next time John Nichol's writes an article claiming that esteemed scholars are complaining, he'll find one without a 5 year record of being against "anything Bush". He honestly could have been just as objective by quoting Dick Durbin (D-Il), who before becoming a senator was a very good law professor in his own right.

Of course, Turley wasn't the only laugh in article. Nichol's provides a few with his own quotes.
Samuel Alito has established himself, through his record as an appellate court judge and his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as the consumate judicial activist. He seeks a place on the Supreme Court in order to advance his vision of an imperial presidency that does not obey the laws of the land or answer to the Congress
Evidently we watched different confirmation hearings. The hearing I saw Alito said, on numerous occasions, that no one is above the law, even the president. He also reiterated that congress needs to exert itself if they feel the president is acting out of order.

I would suggest Mr. Nichols go seek the advice of Ed Rendell, former head of the Democratic National Committee. Ed, who's wife sits on the 3rd circuit court with Justice Alito, had a lot to say about this issue. The bottom line was that Alito should be confirmed. (NRO has the transcript here).

In fact, I think that Ted Kennedy and John Kerry should probably go talk to their old party boss, too.

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Bad Charlie!

As everyone knows, Charlie Sykes is my hero when it comes to talk radio. Well, Charlie has been a bad, bad, boy lately. At least by the reaction to a bit that he and one of his engineers came up with.

Let's face it, when the NAACP starts holding news conferences to discuss what you've been up to, it can't be good, or can it?

A week or so ago Charlie came up with a bit on his show, aimed at Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and his refusal to lift the enrollment caps for the states School Choice Voucher program.
(listen here). The reaction on the left has been, lets say less than enthusiastic, in fact Charlie is now known as "Charlie Sykes, captain of the neo-con zombie brigade"...

It was subsequently turned into a TV ad by "The Coalition for Families", which really has folks fuming. Evidently telling a liberal democrat he's blocking the door to decent education, ala the segregationists in the 1960's doesn't go over so well.

Wisconsin has one of the longest running and most successful school choice programs in the country. There have, like any program been problems with it, but overall a lot of kids in failing schools are going to much better ones. Unfortunately, the enrollment limits on it are being hit, and the governor refuses to sign a bill to raise them.

Guess who this irks the most? Not inner city parents, not the kids going to the schools. The two most annoyed groups are those who can't get their kids into the program because of enrollement limits, and WEAC, the Wisconsin teachers union. Of those two groups, guess who gives the governor and Democrats the big bucks come election time.

Some of the things the NAACP's Milwaukee President said are actually kind of amusing, if you think about it:
In contrast, in 2005 Governor Doyle stated before the NAACP National Convention last summer that we have made much progress but victory cannot be
declared until we “are free from segregated neighborhoods and discrimination and
until opportunity is truly equal for everyone.” These are not the words of a segregationist.
If they truly believe that, wouldn't they want more kids getting into better schools, thus integrating more, and segregating less? Isn't that how opportunity would would become truly equal, when one could go to whatever school they wanted?

Governor Doyle vetoed a bill that would have made it more difficult for minority children to sue companies for damages caused by lead paint poisoning.

Actually, the bill required you to know who manufactured something before you could sue. And it applies to everyone, not just minorities. Under a rather odd ruling by the state supreme court if you get lead poisining, you can sue ANY paint maker from the era the paint was made. No requirment to show that manufacturer caused your problem. (Opinion Journal has a great article about this issue here. )

In closing I want to say this –one of the major obstacles facing the voucher movement is the fear that there are no standards, no way to hold official accountable. There’s a fear that some leaders lack responsibility, and the character necessary to educate our kids. The reprehensible comparison of Governor Doyle to segregationist governors only serves to highlight the program’s failures.

Actually, they failed to mention in their other talking points (Many oddly similar to those of the teachers union) that the Governor has signed legislation to tighten controls on the Voucher program, and hold those running Choice schools to a higher level of accountability.

The fear they talk about does exist. However, by the number trying to get into the Choice program, that fear isn't of vouchers, the fear is of the Milwaukee Public School system, and other domains of WEAC power and influence.

The comparison is necessary, because it's brought this issue to the forefront. School Choice Program has had problems, but they are minor when compared with decades of substandard graduates coming out of the public school system in Milwaukee.

The real problem is civil rights leaders, who for political reasons, will allow those they supposedly serve to remain in substandard schools. When they work to keep the program limited and closed, instead of trying to improve it and expand opportunities, that is a problem.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nuclear Monday?

Bill Frist has called for a Monday vote on for Samuel Alito's nomination. If you need a laugh, read some of the comments in the Washington Post's Supreme Court Blog. There are some folks who are screaming for a filibuster, and really getting on Tim Johnson and Robert Byrd for saying they will vote for him.

Ted Kennedy and a few other stalwarts are holding out, hoping to come up with 41 votes to block cloture and a final vote on Monday. However, with Harry Reid, and others denouncing the filibuster idea, it's doubtful he'll come up with enough to prevent a vote.

Even if they do, it looks like Frist would have the 51 needed to invoke the Constitutional (nuclear, to democrats) Option, removing filibusters as an option for judicial nominees.

I'm torn on this being done right now, however, it could happen in the near future anyway. It seems the President has become a little bolder in his judicial nominations, by renominating Brett M. Kavanaugh who was blocked by filibuster in 2003, and left out of the Gang of 14's compomise in 2005.

I'm pretty sure there will be a number of democrats who feel this qualifies under the "extraordinary circumstances" clause of the Gang's agreement, and will try and filibuster Kavanaugh again. It should be interesting to see how it plays out.

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Health Care Follies

Part of the President's State of the Union message in a week or so is going to be focused on health care. Since the early 1990's, when we were all told we had a crisis, politicians have been trying to find a way to make the system work, be cheaper, etc.

We all remember "Hillary-Care" circa 1993-1994, where the whole country was going to go onto a national program, and it bombed, never getting anywhere. It wasn't just "the right" who killed Hillary Care. Everyday folks from all walks decided they didn't want a guy or gal in DC deciding what was "an appropriate treatment regime", they thought their doctor was better suited to decide that.

Tennessee even tried a state run version of it, and they are scrapping it as it became not cheaper, but more expensive for everyone involved.

Robert J. Samuelson has a great Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post this morning on "The Fix It Myth" of health care (reprinted in Newsweek). He explains that, on a basic level we all want three things from the health care system:
(1) provide needed care to all people, regardless of
(2) maintain our freedom to pick doctors and their freedom to
recommend the best care for us; and
(3) control costs.

Which is true, those are what most of us would like to see. He goes on to point out that we can have two of the three, but not all. Which is also very true, and no single item of the three is the culprit.

Canadians, who's system has come under fire from their own courts in recent years, get numbers 1 & 3, as do most Europeans. #2 doesn't work in their systems, because it means extra care being paid for. They only acheive number three by means most of us would find unacceptable, less new treatments available, fewer newer drugs available, no second opinions.

He makes another great point, and it goes kind of to the heart of the health care debate, and a few other one's we have in the country occaisionally:

We're living in a fantasy world. Given our inconsistent expectations, no health care system -- not one completely run by government or one following "market" principles -- can satisfy public opinion. Politicians and pundits can score cheap points by emphasizing one goal or another (insure the uninsured, cover drugs for Medicare recipients, expand "choice") without facing the harder job: finding a better balance among competing goals.

It's what we did with the medicare prescription coverage plan, COBRA laws, and pushes for portablility. They pander to a particular segment of folks who have issues with the current system. If you go back up to the list, each one of the things I just mentioned made goal number 3 unattainable.

His final paragraph is one I agree with, and know that there is no political will in DC, or anywhere to tackle.
Americans want more health care for less money, and when they don't get it, they indict drug companies, insurers, trial lawyers and bureaucrats. Although these familiar scapegoats may not be blameless, the real problem is us. We demand the impossible. The changes we truly need are political. We need to reconnect people with the public consequences of their private acts. We should curb the subsidization of private insurance. Medicare recipients, especially wealthier ones, should pay more of their bills. But these changes won't happen because people don't want to see the costs. We don't have the health care system we need, but we do have the one we deserve.

We, as a country, have gotten to a point on a lot of things where we want "a free ride", I don't care if it's cheap gas, cheap medical care, we want someone else to pay for it, but we'd like what we want, and nothing less. Everyone here in Virginia wants more roads, extra commuter rail service, and other mass transit improvements. We just don't want to have our taxes go up to pay for them.

There is only one place I know of that congress has been willing to make the recipients pay for more of their coverage, and it's not medicare, who's costs to the consumer have risen less over the last 15 years than private insurance.

It's military retirees and their families. When I joined in 1982, the idea of free health care for life was still there if you did a 20 year career. By the time I retired an HMO/PPO type system was in place, with an annual fee to use it. The fee isn't horrible by any means ($460/yr), but still there. Over the next 3 years my cost will go up 100% for premimums and between 100 and 300 percent for co-pays on drugs.

The reasoning behind this is to get guys like me with company plans to drop my government health insurance, and move into the company plan, shifting the cost from the government to my employer. The thing is that even at about $80 a month, my goverment plan is going to be about 20% cheaper than my (current) employers plan, and 150% less than my wife's plan. So we won't be switching.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Maybe it's not so bad..

I've spent a bunch of lines of text whining about a head cold and mild turned ankle the last two days. I guess it's easy to get on the pity pot when you live a fairly comfortable life, have a steady job, can buy stuff "just because", and don't generally want for a lot.

Then, while crusing the blog roll, I came across Rob's dilema over at Like the Night Life, Love to Boogie.

I feel like a shithead now for whining about piddly crap that really doesn't matter.

Good luck Rob, and please be safe!
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That's What I'm Talking About!

I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!

You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull. Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Sorry about the lack of substance today, the head cold hasn't left, and adding 10 hours of work to it has me pretty burned out tonight.

h/t to Below the Beltway.... By the way Doug, this will blow your Boxter off the road!

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Saint Barack

One of my favorite columnists, who sometimes does politics, sometimes local fluff, and always writes good stuff is John Kass of the Chicago Tribune.

A few days ago he wrote an excellent column about the Senate's golden boy, Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois. For those who don't remember or know of Obama, he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He is being groomed for bigger, better things by the party, because while they claim to be champions of the little guy and minorities, the faces of the party are all Lilly white rich guys.

Kass's column "Obama Might Be Walking on Hot Water" explains how the Senator needs to be careful in his new found role as Democratic mouthpiece on corruption. You see, the Democratic Party in Illinois is having a few issues of it's own with corruption. Specifically the governor of the state and the Mayor of Chicago are both embroiled in some type of 'pay for play' scandals.

While the Abramoff scandal is a national one, guys like Obama have to remember that old saying "all politics are local". Jack Ambramoff plays great on CNN and ABC World News Tonight, but on Chicago and Rockford's evening news, it's more about the Hired Truck fiasco in Chicago and the State Teacher's Pension fund in Springfield.

In his column Kass warns Obama about the trap he faces in his job of beating on Republican's over corruption. If any bad money in Chicago or Springfield ends up tied to him, he loses his credibility. Rahm Emmanuel, a Clinton protege and current congressman from Chicago may find that out in coming months as more folks close to Mayor Daly start rolling in the truck scandal.

That would be a bad thing for not only him, but the higher ups in the party, who want him to do great things. Anyone who's cleaned it knows that tarnish is hard to get off of gold.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

So How Did I Turn My Ankle

I came home from work sick today. I hate not feeling good, and I hate it even worse when it causes me to miss work. But, I have 3 solid days of standing in front of a class coming up, so I figured better to go home, and get better since no one is available this week to cover for me.

To make this a worse time, I have a job interview (over the phone) at 5 this afternoon. So I can't take anything that will make me drowsy or I may not hear the phone ring. So I picked up some Tylenol Cold and Flu stuff, came home from work, ate something light and took some drugs.

Then I laid down for about an hour before the sinus stuff had me too jittery to sleep, so I decided to do something useful, and practice my guitar.

I figured nothing better to make me forget about my sinus headache, upset stomach, and just YUCK feeling than playing double octave scales for a little while.

(By now you are wondering about the title of this post, aren't you?)

So anyway, out to the music area I went (pictured to the left), picked up the Hamer on the left, tuned up, and started playing my scales like a good little student.

You see that music book on the floor? I tripped over it. That's right folks, I turned my ankle by tripping over some CHORDS!

Was that a horribly long set up for a terribly bad joke? Too bad, I only promised occasional humor on my blog, not "Good Humor" because that'll drive your cholesterol up.

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Crap Alec, What Now?

Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Alec Baldwin have to be fuming this morning. Their liberal refuge to the north took a right turn yesterday, electing a conservative government for the first time in years.

Congratulations to Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party. It should be interesting to see how cross border relations change with the new PM.

Because he doesn't have a majority in the House of Commons, Harper probably won't be able to do anything too radical, but some incremental changes will probably begin to happen. Don't expect the Canadian national health plan to disappear in favor of HMO's and PPO's, but hopefully it will be refined to reduce wait times, and allow some competition.

While the absolutely regressive Goods and Service Tax won't be eliminated, he is speaking of cutting it. That's a good start to weening the folks up there of their semi-socialist inklings.

Daimnation! has more info on the election results from a Canadian.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Foreign Policy Follies

In today's op-ed piece "Rice's Blind Spot" Sebastian Mallaby has some interesting thoughts on foreign policy and nation building.

In "old school" style foreign policy debates you were either a realist, in the Kissinger mold. Or an idealist, which is really what the Reagan policy was built on. Realists, who have dominated our country for most of the last century, believe you deal with great powers, regardless of their ideological bent. In doing so you tolerate those lesser countries that will help you, even if you don't agree with their methods.

Detente with Russia, and the opening of Mao's China, are more recent examples. On the "lesser nation" front, you had countries that helped us with our goals, the Philippines, Iran, South Africa, and others, who had government types we didn't particularly like, but were necessary to deal with the "great powers".

The fall of the Shah of Iran was one warning about how dealing with autocrats, however good the reasons, might not be the best way of doing things, especially if they went away.

Reagan was the opposite thinker, the idealist who believed the powers could be changed. He pushed The Soviet Union to the brink, and gained what he wanted, a collapse of their power. On smaller countries in Central America he helped insurgents who would try and make them friendlier to us.

Now that the foreign policy lesson is over, back to Sebastian. Mr. Mallaby believes the realist view on foreign policy to be outdated, large state powers aren't the major threat, which is fairly correct, but not fully. Anyone who thinks China, now India, and Russia can't be threats is keeping their head in the sand.

He points to the Clinton administration's policies, which included tracking (but not taking when offered) terrorists, and other things.

The importance of other non-state actors, from rebels to environmentalists to bond traders, had become a cliche of globalization commentary; AIDS had been recognized as a security threat. The era of great-power politics was widely thought to have ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rice seemed like a Sovietologist who hadn't quite caught up.
This is only partially true, while each of the above could be looked at in a global way, and do and should have an affect on foreign policy, they are not things to build one around. Clinton himself engaged in nation building in Kosvo, Bosnia, and Somalia, with varying degrees of success. Eliminating AIDS or reducing corruption in markets might get other nations to follow your lead, but it won't ever be the center piece of a successful foreign policy.

He gives Rice credit for catching up to the above, ideal, somewhat.

Rice has caught up with the 1990s consensus that powerful states may pose less of a problem than disintegrating weak ones and that the best hope for peace in the long term is a world of stable democracies. But she's only half-acknowledging the next question: Yes, weak and autocratic states are a problem, but can we do anything about them?
However, he fails to recognize, again in the area of Kosvo, and Bosnia that we did do something about them. In other words, Clinton, who's policy inspired him above, did exactly what he chides Rice for trying, getting weak autocratic states to become plausible democracies.

He looks to Francis Fukuyama for inspiration in the area of nation building, or the inability to perform such a function.

The United States lacks the instruments to transform other societies, Fukuyama argues; to build nations you must first build institutions, and nobody knows how to do that. Conservatives, who have long preached the limits to what government can achieve with domestic social policies, should wake up to government's limits in foreign policy as well.
If this is true, we have a problem, and not just in America, but world wide. Using this logic, it's impossible to transform any government anywhere, because no one knows how to build the things that will be required. (Though the thought of saying "Fukuyama says it's impossible to change countries, so we are withdrawing from the UN, and ending all support of the IMF" does make me giddy.)

I disagree with Mr. Mallaby, we do know how to build the institutions, it's just not as quick as some folks would like. And it isn't something that can be done with a cookie cutter, one size fits all countries.

Sometimes it's even kind of messy to build the institutions of democracy, requiring revolution. In fact, using the above logic, we should still be British colonies, because the founding fathers had no clue to to build the institutions necessary to make us our own country. Yet they accomplished it. It wasn't fast, either. We started our battle for independence in 1776, but didn't ratify our Constitution until 1788 when the 9th State adopted it.

That doesn't mean I think there is no limit to foreign policy. No I think that it can be an effective means of changing governments and transforming nations. But I also believe there is no such thing as a "perfect foreign policy", and there should be no such thing as a static one. What may work well with India may not do anything with Pakistan, good foreign policy deals with each country on it's own merits and problems.

The final paragraph of his piece is actually the most telling, it deals with optimists and pessimists, and the Iraq situation.

It's whether you are an optimist or a pessimist: whether you think that Iraq has gone badly merely because the Bush administration mishandled it, or whether you believe that no amount of skillful management could have achieved stability after three years.
Where he goes wrong in this though is the 3 years time frame, it's not long enough, even in our 24 hour news cycle world. We've been in Bosnia and Kosvo for a decade, they aren't completely transformed but they are much more stable countries than they were in 1990. Eastern Europe is full of democracies, and countries experiencing growing pains as they move that way after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It didn't happen overnight. It didn't even happen in three years, it's taken the better part of the last 17 to get to where they are. Nation building and transformational policy are not overnight events. They take time to accomplish.
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Pirates of the Indian Ocean

Yesterday the USS Winston Churchill, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, seized a pirate ship in the Indian Ocean. Two shots were fired across the bow of the suspect ship before they decided to surrender to the Churchill.

16 Indian crew members and 10 Somali's were captured, evidently the ship was hijacked by the Somali's last week, and was being used to stage attacks on other merchant ships off the coast of Somalia.

Many don't realize that piracy on the high seas, not just the internet, is still a problem in our modern age. In 1992 there were 106 cases reported to international authorities, In 2002 the number was 370 according to Piracy Info.

Not sure if the guy pictured below had anything to do with this attack, but I do hear he has a new movie coming out.

Captain Jack Sparrow as portrayed by Johnny Depp

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Guess Who Finally Showed Up!


No folks, the title is not talking about Bin Laden and Zarahawi's recent messages. Or Al Gore the idiot, or Hillary the Hilldabeast, no someone much more dangerous (in certain situations) finally showed his face today.

He was seen in Denver during the AFC Championship game that was won by the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-17.

What dangerous person was allowed into the stadium? Why wasn't security all over this to prevent something like this from happening?

Because this is "The Guy" who showed up:

That's right, Jake "The Snake" Plummer, in his Arizona Cardinal form was playing quarterback for Denver today. Boneheaded passes, fumbles, he did it all just like in the old days.

Don't get me wrong, in his college days I was a Jake fan, and thought he might become a great NFL QB. Instead, he became synonomous with wild passes, happy feet, and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

In Denver he showed promise, but lets face it, we all asked when the "old Jake" would show back up. He waited until the biggest game of the year to toss two picks, lose two fumbles, and over throw open receivers.

Congrats Steelers! Enjoy the Super Bowl, you've definitely earned it by beating the 3 top seeds in the AFC.

Through some odd, maybe voodoo like power, Jake the Snake was able to make it from Denver to Seattle in only 30 minutes. He occupied the body of Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, causing him to play like he was wearing a Cardinals uniform also.

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Wyatt Earp won't have to worry about his dilema now.

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Apologies to My Blog Roll

Hey, just wanted to post a quick "sorry" to the folks on my blog roll. Usually I try and hit everyone every day or so, but have been a bit remiss this weekend. I'm working on a project right now that is taking some time, and had a "guitar emergency" Friday that had to be dealt with.

The other project is another blog being set up as a courtesy to someone, which is taking more time that I though.

The guitar emergency was my neck pickup on the old '71 Silvertone died. I hate playing through just the bridge, as it sounds too "twangy" on the semi-hollow body. Of course, it's an odd sized pickup that can't just be replaced.

So, I spent a day and a half shopping, and decided on a Hamer Strat knock off. I found I like the action and comfort level so much I practiced for 3 hours yesterday. It's amazing I can type because the fingers on my left hand are killing me. But the daughter unit will be happy, this one will be easier to play "Heaven" with.

I will be getting to everyone at some point today, thanks for your patience.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Be a Parent For God Sake!

Okay, I've had it now. I was just watching the news and saw that Viacom and Kellogg's are being sued because kids are getting fat from watching TV and eating Sponge Bob cereal that is advertised on Nickelodeon.

I'm not sticking up for Sponge Bob because of his name, in fact I'm not real crazy about him. I'm sticking up for him because it's the right thing to do.

The Washington Post has a piece up on this in one of their blogs, "The Checkout" (this one still allows comments), naming the groups who are filing the suit, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) who have previously brought us tobacco lawsuits, want junk food ads of Nickelodeon.

Here's my thought, become a parent, and tell your kids "NO" once in a while, they won't die from it. Yes, kids see ads, and yes, kids bug parents to buy them the stuff they see in the ads. That doesn't mean the parents have to buy it. There are links on here to both of my kids blogs, go leave a comment and ask them how well a screaming hissy fit worked in a store to get what they wanted.

That being said ....

I'm sure the lawyers at CSPI are just doing this "for the children" but the fact is, it's none of their friggin' business how I raise my kids, or what I feed them. I'm sure they'd love to force us all to eat tofu burgers and sprouts three meals a day with Soy Milk and purified water to wash it down. But I prefer a big fat ribeye, a baked potato (loaded with sour cream, real butter, and salt!) and maybe some Hagen Daaz for desert.

If they want to force me (or someone else) to raise our kids a certain way, then I suggest they also send me a check for tuition for the kids, and by the way, my daughter really needs a decent car, I'm sure they'd scoff at the rattling death trap that she is driving.

What ever judge gets this case needs to dismiss it. And with some luck, he or she will laugh, and make fun of the lawyers when they do.

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There is an Election Monday

In case those of us in the U.S. forgot, there is an election north of the border on Monday. We aren't hearing as much about it down here as one might thing we would. I think there is a reason for that, too. You see, the folks that many in the media would like to see win aren't doing so well.

The current Canadian Liberal government is basically running on the "Screw the U.S." platform, and it looks like they are going to lose. That's not sitting too well with some folks, Michael Moore for one. Blogmeister, USA has his open letter to Canada, which one would think was written by the guys at Nose on Your Face or Scrappleface after reading it.

Canada, who for many years generally reflected US policy and demeanor went to the left a while ago, and the MSM has beaten conservatives over the head with it. They've loved the "our neighbors hate us" lines they have been able to use. It will be interesting to see the spin that is put on if the Conservatives to win the election.

A conservative win in Canada would be a bigger blow to US liberals than they want to admit. Canada's conservatives want a less intrusive government, reform on their national health care plan, and (gasp!) lower taxes. If our northern neighbor starts cutting back on the very programs out liberals keep pointing to as the example we should follow, it will definitely give folks here reason to pause come November.

Lost Bludgie has information on questions about the possibility of election fraud in Canada. It's good to know that the folks up north have problems keeping track of their ballots, too.

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First GM, Now Ford

Monday Ford is going to release it's restructuring plan, which is another blow to the US auto industry after GM announcing 30,000 job cuts in the next two years.

Ford lost about $950 million last quarter in the North American market, so anyone who thinks that restructuring is a bad idea needs to learn math. You can't bleed like that for long in a division and stick around. The odd thing is Ford isn't going broke like GM, Ford is actually going to show a $2 billion profit for it's last fiscal year based on it's world wide market and finance division.

What that points out is that unlike GM, Ford's biggest problem isn't legacy costs of it's pension programs and other worker expenses. They are part of the problem, but not nearly to the extent of GM. Ford's problem is really more market driven. Other than the Mustang and F-150 trucks they don't make much that folks want.

The Taurus sold like crazy for a lot of years. It spent many as either the number 1 or 2 selling passenger car in the US. While it is still on the market it hasn't been updated in a while and sales show that. The 500, the car that is supposed to replace it looks like the mid-70's boxes that every US car maker was producing, and is selling horribly.

The new Fusion has bland, at best styling that looks like a early 90's Honda Prelude from the front, and I'm guessing it's pretty easy to get one.

To illustrate how little excitement Ford is generating, they've lost more than 25% of their market share in the last 6 years. Dropping from 24% to just over 17% in that period.

Here's my suggestion to Bill Ford, about whom as one researcher said; "One can reasonably conclude that Bill Ford does not know how to build cars that people want to buy. On his watch, Ford will have redone his entire line and failed to accomplish success."; fire the design team, every last one of them! And Bill, keep your fingers out of the design world, too.

Ford's international program has revived Jaguar, and made Mazda's that folks like to look at and buy. Even Volvo has come out of the old box style they were famous for, and added some curves. Clean house in Michigan, and import some of the talent that has made the overseas divisions more successful and design something that I say "WOW" over.

Ford's world wide business is sound and making money, they need to bring some of that know how to the US division, before it's too late.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Coppin' A Plea

Four of the five defendants in the Milwaukee tire slashing case I wrote about a few days ago have suddenly decided to cop plea deals for misdemeanor offenses. The four include the son of Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D), and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt.

The fifth defendant is waiting for the jury on his felony charge.
I'm not crazy about the plea deals, according to the stories out there right now the jury was having problems after only 6 hours of deliberations, in a seven day trial. That isn't a very long time to deliberate. During my one stint on a jury the trial was 3 days long, and it took us about 10 hours that to reach a verdict, and there were points when we though we were deadlocked. I think the prosecutor got cold feet and thought he might lose, and bailed out.
I'm surprised the four who took pleas did, unless there was something else going on to make them think the jury might come back guilty, even after they indicated problems.
Update: The fifth defendant was acquitted by the jury.

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Happy Anniversary

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the release of the Iranian hostages. I find it kind of fitting that on the same day we will speak of that annivesary, and how that release started the initial containment of the "New Iran" we are now looking at how to contain them again.

It's a delicate job, to keep them in check. Militarily it's not a big deal to take out most of Iran's air force, and other bases. The west could do it in fairly short order. Economically, though pissing them off could be disasterous on a global scale.

Not only do the Mullah's in Iran, and the wacko they've elected president control 25% of the world oil supply, they also control the choke point that allows quite a bit if the rest to be distributed. With just a few undred mines it's not hard to imagine tankers bottled up in the gulf, unable to leave for fear of hitting one.

During the "tanker wars" of the 1980's Iran did all it's attacking with surface vessels that were pretty easy to pick off. Today they possess some very quiet diesel submarines, which are not going to be as easy to find. It doesn't take a great crew to hit a slow moving tanker with a torpedo.

Am I saying that we shouldn't have a military option on the table for Iran? No, I'm not, but we need to be very careful if and when we pull that trigger, because there are going to be far reaching consequences.

I'd much rather see diplomatic and economic solutions, but Russia and China have already indicated that those may not be as easy to come by, mostly because of the vested interests in Iran, it's oil, and it's military purchases.

One thing is for certain, appeasing the leadership of Iran should not be a goal, letting those folks end up with nukes is something that folks like Russia and China should worry about as much as any other country for long term stability in the region.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

He's Baaaack!

That's right folks, from his rock encrusted hideaway somewhere in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or maybe even Iran, Usama Bin Laden has sent another message. It's been nearly a year since he was heard from, and for those who were taking comfort in that fact, the CIA has already validated the voice.

As in the last Al Qaeda message, Bin Laden pinged on the polls that show the US would like to leave Iraq and even offers some sort of truce. Trusting him to a truce is like trusting a used car dealer when he say's something has 30,000 miles on it.

I tend to agree with the administration, truces with terrorists are a bad idea. Like deals with the devil they may sound good at first, but look at the record.

Kim Il Jung was convinced by us to give up his nuke program in exchange for light water reactors, and heating oil. We see how well that worked out.

Iran quit it's nuke program, and locked everything up for the UN. And now they want Isreal incinerated, and anyone else who doesn't like their new toys. Russia is supposedly trying to get them to calm down, but face it, Russia sells them almost all the equipment for that program and their military.

It will be interesting over the next few days to see who from the peacenik crowd starts crowing about how we should take him up on it. And it will be fun to watch the editorials the next couple of days and see how they handle this.

The Debate at the WaPo has a link to this article up, Thanks Emily!
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Spank Them Charlie!

Charlie Sykes, at WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee has a great column in CNI Newspapers today, "THE MILWAUKEE 5 CATCH-22". It slams the Democratic Party, both national and in Wisconsin, over the tire slashing of GOP vans in Milwaukee during the 2004 election.

Check it out, has has a very interesting point, that I'm sure Gwen Moore, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold don't want to address.
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We Hit Someone

The airstrike against a Pakastani home last Friday that has caused an uproar has apparently killed some fairly senior Al Qaeda officals, though not the Number 2 guys as was earlier suspected.

Pakastani intelligence is claiming that Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, who uses the alias Abu Khabab al-Masri was killed, there is a $5 million US reward on him, because he was running terrorist training camps.

Abdul Rahman Maghribi, the son-in-law of Zawahiri, was also reported as killed in the strike, along with Abu Ubayida Misri. Maghribi was thought to be the chief propaganda boss for the region along the Pakistan and Afghanistan border.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Check These Out!

Some links for you tonight, because while cruising my blogroll I found a few great things. Check back, I'll probably update it as I find more interesting things.

The first one, courtesy of Agent Bedhead will make you wonder "what the hell was she thinking", or as I did, "I remember when those were golden globes."

The second, from Suzie at Assorted Babble will piss you off to no end. I wonder if either of the Senators from this state will take notice of a severe case of injustice.

This, at Bear Creek Ledger will just make you laugh your ass off.

Little Miss Chatterbox also gave out some moonbat awards, but her's come with cartoons. And the first one had half my office laughing.

The Conservative UAW Guy wishes, "IF ONLY....", A "24" based post.

Some Soldiers Mom has "Between Two Worlds" posted. It's incredible, as usual. If you know someone with a loved in the military read this, it will explain a lot to you.

That's it for tonight, Badgers are playing Ohio State on ESPN and I need to watch the rest of it.
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Bloggers, Taken to Task, and Given Credit

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has a fairly well balanced article in todays paper about the recent attacks on John Murtha's service record. "A Swift-Moving Story" goes into the attacks on Murtha that originated at Cybercast New Service claiming that some of Murtha's stories of Viet Nam heroism may have been embellished.

I'll give Howard credit where it is due, he covered both sides, and the middle on this story. He's quoted from the Huffington Post, who was appalled by the story, and Black Five, who called for folks to get off of Murtha's record.

He also digs into some other stories around the blogosphere, and generally does a good job of beating some of us up for being sloppy, which he should, and gives credit where the facts are straight.

Bloggers are probably going to have to get used to the idea of the MSM biting back a little more than they have in the past, and beating us up. We should, just as we do to them. If folks in the new media world want to be taken seriously as a journalism outlet, they need to uphold the same standards that are demanded from the print/broadcast media.

What this article, which is quite lengthy, shows is that the MSM is starting to spend more time in the "new frontier", and sees it as both competition, and a source. I'm glad they are, because if we keep each other honest, it means that correct information has a better chance of getting to the public.

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Brainster also has a take on this article.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Was It Really An Execution?

We've all heard the story about Clarence Ray Allen, the 76 year old inmate who was executed in California this morning. Now someone wonders if we've used the wrong term to describe what was done. Read "DaddysGirl's" take on it.

And the "Chitown Packer Backer" has an interesting post up about the proposed new World Health Organization Symbol for choking.

(Honestly, I didn't put these links up because I happen to be responsible for the impregnation of their mother.)
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Liberal Kool-Aid Drinker Awards

I realized tonight looking through my archives that I haven't used this picture in quite a while, and it probably needs to get some time on the front page again.

So tonight I give another installment of the
Kool-Aid Drinker Awards, those folks who've recently said or done something to make me believe that they've been drinking from the liberal Kool-Aid Sink in Howard Dean's office.

Yesterday was a holiday meant to observe the life of a man who tried to bring our country together. So naturally some of my favorite drinkers from the sink spent the day pulling it apart. I wrote yesterday of Al Gore and his diatribe, so today I'll start by picking on Hillary Clinton.

Senator Clinton made a statement yesterday that the House of Representatives is "run like a plantation" where dissenting voices are squelched. Evidently Hillary has been on tour so much she hasn't seen how the minority party (hers!) in the Senate deals with dissenting voices like Joe Liebermann.

Maybe Hillary can give me any example of the GOP leadership openly looking for a candidate to run against a House member, as the Democrats have in trying to get Lowell Weicker to run again in Ct.

Ray Nagin has gotten plenty of bad press on his chocolate visisons of New Orleans, and his channeling of Pat Robertson when he spoke yesterday of God being mad at America. I won't pile on, I'll send you over to Common Folk Using Common Sense instead, he's got a great (doctored) picture up.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board can have a glass of Kool-Aid also. Their editorial today Don't weaken campaign law argues that McCain-Feingold should be upheld in a current case before Supreme Court. "The court mustn't weaken the one limited tool Congress has come up with recently to regulate campaign spending and to help ensure clean elections."

Excuse me guys, but elections, if anything, are dirtier under McCain Feingold. Now, instead of knowing where the dollars are coming from we get to have messages from shadowy 527's who don't have to report their income nearly as closely as campaigns do.

Finally, the ACLU and other groups suing to stop the NSA's current surveillence program. In case folks didn't know, the 6th Circuit actually decided on a case very similar to this in 1982, saying it was legal to do this type of wiretap, when it was thought the person was an agent of an enemy.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Some New Reading for Everyone

If you haven't noticed, the right sidebar now features the blogroll for the last 35 "HomeSpun Bloggers" to update. The reason I picked Home Spun is they are "non-denominational" bloggers. There are music blogs, cooking blogs, and just about everything else blogs on it as it grows. Occasionally we need a break from politics, though they exist there too.

There are also some new additions to my personal blogroll on the left sidebar. I'm not sure if this hits all the new ones since my last update, but I think it gets most of them.

Agent Bedhead, who has mostly lighter stuff on her blog, but occasionally some heavy material.
Alabama Improper who isn't new, she's just back to blogging after a slight break.
Assorted Babble, aka Suzies Views. I was directed there by another blogger, and love the place.
Black Five, a milblog always has some good reading. Including info on where to get free books.
Don't Go Into The Light, check out his Pam Anderson post, hillarious.
Large Bill Pontificates, Sports, Politics, Opinions, what else could you look for in a blog?
Riehl World View, who by linking one post got me my first 500 hit day. Always good stuff.
Soldiers Angels, who help out soldiers everywhere, by reminding them they are appreciated, and much more.
You Betcha I'm A Proud Army Mom, another mother who supports her daughter in her Army adventures.

Give them a read, you might find more places to hang out. Just keep coming back here.

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Angry Al Has No Memory

Al Gore was on the rampage again today. Reminding us all that the President has "..been breaking the law repeatedly!"

I like it when Al comes out and, in a Howardesque way screams about the current President, without remembering that many of the things he's complaining about were done while he was Veep.

Remember, the NY Times said that Clinton's wiretap and "sneak and peak" search order were necessary for national security. The Times also printed, in 1982 the court's ruling that the NSA could conduct surveillence on US Citizens and people overseas.

Al might also want to pick up a newspaper once in a while. With all the fire and brimstone he can muster (a small match and two pebbles), he accused the President of breaking the law by holding American's (Padilla, Hamdi) without charges. Evidently Al missed the news flash that the courts upheld those detentions as legal. Don't let facts get in your way, Al, you're on a roll.

The RNC had a pretty good response to Al today:

"While the president works to protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats deliver no solutions of their own, only diatribes laden with inaccuracies and anger. "

That about sums it up. Oh yeah, speaking of breaking the law Al, the Barrett report will be out the 19th.

Black Five also has a good take on this.

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We Have A Crisis!

Really, we do. It has nothing to do with Iran getting nukes, Russia playing with Europes supply of natural gas, or immigration from Mexico. Nope, according to John Alter, if we confirm Samuel Alito, the Constitution is done. Really. Check out the headline from Newsweek and read the story.

That's a pretty intimidating heading, isn't it? What it represents is the far left wing of the media attempting to influence the Alito votes in the Senate. The standard left war cry of "Roe will die!" didn't resonate on either of the last two nominees. This is the new cry, that the Constitution itself is going to be slayed by the evil right wingers who are being appointed to the court.

I used the term the "far left wing" of the media for a reason, as I chronicled yesterday, the Washington Post has endorsed Alito (though backhandedly) for the post, but some other papers have too, The LA Times, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which is probably the most liberal editorial board nobody reads. Even the NY Times has admitted that the President earned the right to have his nominees confirmed by winning two elections. The "regular left" media understands how the system works, they don't like it right now, but they get it.

Why are Alter, and others, on the far left still screaming about Alito? My guess is the age of John Paul Stevens, he's rather old. While he probably wouldn't retire while Bush is in office, that don't mean he'll live until 2009. The far left is laying the ground work for attacks on any nominee Bush would come up with to replace the second most liberal voice (behind Ginsburg).
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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Fixing the Postal Service?

The Washington Post did an article yesterday on the Postal Service, it's problems, and some possible solutions. Doug over at Below the Beltway has a pretty good rant up on the idea of privatization of, or at least competition for the Post Office. I started to write a response there, but on the fourth paragraph I decided it should probably be it's own post.

I thought about this a while back, probably at the last rate increase. I'd love to see some competition for first class mail, but finding competition that would cover ALL the area the post office does would be impossible.

Finding companies to compete in cities over 30 or 40 thousand, and bigger probably wouldn't be that hard. But smaller cities, and towns, and villages would be difficult, if not impossible. They aren't cost effective for what the post office does. The volume the USPS does in New York is huge, and covers the cost of doing it in Bumstump, Idaho.

If we break the service up, bring in competition, they'll take the bigger cities, no problem. But we'll still have to have a USPS to cover the areas that normal businesses just don't see a profit in covering. Unless we are going to tell those areas they no longer have mail service.

What that leads to is either a huge taxpayer subsidy to cover delivery to the undesirable areas, which the current iteration of the Postal Service doesn't get (they are required to be self sustaining by law). Or it could lead to a huge price increase for those folks, because they chose not to live in a big enough city, if we keep the current rules.

Then there is the other problem with competition not covering everything, that cross over zone. Who's responsible for my mail, my 1040, or my electric bill if it leaves Carrier 1's area and goes to Carrier 2's area? Even with competitors, there will still have to be some sort of "central clearing house for mail", who runs it? Who's responsible for my tax form when it doesn't show up in Kansas City on time?

What I'm getting at is the current Postal Service has warts, but in trying to fix them we have to make sure we aren't growing tumors. They need some institutional change, the Union needs to be more flexible in some of it's operations at the USPS, so does management. But this is a case, where I, an anti-big-government, anti-monopoly guy thinks that one group running the operations is a better idea than a bunch of competing groups.

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Another Blogger Letter To Congress

If you don't fit the mold of the "right - center" bloggers who've signed on over at TTLB, but still want a message sent to congress about how you feel, check out this one at Vince Aut Morire for the hard right bloggers.

Word of caution, don't be drinking anything while you read it. I know from experience.

h/t My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
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Washington Post Admits It's Bias

The Sunday Opinion section of the Washington Post can be tedious to read, but every once in a while you pick up something worthwhile, like the editorial board dropping their charade of independence.

In today's "Confirm Samuel Alito" editorial, the board admits that there is no reason not to confirm him, but that they don't like him. Why don't they like him, well that was laid out pretty well by the board.

"His replacement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor could alter -- for the worse, from our point of view -- the Supreme Court's delicate balance in important areas of constitutional law"
I guess reading the Constitution for what it is, and not what you wish it was, is a bad thing to them.

There is no requirement for a balanced court, in any direction. Warren proved that, as have others on both sides. In fact the court moving from left to right and back is one of the beauties of it. It's why bad decisions sometimes get overturned years later.

"Judge Alito's record is troubling in areas. His generally laudable tendency to defer to elected representatives at the state and federal levels sometimes goes too far -- giving rise to concerns that he will prove too tolerant of claims of executive power in the war on terror."
Again, they miss the point of the court, it's not to set policy, it's not to decide how to wage war. It's job is to decide if what elected officials are doing is Constitutional and legal, that's it. The only time they shouldn't defer to elected officials is when the laws/policies are clearly unconstitutional.

"There is reason to worry that he would curtail abortion rights. And his approach to the balance of power between the federal government and the states, while murky, seems unpromising."
As was presented at his hearings, there is also ample evidence that he respects Roe as precidence in case law. His uncompromising views on balance of power between states and the federal government are actually pretty simple. If it's not in the Constitution or settled law as a federal issue, the states should handle it. Maybe I'll e-mail the editors a copy of that Constitution thingy, I think they need to re-read it.

Here's the money line from the editors:

"Yet he is undeniably a conservative whose presence on the Supreme Court is likely to produce more conservative results than we would like to see."
They could have said that at the beginning, and saved some space for advertisers. As I said above, there is no rules that say we have to have a court that is "balanced".

I will give them credit, though, in that they are endorsing his confirmation, though with some asterisks. The last paragraph of the editorial is probably the most important, and true one as far as court nominations go.
"Supreme Court confirmations have never been free of politics, but neither has their history generally been one of party-line votes or of ideology as the determinative factor. To go down that road is to believe that there exists a Democratic law and a Republican law -- which is repugnant to the ideal of the rule of law. However one reasonably defines the "mainstream" of contemporary jurisprudence, Judge Alito's work lies within it. While we harbor some anxiety about the direction he may push the court, we would be more alarmed at the long-term implications of denying him a seat. No president should be denied the prerogative of putting a person as qualified as Judge Alito on the Supreme Court."
That is an important point we all need to remember. We only have one set of laws. The interpretation may change on some over time, based on many factors. But the idealogical squabble we've witnessed over the last 5 years is doing no good.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006


If the title didn't warn you, I'm about to make a joke out of something serious. If that bothers you, leave now.....

We all heard about the 15 year old with the pellet gun at school this week being shot by a SWAT team, right. Well I saw this headline tonight:

And all I could think when I read it was "he was before he got shot if he pulled a gun on a SWAT team."
I warned you, don't bitch.
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