The Therapy Sessions
Friday, July 30, 2004
According to all the talking heads, Kerry didn't exactly hit one out of the park, but he got a good strong base hit:'Help is on the way,' Kerry tells middle class.
Just what his fans were hoping for! A good, strong OK. He did alright. Just enough, the pundits say.
Because the pundits all know just how far a liberal has to go to convince dumb American voters that he has really been a moderate all along, one who is prepared to keep the country safe from terrorists who will soon have the ability to kill millions of people.
If only there wasn't that Senate voting record! The cancelled weapons programs, defunding soldiers in the middle of a war, or the vote against the original Gulf War.
Or sheesh, the support for the nuclear freeze - the biggest bong dream of the last 30 years.
No, he's a moderate. Yeah. Moderate. Got it.
As for the speech, it's all meaningless.
Michael Dukakis, the famed orator and mercurial intellectual, slugged the ball out of the park in 1988, a rhetorical gland slam. He left his convention leading in the polls by 17 points. He lost in a landslide when November rolled around. So much for the importance of the convention speech.
Does anybody see Kerry leaving Boston up by 17 points?
I see a tiny bounce if anything at all.
From here on out, the focus will be on Kerry, not Bush.
This guy is not prepared for the exposure.
Michael Moore is a mole
Frustrated by the perplexing intricacies of Campaign Finance Reform, the Republicans have done something so completely diabolical, so wicked, that even John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney blush when they think about it.
They have infiltrated the Looney Left with one of their own. And he has become a hero of the crystal worshippers, Earth mother types and the granola crunchers.
The tin foil hat brigades and moonbats? They just can't get enough of him.
By the time November rolls around, Americans aren't going to be able to think about John Kerry without seeing Michael Moore's crooked, shit-eating grin.
In reality, Michael Moore is somewhere to the right of Jesse Helms, and he knows exactly what he is doing.
Some people on the left have caught on to what a hazard he is (but most have fallen into the Rovian trap). Even Moore's friends defend him by saying he's dishonest, but hell, his heart's in the right place.
This guy was designed in a secret lab in the White House to repel the very people the donks need in order to win this election.
Don't believe me? Consider:
Maybe it was his zeal to save American democracy from the sinister control of huge corporations. Or maybe, if you believe folks at CNN, Michael Moore was just being a jerk.
...the acclaimed director of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' initially refused to return a hard-to-get convention floor credential yesterday to CNN - a subsidiary of the Time-Warner media conglomerate - after being interviewed in the Fleet Center on the cable net's CNN 'American Morning.'
Reliable CNN sources said Moore punctuated his refusal with an eruption of abusive profanity at a female guest-booker and male staffer who attempted to retrieve the floor pass, dropping the F-bomb and muttering the C-word.
Yesterday, Moore and his associate producer, Joanne Doroshow, vehemently denied the account, saying that Moore surrendered the coveted credential when asked and never hurled abuse at the CNN staffers.
'Oh, my God, I never use that kind of language,' Moore told me. 'It's a complete lie.'
But I'm told that when Moore's interview with CNN anchor Bill Hemmer ended, a producer politely asked Moore for the credential, and Moore erupted profanely within the hearing of multiple witnesses.
Then, with CNN's credential around his neck, Moore circled the floor doing interviews with other broadcast outlets - while CNNers huddled trying to figure out how to retrieve the pass.
An unlucky female booker trailed him to obtain it, even following him into an elevator.
'F- c-!' Moore allegedly muttered - though it was unclear if Moore was referring to her or was still seething about his interview with Hemmer.
...a CNN spokesman said: "There's no apology (from us), and there's no apology forthcoming. CNN expects an apology from Mr. Moore to the female staffer he abused."
This guy is radioactive. The Geiger counter is going crazy and he is is emitting an erie green glow.
To a moonbat, the glow is comforting and seductive.
Jimmy! Stay away from the glow! Jimmy! Jimmy! Nooooooo!
Tom Ferrick on the Democratic Convention:Good politics, awful television:
Be honest. With those pearly whites and that helmet hair, doesn't John Edwards remind you of a televangelist?
I kept waiting for him to blurt out: 'Have you heard the good news about Jesus Christ?' and hit us up for a donation.
I hadn't been able to put my finger on it, but yes, he does remind me of a televangelist.
Kind of like a Jim Bakker character, without the nutso painted bride and "Praise Jesus" roller coaster theme park.
They do need a few miracle workers in this party.
They've got plenty of lepers:
A favorite moment of the convention: Wednesday's 'Minute with the Lepers,' where George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis were introduced to wave to the crowd.
The three weren't allowed anywhere near the podium. They were consigned to the convention floor, sitting amidst delegates who presumably were under orders to tackle them if they tried to make a break for the CNN booth.
Now, class, what do McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis have in common?
They are liberals. They are losers.
And the Democrats have had quite enough of liberal losers, thank you.
Not quite enough.
Ah, what the hell. Just another drink! Bartender, make it a double!
Like alcoholics, the donks keep coming back to Mad Dog liberalism. Just a quick beer on the way home becomes several, and pretty soon they are imbibing the wildest batch Michael Moore popskull in the bar. They are the life of the party - dancing, singing, wearing their funny outfits and waving flags. They drink everything in sight, weave home and stumble around the living room, swearing at their hallucinations.
That is, until the voters come after them with the frying pan.
Strangely enough, Bill Clinton (Bill Clinton!)has been a voice of moderation in the party, urging them to lay off the booze.
But alas, once again, they have fallen off the wagon.
They just can't help themselves.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Proof that the US created 9/11
Something I learned from Best of the Web Today:
You can create realistic images of the burning twin towers and Pentagon by merely folding the $20 bill.
This, of course, proves that the US government has long planned these "terrorist" attacks, exactly as many French books have alleged. And it implicates the Bush Administration too, because the $20 bill redesign - which makes such creative folding possible - was released just after the Bush Administration came to power!
It's all right there! Enough evidence for Michael Moore documentary!
Reasonable phobiasAdventurous lives cut short in the fog:
Thomas Ray McKinnis was afraid of heights. Yet three years ago, he made good on a lifelong dream. He became a pilot, conquering the skies.
His dream ended on a rainy Tuesday, when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed into a house on fog-shrouded Grand View Drive in Exton. Both McKinnis, 53, and his wife, Cynthia Mae Merritt, 48, who was the only passenger, died. No one on the ground was injured.
Sometimes those little phobias are telling you something....
Oh, that liberal media...
I was amused by the media coverage afforded Joe Wilson when he accused Bush of lying about Saddam Hussein and his yellowcake adventures in Niger. It was a media frenzy, and it sparked congressional investigations and allegations like "Bush lied!"
(By the way, I acknowledge Bush has been FOS on many occasions (like deliberately misleading Congress on the true cost of his Medicare package), but in this case he was completely accurate. My rule: all politicians lie. Get used to it.)
The media gave Wilson a nice platform and he called for more honesty from the Bush Adminstration.
Well, it turned out that Wilson was lying.
About almost everything.
And was the media outraged about being duped?
Accusing the political hacks in Washington of being gullible fools?
Obsessed with what Saddam wanted to do with a few tons of yellowcake?
No. I got the sense that the media was...well..silent.
I wasn't alone. Some others noticed to, and it is interesting to see it in the form of a table:
Thanks to Anticipatory Retaliation.
An illuminating anedote from Best of the Web Today:
Multitudes of boots are arranged carefully on the lawn, with a sign explaining, 'These 907 pairs of boots represent the U.S. soldiers killed in the Iraq war.' Then there's a sloppy pile of shoes with another sign: 'These 1,000 pairs of shoes represent a small fraction of the estimated 16,000 Iraqis killed in the war.'
There are no million shoes for Saddam Hussein's Iraqi, Iranian and Kuwaiti victims; only his American victims seem to matter, and only those Iraqis killed in connection with a U.S. military intervention. Come to think of it, there also are no 3,000 pairs of shoes for those who died at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon--even though the group sponsoring this display styles itself Sept. 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
We approach a middle-aged man of ample girth, who seems to be in charge. 'How many shoes do you have for Saddam Hussein's victims?' we ask.
He stands silent, facing us. He seems to be staring us down, but we have no way of knowing for sure, as he's wearing sunglasses, even though the day is overcast.
Finally, after perhaps 15 seconds, he breaks the silence:
'Shame on you,' he says.
He explains that his group has simply chosen--arbitrarily, if we understand him correctly--to highlight the U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in the liberation. He offers an analogy: 'There are books that are written about one thing, there are books that are written about other things.'
We persist: Saddam's victims don't count unless they're American?
'Somebody else is dealing with that.'
We point to the shoes representing the fallen soldiers: 'Yeah, these guys are dealing with that.'
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Why the Democrats are doomed
I've always disliked Ann Coulter, and her latest excuse for a column has done nothing to change my opinion of her:
Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the "F-word" are my opponents.
Oh... my... God. This stuff is pitiful. She is like a conservative Maureen Dowd.
Of course, Dowd writes her terrible columns from a liberal perspective and somehow maintains a column in a paper that was once influential.
Coulter's shit just occasionally bobs to the surface on the internet, where it can be skimmed off and disposed of.
Coulter is from the dangerously stupid part of the Republican Party, a group which has now been marginalized. These are the people who believe that Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered, or that Bill ordered Ron Brown's plane to be shot down in the Balkans. They invent stories of Hillary's lesbian orgies at the White House, and seethe with ridiculous accusations whenever they see John Kerry's face.
I personally believe that they got Bill Clinton re-elected in 1996: The Rush Limbaugh nutjobs made Clinton's people seem moderate and reasonable (Of course, Bob Dole's electric personality didn't help matters).
Coulter has no ideas, just insults. But nobody really pays attention to Coulter, but they are paying attention to Democrats right now. And all they are seeing are insults directed at Bush. No new ideas. No bold vision.
Which brings me to my point:
The first person to start lobbing insults is the guy who just ran out of ideas.
Right now, the seething anger is mostly on the Democratic side, and if it is handled correctly by the Republicans, it will be their undoing.
Insults are no subsititute for ideas. When Democrats like Kerry are at their best, they are mind-numbingly boring, mouthing focus-group tested, simple truisms and managing to stay below radar. When they are at their worst, they are evasive and unwilling to say what they really mean, hoping that the party faithful will take home the "right" messages without forcing the candidate to actually go on record.
Unfortunately for Kerry, the Republicans have him on record saying many things that conflict. From a Democratic perspective, this will be painfully clear, very soon.
This convention will be viewed as a huge mistake for the Democrats. They are wheeling out fossils who weren't allowed to speak at conventions past (Carter, Kennedy) because a stench of failure seemed to hover over them. And to make matters worse, they have sprinkled in a number of new oddities (Kucinich, Sharpton and Dean) who will do nothing but lose them votes in Middle America and in the battleground states.
They are in very deep trouble, and they do not realize it.
This is most of America's first good look at what John Kerry stands for.
I don't do predictions very well, and I realize that events (like a terrorist attack) can change everything.
But I can't resist:
The Democrats are going to get destroyed in November, and this convention will be viewed as the point at which their decline started. They are brash, over-confident and insulting. They have nothing in the way of new ideas, just a lot of me-too things on terrorism and more spending on education and health (where overspending by the government is the problem). Their message on Iraq is completely incoherent.
Bush will win in November by 60 electoral votes, and by 8% in the popular vote. Not a landslide, but a convincing win nonetheless. The Republicans will gain 2 seats in the Senate and maintain control of the House.
The Democrats will spend the next four years wondering how they got things so wrong.
Several of these look interesting:The Evil Pictograms
I might get this one:
It's unoffensive enough. My closet is full of shirts I can't wear anymore now that I have kids.
From All Things Christie.
I've never been the envious type, but every now and then it's fun to gawk at the filthy rich. There's no better way to do this than to look at a virtual map of Bill Gates' House
It's full of all kinds of "oh-what-the-hell" extravagances - like this:
The 17-by-60-foot swimming pool has an underwater music system and a floor painted in a fossil motif. Swimmers can dive under a glass wall and emerge outdoors by a terrace. Locker room off the pool has four showers and two baths.
I was somewhat reminded of Steve Martin's filthy rich character in "The Jerk:"
"Mom, remember when I used to dream of having a huge, plushly carpeted game room with my own private disco off to the side, 50 hired disco dancers, 25 video games, a full service bar, and seven red pool tables with a giant stuffed camels hanging from the ceiling?"
From All Things Christie.
More good news from Iraq
He spotted this on the Messopotamian, an Iraqi blog:
You are indeed falling prey to the Media as noted by another friend. You may be interested to know that we, who are in the middle of it all, see a definite improvement in the overall security situation already, believe it or not. As for the terrorism and the "insurgency", nobody was expecting that it will just disappear suddenly. In fact, we expected much worse. The enemy has no agenda, no clear political objective, he is just desperately striking left and right and committing more and more terrible atrocities that will only increase the hatred and repulsion against him; while the offensive against him by the patriotic Iraqis is gaining momentum. The majority are going to get stronger and stronger, and this is already observable in the new security formations. We are in the thick of it and don't feel discouraged at all.
And this is especially interesting, from Iraq The Model. It is an anecdote by the author of that blog. He is at a barber shop when two terrorists come in and begin talking to the barber about the number of "traitors" (people working with the Iraqi police) in Baghdad:
I was sitting there waiting for my turn when someone came in and after "Al Salaamu Slaikum" and "Allah bil khair" he asked the barber, "Did you see the last list of the agents and spies in street no. 20?"
"No, how many names are there in this one?" said the barber.
"This one is short. There are only 250 names in it" said the guy.
No one commented on this, as it may be dangerous to say what you really believe in this neighborhood.
I volunteered to break the silence, "250!! These are all traitors? If there are 250 traitor in one single block then how many honest people are left in this street?" one of the guys said, "Very little. This place is filled now with agents and spies."
I smiled inside as I remembered the days of Saddam when we couldn’t dare to speak fearing Saddam’s agents who seemed to be everywhere. I was living a somewhat reversed picture from the past and it was a bit amusing. I went adding, " I don’t think it’ll take a long time before things get better" This phrase could be interpreted in 2 different ways but still no one dared to approve of what I said. People here are still afraid of a very small criminal group that is capable of everything and believe they’re the only ones who are right and who have honor while all the rest are cowards spies who should be killed without hesitation.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Gore, v 2.0
I watched about 15 seconds of the Democratic National convention last night. It was the part where they wheeled out Al Gore, V 2.0.
I've had my fill.
I know little about robots. I work with some, but they perform repetive functions that you couldn't hire a person to do.
I had a no idea that robot technology had advanced so far in so little time.
Gore v. 2.0 is very lifelike, but he still did not fool me.
Fifteen seconds of program code and I knew what was going on:
Gorebot, v 2.0. Copyright, 2004 DNC focus groups 1-4.
Run sequence: "Candid:"
head swivel 15 degrees clockwise - check
smirk enabled - check.
Eyebrows tilt upward - check.
Run sequence: "Sincere."
Cue voice, after "golly gee shucks" laugh.
Look "wistfull-" check.
"You know," Pause one second, run sequence "Candid."
"I kinda hoped to be here under different circumstances."
Hands in front, grasping invisible ball- check
Eyes direct toward camera - check.
Voice elevated - check.
"I hoped I'd be here talking about my re-election as President of The United States!"
Pause for applause - check.
Smirk smile enabled - check.
Head nodd - check
John Rogers : hand to remote - check.
"Click. Hello, Discovery Channel."
My big prediction
CIA Officials: UBL Will Be Caught
John Rogers: UBL will never be caught, because he is dead.
My conspiracy theory: I believe the CIA is maintaining the myth that Bin Laden is alive.
In reality, Bin Laden was killed somewhere in Afghanistan, though no one is sure where or when. I think a number of people in the CIA are pretty sure he is dead, but they are keeping this secret, and letting the world think that he is still out there.
Such a strategy has advantages.
First, it reminds everyone that the War on Terror is far from finished.
But more importantly, it throws confusion into Al Qaeda, and makes it impossible for them to name a successor. Since no one in Al Qaeda is really sure what happened to him (such is the confusion of war), their attempts to contact Al Qaeda leadership are likely to be heard by CIA listeners. Using this kind of information, the CIA has been able to get some key Al Qaeda people (Hello, Khalid Mohammed!).
Strangely, people on the Left (who should know better) are eager to embrace the CIA's word as gospel whenever the organization says that Bin Laden is alive. After all, it makes Bush look bad. He failed to "get" Bin Laden!
But the CIA's purpose is (not necessarily) to tell the truth.
The CIA's purpose is US national security. Keeping Bin Laden alive serves that purpose better, in my opinion.
Jsut a thought, and I'm the first to admit I could be wrong.
OK, no more conspiracy theories from this blog.
OpinionJournal - Extra:
The Afghans are growing increasingly optimistic about the future of their country and approving of its current political direction. According to a poll conducted by Chaney Research, AC Nielsen India Org-Marg and the Afghan Media Resource Center for the Asia Foundation, President Hamid Karzai remains popular in Afghanistan, enjoying favorable opinion of 62% of those polled. The interim government's performance gets a tick of approval from 57% of Afghans. In other results from the same poll, 64% of Afghans believe that their country is moving in the right direction (versus only 11% who think Afghanistan is moving in the wrong direction). More significantly, two-thirds of those polled support the United States, and only 11% still favor the Taliban. Eighty-one percent plan to vote in the coming elections, although a majority express concerns whether the poll will be completely fair.
But war doesn't solve anything! War doesn't solve anything!
McQ at QandO:
Another aspect of the new 'health crisis', and probably the one that is most disturbing, is the elevation of obesity to the status of a disease and what that means in terms of your liberty.
Medicare announced on July 15 that, after proclaiming for 40 years that obesity is a personal problem, not a clinical one, it now classifies the No. 2 cause of preventable death in America as an illness.
What Medicare did, without so much as a 'let's consult with the payers' is reach deep into your pocket and add another cost for you to 'share'. Yes, dear reader, you are now going to pay for diet programs, stomach stapling and diet maintenance. They may not have taken the money yet, but for each 'disease' they insist on creating, its only a matter of time before they fund its treatment.
Instead of obesity being a personal problem, it is now your problem. And you will pay, like it or not, to help anyone classified as 'obese' lose that weight , if they're a Medicare (and most likely Medicaid) member.
Medicare will be insolvent in a decade.
In the very time that it should be minding its finances more closely, it is breaking out the checkbook. Realizing that its future is threatened, it is reaching out, trying to cover as many people (voters) as possible.
It really doesn't matter whether obesity is a disease or not. What matters is that the people in Washington who are running Medicare are more concerned with short term political gain than financial solvency.
Ultimately, the voters will not save Medicare. The question is not whether Medicare "should" cover anything; it is whether it will be able to provide coverage.
The threat to Medicare does not come from the voters.
The threat comes from its own creditors: anyone who holds US savings bonds.
It is only a matter of time before this program -and all the good intentions that went with it - collapse under their own weight...uh, so to speak.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Fight the power!
This is collosally stupid: Slowing Global Warming A shared responsibility:
New York's crusading attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, is at it again.
This time, he's leading New York City and eight states, including New Jersey, in a lawsuit against five of the nation's largest power companies in an attempt to slow global warming.
The companies annually emit 10 percent of the United States' carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming. The lawsuit filed Wednesday doesn't seek monetary damages. Instead, it asks a New York federal judge to set yearly emissions reductions from the companies' 174 fossil-fuel-burning plants.
Those bad companies!
Burning all those fossil fuels to keep Eliot Spitzer's nice house lit and cooled, keeping his computers running, lighting his office....
How dare they.
Who uses all that power anyway?
Oh, the voters. We can't sue them, can we?
It says something about Sptizer that he isn't quite dumb enough to try that.
The Philadelphia Inquirer goes out its way to find the 5% of Iraqis who long for the days of Saddam, giving them a platform for their repulsive revisionist history (ie: Saddam was justified in gassing of the Kurds) and implying (wrongly) that they represent a large portion of the Iraqi population: In Sunni stronghold, a longing for Hussein
How about some perspective?
Aid to North Korea
This is distressing news:U.S. to Donate Food to North Korea.
I am all in favor of helping people who are starving (who wouldn't be?), but let us be realistic here.
Our good intentions need to be analyzed in the context of fifty years of foreign aid experience: Simply put, money is fungible. If we help out in one area, we free up the host government to use its money in other ways.
Now let's see, what might the excreble government of North Korea use its money on now? More nuclear weapons, more prison camps, more "security," more investments in weapons and drugs smuggling?
It sounds cruel, but that is the way it is.
I'm a firm believer that foreign aid is the problem in, for example, West Africa - where many governments have about a fourth of their state budgets paid for by other nations. Foreign aid helps mitigate food and health issues (albeit in ultimately destructive ways) and it allows governments to spend more on guns and graft.
(Buying weaponry is not particularly wrong (a government's first duty is to stay in power) but the problem in West Africa is that the guns arm the private armies of corrupt officials. Africa's problem is not guns; it is guns in the wrong hands.)
North Korea will ulimately have more funds to keep Kim Jong Il in power.
There is another - more omninous - way to read this story: the US believes that the bleak food situation in North Korea will force Kim Jong Il to become increasingly belligerant, and maybe even start a war. If that is true, our demonstrated fear of his military potential only makes it more likely that one will happen.
Nothing is more pleasing to the dictator's mind than the idea of his enemies paying him to be nice. Nothing is more likely to confirm his impressions about democracies: when confronted by military threats, they are complacent and rich, eager to pay money to live in peace.
Disproving these misconceptions is far more costly than letting them take root in the first place.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
A neat game
I kind of like this game: CollegeMix.com.
I can't remember where I first saw it.
Friday, July 23, 2004
CLINTON AIDE ACCIDENTALLY TAKES 9/11 DOCS, NOTES, JOLLY RANCHERS
Former Clinton Administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger admitted 'inadvertantly' stuffing highly classified documents and notes into his pants, absent-mindedly removing them from the national archives on five occasions, accidentally mailing them to DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, who mistakenly buried them in the World Trade Center excavation site.
According to FBI sources, Berger also stopped off at a Bethesda, MD Chevron FoodMart, where he inadvertantly stuffed his pants with three bags of Jolly Ranchers, a 24-pack of Bud Lite, a copy of Maxim magazine, and Listerine Pocket Mints before driving off without paying for 14 gallons of unleaded super.
An apologetic Berger said that "my bad," and offered to return several cans of Bud Lite to the Chevron.
Picture from what if?
Here they come!
I have been warning about the approach of learning disabled professionals for five years.
Well, they are on the way:
Disabled Students Sue Over Med School Exam
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Four learning-disabled students sued the organization that administers the medical school admission test, alleging they were denied extra time to take the exam in violation of California's disability laws.
The discrimination lawsuit, filed Monday in Alameda County Superior Court, argues that students who have trouble reading can learn to practice medicine if they receive enough time and a distraction-free setting in which to complete the Medical College Admission Test.
'Without accommodations, I really can't show what abilities I have,' said plaintiff Brendan Pierce, 28.
Pierce and the other students allege that they asked the Association of American Medical Colleges to give them more time to take the MCATs in April but were turned down because the organization said their disabilities were not severe enough to qualify for special treatment.
Retha Sherrod, a spokeswoman for the association, said the group had no comment on the lawsuit but was committed to providing 'appropriate accommodations' for disabled applicants taking the test.
Pierce, who has dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2000 with a psychology degree and has completed premedical courses at Mills College. He said he's always done well in school, having been given extra time on his exams since junior high.
All this is fertile ground for lawyers, but it smells rotten to everyone else.
Now, lawyers represent learning disabled doctor wanna-be's.
In a decade, they will be representing patients harmed by these incompetents.
None of this would have happened if everyone had just agreed that the application of universal standards is not a form of bigotry.
Sadly, very few people in academics and politics – who certainly should know better -have been able to make a very simple conclusion about knowledge and the ability to concentrate:
The ability to pay attention and solve a problem quickly is not an optional aspect of competence.
It is an integral part of competence.
Let these well meaning bleeding hearts be the first to go the doctors who can't read.
Account of 9/11
The play-by-play of the events of 9/11 is riveting, if chilling, reading. It is useful to remember how methodical these animals were.
They would have been no less methodical with much worse weapons. We should never forget that.
On the bright side, I'm surprised that 9/11 hijackers were flagged so many times by the existing security. Apparently, not everyone working for security is a complete dumbass.
But spending is fun!
Greenspan Calls for Future Cost Controls
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Wednesday that Congress has lost the ability to manage crucial long-term budget issues and new mechanisms are needed to keep future costs from ballooning beyond the nation's ability to pay.
Greenspan defended President Bush (news - web sites)'s three rounds of tax cuts, saying they had helped ensure that the 2001 recession was mild and brief and have provided critical stimulus to keep the current rebound on track.
But he warned that rising deficits could become a problem over the next decade as Social Security (news - web sites) and Medicare costs escalate with the retirement of baby boomers.
"Looking forward, fiscal policy is going to become a very critical issue on the agenda for macroeconomic policy," Greenspan told the House Financial Services Committee.
Greenspan again supported a return to pay-as-you go policies that would require Congress to offset future increases in government spending or new tax cuts with cuts in other government programs or tax increases.
The administration supports reinstituting the pay-as-you-go mechanism for spending but not for tax cuts, because it would complicate Bush's goal of making permanent the 2001 tax cuts. The cuts are due to expire in 2011.
A decade-long requirement for pay-as-you-go budgeting expired in 2002.
Greenspan suggested that Congress should go beyond pay-as-you-go provisions to provide ways to rein in government spending or tax decisions if the costs of those actions balloon above the original estimates.
Of course, no one is Washington is listening.
Liberals believe government exists to improve society. Conservatives/libertarians believe government exists to protect society, rather than change it.
Jon Henke goes on to to say that neither view is accurate, but I agree with him that both views neatly crystallize the views of each side.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Good ole Spike
Spike Lee says he'll never attend a Nascar event because he doesn't think he'd like the music:
"I just imagine hearing some country-and-Western song over a loudspeaker at NASCAR: 'Hang them n-- up high! Hang them n-- up high!' I'm not going to no NASCAR."
Now I'm no Nascar fan, or a country & western music fan for that matter. In fact, I can probably count the number of people I know who do like these things on one hand. But this smells a bit like blatant stereotyping to me, something the black community has fought against for centuries in this country. And I don't think it smells very nice no matter which direction it's coming from. Has Spike Lee ever spent any amount of time listening to country music? Because I didn't think that racist violence was a general theme.
Maybe this angry little black man would change his mind if he actually spent some time listening to some country classics. Like I said, I haven't heard much myself, but sometimes the country titles alone provide a fair amount of amusement. Here are some of my favorites:
At the Gas Station of Love, I Got the Self Service Pump
Are You Drinkin With Me Jesus?
Did I Shave my Legs for This?
Don't Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes at Me
Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goal Posts Of Life)
Get Your Biscuits In The Oven, And Your Buns In The Bed
Hand me the Pool Cue and Call Yourself an Ambulance
He Went To Sleep and The Hogs Ate Him (Now Claude's Gone Forever)
I Changed Her Oil, She Changed My Life
I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart
I Still Miss You Baby... But My Aim is Getting Better
I Want a Beer as Cold as My Ex-Wife's Heart
I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
If My Nose Were Full of Nickels, I'd Blow It All On You
One Day When You Swing That Skillet (My Face Ain't Gonna Be There)
Redneck Martians Stole My Baby
She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy
A few months ago, I did a post (March 4, 2004 - permalinks are acting up)where I mentioned that I sometimes spank my older son. These spankings are infrequent, and lately, quite unnecessary. I think they are an important part of parental discipline. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.
As evidence that my boys weren't suffering from abuse, I put up a picture of them:
Yesterday, while looking through my referral logs, I happened upon this entry.
Apparently, some German pervert was looking for images of spankings, and he stopped to look at my sons.
Stay away pervert. Far away.
From CNews via c0llision.org:
An Islamic web site posted Sunday a statement attributed to a group close to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi offering a reward of the equivalent of $337,000 Cdn to whoever kills Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi.
The statement by 'Khalid bin Al Walid Brigade' labelled Allawi as an 'American stooge' and said that its assassination unit has vowed to kill Allawi and other Iraqi leaders.
'We vowed to God to kill you. Your head and those of your cronies are wanted by Sheik Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,' said the statement. 'If we cannot deliver the reward of 200,000 Jordanian dinars ($337,000 Cdn) to whoever gets us Allawi's head, his reward will be delivered in Heaven by Almighty God,' it said.
These are the kinds of retards we are dealing with.
What the hell good is 200,000 Jordanian dinars in heaven?
Jordanian dinars aren't even worth anything outside of Jordan.
And in heaven you already have paradise.....What are you going to buy?
What kind of person would hear these jokers speak and think that this sounds like a good deal?
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
I cancelling my subscription to Backblog, which currently provides my feedback system ("Questions?Comments? Bitches? Complaints?") and I am enabling the Blogger comment system ("Comments(0)").
And this is a problem.
I want to keep all my old Backblog comments (it's cool to read them), but I want the Backblog comments to not appear on future posts so that people will use the Blogger comments.
Is this even possible? I suspect it isn't, but I will go with both now for the time being.
Eat your heart out, Arafat
Zev Chafets: The intifadeh is over - just listen:
Under Ariel Sharon, Israel has put down the intifadeh the old-fashioned way - by fighting back. Palestinians who accuse Israel of conducting state terrorism are right. Israel has indeed terrorized the terrorists into submission. The size and cost of the defeat is just now sinking in. The crowds torching Arafat's military installations are conducting their own version of a 9/11 commission.
Meanwhile, Israel is burning with a different kind of heat. The economy is going full-blast. Cranes and business startups are everywhere. Only the Palestinians are absent. Until the intifadeh, Gazans and West Bankers made good money there. Now their jobs are gone - to foreign workers and advances in technology.
There is a self-confidence in Israel unlike anything I have seen since the Six-Day War. Israelis have discovered that they have the resources to wage war with whatever ruthlessness victory requires. That attitude includes the determination to complete the security barrier being constructed through the West Bank. The recent World Court ruling that the barrier violates international law was greeted in Tel Aviv with derisive contempt, and not only by hard-liners. The barrier saves lives. In a war, everything else is secondary.
Does this mean there is no such thing as shame anymore?
In another story Reuters also reported that 'the wife of freed Filipino hostage Angelo de la Cruz thanked her husband's kidnappers on Tuesday for not harming him'. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said ''it was a time of trial and a time of triumph'. She also spoke with Philippine diplomats in Baghdad, thanking them for their efforts. After hanging up, she raised her arms and said: 'Well done!'"
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Voting themselves poor
Economist.com: Labour markets in Europe:
Symbolically significant as it became in its own terms, the 35-hour week was also part of a wider European approach to sclerotic labour markets that can now be seen to have comprehensively failed. In many countries besides France, the cure for high unemployment has been sought in the encouragement of shorter working hours. Another common response to growing insecurity about jobs has been to increase job protection and make it harder to fire people. And a widespread reaction to growing global competition that has lowered pay at the bottom end of the market has been to entrench high minimum wages.
As many pointed out at the time, these measures made little sense. The notion that there is a fixed amount of work to be shared out, so that shorter hours for all must mean more jobs, is widely derided by economists as the ?lump of labour? fallacy. Making it harder to fire people serves mainly to discourage hiring them in the first place. And high minimum wages translate not into better-paid workers but into more people without jobs. These observations are no longer just matters of theory: the recent experience of France, Germany and other continental European countries shows that they apply in practice too. As the OECD's recent Employment Outlook noted, the empirical evidence points to a clear correlation between high levels of job protection and high levels of unemployment.
Belatedly, Europe's governments are realising this, and coming round to the need to free up their labour markets, not tie them down in even more red tape. Indeed, they have begun to grasp that excessive regulation of labour markets, far from being a sensible response to slower growth, is actually a significant cause of it.
Hopefully American politicians will learn from their mistakes.
Oops. Politicans and learn in the same sentence? Shame on me.
Hopefully it's not true, but I fear it is
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.
-Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough)
The coming civil war in the PA
When you just can't kill Jews like you used to, you've got to kill something.
Hey, why not each other?
Palestinian gunmen challenge Arafat
Harry Potter gets embroiled in French politics
He might need a bath now.
From Joanne Jacobs:
A French literature professor at a teachers' training institute thinks Harry (Potter) "glorifies individualism, excessive competition and a cult of violence," which he thinks is bad. A philosophy professor responds that Harry Potter is a socialist tract.
The Star summarizes:
The five Harry Potter books -- enormously successful in French translation -- are stuffed with "neo-liberal stereotypes" which caricature approvingly the "excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model," (Ilias) Yocaris wrote.
Thus all representatives of the state (the Ministry of Magic) are lampooned as ridiculous, or incompetent or sinister. Harry goes to a "private" school, whose "micro-society" is a "pitiless jungle" that glorifies "individualism, excessive competition and a cult of violence."
Public institutions are unable to protect individuals. Au contraire, Harry Potter and his friends find that they have to break the magical state-imposed rules to protect themselves from evil forces.
...Le Monde last week published an equally erudite reply to Yocaris. Far from being a capitalist lackey, Harry Potter is the first fictional hero of the anti-globalist, anti-free market, pro-Third World, "Seattle" generation, according to Isabelle Smadja.
...Harry and his friends show great concern for the "house elves," the unpaid servants of the magical world. The fact that the elves are mostly content with their lot is, says Smadja, a "pertinent" critique of globalization.
Even worse, many of the wicked characters have French names, such as Voldemort (flight of death) and Malfoy (bad faith).
Actually, the Harry Potter books are about optimism and hope, argues King at SCSU Scholars, quoting Diane Durante of (shudder) Capitalism Magazine. Good can triumph over evil, if it's got the guts to fight.
The Potter series is very popular in France, perhaps indicating that not everyone there is a left-wing intellectual.
Maybe it was just a typo...
A mistake in Best Of The Web:
An item yesterday misquoted an article in the Times of London.
The quote should have read, "Finding water, shelter and food are the three keys to survival on a desert island, according to experts," not, "I grafted you into the tree of my chosen Israel and you turned on them with persecution and mass murder. I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants, but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt."
Monday, July 19, 2004
We went up to State College area to visit relatives this weekend, and we had a great time. It's beautiful country up there, and until Sunday at least, we had wonderful weather.
However, it was hard to tell if Sean enjoyed the weekend with his cousins.
He's a tough read, this sullen boy, and it is often difficult to see through his depressed exterior. Giggling like a maniac at the amusement park or playing joyously in the pool, I'm going to hazard a guess that he had a OK time. (I think he likes his cousins better than he likes his parents....).
Sean loves fast rides with high g-forces - I thought this surprising for a three- year-old, and I was amazed that after trying every fast ride he could get on for his height, he was never frightened.
He loved exploring places with his cousins and getting to stay up late.
When it came time to leave, he started to cry.
On the way home we went to Stoudts Brewery and restaurant (very good food) where dad met Carol Stoudt - a legendary woman in brewery circles - kind of like an Eastern version of Fritz Maytag.
All the good beer reminded dad of his brewing days. I don't brew much anymore.
Here's an irony: in central PA (not known for its Italian neighborhoods and markets), we had some absolutely terrific pizza. Upon returning to Bryn Mawr - with several Italian neighborhoods and markets in close proximity - Sean's tired parents opted for "Frozenonis" pizza, which we chipped out of the permafrost in the back of our freezer. Sean spotted the crappy pizza immediately, and for a few minutes he refused to eat the inferior stuff.
He better get used to it, because sometimes his parents are lazy.
What is wrong with the Times?
In Iraq, the Most Coveted Item Now Is a Passport
There is one thing the sovereign state of Iraq can offer its citizens today, and Iraqis are banging down the doors to get their hands on it: a passport out of the country.
Oh, here we go again.
The Times goes to a passport office in Baghdad. There, our intrepeid reporter finds several people who want to leave the country (surprise!). He interviews a few, and then determines that they are an adequate representation of their countrymen. A journalistic turn of phrase and - presto! A headline: Iraqis are banging down the doors to get out of their country.
Great color. It would be a great story, except it isn't exactly true.
There are certainly many Iraqis who do want out. In particular, ex-Baathists who fear revenge from the neighbors who they once intimidated. Too bad. The guys who once fed their neighbors into plastic shredders are now on the run. They are getting lost as quickly as they can, taking their stashes of wealth to the nearest passport office.
An ex-Baathist fleeing Iraq can be expected to say the things the New York Times wants its readers to hear.
But an ex-Baathist is not a good representative of the average Iraqi.
A writer for the Times isn't going to be troubled by opinion polls, or interview people who appreciate the freedom they now have to actually get a passport (there was no passport office in Saddam's Iraq).
The evidence that Iraqis are glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein and his "security" is overwhelming. The reporter certainly knows that Iraqi exiles have flooded back into the country, and that, on balance, the majority of immigrants have been traveling into Iraq. Iraqis are desperate to get the message out.
I could take a lesson from the Times. I could go to a group of people waiting in line to see "Farenheit 911," and I could ask them about Bush. Bang! I have my headline: Americans are desperate to vote Bush out of office!
Hey look at me! I'm a journalist!
Of course, my writings wouldn't exactly be true. The truth is usually more complex.
The Times has once again crossed the line: Instead of merely reporting news, it seeks to create it.
Remember the future?
Leonard Pitts bitches that the future isn't as good as he thought it would be: Buying a better life? Think again
Do you remember the future?
Chances are you remember it well if you came of age in the 1950s or '60s, that era when everything was "modern," "space age" or "new and improved" and we looked forward with awe. The future was where people would zoom around on jet packs and plan weekend getaways by lunar lakes. The future was where everything would be made better.
Technology would see to it. Better living through chemistry and all that. In the future, a woman would clean her house at the touch of a button. A man would finish his office work in half the time with the help of his robot assistant. All these new conveniences would free us to live more gracious lives. The bulk of our days would be devoted to leisure.
Well, the future came and I don't know about you, but I haven't found any extra leisure. I did, however, find a refrigerator with a television in it.
Oh boo hoo. The future wasn't what you envisioned when you were twelve.
It is, however, a room full of computing power that can fit comfortably on your lap.It is the ability to instantly communicate across the globe with the touch of a mouse.It is easily accessing libraries of information from thousands of miles away.
It is the drugs that allow people to live longer lives and supermarkets crammed with food that no one in 1960 ever even heard of. It is hand-held DVD players and music libraries that clip onto your belt. It is TV's that get hundreds of channels and house that are completely climate controlled.
The future is here, and yes Leonard, it even means more leisure and easier work: the fraction of people who do hard labor for a living has been in constant decline for decades. We eat out more, take more vacations, spend more time watching TV (for what that's worth) than ever before.
And our future has also seen a tranformation in the nature of poverty: In 2004, almost all our "poor" have running water, electricity, TV's, microwaves, ample food, clothing and clean water.
But poor Leonard: no rocket packs or robot assistants.
Friday, July 16, 2004
Strange people out there....
This year's pageant is worth a look:Miss Georgia Sex Offenders 2004 Pageant.
Via James Rummel.
Impending bankruptcy? No problem!
Medicare shifts its policy on obesity:
Medicare is discarding its policy that obesity is not a disease, potentially throwing open the door for millions of overweight Americans to make medical claims for treatments such as stomach surgery and diet programs.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Military news about Terrorism:
Al Qaeda operations in Iraq have encountered some unexpected problems.
Iraqis have become increasingly hostile to al Qaeda's suicide bombing campaign. Religious leaders, which al Qaeda expects to get support from, have been openly denouncing these bombings. Iraqis, aware that they are more likely, than American soldiers, to be victims of these attacks, are providing more information on where the al Qaeda members are hiding out.
Most of the al Qaeda in Iraq are foreigners, and easy for Iraqis to detect. As a result of this, many of the al Qaeda men have moved back to Fallujah, which has become a terrorist sanctuary. The interim government is trying to convince the tribal and religious leaders of Fallujah to back a military operation in the city to clear out the various al Qaeda, criminal and Baath Party gangs. But the gangs of Fallujah are quick to threaten any local leader that shows signs of supporting the government.
While the Fallujah leadership is intimidated, many residents of Fallujah are not, and are providing information to the coalition, which has led to attacks, with smart bombs or coalition and Iraqi troops, on buildings used by al Qaeda, or other gangs, as headquarters.
Food pyramid power
Well said at Oddly Normal:
Apparently the food pyramid is coming in for some criticism from within the government for failing to accomplish its goals, which it clearly has, and may be replaced, which is fine.
However, I just couldn't help laughing at this:
Most Americans are familiar with the federal Food Guide Pyramid - but a lot of people don't understand how to use it.
Too many are confused by the recommendations and can't figure out how to implement them. The proof, Agriculture Department officials say, is that two out of three Americans are fat.
Um, no, actually. The fact that we're fat almost certainly has more to do with the fact that we don't really care what the government has to say about our eating habits. I know this may be difficult for certain people to believe, but even with perfect knowledge, people will continue to engage in activities that are causally implicated in less than ideal health, such as eating cheeseburgers, say, or drinking alcohol, or fucking. Why? Because they're fun and people enjoy them and think they're worth the inherent health risk. The problem, if you consider this to be a problem, isn't lack of knowledge or understanding, it's that people have different priorities than certain authorities think they should have. And we are fortunate enough to live in a nation where the government can (so far) only recommend dietary strictures to us, not enforce them. So, enjoy your freedom! Have a cheeseburger, or a margarita, or some really good oral sex. You may not postpone the grave quite as long as you might have, but it'll be a heck of a lot more fun getting there.
If you repeat it enough, maybe it will become true
From the Shark Blog:
John Kerry:'We've got more African Americans in jail than we do in college. That's unacceptable,' he added.
In fact, it seems that there are more than twice as many African Americans in college than in jail.
U.S. Census Bureau (2000): African Americans in college: 2,224,181
U.S. DoJ Office of Justice Programs: 'Prison and Jail Inmates at MidYear 2003' (p.11): 'Table 13. Number of inmates in state or federal prisons or local jails' -- Black Americans in jail: 899,200.
Those nearly 900,000 incarcerated African Americans still represent a tragic waste of lives and potential. But fortunately, things are not nearly as gloomy as John Kerry wants to believe they are.
It's possible that Kerry is basing his claims on other data, but it would be interesting to learn what his sources are.
Of course, all politicians lie.
But once your lie has been debunked, why repeat it again?
(via What if)
Voices in Iraq
People of the U.S. and Allied nations, I hope you realize the full import of this great enterprise. For you have not only helped us to get rid of an awful dictatorship, but you are now helping us to be liberated of our own shortcomings, superstitions and the rust and dust of centuries. And what help! By the blood and sweat of your own young men and women; and there are those of us who can appreciate. And what America is really doing now is conquering hearts and minds, for the first time, in this part of the world. And this will be one of the greatest conquests and the key to solving the problems of the region and consequently the cause of peace in the World.
I wish I could explain myself better, for I realize these words will meet much skepticism; yet this is one of those feelings from the guts that I have talked to you about before.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
One of those days
Timmy has a fever, and he cannot go to day care (they told me as much when I picked up yesterday).
Daddy feels great. And Daddy is going to make the most of his surprise day off from work.
(Hell, the Rogers family has no vacation plans this year, so Daddy has a surplus of vacation days...)
What to do? What to do?
UPDATE: What to do? Sit here on my ass, that's what. Timmy is really pretty sick, fever of 104 and very grumpy. I gave him infant's Advil so that will probably take the fever down, but I'm afraid that going for a walk around the neighborhood is out for now.
Sweet Mother of God! Man Jailed for Shooting Off His Testicles.
LONDON (Reuters) - A British man who accidentally shot himself in the testicles after drinking 15 pints of beer was jailed for five years on Tuesday for possessing an illegal firearm, a court spokesman said.
David Walker, 28, was arguing with a friend at a pub in South Yorkshire, northern England, when he went home to get his sawed-off shotgun, which he jammed into his trousers.
But as he walked back to the pub, the gun went off, blasting pellets into his testicles. Doctors later removed what remained of his testicles during emergency surgery.
Walker admitted possessing a prohibited weapon at a hearing in June at the court in Sheffield.
Good Lord! Don't you think he learned his lesson?
The other day, my son started talking about the "Power Rangers," a show he has (to my knowledge) never seen, but has nonetheless earned the coveted designation of being "Sean's Favorite Show."
It don't want him watching that show. It has nothing to do with gratuitous violence (that's OK) - the show just looks dumb.
Now, I have my own show that I sometimes like to watch: MXC. It's pretty hard to explain the appeal of this show: it is a very strange Japanese reality contest, overdubbed in English by comedians who make commentary that is a little risque. It has a lot of people in colorful suits (like the "Green Teabagger"), bashing each other and getting hurt.
Like most guys, I'm a sucker for any show where stupid people get hurt.
I was watching it the other day when Sean walked in.
What's this, he asked.
The Power Rangers, I replied.
Instead of whining for me to change the channel, he watched it with me. The sexual innuendo went over his head, and he really believes that MXC is the Power Rangers.
Yeah, I'm evil.
But the little fart is always waking me up in the middle of the night, so this is my way of getting him back.
Future Bush campaign ad
OpinionJournal - Featured Article:
Senator Edwards talks about the need to provide health care for all, but that didn't stop him from using a clever tax dodge to avoid paying $591,000 into the Medicare system. While making his fortune as a trial lawyer in 1995, he formed what is known as a 'subchapter S' corporation, with himself as the sole shareholder.
Instead of taking his $26.9 million in earnings directly in the following four years, he paid himself a salary of $360,000 a year and took the rest as corporate dividends. Since salary is subject to 2.9% Medicare tax but dividends aren't, that meant he shielded more than 90% of his income. That's not necessarily illegal, but dodging such a large chunk of employment tax skates perilously close to the line.
The Internal Revenue Service takes a dim view of such operations and 'may collapse the structure entirely and argue the S corporation is not truly a separate entity,' in the words of Tax Adviser magazine. Attorney CPA magazine lists it as No. 11 of its '15 best underutilized tax loopholes,' but warns that the IRS 'has successfully litigated cases against individuals, particularly sole shareholders of personal service S corporations, reclassifying such deemed distributions as wages subject to social security taxes.'
This is extremely sleazy and it could be a real problem for Edwards.
Oh, my wife and I have to a better job watching our language.
Sean - who is 3 years old - is listening.
Yesterday, he told me that he was quite angry because Timmy had thrown a bunch of "crap" on the floor.
I guess it could have been worse....
This used to be a thing that only a conservative would say.
But now liberals are saying it too:
Immigrant kids work harder.
They work harder, in part, because their parents work harder -- and their parents work harder because of their relentless optimism.
Where others may see inequities, immigrants tend to see a ladder to be climbed. With a hyper-optimism, they move ahead, upward and outward, undeterred by any barriers that fate throws in the way of their hopes and dreams.
And they pass this spirit of enterprise on to their children. A University of Chicago study in 1995, for example, found children from a variety of minority groups whose mothers are immigrants outperform students from their same ethnic group whose mothers were born in the United States.
Yes, it is very true: America is a place where you can succeed if you work hard, and skin color is not the impediment that liberals imagine.
I used to be a liberal, and this was one of the things that I saw in the US when I returned from the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. My country was a place where all people could excel when they applied themselves.
It was heresy to say such a thing to my liberal friends, and it was the main reason I started referring to myself as a moderate.
The enemy, they now admit, is culture, a culture that has grown lazy and content.
It's easy to be content when the biggest health problem that afflicts the poor in the US is obesity.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
The story of my life
A few weeks ago, I was taking my older son to see Shrek II (well worth the money).
It was a cloudy Saturday, and we needed something to do. I put a $20 bill in my pocket, strapped the boy into his car seat and headed to the theater.
Sean asked if he could get popcorn. I said that not only we would share a bag of popcorn, but we would also share a soda. Sean loves soda (imagine that), but most of the time he can only gets an infrequent sip.
Sean was very excited. When we got the theater, I paid for the tickets with a credit card.
At the concessions stand, as promised, I ordered popcorn and a Coke.
But there was a problem: I could not find the $20 bill. I checked all my pockets. The popcorn guy looked at me like I was an idiot.
I asked him if he accepted credit cards, and he gave me a " you must be joking" look.
The nearest cash machine was a block away and the movie was almost ready to begin.
I had to break the news to Sean: sorry son, no popcorn or soda.
I thought he was going to burst out crying, but he just gave me a disappointed "OK" and we went sullenly into the theater.
I spent the whole movie wondering what had happened to the money.
A few hours later, I was mowing the lawn and there was piece of trash on the lawn. As is my habit, I steered toward it with the intention of shredding it into a thousand pieces. (The neighbors are always impressed when my lawn is strewn with confetti).
I watched in horror when I recognized that the piece of my trash was my $20 bill getting sucked into the blades!
But it survived!
The mower coughed out my intact $20 bill, which I quickly stuffed into my joyous pocket. I was reunited with my money! What luck!
The next day when I was out driving with my family, I suggested that we get sandwiches.
Sean - who loves any fast food - was overjoyed.
My wife said we didn't have any cash.
But I did, I said. In my wallet, I said, I had a $20 bill.
That $20 bill? She asked. I took that last night when I went to the movies with my friends.
And sure enough, my wallet was once again empty.
My son thinks I'm a dork. And a dick.
Interesting test from Eugene at the Weapons of Math Destruction:
You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.
Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.
You are not to be messed with. You may explode.
Don't - push - me - becuase - I'm - on - the -edge. One - more - shove - and - I - just - might - explode.
Not too sure about the sober part....
Sometimes you just have to let evolution take its course:
Pelicans mistake Arizona asphalt for lakes
PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) -- More than 30 endangered brown pelicans have crashed onto sidewalks and roads in Arizona, mistaking the heat-induced shimmer of the paved surface for lakes and creeks.
"They try to land on the water, but it's asphalt and it's 'Bam! That doesn't feel so good,"' said Sandy Cate, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's wildlife center at Adobe Mountain in north Phoenix.
Quick! Somebody find a way for the government to solve this problem.
I love listening to the NAACP act all surprised that the president sees it as a waste of time to talk to them, but I could not have put it any better than Jon Henke at Q and O: "We won't vote for you, now.....still:
You'll understand if it appears to me that Mfume is the one who would like to treat the President like a prostitute, smacking him around one day....then complaining that Bush won't come see him.
Well, if that's the way it works, I'm sending this letter to Mr Mfume through the NAACP website....
Dear Mr Mfume,
I'm sorry to see that you've become a race pimp, using your organization to leverage race for political advantage. Apparently, the equal rights movement--a noble cause--has become captured by special interest political advocacies. I hope that the African-American community can break free of these chains, too, and I hope that you will be recognized as part and parcel of this intellectual slavery.
By the way, you are cordially invited to dinner with my wife and I this Saturday.
So, what do you suppose the odds are he'll be joining us for dinner Saturday?
The odds are not good, Jon. Not good at all.
Monday, July 12, 2004
How do we "solve" America's "Obesity Crisis?"
This Marian Uhlman article has some worthy ideas, like expanding PE programs and banning soda at schools.
These are "oh, what the hell" ideas, minor changes that will make little difference in the scheme of things. Banning soda and chips from school will have the same effect on childhood obesity that banning condom distribution has had on unsafe adolescent sex.
That is, none.
A better question is why parents feel they need to give their children so much disposable income to spend on such junk.
As for more exercise, keep the kiddies after school until five running laps every day, I don't care. (That is, until I get the tax bill for the extra PE instructors.)
But it's then that the Uhlman article begins to reek like a public health busybody wish list.
Pedometer giveaway day at the cleaners? Uh, what is in it for the business here? Who pays for the free pedometers? Of course, nothing draws a crowd like free pedometers, but this policy idea needs to have some details filled in.
A $10 million lottery for fit people? If you do it with your money, fine. But you won't have the shirt left on your back once a few lawyers get wind of it. Just try defining "fit." Or "healthy eating habits." And what is "healthy food?" A person eating a low carb steak may be managing her weight better than a person eating a bran muffin.
Forcing stores to offer discounts to people who walk around alot? They try to portray this as being in the store's interest, giving pedometers to people when they enter, and discounts for people who take 2000 steps. You see, they are spending more time in the store, more time looking over merchandise!
But if its such a great idea for the stores, why aren't they already doing it?
Likewise, discounts for eating less food and healthier food already exist: most restaurants don't charge for water, and vegetable entries tend to be pretty cheap. It's always cheaper to prepare your food yourself.
The article is full of all kinds of alarmist language about obesity. It causes 400,000 preventable deaths a year!
For the hundred or so people I care about, those deaths are tragic.
But the other hundreds of thousands of people are a statistic, and to the coldly rational person with a knowledge of American demographics, the statistic is a good one: 400,000 less people accepting Meadicare and Social Security. 400,000 people who have voluntarily taken themselves out of the system after paying into it all their lives.
This is just a cold hard fact: If every American living today manages to live to the ripe old age of 90, it would be an economic catastrophe for the country.
Die young, and do the rest of us a favor.
Add in this knee slapper: the article goes on to moan about the lack of incentives for people to watch one's weight.
Oh really? Every magazine in the checkout line advertises new miracle diets and healthy recipes. Everytime I open a clothes catalog, I see thousands of perfectly fit people looking back at me. Every person on the TV looks like they spend ten hours a day working out.
No, the problem is not incentives.
The problem is will. Most Americans are fat and content, and they do not give a shit.
Why a bunch of public health busybodies should care about more about people's health than the actual individuals concerned is beyond me.
Here's some news to the public health industry:
There are some problems that aren't waiting for a government program solve them.
Obesity is one of them.
What? Killing bugs is wrong?
Here is some heartening news for invertebrates: under new Government proposals, creatures such as insects, worms and slugs will be protected from mistreatment if it can be proved that they suffer pain and distress.
This will pose a legal dilemma for gardeners, who have a number of ingenious ways of disposing of the plant-guzzling invaders. Some cut the offenders in two; others employ saucers of beer, in which drunken slugs drown. A spokesman for Peta, the animal welfare group, has welcomed the proposals, saying: "Compassion must be extended to all living beings. Stamping on a slug sets an example to children that 'might makes right'."
At this point, I really wish I could make it so this PETA spokesman's house would have a serious infestion of cockroaches.
Why do I kill bugs? It's simple: I am superior to them. To them, I might as well be God.
Does this make me sound arrogant? Declaring that I am more important than a bug? On planet PETA it does. I assume they don't bathe or disinfect anything (bacterial genocide!).
I treat my relative divinity with respect. As a god, I do not seek out innocent bugs to kill. But when a bug comes in my house, that's breaking and entering, dammit.
The gloves come off (or rather, the gloves go on).
Thanks to Tim Blair.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Just in: Bush enrages more people
Bush's cat India gets Indians enraged
Thiruvananthapuram, July 2 (IANS) Angry youths in this Kerala capital Friday burnt an effigy of US President George W. Bush, not because they are anti-American but because he has named his cat India.
Members of the citizens group Prathikarana Vedi assembled before the Kerala assembly saying that Bush calling his cat India was an insult to the country.
"This is a disgrace to our great country and this has come from none other than US President George W. Bush. This is nothing but an insult to India because there are hundreds of thousands of Indians in US, and many who occupy key posts in the White House," said M.A. Latheef, president of the group.
"He should make amends," Latheef added.
Can't this guy do anything right?
Stroy via Tim Blair.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Dismantling the fence and other fantasies...
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Following their victory in the U.N.'s highest court, the Palestinians will ask the General Assembly next week to demand that Israel destroy the barrier it is building to seal off the West Bank.
After Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, that the barrier violates international law, the Palestinians and their Arab supporters said they will seek a resolution enforcing the decision.
In a sharply worded advisory opinion, the court said Israel should tear down the barrier, compensate Palestinians harmed by the structure and return property confiscated for its construction.
The court urged the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council to consider "what further action is required to bring to an end to the illegal situation."
So the world will hold its breath...Will Israel comply?
Do we really even have to watch the media act like there is any chance?
The fence has choked off Palestinian attacks almost completely. They once averaged several a week, but now they have slowed to a trickle. I can't even remember the last attack to take place inside Israel.
That fence is going nowhere becuase it is saving Israeli lives.
For years, Israel had urged the UN to do something about the terrorism coming from the PA. The UN was eager to blame Israel whenever it retailiated, but it never could work up more than an "expression of concern" about Arafat's larval terrorrist state.
Now, Israel has taken the matter into its own hands, and the country clearly doesn't give a shit what the UN thinks.
The UN is, once again, irrelevant.
A government must control the use of its territory. The PA failed that test. Arafat was -at the very least - allowing his territory to be used for attacks inside Israel. In all probablity, Arafat's role was more active than that: a large body of evidence indicates that Arafat helped coordinate attacks to achieve political effects.
Those attacks were acts of war.
Arafat was either unable or unwilling to deal with them, so Israel has.
On its own terms.
Arafat's duplicity has been countered by Israeli resolve. Israel has raised the stakes, and there is little evidence that Arafat will be able to match: his key weapon - more terrorism - has been taken from him.
Evidence of the growing impotence of the terrorists? The inability of Hamas to even respond the back-to-back murders of its two leaders, Yassin and Rantisi.
Can democracy be brought to its knees by terrorism?
The evidence from Israel and the US is a firm no.
Unfortunately, the unhelpful answer from Europe is the opposite.
Friday, July 09, 2004
A frightening future
There is no gradualness and there are no countermeasures to a dozen nuclear warheads detonating simultaneously in American cities. Think of what just two envelopes of anthrax did to paralyze the capital of the world's greatest superpower. A serious, coordinated attack on the United States using WMDs could so shatter the United States as a functioning advanced industrialized society that it would take generations to rebuild.
What is so dismaying is that such an obvious truth needs repeating. The passage of time, the propaganda of the anti-American left, and the setbacks in Iraq have changed nothing of that truth. This is the first time in history the knowledge of how to make society-destroying weapons has been democratized. Today, small radical groups allied with small radical states can do the kind of damage to the world that in the past only a great, strategically located industrialized power like Germany or Japan could do.
It is a new world and exceedingly dangerous. Everything is at stake. We are now deeply engaged in a breastbeating exercise for not having connected the dots before 9/11. And yet here we are three years after 9/11, the dots already connected themselves, and we are under a powerful urge to ignore them completely.
It is only a matter of time.
We are staring at the unthinkable world of nuclear terrorism, but we prefer to watch the Scott Peterson trial. We watch as Iran develops the bomb, taking advantage of a nuclear black market that we are doing little to prevent, and our response is half-hearted and muddled.
In twenty years, people will question why we did not act sooner and more forcefully.
Modern American liberalism, which views war as an anachronism and terrorism as a law enforcement issue, will be extinguished. And we will, as a nation, commit genocide on a massive scale.
I would do anything to prevent that.
But it seems that the political will is not there.
OK, you win....
Just when you think you've won your little wrestling match, your opponent does something so diabolical that you are forced to call it a draw:
On second thought, maybe I won't be throwing you to the ground.....
From Design Toscano:
Campaign finance reform clears things up
We're told that once John Kerry and George Bush accept public funds to run their campaigns after their respective nominating conventions, they will be banned from raising funds or spending funds contributed prior to the nomination.
That presumably means Kerry must somehow spend all the record-breaking millions he's raised so far before the convention. But what can he spend it on? Can he pay for October ad time in advance? (How do you stop him?) Can he pay Bob Shrum and his other consultants their full-year fees? Can he pay for his plane in advance? If so, the restriction might not be so hobbling. But it was hobbling enough that Kerry considered delaying his formal acceptance of the nomination to postpone the cutoff date.
So how, exactly, does it hobble?
I'll bet Kerry breaks about twenty laws before he even knows it.
And Bush will do the same.
The laws have gotten so complex and convulated that even teams of lawyers (maybe that should read "especially teams of lawyers") can't figure them out.
How exactly does this make elections fairer?
Oh, I see. Money doesn't matter like it once did.
The frogs! The frogs!
The moral superiority of our betters in Europe is on display, yet again.
The Economist believes that the Darfur killers can be brought to heel fairly easily:
Since Mr Bashir’s regime is so weak, a tough approach by America, the UN and Sudan’s neighbours (on Wednesday, the African Union echoed Mr Powell’s calls for the militia’s disarming) ought to yield results. Besides the stick of sanctions, the carrot of aid is being offered, if a formal peace deal with the southern rebels is signed. If there is no response, America may also have to consider establishing a no-fly zone over Darfur, like the one that protected the Kurds in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
So the best way to end the ongoing massacre in Darfur is sanctions and pressure. Got it.
Let's do it. By all means, let's do something to end the senseless genocide going there.
Who would oppose that?
Oh, them: France opposes UN Sudan sanctions
This wouldn't have anything to do with France's massive oil interests in the Sudan, would it?
Or is it just part of the French plan: cozying up to mass murderers in the Arab world so the French can get on the Arab good side?
That French appeasement gene expresses itself once again.
Justice across the pond
Court overturns Lindh killer sentence
An appeals court in Sweden has thrown out the life prison sentence imposed on the man who killed Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh last year.
Mijailo Mijailovic, 25, will now be taken from prison to a closed psychiatric ward after tests concluded he was suffering a mental illness.
...Mijailovic would have gone to prison for 15 years, the normal term in Sweden for those sentenced to life, but now he faces being placed in a psychiatric institute for criminals.
However, there are no time limits for psychiatric patients, and some experts say he could be set free in a matter of months if deemed healthy.
Yes, they are different in Europe.
A "life sentence" is only 15 years? This man murdered a beloved prime minister in cold blood, a premeditated attack in front of several witnesses.
Under the harshest circumstances Sweden can offer, he will be free at age 40?
And now, because he is a mentally ill murderer, he could be free to walk at any time?
No one in Sweden finds this unfair?
I hold out hope that the Swedes declared him mentally ill precisely because they can now hold him indefinitely. But I won't be surprised when this guy is freed, young and "rehabilitated."
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Day at the beach
Give me my shrimp
QandO: Consumers penalized by government shrimp tariff
McQ is dead on:
It seems the Commerce Department has decided in a ruling issued tuesday that "China and Vietnam have been dumping their product in the US market at unfair prices."
When I read that, my question was "unfair to whom?"
That was answered the very next paragraph when I read the word "tariff". Unfair to whom? US shrimpers apparently. It seems that because of China and Vietnam, and to a lesser extent Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador and India, American consumers have been able to enjoy their favorite seafood at a much lower price.
Well, by God, not any more.
According to Wally Stevens, President of the American Seafood Distribution Association: "If U.S. shrimpers were to get the penalties they want, shrimp prices would rise 44 percent," he said.
Give me the cheap shrimp.
If you can't make a living harvesting shrimp in America, don't harvest shrimp.
It's interesting how no one ever argues for protection from cheap oil.....
Court rejects men-dining-nude claim
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- The Louisiana Supreme Court ordered a country club to open its men-only restaurant to women, rejecting claims that members sometimes dine there in the nude.
"In the twenty-first century, it is simply archaic to cite protection of women from the sights and sounds of a locker room environment as an excuse for excluding them from the public dining area as it exists in this country club," Justice John L. Weimer wrote for the unanimous court.
This is just silly. If men want all-male restaurant, they should be able to have it. It's a freedom of association thing, and I think the government goes too far when it sticks its nose into these things.
But I do question the wisdom of the club's assertion that its patrons like to dine in the nude.
It's a good way to make your patrons look very weird - not a good business strategy.
And apparently it wasn't good legal strategy either.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
An important milestone in my son's intellectual development has just been achieved. Thank God!
Background: my sons watch very little TV. Last night, the younger son decided to be a bastard (he was hungry). Because dinner wasn't ready, we turned on the Teletubbies to distract him.
The toddler enters something that resembles a drug induced haze when the Teletubbies are on , and he will watch, without complaint, for quite some time. It is the best excuse for TV that I am aware of.
The older son Sean noted that the TV was on (on a sunny summer day, this is an oddity). He was drawn to its hypnotic glare: the prospect of watching big furry alien creatures on ecstacy is a potent lure.
But something was not right. The Teltubbies coudn't get the machine working that makes the Tubby Toast. They kept trying, time and time again, to get the stupid machine to work. Sean was getting frustrated.
"No, you Tubby-tubbies! It's broken! Can't you see that?"
He was yelling at the TV, red faced and mad. When I got in the room, he was hitting the chair in frustration.
"No! Tubby tubbies! You have to get it fixed! Stupid!"
My son has finally noticed that the Teletubbies are, well, retarded. It's an important step.
And as added bonus, I get see my wife's absolute intolerance for stupidity taking bloom in my son. The outrage, the disgust, the yelling at the TV - that's all Betsy.
Sean was so mad I had to comfort him.
Just like Mom.
The Post starts the debate and finishes it: Gas or Charcoal?
Today's commercial lump charcoal, still retaining the shapes of the wood chunks it was made from, burns hot and clean, with minimal amounts of smoke. It therefore earns my vote (and the secret ballots of most grilling experts) as the best possible fuel for grilling.
Absolutely. There is nothing like the taste of ribs cooked with red hot, lump charcoal.
Because it is summer, I have gone into grilling mode. It is truly the best time of the year.
I love the Weber grill I got for Father's Day. I fire up the charcoal when I get home from work (in a chimney starter, of course), season the meat and make a salad or something while the grill develops a metallurgy-grade temperature. There's nothing better than the sizzle and the smells.
I can especially recommend the Weber grilling probe thremometer: perfect steaks, ribs, lamb and chicken...
There ends the commercial.