Is that I can't screw the taxpayers enough. What a pathetic game you and I are funding.
29 May 2007
Tony Blair did Labour proud.
We have tried continually to deport foreign nationals who were either engaged in or inciting extremism. We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect first. I happen to believe this is misguided. If a foreign national comes here, and may be at risk in his own country, we should treat him well. But if he then abuses our hospitality and threatens us, I feel he should take his chance back in his own home country.
I was stopped by someone the other week who said it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Iraq and Afghanistan). No wonder Muslims felt angry. I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a UN-supervised democratic process. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims. Why aren't they angry about the people doing the killing?
The odd thing about the conversation is I could tell it was the first time he'd heard this argument.
Apparently, a bunch of people styling themselves as protectors of the Gallic wine industry have issued an ultimatum to new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, that unless those evil cheap imports from countries such as Australia (the horreur!), New Zealand (Rainbow Warrior, anyone?), South Africa (enough said), America (the Great Satan) and other places are stopped, then supermarkets, offices and other places will be dynamited.Ya know, I've met Italians and they don't seem like the sort that'd kill me fot not dinking their Chainti.
Suppose that people in such venues get killed. I think that such a terrible outcome might begin to get across to the politically and economically uncommitted the true nature of the thuggery that sometimes accompanies protectionism and any form of coercive interference with voluntary economic exchange. Ultimately, such folk believe that you, the consumer, or worker, or entrepreneur, are beholden to buy, produce or sell not on the basis of freely consenting exchanges with your fellows, but on account of some state of affairs that the protectionists deem right and proper.
28 May 2007
Despite all this, the last time we checked, Cheney was a distant third with 16% of the vote, far behind Hobgoblin and Vader. Apparently this wasn't the result Amnesty was looking for, because the group proceeded to pull the poll from its Web site, which now redirects to this announcement:
Thanks to everyone who took our poll! We've gotten a terrific response. Thanks to everyone who shared it with their friends. Take action to restore the America you believe in (and) learn more about human rights abuses worldwide and what you can do to stop them.
So who won the poll, Amnesty International? They don't say. Like a military junta desperately clinging to power, they simply suppress the result of the vote. Human rights group our foot!
Seems the big news about The View is the staff changes. They got rid of Rosie; the stupid, arrogant one. Now perhaps they can ferret out Joy, another stupid, arrogant one.
JOY BEHAR: I was watching Al Gore on, on “Larry King” last night and, you know, he has a new book out, Al Gore, where he basically really says that Bush was the worst president that we’ve ever had in the history of the country…Does anyone have any idea why we can’t get rid of this guy who stole the election in 2000, killed the surplus with tax cuts…Wanting to privatize social security. Let me get through the list. He withdrew us from the Kyoto Treaty, John Ashcroft. Sat in the classroom after learning about 9/11…He lied to us to get us into the war. He awarded a no-bid contract to Halliburton, Abu Ghraib. He promoted his friend Michael Brown to take care of Katrina. Heck of a job, Brownie. Remember that? He doesn’t listen to the Iraq Study Group. He choked on a pretzel…He waited a week to visit New Orleans and then only to watch some jazz. He stood by Alberto Gonzales…and he stood by Rumsfeld, who some people think is a war criminal. He can’t pronounce the word “nuclear.” These are just some of the reasons…this guy needs to be thrown out of office.
Please. Impeach the president. Do it. Bring all of your accusations, narratives, memes, large conspiracy theories and small distrusts, petty dislikes and visceral hatreds. Let’s make it a very thorough impeachment, with long, hard looks and bright, hot lights, and everyone under oath and on the record! You won’t mind if - once we finally lance the purulent boil that is George W. Bush - some of the pus slashes up on you, will you? For the good of the nation?
27 May 2007
I can imagine this innane approace to other news stories: "Bill Clinton's wife seeks Democrat nomination" "Mrs. Lincoln's husband shot at Ford's Theater" "Eva Braun's boyfriend takes own life."
Nice going Yahoo. Jeez, they must really have the teenagers running the show this holiday weekend.
A rundown of the "gots" and "gots NOT."
The flag is flying.
I am often beating my brains out wishing for what I don't have, when in fact, I lack nothing. Here's what it's like to go without:
I don't know the Brandls, but they lived less than two miles from my house, which makes this anything but anonymous for me. Here's the backstory.
The lesson is never forget, and pay close attention to what you might me throwing away.
23 May 2007
22 May 2007
The president (of Venezuela) doesn’t like the way his media is covering him, so he’s doing away with the free press. He’s established rules on what he thinks is fair, and he’s denying licenses to television and radio stations that don’t play by government rules. I can’t criticize him now, though. After all, how would it seem for me to complain about another country, when our own congressional leadership is trying to put the same sort of rules in place here?
Insiders say it was the collapse of the radio station “Air America” that led to this attempt to retool the Fairness Doctrine as a form of de facto censorship. I guess the idea is that, if you can’t compete in the world of ideas, you pass a law that forces radio stations to air your views. In effect, it would force a lot of radio stations to drop some talk show hosts — because they would lose money providing equal airtime to people who can’t attract a market or advertisers.
Now congressional leaders say they want to “level the playing field” there too — meaning they want to diminish the importance of conservative talk radio. In other words, they don’t trust the results of freedom and the marketplace. Why am I not surprised?
I don't really want to be in the corner of 'conservative radio,' whatever that is. I do want to be counted among those who value plain-spoken truth and the adherence to pragmatic princilples.
21 May 2007
First it was his world history class. Then he saw it in his economics class. And his world issues class. And his environment class. In total, 18-year-old McKenzie, a Northern Ontario high schooler, says he has had the film An Inconvenient Truth shown to him by four different teachers this year. "I really don't understand why they keep showing it," says McKenzie.Read the whole thing. The heavy-handed distribution of the DVD to educators worldwide would make Alphonse Capone blush.
(E)very time we've seen it, well, one teacher said this is basically a two-sided debate, but this movie really gives you the best idea of what's going on.
Even scientists who back Mr. Gore's message admit they're uncomfortable with liberties the politician takes with "science" in the film. But, McKenzie says most of his classmates are credulous. His teachers are not much more discerning. "They don't know there's another side to the argument," he says.
"This is just being poured into kids' brains instead of letting them know there's a debate going on," (his mother) says. "An educational system falls down when they start taking one side."
Now, the flaws in Gore's song and dance aside, this is really a tremendously lazy tendency often found in government schools; teaching-by-pressing-the-'play'-button. Yea, this took place in Canada, but do you really think you'd have to dig very far to find this amateur indoctrination in the United States?
18 May 2007
This is also my perception.
Republicans have conducted a "coup" and gotten seven people elected to the Highland District Council. That's still not a majority of the 17-member board, but apparently it's shocking that any Republicans should hold office in St. Paul.
St. Paul's district councils are quasi-governmental bodies. The volunteers on their boards coordinate neighborhood activities, and try to bring a neighborhood voice to city planning and development issues. My perception and experience indicates that they are dominated not just by Democrats (After all, this is St. Paul, what else would we expect?), but by particularly liberal, activist, "progressive" Democrats. The district councils have often been sort of their own little playgrounds, in my perception.
That's why it's a hoot to see them reacting with such shock that some Republicans managed to get themselves elected. The news story says that "incumbents were shocked that partisan politics entered the fray..." I guess maybe no one had ever bothered to run as a Democrat. They had just assumed everyone was a Democrat, just like them. So much for being open-minded and valuing diversity.Okay, so there's shock and "awwww . . ." about the new make-up of the board. I guess they all think that Karl Rove will be calling the shots, parks will be paved over, all pollution-control equipment will be removed from cars . . . you know, all those Republican platforms. So then this story comes out about a week ago:
Gayle Summers e-mailed members of the Highland District Council's board to tell them she was leaving the organization immediately. Her resignation follows last month's takeover of the board by Republican activists in Highland Park, where she has been the community organizer for more than 16 years. In an interview Wednesday, she conceded she considered herself a Democrat but said she was troubled by what she felt was an overtly partisan direction the council was taking.Even thought the council has been de facto partisan Democrat since its inception.
"She is a huge asset to the community," (Shawn) Bartsh said. "She can't be replaced." City Council Member Pat Harris said he hoped Summers will remain involved in the neighborhood in some capacity. "I'll still look to her for all kinds of advice on the neighborhood," Harris said.Wow. Sounds like the new atmosphere is so poisonous that a long-time neighborhood activist can't tolerate being part of the newly-diseased process. What a bad light this sheds on the heathen Republicans. Okay - today there is this:
No surprise. We live in an era where communication has never been more difficult(!)
Newly elected officers at the Highland District Council in St. Paul say the neighborhood group owes thousands of dollars in back taxes and penalties and that its finances are in serious disarray. President Bill Poulos sent a letter to the group's board members Thursday saying the Minnesota Department of Revenue recently seized $1,568 in unpaid payroll taxes and that a conversation with IRS officials this week revealed the group owes more than $33,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties dating back to 1998.
Gayle Summers, the council's lone full-time staffer and one of the city's longest-serving community organizers, resigned last week. As one of the city's 19 district councils, the group is funded in part by taxpayer dollars. In addition to the taxes and penalties, Poulos said IRS officials have no record of tax returns for the nonprofit organization from 2001 to 2005. Summers could not be reached for comment.
Poulos said newly elected officers began examining the group's finances once they were able to gain access to the office's computers. They found unopened mail stuffed in drawers and learned of the Department of Revenue seizure after asking the council's bank for updated statements.Wow - who the hell was running that office?
Under the group's bylaws, an elected, unpaid treasurer - a position that usually rotates from year to year - is responsible for overseeing the group's books. In reality, said immediate past president Peter Armstrong, that job was delegated to (Gayle) Summers.So if one allows oneself to read into the story, one might have concluded that the terrible new environment in the Highland District Council is what drove out this noble citizen-treasure Summers. Now it looks an awful lot like Summers ran for the door when it became apparent that the mess she's been overseeing would no longer be overlooked.
Kudos to the legacy-media Pioneer Press for actually reporting actual news in the paper. I know it's tough with Shrek 3 opening today to find any space in the paper for relevant local news, but they got it in there.
Law officers have praised a bank customer who pulled his gun and helped deputies capture a gunman who opened fire during a robbery of a Wachovia branch, killing two tellers and wounding two.You know, when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry gun, it's going to be an uncontrolllable wind west show with bullets criscrossing every park and playground BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Chris Chappell . . . fled the bank when gunshots rang out, drew a gun for which he has a concealed weapon permit, took cover by his sport utility vehicle and alerted deputies who came up. The gunman, cornered by Chappell and the deputies when he tried to flee the bank with a hostage, stumbled and was shot by Deputy Alan Rhea.
"It's certainly commendable," Jefferson County Sheriff's Sgt. Randy Christian said. "It's obvious he played a key role in keeping the guy there until we could get there. It's a great testament of someone willing to take action."
Did you hear about the high school hit yesterday by a pair of missiles? Of course you didn't. It was an Israeli school in Sderot that was struck, and the missiles were fired by Hamas.
The news outlets of the world apparently have little interest in the attack on an Israeli school, but instead bend over backwards to write more than 3,000 stories about the results of the Israeli air force targeting Hamas leaders who are blamed for ordering the attacks on Sderot.
Miller Brewing Co. saw another year of flat sales of its staple beer Miller Lite, as drinkers continue trade "Miller Time" for pricier brews and wines.Wouldn't it be encouraging if the United States were emerging from the long national nightmare that is the era of crummy, mass-marketed beer-like beverages?
"The overall focus is on strengthening the brand portfolio and migrating it into the higher- margin growth areas of the market," Mackay said. Shepard said that's one area where Miller, with about 18 percent of the U.S. market, has lagged behind its competition. "Anheuser-Busch has been fiercely competitive in that market," he said. "Miller doesn't participate in the high end as much as they would like to."High end? Miller? That's like lamenting the lack of upscale double-wides. Along with terrestrial radio and the SSR, Miller shouldn't let the door hit its ass on the way out. There will be no tears on our deck, for we have other designs on brewed refreshment.
17 May 2007
Government; what a racket.
(Pelosi) endorses HR 1252 to protect consumers from "price gouging," defined, not altogether helpfully, by a blizzard of adjectives and adverbs. Gouging occurs when gasoline prices are unconscionably excessive, or sellers raise prices unreasonably by taking unfair advantage of unusual market conditions, or when the price charged represents a gross disparity from the price of crude oil, or when the amount charged grossly exceeds the price at which gasoline is obtainable in the same area. The bill does not explain how a gouger can gouge when his product is obtainable more cheaply nearby.
Actually, Pelosi's constituents are being gouged by people like Pelosi -- by government. While oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gasoline, the federal government makes 18.4 cents (the federal tax) and California's various governments make 40.2 cents (the nation's third-highest gasoline tax). Pelosi's San Francisco collects a local sales tax of 8.5 percent -- higher than the state's average for local sales taxes.
Democrats are wielding a heavy hand on the House Rules Committee, committing many of the procedural sins for which they condemned Republicans during their 12 years in power. So far this year, Democrats have frequently prevented Republicans from offering amendments, limited debate in the committee and, just last week, maneuvered around chamber rules to protect a $23 million project for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).I suspect that the more sanctimonious among us went to the polls, pulled the lever for Big Left, and assumed that everything is fixed. Unfortuantely, that kind of blind faith and non-participatory proxy helps fix nothing.
On Wednesday, Democrats suggested changing the House rules to limit the minority's right to offer motions to recommit bills back to committee -- violating a protection that has been in place since 1822.
16 May 2007
Somehow I don't think Anderson Cooper's all over this one.
Remember in 1984, where Winston's job was to revise newspapers of the past to keep up with the ever changing present? This is very interesting. A couple years ago, during the Katrina disaster, I linked to a CNN report and quoted it:
Overnight, police snipers were stationed on the roof of their precinct, trying to protect it from gunmen roaming through the city, CNN's Chris Lawrence reported. One New Orleans police sergeant compared the situation to Somalia and said officers were outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks."It's a war zone, and they're not treating it like one," he said, referring to the federal government.
One of my readers ran into that posting of mine--and noticed that the CNN report at that link no longer said anything like that. It was much, much more upbeat. Nothing about the police snipers on the roof.
Did I copy the wrong link? Did I have a brief attack of delusion, and make something up? Nope.
It'll never happen until it happens to you:
(Ohio State Rep. Michael) DeBose twice voted against a measure to allow Ohioans to carry concealed weapons. It became law in 2004. DeBose voted his conscience. He feared that CCW permits would lead to a massive influx of new guns in the streets and a jump in gun violence. He feared that Cleveland would become the O.K. Corral, patrolled by legions of freshly minted permit holders.
"I was wrong," he said Friday. "I'm going to get a permit and so is my wife.
They say the definition of a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. DeBose's CCW application will bear some witness to that notion.
Something to keep in mind next time some insulated elected official tries to shovel you some shit about knowing better than you do.
11 May 2007
Read it all.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
10 May 2007
(Martyn Burke’s documentary “Islam vs. Islamists”) does have a strong point of view – and therein lies the rub. PBS, clearly, does not like what this movie says. And I suspect it likes it less because the film is well made (the reverse of what the network originally claimed).
PBS’ views seem particularly troglodytic today in light of recent events at Fort Dix. But that is the least of it. What is far more important to our country is that our Public Broadcasting network, an organization supported by taxpayer money, is practicing the most obvious censorship. PBS is operating here in the manner of similar institutions in the former Soviet Union and in modern day Iran – financing artists and then withholding distribution of their work when it is not deemed ideologically “correct”. It’s a form of thought-control and it’s unconscionable.
The gentlemen at PBS directly responsible for this censorship are, according to Mr. Burke, Leo Eaton and Jeff Bieber. Bieber perhaps tipped his hand more than he intended when he told Martyn Burke “Don’t you check into the politics of the people you work with?”
On April 23, Scheffler received a letter informing him he'd been placed on interim suspension. To be considered for readmittance, he'd have to pay for a psychological evaluation and undergo any treatment deemed necessary, then meet with the dean of students, who would ultimately decide whether Scheffler was fit to return to the university.So much for the fable of college as being a place where smart people use their minds.
He has also suffered embarrassment. Scheffler obeyed the campus ban and didn't go to class, but his classmate, Kenny Bucholz, told him a police officer was stationed outside the classroom. "He had a gun and everything," Bucholz says. Dean Julian Schuster appeared at the beginning of class to explain the presence of the cop, citing discipline problems with a student. Although Schuster never mentioned Scheffler by name, it didn't take a scholar to see whose desk was empty.
To the lazy fearmongers at Hamline University, they acted to correct a seriously bad apple. To anyone with a brain of their own, Hamline simply fortified their isolationist ivory towers and kept the Ship of Fear and Cowardace on course.
While Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Bush administration jaw back-and-forth over the relief efforts for Greensburg, Kan., the town devastated by Friday night's F-5 tornado, town residents have chimed in and say they couldn't be any happier with the response from the government and other rescue units. "The poor response thing is just political BS," Greensburg resident Mike Swigart, 47, who lost his house and four vehicles from the storm, told wcbstv.com in an exclusive interview.
"I saw her on television and I'm disappointed in that because she doesn't know what she's talking about." Swigart says the general feeling around the town is that residents were overwhelmed by the immediate response, and that the governor's fuss was for her own good.
But it's not a stretch to say that hate crime laws, by their very nature, punish people for their opinions. A mugger who robs a Jew because he's well-dressed is punished less severely than a mugger who robs a Jew based on the belief that Jews get their money only by cheating Christians. A thug who beats an old lady in a wheelchair just for fun is punished less severely than a thug who does so because he believes disabled people are leeches.Hey, how novel; relying upon existing laws . . . but don't let that stop congress.
The rationale for such unequal treatment is that crimes motivated by bigotry do more damage than otherwise identical crimes with different motivations because of the fear they foster. Yet random attacks arguably generate more fear, and hate crimes cause anxiety in the targeted group only when they're publicized as such. In any case, judges can take a crime's impact into account at sentencing.
In federalizing bias-motivated crimes—potentially including every heterosexual rape, a crime that arguably is always committed "because of" the victim's gender—Congress claims to be exercising its authority to regulate interstate commerce. But the connection can be as tenuous as a weapon that has crossed state lines, interference with the victim's "economic activity," or anything else that "affects interstate or foreign commerce."
When you criminalize intentions, you are politicizing thoughts. Clobbering someone who's Hispanic is no worse than clobbering someone who's Irish. Just because more Hispanics might be in the district of an elected official does not mean they get treated differently under the law.
04 May 2007
The House next week will consider the Democrat-crafted Intelligence Authorization bill, which includes a provision directing an assessment of the effects that climate change has on national security.Money out of spy funds and into global warming hand-wringing; nice.
"Our job is to steal secrets," said Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "There are all kinds of people analyzing global warming, the Democrats even have a special committee on this," he told The Washington Times. "There's no value added by the intelligence community here; they have no special expertise, and this takes money and resources away from other threats."
Along that vein is Time Magazine and their amazingly dubious list of the 100 most influential people in the world (which, I guess, must render last year's list invalid). Where to begin - first, the list is pure bullshit; it's just populist jive dreamed up by the extraordinarily sheltered Manhattanites who push that rag. Second, look how they stuff the list with the usual Hollywood blowhards but leave off the President of the United States. Oooooo - aren't they edgy? Finally, how do you like the hubris of the 1,363rd most visited website in this country telling all of us anything about influence?
I had read blog comments before which indicated that Al Gore is a religious man, which intrigued me, because from his movie, he comes across as a man who is ready to accept science as the proper methodology (versus evangelical faith in biblical literalism). He did not mention any kind of religious beliefs in the movie . . .
He tarnishes his beautifully crafted presentation by not only stating his belief in creationism - but by placing the words “Adam and Eve” right on the slide (which is actually a scientific graph) as a caption explaining the beginnings of mankind.
Iran's foreign minister walked out of a dinner of diplomats where he was seated directly across from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on the pretext that the female violinist entertaining the gathering was dressed too revealingly. "I don't know which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday, regarding the actions of Iran's Manouchehr Mottaki.Another Muslim whacko unable to deal directly with a female authority figure. Where are the reliably-loud feminists on this one?
Rice herself was questioned by reporters about the lack of a direct conversation with Mottaki, even though it appeared she was "chasing" him. "Uh, well, you could ask him why he didn't make an effort," she replied. Then she laughed. "Look, I'm not given to chasing anyone." So the face to face between Rice and Mottaki never happened, reports CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata.Of course when the news gets back to the states, it'll be spun as another Bush foreign policy failure.
The dinner episode Thursday night amid a major regional conference on Iraq perfectly revealed how hard it was to bring together the top diplomats of the two rival nations.No, the dinner episode Thursday night amid a major regional conference on Iraq perfectly revealed how hard it was to deal with Muslim whackos. How sad that the Egyptians(!) can't put on a show that's clean enough for the pure, wholesome Iranians.
03 May 2007
01 May 2007
124:09 Placed penalty taken right-footed by Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool) (bottom-left of goal), scored. Liverpool 4-1 Chelsea on penalties.
123:23 Placed penalty taken right-footed by . Geremi (Chelsea) (bottom-left of goal), save (parried) by Jose Reina (Liverpool). Liverpool 3-1 Chelsea on penalties.
122:43 Placed penalty taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) (bottom-right of goal), scored. Liverpool 3-1 Chelsea on penalties.
122:04 Power penalty taken right-footed by Frank Lampard (Chelsea) (top-left of goal), scored. Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea on penalties.
121:30 Placed penalty taken right-footed by Xabi Alonso (Liverpool) (bottom-right of goal), scored. Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea on penalties.
120:49 Placed penalty taken left-footed by Arjen Robben (Chelsea) (bottom-right of goal), save (parried) by Jose Reina (Liverpool). Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea on penalties.
120:04 Placed penalty taken left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden (Liverpool) (bottom-right of goal), scored. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea on penalties.