Sunday, September 30, 2007

Breakaway, Backdown

Oh, it's a threat now.
Alarmed at the chance that the Republican party might pick Rudolph Giuliani as its presidential nominee despite his support for abortion rights, a coalition of influential Christian conservatives is threatening to back a third-party candidate in an attempt to stop him.

The group making the threat, which came together Saturday in Salt Lake City during a break-away gathering during a metting of the secretive Council for National Policy, includes Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who is perhaps the most influential of the group, as well as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the direct mail pioneer Richard Viquerie and dozens of other politically-oriented conservative Christians, participants said. Almost everyone present expressed support for a written resolution that "if the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate we will consider running a third party candidate."
Meet the conservative movement's equivelant of two year olds. They want what they want and throw these temper tantrums when they don't get it. I think some political corporeal punishment is in order here.

Checkmate

Hmm, this could be interesting.
MOSCOW (AP)-The former world chess champion Garry Kasparov entered Russia's presidential race on Sunday, elected overwhelmingly as the candidate for the country's beleagured opposition coalition.

Kasparov has been a driving force behind the coalition, which has united liberals, leftists and nationalists in opposition to President Vladimir Putin. He received 379 of 498 votes at a national congress held in Moscow by the Other Russia coalition, coalition spokeswoman Lyudmila Mamina told The Associated Press.

Kasparov's place on the ballot was not assured. His candidacy still needs to be registered and could be blocked.
Putin couldn't be reached for comment, although Deep Blue apparently wishes him luck.

The Libertarian Within

An interesting look at the age-old debate of personal freedon vs. public responsibility, and why the two aren't necessarily incompatible.
Intersting, isn't it? Of those who view family breakdown as a major social problem, I don't know any who argue that we should ban divorce and lock up single mothers. I actually agree with libertarians that many government policies have greatly harmed the family, and while I would propably go further than they would in supporting some government attempts to stem the tide-say, state laws that provice longer waiting periods before divorce-I believe that the state is pretty hamstrung in this regard.

But unlike many libertarians, I don't think that's all there is to say. Family breakdown is largely a consequence of changing cultural norms. And when it comes to culture, liberarians are of two impossibly contradictory minds. In their Hayek mode, they argue, like the Volokh Conspiracy's Ilya Somin, that the "harmful effects of private choices...are best dealt with through the private sector," a sentiment with which I strongly agree.

Unfortunately, in practice libertarians tend to see all criticism of personal behavior as a threat to liberty.

(snip)Libertarians believe government shouldn't say anything about the family problem. And neither should anyone else.
While I don't think that's completely accurate or fair, the author does have a point. Personal choice is fine-but when too many people make bad personal choices, they add up and start to affect the rest of us. This is where other people have the right to say, "Enough is enough. Clean up your act, or we'll do it for you."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Clarence's Comeback

The Judge is in the house, and he's fighting back.
Justice Clarence Thomas settles scores in an angry and vivid forthcoming memoir, scathingly condemning the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court, and the "mob" of liberal elites and activist groups that he says desecrated his life.

"My Grandfather's Son," for which Thomas has received a reported $1.5 million, is a 289-page memoir of his life in rural Georgia, his reliance on his religious faith and his rise to the high court. His book ends with the day he was sworn in and contains only fleeting mentions of his time on the bench.

Thomas lovingly describes the iron-willed grandfather who raised him after his own father abandoned him as a toddler, praises the Roman Catholic Church for providing him with an education but criticizes it for not being as "adamant about ending racism then as it is about ending abortion now," and goves a detailed description of the confirmation hearings that electrified the nation in 1991 and the sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill that he said destroyed his reputation.

They are the most extensive comments Thomas has made about Hill since his confirmation. Though he has given numerous speeches since he has been on the court, he has rarely mentioned Hill or spoken in detail about the nomination fight. In the book, Thomas writes that Hill was the tool of liberal activist groups "obsessed" with abortion and outraged because he did not fit their idea of what an African American should believe.

"The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns," Thomas writes of his hearings. "Its weapons were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages of America's newspapers....But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose--to keep the black man in his place--was unchanged."
Sadly, that purpose hasn't changed for white liberals or those who claim to be leaders of the black community these days.

The McCainiac Is Back

Hoo boy. I like him, but the good senator should stick to national security issues and stay away from religion.
GOP presidential candidate John McCain says America is better off with a Christian President and he doesn't want a Muslim in the Oval Office.

"I admire the Islam. There's a lot of good principles in it," he said. "But I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who I knew has a solid grounding in my faith."

In a wide-ranging interview about religion and faith with the Web site Beliefnet, McCain said he wouldn't "rule out under any circumstance" someone who wasn't Christian, but said, "I just feel that that's an important part of our qualifications to lead."
Too bad the Constitution says otherwise, Senator.

Central Terrorist Agency

Ima Dinnerjacket says we're the same as those who like to execute gays.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP)-Iran's parliament on Saturday approved a nonbinding resolution labeling the CIA and the US Army "terrorist organizations," in apparent response to a Senate resolution seeking to give a similar designation to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The hard-line dominated parliament cited U.S. involvement in dropping nuclear bombs in Japan in World War II, using depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, supporting the killings of Palestinians by Israel, bombing and killing Iraqi civilians, and torturing terror suspects in prisons.

"The agressor U.S. Army and the Central Intelligence Agency are terrorists and also nurture terror," said a statement by the 215 lawmakers who signed the resolution at an open session of the Iranian parliament. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio.
Well, I'll be looking forward to Dinnerjacket's attempts to cut off the CIA and the Army's financial support-oh, wait. We have the Democrats for that.

The Man On The Screen

Remember, these people are our allies.
A Saudi man divorced his wife for watching alone a television programme presented by a male, an act he deemed immoral, the Al Shams newspaper reported on Saturday.

The man, whom the paper did not identify, ended his marriage on the grounds his wife was effectively alone with an unrelated man, which is forbidden under the strict Islamic law enforced in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the paper said.

Men in Saudi Arabia have the authority to divorce their wives without resort to the courts.
Yes, Saudi men are afraid of their wives having affairs with electronic images. About the only difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran is that Saudi Arabia doesn't want nukes.

Big Illiterates On Campus

You mean there's someone out there who thinks brains are actually more important for minority students than brawn? Oh, the heresy!
While he enjoyed teaching many members of the track, swimming and crew teams in his courses, he vociferously resisted the notion that athletic scholarships offered opportunity to low-income, minority students.

"If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that's fine," he said. "But they give it to a functional illiterate who can't read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That's not opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school."
Of course, that doesn't sit well with the paternalism crowd:
Rutgers Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy told local newspapers that Dowling's comment was "a blatantly racist statement."

In a statement released by the university, Rutgers President Richard McCormick called it "inaccurate and inhumane."

"It also has a racist implication that has no place whatsoever in our civil discourse," McCormick said in the statement.
No, what seems to have no place in "Civil discourse" is an honest discussion of race, patronizing, and stereotyping by white liberals.

Missing In Action

Whatever you do, don't get lost in Washington State.
Tanya Rider left work at a Fred Meyer grocery store in Bellevue on Sept. 19 but never made it home. Tom Rider said that when he couldn't reach her, he called Bellevue police to report her missing.

Bellevue police took the report right away, but when they found video of Tanya Rider getting into her car after work, they told her husband the case was out of their jurisdiction and he should notify King County, he said. Tom Rider said he tried that, but "the first operator I talked to on the first day I tried to report it flat denied to start a missing persons report because she didn't meet the criteria," he said.

"I basically hounded them until they started a case and then, of course, I was the first focal point, so I tried to get myself out of the way as quickly as possible. I let them search the house. I told them they didn't have to have a warrant for anything, just ask," he said.

Thursday morning, detectives asked him to come in to sign for a search of phone records. They also asked him to take a polygraph test.

"By the time he was done explaining the polygraph test to me, the detective burst into the room with a cell phone map that had a circle on it," he said.

His wife's car tumbled about 20 feet down a ravine and lay buried below brush and blackberry bushes. The air bags deployed, but she was injured and trapped. Rescuers had to cut the roof off to get her out.

"I know there were delays (in finding her) because of red tape," Tom Rider said.
Hmm, maybe they could have found her sooner if they'd actually done their jobs?

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Trannies Are Out

Apparently hate crime protections only go so far, even for liberal Democrats.
Evan as the Senate passed a hate crimes bill sought for a decade by gays and lesbians, House Deomcratic leaders decided Thursday to strip transgender people from another long-languishing civil rights bill, generating dismay in the gay community and furious bur fruitless lobbying for more time.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Reps. George Miller, D-Martinez, Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., believe that they lack the votes in the Democrat-controlled House to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if it includes gender identity along with sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for firing an employee.

Frank and Baldwin are the only openly gay members of Congress.

"People now accept the fact that we just don't have the votes for the transgender," Frank said.
How can that be? They allowed Nancy to become House Speaker, didn't they?

It's Either Me Or The Big House

The man who wants to be America's doctor is worried about the next president being black America's warden.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said if he isn't elected president, the population of African-American males is likely to either wind up in prison or dead.

At an MTV/MySpace.com forum Thursday, Edwards responded to a question about inner-city kids partaking in violence by saying there was no "silver bullet" to fight the problem.

"We start with the president of the United States saying to America, 'we cannot build enough prisons to solve this problem. And the iea that we can keep incarcerating and keep incarcerating-pretty soon we're not going to have a young African-American male population in America. They're all going to be in prison or dead. One of the two."
Considering that it was the Democrats and white liberals who helped create a generation of second-class citizens and now want to heep them there in order to feel good about themselves, you'd think Edwards would be happy-if this White House thing doesn't work out, he'll have millions of clients to sue for.

Bonded Love

Big Mama Hillary wants every kid to be a future Democratic voter.
WASHINGTON (AP)-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Firday that every born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.

Clinton, her party's front-runner in the 2008 race, made the suggestion during a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus.

"I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home," she said.
Well, that's nice. The next generation can have their first taste of living in Mama's welfare state straight out of the womb.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Water, Water, Nowhere

You know how they say "Don't drink the water?" What do you do if there isn't any at all?
SHIJIAZHUANG, China: Hundreds of feet below ground, this provincial capital of more than two million people is steadily running out of water. The water table is sinking fast. Municipal wells have already drained two-thirds of the local groundwater.

Above ground, this city in the North China Plain is having a party, Economic growth topped 11 percent last year. Population is rising. One new upscale housing development is advertising waterfront property on lakes filled with pumped groundwater. Another half-built complex, the Arc de Royal, is rising above one of the lowest points in the city's water table.

"People who are buying apartments aren't thinking about whether there will be water in the future," said Zhang Zhongmin, who has tried for the past 20 years to raise public awareness about the city's dire water situation.

For three decades, water has been indispensable in sustaining the rollicking economic expansion that has made China a world power. Now, China's galloping, often wasteful style of economic growth is pushing the country toward a water crisis. Water pollution is rampant nationwide, while water scarcity has worsened severely in north China-even as demand keeps rising everywhere.
Water has been the lifeline of many a once-great civilization, and when that lifeline was cut, chaos and collapse often followed. In this case, we could get burned by the collapse that seems to be coming.

Gimme Shelter

You know the Cold War is back when these are back in style.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP)-In an age of al-Qaida, sleeper cells and the threat of nuclear terrorism, Hintsville is dusting off its Cold War manual to create the nation's most ambitious fallout-shelter plan, featuring an abandoned mine big enough for 20,000 people to take cover underground.

Others would hunker down in college dorms, churches, libraries and research halls that planners hope will bring the community's shelter capacity to 300,000, or space for every man, woman and child in Huntsville and the surrounding county.

Emergency planners in Huntsville-an out-of-the-way city best known as the home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center-say the idea makes sense because radioactive fallout could be scattered for hundreds of miles if terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb.

"If Huntsville is in the blast zone, there's not much we can do. But if it's just fallout...shelters would absorb 90 percent of the radiation," said longtime emergency management planner Kirk Paradise, whose Cold War expertise with fallout shelters led local leaders to renew Huntsville's program.
Yes, but then you'd have to deal with the talking apes and telepathic mutants, wouldn't you?

Hot Buttered Legislation

Apparently there's nothing important going on.
WASHINGTON-House Democrats on Wednesday ordered federal safety regulators to limit popcorn plant workers' exposure to a flavoring chemical linked to a ling ailment, saying further delay could cost lives.

The lack of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard on diacetyl "has endangered the health of families," said rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio. "That is why we have to act today. Workers should never have to choose between their health and feeding their families."

But the Bush administration and House Republicans think the Democrats' bill is premature, and Congress' interference with OSHA's work may cause more harm than good.

"We believe that it's important to give OSHA time to complete a scientific study of diacetyl exposure and to issue a recommended exposure limit for the use of that chemical," said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. "Without a complete study, Congress may push manufacturers to use different chemicals that could be even more directly responsible for diseases."
How about finding a way of limiting exposure to nannystating politicians? That'd be a first.

Monkey Man

It's like Planet of the Apes in reverse.
A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp's behalf.

The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a "person" so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home.

Group president Martin Balluch insists that Pan is "a being with interests" and accuses the Austrian judicial system of monkeying around.
Well, if "Mr. Pan" starts snarling "Get your stinking paws off of me, you damn dirty humans!" then I'll be impressed.

Losing Faith

There's little love for Big Brother these days.
A new Gallup poll reveals that, as the organization puts it, Americans now "express less trust in the federal government than at any point in the past decade, and trust in many federal government institutions is now lower than it was during the Watergate era, generally recognized as the low point in American history for trust in government."

Among the findings: Barely half trust the government to handle international problems, the lowest number ever. And less than half express faith in the government handling domestic issues, the lowest findings since 1976.

Faith in the executive branch has fallen to 43%-only 3% higher than it was just before President Nixon's resignation in 1974. At the same time, trust in Congress, at 50%, is its lowest ever.
Americans have often had a long-standing skepticism of government, although there were periods when trust in its institutions was higher than in others. This is how democracies fail-cynicism breeding cynical leaders.

Blowing Smoke

It's come to this: we now have politically correct smoking.
Vancouver's hookah-parlour owners are celebrating after winning an exemption Thursday from a proposed new bylaw that will ban smoking on most sidewalks in commercial districts, in bus shelters and even in taxis passing through Vancouver.

In giving the bylaw unanimous approval-in-principle, Vancouver city council members bowed to arguments that hookah lounges provide an important cultural space for the city's Muslims and granted them a temporary exemption.

(snip) Ernad Yacoub, who runs five restaurants in Vancouver, also attended Thursday's meeting to ask council to protect hookah lounges.

"I support no smoking on the patios," he said, saying it will make it easier for him since he won't have to settle fights between his smoking and non-smoking customers.

But he said hookah lounges are essential for immgrants from hookah-smoking cultures, because it helps them deal with the depression common for newcomers and gives them places like they have at home.
By that logic, other Canadians should be able to set up group-therapy smoking sessions. Depression, indeed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Saw Your Photograph

The Queen apparently doesn't like her princess's picture hanging on the wall.
NEW YORK-The owner of a New York City restaraunt is "heartbroken" over a letter he received from former President Bill Clinton's lawyer asking that a photograph of daughter Chelsea be removed from his eatery-or face legal action.

The photo, taken of the former first daughter with Osso Buco owner Nino Selimaj, has been on display in the window of the Greenwich Village haunt for about five years, the restaurateur said. It was snapped when Chelsea, now 27, was having dinner there with a group of about 30 friends.

But Selimaj said he was shocked when he received a letter from Clinton's lawyer Douglas J. Band on Sept. 18 threatening legal action if the photograph of "private citizen" Chelsea was not taken down. The photograph is still on display near the front entrance of the restaurant-only now, the letter is posted alongside it.

"We ask that you immediately remove that picture and any and all pictures displaying Ms. Clinton," the letter warns. "We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us if you refuse to comply."
Well, if anything it's good practice for the future Queen when her minions order the peasants to avert their eyes.

Arsenel Of Democracy

Just because you've got more money than God, doesn't mean you're him.
Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has vowed to carry on making allegations against billonaire Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, despite attempts to silence him and his supporters.

Murray told The Reg: "If the man believes he was libelled then he should take me to court."

Murray's blog was deleted by its host on Friday after threats from Usmanov's UK legal team. It's expected to reappear in the early hours of tomorrow on an overseas server, and will repeat the charges that drew heavy fire from specialist libel firm Schillings.
Carry on, Mr. Craig. It seems you can take the billionaire out of communism, but you can't take the communist thuggery out of the billionaire.

Uncle Putin's Worst Nightmare

Wow, it looks like Gorby's not quite such a fan of Uncle Putin these days.
MOSCOW (AP)-Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned Wednesday against whitewashing the crimes of dictator Joseph Stalin, stressing that Russia cannot move forward withour facing the truth about its bloody past.

In words that appeared aimed at President Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev also emphasized the need to pursue democracy.

His remarks, less guarded than usual, came amid growing concern among Russia's marginalized liberals that Putin's government is recasting Stalin's legacy to justify its own increasingly tight control.
I only wish Yeltsin were still around so I could hear what he had to say. So much for Stalin's second coming.

Rather Arrogant

Oh, get over yourself, already.
Former "Evening News" Dan Rather choked back tears on several occasions today when discussing his decision to file a lawsuit against CBS and he left many audience members with a sense that he may call President George W. Bush as a witness should the lawsuit proceed to trial (and Rather said he hoped it would).

When asked by Carol Joynt, host of the "Q&A Cafe" held at Nathans restaurant who worked with Rather at CBS in the 1970s, whether "he'd like to" call President Bush as a witness in the trial, Rather said "I'd like not to answer the question," leaving both Joynt and audience members wondering whether the newman has Bush in his sightes. Joynt later told Yeas & Nays, "From the look in his eye--and he gave me a definite Ratheresque look--I got the impression he will call the president as a witness. Possibly both of them: 41 and 43. He implied the suit is not against them, but what the suit is about stems directly from his antagonistic relationship with them."
Poor Dan. Still can't get over the fact that he wasn't untouchable.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Down With The Sickness

Shades of the Andromeda Strain.
Microbes that cause salmonella came back from spaceflight even more virulent and dangerous in an experiment aboard the US space shuttle Atlantis, according to a study published Monday.

The experiment by microbiologists at Arizona State University sent tubes with salmonella bacteria on a shuttle flight in September 2006 to measure how space flight might affect disease causing microbes.

The salmonella sample that trabelled millions of kilometers (miles) in orbit changed their pattern of certain genes compared to identical bacteria back on Earth, said the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
First a meteor makes people sick in Peru, now scientists are messing around with this kind of stuff. Do they want to get their brains eaten by zombies?

Have It Your Way, Mahmoud

Ima Dinnerjacket seems intent on joining his 12th Imam in a hole in the ground.
UNITED NATIONS-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Tuesday that "the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed," and indicated that Tehran will disregard U.N. Security Council resolutions imposed by "arrogant powers" and demanding suspension of its uranium enrichment.

Instead, he said, Iran has decided to pursue the monitoring of its nuclear program "through its appropriate legal path," the International Atomic Energy Agency which is the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.

The U.S delegation was absent during the speech except for a note taker.
We can expect more of Dinnerjacket's short man syndrome as he tires to book more places where he won't be laughed off the stage or derided by the host.

Dogma

Yes, I can just imagine hordes of angry Christians calling for this guy's beheading.
A SWEDISH artist unveiled a sculpture depicting Christ as a well-endowed dog, saying he wanted to stimulate debate about religion and freedom of expression in the wake of a row over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

The artwork showed Jesus as a dog with a bloodstained head under a crown of thorns and an "enormous sexual organ", according to Swedish press agency TT.

However, within hours of the sculpture being installed on a roundabout in Skaanes Fagerhult, a town in the south of Sweden, it disappeared.

(snip) "It is my turn to follow (artist) Lars Vilks and provoke a sensible discussion about religion," Ramsing said.

Vilks is the Swedish artist whose cartoon of the prophet Mohammed with a dog's body published in the Swedish press triggered controversy both in Sweden and other countries.
I imagine most Christians will be sensible-in ignoring this nonsense, as most did, or writing angry letters to the editor as they do when defiled crucifixes posing as art are displayed in museums. I suppose this means I have to burn down a Swedish embassy, though.

Burmese Tigers

Monks are on the march, and the head thugs aren't happy about it.
Buddhist monks marched in protest in Burma yesterday in the biggest show of defiance for a decade against the country's repressive and tenacious dictatorship.

The marches, in Rangoon, the capital, and at least four other places brought to a head a month of protest against the junta. Despite the presence of large numbers of police and civilian militiamen supporting the Government, most marches were peaceful, if tense.

However, the indreasing presence on the streets of monks after the suppression and arrest of civilian demonstrators last month, will add greatly to the discomfort of one of the world's longest-surviving military governments.
I can see how large numbers of men in robes who know martial arts can do that.

Old Tendencies Die Hard

While Bush wants to spread democracy in the Middle East, it's not happening elsewhere.
Democracy and good governmance are on the retreat in a number of countries around the world, a wide-ranging report says on tuesday.

The report, compiled by Freedom House, a US government-supported campaigning organisation, concludes that human rights and governance have worsened in Russia and Iran, arguing that corruption in Iran has intensified in spite of the campaign promises of President Mahomoud Amhadi-Nejad.

It also indicates that states around the world are attempting to follow the model of China and Russia by seeking to modernise parts of their economy while keeping a central grip on power.
Well, maybe they're just following the Bush mantra: do as we do, not as we say.

Won't You Stay

This is not going to make the Michael Moores of the world happy: most Europeans actually want us to stay in Iraq.
While the American public and policy debate revolves largely around exit strategies and "redeployment," there is apparent consensus among European policy analysts that American troops should remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future. In contrast to both European media opinion and the prevailing views of American liberals, our respondents supprted sustained troop levels. Many consider the announcement of a timetable for withdrawal to be counter-productive and even outright dangerous, saying that lack of American involvement would drive Iraq further into chaos.
I think the main reason for this is that they're afraid of being asked to have to pick up the slack for us when we leave, but it could also be because Europe has shifted more to the right in spite of intense media propaganda. They may hate us, but they still need us.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dream Bunker

"Welcome home, Professor Falcon. Shall we play a game?"
Looking for a new home with a bit more space as well as a 1950s Cold War ambiance?

A US intercontinental ballistic missle base, equipped with a vast underground network of tunnels and rooms but no atomic warheads, is for sale in a remote corner of the United States.

The warheads and missiles went when the US government abandoned the Titan bases in the 1970s.

Located near remote Moses Lake in the northwest state of Washington, the former Larsen military base includes 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet) of "usable" space on 23 hectares (56 acres) of land, and the owner is only asking for 1.5 million dollars-which might buy a small home in Hollywood.
With Russia apparently intent on resuming the Cold War, this just might be the way to live in both comfort and safety. Add a new missile or two and you could also help defend your country.

Your Plan Is My Plan

Nannystaters should be happy: Romney and Hillary are singing the same tune.
RomneyHillaryCare is a giveaway to the insurance industry (which doesn't want to insure sick people, just healthy people) and big business (which wants to be out of the health care industry). It takes the costs of healthcare and passing them directly to the person who decides if they should have the operation to extend their own lives or standard of living or not. Everybody under Rillary care will be forced to buy into plans with huge deductibles. At that point it will all be out of pocket for them and they'll be forced to stop buying healthcare.

(snip)

PS--the same person wrote Hillary2Care as wrote Romneycare (implemented in Massachusetts under Governor Mitt Romney's administration), and the two plans are virtually identical. Which makes Mitt Romney's criticism of Hillary's plan *especially* hilarious. This is on par with Gay Old Pervert Republican politicians making speeches about the "evil Gay lifestyle".
Edwards wants to be America's doctor. HillaryRomney want to be America's HMO. Either way, it's a bad prescription.

Stumblin' In

A look at why Creationist fundamentalism is actually detrimental to Christianity's message.
The reason why I engage in these discussions is very simple: I want to remove the stumbling block to the Gospel message that is being created by a dogmatic presentation of Creationism. Not the belief in a young earth and creation without evolution per se, but the "either/or" teaching that comes with it. I am not here to argue for an old earth or evolution, necessarily, but against the false dichotomy that so often comes with Creationism. More and more people are being taught that an old earth/evolution and Christianity are wholly inconsistent and that if you believe one, you can not really believe the other. Such a blanket statement puts two very distinct groups in crisis and I am convinced that souls are being lost to the Kingdom as a result. This may sound a bit over-dramatic, but I have seen too many people distracted from the Gospel message by this issue. Here are the two groups I think are in danger:

First, there are Christians, especially young people, who have been raised in a dogmatic Creationist households or attend such a church, and have been taught that evolution, or even an old earth, are evil and absolutely contrary to Scripture. That if you believe Scripture, you can not also believe in these "lies". They are taught that those who do believe both are deluded or compromising Christians, probably not even worthy of the name of Christian. They are taught these as absolute truths, rather than one interpretation among the many that sincere Christians hold. These young people are ingrained with this teaching and accept it fully. Then they come into contact with the scientific evidence and begin to suspect that evolution or an old earth might actually be supported by the evidence. This creates a severe crisis of faith. They have been taught that if evolution or an old earth were true, then the atheists are right and the Bible can not be trusted and God did not create everything after all. I have seen this crisis in action. I have discussed this matter with those who either had abandoned Christianity or were about to because of this dogmatic teaching, and did my best to explain to them that the conflict was not inherent and that they could, indeed, believe in both. Most did not even know that there were Christians who accepted evolution, which shows how sheltered their lives had been.
And therin lies the fallacy of the creationist dogma. They have become so narrow in their teachings they've fostered a generation of know-nothings who don't know what to think. If I were a more religious person, I might tell them that ignorance and division is what the Devil wants, and that by causing these kids to lose faith when they're old enough to go out into the real world and think for themselves, maybe they're doing the Devil's work instead of God's. Think about it, Creationists.

Dinnerjacket On Tour

So Ima Dinnerjacket came to town. If he was expecting hugs and kisses, he didn't get them.
Ahmadinejad smiled at first but appeared increasingly agitated, decrying the "insults" and "unfriendly treatment." Columbia President Lee Bollinger and audience members took him to task over Iran's human-rights record and foreign policy, as well as Ahmadinejad's statements denying the Holocaust and calling for the disappearance of Israel.

"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause.

He said Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocause might fool the illiterate and ignorant.

"When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."
While Bollinger was right, I have to wonder how serious is the attitude of someone from a university that would allow Dinnerjacket to speak in the firt place, but won't let the ROTC on campus.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

George W. Who?

When it comes to 2008, Bush is the proverbial invisible man, and the top tier prefers it that way.
Competing to succeed him, top GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and John McCain barely utter Bush's name. They essentially ignore the lame-duck president, or give him only passing credit, as they rail against the status quo and promise to fix problems he hasn't solved.

"We all know Americans want change," said McCain, an Arizona senator, explaining the aversion to aligning with Bush. "I give him credit for a number of things but I think the fact is Americans are turning the page, including our Republican primary voters."

The candidates are walking a fine line. They are trying to tap into the deep discontent those voters feel about the state of the country without alienating any who hold Bush in high regard. At the same time, they have to counter the Democrats' powerful arguments for a new direction.
The post-Bush era will be an opportunity for the GOP to redefine itself and get back to basics. Whether they have the wisdom or will to do that remains to be seen, however.

Pimpin' Propaganda

The Old Gray Lady is not only a whore, she's a cheap one at that.
Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad concemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.

The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as "General Betray Us" and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress.

But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad, it should not have been guaranteed to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus warned Congress against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Times personnel said.

"We made a mistake," Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications for The Times, told the newspaper's public editor.
If you're going to charge for it, at least make everybody pay the same rate.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Their Cross To Bear

You almost have to feel sorry for them.
Organized by a scarcely-known Tampa-area Christain group and ending Saturday, the summit sounded a back-to-basics theme: that evangelicals are called to be active citizens to combat threats from the left; that the work must involve not just national advocacy groups but local people and pastors; and the fight requires patience and persistance.

That last sentiment is a reminder of the challenges facing the Christian right.

Activists lost key allies in Congress when the Democrats retook Congress in 2006, movement pioneers Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy died this year, and there's apathy over the current crop of GOP presidential candidates.

Even this weekend's summit had its disappointments. Organizers had hoped up to 350 people would attend, laying the groundwork for a new Florida activist network.

But only 104, nearly all of them from Florida, had registered by Friday. A workshop on the basics of grass roots activism drew a handful of people-and one of them was a spy, an activist for Americans United for Separation of Church and State researching the opposition.

"There will be peaks and valleys, but I don't know if people understand the depth and breadth of our movement," said Gary Cass, former executive director at Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, which closed after the South Florida preacher fell ill.
In their zeal to "Reclaim America," it seems that some people became guilty of the same sins they accused their opponents of-arrogance and pride.

Teacher, Teacher

Along with being America's doctor, John Edwards wants to be its principal, too.
Former Sen. John Edwards yesterday outlined to Iowa voters his education initiative to help youngsters prepare for school, to recruit and retain quality teachers and to improve the nation's schools.

Without talking about a way to pay for his plan, the North Carolina Democrat promised to offer all 4-year-olds access to pre-kindergarten, reduce class sizes and "radically overhaul" President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act by pushing "open-ended essay" tests instead of standardized testing.

Referring to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy, he said he would create a "West Point" for teachers to recruit and train qualified people, with a focus on math and science.

"Teacher quality is lowest in the poorest schools, where good teachers are needed the most," he said, proposing to reward successful teachers from high-poverty schools with raises up to $15,000 a year.

Mr. Edwards, a self-made millionaire son of a mill worker, said a quality education allowed him to achieve success.
Yes, kids, just think of it. You can grow up to become President-or a lawyer with his "I was born a poor black child" shtick who became one of America's most well-known ambulance chasers.

Spaceballs

Darn that universe, always interfering with Allah's will.
Two Malaysian candidates, a doctor and an army dentist who are both Muslims, are undergoing training in Russia with the winner expected to be announced on Friday, ahead of the 11-day space mission which starts on October 10.

Other Muslims have ventured into space, but none during the fasting month of Ramadan which began last week, and Malaysia's Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) is hopeful the astronaut will choose to fast during his voyage.

"Conditions at the International Space Station which are so different from those on earth are not a hindrance for the astronaut to fulfil his obligations as a Muslim," it said in a 20-page booklet.

"In difficult conditions, Islam has conveniences to ensure that religious worship can still be performed."
You'd think that a guy they call The Prophet would have forseen space travel and taken it into account.

The King And Queen

How much trouble is the GOP in next year? Even Bush thinks Hillary is next.
Karl Rove may not think much of Hillary Rodham Clinton's chances of winning the White House, but it sounds like President Bush is less sanguine. At an off-the-record lunch a week ago, Bush expressed admiration for her tenacity in the campaign. And he left some in the room with the impression that he thinks she will win the election and has been thinking about how to turn the country over to her.

The topic came up when Bush invited a group of morning and evening news anchors and Sunday show hosts to join him in the executive mansion's family dining room a few hours before he delivered his nationally televised address on Iraq last week. Bush made no explicit election predictions, according to some in the room, but clearly thought Clinton would win the Democratic nomination and talked in a way that seemed to suggest he expects her to succeed him-and will continue his Iraq policy if she does.
That sound you hear is multiple Bushbot heads exploding.

The Bridge Goes Bust

Meet the anti-Ted Stevens.
JUNEAU-The state of Alaska on Friday officially abandoned the controversial "bridge to nowhere" project in Ketchikan that became a symbol of federal pork-barrel spending.

The $3989 million bridge would have connected Ketchikan to its airport on a nearby island.

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," Gov Sarah Palin said in a prepared statement.
Sorry, Ted. Maybe you can build one with your Intertubes.

F Bomb Op-Ed

It was a stupid thing to do, but it's still free speech.
The Colorado State University student newspaper is under fire after publishing a two-word editorial statement about President Bush.

The Rocky Mountain Collegian published the editorial on its Sept 21 opinion page, saying "Taser this...(explecitive) Bush."

University officials released a statement explaining their concern for response to the editorial , and that it has no control over its student media.

"While we understand (the editorial) is upsetting and offensive to many people, CSU is prohibited by law from censoring or regulating the content of its student media publications," CSU said in a written statement.
Since the whole point was about how far you can take free speech-seriously, how many people, both liberal and conservative, have thought the same thing recently-I say let the students hang themselves with their own stupidity. It'll be a learning experience on how not to behave in the real world.

High Now, Brown Cow?

Will we be seeing raids on pastures next?
Lately, a fairly common occurence is the discovery that marijuana may be effective in the treatment of yet another illness. Recently, scientists at National Centre for Scientific Research in Valbonne, France found that an element in marijuana could prevent the development of prion diseases. The most famous of this class of malady is bovine spongiforme enzephalopathy commonly known as mad cow disease, which when transmitted to humans is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
So the Evil Weed could help save lives? Doesn't matter, it's still the government's duty to tell you to just say no for your own good.

Romneycop Short Circuits

I think Mitt is getting desperate.
Romney hit some of the themes he needs to-he spoke on being a "Change Republican" and emphasized family values in particular. He also pointed out his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which, with Thompson's rejection of it, makes him unique among the major Republican candidates.

But then he says he's going to move "In God We Trust" to the front of the new dollar coins instead of the side. Hmmm. I guess I'm all for it, but the crowd took a few seconds to applaud, and I think most people were as confused as I was. Is that a new campaign promise?

Plus, I haven't seen his delivery this bad in quite a while. (I have seen it this bad before.) He was very slow winding up, and the speech has a lot of really, really lame applause lines. I couldn't take much more after this one:

"I'll make sure that our future is defined not by the letters ACLU, but by the letters USA."
It doesn't get much worse than this. Maybe Mitt should stop pandering and just be himself like he was at the beginning of his campaign. You know, sort of like how Rudy, Thompson and McCain are doing now.

"They Want A Beaum?"

Are we sure this guy wasn't accidentally switched with an American at birth? He sure doesn't sound French.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has directly accused Iran of seeking a nuclear bomb and urged "stronger sanctions" against Teheran.

It was the latest sign that Mr Sarkozy is positioning France as America's key European ally in tackling Teheran's nuclear ambitions.

Mr Sarkozy said France did not want a war, but flatly declared in a television interview that "Iran is trying to obtain an atomic bomb."

He added: "That is unacceptable and I tell the French people it is unacceptable."
I must be living in a parallel universe if a French leader doesn't want to surrender.

Fessing Up

It's not your father's confessional.
Thousands of people are attending confession at weekends and just as many are posting their reprentance on videos that are played back to congregations or shared on websites such as YouTube.

New technology is fuelling the boom, but so is clever marketing by Churches that are portraying confession as a form of self-imporvement-always popular with Americans-rather than some sort of punishment.

Church leaders attribute the boom to the fashion for self-analysis peddled by daytime television programmes such as The Jerry Springer Show and to a wider theological trend in which Christians are looking for firmer moral guidance.

Some Protestant churches are trying to make confession less forbidding, allowing people to shred their sins in paper shredders, for example.

In a shopping mall in Colorado Springs, three Catholic priests are available to hear confessions six days a week in a small office equipped with a box of tissues and the Ten Commandments.

The priests say they hear 8,000 confessions a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
We've gone from the age of pop psychology to the age of pop religion. One man's group therapy is another man's mass, I suppose.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stupidity For Stupidity's Sake

Here's more proof that a college education and common sense don't necessarily go together.
BOTSON (AP)-Troopers arrested an MIT student at gunpoint Friday after she walked into Logan International Airport wearing a computer circuit board and wiring on her sweatshirt. Authorities call it a fake bomb, she called it art.

Star Thompson's attorney said the charges against her were an overreaction, but authorities expressed amazement that someone would wear such a device eight months after a simpiar scare in Boston, and six years after two of the jets hijacked in the Sept. 11 attacks took off from Logan.

"I'm shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to an airport," said State Police Maj. Scott Pare, the airport's commanding officer.
Maybe I'm not up on what's considered art these days. I guess a lack of brain cells helps define it.

Still Hanging In There

Fidel is still among the living, sort of.
HAVANA (AP)-Fidel Castro looked alert and healthier in a video taped Friday, the first images released of the ailing 81-year-old leader in more than three months. In the images aired unexpectedly on state television Friday evening, Castro wore a red, blue and white jumpsuit with "F. Castro" in small block letters. The Cuban leader spoke slowly and softly and didn't always look the interviewer in the eye, but appeared to be thinking clearly.

Officials broke into regularly scheduled programming only minutes earlier to announce that an hour-long "conversation" with Fidel Castro would be shown.

Castro mentioned the price of oil and the value of the Euro against the dollar, evidence that the video was recorded Friday, as Cuban officials said. At time, it was hard to follow his train of thought as he spoke about a wandering essay he published in state media Wednesday.
Well, it sounds like time has caught up with Fidel-he's as old and creaky as his Revolution.

In The Eyes Of A Ranger

Bush's Rangers are abandoning the G.O.P.'s sinking ship.
Dozens of corporate executives who backed President George W. Bush for re-election in 2004, including some of his top fund-raisers, are now helping Democrats running for president.

John Mack, chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., and Terry Semel, chairman of Yahoo! Inc., are among some 60 executives writing checks to Democrats such as Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, a review of U.S. Federal Election Commission records shows.

While the vast majority of business leaders still back Republicans for 2008, the stature of some of those donating to Democrats suggests that support may be ereoding, seven years into the Bush presidency. Some executives expressed concern over Republican positions on issues ranging from the war in Iraq and stem-cell research to global warming and the fiscal deficit.
In other words, intelligent businessmen know a dead-end proposition when they see one.

These Boots Are Made For Perp Walkin'

The boot is on the other foot.
GUANAJUATO, Mexico (AP)-A bootmaker to workd leaders, including President Bush and Vincente Fox, is in a Colorado jail, charged with money laundering and conspiring to illegally smuggle the skins of protected animals into the United States to provide exotic footwear for high-end clinets.

The arrest of Martin Villegas-and Mexico's raid of a warehouse filled with hundreds of cowboy boots and belts made from endangered species-has raised questions about how much Fox knew of the scheme and whether the former Mexican president purchased illegal boots for himself.
Talk about your classic heels...being a "World leader" means never having to follow the same rules as everybody else.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Undecided Man

Well, he just doesn't know.
WASHINGTON, 19 (UPI)-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he doesn't know if the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the right thing to do, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Citing an interview Gates had with New York Times columnist David Brooks, ABC says the defense secretary was aksed whether the invasion was worth doing-and responded by rephrasing the question.

"If I'd know then what I know now, would I have done the same? I think the answer is, 'I don't know,'" Gates said.

The remark stands in contrast to repeated assertions by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration figures and supporters, who maintain the invasion was the right course of action.
Bearing in mind that I also think invading Iraq was the right thing to do, if I'd known then what I know now, I'd have asked myself a lot of hard questions about the cost if I'd been Secretary of Defense. But Rumsfeld was, not me-and asking tough questions wasn't his style.

Purple Haze

There's more gay-looking money on the way.
WASHINGTON (AP)-Honest Abe will become Colorful Abe with splashes of purple and gray livening up the $5 bill.

The government showed off the new bill Thursday in an Internet news conference-a high-tech unveiling that officials say is entirely appropriate for a 21st century redesign of the bill featuring the Civil War president, Abraham Lincoln.

The changes are similar to those already made, starting in 2003, to the $10, $20 and $50 bills. In those redesigns, pastel colors were added as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters and their ever-more sophisticated copying machines.
Yes, but what if the counterfeiters themselves are gay? They'll know exactly how much color and tint to use.

Just Like A Woman

Oh, those whacky Brits.
It's time to come clean. For the past week, steered by a small bunch of female friends, I experienced the thoughts, anxieties and simple daily tasks of a 21st-century woman. For one week, I lived as I imagined a woman might.

I worried about cellulite, obsessed about finding the right partner and thought constantly about my biological clock. In my mission, I journeyed into the darker side of the female psyche.

"Someone said to me, 'You wouldn't underestand-you're a man,'" I tell Pete. "But I'm on a quest. A quest to find out how it feels to be on the other side of the gender divide."
I swear, sometimes the country is like a real-life Monty Python sketch.

Better Dead Than Fred

I'm sure this has Fred Thompson shaking in his boots.
DENVER (AP)--James Dobson, one of the nation's most politically influential evangelical Christians, made it clear in a message to friends this week he will not support Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson.

In a private e-mail obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Dobson accuses the former Tennessee senator and actor of being weak on the campaign trail and wrong on issues dear to social conservatives.

"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail>" Dobson wrote.

"He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to.' And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"
Isn't James Dobson one of those unappeasable types who, if allowed to influence the nominating process, could doom the Republicans' chances of winning the White House in '08? And yet he is apparently the Great Dope that causes heartburn in the breasts of many conservatives? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sumner Days

The strange case of Lawrence Sumners has become a prime example of campus censorship, and even other liberals are apalled at what transpired.
This is what higher education comes down to here in 2007: if a self-appointed cabal of elitists whose leftist views differ with others, they spring into action to deny people the right to speak.

The petitioners are still angry at some admittedly wrong-headed words that Sumners said back in 2005. Back then he wondered aloud about the reasons that fewer women excel in the sciences.

Some, including the late UCSC Chancellor Denice Denton, challenged his words-a reasonable and even praiseworthy reaction. But others now don't think that Sumners has the right to even speak before the regents at a dinner.

Even some of those who oppsed Sumners at Harvard are aghast at the UC reaction. According to the Harvard Crimson newspaper, professor Judith Ryan-a critic of Sumners-said the authors of the petition "have fallen prey to a simplification that became widespread in media reports...[W]e should be able to listen to views with which we don't agree, and to debate them in a civil way."

As we non-academics say: "Duh."
All I can say at this point is, for people with so much education, academics just aren't too bright a lot of the time.

Time Has Come Today

It's Hugo time!
CRACAS (Reuters)-President Hugo Chavez wants Venezuelan clocks turned back half an hour and he wants it done in record time-next Monday.

"I don't care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead, let them call me whatever they want," Chavez said on his weekly TV show. "I'm not to blame. I received a recommendation and said I liked the idea."

The shift will allow children to wake up for school in daylight instead of before sunrise, Chavez said.

That may seem reasonable to many Venezuelans but ordering the change with little notice and scant public education has raised questions over how much thought was given to the plan.

It also highlights how the anti-U.S. president's style can sometimes be eccentric, improvised and rushed in his self-styled revolution to turn one of the world's biggest oil exporters into a socialist state.
Well, he does want to turn back the clock to the dark ages; I guess this is a start.

Dewey, Chetum Andhow

No more ambulances to chase for him.
LOS ANGELES-Pioneering class-action attorney William S. Lerach agreed to plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge involving a kickback scheme, prosecutors said yesterday.

The deal came after a seven-year federal investigation into charges that Mr. Lerach's former law firm paid people to sign on as plaintiffs in more than 150 lawsuits against major corporations including AT&T, Lucent Technologies and WorldCom.

Prosecutors say the firm netted more than $200 million in fees over 20 years.

Mr. Lerach agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice and making false statements under oath, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
What goes around, comes around, heh.

We Beat The Yalies' Three

Money talks, discrimination walks.
NEW HAVEN, Conn.-Yale Law School will end its policy of not working with military recruiters following a court ruling this week that jeopardized about $300 million in federal funding, school officials said Wednesday.

Yale and other universities had objected to the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that allows gay men and women to serve in the military only if they keep their sexual orientation to themselves. Yale Law School had refused to assist military recruiters because the Pentagon wouldn't sign a nondiscrimination pledge.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Yale on Monday, rekecting its argument that its right to academic freedom was infringed by federal law that says universities must give the military the same access as other job recruiters or forfeit federal money.

"The fact is we have been forced under enormous pressure to acquiescence in a policy that we believe is deeply offensive and harmful to our students," said Robert Burt, a Yale law professor who was lead plaintiff in the case.
So, it was OK for your university to ask the Pentagon to sign a nondiscimination pledge, but not for them to ask for fair treatment in return? Gotcha.

After The Lovin' Has Gone

The Republicans are rapidly running out of issues to run on. Luckily, they can still run against sex.
...Emotions related to sexual politicization are higher than ever before. Not only have the GOP sex scandals not helped, they may have thrown fuel on the fire, and I think the fire is headed for a powder keg.

As I say, I have come to dread talking about this, because it's gotten so damned contentious. I think that the anti-sex wring of the GOP is colluding with the Democrats to make other Republicans afraid. Not merely afraid of sex, but afraid to talk about sex unless they condemn it.

My biggest fear is that this is going to hurt the Republicans. They should remember that they're running against a woman who's been around the block, and who knows how to play Republican sexual fear like a violin. Her husband cheated on her, and she forgave him. Never mind that she knew all about Bill and his philandering ways for years, and that the forgiveness act may have been completely phony; to ordinary people (you know, the kind who have occasional sexual and marital difficulties) it came across as healthy realism, and counterbalanced Bill's lies. For that alone they'd have been reelected had they been able to run again. Now they can.

The irony is that this time, the Republicans have candidates who can also be seen as real people who have had occasional marital difficulties. The left would have ordinary voters see them as "hypocrites." I hope it doesn't work. I'd hate to see things reach the point where Democratic and Republican activists reach agreement that the GOP is and should be fighting a war on sex, because it's a war the Republican Party is going to lose.
Certain people on the right want to deny that any sex happens within the Republican Party. If it does happen, the offender must be cast out for having the wrong kind (Larry Craig) or at best ignored if not forgiven (David Vitter). After all, GOP candidates must be seen as being among God's chosen few, and that can't happen if they're seen as being too much like the rest of us.

The Clueless Camera Caper

Let's see how well that crime-free paradise known as Britain is doing, shall we?
London has 10,000 crime-fighting CCTV cameras which cost 200 million, figures show today.

But an analysis of the publicly funded spy network, which is owned and controlled by local authorities and Transport for London, has cast doubt on its ability to help solve crime.

A comparision of the number of cameras in each London borough with the proportion of crimes solved there found that police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any.

In fact, four out of five of the boroughs with the most cameras have a record of solving crime that is below average.
My, my. It seems Big Brother is asleep at the switch.

The Democrats' Other Left Foot

It's a quagmire! But whose fault is it, really?
To most war opponents, the blame increasingly lies with the Democratic leadership in Congress, for not taking a hard enough line with President Bush and not fighting to cut off war funding. And their frustration is visibly bubbling over-the provocative group Code Pink, for example, has actually taken to protesting outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home in recent days.

But there's a growing feeling among many Democrats, particularly within the D.C. establishment, that just the opposite is true. They may not say it publicly, for fear of arousing the grass roots' wrath, but the realist wing of the party seems to think the Democrats' biggest problem on Iraq these days is not that there's too much Bush Lite but that there's too much Bush Left.

Under this view, too many anti-war activists, not satisfied with berating the president, have too often wound up behaving like him. They have gone beyond fighting back and holding the Decider accountable to adopting the same divisive, dogmatic and ultimately destructive style of politics that Democrats have been decrying for the past seven years, with the same counterproductive results.
This is why I think the Republicans, for all their faults, have a better shot at making a clean break from the Bush era than the Democrats do. Hillary, for example, is running partly on the nostalgia factor-in other words, evoking the happy days of the Clinton era. At least the G.O.P. has guys like Rudy and McCain who represent a party that has a chance to really move forward.

Beating The Bush Curse

While I have issues with both of these guys, they're still better than a Bush clone would be.
Mr. McCain can argue that Republican primary voters angry at Bush for mangling the war and destroying the G.O.P.'s reputation for grugality should credit him for battling Bush on these very issues. Whether it will be sufficient to repair the damage done to Mr. McCain's presidential prospects by the immigration debate and a list of complaints ranging from McCain-Feingold to the Gang of 14 remains to be seen.

Perhaps even more than Mr. McCain, Giuliani could be bouyed in the primary by the contrast between him an an administration so bereft of administrative competence. (And between him and a president so inarticulate as to have provoked please from conservatives not to deliver a nationally televised Iraq war address and trample on General Petraeus' lines.)

Mr. Giuliani runs on a platform replete with references to the importance of accountability and the notion that what can't be measured can't be managed. in many ways the anti-Bush, he doesn't drift, avoid conflict or praise incompetent subordinates. His record as mayor and, in particular, his now-famous CompStat crime reduction program are precisely the sort of approach that can assure G.O.P. voters that conservatives can once again be reformers and managers, not just ideologues.

Likewise, while Bush struggled through a prime-time address on Iraq, it was Mr. Giuliani who led the rhetorical and public relations debate against the Congressional Democrats and in favor of the "return on success" slogan. It was Mr. Giuliani who took on Hillary Clinton and MoveOn.org and dared the Democrats to take issue with either the "return" or "success" part of the message. Mr. Giuliani showed clearly that he can sell conservative policies better than either the president our his primary rivals.
That may be because Rudy isn't trying to pass someone else's litmus test on social issues. The question is, can the G.O.P. follow his lead?

Pass the Toilet Paper


Ever wonder where microphages go to the bathroom? Now you know. (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan).


Going To Cali

Even Canadian politicians know a better thing when they see one.
Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, who is battling breast cancer, travelled to California last June for an operation that was recommended as part of her treatment, says a report.

Stronach's spokesman, Greg MacEachern, told the Toronto Star that the MP for Newmarket-Aurora had a "later-stage" operation in the U.S. after a Toronto doctor referred her.

"Belinda had one of her later-stage operations in California, after referral from her personal physicians in Toronto. Prior to this, Belinda had surgery and treatment in Toronto, and continues to receive follow-up treatment there," said MacEachern.

He said speed was not the reason why she went to California.

Instead, MacEachern said the decision was made because the U.S. hospital was the best place to have it done due to the type of surgery required.
Poor Michael Moron. He loses more converts that way.

The Shyster Versus The Senator

Leave it to Je$$e to make Obama likeable.
On a statewide tour to register new voters, Jackson said South Carolina will determine "who has momentum" in the primary when it votes Jan. 29.

Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for "acting like he's white" in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles' arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

"If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena," Jackson said after an hour-long speech at Columbia's historically black Benedict College.

"Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment," said the iconic civil rights figure, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1965 Selma civil rights movement and was with King at his 1968 assassination.

Later, Jackson said he did not recall making the "acting like he's white" comment about Obama, stressing he only wanted to point out the candidates had not seized on an oppurtunity to highlight the disproportuonate criminal punishments black youths too often face.
That's because they're running for president, not looking for new phony victims to sue for, Big Daddy Rich.

Rather Obvious

Fake Memo Boy is angry.
NEW YORK (AP)-Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit Wednesday against CBS, alleging that the network made him a "scapegoat" for a discredited story about President Bush's National Guard service.

The 75-year-old Rather, whose final months were clouded by controversy over the report, says the complaint stems from "CBS' intentional mishandling" of the aftermath of the story.

The lawsuit, filed in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan, also names CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom, Inc., Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward. (At the time Viacom Inc. owned CBS. But Viacom and CBS Corp. split into two different companies in January 2006.)

Rather, the former anchorman of the 'CBS Evening News," is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
I wonder if Kinko's will be a witness for the plaintiff.

Snake 1, Moron 0

You know, it may be fun to watch the Wild Boyz, just don't imitate them.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)-Snake collector Matt Wilkinson of Portland grabbed a 20-inch rattler from the highway near Maupin, and three weeks later, to impress his ex-girlfriend, he stuck the serpent in his mouth.

He was soon near death with a swollen tongue that blocked his throat. Trauma doctors at the Oregon Health and Science University saved his life.

"You can assume alchohol was involved," he said. Actually, not just beer. It was something he called a "mixture of stupid stuff."
He was lucky. But there's still plenty of Darwin Awards to go around.

Turn Out The Lights

Well, it's not like he never worked in the dark before.
Some 300 people gathered on Tuesday night at the Brentwood home of CAA's David O'Connor and his wife, Lona Williams, anxious to see the guest of honor, Bill Clinton.

Then the power went out-in the entire neighborhood-putting this Hillary Clinton fund-raiser into near total darkness.

The only light came from candles and some battery operated lanterns, which were shined on Clinton when he spoke in the backyard pool area. That helped, but it was still hard to see guests. And with no electricity, and therefore no microphone, it wasn't always easy to hear, according to a guest.

"There are a lot of great things about the modern world," Clinton said, according to the guest. "Predictable electricity may not be one of them."
Several guests, many of them women, trapped in a dark room with Bill. It's enough to give one nightmares.

V For V You

You've gotta love the Italians.
It's commonly acknowledged that politicians are a cunning breed. They speak only half-truths, they pass the buck and they retire to lucrative board positions with defence companies or private equity firms. They push their public to breaking point. The British only shrug, exasperated but resigned to their power-playing games.

The Italians, however, are not reserved people. Instead, more than 330,000 of them queued for hours in the hot sun recently to tell their politicians: vaffanculo! (roughly the equivalent of "f*** you").

Led by Beppe Grillo, a chubby, bearded comic who is Italy's version of Michael Moore, the masses rallied to protest against corruption and back-slapping. The protest even reached London, with a group of expats forming a V in Piccadilly Circus.

Grillo organised the whole thing through his blog, which is now, improbably, in the world's top 10 most-read list. The success of V-day, as it was quickly dubbed, has resulted in a third of Italians supporting Grillo for prime minister, according to a poll by Sky News.
Laughter is the death knell for any politician who takes themselves too seriously. Kudos to the Italians for literally telling their politicians what to go do with themselves.

Nyet, Mon Ami

What happens when France finally gets a leader with some cajones? Former allies aren't happy.
Russia and China have ctiticised France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner for talking of "war" with Teheran.

After meeting his French counterpart in Moscow, Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, gave warning of the possible consequences of any military strike designed to disable Iran's nuclear programme.

"We are convinced that no modern problem has a military solution, and that applies to the Iranian nuclear programme as well," said Mr Lavrov.

"We are seriously concerned about increasingly frequent reports that military action against Iran is being seriously considered."
Well, I am seriously concerned that Mr. Sarkozy doesn't give a rat's behind what Uncle Pootie thinks.

1st And Ten

Oh, he's going down.
LAS VEGAS-A man described as a key suspect has become the fourth person arrested in the case accusing O.J. Simpson of 10 felonies in the armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in a casino hotel room.

The man was arrested Tuesday after turning himself in to Las Vegas police, authorities said. Police have described Michael McClinton, 49, of Las Vegas, as "a key player."

McClinton arranged through his attorney to surrender. Two other men who have not been identified also are being sought by police.
Poor O.J. You just can't get good accomplices these days.

Witless For The Prosecution

It just goes to show that pedophiles come in all professions.
DETROIT-A U.S. prosecutor was arrested in an Internet sting operation after flying from Florida to Michigan allegedly to have sex with a 5-year-old girl, officials said.

John David Roy Atchison, 53, appeared Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit on a charge of interstate travel to have sex with a minor. He is an assistant U.S. attorney in northern Florida.

The arrest followed several weeks of Internet conversations between the prosecutor and a detective posing as the mother of a 5-year-old girl, authorities say.
A pedo and a prosecutor. Oh yeah, he's gonna be really popular in the slammer.

"You've Got No Arms"

The Black Knight's revenge.
SNELLVILLE, Ga.-Police are investigating the death of a man who collapsed after being headbutted by an armless man in a fight over a woman.

Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead said the two men, Charles Keith Teer and William Russell Redfern, scuffled Monday afternoon in the driveway of a suburban Atlanta home.

Witnessess told authorities that Redfern, who has no arms, kicked Teer, and Teer struck Redfern, Whitehead said.

After bystanders separated them, Redfern "came back and headbutted [Teer] one time," Whitehouse said.

Teer complained of feeling dizzy, collapsed, and died, Whitehead said.
Well, I hope no one-legged guy ever challenges Redfern to a fight...

Doormat For Sale, Cheap

But who would want it?
BRUSSELS, Belgium-The keys of the kingdom were posted on eBay.

Fed up with a three-month political standoff, a Belgian teacher posted an ad on the online auction site: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts...free premium; the king and his court (costs not included)."

Gerrit Six placed the advertisement on Saturday, offering free delivery, but pointing out that the country was coming secondhand and that potential buyers would have to take on more than $300 billion in national debt.

"I wanted to attract attention," Six said. "You almost have to throw a rock through a window to get attention for Belgium."
Why can't we do something like this with our own unwanted properties? You know, like California, the United Nations building, Capital Hill...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It Came Out Of The Sky

I can see it now: Zombies.
Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crach to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday.

Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.

Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a "strange odor," local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP.

Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.
Lock and load, people. Remember to aim for their heads!

Secret VP Man

I tell you what, one thing I won't miss about Team Bush is this nonsense.
Stealth is among Cheney's most effective tools. Man-size Mosler safes, used elsewhere in government for classified secrets, store the workaday business of the office of the vice president. Even talking points for reporters are sometimes stamped "Treated As: Top Secret/SCI." Experts in and out of government said Cheney's office appears to have invented that designation, which alludes to "sensitive compartmented information," the most closely guarded category of government secrets. By adding the words "treated as," they said, Cheney seeks to protect unclassified work as though its disclosure would cause "exceptionally grave damage to national security."

Across the board, the vice president's office goes to unusual lengths to avoid tramsparency. Cheney declines to disclose the names or even the size of his staff, generally releases no public calendar and ordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs. His general counsel has asserted that "the vice presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive brance nor a part of the legislative branch," and is therefore exempt from rules governing either. Cheney is refusing to observe an executive order on the handling of national security secrets, and he proposed to abolish a federal office that insisted on auditing his compliance.

In the usual business of interagency consiltation, proposals and information flow into the vice president's office from around the government, but high-ranking White House officials said in interviews that almost nothing flows out. Close aides to Cheney describe a simlar one-wy valve inside the office, with information flowing up to the vice president but little or no reaction flowing down.
This is what happens when you give the guy who used to run the C.I.A. one of the most boring jobs in the world.

Rent-A-Moonbat

By now you've probably seen this.
Videos of the Monday night incident, posted on several Web sites and played repeatedly on television news, show University of Florida police officers pullint Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

University spokesman Steve Orlando said Meyer was asked to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up. Meyer can be seen refusing to walk away and getting upset that the microphone was cut off.

As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question."

Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and then tries to break away from officers with his arms flailing at them, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.

As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student's "very important question," Meyer yells at the officers to release him, crying out, "Don't Tase me, bro," just before he is shocked by the Taser. He is then led from the room, screaming, "What did I do?"
Well, for one thing, you made Kerry look like a legitimate political figure, you jackass.

Wake Up Dead

The good news is: You're still alive. The bad news: Hugo Chavez is still running your country.
CARACAS (Reuters)-A Venezuelan man who had been declared dead woke up in the morgue in excruciating pain after medical examiners began their autopsy.

Carlos Camejo, 33, was declared dead after a highway accident and taken to the morgue, where examiners began an autopsy only to realize something was amiss when he started bleeding. They quickly sought to stitch up the incision on his face.

"I woke up because the pain was unbearable," Camejo said, according to a report on Friday in leading local newspaper El Universal.
Shades of Alfred Hitchcock. At least he didn't have to "Rise" to the occasion to prove he was still among the living.

Dear Leader Knows Nothing

Mini-Me swears he and Syria are just good friends.
North Korea has denied allegations that it may be helping Syria develop a nuclear weapons facility.

The foreign ministry in Pyongyang called the claims an "unskilful conspiracy" and "groundless."

There were allegations last week that Syria was holding technology or materials relating to North Korea's nuclear programme.

This follows reports that Israeli jets entered Syrian air space earlier this month and hit an unknown target.

"Recently some US media including the New York Times have been spreading allegations that we are secretly helping Syria with its nuclear programme. Such reports are groundless and misleading," a ministry spokesman said.
In response, Syria claimed that Israel was trying to break its balls, while Israel said they already had.

Almighty Euro

Is the greenback headed for extinction on the world stage?
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)-Former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greemspan said it is possible that the euro could replace the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of choice.

According to an advance copy of an interview to be published in Thursday's edition of the German magazine Stern, Greenspan said that the dollar is still slightly ahead in its use as a reserve currency, but added that "it doesn't have all that much of an advantage" anymore.

The euro has been soaring against the U.S. currency in recent weeks, hitting an all-time high of $1.3927 last week as the dollar has fallen on turblent market conditions stemming from the ongoing U.S. subprime crisis. The Fed meets this week and is expected to lower its benchmark interest rate from the current 5.25 percent.
Social engineering of the housing market=economic upheavel=less people being able to buy homes. The law of unintended consequences at work.

Paranoia Strikes Deep

The "Good Old Days" are back-with a vengeance.
WASHINGTON-China and Russia are spying on the United States nearly as much as they did during the Cold War, according to the top U.S. intelligence official.

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, says in testimony prepared for a Tuesday congressional hearing that a law passed last month expanding the U.S. government's eavesdropping power is needed to protect not just against terrorists but also against more traditional potential adversaries, such as those two Cold War foes.

"China and Russia's foreign intelligence services are among the most aggressive in collecting against sensitive and protected U.S. systems, facilities and development projects, and their efforts are approaching Cold War levels," McConnell says in his testimony. "Foreign intelligence information concerning the plans, activities and intentions of foreign powers and their agents is critical to protect the nation and preserve our security."
That's all well and good, but I'm still not convinced giving this Administration-or future presidents, for that matter-so much authority is the answer. We should be able to keep tabs on the bad guys without sacrificing what we're supposedly protecting.

If You Tap In It, They Will Come

I wonder if visitors can get autographed photos of Larry Craig's scuffmarks?
BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhuanet)-Tourists are flocking to see the bathroom in the Minneapolis airport where U.S. Sen. Larry Craig was arrested in a sex sting, making the stall a "tourist attraction," media reported Sunday.

"It's become a tourist attraction," said Karen Evans, who staffs the information counter at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

She said some even take pictures.

Craig was arrested in the second stall from the right Aug 27 for lewd conduct during a police sting. The Idaho Republican pleaded guilty fo misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
I understand the tap-dancing lessons are free.

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Brainwash

It takes a village idiot to raise future revolutionaries.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP)-President Hugo Chavez threatened on Monday to close or take over any private school that refuses to submit to the oversight of his socialist government as it develops a new curriculum and textbooks.

"Society cannot allow the private sector to do whatever it wants," said Chavez, speaking on the first day of classes.

All schools, public and private, must admit state inspectors and submit to the government's new educational system, or be closed and nationalized, with the state taking responsibiluty for the education of their children, Chavez said.

A new curriculum will be ready by the end of this school year, and new textbooks are being developed to help educate "the new citizen," said Chavez's brother and education monister Adan Chavez, who joined him in a televised ceremony at the opening of a public school in the eastern town of El Tigre.
I'm sure Michael Moore, Sean Penn and Harry Belefonte will be the first to praise the new school system as a model for the U.S. to follow. Because you can never have too much ideology in the classroom, right, guys?

One Nation, Under Hillary

It's Hillarycare or Bust!
Speaking yesterday in Iowa, she said: "I believe everyone-every man, woman and child-should have quality, affordable healthcare in America. I intend to be the President that accomplishes that goal for our country."

Although the US spends more on healthcare than other Western countries, 47 million Americans-one sixth of the population-are not covered by private insurance schemes or government-funded schemes.

Mrs. Clinton's plan, which would cost about $110 billion (55 billion) a year, is similar to those proposed by Democratic rivals John Edwards and Barack Obama which build on existing private health schemes.

She would insist that everyone is covered, in the same way that "drivers in most states are required to have car insurance."
Um, sorry, Mrs. Clinton, but switching to Hillarycare wouldn't quite be the same as switching to Geico. For one thing, I wouldn't save a lot more on my taxes.

Missile Maniacs

Keep talking like this, guys. We'll see how many rockets you'll actually be able to get off the ground.
Iran threatened to fire long-range missiles at American targets in the Middle East yesterday as the war of words between Teheran and the West continued to escalate.

A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard, the largest component of the Islamic republic's armed forces, chose this moment to outline the capability of his country's ballistic missiles.

The Shahab-3 rocket has a range of 1,250 miles, allowing it to strike an array of Western targets across the Middle East.

"Today the Americans are around our country but this does not mean that they are encircling us. They are encircled themselves and are within our range," said Gen Mohammed Hassan Koussechi.
Oh yes, sir, General, you've got 'em right where they want you.