DonkFest 2004: Final Day

At this point, highlighting the last day of the convention is almost a joke. I have been watching these events yearly, both the D and the R, since I was a kid, and I must say that this was one of the most creative spectacles of fiction put before my eyes…probably ever. I don’t think the sweet introductions by his kids are worthy of note, I mean, what do you expect them to say? “Oh, yeah my Dad is a complete dick. He beat us, he sexually assaulted our hamster, don’t vote for him.” And I think enough has been written about his introductory film to last me a lifetime. There is something fundamentally sick about all of this re-enactment business, especially given his behavior upon returning from his long 4 month tour.

I was mildly amused, however, by the prescience of the choice of Max Cleland to provide John Kerry’s introduction. According to most reports, Mr. Cleland has been almost suicidal since losing his seat to Saxby Chambliss 2 years ago. So, the donks have yet again set the poor old man up for a fall, by wheeling him out to remind the party faithful that if you’re wrong on the issues, it doesn’t matter how heroic your war record is, you’re still going to get spanked.

So, where to start with Mr. Kerry’s speech? “I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty!” Yeah, that’s as good a place as any. After that, the speech was a series of defenses followed by whining. Given that in a past life--at some point before he went on the public dole--he was a lawyer, I am surprised that his defenses were so weak. He should be smart enough to know that his only true defense is the truth, and yet he couldn’t seem to tell it. So, what was John Kerry defending and about what was he whining?

Let’s first start with the defenses. He defended his humble family beginnings and his claim to family values. He defended his claim to patriotism. He then defended being a whiny-assed baby boomer…because he changed the world! Yes, but to members of the resulting generation who had to clean up that mess, we don’t consider that a positive thing. He defended being a partisan, and then defended not being a partisan . Note to libs: bipartisanship is not convincing John McCain to support your cause. He defended the fact that his wife’s company outsources 80-some-odd percent of its jobs; and then defended why globalization of jobs is bad, as long as Honda, Sony, Nissan, and Mercedes Benz among others remain here in America. He defended the proposition that unskilled, uneducated workers deserve to make the same money as their disciplined, skilled and educated counterparts. He then defended his pick of a know-nothing VP candidate and his whacky wife. He defended his Vietnam service, without mention of his subsequent betrayal of his fellow servicemen. He defended all those other screaming losers who threw themselves upon the public during the hunt for the nomination. He defended that he wasn’t just pretending to love the flag. My personal favorite, was when he defended his flip-flopping. He oddly defended his Iraq and foreign policy views. I am thinking that comes from being caught declaring that our military should be subservient to the UN. And finally he defended his patriotism again, his values again, and his belief in God.

Then came the whining. Life isn’t fair. Why can’t we continue to throw more money at worthless social programs that are proven ineffective? Perhaps we should ask why being seen to be doing something is actually more important than actually doing something. Why did the lady who invested her entire fortune in Global Crossing get hosed while its long string of executives made a fortune? Perhaps we should ask Terry McAuliffe. Why did the high school drop out lose his $40/hour job to some guy in Indonesia who’ll do it for $40/week? Perhaps we could ask the unions. Why won’t you stupid American public let us liberals socialize medicine? Perhaps we could ask Hillary Clinton.

Aside from the defenses and the whining, he did squeeze in time to call President Bush a liar, Vice President Cheney a back-room schemer (a la Hillary’s health care task force, maybe?), Secretary Rumsfeld a betrayer of the military and Attorney General Ashcroft a criminal. He then blubbered some crap about how Republicans should not be so angry (like Howard Dean?) and how he and President Bush should respect one another…after you, John.

Oh oh…give me a minute. I can think of 2 honest things he did say. The first one is that if he’s elected that he will begin dismantling our nuclear weapons systems. The second thing he said is that he wants us to be more like Canada. Now, wasn’t the truth refreshing? So remember, a vote for John Kerry is a vote to transform America into a country of whining wussy socialists. A vote for John Kerry is a vote for those who think it’s more important for the government to pay for that 13 year-old girl to have breast implants than to defend its borders against foreign invaders. A vote for John Kerry is a vote for worthless currency and a youth population who thinks America is evil. Oh, never mind about that last one, because there won’t be any America left. Hmmm...maybe that’s why he was so optimistic there at the end.

This tired old liberal hasn't changed a bit. He was nicely repackaged for a night, but he was up early this morning hung over, unwashed, and back to normal. They just can't keep the con job up for long. I'm glad this one will be gone by November.


Fun Musical Interlude

I'd tell you what I thought of John Kerry's speech, but frankly, I'm burnt out. I paid attention for three days and hit my limit pretty hard, like bird into a window. J is the political junkie. I got bored about 15 minutes in and went to check out Fark and drink Harp. I made up my mind on John Kerry a long time ago, so listening to him try to whip up the base bores me. He's not getting my vote, so why do I care what lies he peddles to the faithful?

So the donks closed out John Kerry's blather with a new U2 song followed by an old Van Halen tune. At least they listened to the lyrics and found something that sounded appropriate. I didn't think I would hear one of the great drunken good time rock-n-roll bands of the 80s at a political convention. Did they think not enough people would remember Van Halen?

I'm constantly being surprised by musical choices in commercials and such anymore. Either ad directors think most people don't know/don't remember the lyrics, or they think they're being clever and putting one over on us. Target did a commercial recently using Devo's Beautiful World. After all, the lines "It's a beautiful world/For you/Not me" inspire me to go shopping for mass-produced consumer items. Strangely, those lines were missing from the commercial.

Another music choice that threw me was some cell phone company using the Ramones' Blitzkreig Bop to push their service. What the hell? That's right up there with the Jaguar commercial using London Calling. The original punk wanna-be revolutionaries selling expensive motorcars? Yeah, that fits. Especially now that Jag is owned by Ford. I suspect the motivation in both those cases was more a desire of the remaining band members to get a quick buck. At least they had the decency, or common sense, to wait until Joey and Joe died.

Of course, none of those quite compares to some happy, family-friendly cruise line using Iggy Pop's Lust for Life in their ads. He's cleaned up and sober these days, but back when Iggy was interesting, the cruise line people would have shit themselves had he showed up on one of their boats. Some smack junkie with a penchant for stripping naked and cutting himself up wouldn't play too well with the happy families, I'm guessing. That's okay, we can still use his music! 

I  could turn this into some weird semi-socialist rant about how our crass consumer culture eventually co-opts everything into a vehicle for consumption, but it's late and I don't really think the argument has a whole lot of validity. I just think sometimes people are ignorant of what they're using to push product. I don't necessarily think the ad people are, but I question whether or not the corporate types that sign off on the campaigns quite know what they buy into.

Well, I suppose some things won't change. I'm willing to bet money I'm not going see a national ad campaign using Slayer anytime soon. But the way things are going, I wouldn't bet too much.

Update: I was going to mention this, but forgot in all the, um, excitement. Nick Gillespie reminded me this morning. What the hell was Willie Nelson doing at the DNC? The convention he should have been playing at was over on May 31st. Good old dope-smoking tax-avoiding Willie belongs at the Libertarian convention, not at this collection of deluded statists. 

To Be A Good Liberal...

I have mentioned before that I have many liberal and/or Democrat friends, so you can imagine how many times I received an e-mail that was circulating a while back.  The thing had some pithy title called something like, “to be a Republican, you must believe…” and then there was a list of 15 or so seemingly contradictory items that are supposed to make Republicans look like idiots or hypocrites or something.  It wasn’t particularly well written or effective.

I did, however, find it odd that I hadn’t seen an equivalent for the RIGHT side of the argument.  So, I did a little research, found and received some good points, and watched the DonkFest, of course.  As a result of my studies, I have compiled a list of my own to share.  So, without further adieu, I present…

To Be A Good Democrat/Liberal/Socialist, You Must Believe…

Every religion should be respected and promoted in public schools the name of diversity, as long as that religion isn't Christianity.

Conservatives are racists, but black people couldn't make it without your help.

Standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides aren't.

A man like Al Sharpton speaks for the inner city but a man like Charlton Heston speaks only for the crazed right wing.

Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Natalie Maines are perfectly qualified to criticize our leadership, but Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton Heston, and Dennis Miller are just ignorant political hacks.

Harriet Tubman, Cesar Chavez and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, General Robert E. Lee or Thomas Edison.

Sexual harassment, groping and drug use are degenerate if you're the governor of California, but cool if you're the President of the United States.

A President who lies under oath deserves to be treated like a “rock star”, but a President who references sixteen words from the intelligence report of a trusted ally should be dragged through the streets naked.

Proven draft-dodging is irrelevant, but a baseless claim of AWOL status is crucial to national security.

It’s perfectly acceptable to enter the White House homeless and almost financially worthless, and 8 years later leave the White House a millionaire.

The commission of many felonies while in office, including lying under oath to a grand jury, doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment, but landing on an aircraft to visit with our servicemen and women does.

The stock market crash under a Democrat administration’s watch didn’t affect the economy, but the resulting modest recession under a Republican administration becomes the “worst economy since the Great Depression.”

The free market that gives us 500+ television channels can't deliver the quality that PBS does.
The same government that can't deliver the mail on time can provide health care and internet service to all Americans.

The only reason socialism hasn't worked everywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

"It Takes a Village" means everything you want it to mean...except creeping socialist government involvement in the nuclear family.

Socialized medicine is the ideal. Never mind all those people who spend every dime they have to get to the United States so they can get quality medical care...care that their nation's socialized medical community can't provide.

Drug addiction is a disease that should be treated with compassion and understanding...unless the addict is a Conservative talk show host.

Second-hand smoke is more dangerous than HIV.

The AIDS virus is really spread by a lack of funding.

There was no art or scientific research before federal funding.

Government should relax drug laws regardless of the potential for abuse, but should pass new and un-Constitutional anti-gun laws because of the potential for abuse.

Sex education should be required so that teens can make informed choices about sex, but gun education should be banned because it will turn those same teens into maniacal mass-murderers. 

"The People" in the First Amendment means the People; "the People" in the Fourth Amendment means the People; "the People" in the Ninth Amendment means the People; "the People" in the Tenth Amendment means the People; but "the People" in the Second Amendment (ratified in 1791) means the National Guard (created by an Act of Congress in 1903).

Disarming innocent, law-abiding citizens helps protect them from evil, lawless terrorists and other thugs.

John Lott's research on how gun ownership reduces crime is junk science, but Michael Bellesiles is still an authority on why gun control is good (even though he was forced to resign from Emory due to research misconduct over his book "Arming America").

The NRA is bad because it defends certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good, because it defends certain parts of the Constitution.

Guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than nuclear weapons in the hands of the Red Chinese.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning Second Amendment rights and shopping the courts for judges sympathetic to causes that wouldn't pass in any legislature.

Hunters don't care about nature, but pesky activists who have never been outside Seattle do.

Calls for increased security after a terrorist attack are "political opportunism," but calls for more gun control after a criminal's spree killing is "a logical solution."

The Patriot Act is a horrific compromise of Constitutional rights, but anti-Second Amendment laws and Franklin Roosevelt's Presidential Order 9066 must be regarded "reasonable precautions."

Minorities are blameless for the hatred of the racist; women are blameless for the hatred of the rapist; but America is entirely at fault for the hatred of Islamo-fascists.

Poverty is the cause of all terrorism...which is why the leaders of al Qaeda are typically U.S.-educated and were raised in wealth and luxury.

Refusal by Bill Clinton to take custody of Osama Bin Laden cannot be accepted as a contributor to the events of 9/11.

 The United States should be subservient to the United Nations. Our highest authority is not God and the U.S. Constitution, but a collective of tin-pot dictators, their appeasers, and the U.N. charter.

When the Chinese embassy, some empty mud huts in Afghanistan, and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan are bombed, we’re defending US interests; but when we bomb terrorist camps, we’re an aggressor.

We should unquestioningly honor the wishes of our age-old allies, even when said allies no longer act like our allies and have vested economic interests in propping up our enemies.
Bush's toppling the Saddam regime was a "diversion," but Clinton's lobbing a couple of cruise missiles at Iraq in the thick of the Lewinsky sex scandal was "sending a message."

Awarding Halliburton a no-bid contract in Yugoslavia is good, but awarding Halliburton a no-bid contract in Iraq is bad.

Clinton’s statements that Saddam has nukes are based upon the best intelligence we had at that time.  Bush’s statements that Saddam has nukes, based on the same intelligence, are lies.

$77 billion spent on a war for regime change in Serbia, which is still a hell hole, is a noble cause; but $87 billion spent on war for regime change in Iraq, which is rebuilding a civilized society, is reckless.

Bombing Christian Serbs on behalf of Muslim Albanian terrorists is good, but the liberation of 25 million Muslims from a genocidal dictator is bad.

Mass graves in Serbia are worthy of US action, but mass graves in Iraq are not.

One US President says that there are mass graves in Serbia, and the US should send troops.  All Western intelligence states that WMD are in Iraq, the US should not send troops.  When no mass graves are found in Serbia, it was an honest mistake, but when WMDs are found in Iraq, we cover it up and claim the US President lied about them being there.

It is fine that the Serbs who committed atrocities are still free, but the fact that Saddam is in custody is a violation of his rights.

When Haiti is invaded and Serbia is attacked without UN approval, congressional support, or public backing, we’re defending US interests; but when Iraq is invaded with UN approval and overwhelming congressional and popular support, we’re acting unilaterally and alienating our allies.

The best way to support our troops is to criticize their every move. This will let them know they're thought of often.

Trial lawyers who destroy businesses and increase our cost of living are selfless heroes; but doctors who work to save lives every day, despite the fears of being sued for it, are overpaid.

Businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

Self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

Taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

Global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the brilliance of the Sun, and more affected by yuppies driving SUVs.

We believe the First Amendment is unlimited, unless we want to prosecute somebody we don't agree with for not thinking like we do.

Slowly killing an unborn innocent by tearing it apart limb from limb is choice.  Slowly killing an innocent disabled woman by starving her to death is honoring her wishes.  Quickly killing terrorists, convicted murderers and rapists is murder and a violation of civil rights.

You support a woman's "right to choose" to kill her unborn child, but don't believe that same woman is competent enough to home school the children she bears.

The same public school idiot who can't teach 4th graders how to read is qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

Threatening to boycott Dr. Laura's and Rush Limbaugh's advertisers is exercising Freedom of Speech, but threatening to boycott CBS's "The Reagans" and Liberal actors over their asinine anti-American remarks is censorship and McCarthyist blacklisting.

Hillary Clinton is really a lady and Janet Reno is not really a man.

Much credit is due to Jay Dyson, Paul Blezinger, and others.

And I reserve the right to update this regularly…

More Snide Commentary

By the way, if you aren't already, you should probably check out Reason's convention blog. Matt Welch and Tim Blair are doing a fine job at dispensing the rude mockery that is so dear to our hearts here at YPS.

DonkFest 2004: Day 3

With the exception of Al Sharpton, the festivities were a complete snore (Admittedly, I missed crazy Uncle Dennis).  I’ll get to what I could stay awake for later, but I wanted to begin with what I think is one of the more interesting and yet suspiciously underreported events of the DonkFest:  what is going on outside.  Apparently, the DNC has opted to finally demonstrate to the world once and for all what it really thinks of free speech and dissent in this country, by relegating all of the barking moonbats to pens, surrounded by fences topped with razor wire.  The only semi-adequate pictures of the unfortunately named “free speech zones” I could find are here.  It will be interesting to see how the RNC handles the protester-class.
The one factor these descriptions and photos can’t convey is the noise, which I caught this morning on FNC’s Fox & Friends.  E.D. Hill went over to speak with the unwashed and unemployed, and you could barely hear the interviews over the constant humming of the generators and air conditioning units.  It appears that the party who bashes Israel for building a fence to protect itself from whackos who blow themselves up and kill Israeli kids sees no hypocrisy in  building a cage to protect itself from whackos who sing, act like asses, and shoot urine through water guns.  I guess violence is all relative. 

There are only 2 speakers about whom I’ll comment, Al Sharpton and John Edwards.  This is mainly because most of the speakers did little else but provide fluff space, or just dredge up the same tired old themes they have been using since the 1920’s.  Also, it was just a big snorefest.  It was so bad that Sharpton and Edwards were the only two speeches that actually shut the delegates up.  They continued to talk over everybody else.  And, the only reason why I’m even acknowledging Edwards is because he was supposed to be the main event.  He wasn’t.

Al Sharpton
The Democrat party is chock full of these churchless reverends; but of the group, Mr. Sharpton is by far the most entertaining.  Even though you might agree with nothing he has to say, he makes you want to listen to him.  He has been the only speaker of this entire week who didn’t hide his true nature.  He is nuts, but he rambled his mind very energetically, and for that, I suppose he deserves a cookie.  Perhaps his mind should just STFU.  Nonetheless, here are the major themes from his speech.

1.        Bush has brought martial law to America.  That was news to me.

2.        Kerry is the only choice for President.  Screw you George Bush, Ralph Nader, and Michael Badnarik, we’re going Communist, and Castro, er I mean Kerry is your only choice!

3.        More dreck about unilateral foreign policy.  I’ll still take the British & Australians over the French & Germans any day.

4.        Because we did choose the British & Australians over the corrupt chicken French & Germans, everybody hates us.   Given who the Donks seem to think are our allies, this makes me very happy.

5.        BUSH LIED!!!!!!!  I thought Al was an expert on the subject of lying, but Tawana Brawley was unavailable for comment.

6.        We went to war even though we had record state deficits.  I was surprised to learn that Democrats are taking the position that record state deficits are somehow a federal responsibility.   

7.        The Supreme Court will kill us all!  I just can’t get a picture in my head of tiny little Ruth Bader Ginsburg wielding a machete, chasing fat Al through the streets, and hacking him into pieces.  I am trying, but it is hard.

8.        Bush is a racist.  Some quip about how if Bush had been President blah, blah, blah, Clarence Thomas would’ve never been allowed in law school.  It is that old Civil Rights theme again.  I’ve already been there, not going back.

9.        Reparations…why black people want reparations and where the topic came from.  We didn’t get our 40 acres and a mule, so we’ll “ride this donkey” as far as it will take us.  So far Al, that donkey has been ridden into the ground.  Government policies and programs have been so helpful to the black community.  And I promise right here, and right now Al, that I will take up arms and fight for reparations on behalf of any individual who was actually a slave prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.  You have my word on it!  Consider the black community paid in full, given that more than the fair market value of 40 acres and a mule has been paid out over time in welfare, benefits, and other programs. 
I must add here though, it is the first time I saw Je$$e Jack$on clap during the entire convention.  I think Je$$e’$ been feeling a bit bitter because the DNC has a quota of one race-baiting churchless reverend speech per convention.  Maybe 2008 will be your year again, Je$$e!

10.     Al’s vote is not for sale.  I think he was also purporting to speak for the black community here.  Hey Al:  I see the price tag hanging under your armpit.  AL LIED!
11.     Some business about not having to be a gangster and a hoodlum to get into the political process.  Seems to have worked well for Al!

Of course I can’t bring up the “Reverend” Sharpton without pointing out for the umpteenth time, that one of the many fundamental differences that raises the Republican Party above the whacky Donks is the Republicans’ ability to identify and reject its loony fringe.  Republicans give the “get lost” to David Duke; Democrats hand Al Sharpton a speaking role at their convention.

And now to John Edwards
I was actually looking forward to seeing this, because I had never really gotten a long look at the guy, and I’ve never heard him give a speech.  I have learned from my experience that I will probably never watch him again.  He is distractingly ugly.  I couldn’t watch him for more than a couple of sentences at a time.  He has some kind of large flesh colored mole (or maybe it’s a cyst, or a boil?) right over the left corner of his mouth.  When he speaks, it wiggles around like the fetus growing out of Nurse Gollum’s  head (Scroll down for Nurse Gollum).  

Not helping Edward's appearance problem is the way he contorts his face when he speaks, pulling his mouth, and his other odd facial features to the right, so the thing on his lip seems to showcase itself for a close up.  Mr. Edwards also has this very annoying habit of running his tongue across the inside his mouth (predominantly on the left side of his mouth) and flicking it in double and triple time against his lip.  He also has numerous facial ticks, including extremely hard blinking and twitching.  I mean, you can throw your message out there, twitchy, but you can’t make me buy it.

Another problem he has is that he should not smile.  This is a difficult action to ask of any politician, but he should not do it.  His eyes squint upward and his mouth takes on a V shape.  He just looks very smarmy.  T commented that the look is reminiscent of that of a car salesman when he tells you that he has to go and talk to the sales manager.   Yeah, picture that one in your head.  It’s not pretty.  Add insult to injury, the speech made me sleepy, but here’s what I took away from it.

He loves his wife, he loves his parents, he grew up poor, and John Kerry is a good guy.  John Kerry served in Vietnam after all.  Did you know that John Kerry served in Vietnam?  John Kerry’s a hero because he volunteered.  Yes, Moley Moley Moley, we know...JOHN KERRY SERVED IN VIETNAM...now move on already. 

So what’s next?  Oh, yes, negative attacks suck.  I think Mr. Edwards should tell George Soros and his merry band of 527’s to stop it then.  Oh, I think he was talking about Republicans.  Anytime those bad, bad wascally Weepubleecans mention John Kerry’s Senate voting record, it is a negative attack.  John, honey, that would be because both your Senate record and John Kerry’s are horrid. Wonder why everybody this week has beaten to death Mr. Kerry’s 4 months in Vietnam but not his 3 and some odd decades in the Senate?  The record is why… “Aren’t you sick of it,” he asks.  Well yes, yes, I am sick of both of you twits.  And I am only patient because I know you’ll be gone in November.

Back to the speech…did Mr. Edwards mention that he grew up poor?  Well he did you know, and he wants you to know all of the details of it.  He wants to tell you about how his parents worked hard, and how he worked hard, and even though he did it without government intervention, you can’t possibly do it for yourself.  Why?  Because there are two freakin’ Americas, of course.  There’s the one where he and John Kerry live, where you can marry or sue your way to wealth; and the other one, where the rest of us live, where we are too stupid to earn our way and learn from our mistakes.  We must neeeeeeed the government.  Never mind that you may be in the top 50% wage bracket in this country; if you make poor decisions and blow all your money on whores and smack, it isn’t fair and you still deserve to be successful.  The government, not you, makes wealth and success.

Our high school kids are also apparently too good to be making minimum wage because nobody can buy $300 Nikes on that, so we need to raise the minimum wage in this country.  I am trying to figure out how high the minimum wage is supposed to be to make these socialists stop whining.  I also want to know how that adolescent making $150,000 an hour is going to manipulate that wheel barrow full of cash down to the foot locker to afford those $48,000,000 shoes.  Oh, but I forgot, Donks refuse to acknowledge the fact that wages drive inflation, so those shoes should still cost $300 in their little economic vacuum/play world.   I guess I’m not supposed to understand how it all works because I’m part of that “too stupid to make it on my own” America.

Mr. Edwards also wants the government to “help” you pay for healthcare with more tax code manipulation.  I have a better idea, Mr. Edwards.  Why don’t you just refund the fees you “earned” from your medical malpractice awards?  That would go a much longer way to help the problem.   But no, you see, all that doesn’t matter, because children are starving and Americans are (still) racists and only the Super Johns can save them.

The nominee then attempted to distort his record on the Senate Intelligence Committee to show some kind of grasp on foreign policy, but since he doesn’t actually attend the meetings, he just has to make shit up.  He did try to be nice about our soldiers, but he doesn’t really support what they’re doing, so he has to square that discrepancy by continuing to make more shit up.  Maybe if he makes up enough shit, he can restore his credibility in the world.  Oh, no wait, actually he claimed that America has a credibility problem, but I know psychological projection when I see it.

So then after he proves his complete lack of understanding of foreign policy, he returns to proving his complete lack of understanding of domestic policy.  You know he grew up poor right?  Well everybody else in America is poor too.  All of us are freakin’ poor, dammit!  And apparently, we’re all calling some delegate who is currently in attendance at the DonkFest to tell them so.  John Edwards said that all the delegates are going to get phone calls, so wait by those phones now, ya hear!  And why are people going to call, you ask?  People will call these delegates to tell them that they’re eating dog food to afford their Viagra…and their kids don’t want to get a job to work their way through college, because even though they’re D students, they deserve to go to college for free.  And you know what?  “Help is on the way!”  Perhaps some Pepto might help me.

I guess I could’ve just summed up his whole speech with this one sentence:
America sucks and the Democrats want to lie to you about paying you out of the government coffers so you’ll vote for them. 

Of course, that is the entire Democrat platform reduced to one sentence.  See, now I just saved them all millions of dollars and a week of our time that we’ll never get back.  Now get out there and vote!!  I am serious, these jackasses get elected and we’re all doomed. 

And allow me to close today's report by saying thank you to the good Lord, it is almost over.

Giant Gangs Invading Johannesburg

Officer:  Sir, was she armed?
Store Clerk:  No, but she was hugely threatening and picked a fight with me.
Suspects are still at large. 
At large!  Get it?  BUWHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!  Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so not funny.

D Stands For...

Dyscrasia? Dichromatic? Democrat? Disappointed? That's it! That's the word I was looking to find! It sums up my feelings after watching one of the speakers at DonkFest last night quite nicely.

Most of the people blathered nonsense and general platitudes about bullshit.  I caught the tag end of Dennis Kucinich's rant.  He seemed pretty worked up by that point, and I wish I had gotten to see it. I think Dennis Kucinich was probably the most sincere candidate the Democrats had this year. He was almost completely misguided or wrong on nearly every issue, but I never got the sense that he was waffling or triangulating or otherwise shifting his position on the issues for temporary advantage. I admire a guy that will stand up and tell you exactly what he thinks, regardless of what that does to his electoral chances. I was pleased that he got a few votes at the end.

Overall, though, the man who had the biggest impact on me personally was GEN (ret) John Shalikashvili. I was really disappointed in his speech, and found it hard to take. First off, the fact that he came out for Kerry is just disappointing. I don't see how anyone who served in Viet Nam can support a man who came back from a four month tour and immediately proceeded to slander those still serving in theatre by branding them as war criminals guilty of the most heinous atrocities. I'm sorry, but I don't see how you could support someone who claimed that the organization you served in was mainly composed of murdering thugs. Anyone who thinks that John Kerry didn't say that needs to go read his Senate testimony and the Winter Soldier report. 

I also don't see how an officer who served through the 70s and makes explicit reference to the Hollow Army in his speech can support someone who spent their Senate career trying to slash defense and intelligence budgets and gut defense procurement. John Kerry never proposed systems or approaches that would have enhanced military capabilities. He simply wanted to remove from the military the resources that would have enabled them to fight and win wars. Isn't that the essence of the Hollow Army of the 70s? We had an army that existed on paper, but not in actuality. If the military doesn't have the capability to act, isn't that a hollow force? Or more accurately, an empty threat? How do you come out in good conscience and support a man who has spent his career trying to cripple the military?

I really don't understand and it probably wouldn't have bothered me so much if I didn't have a certain amount of respect for GEN Shalikashvili. He always seemed to be a stand-up guy. It's always disappointing to see someone you thought better of act like an asshat.

I'll also take this opportunity to note that the DNC found retired flag officers of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to parade across the stage like they mattered. That doesn't bother me very much. Everybody's entitled to have an opinion, no matter how asinine it may be. I do, however, find it illuminating that they found no retired flag officers from the Marine Corps willing to participate.


DonkFest 2004: Day 2

Most of last night’s focus seemed to be on why socialism is good for America.  The one thing I kept wondering is whether these people live in the same country I do.  Because where I live, not everybody is poor, and people generally get along.  Here are the high points from my mental notes of the evening.

James Forbes

Get the black reverend to call Bush a liar, so is that attack by proxy?  Is it just me or should we perhaps place our men of the cloth a little higher than political attack dog?  Oh, sorry, I forgot.  Donks don’t place our country’s reverends in very high regard at all…unless they’re bringing in the money or the votes.

Sponge Ted Drunk Pants (a.k.a. Teddy Kennedy)

He seemed to have lost his fake wanna-be pretentious Nor’eastern accent.  His English was actually understandable, so where does the accent go when he’s trying to make a good impression?  It is probably backstage with a fifth of Jack.  I hold to my opinion; however that he should avoid jokes about Boston Harbor, or any other body of water.  I also learned that he has apparently never visited a suburb because he can't pronounce the word.  At least “nuc-u-lar” is 3 syllables.  Another subject to avoid:  any discussion of "special privileges for a few", since he is their self-appointed King.  He speaks and I am still amazed that any Donk will talk civil rights when more Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act than Republicans, including Al Gore’s racist Papa.  And yes, the Republicans were the ones who integrated military, and voting for that matter.  T asked which of the people on stage at the end was his bartender.  Good question.  I tried to find out, but Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.

Cut to Interlude with bumper music from felons!  Must give props to the constituent base, I guess.

Tiny Dicky Gephardt

You know they’re lacking issues when they’re dredging up the Great Depression…yet again.  Hoover ain’t on the ballot, Dicky.  He stated “Kerry will take on terrorists where they live.”  Because Bush is currently allowing them to attack us at home?  Hey, has anybody seen any eyebrows?  And yet he provides us with another mention of Vietnam.  Every single one of these people has to throw out Kerry’s  very questionable Vietnam record. Note to self:  start drinking game.  Any mention of Kerry’s Vietnam record gets a drink.  Only drink malt beverage for this one, as you have to get up for work tomorrow.  Dick-o then states that Kerry has been a leader in the Senate this year.  He led them out the door, maybe.  You have to show up to play, Dick, Kerry hasn’t.  My favorite Gephardt quote, “words can be cheap in an election year”. Yours especially, as they weren’t worth enough to get you the nomination.  If words are so cheap, can somebody tell me why did this gabfest cost $50 million? I am still looking for any sign of eyebrows.  He closed with “May guid shine on America?” Who in the hell is guid?   One more note:  his wife is named Jane.  I wonder if Dick & Jane have a dog, Spot?

Tom Daschle

Did anybody notice that his intro music was “Mr. Big Stuff”?  He’s somewhere in the 5’2” range.  That is cruel.  “Short People” might’ve been more appropriate.  He announces that “I will be driving town to town”.  T finishes that sentence with, “encouraging non-existent people to vote.”  I said, “trying to convince my constituents that the socialist crap I spew in the national arena is all an act.”  Lil’ Tommy has a lot of imaginary friends.  I am hoping they fail to show up at the polls this year. He then prattles about a “thread that binds South Dakotans.”  What is that thread?  A healthy respect for cold, and boredom?  He then said “America isn't asking for special treatment?” Since when? The donks are a collection of special interests.  He also mentioned doing right by America.  In South Dakota, that means voting Tommy out of office.  Apparently, John Kerry fought along side him for a full accounting of POW/MIA.  I am thinking this is a surprise to their families too.

What is middle class squeeze?  This ended up being a recurring theme during the night.  Is that the Donk euphemism for “the middle class is actually poor?”  The rest of us don’t understand your talking points, define them.  And they all need to shut up about Enron & Halliburton already.  Two words: Global Crossing.  Two more:  no traction.  Another recurring theme during the night, which seemed to begin here, was the fact that every American deserves “Congress’ health benefits”.  I will be doing some research on what those are and why they’re so choice.  Also according to Tom, Kerry, apparently, is going reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  How will Mr. 50 cent-tax-per gallon be doing that exactly?  He voted against drilling in ANWR.

Carol Mosely Braun

The one thing that really got my attention during her speech was her mention of the ERA.  Did anybody know that was an issue in this year’s race?  Where in the hell did that come from?  I officially call upon Phyllis Schlafly to kick her ass.  I figure if Mrs. Schlafly can smack down the entire militant feminist movement the first time, this ignut should be a breeze.

Howard Dean

Another disappointment.  He never came unglued.  That is the only reason why he’s even mildly interesting.  He did, however, express his very fine grasp on geography…once again…but without the YAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!  About which, I am still disappointed .  He said something about being proud to be a Democrat while he was reciting last night’s geography homework.  Notice he didn’t say the "L" word (liberal).  None of them, to this day, will claim that one.  Oh, and despite what Howard says, nobody in Texas is a proud Democrat.  Donks in Texas are like cockroaches and diarrhea:  we know they’re here, they stink, they’re annoying, and we don’t like them…so we just don’t discuss it.  Don’t believe me?  Ask any state-wide Democrat office holder in Texas. 

Christie Vilsack

Note to Christie:  Midwestern accent overpowers any message you might have had.  You’re barely English-literate, hon.  A speech lesson from Snoop-Dogg might do you some good.

Janet Napolitano

More socialism from the state of Arizona.  Geez, I thought John McCain was bad.  This woman is a tragedy, so it  be something in the beautiful AZ desert air.  Grandma choosing between meds and food is tired.  Lose it.

Barack Obama

You know, this guy was the almost not wrong thing about this deal.  It made me wonder if he accidentally showed up at the wrong convention.  Had a few socialist themes, but seems basically only a little more liberal on the economic issues than President Bush.  Good stress on hard work.  He was a pretty effective speaker, I think, and did a pretty good job.  Probably shouldn’t be in this thread.  Oh well, he was there so he stays.

Ron Reagan

This abomination was the 2nd most wrong thing about the evening.  This coward, poseur, twerp didn’t have the nerve to show himself around Donkville while father was still alive, but doesn’t even wait until the body gets cold to speak at their convention.  Ron should be ashamed of himself to so inflame the collective grief of this country by exploiting the death of his father and the pain of his mother.   Aside from all that, He should really stick to the dog shows because his science was wrong...all freakin’ wrong.  Adult stem cells show promise, fetal ones don’t.  Anybody with a buck, Ron, can fund stem cell research.  Mrs. Heinz-Kerry could certainly afford it.  There was research (and art for that matter) before government funding.
One more thing Dog boy…stem cell research isn’t running for anything and it isn’t a choice on the ballot; although, if it was, I am sure it is a better choice than John Kerry.

Ilana Wexler

We’re waiting for her to be kidnapped by people claiming to be her parents so that Daddy Warbucks can come and save her...oh, wrong venue?  But honestly, all I can say is that she started “Kids for Kerry” to get somebody to talk to her poor little ugly self.  The Donks should stop exploiting ugly people period, especially the chirr-uns.  It’s just not nice.  Maybe Bill Clinton could do this little one a public service and phone up Jocelyn Elders with a request to provide this kid with some handy masturbation tips.  In a few years, she’ll need them.

Chris Heinz

He loves his Mama, and that is so nice.  I love my Mama too.  I’m not on TV saying so, but I would if I could.   Note to Chris:  your Dad was a Republican.  His Dad had little stomach for John Kerry, so I say Chris should love his Dad too and leave the stage.

Teresa Heinz Kerry

I think of all the BS I listened to last night, this had to possibly be the worst.  She gets the #1 wrong of the night booby prize.  This stone-faced narcissist completely lost me.  I have no idea what in the hell she was going on about, and she couldn’t keep my attention enough to care.  She was talking so slowly, I am convinced that her actual written speech was only about a half a page.  I was trying to figure out if she was too stupid or drunk to read the prompter, thinks we’re too stupid to understand her bad fake-thick accent, or had over Botoxed herself to the point that her face was too paralyzed to talk.  I heard one of the pundits mention that “women just get her”.  Um, no we don’t. 

Imam Yahya Hendi
I said it before and I’ll say it again.  Invocations and Benedictions are pointless to this Godless bunch.  Not only did this guy just keep going and going and going, people were rude enough to leave while he was talking.  I guess you don’t have to care when it isn’t your God, right?

More fun tomorrow…if I can only make it through.

Non-Lethal Weapons

Mike at Raising Sand and Noah Shachtman of Defense Tech both pointed me towards an article in the NYT Magazine.  The Pentagon would like some options, it appears. 

Strangely, for a New York Times article, it's fairly well balanced. The pros and cons of the program are covered adequately.  I have no idea about the author's background, but no glaring mistakes jumped out at me. This is slightly impressive, but that's only because the usual level of the Times military coverage sucks.  The average reporter has no clue about the military and usually gets basic facts wrong on many levels.  One of the things that first clued me in to the failings of the press was the gradual realization of this fact. When reporters can't even get simple facts like weapon calibers and nomenclature correct, and editors can't catch the mistakes, one begins to realize maybe the press doesn't know what they're talking about on the subject.  Once a crack appears, the whole journalistic edifice starts to crumble in your mind. If they miss this, what else don't they know? The answer, it appears, is almost everything.  

I tend towards the sceptical view of the systems mentioned. I'm theoretically okay with the idea of non-lethal weapons.  On a practical level, it's going to be a clusterfuck for quite a while. More equipment to clean, maintain, and haul around with you?  That wins heart and minds in the military, especially down at ground level where the joes have to deal with the equipment.  The infantry, I've noticed, doesn't like to get more stuff to carry around. 

The training and doctrine is also going to be a mess. Anybody who thinks a dual-use weapon like the weird rifle that shoots lethal and non-lethal rounds is a good idea is fooling themself. Someone will die needlessly using that system. I have two similar examples from my military experience.  M1 tanks used to be (and probably still are) equipped with a ballistic computer to handle trajectories for the different types of ammunition.  The gunner should enter the type of round loaded to get the proper elevation. I saw a tank literally fire a sabot round over a mountain because the gunner screwed up and entered the wrong ammunition type. The gunner's control also controls the main gun and the co-axial machine gun. Again, a switch must be engaged to change from one to another. If you don't flip the switch, you can engage a target with the wrong weapon system. Not a huge deal when you're intending to fire the main gun and shoot the coax instead. It becomes a much bigger problem when you are intending to fire the coax and accidentally launch a depleted uranium long-rod penetrator moving at a mile a second at somebody or something. Problems ensue.

On a philosophical note, I have a pretty simple rule of engagement left over from my time as a squad leader and gunner. Anybody that tries to kill us, dies. If they don't die, it will not be from our lack of effort. This also works on a larger level. If it becomes understood by every third-world belligerent with a leftover AK that attacking US troops is a quick way to ensure your untimely demise, they might reconsider some things. Non-lethal weapons will undermine this philosophy.

If non-lethal weapons become useful and fielded, some jackass in an office suite is going to expect the military to use them when it's wholly inappropriate. Sending soldiers into far-off lands and expecting them to react with non-lethal force to lethal attacks is a strategy doomed to fail. As better minds than me have remarked, joe is going to do whatever he thinks he has to do to make it home alive. If the guys on the ground decide that the non-lethal stuff doesn't work worth a crap and is getting them wounded and killed, a whole bunch of expensive non-lethal toys are going to be 'broken' quicker than you can imagine. Joe will then fall back on good old-fashioned lethality as his preferred mode of engagement.

Another thought occurs to me. Using non-lethal force on a determined enemy trying to kill you simply will not work. It has been proven empirically that you can poke an amazing number of holes in another person and they will still keep trying to kill you. The only foolproof methods I know to stop someone from trying to kill you are a) kill them and b) set them on fire. Neither of these are non-lethal. Given the nature of the enemy in our current conflict, they might be the only solutions to the actual fighters we face.

We Are GO...

In amongst all the asshattery going on in Boston, I missed the news yesterday. This is way too cool.  I really hope somebody pulls it off.  I was betting on Rutan and Scaled Composites last year, just because he's that damn good. Voyager was a hell of an achievement, much like the rest of his career. 

Maybe my childhood dreams of vacations on the moon will come true someday. I can but hope. 


Yes Sir, Grand Moff, Sir

Take a look at this picture from Cassini.

Government Sanctioned Porn

Only in Canada.  Do you think they really started this because they can't afford good old American porn?

DonkFest 2004: Day 1

So we tuned into C-SPAN last night to watch the party faithful.  My goal, if I can stomach it, will be to provide a daily summary of some of the more absurd items I noticed at a glance.  In honor of such, I present…

“Things that went on at the Democrat National Convention that were just plain WRONG” (grouped in no particular order).

Democrat Women Senators

1.  Parading all the Donk Senate Dykes while saying stupid crap like,  “it’s not about gender”.

2.  Question from T:  Why does everyone female and/or minority feel the need to mention, "I was the first left-handed Anabaptist mulatto lesbian touch-typist to serve as third assistant undersecretary of education, and the donks made it all possible for me!  I'm opening doors for the other midget albino lesbian Eskimos!"  Good question!

3.  Semi-related to #2 above:  Barbara Mikulski (D-Dumpy)  claiming to be the first woman elected to the Senate (she’s not.)  She then qualified the statement, saying she was the first Democrat woman elected to the Senate (WRONG again).  Try #3, claiming to be the first woman elected in her own right (umm…WRONG…even worse, the woman who earns that distinction was a Republican).   Maybe she was the first Donk woman from Maryland?  Maybe?  But shut up with it already, we still don’t care.  You’re the oldest and shortest now, that’s all you get.

Bill Richardson

1.  Touts “Jimmuh” Carter’s energy policy (I was but a runt, but still remember the looong gas lines of the 70s).

2.  Speaks as an expert about energy policy, or national security issues period.  Remember Los Alamos, Mr. former Energy Secretary (of no Energy policy)? 

3.   As an aside:  this guy Richardson sure has failed at a lot of Gummit jobs to keep getting moved around, and “Convention Chair” at that!  Of course, I notice the Donks’ greatest hits tend to be the biggest losers. 

Jimmy Carter
1.  Jimmuh himself criticizing anybody’s Middle Eastern Policy.

2.   Any mention of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Hey, didn’t Yasser Arafat win that too?  The prize doesn’t legitimize you Jimmuh, it makes you a Euro sucking weenie.

3.        I think Jimmuh may have had some health problems, because he has a speech defect that I haven’t noticed until last night.  Given that, and his Southern roots, maybe somebody should translate his speech for Iowa’s first lady.  Strictly as an aside, why didn’t she become the next John Rocker?  Oh, yeah, because she’s a donk and a chick…

Al Gore
1.  Yes, I know he's just wrong in general; although I was a bit disappointed he didn’t have one of his flop sweating melt downs.

2.  Note to Al:  Using all discernable standards, even the ones you made up, and even eliminating all military votes, you still lost in 2000.  Get over it.  I know you said you weren’t going to talk about it...but you still did.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

1.  She says she knows about healthcare.  Do you want to really go back there?

2.  Sounds like the “moderate” of the convention.

3.  Curious use of the word “partner” when referring to Mrs. Heinz Kerry and Mrs. Edwards (instead of “wife”).  What is the implication?  Are we running co-Presidents again?  Was it a nod to the gay marriage crowd?  Does Ms. Rodham Clinton think that Mrs. Heinz Kerry and Mrs. Edwards are men?

Bill Clinton
1.  Is he really the guy to be the wrap up speaker at “Donk Senate Dyke” night.  Yes, we know Clinton "luuuuvs the womens".  And yes, we know he even marries the gay ones.   
Note to NOW:  STFU…for ALL TIME.

2.  Reminds the world that he was homeless and virtually penniless upon entering the White House, and subsequently used the office to propel himself into the top 1% of wage earners.  We know you enjoy telling us over and over, but we really don’t care how wealthy you are now, Bill.

3.  Touts John Kerry’s military service, or anybody else’s for that matter. 

4.  Discussed Vietnam in any aspect.  We all know that you were overseas during Vietnam...as a protester.  We read the letter?

General Wrongness/Other Observations
1.  Michael Moose Moore had a “Presidential” box seat and virtually unlimited floor access.  Here’s to bringing in the undecided!

2.  The seemingly nice, but not very well spoken lady who lost her daughter and unborn grandchild during 9/11 discusses the UNBORN grandchild at THIS convention. 
Note to nice lady:  Donks slaughter unborn babies for fun and sport.  They probably suck the heads too.  They don’t consider your unborn grandchild a person…at all.  Stop bringing it up.  You're making them look bad.

3.  The playing of “Amazing Grace” at any Democrat function, the Reverend speaking, invocations, benedictions, or anything else of a Christian oriented religious nature going on in an official capacity, given that these people stand on a consistent record of suing to keep God out of the public square.  I guess that applies, unless you're black, huh?

4.  Speaking of that Reverend (I don’t remember his Church) I was shocked (shocked! I say) to learn that John Kerry served in Vietnam!  Shocked!

5.  Saying you’re going to not bash Bush does not make it so.  Actually not bashing Bush makes it so.  Donks bash Bush.  It is what they must do.  They can’t not do it.

6.  Every single speaker discussed how the Bush administration walked away from our allies, abandoned our allies, etc. 
Allies according to Donks:  France & Germany.  Further Translation:  On the take. 
I sure wonder how our real allies (Britain, Australia, Italy Eastern Europe, etc.) feel about us while these idiots continue to discount their contributions?

6.  Saying you’re unified does not make it so.  Pitting sick against healthy, old against young, rich against poor, and black against white does not make you unified.  It makes you divisive, as you have always been.

7.  Did anybody notice that Je$$e Jack$on DID NOT clap for Bill Clinton?

8.  And finally…the "John Kerry saves the little league" video clip:  Did anybody notice that the Down Syndrome & Special Needs little league baseball players wearing T-shirts that read “Downey Challenger”?  Now that just takes wrongness to new low.

Damn!  That was exhausting!

So did you see “Fahrenheit 9/11”?

Here’s a sample of what the money you contribute to Michael Moore’s causes gets you. 

Yet More DNC!

Haven't had your fill of the incessant Democratic National Convention coverage? Good, because we've got more of it for you!  Not that we were present or anything, but we availed ourselves of the next best thing: C-SPAN, baby!  We actually didn't watch much of the convention, as we are still painting YPS Manor.  Instead, we cranked up the volume on the stereo, (sadly, it doesn't go to 11), and listened to the convention.  This deprives me of the opportunity to mock the horde of poorly dressed convention delegates, but it's not much of a challenge.  As a side note, I did note one clothing difference between the Donk National Convention and the Texas Efenant Convention.  At the Texas GOP, you literally cannot sneeze without spraying spit over someone wearing several items of apparel that are flag-themed, whether that flag is the Texas flag or the US flag.  From the crowd shots on C-SPAN, that seemed much less prevalent at the DNC.

So what's left to mock?  Pejman has made some fairly brutal comments about Jimmy Carter, so I'll step up and take a few whacks at the pinata.  He's just another contestant in the pathetic parade of losers the donks dredge up at every opportunity.  (The only one I didn't see was Walter Mondale, so I'm assuming he's sick or something.)  Here's a tip for the donks: don't bring up the issue of Jimmy winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  Once the Norwegians handed that to a bloodthirsty murdering bastard, the prize lost all legitimacy in my mind. The doddering old man needs to have a nice hot cup of STFU and go back to building houses for poor people.  He sure as hell doesn't need to be making pronouncements on foreign policy, because he showed beyond any shadow of a doubt he had no earthly idea what the hell he was doing in that arena.  The only significant thing I'm willing to grant him credit for after his presidency was helping convince Raoul Cedras to pack in '94.  Truthfully, though, my dog could have accomplished that.  Tie a pretty pink bow on my dog's neck and send her in the room to Raoul with a note reading:
The 82nd Airborne is on planes over Florida headed to Haiti.  You've got 30 minutes until the first plane hits the commit point.  After that, they're jumping and we're doing this hard way. Decide quickly!
The United States of America
Next thing you know, Raoul is packing his bags and waiting for the Air Force to Baby Doc his ass off to exile somewhere congenial with lax extradition treaties. I'm still pretty sure that's what Colin Powell went on that trip to do, anyway.  Jimmy was there, though, so I'll give him credit for trying.  The rest of his so-called accomplishments after the presidency?  I don't consider sucking up to a panoply of socialist bloodsuckers and murdering dictators to be an accomplishment.  So what's left?  Houses for poor people.  At worst, he can only screw over one family at a time, which is a vast improvement over the late 70s when he managed to screw over everybody.

Obviously, I don't have a whole lot of use for the idea of the passage of time rehabilitating the incompetent, which is the only reason I can think of for taking Jimmy seriously.   Jimmy was a disaster as the President and should get exactly the respect his accomplishments deserve: none. Yet, the donks keep dragging him out like he has something relevant to say.  It's well past time to let him go watch the peanuts grow.
Update: Yes, it's hammer on old Jimmy day here on the Web.  Nick Gillespie piles on! I had forgotten about the killer rabbit incident.  He also saw a UFO! Or Venus! Or a credible donk foreign policy!  (Hey, at least one of those is plausible!)


And the lady always says it best...

Here it is...the Ann Coulter article that USA Today refuses to print.   This is the most honest DNC convention coverage you're going to get.

Vote Democrat!

They’re the party of free speech
The party of
The party of
The party of
equal opportunity

This is going to be a long week.

Nice Job, Buddy

So the title has been announced for the next Star Wars movie.  I'm fast reaching the point where I don't care.  George Lucas has systematically burned through all the goodwill he might have ever had, simply by making movies that suck.  Once the Ewoks showed up, the franchise was over.  It's doddering around like some drunk grandpa with Alzheimer's, spraying spit all over the grandkids, drooling on the carpet, spilling his colostomy bag and raving about how he was cool once and somebody should care, dammit!  Having said that, I'll go see the damn thing.  Probably at a matinee, but I'll still go.  That vacuum cleaner hose Lucas hooked to my wallet in 1978 will give one feeble last tug before it falls to the ground forever. 

All of said blather is really beside the point I wanted to make.  Steve Sansweet has the job of being the Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations for Lucasfilms.  What the hell kind of masochist takes that job?  "I'm the guy in charge of what's in the films and dealing with the deranged fan base."  I won't say Lucasfilms doesn't have enough money to get me to take that job, because I'd be lying, but it would take a whole lot of money.  I know how rabid and unpleasant the hardcore sci-fi fan community can be.  I want no part of that as a job.  Bleagh.  Anything Lucas does with the franchise is going to piss off a significant portion of the community.  Whatever happens, you're the goat for some chunk of fans.  Good lord, the emails alone would be a killer.  I sure hope he enjoys it.

Update:  Brian Posehn once did a stand up routine about how the fastest way to piss off a geek is to get his obsession wrong.  J commented that the "Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations" is the poor schmucko who has to deal with the pissed off geeks.

Student Loans Bad

For personal reasons, I find this extremely interesting.  I've been kind of dimly aware of Upromise for a while.  They occasionally run ads on televison and the radio.  As I understood the concept, sign up and participating retailers will put some trifling percentage of sales into an account that can be used for college.  Neat.  I'm thrilled, especially since I already paid for college and have no kids.  I figured Upromise was just not of much use to me.  Or so I thought...

I have recently learned that it can be used to pay off student loans.  The list of retailers is places you would shop anyway, (like the grocery store), and it is at no cost to you.  We'll see how it goes,  but I am optimistic.  Anything helps, right?

There is no shame left in the world...

Because having the blood of the unborn on your hands just isn't enough...


I was painting the guest room yesterday, so I missed the news.  Lance Armstrong went 6 in a row to become the only 6-time winner of the Tour de France. 

You'll pardon me if I take a moment to gloat.  The idea that the best competitor ever in what has been called the national sporting event of France is not only an American, but a Texan, fills me with a righteous and unholy glee.  Neener, neener, neener.

Americans aren't arrogant.  We're just better.

Everything? Really?

J likes to watch Fox & Friends in the morning while we get dressed and ready for work.  Background noise to me for the most part, because I drive 54 miles every morning to work.  I don't have a whole lot of time in the mornings.  However, sometimes little snippits catch my attention.  Today's eye-grabber was some group of wealthy people telling me why I should vote donk.  In the middle of this blather was good old Danny Glover, everybody's favorite ex-spokesman.  He made the somewhat startling (to me, anyway) statement that "Everything you do is a political act."

Wow. I received my undergraduate degree at one of the hotbeds of liberalism in Texas, (yes, there are a few), so I'm not unfamiliar with the old bromide that "the personal is political".  But everything?  That's a pretty broad range.  I was unaware that the entirety of my existence is a political act.  That set me to thinking about the vast array of activities that a person might engage in during the course of the day.

So with this in mind, I have a few acts that I would like some clarification about.  I realize that the PoMo crowd will argue meaning is contextual and must be read in the correct idiom with an eye to the appropriate power relationships involved.  Great.  I'd still like to know what possible political meaning is conveyed by the following:
  • Sneezing.
  • Picking one's nose.
  • Masturbating.
  • Urinating.
  • Defecating.
  • Burping.
  • Sleeping.
  • Smoking a cigarette.
  • Eating.

Really, people.  Not everything is a political act, anymore than everything is a form of communication.  I realize my list is the reductio ad absurdum of Mr. Glover's statement, but the statement is so absurd it doesn't need much help.  All other things aside, you do yourself, your argument, and by extension, your side no favors when you make ridiculous statements.  Nobody is going to focus on your argument when they can spend time mocking you for acting like an idiot.  Well, somebody might, but I won't.

For a case study of this effect, I reccommend the Libertarian Party at all levels.  The LP comes across as a bunch of loons, so no one ever pays attention.  (And the disaster that has been LP foreign policy since 9/11 isn't helping.)  Presentation matters, almost as much as actual content.  You have to get people to look at your content before they can be persuaded.  When you immediately come across as a jackass or a buffoon, they tune you out and go on with life. 


Digital Music Storage

So I have been experimenting with converting the huge collection of CDs here at YPS Manor into a digital format for convenient portability.  I've been interested in the process for a while, because it seems to permit some practical uses that are not currently possible with straight music CDs.  For instance, I can take a whole bunch of stuff around with me on a portable hard drive and listen to damn near anything I want at work instead of hauling around a huge binder of CDs.  I should also theoretically be able to place all the files on one of the computers here and use that as a music server for the other machines in the house.  Assuming I could get the other machines to recognize each other, that is. 

The problem I'm going to run into is this: we have a lot of CDs.  We are well over the 600 mark.  I've converted 44 into FLAC files so far.  I realize FLAC doesn't provide the greatest compression, but I'm more concerned with sound quality than file size.  There are also some long term hardware plans that make FLAC a more attractive choice.  Anyhow, 44 CDs works out to right about 16 Gb of files.  This gives me an average per compressed CD of roughly 360 Mb.  To convert all of the CDs will require more than a 200 Gb hard drive. Hmm.

Maybe I should I rethink the whole FLAC format.  Or maybe I should just buck up and buy bigger hard drives.  Damn.  Decisions, decisions.  Either way, the 40 Gb Iomega external is going to be full pretty quick.


Devoted readers of this blog, assuming there are any, have no doubt noticed the somewhat odd layout.  Fixes have been attempted, but nothing seems to work.  Really, it's quite annoying.  I have an email in to Blogger support.  Maybe they'll have an idea. 



Given the vast regulatory scope of the FDA and my experience with being regulated by same, T is always asking me questions about water distinctions (I drink a lot of the stuff), and I just ran across this article explaining the whole deal probably better than anywhere else I've seen.  Copied here are the more relevant portions, as a lot the actual article has to do with rehydration tips and exercise fluff.

Where does that bottled water come from?
It is estimated that about 25 percent of the bottled waters consumed in the U.S. come from municipal water supplies. Most goes through significant processing such as reverse osmosis, deionization, activated carbon filtration and other treatments.

Read the label carefully. If  it is packaged as "purified" or "drinking water," chances are it came from a municipal water supply, and unless the water has been “substantially” altered, it must state on the label that the water comes from a municipal  source.

Often images on the label show mountains, snow or other bodies of water. For example, the label design on Aquafina (from Pepsi) gives me the feeling of mountains and snow; implying that Aquafina may be from a mountain spring, rather than bottled at Pepsi plants using processed municipal water. Coke’s Dasani, also one of the leading bottled water brands is processed municipal water with added minerals. Many gallon jug waters are also from municipal sources.

And just what is “natural” water?
The word "natural" is only allowed for bottled water, which is derived from springs or wells where the natural chemical (mineral and trace elements) composition of the water has not been altered as a result of treatment process.

What exactly is “natural carbonation”?
It all started when shoppers assumed that the water in their bottle of Perrier came out of the ground bubbling. And for good reason — their television ads illustrated it that way. The truth, though, is a little more complicated. The carbonation comes from a naturally occurring source in the same spring system.

Originally, according to the company, “these natural gases met and mingled together with the spring underground, rising at a constant pressure and temperature (60 degrees Fahrenheit). A desire for consistency … led French scientists to devise a more efficient means to capture the water's perfect balance of minerals and carbonation in the bottling process. Both the water and natural carbonic gas are now captured independently. They come from isolated points at different depths, within the same geologic formation. Before they come together for bottling, a filter is used to remove any natural impurities in the gas. Once combined in the bottling process, the level of carbonation found in a Perrier bottle is exactly as it is at the spring.”

So now we know.

Types of waters
Bottled water is regulated as a food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bottled water companies must adhere to the FDA's Quality Standards, Standards of Identity (Labeling Regulations) and Good Manufacturing Practices and requires beverage companies to label their waters to define where the water came from and if it's been purified or carbonated. Bottled water can be classified with terms such as “purified,” “spring,” “sterile” and “artesian” (or “artesian well” water). All bottled water sold in the United States (whether imported or domestic) must meet all of the same regulations. Here are the classifications:

Artesian water/artesian well water
Bottled water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

Drinking water
Drinking water is another name for bottled water. Accordingly, drinking water is water that is sold for human consumption in sanitary containers and contains no added sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavors, extracts or essences). It must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavors, extracts or essences (such as lemon-lime) may be added to drinking water, but they must comprise less than one-percent-by-weight of the final product or the product will be considered a soft drink. Drinking water may be sodium-free or contain very low amounts of sodium.

Purified water
Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes and that meets the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopoeia (pharmacological code) may be labeled as purified bottled water. Other suitable product names for bottled water treated by one of the above processes may include "distilled water" if it is produced by distillation, "deionized water" if the water is produced by deionization, or "reverse osmosis water" if the process used is reverse osmosis. Alternatively "_____________ drinking water" can be used with the blank being filled in with one of the terms defined in this paragraph (e.g. "purified drinking water" or "distilled drinking water"). These waters are taken primarily from metropolitan water sources, run through mammoth commercial filters, and purified of chlorines, detritus, and other items inappropriate for drinking water. You may have seen vending machines outside of your supermarket that allows you to fill your own bottle for 25 or 50 cents; this is the water and process that is used and is from metropolitan sources or even the tap water adjacent to the machine’s location. They are excellent to cook with when tap water quality is an issue.

Mineral water
Waters containing not less than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids may be labeled as mineral water. Mineral water is distinguished from other types of bottled water by its constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source. No minerals can be added.
The naturally occurring minerals and trace elements in mineral waters are considered by many to be excellent for health and digestion. Typically, these include iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, silica, chromium, lithium, and copper. While these are healthful, the value of mineral waters versus spring waters is still debated. Available from both domestic and international sources, the prices vary tremendously based on packaging and location.

Spring water
These are waters derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Spring water must be collected only at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation finding the spring. Spring water collected with the use of an external force (in other words, a pump) must be from the same underground stratum as the spring and must have all the physical properties, before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality as the water that flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Available from both domestic and international sources, spring waters are ideal for everyday drinking as well as to make coffee, tea, or foods in which the quality of the water is a critical ingredient. Prices vary considerably based both on geographic location and packaging.

Sparkling water
Water, which after treatment and possible replacement with carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source. (An important note: soda water, seltzer water and tonic water are not considered bottled waters. They are regulated separately, may contain sugar and calories, and by law, are considered soft drinks.)

Carbonated water
The bubbles in these waters can help ease digestion, and are available from both domestic and international sources. Some have slight flavorings added such as citrus, but taste even better plain or with a slice of fresh lime or lemon. If burping is an issue, avoid them, but otherwise, they are excellent to drink after meals as a digestif. Some are heavy in sodium, so those with hypertension or sodium restrictions should drink them only occasionally.

Flavored waters
These may be compared to soda pop, but infinitely lighter in flavor and absolutely lighter in sugars and sweeteners. They give just a hint of flavors like citrus or berries, have either no or modest amounts of sweeteners from high fructose corn syrup to sugars or honey. They are likely not to be completely calorie-free, but are modest in carbohydrates and calories when consumed sparingly.

Waters with healthful additives
These waters contain everything from additional minerals, vitamins, and other ingredients that make these more a health drink than “just water.” If this is the only way to get your spouse to drink water, great; otherwise, it’s a very expensive way to get your H2O; and in some cases the packaging and the labeling can be misleading. Remember that most Americans do not have vitamin deficiencies and buying waters to add vitamins to your diet might be little more than a waste of money.

Distilled water
These waters are mineral-free, so they’re perfect for curling irons, clothes irons and steamers, humidifiers, and any appliance that requires water. By using distilled waters, you can avoid the mineral muck that often clogs up appliances. Some people view distilled waters as good to drink because it is so pure, but naturally occurring minerals in waters are actually good for you.

Tap water
Many municipal water supplies, such as New York City, boast water that is as tasty and pure as the most expensive bottled varieties. By law, municipal water supplies must supply its customers a chemical analysis of their water composition. If you haven’t received yours, contact your local water supply. (Many now post their analysis on their Web sites.)

Water filters
Consumers can filter their municipal water by attaching a commercial filter to the tap, using a pitcher with a carbon filter in it, or buying refrigerators with built-in filters that make both filtered ice and filtered water. These are very good, but be sure to change the filters as recommended.


China comes to Chicago

This kind of thing went on in China some decades ago.  They called it the "Cultural Revolution". 

Flip on this...

Well, Mr. Kerry, it seems as if a few groups are taking you up on your promise to speak to all Americans...hope you don't need much sleep.

Shut Up, You Bloated Ignorant Windbag

I try to avoid talking about things when it's generally pointless.  Michael Moore is a classic example.  You either believe he's a courageous visionary filmmaker who speaks truth to power, or you believe he's a self-aggrandizing, lying, no-talent hack who wouldn't understand the concept of truth if it was carved on his bloated, corpulent body by the hand of God.  Guess which viewpoint I take?  Anyhow, there's not much point in discussing the issue.  If you have a viewpoint, you're not likely to change.  If you don't, it means you don't care, and neither I nor anyone else can make you be interested.

However, Mikey has reared up on his hind legs and oinked something so profoundly ignorant I feel compelled to respond.  He wrote an open letter to the President of the Aladdin for daring to have some washed-up old crooner ejected for offending the paying customers.  The section in particular that displays his complete inability to understand the Constitution is as follows:
What country do you live in? Last time I checked, Las Vegas is still in the United States. And in the United States, we have something called "The First Amendment." This constitutional right gives everyone here the right to say whatever they want to say. All Americans hold this right as sacred. Many of our young people put on a uniform and risk their lives to defend it. My film is all about asking the questions that should have been asked before those brave soldiers were sent into harms way.

For you to throw Linda Ronstadt off the premises because she dared to say a few words in support of me and my film, is simply stupid and Un-American. Frankly, I have never heard of such a thing happening. I read that you wouldn't even let her go back up to her room at your hotel! Are you crazy? For crying out loud, it was a song DEDICATION! To "Desperado!" Every American loves that song! Sure, some people didn't like the dedication, and that's their right. But neither they nor you have the right to remove her from your building when all she did was exercise her AMERICAN right to speak her mind.

Let's see, where to begin...  First off, it's very apparent by your actions that you do not hold the rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment sacred at all.  Please, for all our sakes, quit lying.  I know it's what you do best, but just stop.  It's gotten old.  Secondly, not every American loves the song "Desperado".  Frankly, it's cheesy schmaltz that would never have been recorded if the Eagles hadn't spent most of the 70s stoned.  I can think of quite a few Americans that can't stand the song and would be quite content to never hear it again.  Third, and most important, Bill Timmins has every right in the world to eject Linda Ronstadt from the property he manages for any reason whatsoever.

The last issue is the one that really displays the amazing level of ignorance that hides within the porcine folds of Michael Moore.  The 1st Amendment simply states that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech.  It does not mandate that anyone provide a forum for speech, pay for speech, allow private property to be used in furtherance of speech, or even listen to whatever speech is made.  The 1st Amendment does not constrain private actors in the slightest.  The 1st Amendment is a limitation on the power of the government only.  Can you pound that into your jowly, lard-encrusted skull?  Bill Timmins does not have to allow Linda Ronstadt to offend his customers anymore than I have to allow my next-door neighbor to stand in my front yard and scream obscenities at traffic.  To imply that property owners' rights magically vanish when some yotz flaps their gums is a more fundamental betrayal of the American system than anything that's happened to Linda Ronstadt lately.  Given your record, though, betrayal is probably something you're fairly comfortable with.

Ah, screw it, go look at jokes about fat boy.  Taking him seriously is more than he deserves. 

Damn Jaywalkers!

I have always kind of wanted to go to Czechoslovakia someday.  After all, a defining moment in beer history occurred in Pilsen.  After reading this, I'm reconsidering.


Can I Check Your Socks, Please?

I like to think the people running our government have some modicum of common sense.  I know that's an unrealistic expectation, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to imagine the world in such a fashion.  Some days, I can't keep it up when I hear the news.

Sandy Berger used to be the National Security advisor.  Now he's reduced to smuggling documents out of the National Archives in his socks.  Think about that statement for a minute.  Seriously, did you think that nobody would notice you stuffing things in your pants?  And in your socks?  What in the hell were you thinking?  Did the thought ever cross your mind that sneaking documents out of the National Archives with stuff might be a bad, stupid idea?

Even more amazing to me is the fact he still has the balls to claim that the removal of the classified documents was inadvertent.  You were stuffing things down your pants to avoid detection, but walking out with the classified material was accidental?  Umm, okay.  I'm stupid and gullible enough to believe you.  Oh, wait, my mistake, I "inadvertently" forgot.  I'm intelligent, bitter, paranoid, and cynical.  I don't believe you, schmucko.  You waltzed out of there with the goods and figured you wouldn't get called on it.  Well, fuck that.  Your fat, pasty ass needs to be in jail for pulling a stunt like this, even if it was "inadvertent".
My biggest problem with Sandy Berger and the ongoing disaster known as Los Alamos security is the people involved.  Once upon a time, I had a security clearance.  At the time, I was 20 years old and had barely managed to graduate from high school a few years earlier.  I could understand and follow the rules on how to handle classified information.  Why can't people who are presumably older, wiser, more educated adults? If junior enlisted soldiers in the Army can handle the concept, why can't these people?  Furthermore, what disease exists that we cannot hold them responsible for their failures and screw-ups?  Is national security important or is it a parlor game for paranoids?.  Sandy Berger is too partisan to care, and the Los Alamos kiddies are too intelligent to take security seriously. 

No problem.  Jail time and job loss should wake all of them up.  Can't keep track of classified material? Get gone, dumbass.  This is not a drill, this is not a game,and this is not optional.  We are at war, and the dumb bastards need to remember that fact at all times.  I am growing afraid that it is going to take another terrorist attack to make people realize.  I really hope it doesn't.

France Surrenders...

Effective next year, the event will be known as the "Tour de Lance". 

Natural Male Enhancement? Not quite.

Yet another sad individual, in this case Sandy Berger, has fallen on his sword to protect the Clinton legacy.  To add to the drama, it appears the documents he stole were drafted by none other than paranoid whiny Richard Clarke, of “I crapped all over the memory of the victims of 9/11 by using the partisan Congressional hearings to sell my book” fame. 
I’m also gathering from the news stories, that Berger went so far as to stuff the documents in his undies and socks
to get them out of the National Archives illegally.  I know that those blue pills are expensive bud, but a simple sock won’t land you in jail.   Let’s not forget the claim that the removal was “inadvertent”.  Oh yes, I often accidentally stuff my crotch and feet with classified documents, how about you?  Not only that, it was so “inadvertent”, that he did it no less than FIVE times.
I’m also getting word that Dirty Daschle, fearful of losing his own job in November, is questioning the actual timing of the release of the information.    It flashes me back to the Clinton years.  Focus not on the crime itself, but on who reported the crime, when they reported the crime, and what motive they have for reporting the crime.  Note to Daschle, and all of those who will adopt this “timing” load of crap:  a crime is a crime, and if guilty, the perpetrator should go to JAIL.  Would you treat a rape victim this way?  Oh yeah, ask Juanita Brodderick, Democrats have already proven they will.
Take notes ladies and gents; 4 years of John Kerry will be just this filthy.