Donk Preemption

I don't see why the donks are claiming the Bush approach of preemptive attacks is wrong. Seeing as how the donks have this up at 5:06 in the afternoon, with the debates 3 hours away.

The Draft is Coming! NOT...

Phil Carter over at Intel Dump posted a link to an outfit calling itself Operation Truth. I am, strangely enough, interested in veterans issues. I went and checked them out. Mr. Carter describes them as "a diverse and non-partisan group of veterans". Me, I'm not so sure they're all of that. They're a spin-off of Vietnam Veterans of America. Something is dimly nudging my brain about them, but I can't pull it up right now.

Let me start with a personal belief. Anybody claiming the Truth in capital letters instantly sets off my bullshit detectors. Organizations that use 'truth' in their name are, in my experience, lying. The organization may actually present facts, but the facts are presented in such a context as to advance some ideological cause, not an unbiased inquiry. What's another good warning sign today? Crappy links. If you don't provide some sources or backup for your assertions, I'm inclined to be dubious. (Yes, I realize I don't always include links, but I'm not slinging 'truth' around in capital letters. I'm using 'your', 'philosophy' and 'sucks', with a heavy emphasis on the 'sucks'.)

The first substantive page I looked at immediately jumps right into the thick of things. The page asks a rhetorical question "Is a draft coming?" and then spends a lot of time trying to convince you that it is. I have a few problems with the way Operation Truth goes about convincing you. Let's scroll down the page and see what I can find. Before I start, though, why exactly is the possibility of the draft of interest to veterans? I'm not terribly concerned about the issue, but maybe I'm atypical.

Operation Truth (hereafter OT) leads off with a quote from GEN Richard Cody. Since no date was given, I'm guessing that the quote came from the House Armed Service Committee hearing on 7 Jul 2004. GEN Cody, for those of you not up to speed, is the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He is quoted as saying the Army is "stretched thin". OT takes this to mean that the military has reached a "breaking point". Newsflash: "stretched thin" and "breaking point" are not synonymous. The Army is also not synonymous with the entire military. The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army is not qualified to discuss the force readiness of the entire military. That's why, on the same day, an Air Force general, a Marine Corps general, and an Under Secretary of Defense were also testifying. Don't try to draw military-wide conclusions from the testimony of one branch. It doesn't work. You'll note that no Navy representatives (besides the Marine) were there at all, which implies that the Navy isn't having a problem. That doesn't help your argument.

OT then goes on to state: "The next logical contingency for military planners is the draft". Really? I can think of at least 2 other logical contingencies. How about reassessing overall troop strength worldwide with an eye to reducing unnecessary deployment? Funny, that occurred to President Bush. How about adding more active duty troops? That occurred to a certain Senator. There just might be a way to do this without a draft.

OT then goes on to quote some survey (reg. required) about what high school students think about the draft. Not to insult any of the younger generation that might be reading, but who fucking cares what high school kids think about the probability of the draft? Is their opinion in any way related to the probability of a draft actually occurring? I'm willing to bet that the Pentagon doesn't consider the opinions of children too heavily when evaluating force structure options.

Moving deeper into the swamp, another rhetorical question rears its ugly head: "Is the Military Stretched Thin?" The answer? "Absolutely." The basis for this assertion: allusions made by "numerous senators and members of both parties". That's what I want to base a coherent military policy on, allusions made by politicians. I have no idea if the quotes from the congresscritters are accurate, because I have no desire to google them and find out. Links would have been helpful here. Even if the quotes are accurate, it doesn't add anything to the debate. I'm not into taking the word of Senators as gospel on any subject, simply because of a proven fact: Senators lie. Plus, OT quoted John McCain, who is, in my opinion, damn near completely insane.

OT says 40% of the forces being rotated into Iraq are reservists and guardsmen, again with no link given. Numbers are hard to come by, but I get a little over 50% of troop strength is in the reserve components for the Army alone. 40% across all branches doesn't seem unreasonable. But you know what? That's the way the system is designed, not an indicator it's broken. The post-Cold War military decided to keep combat troops active and push support functions into the reserve components. You can argue about the wisdom of that decision, but don't claim it means the system is broke.

Rep. Rangel (D-Ignut) claims that the US hasn't called up this level of reserves since Korea. Hmm. Let me check my handy history book. Yup, that's what I thought. Korea was the last major conflict we were serious about winning. So maybe that's a sign the military is serious about winning the war on terror.

Three facts are given that OT claims point to the military being stretched thin. One is the shift of troops out of Korea to Iraq. Maybe that's part of the whole reassessing our needs concept? No, couldn't be. OT says forces from the National Training Center are being deployed to Iraq. Funny, 11th ACR seems to think they're running rotations at NTC. I do see some reports of individual soldiers volunteering for service in Iraq, but no units. Some soldiers are going to Afghanistan to train the new Afghan National Army, but no mass deployments from NTC. The next point OT makes has to do with the Delayed Entry Program. It runs counter to my experience in the late 80s in DEP, but I can't definitively call it bs.

OT moves on to what the military is doing to increase recruitment. Frankly, this paragraph baffles me. Whoever wrote this is confusing Selective Service registration with military recruitment and making a hash of them both. There is a fundamental difference between recruitment into the military and registration for the selective service. When you cannot even separate the two issues in your own mind, maybe you're not qualified to discuss them.

OT then examines two draft proposals: one by Rep. Rangel and one by Sen. Hollings. Okay, OT can't be serious about bringing these two proposals up. First off, it's really one proposal introduced in both houses. The act is not a credible proposal for a draft that would enhance the effectiveness of the military. How can I say that? Simple.

There are some who believe my proposal is really meant to show my opposition to a unilateral preemptive attack against Iraq by the U.S. Others believe that I want to make it clear that, if there is a war, there should be a more equitable representation of all classes of Americans making the sacrifice for this great country.

The fact is, both of these objectives are mine.

That quote is from Rep. Rangel himself. He's trying to score political points about foreign policy and class warfare by proposing a draft. If OT is going to try to scare people about the draft, couldn't they at least use something credible to scare them with? Besides, the bill mentioned was introduced in January of 2003, before troops were even in Iraq. Unless you're willing to claim that Sen. Hollings and Rep. Rangel are psychic, a draft bill introduced before all of the events you're using as evidence can't possibly be related to them. No one is seriously proposing a draft to deal with military troop levels.

OT wants to ask how reinstating the draft would affect the public. Here's another hint: don't use Viet Nam era data to prove a point about the public of 2004. You simply cannot extrapolate behavior across thirty years that way. It just doesn't work, so you really shouldn't try. It makes you look like someone who is manipulating data to prove a point. OT then quotes a survey from the Alliance for Security about how the public doesn't want a draft and wouldn't serve if drafted. Okay, quick organizational breakdown here:
  • Operation Truth is a project of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.
  • Alliance for Security is also a VVAF project.

So one branch of the organization is quoting a survey from another branch of the organization? That's getting an outside point of view, isn't it? Especially when the Alliance for Security includes a section on their website entitled "This Is Rumor Control: News and Analysis on the Appalling Mess We're In". No bias showing there that I can see, no sir. No ignorance on the part of survey participants, either. The draft bill mentioned above was sponsored entirely by Democrats, yet the survey shows people think Bush is more likely to reintroduce the draft. So a lot of people are clueless about what 's going on. The public perception of which candidate might introduce a draft doesn't have a damn thing to do with who actually would, just like high school students don't make Pentagon staffing decisions.

Finally, OT would like you to think about how this would affect the military. I'm just going to point out one stunning bit of miscomprehension.

While the draft may indeed become an issue of importance in the upcoming months for the general public, it has already become a reality for many off-duty servicemen.

Umm, they can't draft "off-duty servicemen". If you're a service member, that means you volunteered. The military can recall you to active-duty, but that's not getting drafted. Everything else in this section hinges on this very basic misunderstanding. The draft is completely meaningless when discussing stop loss, reserve deployments, or Blue To Green. Trying to tie all three things to the draft is like saying 3 kumquats are the same as a two-by-four because they're all plants. Once again, OT is either amazingly ignorant or deliberately obtuse.

After that it's just links and a call to action. The links go to pieces that support their position, and the call to action probably presumes you believe this horseshit. It's about what I expected. A little bit of fact dressed up with a whole lot of slant in an attempt to make you call your elected officials and look like an uninformed jackass. Yes, they're promoting veterans' issues at Operation Truth: they're trying to scare people about the draft.

That Jackass Ain't Dead Yet?

It appears that old “Ma” Richards is still bitter about getting her ass trounced 10 years ago by George W. Bush. I find it humorous that those who know better somehow still perpetrate the great lie that her defeat in 1994 ruined a shining political future that should’ve never begun in the first place. I guess that is typical Democrat revisionist history for you, give the losers legitimacy, and blind masses will forget they’re failures.

The truth is, that in 1990 Ann Richards would have never won the Texas Governorship the first time but for what is now a little footnote of Texas history known as an idiotic Aggie (I know, redundant) by the name of Clayton Williams. Williams was guilty of gaffing hard about rape being like rain, saying at the time, "as long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

His 20 point lead became a loss, so we got an ignorant whore for a Governor and the Donks got their next political messiah. The problem was that Richards' election was purely anti-Wiliams. Texans honestly hated her because she was an anti-gun nut, and in 1994 would’ve elected ANYTHING in her place. We were fortunate to get George W. Bush, who whooped her ass in debate, just like he did Gore, and will do Kerry tonight.

You're the One for Me, Fatty

This is fantastic. I’ve seen these commercials on FNC for the past couple of days but kept forgetting to check them out. If you haven’t, you should. They’re doing one commercial with the “Soup Nazi” from Seinfeld, and another one where a lawyer is badgering a girl scout on the stand about the lack of warnings on cookie boxes while his obese client is munching on the cookies.


Adapt Or Die

I was reading the Bleat this morning and James Lileks posted a link to a column from a fellow Star-Tribune journalist, Nick Coleman. Mr. Lileks has some collegial respect for the man, since they both work for the same paper, and refrains from any personal comments. I do not work for the same paper, and I won't.

Nick Coleman is an elitist asshat. He falls dead square into the category of journalists lately decrying that bloggers have no standards or accountability or ethics or professionalism. I have read much of this kind of bogus rant lately, and decided that the pathetic cries of people unwilling to adapt to the world as it is and is becoming just aren't all that interesting. However, Mr. Coleman makes one additional, fatal mistake. He accuses the entire rest of the world of not knowing as much as professional journalists do. Think I'm kidding?

Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon.
Gee, there's no level of elitist condescension in that statement, is there? Now, I'm willing to give Mr. Coleman some credit. He claims knowledge due to his age and the fact that he, as a journalist, has covered events. Neat. I'll grant he might have learned something by watching as other people did things. It'd be nice if he gave the rest of the world some credit. I've never been a journalist, so I've never 'covered' anything in my life. I have, however, been places and done things, which one might presume gave me a certain level of knowledge and insight. However, all of that previous life experience is irrelevant since all us ignunt bloggers knew nothing before we sat down in front of out PCs. Yes, all you bloggers out there with lives and professions and hobbies and skills knew nothing, NOTHING, before you sat down to blog in Mr. Coleman's world.
In one sense, this is an indictment of Mr. Coleman's profession. If we know nothing, could it be because journalists have done a remarkably poor job of informing us? Well, maybe, but we'll skip that critique for today. In a very real sense, that critique is made every time a blog points out omission, bias, and error in the work of 'professional' journalists. I don't need to hammer that point home anymore, do I? Dan Rather has made it redundant.

The point I'd like to make, (besides 'Nick Coleman is an asshat'), is: his attitude is killing the legacy media. The whole 'we know more than you, so sit down and shut up' paradigm is shattering before our very eyes. Events over the past year have made it painfully obvious that the media establishment in the aggregate knows less than the public does in the aggregate. Blogs and the internet let people pool that knowledge and enable them to come closer to understanding the truth, without the need for professional gatekeepers to arbitrate the final result. It also lets people concentrate on issues that are important to them, not what the great minds of journalism tell us we should be interested in. Apparently, the prospect is too much for many journalists to handle, so they write pity party pieces about how the brave new world is awful and bloggers need to shut up.

Well, blogs aren't going away, so maybe all the whiny asshat journalists need to get a clue. Maybe, instead of whining, you could do something like examining the phenomenon with an open mind. Then you could reposition yourself and your organizations to use your competitive advantage to the fullest. Maybe then you won't end up unemployed under a freeway overpass begging for change and holding up signs like "Will Condescend For Food". In other words, do what the rest of us do. Modify your paradigm to the changing environment, or face irrelevance and obsolescence. The need for information won't go away, so some other model will develop to supply it if the legacy media continue to mangle the job.


THAT Can't be Cheap!

Apparently desperation is a rich shade of chocolate...and very expensive. I'm just wondering if it is too little too late, or if Je$$e still has what it takes to "deliver' the vote. I guess we'll know in a little over a month.

1 Down, 1 To Go

SWEEEET! Scaled Composites has succesfully launched and recovered the 1st flight for the X-Prize. They need to pull it off once more for the prize. I may get to the Moon yet.

Nailed That One

So apparently as some promo for the new puppet movie the South Park creators are doing, they have a quiz on How F**king American Are You? over at Liquid Generation. My results?

Actually, I love to poke fun at the flip-tops because of their ridiculous views and policies. The silly accents are just a bonus. Also, while I've never worn blue eyeshadow, I used to have that Quiet Riot shirt. And that haircut. In fact, I've got the album on vinyl somewhere. As an added bonus for all you 80s metalheads, they may be available to play your event!

H/T to Jack over at The People's Republic of Seabrook for finding this.


Pile on Jimmuh

The observant long-time YPS reader (a legendary beast with no actual sightings) may have noticed a certain fondness for abusing Jimmy Carter. In that vein, I present to you the comment of one mj, who made a sterling observation on a comment to this post at Asymmetrical Information.
Carter is nothing if not ambitious. Not content to be the worst US President of the modern era, he now has his sights on being the worst ex-President as well.

That'll keep me snickering for the rest of the day.

Good Luck

So some schmoe wrote a rebuttal to the WaPo article on how to self-publish. The comedy comes in when he mentions that he works as an editor, freelancing on Craig's List.
I'll leave aside, for now, the massive difference between editing as it actually exists and editing as the average craigslister conceives of it, which involves "checking for typos." Or, to speak the native language of CL, "typo's." That ' isn't an apsotrophe, it's a glottal click.

Yes, I added the emphasis on 'apsotrophe'. I guess with his editing, you don't get the "checking for typos" service that I always felt was a central component of editing. Good luck getting those editing gigs, monkey boy. Don't quit the day job.

In a somewhat related tangent, here are some helpful rules for apostrophes, provided by Bob the Angry Flower. Bob used to be much funnier, until his creator became overtly and obnoxiously Canadian. That sounds odd, doesn't it? His creator, Stephen Notley, was always a flip-top. But at some point in the last couple of years, he became one of the obnoxious Canadians. You know, US bad, UN good, all evil in the world derives from the US, Kofi Annan isn't a corrupt thief, socialized medicine is a substitute for national identity, &c, &c. Generally speaking, artists in general should keep their ideology out of their art. Most people make the mistake of putting the ideology first and the art second. The art then tends to suck. Passionately held beliefs make for bad art, kids. Remember: art first, ideology second. Exceptions can be found, but unless you are a world-class talent, (and few people are, myself included), don't risk it. For a further example of the phenomenon, I suggest reading this.

Presidential Candidate Seeks Carrot Endorsement

This guy is just a freakin’ poof. I don’t think most Americans necessarily have an objection to the idea of a metrosexual President (although it won't be Kerry); America does, however hate a liar, and this guy is the biggest poseur in the public eye right now.

Seems like John Kerry not only can't decide his views on the issues, but he can't figure out his look either. Just a brief search reveals Kerry as Tidy Bowl Sperm, his botox phase, and now the Orange Bowl. The plus side is that this election cycle makeover stage is far more entertaining than Al Gore, the Alpha Male.


So I'm bored sitting in the office during my lunch hour, doing what all good obsessive bloggers do in their non-blogging net time: checking my referral logs over at Sitemeter. As near as I can tell, a lot of site traffic is driven by the Blogger next button. I check the sites anyway, only to find that a vast number of people blog in a language other than English. Don't they know English is the language of technology and commerce for the 21st century? Get with the program and learn English! Of course, I only say that because I'm lazy and don't have the time to learn another language. When I get time, I'm teaching myself Latin, anyway. I sincerely hope no one is a big enough geek to blog in Latin. I'm not going to google it because I want to maintain that comforting illusion.

All pointless digression aside, I found Brutal Women. Interesting, but mainly of note for a link to a softer world. Joey Comeau and Emily Horne are insane, and I mean that in a good way. I have been browsing the archives, and am amazed. It's like Red Meat, but with pictures. It's a tiny glimpse into a world tantalisingly familiar yet utterly alien. You should be reading it every Friday.

Pointless Celebrity Aside

Yale University held a symposium on scary mutant Michael Jackson. While this does make me question the value of an Ivy League education, I've been doing that for years, so nothing new on the pointless waste of money front. How pretentious can you be about your school when blather about the Gloved One is an event? The event also provides further proof of Cecil Adams' assertion that no matter how bizarre or obscure a topic is, someone has made it their life's work. Obsessions can be useful to rest of us, if disconcerting at close range.

Anyhow, I just wanted to mention that in light of Mr. Jackson alleged activities with the chilluns, doesn't one of his earlier songs, PYT, take on a rather sinister overtone? Take the chorus, for instance:
I wanna love you (P.Y.T.)
Pretty young thing
You need some lovin' (T.L.C.)
Tender lovin' care
And I'll take you there
I want to love you (P.Y.T.)
Pretty young thing
You need some lovin' (T.L.C.)
Tender lovin' care
I'll take you there (Anywhere you wanna go)

This might make him appear even more creepy and demented than he already does, but I don't think that's possible.

How Fast?

I go away for a day or two and some kid breaks 200 on the freeway? Well, color me unconvinced. A stock RC51 just doesn't have what it takes to run 205. You'd have to spend the price of the bike all over again, at a bare minimum, to get that kind of speed. He should be able to beat this one in court.

On a related note, I am always amused by people who claim their motorcycle can go XXX miles an hour, and offer the bike's speedometer as proof. Time for a little known fact: speedometers are wrong. More importantly, they are always wrong the same way. The speedo in any vehicle you might happen to own will consistently tell you you are going faster than you actually are. One of the bike magazines used to check speedos against radar guns. The speedos were consistently and inevitably low.

Of course, a few moments thought should reveal why. It is not possible to mass produce perfectly accurate instruments cheaply. So the speedos will be off. Given the litigous nature of American Society*, the minute some yotz crashes his bike or gets a ticket because the speedo read too low, he sues. The easy solution is thus to make speedos that are consistently low. Ain't life grand? It's much like gas gauges and the empty mark.

*Completely irrelevant link to a great song. L7 kicks ass!


Carter for Criminals for Kerry

I am not exactly sure how Jimmy (read “Jimmuh”) Carter transformed himself from pathetic joke to “veteran observer of polls worldwide”, but he’s certainly doing a stellar job of laying the foundation for the hoards of Democrat party lawyers who will flock to the state of Florida in late October, salivating all over the November election results and further insulting their own party officials. I guess anybody with a passport could technically lurk around third world polling places like a pedophile outside the local elementary, but it seems as if most elections where Jimmuh himself is actually “involved” end in a communist, a dictator, or both, ascending his corrupt butt to the seat of power...Coincidence?

Nonetheless, there are two extremely laughable lines from this article to point out. The first is this:

“He accused Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, a Republican, of trying to get the name of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader included on the state ballot, knowing he might divert Democrat votes.”

Um…excuse me Jimmuh; did it not occur to you that Mr. Nader himself might have an interest in getting on the ballot? It isn’t like Ms. Hood drew some Captain Random out of a naked crowd and wildly ran to the court to petition for ballot placement. I’m thinking that if she were really trying to place a candidate to draw votes away from Kerry, she probably would’ve come up with somebody who can actually get votes.

Here’s goofy, but more telling, statement #2:

"A fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons."

Let’s start with the term “alleged felons”. If these folks in question turn out to not be felons, there’s no problem, they vote if they show up, right? If they are felons, and the “alleged” no longer applies, you’re damn skippin’ they shouldn’t be voting. And most states agree too; voting rights are denied to prison inmates in 48 states, parolees in 33 states, and probationers in 29 states. So, why just whine about Florida, hmmm…Jimmuh? I also question the contention of the 61 Hispanics being “likely Republican”, unless I missed the part where the Democrat party has instructed the Hispanic community to visit that same very fiery place they instructed the South to go to some years ago.

On the question of felons voting in general, let’s be intellectually honest. The Dorky Donkey Club, almost completely hijacked by Marxists, is painfully dying. The black vote as a bloc is no longer statistically significant (see previous sentence), further crippled by the approximately 25% of black men who are part of the felon population. Using the benchmarks of criminal statistics; low income, insufficient education, and minority status; statistically felons would naturally vote Democrat, and do, in 65-90% of cases. Thus, it seems to follow that the best chance for a new Donk voting bloc is the convict population. Brace yourself for the “mainstream” press to suddenly trumpet the enfranchisement call for the felon voting population. If you're still watching network news, prepare to feel really dirty.

Now, keep in mind this is the same Democrat party whose lawyers during the 2000 election high fived each other over getting military ballots disqualified. How must it feel to be associated with such a bankrupt ideology that your only hope of winning an election is to deem the voting rights of felons to be more important than the rights of the American soldier?


NOLA Again

One of the things I enjoy most about going to the French Quarter is concentration. There's enough retail grouped together that you can see a lot of things without going very far. I like to shop for t-shirts while I'm there, because they have a lot of rude and very funny shirts. My usual criteria is that the shirt has to make me laugh out loud. So I bought a this t-shirt, and I admit I still chuckle when I see it in the mirror.

What makes it even funnier to me is that I honestly don't think the Department of Homeland Security has gotten much past this as a plan.


Censorship Is Alive And Well

Jonathan Rauch has a column on some of the predictable effects of the flaming bag of turds that goes by the name of McCain-Feingold. I would like to think the irony of the federal government deciding what's appropriate to say in an election for the said government is not lost on anyone. I personally am opposed to amending any portion of that pernicious abomination, but that's just because I think it should be repealed in it's entirety. Once that's accomplished, John McCain and Russ Feingold should be made to understand the 1st Amendment by any means possible.

I'll also reiterate my advice to buy Mr. Rauch's book Kindly Inquisitors if you are at all concerned with free speech issues. It is a serious, well-reasoned discourse on the vital importance of unfettered speech in preserving and advancing liberty, science, democracy, and other important things.


Horse != Car

I had always wondered whether or not a horse was considered a vehicle. Thanks to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, I now know. I really enjoy moments when lawyers and the legal system push through all adversity and common sense in the quest to make the entire edifice that is the law appear foolish. Why did a case on whether or not a horse is a vehicle get this far? Did no one exercise any common sense in the whole process? Haul the drunken horsemen in for drunk in public or some other charge and let it go.

More Cat Fun

Since we're posting about cats, here's a fun game. Get enough momentum and you can bounce kitty off the wall and back on the see-saw.

Update: With a little bit of practice, you can bounce that poor kitty around like a racquetball.

Bad Kitty

Well, glad to see someone realizes Yousef Islam already did most of the damage he was capable of doing. The last time I can consciously recall paying attention to his music was when a friend loaned me a copy of Harold & Maude and raved about what a wonderful movie it was. I watched and thought the title song was absolutely atrocious. That was around 1986, so he's been irrelevant for a loooong time now. Covers of your craptacular excrescences by no-talent hacks like Natalie Merchant and Maxi Priest don't help your staying power either.

I do remember him coming out and saying Salman Rushdie should be killed for writing a book. Nice religion you picked, Yousef. I can't reconcile that with your previous incarnation as "wuss with guitar", but I'm just a simple guy. Take your terrorist-supporting ass back to England and write a nice tune about how much you and your murdering co-religionists suck. Or would that put you on the list of infidels to be killed?

Celsius 41.11

This clip showed up in my inbox today. If you haven’t seen it, you should take the minute or so. Graphic, but powerful stuff; even now it is still shocking to me to see that shot of the first plane going into the tower. And it is horrific to watch people losing body parts. The world needs to see this until they finally get it.

It is not, however, one bit of a surprise to get a good look at the “average” Kerry supporter. I’m ready for November, so we can just get on with beating the hell out of the terrorist-ass-kissing donks.

United Nations: Your Philosophy (Still) Sucks

Here’s one for the UN to stuff. I didn’t pay much attention to his recent speech, because I believe that President Bush shouldn’t sully himself by speaking to the Tin Pot Despot collective. That is, unless he’s holding a ceremony commemorating the signing of a bill into law to end all sovereign immunity to the so-called "diplomats" of the third world debate society, or better yet, a blanket eviction to the losers. If that’s the case, I am all for him delivering the message personally. I’d pay to see it. All of humanity would be so much better served if we’d nuke this millennium’s League of Nations and charter a new international treaty-styled organization open only to western-style democracies.

Comically Biased

So I was catching up on my daily Taranto when I noticed an article about a humorous, but bit of subversive leftist bias in my local daily paper, which was not particularly surprising to me given that was the very reason I cancelled my subscription years ago. The story is taken up in detail over at Chronically Biased. Yeah, the Houston Comical is so bad, there is a site that follows daily the tragedy that is the city of Houston’s only daily “news source”.

The fourth largest city in the country has only one daily newspaper, and it is a honkin' piece of crap. The second largest daily publication in town, surprisingly enough is the funrag over at my beloved alma mater. Today the Cougar is running a story they’re calling “Media slacking in reporting, responsibility”. Have a good look at your future reporters, America...it still ain't pretty.

The latest update to the Chronicle story is that the picture file name has been changed to “bushdo.jpg

From Angel to Superman

He’d have to do a lot of working out to get the physique right, and as much as I like him, I’ve really gotten more used to this version of Superman.

Hell gets an upgrade

I am reliably informed that this is an actual city in Michigan.

Many Kudos to E-CHZ for the hat tip.


The UN causes a French boycott

Just another damned reason to despise the UN.

I just heard a statistic, and I’m not verifying whether it is true, because I’m feeling too lazy to care right now. But the comment was made that what the US gives to the UN costs every man, woman, and child in this country $10 each per quarter. Would anybody mind if I put my $10 this quarter to better use, like maybe for a box of moon pies and some Diet RC colas?

Hell, $40 per year buys me a couple of bottles of decent Bordeaux, or a nice bottle of Champagne. So see, the UN is causing me to boycott the French. And don’t give me the “you should boycott French wine” crap. It is the best shit in the world and I’m not putting some American trucker out of work to prove a point about the wonders of capitalism to some socialist, froggie weiner named Jacques. You want to boycott France? Don’t go.

Ready the glasses of tea...

...because Edwards, like Gore, might take to sudden bouts of frequent urination...

Clinton had the Chinese connection, it looks like Kerry's just may be Korea.

See BS Forge, See Me Snore

So, I’m scanning the Web briefly today and still the big “news” is Dan Blather and the CBS fraudulent documents. I have read particulars regarding why they’re forged, what’s going on at CBS now, and allegations of coordination between CBS and the DNC/Kerry campaign. I’m sure you’ve read it all too. So, who fuckin’ cares?

It is not news that the leadership of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR and all their partners/affiliates are biased leftists with a special hatred of President Bush and conservative thought. It is also not news that the entire left wing has gone bonkers because they can’t seem to figure out why the average American genuinely likes our President. We know that over 80% of journalists are to the left on the political spectrum of even the activists on the floor of the Donk Convention, so they’re especially hateful and bonkers. We know that they have proven themselves over and over again willing to do anything it takes to embarrass anyone not in lock step agreement with them. I guess that the smidgeon of news involved with this story is that this time they were actually exposed. Power to the people there...good on ya...now let’s move on already.

Move on, you say? But this is HUGE!!!! Yeah it is, and so what; it doesn’t stop the fact that terrorists are still trying to kill us, blowing up our soldiers and beheading brave civillians. People are petitioning for the resignation of some range of 1-5 CBS news officials. Folks, it ain’t gonna happen. Now, I might not be surprised if somebody lets Mary Mapes take the fall, or maybe even if sometime between Thanksgiving and New Years, CBS announces Dan Blather’s ”retirement”, but that is about as far as any of it will ever go.

Here’s the truth. Most of us who are truly engaged in “the process” and really pay attention...we turned off the major networks years ago. Those who do still watch do so for a purpose, and whatever that purpose may be, they go in knowing the left bias involved. And I don’t overlook those leftists who will try and scream with a straight face that the majors are biased against the left, but nobody cares about an imbecilic leftist because they’re all intellectually dishonest. Any news station whose idea of a Republican is John McCain, Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, or Olympia Snowe can’t possibly be taken seriously as a right-leaning, or even remotely balanced, news outlet.

The generally disconnected American public is forgiving and forgetful. Jayson Blair didn’t end the New York Times, because Americans eventually forgot. And even though so many of us already know that you can get more facts out of the Weekly World News than you can the New York Times, the bloated masses still drool over the “addled gray whore” like it is some kind of journalistic bible. Those who still trust the major television news outlets to be fair are so far removed from reality, they’re barely competent to hold jobs. If they’re not paying enough attention to know that most news outlets lie, they’ll probably also forget to show up to vote. Never mind, they aren’t even registered. They don’t make a difference. They’re not supposed to. Thank GOD.

CBS will have their “independent investigations” and like every single item in the news, this too shall pass. The horse is dead, quit beating it. If you want to make a difference, turn off the majors.

Work Those Tax Dollars, Baby!

Through a rather circuitous route, I have found a new website: CoolGov. The basic premise is that your government (assuming you are an American) puts a phenomenonal amount of crap up on the Web. The nice folks at CoolGov will find the tastiest bits of it for you. While I oppose the taking and spending of the money, we might as well get some benefit once it's spent.

Support The Troops

From Ohio comes a charming report about how some people feel it's appropriate to treat soldiers on leave.
"I don't remember getting hit at all, really," said Barton, a member of the 1st Calvary Division. "He hit me in the back of the head. I fell and hit the ground. I was knocked unconscious and he continued to punch and kick me on the ground."

I can't conclusively state the political leanings of his attacker, but I'm willing to hazard a guess. The only thing that struck me as odd was the location. If you're a die-hard progressive peacenik anti-globalization protester type, why do you go to a Toby Keith concert? So you can fuel your righteous indignation at all that's wrong with the world?


Not A Decongestant?

Damn. Here's a little news item I missed yesterday for all you sushi lovers. Wasabi is not a decongestant. It always feels like one, for some reason. I remain unconvinced. Further research is necessary. I think I need to apply for a grant.

Joke of The Day

As amazing as it may seem, some people are even ruder than I am. Try this joke out at your next gathering.

Missed Due To Illness

Well, I was sick yesterday, so I missed the final capitulation of Gunga Dan and the House of Murrow. My analysis? If nobody loses a job over the whole thing, it ain't real. Anything less than "leaving to pursue other opportunities" means nothing will change over at CBS. They'll hem and haw and make the obligatory contrite noises and wait for the American public to forget. The public always does, right? Soon the public will forget all about broadcast news and not even remember why they ever paid attention.

I honestly didn't understand much of the outrage, since Dan Blather has played fast and loose with his biases before now. The other outrage is about CBS acting as a donk 527. Gee, there's a shock. Is anybody surprised that a Viacom owned network is shilling for the donks? I'm not,a nd if you'd been paying attention, you wouldn't be either. Were any of you watching in '92 when MTV was doing everything it possibly could to get the under 25 crowd to vote for Clinton? The only thing MTV didn't do was admit it, but the bias was inescapable and pervasive. This election cycle, who's smooching up to donks? Jon Stewart and Dan Rather, or if you prefer, Comedy Central and CBS. Both are, strangely, Viacom properties. People make films about Rupert Murdoch, yet Sumner Redstone is invisible when media manipulation is brought up. I wonder who has a greater aggregate market share? Viacom, or News Corp.? Do the perpetually and professionally indignant get more mad just because of the word "News" in the company name?

As a final note, we still don't know where the documents originated. That's the real smoking gun in this case, and nobody wants to go there. I have a sneaking suspicion the source works for the DNC or the Kerry campaign, but that's just my paranoid sensibilities popping up.

A Week's Worth of Notes

So, we went on vacation last weekend and work has been utter hell, so I had to vanish for a while due to a lack of time. I had a few notes on stuff I found over the past week, besides the non-news that Dan Blather is a biased, Bush-hating, liberal partisan (a post for later), so here’s a little compilation of a couple of the items I did have some time to come across.

Looks like my favorite protesters got some media play from our local Pinko weekly, which is a fine publication for music and restaurant reviews, and of course the fun and odd personal ad. The investigative journalism is probably tops in the city (a.k.a. "the world's tallest midget"), but you just have to understand at the outset that the writers and editorial staff are leftists to the degree that they want state sponsored and financed pornography available free to your children. The article, surprisingly, isn’t too bad.

My absence also marked another interesting anniversary, in addtion to September 11th.

Speaking of September 11th, Moonbat libertarians shamelessly used the 3rd anniversary of the worst attacks on American soil to, just like the Eurosocialists with whom they claim to disagree, blame America. September 11th also, according to the LP is apparently now a coincidental date. Looking at this dreck, it appears the LP is trying to pretend that 3,000 people “coincidentally” died…as a result of US foreign policy of course…which would not only be evidenced by this idiocy, but by their entire foreign policy stance since then.

And then there’s this little bit of fun I found. This is too good to not print in its entirety. The U.S. State department inviting scandal, fraud, and corruption? NO! It couldn’t be!! Say it isn't so!

Impeached U.S. Judge To Head Election Review Team
by Tom DeWeese
The American Policy Center charged that the U.S. State Department has invited scandal, fraud, and corruption into the American electoral process by its decision to bring foreign election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor the November presidential election.

APC has discovered that the president of the OSCE election monitoring arm is none other than Florida Representative and disgraced federal judge, Alcee Hastings. He was elected President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on July 9 of this year. According to its website: "The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's role [in the election monitoring process] is to deploy parliamentarians, primarily as short-term observers, and to provide political leadership to the OSCE monitoring operation." In other words, Alcee Hastings is at the top of the OSCE's election monitoring operation.

In 1988, The U.S. House of Representatives voted almost unanimously (413-3) to approve 17 articles of impeachment amounting to "high crimes and misdemeanors" against Hastings, who at the time was a federal judge. While sitting on the federal bench, an FBI bribery sting caught Hastings conspiring to obtain a $150,000 bribe in exchange for granting leniency to a pair of convicted racketeers. The Senate convicted Hastings of perjury and conspiracy to take a bribe. He is one of only a handful of judges ever to be impeached in the history of the U.S.

Hastings is by no means an innocent bystander in the upcoming presidential election. Hastings is a House Democrat who represented Broward County, Florida–ground zero of the Election 2000 re-count fiasco. On June 14 of this year, the disgraced former judge declared to the Associated Press: "Any way we cut it, these people [the Bush Administration] are going to try and steal this election." Now Hastings, as president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, is in position to seriously affect the outcome of the 2004 vote.

By caving to the demands of 13 leftist Congressmen that international election observers monitor the November 2 presidential election, the Bush Administration is not only shooting U.S. sovereignty, but shooting itself in the foot. There is a political agenda at work here. The OSCE is not an unbiased team of observers. If the vote in Florida or many other states is as close as predicted, you can bet that Alcee Hastings and his army of foreign monitors will do everything in their power to affect the outcome to their liking.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has warned: "We should be wary about organizations like the OSCE that seek to involve themselves in our electoral process. The OSCE in particular has a terrible record in the newly-democratic countries of central Europe, where it normally operates. According to groups that follow the conduct of the OSCE, this organization does much more to undermine free elections than to promote them.

"In Bosnia in 1996, for example," said Rep. Paul, "the OSCE gave its seal of approval to parliamentary elections despite the fact that an impossible 107 percent of the possible voting-age population had voted. In 1998, the OSCE observer team that was to monitor the cease-fire between the Serbs and Albanians was caught sending targeting information back to the US and European Union in advance of the U.S.-led attack on Serbia. This year, the OSCE approved the election of Mikheil Saakashvili in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with a Saddam Hussein-like 97 percent of the vote! There are dozens more similar examples."

Clearly the OSCE has shown by its conduct and by its questionable choice of leadership that it is not an organization worthy of U.S. participation. Not only must the Bush Administration immediately rescind its invitation to the OSCE to monitor this year's election, but the White House must also withdraw our membership from it. Alcee Hastings is a blatant symbol of political corruption. Why on Earth would the U.S. government continue to support an organization lead by him, let alone pay 10 percent of its operating budget?

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. Its Internet site is


Blog It Your Damn Self

Orin Kerr's snide commentary about how the blog coverage of Rathergate is getting to be too much for his refined sensibilities kind of irked me. There's a really simple answer to the issue. Mr. Kerr needs to blog about something else entirely, and let everybody else blog about what they choose. Do you think there's too much blog coverage of something? Don't blog about it. That's the alpha and omega of the issue. Mr. Kerr can and should feel free to blog whatever the hell he wants, but trying to advise the rest of the world what they should be blogging is more than a wee bit presumptuous. Maybe I'm confused, but I thought the idea of blogging was so that people could write about what they found interesting or important. The corollary is the vast galaxy of choices made might not be in accordance with Mr. Kerr's desires.

Alternatively, he could find some blogs out there that aren't blogging about it. Technorati tracks just under 4 million blogs. Surely someone is discussing the other issues so dear to Mr. Kerr's tender heart. There's a handy button up at the top right hand corner of this blog that might help him out.

Side note: I had to teach Blogger's spellcheck the following: blogging, blogs. WTF?

Clowns On Parade

Things that happen out in the world sometimes convince me that if we're not yet in a world where ministers murder golf pros or pregnant mothers in Mexico give birth to stillborn monster babies, we're damn close.

Take this story, for instance.


Time To Go Shopping

I haven't been shooting in a while (several years). I think that's going to have to change. I'm going to have to get off my ass and go buy an assault weapon and start going to the range. I'm also going to have to pick up a pistol or two and teach J to shoot. Then we can go apply for CCW permits. I was planning on doing all of these things at some point. After listening to the radio the past few days, the time appears to be now.

The expiration of the AWB prompted the morning radio host I listen to, a gentleman named Edd Hendee, to bloviate about the need for restrictions on certain types of weapons. I use the word bloviate advisedly, because the more I listened the more two things became quite apparent to me. Edd Hendee has absolutely no goddamned idea what the 2nd Amendment is, where it came from, and what the purpose of it was and still is. More damningly, he shows absolutely no desire to learn. He is so convinced of the righteousness and common-sense of his position that he is unwilling to consider the possibility he's wrong. If he did have a desire to learn, I could direct him to the information collected by Eugene Volokh as well as Professor Volokh's testimony before the Senate.

So some radio host has no clue. That's a big shock, right? Big deal. Well, yeah, in one respect it is a big deal. This is a very conservative guy on a highly conservative radio station in Houston, Texas. If he, and a number of the callers, are not willing to support the 2nd Amendment, who is? If the Republican Party has split on this issue, there's a problem. Mr. Hendee even got on the NRA for being unwilling to compromise, which is laughable to some people, myself included. The NRA is far too willing to make deals with the devil.

Of course, the possibility exists that maybe I don't see clearly. I may be in need of enlightenment. How, exactly, do you reach an acceptable compromise with people that think all privately owned firearms should be banned? What the compromise? Ban some? Then they come back and demand to ban more. You can't make deals with someone whose goal is complete destruction. You always lose, because any compromise advances their goal while doing nothing to advance your goal. Maybe you don't think the goal is the complete annihilation of your second amendment rights and the confiscation of all firearms.

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it."

Who said that? Some gun control nut, right? True enough, with one unfortunate disclaimer. That nut happens to be Dianne Feinstein (D-Lunatic), a sitting Senator for the state of California, during an interview on 60 Minutes. How do you compromise with people who have this agenda? You can't, and that is what Mr. Hendee and so many others utterly fail to realize.

So I have to go shopping, because there's every possibility I may not get the chance if I wait too long. I screwed up by not buying more guns when I was in the Army. Then the ignorant scumbags in Congress passed the AWB. I'm not going to miss the chance again. If conservative Republicans in Texas have been hoodwinked, the rest of the country is probably in much worse shape.

Rock Off

Johnny Ramone died yesterday. Another legend bites the big one. All the influences of my misspent youth are dying off. All part of growing older, I suppose.

I find this part interesting, but not surprising.
In addition to his financial conservatism, the guitarist was politically conservative — the late Ronald Reagan was Ramone's favorite president, Vega said.

Which, of course, is going to make me giggle the next time I see a member of the current crop of disaffected yutes wearing a Ramones shirt. In the meantime, you should all go listen to Rocket to Russia.

"Mom! Kitty Is Being A Dildo!"

Sometimes, it's all just too comical to bear. Darth Apathy pointed me in the direction of Chris Matthews interviewing Kitty Kelley about her new book. I don't watch Chris Matthews because, frankly, I have better to ways to waste my time. I have an X-Box and can get approximately the same level of cogent analysis from playing it than I can get from watching MSNBC. Besides that, he's pretty much a partisan hack and a jackass to boot. However, he did neatly maneuver Ms. Kitty into admitting her book is complete crap. I have to give him credit for that.
MATTHEWS: Here‘s the problem. When you go to sources as a journalist, you‘ve had to do and it I‘ve had to do it. You go and get them to say something at a dinner or a lunch or a maybe over a few drinks, wherever. The minute you turn on the tape-recorder and you say I‘m going public with this with your name on it, they change the story. They don‘t quite have the excitement behind the way they deliver the story. It gets a little less juicy. There‘s something lost when you start to say to a person, I won‘t use your name.
KELLEY: No Chris. No, no. Time out.
MATTHEWS: Go for it. You‘ve got all the time you want.
KELLEY: That didn‘t happen with this, because it was no surprise that Kitty Kelley was doing this book. I didn‘t ambush anybody. Anybody that I approached knew that I was doing it for this book. So it wasn‘t a matter of seductive cocktail conversation and then going back to them. It wasn‘t that way at all.
MATTHEWS: It just stun me that the 700 page book can‘t have one on the record bit of testimony. On the record testimony. When of course, all the noise about this book will be caused by the words you use, and that nobody will stand by those words.

700 pages and no on the record testimony from primary sources? That's a pretty scathing indictment of the book. It's not like I was planning on reading it anyway, but that's just hilarious. If that's how the game is played, I'm gonna write a biography and just make shit up. Much easier than doing all that tedious research, y'know? It seems like that's what Kitty did.

Honestly, that's always been my problem with the coke allegations about Dubya. Cocaine just doesn't fall out of the sky into your nose. There is a chain of people that have to be involved for anybody to get coke, unless your last name is Escobar. Given the nature of the beast, some of them are low-lifes. They have nothing to lose. Why has no-one ever come forward on the record about this supposed cocaine use? If they won't go on record as saying it, they're not credible. Sorry, but that's life. You want me to believe you? Stand up in front of the world and say "Dubya snorted lines off the belly of a naked teenage prostitute and I watched him." Of course, it'll probably turn out that whoever says that can be proven to be in Nome, Alaska when Dubya was in Cozumel, but they'll start with a presumption of credibility. The "unnamed sources allege cocaine use" crap just doesn't fly with most people, unless they're already so partisan they'll believe anything bad about Dubya. Until you get an eyewitness that goes on the record, have a nice hot cup of STFU.



So as I mentioned, J and I spent the weekend in New Orleans. We did what we usually do on our trips there. We wandered around the Quarter with drinks in our hands and looked at the variety of odd things. Occasionally, we purchased some of the things. Breaks were taken to eat, and sleep. Hmm. I don't think I should describe the eating as a "break". The eating is one of the primary reasons for going. New Orleans has more great restaurants per capita than any other place I've been. If I lived there, I would weigh a few hundred more pounds than I do.

Current events may render the following advice useless. However, I continue to hope that the hurricane will not turn New Orleans into a very dirty, obstacle-strewn lake. If Ivan passes by, you might need some restaurant advice. So I present to you my short attention span restaurant reviews, designed for people who want a yes or no answer.

Verdict: Go and Pig Out.
Pros: Delicious Food. Best Turtle Soup in the city.
Cons: Expensive. Sometimes impossible to get in.

Verdict: Yes, indeed.
Pros: Great food. The roasted garlic-reggiano bisque is astounding. Emeril can actually cook. Who knew?
Cons: Popular. Expensive.

Verdict: Go
Pros: Shrimp Arnaud and Potatoes Soufflé. Classic creole cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere.
Cons: You need to dress. Expensive.
(Full disclosure: we got married at Arnaud's, so I have a sentimental attachment to the place.)

Verdict: Skip It
Pros: Great location and good people watching if you get a window seat.
Cons: Mediocre food for the money. Strange waitstaff.

Verdict: If You Don't Already Know, Don't Bother
Pros: It's Krystal: little square hamburgers from my childhood.
Cons: It's Krystal: little square hamburgers. Fast food in New Orleans? Why?

Hopefully this will give you some idea of where to eat in New Orleans if it all doesn't blow away.

Horse Still Dead, Beatings Continue

J sent me a link to a fascinating article. I seem to recall reading this shortly after it came out, but my memory is flawed on the best of days. However, it's good reading and should be brought up again since John Kerry wants to be President. The short summation: John Kerry did his best to cover up the POW/MIA issue when he was supposed to be investigating it. That's a good way to show support for your fellow veterans, isn't it? When you're not busy accusing them of war crimes, that is. After all, I need more reasons to vote against Kerry because the ones I already have are insufficient.

As far as I'm concerned, the abandonment of American forces at the end of the Viet Nam war is one of the most shameful things the federal government has ever done. When you ask someone to go into harm's way on your behalf, you owe them an honest effort to get them back. Instead, the US sent people off to a foreign land to kill and die and walked away when it became politically inexpedient to try to retrieve them. I place the blame equally on both political parties, because everyone was more interested at the time in closing down the war and getting the hell out. Nobody was interested in nagging, inconvenient questions like 'Have we accounted for all of our troops?' Instead, the government concluded an agreement with the communists and wrote off a bunch of guys and left them to rot in communist prison camps. Nice to see that loyalty thing is reciprocal for all us troops, huh?

Sex on the Brain

Once again, it is proven that anything has references to sex if you look hard enough. Here's a cautionary tale by an author of children's books.


Long Slide

Lee Smith pointed out something that's been dimly in the back of my mind for a long time. I've never believed the Palestinian Authority was a legitimate government, mainly because it was headed by a murdering bastard. Mr. Smith points out the ugly truth that dealing with Arafat was what popularized terrorism as a tactic. It's been a long slide down a slippery slope since 1974. Sadly, not enough people have realized the problem. As was mentioned in another context recently, behavior which is rewarded is repeated. Arafat was rewarded with more than he ever dreamed was possible. Is it any wonder we got more terrorism because of it?

Mr. Harris also points out the failures of multi-culturalism, but that's a subject for another, much longer post.


J and I spent the weekend in New Orleans, so posting has been light. I will get around to some details of our trip over the next few days. It appears we left the city at just the right time. Paul at Wizbang! lives in New Orleans, and is understandably concerned with the path of the hurricane.

My mother-in-law has lived in both the Florida Keys and New Orleans, and sat out hurricanes in both locations. I mentioned I'd rather be in NOLA than the Keys. She disagreed, for many of the same reasons Paul mentioned. The city is a bowl that lies under water. Once the water gets in, there's no place for it to go. I realize the hurricane is going to hammer someone. I really hope it's not New Orleans, for many completely selfish and one altruistic reason. The selfish reasons aren't germane, but the altruistic one is: The death toll if this storm lays the smackdown on NOLA is going to be a lot higher than if it hits anywhere else. I am simply crossing my fingers and hoping it deviates to somewhere else.


AWB Expiring

Well, it's about goddamned time. The unholy excrement that is the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban is set to expire on Monday. Can I just state for the record what a useless turd this bill was? Anybody who thinks it accomplished anything at all needs to go outside and tell me what color the sky is on their world. The idea that restricting what law abiding people do affects how criminals act has always baffled me. Criminals do not obey the law, it's inherent in the definition of the word.

The ban is yet another policy stance where President Bush has greatly annoyed me. He has stated he will sign the ban if it is reauthorized. He's already shown he has no problem eviscerating the 1st Amendment, let's keep going down the list! Screw that. One of the many reasons why my plan to vote for Bush in the fall bugs the crap out of me. (See also : sailor, drunken, spend like a)

I have no problem with my Senators or my Representative on this particular issue. Republicans from Texas don't vote for gun control, at least not if they want to get reelected. My other problem is how the media reports on this issue. Eugene Volokh does a masterful takedown of Reuters (surprise!) for their incredibly biased coverage of the issue. Commentary on this issue is everywhere, and as usual, most of it is ill-informed. Check this post for more hilarity.

Of course, I realize not everybody shares my position on the 2nd Amendment. I'm well past reasonable on this issue. I figure the document means what it says: my right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. If I want to keep a Patriot missile launcher in my backyard, I should be able to have one. I see no difference in kind between a pistol, a general purpose squad machine gun, or a howitzer. They are all arms. If I can keep weapons stored safely and use them in a responsible fashion, it is no business of anyone's what those weapons are. This puts me well out in the lunatic fringe on this issue, but that's okay. The Cheshire Cat and I feel right at home there.


Candy-Assed Internationalists for Kerry

So a recent poll indicates that an overwhelming majority of whiny, weak, socialist America haters who don’t matter to the electoral process prefer John Kerry over George Bush, and I’m not even talking about American Democrats. Is anybody really surprised by this?

Just remember, this is the kind of crap that the "one worlders" want for all of us.

No Great Loss

I see from my Yahoo news feed that Richard Butler is dead. He died in his sleep. Somehow, I just can't seem to muster up any sympathy. I guess I'm just insensitive.

Clueless Educated People

This is probably going to be the first in a series, since there are many, many, many clueless educated people out there. Some days, I probably qualify. Today's subjects are those fine professionals known as architects. The profession requires a fair amount of education, last time I checked. (2000, when I was browsing the graduate programs at UT, if you're really all that curious as to when I checked.) The profession seems to require a certain amount of brains for effectiveness. So why is it that architects, as a class, have such crappy websites?

I'll freely admit that the only way to truly appreciate a building is to go see it, walk through it, stand around and look at it, and in short, experience the building from both inside and out. Now having said that, what's the second best way to get an idea of how a building looks and might function? If you said pictures, give yourself a cookie or a scooby snack or something and clap your hands in childish glee.

Now, if pictures are the next best thing, what medium out there is relatively cheap, inherently visual, and widely accessible to the kinds of people that might be in the market for an architect? If you said the Web, repeat the previous exercise with cookies and glee. You're batting a thousand so far.

So why do so many architects include either no pictures or tiny thumbnails of their projects? I want to see nice big photos of buildings you have designed. Lots of photos, lots of angles. Digital photography is cheap nowadays. The incremental cost of a few more pixels approaches zero. Two thumbnails ain't what I'm hoping to see. Yeah, that's definitely a building. A 100 x 100 pixel image doesn't tell me much more than that. One spectacularly clueless fellow was kind enough to give me the addresses of his projects. No pictures, mind you, just the addresses. Great! Like I've got the time to drive around looking at houses to figure out if you have the slightest shred of talent. Figure the odds on that one, architect boy. I want to see your building on my monitor to get some idea if you're even worth checking out further.

I get the impression that some of these people have a website because it's the thing to do these days. Not much thought went into what the site is trying to accomplish. A valuable promotional tool, wasted on the clueless.

It's not as close as you think...

With the collective meltdown of the left beginning so soon—I saw it coming, only in October instead of now—much woohooing has been made of these “right track/wrong track” poll numbers. If you’re not familiar with the concept, or if you’ve never participated in any type of poll, one of the questions often asked will have something to do with whether you believe that policies, the economy, or the country is generally headed in the right direction, or the wrong direction. The leftmedia are claiming that because somewhere between 48-52% of people polled are answering that so-called “things” in America are on the “wrong track”, that somehow the country is divided and Kerry is still running a close race to Bush. To this, I say good grief…for people who are portrayed to be so damned cerebral, they must be among the biggest idiots on the planet.

As much as the left wants to forget that people like me exist, it is inescapable. I am one of those folks who poll conservative, extremely likely to vote, extremely likely to vote for the President’s re-election, and of the opinion that the country is headed in the wrong direction. “Wait a minute,” you say, “how can this be?” Sure, the automatic assumption is that if you’re in favor of the President, that you would naturally believe that things are going well. Any person who has listened to a group of conservatives sitting around bitching about letting “me be philosopher-king for a day” will know that things couldn’t be further from the truth. Based upon no science whatsoever, I will still safely predict that the particular strata of pro-Bush/wrong track thinking society accounts for somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/3 of poll respondents; somewhere in line with those who identify themselves as very conservative, or even conservative/libertarian.

Here is the missing follow-up question: why? Why is the country on the wrong track/right track? For people like me, the reasons could never be remedied by a Democrat administration. I may not agree with President Bush’s bloated domestic spend-spree, I am convinced that the most likely way to eliminate activist liberal judges, high taxes, and bigger government is through pursuit of a truly conservative/semi-libertarian agenda. In short, Republican conservatives and libertarians accept that we must settle for the best of what we have, because the alternative is simply a disaster. Bush does OK, but he could do better; Kerry will certainly do worse.

If you are interested in how polling works, but don’t want to be bored with the Political Science jargon, I highly recommend a few chapters in Dick Morris’ book, “Off With Their Heads…” does a very entertaining and thorough job of explaining the mechanics of the art (or science if you believe it so) of polling, including how bias is manifested in weighting. The rest of the book is a bit of a waste, with Mr. Morris as literary master of articulating his personal greatness and brilliance ad-freakin’-nauseum, but if you can pick it up at a discount
, the polling sections definitely make it worthwhile. I wish I had this reference when I was studying Political Science methods during my undergraduate career.

Medals and Awards

Blackfive pointed me towards a post by a Marine Major currently serving in Iraq. The portion that I want to discuss is down near the bottom.

Napoleon’s bewilderment likely arouse from his observations of the staff officers who surrounded him 24/7. My review of more than 250 Bronze Stars awarded thus far in 2004 seems to bear this idea out.. Of those, nearly 90% went to officers. Of the 100+ Bronze Stars with the “V” device I reviewed the ratio was substantially better with 60% of the awards going to officers.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that of the Bronze Star awards that went to enlisted soldiers, most of those went to senior (E-7 and above) enlisted personnel. I can make this statement without much fear of contradiction because this is the exact same phenomenon I observed after Desert Sheild/Storm back when I was a youth. The lifers gave each other awards. I am not shocked to find it happening again. I'm not saying it's right, but it is the way the game is played. It is much more important as an officer to have the appropriate awards and get your ticket punched than it is as an enlisted soldier. So, the officers tend to buddy up and give each other awards because they all know it's necessary for the career track. This isn't the case for the enlisted troops. If you're a competent NCO and attend the right schools, you'll get promoted. It's pretty much a no-brainer. The awards or lack thereof don't affect the process much. I've had First Sergeants with fewer awards than I had as a Specialist (not counting the NCO Professional Development ribbon and similar fluff). The senior enlisted troops that got these awards were the NCOICs of the staff sections at squadron or regiment, i.e. the NCOs that spent all their time with officers.

Please note that this applies only to the Bronze Star without V. I can't speak to how the the Bronze Star with V devices are awarded. I don't recall any of those in my squadron, so I have no personal knowledge.


Good Start

Well, football started over the holiday weekend. My team performed pretty well, beating poor hapless UNT by 65 points. I sure hope the athletic department at UNT appreciates the ass-whuppin' their kids took in order for UNT to garner some additional revenue. Did anyone seriously expect Texas to lose to North Texas? It's neat that the 'Horns can beat the second string, but that doesn't really matter.

What matters this season? Oklahoma. We are rapidly reaching the point where Mack Brown has to beat Oklahoma to keep his job. I have long held the contention that to keep your job as head football coach at the University of Texas, you have to do three things.
  1. Go to a bowl game.
  2. Beat A&M.
  3. Beat Oklahoma.
If you can do these things consistently, you'll keep your job at Texas. The bowl game is almost a forgone conclusion these days, so that might need some revision. There's about 25 bowl games nowadays. There's just over a hundred Division 1-A teams. Half of Division 1-A goes to a bowl game. I think the Longhorn Foundation membership wants a major bowl game, not the Who Cares Bowl. Given how mediocre A&M has been the last few years, that one isn't much of a challenge either. What's left? Beating Oklahoma. The clock is ticking for Coach Brown at this point.


What is that Giant Sucking Sound?

So Bill’s having a bypass and I’m having my cynical thoughts. Follow me and re-shoe the foot, if you will. Pretend for a small exercise that we are talking about a Democrat incumbent, the day after his big successful convention speech, with a big bounce on the horizon, and a former Republican President is checked into the hospital for heart surgery. What would be the questions asked by the leftist talking hairdos? Here are the ones I can come up with on the fly.

(assume typical annoying, patronizing tone of voice here)

“The former President stated that he had been having chest pains for a few days, so is it more than a coincidence that he chose to steal the spotlight from the incumbent and go to the hospital the very day after such a successful speech?

“Is it any surprise, given his consistent fast food diet, that he would have coronary problems at such a young age?”

“Some (always the famous “some”) are wondering if this is why he refused to release his medical records for the 8 years of his Presidency? Does he have a medical history of heart problems he was hiding from the American people? Did he ever have heart problems while in office? Was his confidence in his Vice President so shaken that he was hiding it from him also? What did the Vice President know, and when did he know it? Who was really running the government?”

“Is the former President intentionally avoiding campaigning with his party’s nominee this year? Is there a rift in the party? Is he attempting to set up his party’s candidate to lose so that he can clear the way for his wife’s nomination in 2008?”

(insert dramatic pause)

OK, enough, I’m tired.

Thank goodness this didn’t happen while Bulbous Bill was actually in office, or the VRWC would’ve been suspect number one…Newt Gingrich would've run a close second. Furthermore, Al “screaming flopsweat” Gore would’ve assumed the duties of the President and as unhinged as he is, he probably would’ve done something either disasterous or embarrassing to the country. He would’ve been flailing about, attempting to sign Kyoto, or peeing on the White House lawn, leaving wet sweat prints all over the oval office furniture, or maybe violently bellowing some insanity at a foreign dignitary. Who knows, the man is insane.

Back to commentary on the current Democrat candidate, I’m betting that John Kerry is secretly heaving one huge sigh of relief, having that self-promoting egomaniac relatively bedside and not spewing his annoying brand of charisma all over the campaign trail. Let’s face it, it must be painful to constantly have to perpetrate the lie that Clinton has a coattail to help anybody other than himself get elected. Not even a remnant of wedgied underpants has he. Of course, a lot of the press coverage today has been all about President “Super Size” and his secret hospital sexcapades. Yeah, so there have been no official reports of Clinton trying to get a sponge bath out of nurse Ratchet, but you know in your heart he did it anyway.

I half heard on some news report at work, via streaming radio, about how Senator Kerry’s “message” is being drowned out by the former President’s illness. What does that say to me? That still--confined and from a hospital bed--Bill Clinton is sucking the life out the Democratic Party.

Hail to the Chief: The Convention's Final Day

Charlie Daniels sings a song called “It’s not a Rag, It’s a Flag”. Well ladies and gentlemen, the Star Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States of America, the greatest country on Earth. It is not a pop song, it isn’t R&B and it ain’t country. The piece has a proper score, and those who are asked to perform it should follow that score—to the letter and the note. What brings about this rant is that a very talented singer by the name of Nicole Mullen last night attempted to make herself the next Whitney Houston by singing a rousing R&B version of the anthem that was about as equally offensive to me as the version Rosanne belted out in the ballpark a few years back. Sing the song people--as it is written—and pay attention to the bold music and the significant lyrics. It is pretty and moving on its own. Attempts to embellish with vocal runs and catchy beats imply that it is somehow inferior. This piece is better than anything you “arteests” can do to it. Sing it as written, or don’t sing it at all.

On to convention matters…I liked the set alteration for the final night of festivities , the big round presidential seal in the center of the arena was a very nice touch; kind of makes me want one. The podium is still ugly. I still loathe the podium. I hope it is burned as scrap. I am grateful that I will never again have to look at it.

I have come to the conclusion that my definition of a good speaker apparently doesn’t meet the same criteria as others. I have read countless analyses of Dick Cheney’s so called weak oration, and today read more regarding the eloquent delivery by Tommy Franks and the subsequent inability of Governor Pataki. I think my views on Vice President Cheney have been made abundantly clear, so I won’t waste another post about my deep admiration for the man. I thought that General Franks’ speech was well written and choppily delivered, while Governor Pataki’s speech was very thoughtful and humorous with an easy style. So, hey, what do I know? I mean, other than Zell Miller’s entire speech, Pataki had one of the better lines of the entire convention when he said, “You know, as Republicans we're lucky. This fall we're going to win one for the Gipper. But our opponents - they're going lose one with the Flipper.” Amen to that.

I was very impressed with the video narrated by Fred Thompson, and thought President Bush’s entry to the stage was one of the best I had ever seen, and I have sat though a few of these in my lifetime. Yes, I admit it, I am one of the geeks who watches old convention speeches on CSPAN, so THPPPT!!!! But President Bush’s entry was very understated and very cool. The glittering flag screens floating across the silent stage, that crossed and parted to reveal the President. My reaction was wow…just wow…

President Bush did, in my opinion, exactly what he needed to do last night; he reminded the average, non-politics following American why he or she genuinely likes President Bush. With all of the beating the President has taken in the media lately, I honestly believe that people had forgotten…but no more. He talked a little about his history, about the accomplishments of his administration, about what he wanted to do at home and abroad, and about his opponent. It was a very well written, well delivered speech.

Here are my complaints…oh now, you know they were coming. First, it did run a little long. That’s OK though, he’s the President, so he can do that and screw me if I don’t like it. Second, I will always get a little hinky when he starts promising to throw around American dollars on some new government program. I would have preferred that he promised to abolish the department of education, eliminate the tax code, and tell the UN to starve and go to hell. I also realize that I am only one of about 25-30% of the American voters who believe this way, and that no matter how you play the game, 30% of the vote gets you nothing but creamed. So, I patiently hold my nose while he plays the “new government program” game to appeal to the quasi-socialist political middle.

He did promise to overhaul the tax code, allow younger people to privatize a portion of their social security, and expand medical savings accounts; so I can make it through without screaming obscenities at the television. Hey Mr. Bush, if we’re not going all the way for the NST, I sure would be OK with another tax cut. My biggest satisfaction was his promise to continue his military doctrine and troop support; and in the grand scheme of life, that is really the only thing that matters this year anyway. Both sides of the aisle can debate whatever issues they want, but if one drooling idiot Islamofascist gets his hands on a nuke and sets it off in this country, it is all over but the crying. Everything else goes away, and we’re all dead.

In sum, I believe the Republican Convention was the vast success that the Democrat Convention was not. I watched all I could, came away from the Democrat affair feeling not particularly worried, and finished off the Republican event feeling absolutely energized…even if it meant sleep depravation in the interim. I can say with a smile that I’m glad this four year part of the ordeal is over, and am happier still to return to our regularly scheduled blogging program.

Atkins' Side Effects

I don't have any problems with people who want to lose weight. Good on ya' and have a nice time with your bad self. I get perturbed when your weight loss problems start to interfere with my dining enjoyment. I also don't care what you're trying to do and what you can't eat. Don't tell me that you can't have a slice of bread because you're on Atkins. So what? Conversationally, it's like me telling you I don't eat babies because I'm not a cannibal. Who cares what you do or don't eat? Politely turn down what is not on your diet of the month and eat your protein. The Atkins people are annoyingly militant sometimes, and I really want this diet fad to go away.

Which is why I delight in stories like this one. Side effects? I'm shocked. Really, I am. Eat less and exercise more. If you're unwilling to do that, have a nice cup of STFU and don't complain when your brain falls out your ears from carbohydrate deficiency.

Delegate Dysfunction

Matt Welch has been asking RNC delegates a simple question: "Why should a small-government libertarian vote for Bush?" The answers (I, II, III, IV) have been uniformly pretty bad. That's not to say that more articulate efenants can't make that case, just that the delegates may not be the people to be asking. The primary way one gets to be a delegate, in my experience, is by doing a lot of grass roots work for the party. The people that do the work are not usually the deep thinkers of the party. This is not to imply that these people are stupid, and most are far from it. They know why they support the GOP, but may not be able to make a case to you why you should.

However, judging from the pictures I've seen, the delegates excel at one thing: wearing silly hats. Something about the convention inspires these people to strap on any ridiculous thing to cover the brainpan.

Batter Fried Sausage

I broke down and fixed the batter-fried sausage for dinner last night. Fried food for dinner and politics on the TV. Ah, the wild life of excitement we lead here at YPS. Anyhow, the sausage turned out quite well. Just in case you're motivated to try it yourself, I'll share with you my secrets.

Beer batter:
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup beer
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk in the wet ingredients until a smooth consistency is reached. (Works great for shrimp and mushrooms, too) The type of beer you use is going to have a marked effect on how the batter turns out. A cheap American swill (like say, Miller Lite) works pretty good. You may adjust the seasonings to something you prefer. This isn't hot, it just has enough cayenne to make you know something's there.

Take one sausage (kielbasa type, not breakfast links or patties) of whatever variety you prefer and cut into two inch pieces. I used a smoked garlic sausage from a local company. Dump the sausage chunks into the batter and let them soak for a bit. While that's going on, heat your oil up to 350 F. Once your oil gets hot, dump in your battered chunks. Give them about three minutes and they'll be nice and crispy and brown. Serve with condiments, like mustard or ranch dressing.
I also fried some extra batter to make little crispy bits. I accidentally made a fried batter ball in the process. I'm toying with the idea of trying to make a funnel cake with beer batter. I don't see why that wouldn't be good with a little mustard, kind of like a mutated fried pretzel. I need a good funnel for that, though, or one of those gadgets they sell on TV for funnel cake making. I also wonder if blanching the chunks for a minute or so to get a little of the grease out of them first might not be a bad idea. I could use up some of the leftover beer that way, too.

I'm thinking the fried sausage and the two Boddingtons I drank contributed to me falling asleep on J during Dubya's speech.