Monday, June 30, 2003

WATCH THIS GUY AND YOU'LL NEVER EAT ANOTHER HOT DOG

What's your personal record at one sitting? Three hot dogs? Four? How about 50?

The world's champ is getting tuned up as we speak for the annual Coney Island chow down on July 4th.

But here's the kicker. The world champ is Japanese, he's 5' 7", weighs 130 and has a 30 inch waist. And yes, last year he ate 50 1/2 hot dogs (with buns) in 12 minutes. That's one every 16.6 seconds. And no, they don't have to put catsup, mustard or relish on them. But they do dip them in water first, so they slide down more easily.

I know --- gross. Really gross.

Only in New York, right?


3 MONTHS? HOW ABOUT 3 DAYS?

As I said before, anyone who believes this supposed "cease-fire" between Israel and the various terror groups will actually last more than a few days is seriously optimistic.

For no other reason, the "cease-fire" documents aren't exactly "OK, we'll stop blowing ourselves up". They're "OK, we'll stop blowing ourselves up, provided Israel does a whole bunch of things that we don't have to do." Read this drivel here.

UPDATE: Three hours?


I'LL BE BACK!

It's fitting.

With the mess that Gray Davis has visited on California, it looks like the recall thing is a virtual slam-dunk. And is appears Davis is bone-headed enough to not resign (which would automatically make the Lieutenant Governor the new Governor, rendering the recall moot).

And the leading candidate in the recall voting appears to be . . . The Terminator himself! Believe it now.


HOW NOT TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE

What with the Michigan Law School case being a big news item last week, you'd think it would be awhile before discrimination in university admissions hit a new low. Wrong again.

Seems that an Oxford (the one in the UK, not Ohio) professor told a PhD candidate he would not be welcome. Why? He is an Israeli who served in the Israeli army. The professor who delivered the bads news said:

"Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they [the Palestinians] wish to live in their own country.

"I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another lab if you look around."


The good news is the professor has now issued an apology and the university has indicated he did not speak for Oxford. The professor is being investigated, but the potential student has indicated he will not go where he's not welcome.

The entire article is available (after registration) here.


FLAG ON THE PLAY

With all the other problems kicking around these days, you'd think that the Senate Majority Leader (Bill Frist) would have better things to do. But no-o-o.

On ABC yesterday, he advocated a Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marraiges.

The Republicans already have the religious right nailed down. Why say this? It isn't a major issue and can only divert attention from issues that are really important.

I'm a little ticked that folks in Washington aren't more focused on fixing the Mid East, fixing some of the still-remaining domestic economy issues, and generally staying out of the business of interfering with people's personal lives. I voted for Bush -- not Pat Robertson.


Friday, June 27, 2003

IT'S OFFICIAL, DEAN WINS!

Well, he didn't actually win anything, but Howard Dean did come in first amongst the "nine dwarfs" in an online vote-in for folks who chose their favorite Democratic candidate. It was conducted by the moveon.org PAC, who stated they would endorse (translation: contribute to their campaign) any candidate who got over 50% of the vote.

What is astounding to me is that Dennis Kucinich came in 2nd. I've seen Dennis here in Cleveland, up close and personal -- first, when he was a city councilman 30 years ago and today, when he's in Washington as a Congressman, acting as loony as ever. He has a well-earned nickname -- "Dennis the Menace". And he didn't earn it because he's a cute little blond boy with a cowlick.

What's even more astounding is over 50% said they'd support Carol Mosely Braun if she won the nomination. THAT IS SCARY. What that says is they would accept a person randomly selected from the phonebook over G.W. Bush.

And Joe Lieberman, our Senator when we lived in Connecticut, got less than 2% of the vote. I guess Joe just isn't liberal enough.

If I were a Democrat, I'd be saving my powder for 2008. 2004 looks like trouble, with a capital "T".


READ VICTOR . . . INCREASE THE NUMBER OF YOUR BRAIN CELLS

Just click the Victor Davis Hanson link at the top right of the page.

Great column today on the new paradigm of the United States role in the World.


HMM -- WHAT TO SAY? IF I WERE A JUNKIE, I WOULDN'T GO THERE

In Vancouver, BC, the provincial government is setting up a "shooting gallery". Drug addicts will be able to enter the "12-seat facility" where they can shoot up under medical supervision (free needles) and then adjourn to a "chill out" room. Doesn't say what they'll do there, or whether music will be piped in or, if so, what kind. I'd opt for Wagner's Valkyrie or maybe just a continuous loop of Disney's It's A Small World, just to scare the bejeesus out of 'em.

I don't know. I'm assuming that most junkies, fairly high up there on the paranoiac scale, might feel a little inhibited about going into a place that looks like a health clinic. Also, a junkie without drugs might be motivated to mug folks headed in to the clinic to get their drugs.

I could be wrong.


EXPECT TO HEAR A LOT OF SCARE SPEECH BASED ON JUNK MATH & SCIENCE

Here's a good example of the problem.

Whether it's cancer or the ozone layer/global warming/greenhouse gases, expect voluminous commentary supported by junk math and/or science right through until election day next November.

And the story line will play a familiar three-chord harmony:

Bush Administration, Republican-controlled Congress, conservative bench, big bad corporations -- all part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

Poor, dumb American citizens -- victims.

Democratic party -- knights in shining armor with billions of taxpayer money in their saddlebags.

Let the games begin!


YET ANOTHER KENNEDY OPENS MOUTH, INSERTS FOOT, LEG, ETC.

From the Washington Post:

As sometimes happens with Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), he let his mouth race ahead of his brain Wednesday night at a gathering of Young Democrats at the Washington nightspot Acropolis. After presidential candidate Howard Dean spoke, Kennedy delivered an impassioned peroration against President Bush's tax cut. We hear that Kennedy told the crowd: "I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked a [bleeping] day in my life." With that he got the audience's attention -- the dropping-jaws kind. "He droned on and on, frequently mentioning how much better the candidates would sound the more we drank," a witness told us. "Finally, he had to be stopped by a DNC volunteer." Kennedy's spokesman, Ernesto Anguilla, told us yesterday: "He was talking to the crowd; it was a rally-the-troops kind of speech about the tax cut. He was energizing the crowd and got caught up in it and used an unfortunate word, which he regrets using. . . . And no one pulled him off the stage.

I'm sure his constituents were happy to hear he's never worked a day in his life.

Actually, maybe I should applaud his outburst for its honesty. At few points in the past has any Kennedy been willing to admit that, since they all live off a trust established by Joseph Kennedy, Sr., none of them have to work. And those who do, really don't.


YIN - YANG

Andrew Sullivan's leading post today:

SODOMY LEGAL IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Strom Thurmond dead. On the same day. It's a funny old world, isn't it?

As I was driving to work this morning and heard that Strom had passed away, I knew I had to make some comment. I think Andrew's post is good enough for me.


Thursday, June 26, 2003

AND EUROPEANS COMPLAIN THAT AMERICANS ARE DRUG-CRAZY?

This is kind of shocking -- 9 of 10 Euros in Germany have traces of cocaine on them. Why?

Rolled up, they are great for snorting.

But 9 of 10? Is anyone in Germany sober?


COULTER AT FULL VOLUME

In her new book Treason, Ann Coulter uses the liberal establishment for target practice, with weapons as varied as a verbal jab and a neutron bomb.

She reserves some of her heaviest munitions for her rant about liberals' treatment of Joseph McCarthy.

In her post today about "McCarthyism", she defines her characterization of the liberals as treason of the worst form.


A NEW LOOK -- CHANGE IS GOOD, RIGHT??


Since I am easily bored, I couldn't resist changing the look of the blog now that summer is really here. Look for a more boring, somber look when the leaves change. And a really black and depressing look when the snow starts falling.




YET ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO AVOID CALIFORNIA FREEWAYS

Trick question: can an illegal alien easily obtain a California driving license? (Remember that about 99% of the time you have to produce a picture ID, a driving license is the best ID).

Of course, the answer is: maybe not today, but we'll fix that!!

What's disheartening is that it's being couched as providing immigrants with a means to earn an income. But that implies that it will encourage fraud. How's that, you say? Simple, in order for an employer to process the forms necessary for hiring (specifically the DOJ Form I-9), they must acknowledge that they have physically seen two forms of ID. One can include a driving license, but the other must be a birth certificate or other form showing citizenship or a Social Security Card (which requires birth certificate/passport/green card, etc.).

By definition (if everyone's following the rules), these folks cannot be legally employed in any work other than certain jobs in agriculture, which allows undocumented workers under specific rules.

Only in California . . .


THOUGHT OF THE DAY (ALSO, BILL CLINTON'S SECRET TO LIFE)

“I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.” - Garrison Keillor


OUT THERE, UNDERNEATH THE DATE PALM

At this rate, it might take another 10 years for the US to find WMDs in Iraq.

Yesterday's story about finding millions of nuclear weapons documents and parts from a uranium enrichment system in the backyard of an Iraqi scientist gives new meaning to "taking your work home".


WHAT IF LEE BRENDSEL RAN ENRON AND KEN LAY RAN FREDDIE MAC?

They didn't, but it's interesting (as a student of business "blow ups") that Ken Lay (ex Chairman of Enron) lost his job for massively overstating Enron's earnings, while Brendsel (ex Chairman of Freddie Mac) lost his job for massively understating income.


HILLARY, WHAT BEAUTIFUL, BLUE EYES YOU HAVE

No, I'm not trying out new pick-up lines, especially not THAT one.

But it seems that Matt Drudge noticed something about the junior Senator from New York. Yep, her eye color has changed.

What will all the no makeup, androgenous gals say if they see this? Vanity, thy name is woman?

Surely, this isn't for Bill's benefit.


DAVID WARREN ON THE SITUATION IN IRAN

I've said many kind things about David Warren. His piece on Iran today is another gem.

He makes the point that Iran is the "example". It's the theocracy the Islamic idealists can point to that has been in existence the longest. But it's crumbling from within. No external threat, this time (unless you consider the fact we could have 100,000 US troops in Tehran in about 48 hours), but a threat from different idealists -- the Iranian students.

The ayatollahs must have their panties in a bunch.

But David points to all the others who might have their panties in a bunch as well -- terrorists, Syria, the North Koreans and, yes, France.

Lets hope the students give them all a wedgie, and soon.


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

VOTE FOR ME. I'M EASILY FOOLED.

Chris Hitchens takes a few shots at John Kerry, whom he paints to be in ". . .the phalanx of a rather dubious movement: those who would have left the whole issue of Saddam Hussein alone had Bush not chosen to raise it."

Well deserved. This echoes the comments I made a couple of months ago when I railed about politicians whose whole viewpoint can be summed up as "vote for me because the other guy sucks". No constructive programs or policies. Just bitching and moaning.


THE MICHIGAN LAW SCHOOL CASE -- NO ONE LIKES THIS ONE

Michael Kinsley, editor of Slate, goes off on Justice O'Connor's opinion. Kinsley, a lifelong left wing commentator, doesn't like what the opinion says for a minute.

Which brings up an interesting question. The right doesn't like it. The (rational) left doesn't appear to like it. Who likes it? Seems to me the only people who like it, like it solely because they were afraid the Supreme Court would ban all affirmative action.


GENE, SCHMEENE, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

As the Euro-babble goes, genetically altered crops must be bad/evil/not to be trusted inside our borders. Why? Uh, you know, like they might be bad for you or something.

As long as I can remember, when you'd drive through the countryside in the US, you'd see the signs. Remember them? A big yellow ear of corn with the word "hybrid" on it. And for longer than that, we've grown and consumed genetically-engineered crops. If we didn't, we'd be far less productive and would spend a whole lot more on fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

What seems to have everyone all twitchy is you can make genetic alterations at the gene level rather than by simple cross-breeding (more cumbersome, but scientifically no different). Why is that a big deal? Gee -- think it could be that virtually all the research and use of genetically-altered crops has occured here and not there?

What's even more insidious is that the Euros have brow-beat the African countries into accepting the Euro standard since the Africans couldn't export any of their surplus to the Euro-weenies. Who knows how many fewer Africans would be starving to death this year if they could use some of the super-seeds.


LOWERING THE BAR

As more and more states continue to fail in their quest to educate, they seem to do everything to avoid acknowledging this fact. The latest example is New York's voiding of math test scores on their standardized testing when only 37% of students scored a passing grade.

Too many states just keep lowering the bar to ensure they don't have to force poorly educated kids to remain in school until they learn something.

Who picks up the tab? For one, American industry does, with ever-increasing expenses to train unskilled, semi-literate high school "graduates".

It makes you wonder whether the situation would change if teachers' pay was performance-based.


I AM NOT A CROOK!

OK OK, it wasn't Richard Nixon, but Howard Dean did (without thinking) talk about "breaking into the country club of Democratic insiders".

So what?

Well, seems a few days before his remark, his son was arrested for breaking into a country club with some buddies of his to steal some alcoholic beverages.

Nice choice of words, Howard.


Tuesday, June 24, 2003

IS IT OVER ALREADY?

At lunchtime, I was trolling on amazon.com for something to read.

Lo and behold, Ms. H.R. Clinton's mammoth bestseller is, what? already down to #9, being supplanted by the likes of the Harry Potter Boxed Set, the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ann Coulter's Treason, a cookbook, and the re-release of Steinbecks East of Eden.

The vast right-wing conspiracy at work again!


JUDGE JUDY???

No surprise that almost two-thirds of Americans can't name even one Supreme Court justice. With all the bitching everyone does about the Court, wouldn't you think they'd actually know at least one?


I JUST GOT UP ONE MORNING AND DECIDED THERE WERE A LOT OF KIDS GETTING A CRAPPY EDUCATION

Yeah, I've said that, but I'm not a liberal Democrat. A liberal Democrat said that . . . the mayor of Washington, DC.

Why did he say it (aside from its truth)? He finally concluded that school vouchers were the only rational answer.

Read this column for more insight into what the author believes will be the "wave" of the year. One can only hope.


ARE THESE TWO CASES REALLY THAT DIFFERENT?

In Texas, a woman runs into a man whose head and torso get stuck in her windshield. She drives home, calmly parks in her garage, and let's the guy bleed out. You've heard about it. She goes on trial today, and there are some who've said the death penalty would be too kind.

In Arizona, a man runs into another man walking across the street. His head and body break the windshield, but he falls to the ground, where he is left to die. The driver claims he thought he hit an animal. You've seen the story, right?

Are they that different? Why?


THINK ARAFAT IS A FRIEND OF PEACE? AND THAT LIBYA IS STAYING "OUT OF IT"?

Wrong and wrong.

A story reported yesterday by the San Francisco Chronicle follows the money.

From Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, to bank accounts controlled by Arafat to underwrite the terror activities of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the paramilitary wing of Arafat's Fatah movement.

When is the world going to see that Arafat has never once invested in the peace process? He is funding the killing of children while the PA Prime Minister appears to be trying to get other groups to stop blowing themselves up for at least a couple of weeks. They are certainly playing the "good cop, bad cop" thing to an extreme.

As a story I saw on TV a few weeks ago pointed out, Arafat's "no more terroism" speeches are delivered in English, with cameras and microphones in attendance, but when translated into his language, it's heard as "no more Israeli terrorism".

Maybe the next time the Israelis have him in the crosshairs, they should give the sniper the green light.


YOU'D THINK WE WOULD'VE SETTLED THIS ISSUE YEARS AGO

Finally, the Supreme Court has added a bit more clarity to the "do's and don't's" of racial preference, though I read two or three news accounts that didn't really get the difference between the two Michigan cases. And the articles being written certainly say something about the political leaning of the writers and their editors. It was a day of "Supreme Court Limits Racial Preference in Admissions" and "Supreme Court Affirms Racial Preference In Admissions" and "Affirmative Action Upheld, But Court Sets Limits". It's one of those that's easy to see "half full" or "half empty" or "neither".

If you've got the time, though, read the decisions. You might be surprised to see what's actually said, including the voices of the dissenting justices, whose words are rarely printed in the media. To read the opinion on the Michigan Law School Case go to Grutter v. Bollinger, and for the Michigan undergraduate case go to Gratz v. Bollinger.


TENNIS ANYONE?

Not unhappy to see Hewitt smacked around by a worthy opponent yesterday. He's way too humorless to be likeable.

I finally decided that's the problem with way too many professional athletes. Some (Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath) are/were genuinely likeable because they can smile while they're annihilating their opposition on the field of play. Others (Bjorn Borg is the best example I can think of) are every bit as interesting as watching a lecture on the cell structure of plants. They play their sport to a level that is just enough better than the other guy to win and, while they show emotion, they rarely exhibit joy.

Andy Roddick, however, is the real deal. With his new coach, he is my choice for the men's winner at Wimbledon.


Monday, June 23, 2003

SEPARATION OF POWERS? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' SEPARATION OF POWERS!

Absolute power corrupts.

Talk about a guy who is already fantasizing about abusing presidential power, read this story.

The money quote from Rep. Dick (appropriate name) Gephardt:

"When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day," Gephardt said.

Rep Gephardt, meet Mr. Constitution. Mr. Constitution, meet Rep. Clueless. How arrogant can you get?


WE NEED CATALYTIC CONVERTERS FOR COWS, PART 2

Theory: methane gases from cows and sheep are major contributors to the "greenhouse gas" problem.

Solution: tax cow and sheep farts.

Fact: New Zealand is about to do it.


Friday, June 20, 2003

CIAO FOR NOW

We're off to the northwoods, er, Toronto. So another short Friday.

Yes, I have my anti-SARS protection gear (common sense), so I think survival is assured.

And I have a handful of Jean Chretien jokes, just to make sure I let folks know that we know that most Canadians (outside of Quebec) think he's a raving twit.


AL TV? GORE TV? DUMBASS TV? BORING DRIVEL TV?

What are they gonna call it? You haven't heard? Seems the former ex-used-to-be Vice President under Clinton is shopping a deal with investors for -- surprise -- a "progressive" cable TV channel (read: way more liberal-leaning than CNN or ABC). Why? Because the mainstream media is so damn conservative.

Anyway, after you stop laughing long enough to be able to click on the left button of your mouse, click THIS for a great fisking of the story about this deal.


GUILT 101

What the . . ?

Hear about some of the new "course" offerings on campus these days? How about "Whiteness Studies". No, not a typo. Whiteness Studies.

Of course, some would argue that most history books are really Whiteness Studies. But Whiteness Studies, in this context is more about, well, you gotta read it.


Thursday, June 19, 2003

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

" First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win."


- Mahatma Gandhi


YOU DON'T SAY

Ann Coulter is, well, a "pistol" (that's what my dad would've called her -- definitely a term of affection).

In her weekly rant, she talks about The New York Times' "expose" of the way terrorist detainees have been treated since 9/11.

Her response, paraphrased by Austin Powers, could be summed up as:

"Boo frickin' hoo. They're frickin' terrorists, in the country illegally. They deserve the same constitutional protection as any other wartime combatant. They're lucky they don't have cattle prods permanently attached to Mr. Happy."

Not a bad idea.

(Thanks to Dick for the refer.)


THE ONLY THING THAT IS CERTAIN IS DEATH AND TAXES

So said Benjamin Franklin*. For years, the US government has been exacting huge taxes on the estates of those folks who busted their ass. Family businesses, family farms and families themselves have been broken apart by the tax. To avoid it, billions have been spent on attorneys, accountants, financial advisers, and ill-conceived investments to avoid the "death tax".

But the game may be over if the Senate approves the bill just passed by the House, which would abolish the tax.

* Actually, he said: " Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."


BERLUSCONI BITCH SLAPS DE VILLEPIN

You go, Silvio!

Screw Paris, let's all go to Rome this summer. The food's great and the Italians know how to party.

Berlusconi finally had it up to here with the French, so he just flat told them to "shut up" a couple of days ago. I love it.


LILEKS ON NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION

I've said on more than one occasion that James Lileks is one of the funniest guys writing today, but he has a sharp political tongue as well. Today's "Daily Bleat" describes two options for dealing with Iran:

1) the "European" approach of diplomacy, following by failure, and

2) Mr. Enrichment Facility, meet Mr. Moab. Mr. Moab, Mr. Enrichment Facility. I’m sure you two have much to discuss, so we’ll just leave you to sort it out.


Wednesday, June 18, 2003

DO YOU HAVE PRINCE ALBERT IN THE CAN?

Any of you remember that one? I think you had to have been alive in the 40's or 50's to understand that one. But it seems the "new kids" are escalating things bit.

Remember the radio guy in LA who convinced Jacques Chirac he was Jerry Lewis?

Another radio guy, this time in Miami, appears to have gotten Castro on the line, pretending to be Venezuelan President Chavez.

What's next?

UPDATE: Why didn't I think of this before? They should go after Chirac again, only this time, have someone pretend it's Saddam Hussein trying to negotiate assylum in France.


YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS ONE

Remember the uproar over Gov. George Ryan (IL) commuting the death sentence of many prisoners last January?

You'd guess these guys would still be celebrating.

Wrong again. Seems like death row has privileges -- private cells, access to telephones, more frequent showers, and it's safer than being in the general prison population.

So a lot of these guys are now talking (NOTE: this link requires registration) like they'd rather be dead men walking.


MY DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK

I just read this story about Clorox Co. warning that it's upcoming quarterly earnings release will be below target.

Why?

It's been raining too much and sales of charcoal are off (they own Kingsford).

I'm sorry, but they sound like a bunch of babies.


CAT FIGHT!!!

Can you picture it? It's early 2008 and Hillary all but has the Democratic presidential nomination locked down, but who's she running against?

How about Condoleezza Rice? The buzz has already started.

I think she (Rice) should throw her hat in the "dump Gray Davis" recall. She could get four years as gov of California under her belt.


I GUESS THE FRENCH STILL DON'T GET IT

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is a total weasel.

It seems that he can perform the same sort of mind trick many in the UK successfully did for years. What trick? Well, for years many Brits felt that Sinn Fein, the "political" wing (as opposed to the "military/terrorist" wing) of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was sufficiently separate from the terrorist acts that it could be considered benign. They were wrong. Sinn Fein was/is the PR wing of the IRA.

de Villepin is now arguing that the political wing of Hamas should not be considered a terrorist organaization. Why? Because they wear nice suits? Please read this article in the Jersalem Post. Am I wrong? Is this guy just a lame poster boy for appeasement?


ALL THE NEWS WE WANT TO PRINT (PROVIDED IT DOESN'T EMBARRASS ANY OF OUR FRIENDS) , PART 2

Think The New York Times is on an even keel now?

Read this article by Dick Morris and find out just how well the Clinton adminstration was treated by the Times. A sample:

As Clinton's chief political adviser, I knew the request had something to do with the White House. But I was surprised to be asked by Lelyveld and a Times reporter to help them get an exclusive interview with the president. "We've tried for months and come up empty," the editor pleaded. "Can you help get it done?"

I spoke of Clinton's sensitivity to criticism from the Times and how he had bristled particularly at Raines, then running the editorial page. A worried frown clouded the editor's formerly sunny face. "You know," he assured me sotto voce, "we don't think that the public cares about what happened back in Arkansas."

Wow.



THE BRITISH, HAVING WON THE WAR, ARE NOW DEMANDING A RECOUNT

I missed this one last week, but Mark Steyn wrote a piece in the Telegraph (sorry for no link -- you have to register at www.telegraph.co.uk and then search for the article) about how the Brits are monomaniacal about WMDs, to the point of irrationality. A quote:

This is all very odd. In Kirkuk the other day, they found another mass grave, this time with the bodies of 200 children who had been buried alive. Yawn. Doesn't count. Wake me if they find a toxic warhead among the teeny skulls. The naysayers were wrong on so much - millions of refugees, Vietnam quagmire, Stalingrad, etc - you can't blame them for clinging to the one little straw that hasn't shrivelled up and slipped between their fingers: Come on, Tony, where's the WMD?


HE'S BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR HOW LONG?

We've gotta get Bill C. a job. OK, he is making a few million a year, showing up at chicken and pea dinners, talking about how he rebuilt the US economy and never made a mistake in eight years, but that isn't a real job. He needs one.

Well, it seems like some Europeans agree, and they have proposed . . . (drum roll) . . . that he be appointed head of NATO.

Perfect choice!


Tuesday, June 17, 2003

WING WARPING -- SOUNDS LIKE A BAD THING?

No, it's actually how Orville and Wilbur did their thing.

But wing warping is not what you'd want to see on the next Boeing 7X7, is it? Or is it?

NASA is studying this concept, so don't be surprised if you see it in the future.


GRAY DAVIS -- AHH, HOW SOON THEY TURN ON YOU

When we lived in California a couple of years ago, people (to my surprise) gave Gray Davis very high marks in the polls, even during the rolling brownouts. This moron created a massively unbalanced market for energy, causing the price of electricity to zoom higher than tulips in the 1600's. And what did people say? It isn't Gray, it's Enron who's to blame.

What do they say now? Check out the recall website: rescuecalifornia.com

Adios, Gray!


STATISTICS AGAIN. THIS TIME, OF THE "DAMN LIE" VARIETY

How many times have you heard the blather about the danger of guns in the home and how it has been proven (strong word) that the probability someone will be wounded or killed with their own gun should cause you to (in the words of the author of this article) go bury them.

Gee -- surprise -- it turns out that's not what the statistics say at all.

And it provides yet another great example about how a flawed study (by the University of Pennsylvania) is selectively quoted by The New York Times to prove a point of view.

Don't ya just love it?


ARE TEACHERS UNDERPAID?

That's an obviously rhetorical question, right?

Well, think again. Read this article, which says some are, some are paid "just right" and some are overpaid. And on average, are you ready for this, they are overpaid -- given the fact they don't work a full year.

I'm sure the teachers' unions disagree, but it's hard to argue with the math.


THEY COME IN "THREES"

It seems that the death of notable people always comes in threes.

Gregory Peck and David Brinkley are now joined by Hume Cronyn.

He was one of those actors that you knew was (in real life) just like most of his characters.


JESSICA LYNCH -- THE COMPLETE STORY?

The Washington Post
provided the most details so far in the Jessica Lynch story. How she was injured, the myth of her "fight to the last round", etc.

It's an interesting article, but having read it, there is the lingering doubt we'll never really know everything unless she remembers it herself.


Monday, June 16, 2003

IS THAT JUICY FRUIT IN YOUR POCKET, OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?

If it's on Reuters, it must be true.

Wrigley's plan to introduce Viagra into chewing gum.


THE NATURE CONSERVANCY -- FRIEND OF THE ENVIRONMENT?

For years, The Nature Conservancy has held itself up as a model for preservation of the environment without government intervention. It's been a powerful message.

If you owned sensitive properties and wanted to see them preserved forever, you donated the property to the Conservancy. They would make sure nothing happened to it. They also solicited donations from those who didn't have properties to give, which would allow it to buy properties in the open market that were contiguous to properties it already owned, or to acquire properties that would otherwise fall into the hands of developers. Sounds noble, right?

Well, like all noble ideals, this organization has made a somewhat liberal interpretation of their promise. In fact, they have resold properties to be developed, often at under-market values, and often to Conservancy insiders. So, why aren't these guys sitting next to their lawyers in some Congressional investigation? Aren't we naive!

I've been yelping about this for awhile. The Washington Post just published another article in their ongoing investigation. It isn't flattering, but what will come of it?

Who knows?


FEEL SORRY FOR A LAWYER? NEVER! WELL, ALMOST NEVER.

Read this New York Times story about the trials and tribulations of being an attorney in Saddam's Iraq.

A quote: She said that last year a state security official passed a message to her from Uday Hussein, her old nemesis, asking her to be the lawyer for the national Olympic Committee. The official said Mr. Hussein was impressed that she had stood up to the government all those years. She refused, and she was drugged and raped as a result, she said.


THERE'S A JOKE HERE -- I JUST CAN'T FIND IT

Following are two headlines in the news:

Martha Stewart's Attorneys 'Probable' Witnesses
Court Limits Drugging of Some Defendants


I know there's something funny I could say to tie these two together, but I just can't find it. Maybe I should cut back on the medication.


"NUKE THE MOON" -- A MODEST PROPOSAL

I've posted here before about the idea that being a little unpredicable (and immensely powerful) is an advantage. It's the greatest advantage the US has in the war on terror.

Frank J., a blogger of some repute, posited the same idea in his very funny post "Nuke the Moon".



TONY BLAIR -- GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

Good news -- thanks for the support in Iraq.

Bad news -- fix your failed health care system!

If anyone still believes "national health care" is anything other than a perverse oxymoron, read this story from the UK (the link may not work). The crux of the problem is they are so underfunded that thousands are not receiving adequate medical care.

Wait, you say, so what? That occurs here in the US, what with all the poor and homeless.

OK, what if I told you thousands of British military, included war wounded are not being treated UNLESS THEY PAY OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET!.

A quote:

A senior officer said this weekend: "How on earth are we meant to recruit for the Armed Forces when soldiers, sailors and airmen and women face the ridiculous possibility of having to pay for their own operations or spend months on a waiting list? It is a shocking and shameful state of affairs. There will be many servicemen and women returning from the Gulf carrying an injury which will get progressively worse and they will eventually need an operation but they will have to go on a waiting list.

Despicable.


Friday, June 13, 2003

WE NEED CATALYTIC CONVERTERS FOR COWS!

It's the only practical solution to this problem.


IF IT'S FRIDAY, IT MUST BE VICTOR

Victor Davis Hanson talks about the "indirect approach" this week. Though for centuries wars were won by superior forces attacking their enemies head on to achieve victory, the concept of the indirect approach is dramatically different and the previous paths to superiority (technology and wealth) don't necessarily equate to success. We see it every day on the news reports from Baghdad and Tel Aviv.


LIFE ISN'T FAIR

David Brinkley died yesterday and my first reaction was, I didn't know he was sick. He wasn't. Apparently he took a bad fall at home and died not long thereafter. That sucks. Here's a guy who's been there/done that and has been in more war zones than any living general, and he dies from a fall?

Sort of reminds you of Patton making it through some of the most horrific battles of WW2, only to die from a fender bender accident after the war is over.

I have many memories of his partnership with Chet Huntley. They talked off camera about politics and how one was a Republican (Huntley) and the other a Democrat (Brinkley), but they defied anyone to identify which was which based upon their reporting. They were that scrupulous about editing out bias from their daily show.

That sort of journalism is sadly missing today.


Goodnight David.


HAVE YOU SEEN THE STORY ABOUT THE DANISH PIZZA GUY?

Seems he was a little torqued off with the French and Germans over their efforts to help Saddam. Seems like he took it to the next level and refused to serve pizza to French and German tourists.

Seems like he was arrested and convicted of discrimination and faces jail time.

Which caused a lot of folks to question whether anyone in Europe has been arrested for discriminating against American tourists.


THIS SHOULD BE THE NEWS ITEM OF THE DAY/WEEK/MONTH

I posted here a few weeks ago saying you should mark July 9th on your calendar. Seems like it's already starting in Iran. I really don't know why this isn't covered more by the media. The Iranian students are the lightning rod for change. Anyone who doubts this has power should only revisit our history of 30-35 years ago. We did everything up to and including sending troops in to kill students, and they still prevailed in getting their story told.

There may be hope for Iran making the changes it needs to make on their own. Compare this to the crap spewing out of madrassas in Pakistan (our "friends").


Thursday, June 12, 2003

US FIREPOWER IN ACTION

I won't bore everybody with a lot of technical weapons-speak, but there are some reports dribbling back from Iraq that I find interesting. They deal with the real world experiences troops had with their primary battlefield weapons.

Amongst those were reports on the newest sniper rifles chambered for the .50 caliber machine gun round, mostly built by Barrett. These are incredibly accurate, incredibly lethal weapons. Here is a description (admittedly gory) of the capabilities of a Barrett:

"My spotter positively identified a target at 1,400 meters carrying an RPG on a water tower. I engaged the target. The top half of the torso fell forward out of the tower and the lower portion remained in the tower." -- 325th PIR Sniper

Damn!

PS One of the rounds the Barrett fires has a small explosive charge inside, sort of a mini-artillery round. It's designed not just to wreak havoc on the target, but to wreak psychological havoc on anyone near the target.

(Thanks to Kim du Toit for the above quote.)

QUOTA EXCEEDED!! NO MORE HILLARY BOOK POSTS!!

I promise this one is the last.

Ann Coulter is slowly growing on me and her post today has a few choice nuggets in it. A taste:

According to an ABC poll, 48 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of Hillary, 53 percent of Americans don't want Hillary to ever run for president, and 7 percent of Americans have been date-raped by Bill Clinton.


ALL THE NEWS WE WANT TO PRINT (PROVIDED IT DOESN'T EMBARRASS ANY OF OUR FRIENDS)

(My suggestion for the "new" New York Times' slogan.)

Have you heard about the campaign funding irregularities in Sen. Charles Schumer's 1998 campaign? I bet you didn't read about it in the Times.

Read about it here and then ask yourself whether the Times would've given a conservative Republican a free pass.



MESSAGE TO NORTH KOREA: YOUR PARANOIA IS JUSTIFIED

This ought to get that sawed-off, Groucho glasses-wearing egomaniac' s attention.

Rumsfeld to Kim: Duck and Cover!


EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS

I'm sure you've probably seen the map that has made the "FW:" e-mail circuit quite a few times, with Israel colored one color and the Arab countries another. Sort of like a very small atoll in the middle of the Pacific.

Anyway, David Warren is one of the smartest guys writing and posting stuff on the Internet and, while I don't always agree with what he says, I always read everything he writes.

In his post today, he describes this map and why the current "road map" to peace is, you'll pardon the expression, a frickin' joke.



LIKE SATIRE WITH THE CLINTONS AS THE "BUTT" OF THE JOKE?

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Here's a "tongue" in cheek sendup of Hillary's new book from a British website.


Wednesday, June 11, 2003

BRIT HUME TO THE RESCUE

From the irascible Fox News anchor:

"So you've got this President, who'd been waving his wand at everyone who walked by for their entire marriage, and he does it in the Oval Office with an intern and she says that Starr's the one obsessed with sex? Hello?" -- Brit Hume on Hillary's version of the Lewinsky scandal


DID BUSH LIE ABOUT WMD?

If he did, he's not exactly in select company. For a showing of hands as to who believed there were WMDs in Iraq, read this.


MICHAEL MOORE IS A BIG FAT IDIOT

OK -- not true. He is a fat idiot. Big is too relative. Fat idiot is spot on. But I digress . . .

I've commented before about James Lileks, who is one of the funniest guys in America. He doesn't do stand up, but he writes something every day. And it's almost always something funny enough to make you laugh out loud. Since he writes so much, and since I just discovered him a couple of months ago, I'm still discovering things he wrote awhile ago.

One of the best is his "screed" about Michael Moore, which starts:

If you ask me, Michael Moore is a gasbag who, if stuck with a pin, would fly around the room until he ended up on the floor as three pounds of wrinkled hot-dog skin and a sweat-stained ballcap. And if he is a balloon, that would mean that his penis is twisted in a tight little knot.


THE PRESIDENCY ABOUT NOTHING

Much as I'd like to disagree with him, John Derbyshire argues in this article that the second term of Clinton was "the Presidency about nothing".

Read this one through to the end. It's worth it. The money quote:

If you compare the nation at the end of the Clinton years with what it was at the beginning, there are two things that stand out: We were richer, and we were more bitterly divided. The first was nothing the Clintons did, only a consequence of the defeat of big-government liberalism in 1994 followed by an explosion of private-sector activity as the Internet revolution arrived. The second was theirs, their true and lasting legacy.

WHEN WERE YOU LAST IN MEXIFORNIA?

Never been there? I doubt it. I was there a month or so ago. Where is it?

It's on the left coast, just north of Mexico and just south of Oregon. Wait, that's California!

No, it's not. At least, not according to Victor Davis Hanson.


HALT! HANDS ON THE WALL! DROP THOSE TWINKIES!

Think cigarettes are bad for you? Duh. Common sense results in most of us not smoking, but many choose to smoke and pay substantial taxes for the privilege. Given those tax payments and the public cost of the health problems that occur from smoking, states have sued the tobacco industry and have extracted substantial settlements. Good idea, right? Maybe.

Seems some folks are a little giddy with that success and the logic behind it, so it looks like phase two will be to target unhealthy food. First, identify what's unhealthy. Second, tax it. Third, sue the manufacturers of unhealthy food for the "public health costs". It's already happening.

Think I'm nuts? Read this and this and think again.


Tuesday, June 10, 2003

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Meaningless factoid of the day . . .

According to Amazon.com, customers who've bought Hillary's new book also bought:

An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek (Hardcover)
Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor (Hardcover)
The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk by Susan McDougal, et al (Hardcover)
Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth by Joe Conason (Author) (Hardcover)
Buckminster Fuller: An Auto-Biographical Monologue/Scenario by Robert Snyder (Hardcover)

Camelot, "Other Women In The Spotlight", the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy", and . . . Bucky Fuller??? Go figure.


SEVEN PEACEKEEPERS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL AFTER HAVING NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS

Who? Where? When? Why?

French. Congo. Yesterday. Pussies.

Read it and laugh/cry. Really glad we didn't have to rely on these twits in Iraq.


CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS IS ALIVE AND WELL

Where the hell did he go? He was writing prolifically before the war, but sort of disappeared for a couple of months. Heard he was writing a book. Bad timing Chris.

Anyway, he's back and yesterday's post on Slate raises really meaty questions about both the lack of objectivity as well as the subtle anti-Semitism in mainstream journalism.


LIFE IN NORTH KOREA -- WHAT FOLLOWS IS DISGUSTING

OK -- this one isn't a joke and I have no idea how true it is, but given that warning, and if you've got the stomach for it, read this piece from The Weekly Post, a Japan-based webzine.


REMEMBER THE "LOOTING" OF THE MUSEUM IN BAGHDAD?

Remember the wailing and gnashing about how the US had purposely protected the oilfields and pipelines, but ignored the antiquities?

Guess what? As many had suspected, there really wasn't much left in the museum by the time the first bomb dropped. Almost everything had already been secreted away. Not looted . . . but in "protective custody".

I'm wondering if all the editorialists who cried about the loss will report this story (see MSNBC piece here)?

UPDATE: Another great article on this subject from across the pond.

GOOD TAKE ON HILLARY'S BOOK SIGNING

I think even the folks in North Korea saw this one on the news -- you know, Hillary signing books for a couple of hundred slavering New Yorkers with severe brain dysfunction.

The New York Post, as usual, had the most acerbic take on this "spectacle" in today's op/ed.

She has been carefully avoiding answering any meaningful questions for years and still keeps doing so. Maybe the best Hillary-repellant of all will be when she does decide to run for President. One can only hope for a latter day replay of the Ted Kennedy interview by Roger Mudd.

In the meantime, just ignore her.


Monday, June 09, 2003

HONEY, WE'RE SELLING THE NEW BOAT!

Hey, I just found one even better than the one we just got.

Check this out!

Only problem is where to park it.

Only other problem is, without a couple of these, what's the point of owning it???


DICK TELLS ALL

Not really, but this Dick Morris column about the believability (not!) of Hillary is worth reading.


STILL MAD AT THE FRENCH AND GERMANS?

Here's the best rant I can find that flays them with every available verbal weapon.


(Thanks to Joe)

Friday, June 06, 2003

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Here's a great "up yours" to Senator Robert Byrd (KKK Party - WV).


I'M LEAVING EARLY TODAY, SO HERE'S MY REACTION TO THE CURRENT HEADLINES

See you Monday

Hamas Won't Join Truce Talks With Abbas - I'm shocked, surprised, who would've expected it?

U.N. Nuclear Experts Return to Baghdad - They won't find now what they could've find then (apologies to Bob Seger for blatant paraphrasing).

Khmer Rouge May Be Tried for Genocide - Who? Pol Pot and most of the others are dead and the killings happened 20 years ago. At this rate Saddam will come to trial (in absentia) in 2025.

U.S. Move in Korea Could Change Dynamic - We just don't want to be too close to the border when the J-DAMS starting raining down on the North.

Pope Praises Women on Croatia Pilgrimage - He was also quoted as saying, "some of my best friends are women".


UH-OH, GREENPEACE ISN'T GOING TO LIKE THIS

See this article on nationalgeographic.com. Seems like the evil "change in climate" is causing the earth to . . . become more green.


DWARF FEST

No, this is not some politically incorrect story about tossing little people, it's about the Democrats attempts to be taken seriously as Presidential candidates.

Read this current survey that shows a lot of interesting statistics -- E.g., Bush would trounce Clinton (Bill). Hillary has the highest "unfavorable" rating.


KEEP BOTH HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL!

I'm not sure how to react to this story. On the one hand, it's kind of funny. On the other, it's disgusting. And on the other hand, . . .


YET ANOTHER SIGN OF THE DEATH OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS

In their neverending effort to foster "inclusion" in classrooms, the dwarfs on the Mt. Diablo (a school district in the east San Fran bay area) School Board have voted against the idea of a pre-honors English class. You will get pissed when you find out why. Hint: it doesn't have anything to do with money -- this is one of the wealthiest school districts in America. Read this and then put your fist through the wall.

They mention the GATE program, which Robert participated in when we lived out there. It was one of the reasons we felt that (at the time) California public elementary schools were as good as most private schools. No more.


KEEP YOUR TV REMOTE IN YOUR RIGHT HAND AT ALL TIMES!

Over the next few days, Hillary will be interviewed by Larry King, Babba Wawa, and Katie Couric. So be ready to change the channel at a moment's notice.

Also, it appears there will be a made-for-TV movie about Hill and Bill, focusing on their time in the White House and her "quest to fulfill her own high hopes and ambitions as she repeatedly faces humiliating personal setbacks". I'm not making this up. You'll have to wait for an early 2004 sweeps week (weak?) to see the movie.

Does anyone care?


Iowa pork farmers are a greater threat than Osama bin Laden

No, I didn't say that, but RFK, Jr. did. No kidding.

I think it's a little depressing (or should be) for the Kennedy clan that Bobby's kid is doing this rather than trying to save the world from George Bush and the vast right-wing conspiracy. But I'm guessing that after all the drunken orgies, deaths of female acquaintances, rapes and other assorted Kennedy family foibles, going after pig farmers has a certain elegant irony. No?


VICTOR THE VICTOR

I hope that Victor Davis Hanson doesn't turn into a celebrity, though he might.

I'm finishing his book Carnage and Culture and think the US State Department should send a few copies to every foreign government to: a) remind other western nations how we got here, and b) remind non-western nations why they shouldn't try unless they're willing to embrace the concept of freedom as we know it.

Anyway, VDH's weekly column is another jewel. Read it here.


BEEN OUT OF TOWN ...

Have been in Phoenix since Tuesday. Only 109 degrees Tuesday, but it's a dry heat.

B.S. As someone said, "but it's a dry heat? that's what they told the turkey just before they stuffed him in the oven".

Crimeny, that's hot.

Anyway, back in the saddle here in co-o-o-o-l NE Ohio.


Monday, June 02, 2003

EXCERPT OF THE DAY

From Dave Barry's column in The Miami Herald, this quote:

''But Dave,'' you are saying, ''what about the Democrats?''

Excuse me for laughing until I drool on your shoes, but have you seen the Democrats? There are something like 375 of them running, including somebody named ''Dennis.'' Like we would ever elect a president named ''Dennis.''

No, the Democrats have a stature problem. While President Bush is striding manfully around aircraft carriers, the Democrats are clustered together in ''candidate forums'' wherein they shout at each other about senior-citizen dental benefits in front of a nationwide TV audience consisting entirely of their spouses.