Saturday, February 01, 2003

This is the poem. It's called "High Flight":

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence, hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along,
And flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

God Bless the seven heroes of Columbia, and their families.
I swear that this is the last time I'll mention that boytoy Richard Reid's name (and it well deserves to be forgotten), but I want to extend my personal congratulations and thanks to Judge William Young for standing up and saying what so many others wanted to say, and doing it with dignity and style, despite the inescapable feeling of utter disgust at having to bandy words with such a lowlife.

I can only say, "Well said, Your Honor!". Go read what he said. You'll applaud.
You may have never heard of William Gibson. He is a science fiction author, and I wouldn't blame you. But just as Isaac Asimov coined the word "robotics", William Gibson coined a word, too.

It was in his book, Neuromancer. You're a visitor to the world described in that made-up word, and it has spawned literally thousands of similar words.

The word? "Cyberspace".

I respect his writing a lot. Stop by his Blog and visit him.
More fun from the "I Can't Believe That People Actually Believe This Stuff" Department, with a collection of numerological explanations, connecting Stanley Kubrick to the September 11th tragedies, how all non-naturals disasters apprently come in cycles of 111 moon cycles, and other such drivel.

The problem is that I can't tell if he is doing this in a tongue-in-cheek manner or not. I hope so, otherwise the good people of Houston, Texas, may have another a weirdo to keep an eye on. I've looked around, and it looks like he's serious about it.

Poor guy. I hope reality is gentle about it when it knocks him on his ass.
I'd like to issue a hearty welcome to Laurence Simon over at Amish Tech Support during his "2003 Blog-A-Day Tour". He'll be stopping by tomorrow (Sunday, February 2nd, also known as Groundhog Day) to write a guest column. I'm not sure what it will be about, but he has an incredible wit, and an extremely limited tolerance of Idiotarians.

Swing by and pay him a visit.
Updates on the Shuttle disaster. Remember when I said that somebody in the 'Arab Street' was going to claim the explosion as "Allah's Retribution"? I was right.

And now Iraq is celebrating, too...

Let's bomb. Now. And let's start with Tikrit, Iraq.
A Canadian interviewer on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) Newsworld was questioning writer Robert Sawyer about the Columbia explosion, and asked whether the cause (of the explosion) was the arrogance of the U.S. Government. Excuse me? They're still finding pieces, scattered across three states, and this guy is already blaming us?

I would have expected more from a country that has been such a close partner for so many years, but then I recall that a Canadian survey said that 4 out of 5 Canadians believed that America was (at least) somewhat responsible for the 9/11 tragedy. Maybe they are looking to go their own way. If so, I wish they would be a little more up front about their intentions. At least we wouldn't be so shocked over the betrayal of what we had come to believe was a friend and ally.

The e-mail address of the CBC ombudsman is available on this web page. Let them know what you think. You might want to swing by the Canadian Prime Minister's E-office and let him know, too...

To all of you people in Canada who read this page, and who do not agree with such sentiments from your public figures, it is up to you to let them know.

On the other hand, if you do agree with that distorter reporter, then by all means, go forth and make your opinion known as well. Go down to the local American Embassy, and tell them you want them to go away. Wave signs. Chant. Sing. Throw rocks. Make speeches blaming America for all the world's ills. "Yankee, go home" and all that. At least that way, we would know what to expect from you when we decide who our friends really are...
I mourn with all of America over the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia. My only consolation is that it must have been quick and painless. At those speeds (which are easier to express as miles per second), and at that altitude (more than 200,000 feet up - about 38 miles straight up) no other aircraft, bullet or missile could have touched them.

My guess is that one (or more) of the Shuttle's Heat-absorbing tiles failed for one reason or another. The heat burning through that unprotected spot would have exploded inside the Shuttle like a blowtorch, burning away other tiles, letting in even more killing heat, and I suspect it was all over in much less than a second.

You want to know what's going to drive me to a killing rage? The (almost 100%) certainty that some raghead or other is going to be celebrating the loss of the Shuttle, and dancing in the streets over the death of the first Israeli astronaut (much like they did on 9/11). I'd be willing to lay money on the fact that someone in the 'Arab Street' is going to claim it as "Allah's retribution to the Great Satan and the Zionists".

You read it here first. Damn their eyes.
I'm up late watching The Discovery Channel specials on modern Iraq and Saddam, and surfing at the same time.

Remember when Al Sharpton decided to run for President? I said that Karl Rove would be popping champagne corks when he heard about Al.

Well, Al is serious about his run. So much so that he felt responsible for commenting publicly on Bush's SOTU speech. So he did. What, you'd never heard anything about it? Me, neither.

Here's why.

I'm still grinning. "Four more years! Four more years!"

Friday, January 31, 2003

Remember when I warned Richard Reid about immortality? Maybe I spoke too soon...

I knew all this high-tech stuff was going to change things in a dramatic fashion.

But in the words of a very wise man, "You ain't seen nuthin' yet!!"
Set your VCRs to record Colin Powell's speech to the UN next Wednesday. It's going to be awesome.

Short version? We're going to war, with or without UN approval.

Nuff said.
From the "I Can't Believe That People Actually Believe This Stuff" Department, we have this whackadoodle, who apparently believes that there is a rogue planet that will cause massive worldwide destruction when it passes on May 15th of this year. With lots of strangely vague threats from ancient societies.

Some of the BS at that site reads like "doomsday is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, so you'd better send us money now!". An example:

You have a greater chance of dying as a result of an asteroid impact that in a jetliner crash.

So doesn't that mean that our planes are really safe? Apparently not. It means that we're all going to die from an asteroid strike.

A quarter-mile-wide asteroid slamming into our planet would cause more destruction than a hundred hydrogen bombs.

A hundred and one hydrogen bombs would also do more damage than a hundred would. How often does this event occur? Every 100,000 years? Every St. Patrick's Day? Only on the second Tuesday of the week?

The latest research reveals that, sooner or later, a catastrophic terrestrial impact is inevitable.

So is the transition of our sun into a red giant, which will kill all life inside the orbit of Mars. Again, how long do we have to wait?

Is it possible to shield the Earth from deadly cosmic debris? Yes. It's called the Van Allen Belt.

Can high-tech radar and telescopes predict an impact? Only if they are looking in the right place.

Who are the men and women who watch the skies for danger? They're called astronomers.

What's Being Done To Save Planet Earth? Maybe you should ask The Sierra Club.

Now the Dimbulbs over at the Democratic Underground are apparently claiming that 'PlanetX' is the secret reasoning behind the Bush Administration's "hurry up" approach to Iraq. He has to win the war and get all that oil, so he can hide in his shelter under the White House, while the rest of us (who didn't buy the books) are taken by surprise. The reason that we haven't heard about this mystery planet is because the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is supressing the media in a flurry of First Amendment Violations.

Good Lord.
It turns out that the Miami standoff guy was caught up in the middle of a really bad day of being a criminal. He was in the middle of a stick-up, things start to go south, and he runs for the getaway car. Which has, conveniently, left without him. So he grabs the closest vehicle, the mail truck.

Except if he had carjacked an SUV out on the street, he would still be doing well. But he is now up to armed robbery, kidnapping, theft of government property, theft of the mail, etc., etc., which brings the Feds into it, which means LOTS of time behind bars in Leavenworth. And it can get cooold in Kansas.

In other news, Jimmy "The Wimp" Carter has said that he thinks we haven't proven the case. I'm beginning to think he is of the opinion that we shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place. After all, "Kew-wate" is just a bunch of those people* halfway around the world. They don't even speak English.

What a pussy. Look, if you raise your kids by never teaching them that rules exist for a reason, and that violating them has a price, whether it's a "time out" or an honest-to-goodness spanking, then you have only yourself to blame when they steal your car and proceed to wrap it around a pole. I'm not trying to compare Saddam Who's-Sane to a spoiled brat, because brats don't have chemical and biological weapons.

* - The people who embarrassed him so badly. Every. Single. Day. For. Four. Hundred. Forty. Four. Days. On. National. TV.
The dumbass suspect who has started the whole standoff in Miami-Dade has just released his hostage.

I hope the cops will just wait him out. "Suicide-by-cop" is too difficult for the cops to cope with. I think they should immediately put all their guns back into holsters, so that they can guarantee that no one could possibly hurt him by mistake. If he starts shooting at the cops again, that's one thing, but if he's just trying to get them to kill him unprovoked so that his relatives can sue the city for millions, then just send out for pizza, and wait for him to give up.

Of course, he's probably reading all those letters in the back. I hope Grandma down in Florida hasn't sent cash to little Herschel for his bar mitzvah...LOL

If the Vatican wants a Patron Saint of the Internet, I would recommend the people over at ZoneLabs. Their software has been protecting my computer for more than a year now, with almost no problems in all that time. (I get the occasional "Mega" assault that shuts off my 'Net access (as a protective measure) and demands a re-boot.)

Maybe Saint Algore would be chosen. I know you have to be dead and all, but I can dream, can't I? (I'm kidding!)

Upon hearing Algore's claim that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" (which is a direct quote, by the way, so take your complaints about it being a hoax and go pack sand), Dan Quayle said "this." Heh.
Not much to rant about today. I had a long one set and ready to go, but my computer froze up before I got it posted, so it was all lost. I wanted to scream.

Yesterday was "Da Bomb", as they say. My previous high-water mark had been 46 visitors. Yesterday, I had 72. Almost 60% higher!

I don't think I'll have that lind of dramatic growth in the future, but I'm happy that you guys stop by.

I'm watching this stand-off between the guy in a mail truck and all the cops that Miami has available to it. The robot has just dropped off a cell phone and is (presumably) using a small camera to see inside the vehicle. Does this guy think he's going to actually get away? I understand that he has a hostage, but it apparently hasn't crossed his mind that if he actually fires a shot at his hostage, his life expectancy will drop to just a few seconds...

There has not been a single one of the guys in a high-speed pursuit (which appears to be a strictly big-city sport, with the occasional free agent) who has actually gotten away. Not one. I don't care if you can outrun the cops in their cars. I don't care if you can even outrun the helicopters (as unlikely as that may be). There is nothing you can do to outrun the radio.

I'll be back after the standoff ends. It's time for lunch anyway. :-)

Thursday, January 30, 2003

I've been randomly thinking about getting involved in politics, but it's a toss-up. I'm too conservative for the Democrats, too liberal for the Republicans, and too much of a "Devil's Advocate" kinda guy to kiss anyone's ass just to raise campaign money.

I'm pro-choice, but anti-abortion.
I'm pro-gun, but anti-assault weapons.
I'm pro-business, but anti-regulation.
I'm pro-union, but anti-union lobbying.

I just want people to accept responsibility for their own actions.

I took this quiz, and it told me I was vaguely Libertarian. I don't get it. I think government has not only the right, but the responsibility to defend it land and people. Y'know, "...provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare,...", and all that jazz?

There is a reason that Winston Churchill said, "Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
I was also thinking about a fairly divisive subject. It involves drugs, and the battle between decriminalization and legalization.

I tend to think that marijuana should be decriminalized instead of legalized. The reasons are out there as to exactly why mariuana was declared illegal in the first place, and (much like Prohibition) the "War on Drugs" has done absolutely no good, except to get a lot of people killed, and make a lot of really evil men really rich. Prohibition was a failed experiment regarding alcohol, and the only thing that happened was that Al Capone made a whole lot of money, people were making their own gin at home (did you think they called it "bathtub gin" because it sounded tasty?), and anybody who knew somebody who knew somebody could find a "speakeasy" where they served everything from beer to mixed drinks.

Lots of cops were getting payoffs (at all levels), competitors were getting killed, and Joseph Kennedy made enough money smuggling rum to buy his family respectibility (three of his sons - John, Robert, and Edward - were, respectively, President of the United States, Attorney General of the United States, and United States Senator from Massachusetts).

Then they passed the 21st Amendment which didn't try to legalize alcohol, it decriminalized it (by repealing the 18th Amendment), and sent the matter back to the States and counties. I think the same thing should be done with marijuana. Decriminalize it, package it (under FDA administration for quality control), and sell it in liquor stores from behind the counter. Tax it heavily if you want, and you could still sell them for about a dollar per "joint". Like beers.

If you believe that it should be classified as "medicinal", then fine. Sell it at pharmacies only under prescription, like birth control pills. Give people and their doctors the right to use whatever medicines may work.

My point is that if they manage to "legalize" rather than "decriminalize" means that the Government had the moral right to have made it a criminal act to possess it in the first place. (Not the legal right, because governments can pass any law they want, which means they can define what is "legal". But the moral right.)

There are probably a lot of people out there who disagree with me. I'm okay with that. Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating its use, but I recognize that it has purposes, and I am just enough of a libertarian to think that if it doesn't involve the general welfare of the nation, the Federal Government has no right to intervene. If you use that touchstone, you can probably figure out where I stand on just about any issue.

People have a right to pump whatever poison into their arms that they want. When you find out that you've ended up selling your home and your middle child to pay for that filthy habit, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you like to gamble, go right ahead. When you realize that they've just shut off your cable for not paying the bill, and you rationalize it with, "That's alright, the power was shut off last week", remember that I am under no obligation to subsidize your rental costs.

Maximum personal freedoms, with its direct opposite: maximum personal responsibility. Government help for those who cannot manage on their own, but a vice is your own problem. You had a rough childhood? So did millions of others, and look where they are. Hell, my mother was working two and sometimes three jobs to raise five kids by herself. I was a latchkey kid before they had even coined the phrase, and I worked from the time I was 13 years old (a 2-mile long morning paper route that I walked because I didn't own a bike), and I have no pity for people who whine about their "inner child" and spout such nonsense as "the Devil made me do it" as their justification for committing a crime. (I'm still shaking my head over the "Twinkie Defense".) But until the Devil takes the stand himself and admits to that fact, I won't believe a word of it.

On another topic, I have already had 25% more visitors today than my previous high water mark. Thanks to all of you, and keep coming by... I'd love to hear from some of you. Tell me a joke, tell me I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong and a joke. No, no, I take that back. Just good stuff. :-)
You know, I got to thinking about the election I'll be working at next Tuesday, and I thought that I live in the greatest nation on the planet, where officials that may be representing an interest that doesn't coincide with a substantive percentage of his or her constituency are removed peacefully.

Not at the point of a gun, or through rampaging through the streets, throwing rocks at the cops who have been called out to quell our "rebellion", but peacefully. Quietly. Almost below the radar. I don't live in the districts that are being covered in this election, so if I weren't working the polls, I wouldn't even know that there was an election going on.

The recall started when a bunch of people got a double sh*tload of signatures on a petition. They brought those signatures to the Registrar of Voters, who determined whether the required percentage of affected voters have actually signed the petitions. It did, so the Registrar set up a Special Election.

And the funny thing about it? People will accept the results. Either with "I knew we were gonna win" or "Better luck next time, huh?".

And people compare us to Nazi Germany. I've got just one thing to say to them. I don't know whether or not I should use that kind of language, though. :-)

Next time there's an election in your precinct or district, go vote! I don't care where you live. Even if all you do is walk into the booth, stand there and count to ten, then walk out. At least show up.

There might not be any candidates or issues you will want to vote for but there are probably going to be some people and things you'll want to vote against, and sometimes that's the best way to exercise your franchise.
Praise the Lord, and pass the medium-rare steaks!

Apparently, a Vegan diet (no meat, no milk, no eggs, no animal products at all) will stunt your babies' growth because of a B12 vitamin deficiency.

So much for the argument that Vegans are eating healthier, huh? If we didn't have the technology to extract these vitamins and package them in easy-to-swallow pills and supplements, these kids would have died, and doctors would have just wondered why.

Me? I just say "Meat Loaf with barbecue sauce glaze". (Y'see, you make a normal meatloaf, and then about 15 minutes before you take it out of the oven, you pour a whole bottle of BBQ sauce over the meatloaf.) Yum.

I'm gonna go watch Bill O'Reilly now. :-)
I hope that Rachel Lucas doesn't mind too terribly much, but I just had to share this picture she had posted on her site. The comments section says that this is an old pic, but I still laughed like a Kookaburra when I saw it.

Visit Rachel from time to time, she's got some great stuff there on her site. And she hates Barbra Streisand.
Shoe-Bomber-wannabe Richard Reid has been sentenced to 'Life, plus 120 years'.

I guess Richard had better hope we don't discover the genetic keys to immortality, huh? Wouldn't that just be a hoot? LOL
If you're familiar with English (and the stats show that 99% of those reading this page are...), then you may have noticed that I have committed the occasional typo, or even a spelling mistake. I ask that you forgive those errors in advance, because I was never really much good at typing, and I have to watch what my fingers do, rather than what actually appears on the screen. Occasionally, a slip or two is going to get through, and even slip by my (often too hasty) proof-reading. I will catch it by the second or third time I read that particular entry (as it's formatted on the page you're reading now), and try to correct it. None of them should confuse the meaning of the words.

I have even left a few participles dangling, and (once) I even used an unattributed pronoun. I tend to write using spoken speech as a guide, rather than using strict grammatical rules. I can be somewhat inconsistant using this standard, though... I figure making myself understood is more important than making myself perfect. As the fella said, "Perfection is a journey, not a destination."

So, if you do happen to see one, don't send me e-mails about the error.

It just makes me "feel bad"... ;-)
You may have gotten the impression by reading this blog that I am a fairly conservative Republican. I sincerely hope you won't be too shattered when I say that I'm really not. I tend to think of myself as more of a slightly conservative Independent.

I believe, much like the Republicans, in a smaller Federal Government, lower taxes, a stronger national defense, and equality of opportunity for everyone, regardless of race, gender, religious, or personal beliefs.

On the other hand, I agree with the Democrats that a woman has a Right to Choose, that Education (in the idealistic sense) can only help people improve their lives, and that we have a duty to assist those who cannot assist themselves (senior citizens and the disabled), regardless of race, gender, and all the rest of it.

The reason I tend to vote Republican is because I have a caveat or two with all of those Democratic "core beliefs".

First, when it comes to the issue of abortion, I fully agree that women have the right to choose. But no matter how neatly this is phrased, what the Democrats want to do is not to guarantee the right to choose, they want the woman to have the abortion. Nothing else wil do.

The Dems are against the clinics explaining what other choices there are (such as adoption, and abstinence as a form of birth control), and they do NOT want women to "choose" to keep their child. They have also done everything they can to remove the rights of the man involved. In today's society, the man has NO choice, the woman has ALL choice. Where this is a problem for me is that with the availability of painless birth control for women (IUD, spermicidal foam and sponges, diaphragms, RU-486 (the "morning after" pill), the birth control patch, and, yes, even abortion), and the readily available option of condoms for the guy, there is a lot that the responsible adults can do to avoid the pregnancy.

But if all those methods fail (and they all do, to some degree), and the woman gets pregnant anyway, then the guy is out of the equation, unless she decides to go through the pregnancy, in which case he is responsible for child support for at least the next 18 years.

That just doesn't seem fair to me. He has no way to talk her into keeping it if he wants a child and she doesn't, therefore he should not be held responsible if he did everything he could to minimize the chance, and she decides to keep the baby and he doesn't. Try turning the argument around, and say that she had no more say in the matter than a breeding sow. Human rights activists would be screeching loud enough to shatter windows on Mars. So why is it fair the way it is now?

Another thing I disagree with most Democrats (I have met a few exceptions) about is the subject of gun control. I am firmly of the opinion that criminals shouldn't have guns. They shouldn't have access to guns. But since nothing I say, or write down in a law book somewhere (no matter how many of my neighbors might agree) will stop them from trying to get one (and usually succeeding), then I believe that regular citizens should have the means to protect their families from these predators.

I own a pistol. I'm a pretty good shot (30 hits with 30 shots, from 25 yards away). I'm not a member of the NRA (although I support their efforts), but I feel sorry for anyone who breaks into our home. The first warning he gets may be the sudden shock of having a hollow-nosed bullet chewing through his torso. I know that may seem cruel and heartless, but if said criminal has already broken the law enough to violate the privacy of a house not his, then I have no means of guaranteeing his benign intentions towards myself or my family. I hope to get a shotgun in the future, because there is nothing more capable of causing a burglar to wet his pants than to hear the racking of a shotgun behind him. That's such an unmistakably lethal sound that he would most likely surrender where he stands. In the brand-new puddle. Heh.

I believe that we have the duty to help those who truly need it. But I live in southern California, and I can't count the number of times I've seen these "Food-Stamp Families" buying boneless chicken breasts and steaks while I'm paying the taxes to subsidize them, and I can barely afford Hamburger Helper and tuna fish. They drive cars so new that the seats still squeak, and the wife and I have to get along with our teenaged car with almost 200,000 miles on it. (Remember the breakdown I mentioned last Saturday?) I've heard rumors of a few places that pay their workers (especially farms and construction companies) in cash, "under the table", avoiding extra paperwork and taxes. These workers don't have to claim this money as income, because there is no way to trace it, so their "income" qualifies for Medi-Cal, food stamps, yaddayaddayadda.

I'm just sick of it. But by all means, let's raise taxes to expand these benefits...

As far as expanding education goes, I think it would be a wonderful thing, if it were the kind of education I remember receiving, instead of this BS where kids don't get graded (because it would make the poorer students "feel bad" - look, if you don't want to feel bad, then study harder!). They get comments like "progressing" (I guess that means that if he thought 2+2=7 last week, and this week he thinks 2+2=5, he's "progressing".)

When I was issued homework, it was how well I solved the problems or wrote the report that determined what kinds of grades I got, not whether my mother could afford a lawyer. There was a case a few months ago where a teacher (in Missouri, if I remember correctly) gave an 'F' (failing grade) to some of her students that were caught cheating and plagiarizing. Of course, the students sued the school. The principal backed up the teacher, but the school board overruled them and gave the students a passing grade. The teacher resigned, and I can't blame her, because how can any student have any respect for this teacher after it has been shown that a good lawyer can force her to change her grades?

I am not even going to get into the hassle of trying to recall all the horror stories of drugs on campus, metal detectors, the case where two teenagers were engaging in oral sex on the school bus, and the riot that ensued over the lengthening of some classes (I think that was in Arizona). You can find them just as easily as I can. However, I think the schools can be fixed.

Where the Dems and I diverge is that they believe that we should throw more money at the problem. We spend enough on our pupils now to be able to hire limousines to drive them to and from class, and statistics show that 60% of Black 8th graders can't read. Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton complaining about this problem? No, because if they actually started looking at how bad it's gotten, the utter failure of the current school regime would be made all too clear. Lots of people would lose their jobs. Lots of (mostly Democratic supporting union members) teachers would lose their jobs.

We can't have that, so let's pay them more money... I won't bore you with how I would do things if I ruled the world, but I'm sure that there are almost as many opinions about this as people who read it.

Thanks for stopping by and listening reading... ;-)
If you live here in the United States, you may have heard of an "AMBER" alert, where the authorities are asking for the radio and television stations to broadcast notices of a missing or abducted child.

I woke up to hear that the California Highway Patrol has issued one for a 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her home by her boyfriend. There are a few things wrong with this that no one seems to be commenting on, despite the fact that it's staring them in the face...

First, the girl is only 15. She has a baby. (The baby is reported to be with the girl's grandmother.) Her boyfriend is 22. Was this an unreported virgin birth? Of course not. They were having sex. She got pregnant, when she was only 14!

Why in God's name is this guy even able to get close enough to her to "abduct" her (if abduction it was, and not a teenaged girl's romantic "runaway" fantasy)? Has no one thought of charging this guy with statutory rape? Sexual assault of a minor? He should have been behind bars, being some bruiser's boy-toy, not wandering around freely, planning how to sneak off with the mother of his child...

Updates as they appear in the news...

In other news, Richard "How Do I Light This Shoelace?" Reid learns what his sentence is today. His maximum sentence is "Life, without the possibility of Parole", and I hope that he gets that. I doubt it will give any other potential terrorist pause to think that if he fails to kill himself and all the infidels, he'll get to sleep on a mattress and be fed at taxpayer expense for the rest of his life.

Reid wrote a letter to his mother that read, "This is a war between Islam and democracy." Fine. Why should we worry about all of the Saddam supporters Peace activists? This is a war, and you do not win a war by building your defenses. You win it by taking the fight to the enemy. You go to where he is hiding and you use whatever force is necessary to cause him to knuckle under and say, "Uncle", or die. If diplomatic negotiations and threats of economic sanctions are sufficient force, then that's wonderful. If it takes a few missile strikes, that's fine, too.

If it takes a full scale war - involving a prolonged bombing campaign, followed by a few hundred thousands mudfoots to clear the streets one by one, then I will grieve with every American loss, and mourn along with their families, but I will also realize that the cost of not taking the fight to the enemy is to sit and wait for him to hit me again, on his schedule, and I will have to take it.

If I'm just out for a stroll, minding my own business, and some young punk hops from behind a bush and kicks me in the shin, I would be surprised. If he were to then slap me across the face, I would do everything I could to make sure that he drew back a bloody stump. We've done that. Al Qaeda is on the run, and hiding in caves, hoping not to get noticed by the multi-national force sitting just outside those caves.

I hope they have enough food in those caves.

On second thought, no, I don't. Let them eat each other like the Kilkenny Cats.

We are now going after the guys who trained and financed these gang members. If we get to start by taking down a guy who has tortured his own citizens, invaded his neighbors (twice), and is doing everything he can to gain nuclear weapons (he already has chemical and biological weapons), then so much the better. Maybe the others will learn from this example...

Anyhow, good morning, and keep checking back. It looks to be an interesting day. :-)
Two quick thoughts on this "No Blood For Oil!" argument, found out on the web...

First, if you are one of that crowd (or know of one), then the next time your car runs out of gas, try opening a vein, and see how far that gets you.

Second, I absolutely amazed my wife the other night when I pointed out that gasoline is still cheaper than bottled water. She wouldn't believe it, but when I pointed out her "sports" water bottle (which holds 1 liter, or about 34 ounces), and asked how much it cost her at the store, she said, "Just 69 cents."

Well, that works out to about $2.61 per gallon, and when I put gas in the car the other day, it was just $1.52/gallon.

Check for yourself.

Anyhow, it's late (just midnight), and I'm going to bed now. Good night, Buenos Noches, Guten Nacht, etc., etc. Check back in about 8-10 hours for more stuff.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

I was somewhat startled by checking on the visitors to this site, and I found some amusing and interesting stuff about them. (You might not find it all that interesting, but I'm of a statistical bent, and I really enjoy reading things like the Decennial Census.)

Oh, relax, I don't know your names or anything else, but when you surf the web, your computer will reveal some boring technical stuff, like what ISP you're using, what time zone you're in, where you are coming in from, and some other stuff dumb stuff, just so the different computers can "speak the same languages".

For instance, I've been getting quite a few hits from either India or Western Russia (Greenwich +5 & +6), I've been getting more hits from Eastern Europe than from the West Coast, and more than half my traffic comes from the Eastern Time Zone (Greenwich -5).

Welcome to those of you in the Australian Times Zones, too (I'm not sure what they're called, but welcome to you all!)

I've even gotten a few hits from Argentina. I guess I need to send Algore a 'thank you' card for inventing this fantastic thing called the Internet. I'd love to hear from any of you that want to tell me about where you're from, what the farthest from home you've ever been (in my case, my Mom was living in California, my Dad was living in New York, and I was in the Persian Gulf), or anything else. You can find the address at left. Also, if any of you hear about anything really cool, feel free to send it along. (You'll even get credit :-) )

On an unrelated topic, I hear that Janeane Garofalo is complaining that the press isn't taking her seriously enough. Fair enough. Try talking about things you'd be expected to know... Like what kind of make-up brush you use, or what color script paper you prefer to read from. Or what you say to limo drivers when you get out (other than, "Pick me up in three hours", I mean), and how you manage to keep a straight face when your fellow dimbulbs say stupid shit, and which banks Susan Sarandon uses to cash those multi-million dollar paychecks for mouthing other people's thoughts and ideas...

I am just so sick of Hollywood, and their "feeling good equals doing good" liberalism mentalities... not to mention that recto-cranially inverted drool-wiper George Clooney. This jackass had the nerve to insult Charlton Heston (Why? Because Mr. Heston has Alzheimer's!!). When he was asked about it, he decided to feel self-righteous about it and say, "I don't care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Association. He deserves whatever anyone says about him."

Mr. Heston refused to respond, but Bill Powers, one of his spokesmen, stated, "It just goes to show that sometimes class does skip a generation." Well said, sir.

Clooney has made the "Drumwaster Boycott List".
If anyone has any ideas on how I can attach images using BlogSpot, feel free to let me know, because I'd love to be able to post a few of these "Bumper Stickers". Go and enjoy, but don't drink anything first. Or you will lose your keyboard.
I'd like to rant for a moment, just to say one thing to the drivers here in Southern California: 'Stop' signs are NOT a "suggestion"! It doesn't make you an "assertive driver" to do that 'Slow down to 5 mph, and if the guy over there (who just entered the intersection) is not gonna have time to actually get in front of me before I can pull out, I'll just pull out and hurry across' thing. It has come to be known as a "California Stop".

I think of a joke someone once tried to tell me. It went over like a lead balloon, because I didn't see what was so funny about it. I thought it was a good idea, actually... The joke is:

Y'see, there was this guy, who was pulled over by a motorcycle cop. The cop walks up to his car and says, "May I see your license and registration, please, sir?"

The guy says, "What did I do wrong, Officer?"

"License and registration."

"I mean, if it was that stop sign back there..."

"It was. License and registration. Now."

"...then I kinda came to a stop! I mean, I slowed down and everything..."

"Sir, step out of the car, please."

The guy starts getting out, still protesting, "Look, I did slow down..." when the cop starts whacking him across the head with his nightstick, and asks, "Now, sir, would you like me to slow down or would you like me to stop?"

Heh. I get it now. Heh, heh. I've heard a variation, where the guy in the car had a friend in the passenger seat. Once the cop quits whacking the driver, he strolls over to the passenger side and whacks the passenger across the head. The Passenger says, "Hey, what'd you hit me for?"

"I'm just granting your wish, son."

"What wish?"

"Well, if I hadn't come over here, you two would have gotten about half a mile down the road, and you would have said, 'I wish that S.O.B. had come up here, and hit me'..."

Heh. I warned you I was weird that way.

Oh, c'mon, admit it. You laughed, didn't you? Yeah, you. LOL
I just heard that Iraq is scheduled to take over the position of Chair of the UN Committee on Disarmament on May 12. I'm not even surprised, because it came after Libya was elected to chair the UN Human Rights Commission, and Germany is scheduled to serve as President of the UN Security Council.


"In further news, China scheduled as keynote speaker on the Zero Population Growth problem..."
I found this picture over at Lee's site, "Right-Thinking from the Left Coast", and I want to applaud the sailors who managed to do that. (If it was just a Photoshop jub, then never mind, but I'll bet they would have done it if they had been allowed to choose).

I saw Teddy "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy on the news earlier. They had his name and title on the screen and I thought it was just so true. It identified him as "TED KENNEDY, MASS SENATOR". The first thing that popped into my head is that the people from "MASS" have certainly chosen a fine example... I mean, have you seen this guy recently? He looks like he hasn't turned down a fund-raising dinner (or three) since he was still thinking of running for President.

Seriously, Ted? That room downstairs with all the clanking metal contraptions is called a "gym". Look into the concept. You even get in for free!

On a different note altogether, I went to my training class, and it was pretty cool. We now have "Audio-only" voting machines, and they're being tested in this simple election. It's a Health Care District Recall, so there are only two questions to ask - Do you want to recall this guy (Yes/No)?, and if he is recalled, who do you want to replace him (just two names, plus the Write-In option)?

The tech support team from the County Registrar's Office is using this simple election to roll out these machines, and iron out any bugs that may pop up. It looks interesting, but we'll see come Tuesday...

I guess the Audio Machine is primarily for those people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired, or for those who have a difficult time controlling their fingers (due to arthritis or something else) or for those people who cannot read. But it reminds me of the sign I saw at a McDonald's Drive-Thru line, "Braille and Picture Menus Available". One question: Who is this sign designed for? Someone who is either blind or unable to read English.

Sounds simple, huh? Think it through.If the person who is driving (and, thus, reading the drive-thru menu and talking into the clown's nose) is either blind or unable to read English, then how did they end up behind the wheel at a McDonald's drive-thru lane? Has no one thought of the things you need to get a driver's license? You need to be able to see (I know at least two states that require a vision and a color test, as part of the process), and to read (which obviates the picture menu).

I've seen McDonald's in Hong Kong (with the menus half Chinese and half English), Canada (half English, half French), and Mexico (all Spanish), so I'm not demanding that the customers be fluent in English, but even my youngest granddaughter (who has yet to hit kindergarten) knows what a Big Mac is... Or a Whopper, as the case may be.

Man, I miss White Castle hamburgers..."Buy 'em by the sack!" I remember riding in a car with a friend of mine who pulled into a White Castle, and was miffed that he had had the drive-thru window shut in his face. He pulls out this really long (4-battery) flashlight, and forces the window open again. They freak out and call the cops and my friend gets arrested. I had to drive his Mustang back to his house! LOL

Ah, to be young again...(Sigh.)

I'll catch up with you guys in a little while. :-)
The Russian ambassador was covered on FOXNews as saying there was "no change" to their position, and we would have to provide "irrefutable evidence" of Iraq's material breaches of the various Resolutions.

Are you kidding me? We've got thousands of pages of documents, Top Secret documents relating to an ongoing nuclear weapons acquisition program found in one scientist's private home. ("Oh, I was just bringing them to you.")

We've got potentially thousands of liters of anthrax, stockpiles of VX nerve gas that the UNSC knew about back in 1998 (which has since just disappeared), growth medium for botulinum toxin which has been "misplaced", and Syria is claiming that because they cannot find any nuclear weapons stuff (completely ignoring the papers found - see above), therefore Iraq has no Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Let's define terms, shall we? A Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) is any weapon which is designed to use a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead to kill huge numbers of people. There does not have to be property damage involved (i.e., the so-called "neutron bomb", which would kill people but not harm the buildings - "poof", instant colonization), just mass casualties.

A WMD could be as simple as some jackass with a hair spray can on the third floor fire escape of a building half a block up wind of Times Square, emptying the can into the air, giving botulism and anthrax to thousands of people who never even see this joker

Those weapons do not have to be delivered by artillery shell, or cruise missile, or even ICBM. Those methods are gaudy as hell, and a phallic symbol for the generals and politicians, but what's wrong with a fishing trawler, or an oil tanker pulling into Long Beach, or a little day-sailer cruising up the Potomac?

I just hope the material lesson these ditherers are looking for comes from their nation, not ours. If anyother catastrophe like 9/11 happens again on US soil, we will almost certainly be bulldozing the UN HQ sites, and turn it into the new Yankee Stadium. Let them meet in Switzerland, dammit!

I've got to go to a training class (for next week's special election), so I'll catch up with you folks later today.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Hydrogen-powered cars... Cool.

The neatest part about hydrogen powered cars? The exhaust... chemically-pure water!!!

The main problem is that hydrogen can burn. Dramatically. Explosively. With great eagerness. Picture the Hindenburg.

That disaster in New Jersey is why blimps use helium now.

I have great hope for the AIDS solution, and I have heard rumors about human trials in Europe, Africa, Australia, and here in North America. I have great hopes for this solution, because when Kennedy said in 1961 that he wanted to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, he was widely pronounced deranged. But, by the grace of God, we pulled it off. We made an even half dozen trips and then quit. (I wish we were going back every now and then, but we've got the next best thing: The International Space Station, and you can find out exactly where it is by going here. Pretty cool, huh?

I've been a space flight fan since I saw the first Lunar Landing, way back when. It's one of my first memories, standing there, staring at the little TV screen, and being told that those men were actually standing on the surface of the moon. I was still shy of kindergarten, but I already knew that I was watching something special.

For the millions of years of human evolution, we have stared up at that big light in the night sky, and wondered. Now we were standing on the face of another celestial body! I know that it's just a matter of time before we are standing on the face of Mars or Venus, or Europa. We already have plans for sending robot explorers to boring (well, actually it would be "melting") through the ice shell on Europa, and checking for signs of life.

It's just a matter of time. If we can keep from killing ourselves for the next fifty years, I will be in awe of how far we've come.

The citizens of that time will be asking, "What's the big deal?" much like we do with cell phones. Y'see, 25 years ago, cell phones were carried in backpacks. Well, they're carried in backpacks now, too, but back then, you couldn't carry anything else in that backpack. (Heh.)

In the last 125 years, our phones have gone from "Mrs. Willis, are you going to be home later? Because I have to use your Bell line" to "Mabel, I need the line, dear" to "You mean I can have one in every room?" to "Can you hear me now?" (Heh.)

Good night, folks. I'm going to go dream of a Future Imperfect...
I am so sorry that I haven't been here, but I had to run out to the local Hospital to file some paperwork with them, and I was in line with a bunch of other people.

I got up to the desk and told my tale. She said "Take this number and have a seat." It was number 17, and they were only at number 80 (from the previous set of 100).

I waited. And waited.

And waited. Then I decided to shake things up by shifting in my seat before waiting some more. About an hour and a half, I heard the 'beep' and looked up to see the digital counter change.

To 81... You'd have been proud of me, though. I didn't even demand an explanation, even though others were, and getting obviously placating smooth-talk (that means absolutely nothing...) But the pace did pick up. They averaged a new number every 15 minutes until after lunch time, then it picked up a little.

Long story short, I was in that freakin waiting room for more than 5 hours, waiting to be seen by some claims adjuster.

Once I got inside, it took less than 10 minutes to get everything done. If it weren't for the security guard (who was wearing a "Dunlap" belt - his stomach 'dun lapped' over it...), I would have just screamed.

Well, I just got home a few minutes ago, and the wife is cooking hamburgers for dinner (making up for the waste of time at that Hospital, I guess), so let me scout around and see what has happened in the world, and I'll get back to you.

One thing I did notice is that Ariel Sharon won. BIG. The Palis had better start digging holes...

Monday, January 27, 2003

This is going to be a long one, because it is my first on-site "Fisking" of some Idiotarian nonsense. This particular group is one that claims to be protesting against the war, and they call themselves, "Not In Our Names". I have their web address, but I have no wish to direct anyone to that address. It can be found using almost any search engine.

The point is that these people have opinions. No matter how foolish those opinions may be, they have every right to have them. But the same First Amendment which gives them the right to protest gives me the right to dissect their arguments, line-by-line. I'm sure that there are hundreds of others who are doing the same thing, and I look forward to reading theirs when I run across them. This one is mine.

Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression.

Absolutely. We, the People, are doing something. We are going forth to remove terrorism and the states which sponsor and support terrorism. That war without limit was not declared by us, Junior, it was declared by the same sub-literate Islam fanatics who believe that their reward for killing innocent women, children will be an eternity with 70 virgins, and slaves made up of all the "infidels" they managed to kill in their self-immolation. The "stark, new measures of repression" involve such horrors as arresting those people who have been referred to in the interrogation of captured Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners both in Guantanamo Bay and overseas. They involve the dropping of bombs onto unsuspecting terrorist leaders. (Oops!) They involve the stricter searching of all passengers and luggage going onto aircraft. They involve demanding that potential immigrants follow our laws for arriving in this country. They involve kicking foreigners who have overstayed their visas the hell out of the country.

I understand that following the laws as they are written may confuse some of you into thinking that we've suddenly turned into a fascist state, especially since your poster boy, the former Adulterer-in-Chief got away with lying on the stand and Obstructing Justice, but the rest of us have no problem following the laws.

The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world.

I'm with you, but why not start earlier? I'm here to resist that policy that started months before that beautiful September morning. That policy that decided to bomb two American Embassies in Africa. That policy that launched a Zodiac boat loaded with explosives into the side of the USS Cole. That policy that Usama bin Laden launched, with the sole purpose of killing every single American, just for the crimes of being Americans.

The "grave danger" which is being posed "to the people of the world" comes from those people who have claimed that they will attack anywhere, anytime, so long as they can kill non-Muslims.

We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion by great powers.

Name one people or nation that we have taken that right away from. I can name half a dozen where we have come in to give that right back to the people after we remove the utterly and incomprehensibly cruel dictator who has crushed that right using cruel weapons and mass murders. We have done more for making people free than any other nation in history. Bar none.

We believe that all persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have the same rights of due process.

A HUGE majority are 1) not citizens of the United States (and therefore not eligible for protections under our Constitution);
2) Battlefield combatants (who are not members of an army of any nation, whether they were recognized by any other nation or not); and 3) admitted enemies of the United States. By all means, let's put them all in jail. Give them lawyers, paid for by tax dollars, who are only somewhat successful. Say we find them guilty of ... what? Firing weapons at our soldiers? That's an act of war, and they would therefore be considered "POW's", and not eligible for trial, but rather just confinement in a camp, guarded by soldiers, with all their other needs taken care of... wait. That's what's happening now!

What about murder and attempted murder? We could make a reasonable case for that, on all counts. The average murder trial is usually broken up into several months worth of meetings, plea negotiations and otherwise tying up a legal system that is already at the creaking point. And what do you think would happen when you release these guys into the general population of a prison? Have you thought about all the trouble they are going to foment among the prison population who has no love for our nation and its laws and are occasionally being released to carry out even more acts of destruction.

We'll wait for you to come up with a crime that we could charge them with. But hurry, they're not going to wait around for you.

The few Americans (Taliban Johnny Walker, the dirty bomb suspect (who joined the Nation of Islam while in prison) and the "Cajun Taliban") are being given their right to trial and an attorney, and all the rest.

We believe that questioning, criticism, and dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be fought for.

So long as sacrificing for those rights doesn't depend on you folks you're more than happy to take advantage of them, right?

We believe that people of conscience must take responsibility for what their own governments do -- we must first of all oppose the injustice that is done in our own name.

I do take responsibility for what my govenrment has done, and I support it fully. Does this mean that I have no conscience, or just that mine must be wrong? I would prefer to protest the injustices that are being done to my fellow citizens, and I will do what I think is necessary to remove that "clear and present danger"...

Thus we call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate. We choose to make common cause with the people of the world.

It wasn't the Bush Administration that started this war. And which people of the world are you asking? The British? No, they support us. Same with the Aussies... Maybe you should just stick with those people who want us all dead, or worse. Especially those people in Palestine, Baghdad, Paris, and Berlin who are still waiting for us to admit that we did something to bring 9/11 on ourselves.

Sorry, I refuse to accept the blame for those horrific acts, perpetrated by a madman who may already be a thin stain on a cave wall.

We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam.

Damn, I thought you were waking up there for a minute. You're still trying to point the finger of blame at America for all of this. Your straw man argument that since we bombed military targets in Baghdad (in response to an unprovoked war of aggression by Saddam Who's-Sane), Panama City (to remove an unprincipled drug dealer who was ruining a friendly nation - he is still alive, and serving time in a Florida prison for drug trafficking), and Vietnam (where we were invited by the freely elected leader of that nation who was concerned about Communist rebel infiltration and sabotage) is just that - a "straw man", trying to change the topic of discussion. None of those places are here and now.

As for Vietnam, it was a Democratic President who was going to pull out (he was assassinated), another one who got us even more involved, and it took years of inconclusive battles (almost all of which we won, including the infamous Tet Offensive) to cause our leaders to pull out, abandoning a former ally. What about all the thousands of village leaders who were killed by the rebels for collaborating with the Americans? You never saw that on the Evening News... Maybe they deserved it for standing with the American forces, huh?

We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen.

I was all too aware that it was the openness of our society that made "how" a moot point. My next question was not, "Why?" but "Who?". Determining a motive is a nice waste of time, but it is not essential to solving a crime, catching and punishing the criminals responsible, and doing what I can to prevent further repeats. "Why" they did it was simple: they hate us. So much so that they would be willing... no, "eager", to sacrifice their lives to kill a few Jews or Americans. But I'm not going to try and determine anything that we (as a nation) did to them to cause that hate. As a nation, we have lsacrificed our best and brightest to defend Muslims in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other places around the globe. The average man in the "Arab street" never gets to see those scenes, just what his government decides is important in inflaming hatred against a country on the other side of the planet, rather than looking around to see the truth. I have hopes that someday you will look around and see the truth, too. But not many.

But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge.

You betcha! You kill thousands of innocent American civilians, you can count on us coming for your ass. That's a promise.

They put out a simplistic script of “good vs. evil” that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media.

Pliant and intimidated? You've obviously never seen Helen Thomas at a presidential press conference. Maybe the major media tended to agree that the ones responsible for this outrage (covered in bloody detail by that selfsame media) should be brought to justice. Reporters are human, too.

They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate.

See above for a brief explanation as to why learning the motive to a crime is irrelevant to actually solving the crime and punishing the criminals who committed that crime. If you want to waste your precious time finding out all the root causes of Arab hatred for a nation who has given them more food, money, educational opportunities, and chances to experience a weird little condition they'd never before seen (it's called "Freedom"), then go right ahead. Ask some of those 19 terrorists what they were doing while here in the US. They were violating the very religious precepts (drinking alcohol and getting lap dances) they wanted us all to die for not following.

There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home.

"Help, help, I'm bein' repressed!" Good Lord. We are facing enemies who would like nothing more than to walk into Times Square with a suitcase nuke, push a button, and kill millions of "infidels". I suggest you read the essay on War for all the reasons that a war (which was declared by those very same terrorists) will not be won by defense only. Sooner or later, one of them is going to get hold of a chemical or biological agent (such as VX nerve gas, mustard gas, anthrax or smallpox, all of which Saddam Hussein already has!) and carry it into London or New York City or Tokyo and then the very same liberals who whine about the aggression of the "imperialist" US will be asking, "Why didn't we do something to stop this?", much like they did for 9/11. You can't have it both ways. If you don't want war, I accept that. Come up with another way to protect the world. Dialogue and Negotiation has failed miserably. Threats are worthless unless you are willing to stop making them and start backing them up, at some point, and we're back to violence again.

Come up with a solution, or quitcherbitchin...

In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress,

"Near unanimity"? So all of those elected representatives are wrong (not to mention all those millions of constituents who submitted their opinions to those representatives)? When the vote is 430-3, you can be pretty sure that you've got the mandate to follow that lead. And what about the US Senate Resolution that was passed back in 1998 that said we needed to remove Saddam, using any means necessary? That was before Bush even announced he was thinking of running, but it must somehow be his fault anyway...

not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and anytime.

We would have been willing to give the Taliban a pass, had they given us the monster responsible for giving the order to kill thousands of our citizens. They had several weeks to decide. They decided that we were bluffing (based on eight years of "toothless" diplospeak from Bill "Where's that intern?" Clinton). They were wrong.

And anytime you want to kill Americans by the thousands, you get no right to complain when we come after you... Which we will.

The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines

Where another American missionary was beheaded by a member of an Islamic extremist groups, just to prove a point. I guess it really is the "Religion of Peace", huh?

to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction.

As opposed to the Hezbollah murderers peaceful students who merely carry backpacks with C-4 and rusty nails covered with rat poison (which the Paliswineans have started using because it is an anti-coagulant and their victims who were "only" injured will bleed to death before they can be treated)...

The Israeli have said it again and again: "If you send your sons against us to kill our citizens, you will lose your home."

But since you must be right, and they must be wrong, I'll tell ya what. We'll go over and finish Hitler's job and kill all the Jews for you. That should make you happy, and it will sure as hell make the Arabs happy. But it won't stop them from trying to kill us...

The government now openly prepares to wage all-out war on Iraq -- a country which has no connection to the horror of September 11. What kind of world will this become if the U.S. government has a blank check to drop commandos, assassins, and bombs wherever it wants?

No connection, and that is irrelevant. The Battle of Iraq is not predicated on September 11th, it is based on the fact that Saddam is a major terrorist supporter and supplier. He has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the families of homicide bombers in Palestine. If that isn't supporting terrorism, I don't know what you need for evidence. But even that is not why we're going into Iraq this time.

In our name, within the U.S., the government has created two classes of people: those to whom the basic rights of the U.S. legal system are at least promised, and those who now seem to have no rights at all. The government rounded up over 1,000 immigrants and detained them in secret and indefinitely.

Not much of a secret if you know that they're being held, and where... And foreign citizens who have been captured fighting against the United States are criminals who are not protected by the Constitution. That's the same Constitution they were working so hard to destroy. The three Americans who were captured have been handled separately, under that selfsame Constitution (despite the charges of treason, defined by that very same document). Not one has undergone summary court-martial, despite the fact that they have committed acts that would have gotten them a bullet to the ear in that "enlightened" country of Iraq.

Hundreds have been deported and hundreds of others still languish today in prison. This smacks of the infamous concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in World War 2. For the first time in decades, immigration procedures single out certain nationalities for unequal treatment.

All those people are still out there on the streets, just not here in the US. Not a single citizen has been deported. All of those forced to leave the country were either here illegally in the first place, or those who had violated the law by overstaying their visas without permission. They just got caught.

"Hundreds languish in prison..." All of them are arguably guilty of genocide, capital murder, mass murder, attempted murder, convicted murder, and have repeatedly expressed the willingness to kill Americans by any means necessary. None of them would shrink if their intended victim was an elderly woman, a small child, an innocent civilian, a doctor or fireman (who are trying to save lives), or one of you, so long as that victim was American.

I'd rather they be locked up, for my own safety. Any judge would agree. The Supreme Court did.

As for the "singling out of nationalities", let's look at that. Of the 19 hijackers, all 19 of them were 1) Middle-Eastern; 2) male;
3) Islamic; and, 4) young adults (19-30). Should we then ignore all of the people who fit that description and stop 80-year-old Swedish Presbyterian grandmothers, just so that we cannot be accused of "profiling"? When cops start looking for a serial killer, the FBI will usually start looking for a white male, because the vast majority of serial killers have been white males. That's not being racist, that's playing the percentages.

In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The President’s spokesperson warns people to “watch what they say.”

Because "loose lips sink ships" and you have no idea who may be listening. "Pall of repression"? Good Lord.

I should be protesting Hollywood because they have brought a "pall of stupidity" over Southern California, but they do have the right to protest. I just wish that they would actually produce evidence to support this "rhyme and rhetoric", instead of using it just to sound good.

Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed.

In today's Internet society, any number of people can produce transcriptions of exactly what your dissident's views are. In living color. As for "attacked", if they actually made sense, or had facts to support them, maybe they wouldn't be attacked so frequently. But when dimbulbs like Sheryl Crow say stupid stuff like, "The best way to avoid conflicts is to not have enemies", well, she deserves to have that statement spread over the globe. "Suppressed" is probably because even newspaper editors have trouble trying to print this stuff without getting laughed out of their publisher's office.

The so-called Patriot Act -- along with a host of similar measures on the state level -- gives police sweeping new powers of search and seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts.

"So called"? That's what it is called. "Search and Seizure" is still limited by the Fourth Amendment. I know that may be a foreign concept, but I would suggest you either produce evidence of these "state measures" or read that Amendment. Or both.

Secret meetings before secret courts? Well, duh. Do you think the cops are going to call up the criminals and say, "Yeah, we just wanted to let you know that we are going to go pick up that search warrant now, so don't do anything stupid like disappearing or destroying evidence, now, y'hear?"

In our name, the executive has steadily usurped the roles and functions of the other branches of government. Military tribunals with lax rules of evidence and no right to appeal to the regular courts are put in place by executive order. Groups are declared “terrorist” at the stroke of a presidential pen.

Except for the "executive usurping the roles and functions of the other branches of government" (the United Nations is not a Branch of our Government), I have to agree with all of that. Your point?

We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when they talk of a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new domestic order. We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a domestic policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights.

I would have hoped that Saddam (and Usama) had taken Bill "the Adulterer" seriously, but since he was too busy using the interns as humidors, even his own citizens didn't take him seriously. Al-Qaeda had struck on at least three occasions, killing thousands of people, and we did nothing. Saddam kept firing on our planes for patrolling the UN-mandated "No Fly" zones, and we did nothing.

Then, Al Qaeda killed thousands in a united attack on out own soil and we woke up. They have no right to complain about the results of the actions they started. Saddam has been breaking promises and UNSC Resolutions since the day we quit killing his fleeing soldiers in their stolen Mercedes-Benz, and we have finally told him (with yet another UNSC Resolution) that his time is up. He was given a "final opportunity", and he believed that we meant the same as we did for the last eight years. He was wrong.

I don't want war any more than you do. But there is a cost for inaction, and at this point, that cost would be more than not acting. Not only because we would lose all credibility in the governments of the world, but because we would always be able to be scared off by threats to innocents.

There is a deadly trajectory to the events of the past months that must be seen for what it is and resisted. Too many times in history people have waited until it was too late to resist.

But we need to give Saddam (who is sacrificing thousands of his people - men, women, and children down to toddlers) more time?

President Bush has declared: “you’re either with us or against us.” Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety.

I guess that's your right. Just stay out of the way and go back to your lives, pretending that all life is good, everything is peaceful, and if we could all just get high enough for long enough, we could solve all of our problems...

We say NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed.

See above.

We who sign this statement call on all Americans to join together to rise to this challenge. We applaud and support the questioning and protest now going on, even as we recognize the need for much, much more to actually stop this juggernaut. We draw inspiration from the Israeli reservists who, at great personal risk, declare “there IS a limit” and refuse to serve in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

That is their right. But those libertarians who repudiate their government's right to use force to protect their fellow citizens have no right to call for it when they are exposed to the lawless activities of criminals. Here's hoping that you never need the police or the fire department. To, say, protect you from a pissed off veteran who is upset at your treacherous activities, or to put out the inferno your neighbors have turned your home into... Not that we are threatening or anything...

We also draw on the many examples of resistance and conscience from the past of the United States: from those who fought slavery with rebellions and the underground railroad, to those who defied the Vietnam war by refusing orders, resisting the draft, and standing in solidarity with resisters.

So trying to free a domestic population is a good enough reason to fight? Why is fighting to free a foreign people not good enough? What about trying to find and punish those people who have repeatedly claimed the only thing they want more than killing Americans is killing Jews?

Let us not allow the watching world today to despair of our silence and our failure to act. Instead, let the world hear our pledge: we will resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it.

I recommend that you come up with another solution that isn't some "pie in the sky" idealism. If you cannot come up with a valid solution, I suggest you not do anything more that might be "accidentally" construed as giving "aid and comfort" to our enemies.

The list of "more than 40,000 signatories" (which works out to 1 part in about 7,000, or 0.01429%) include such braintrusts as Ed Asner, Robert Altman, Noam Chomsky (like he'd miss this opportunity to bash America), Roma Downey, Jane Fonda, "Monty Python's" Terry Gilliam (like his world isn't surreal enough?), Tom Hayden, Jesse Jackson, former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (voted out of office because of what she screechingly proclaimed "a Jewish Conspiracy"), Viggo Mortenson, someone named "Ozomatli", Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, Gloria Steinam, Oliver "CIA killed JFK" Stone, Ron Takaki (an "ethnic studies" teacher at Berkeley), Gore Vidal, etc., etc., yaddayaddayadda.

I gotta go shower now. I feel filthy just for having read it.
I guess I'm starting to get noticed by the web-crawlers, because the last three e-mails I've gotten have been automated spam-mails. I'm going to have to take the additional security step of removing that automated e-mail address, and putting up the "e-mail sniffer"-proof address, simply because it's only going to get worse.

(If any of you get those things, don't even bother to respond to the "auto-remove" option, because it just guarantees that you will get even more mail. Y'see, you've just verified that your e-mail address is a valid one. So just delete them.)

I, however, don't want to have to fight off the thousands of e-mail address search programs that keep reporting back any identifier that comes in the username@domainname format, so I'm going to spell out the e-mail address, so that anyone who really wants to do so can write me (and I read them all, thanks!), but the "sniffers" will ignore it.

Fair enough? :-) I knew you'd understand.
We've managed to do the Bill of Rights (finishing up just yesterday, before the game). One hell of a game. Heh.

The Pro Bowl is coming up, and I'm calling the NFC to win this one. I have no idea who might be playing, and since this is just an exhibition game, for the hell of it, the starters are probably not even going to stay suited for the whole game.

Who would blame them for wanting to take it easy? I mean, look... these guys have just gotten their bodies pounded by big bruisin' guys who were deliberately trying to hurt them for the last 4 months. They are at the beginning of their 6-month vacation, and have managed to be outstanding enough through the regular season (and post season for those six teams) that they've earned a plane ticket to Hawaii, of all places. The beach (with lots of sun, pretty girls and rum punch drinks brought by guys who will fight for the privilege of serving you that drink, and "maybe could you sign an autograph for me?"), the warm weather (for those guys that are from anywhere east of the Rockies), the nightlife, and all that other stuff waiting for them.

Why would they want to expose their skins to the rough-and-tumble pile-ups, with the associated risk of a career ending injury in a game that no one will remember by this time next month?

I've just been watching the speech by Colin Powell. We're going to war. Soon. It will last about as long as the last one did, and I predict that we will capture close to 70% of the Iraqi soldiers (who won't raise anything more threatening than a white flag), and have to fight - and kill - the other 30% (and 98% of those will die within the first fifteen minutes of contact - about as long as it takes to get support from the air-to-mud guys overhead)...

We have weapons they cannot even begin to comprehend. The HRM missile (that can shut down any system that uses modern transistors, such as radio, aircraft, missiles, automobiles, trucks, tanks, electronic locks, and computers of every sort, without so much as bruising a human being standing next to those soon-to-be doorstops), the J-SOW (aka the "Smart Pig", which is not just a smart weapon, it's a brilliant weapon that can be lauched by an aircraft from a distance, find its own way to the target zone (much like a Tomahawk), and then release its submunitions, which will search out the type of target they were told to look for, because the sub-munitions charges can distinguish between a tank and a truck, and maneuver to kill the tank), the Tomahawk (which can pick out the particular window in the particular building it was told to kill, while being launched from several hundred miles away), the Stealth Fighters and Bombers (any one of which can appear anywhere on the globe and drop its GPS directed weapons, which are accurate to within 10 feet as a maximum error), and the American MBT, which can use night-sights or infrared guidance systems to reach out and kill touch its opposition from several hundred meters farther away than anything the Iraqis can manage to beg, borrow, or steal, kinda like an adult keeping an angry child at arms length with a hand on its forehead.

But despite the fact that he will not survive, nor will any of his soldiers who so much as loads a magazine into his rifle, he is still trying to obfuscate the truth. And France is still backing him up.

With all of this evidence, and the irrefutable logic of history, there are STILL people who say we're just a bunch of bullies who need to wait for the UN to utilize its all-knowing wisdom to settle this spat, despite the fact that Iraq has been jerking this very same UN around in an obvious game of "keep-away".

Saddam delenda est
If you've never taken the time to click on any of the links to your left, you're missing out on some very good blogging and some other sites. One of these is the owner of the Blog known as "Eject!Eject!Eject!". He has put together what may be the most cogent, thoughful, and logical reasons for the need to take Saddam Hussein out of power.

He shows why, and spends a great deal more time than (what I think is) necessary refuting the most common arguments used by many of the Pro-Saddam, Anti-American so-called "Peace" marchers (some of whom 'peacefully' smashed the INS building, a Post Office, and thousands of dollars in private property in San Francisco), explaining where the fault in their thinking lies. He offers evidence for every point, either specifying what the evidence is, or describing it so thoroughly that anyone who has ever used a search engine can find it for themselves (it took me about 10 minutes to find an example of even the most grotesque).

This man has written equally penetrating essays on Honor, on Freedom, on the nature of an Empire and why the U.S. isn't one, the weirdness of Celebrities, and finally this one, on why we must fight this War.

Go bookmark his page (don't forget to mention that I sent ya!) and start reading his archives... It's worth the time.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

When you're dealing with a suspect who may have been breaking the law, you can sometimes use the old trick, commonly known as "Good Cop, Bad Cop". It's one of the oldest tricks in the book, precisely because it works so often. It's where one cop is the "Bad Cop", threatening the suspect, being a pain in the ass, and generally trying to present an intimidating facade, while the other cop is the "Good Cop", trying to establish a rapport with the suspect, 'protecting' him from the "bad cop", and generally trying to get the suspect to confide in him and (perhaps) let some information slip.

The President has such advisers, not necessarily "good cop, bad cop", but one (the Secretary of State) is pro-diplomacy and the other (the Secretary of Defense) is not ... well, not necessarily anti-diplomacy, or even 'pro-war', but perhaps advocating a more vigorous response. That is what their respective job positions require, and each side has its own pros and cons.

That's why you gotta know that when even the good cop says, "I give up", you're in for a serious ass-whuppin' from the bad cop.

And when the bad cop closes the door, and says, "I've got a few things I want to talk with you about..." with this really evil grin on his face, you know you're in for some serious punishment.

Hell, even little Kuwait (who was able to stand up to Iraq for about as long as a paper airplane stands up to a tornado) is telling Saddam he's about to get his ass handed to him. In thin slices.

I'll be there cheering our troops when they return. I know there are some who will probably be protesting, and I hope that one of them will have the nerve to step up to a battle veteran and call him a murderer to his face. It should make for interesting TV... Not to mention its own program on the Health Channel. ("Tell me again, sir, exactly how did the protest sign gets so firmly lodged in your rectum?" "Well, you see, Doc, there was this Marine...") LOL

I'm going to bed, so I will wish you all a very good night! Congratulations to all those in Tampa Bay. It was a well-played game.
Two seconds left, and Tampa Bay has just scored another touchdown. The score now stands at 48-21.

I think I can relax now. :-)

(Buffing nails on vest) I would say, "I told you so!" but that would be bragging. My wife is saying that Tampa bay are poor sportsman, and just... just so... "ostentatious!". I've gotta say that I agree. LOL

Game's in the books now, so I can report that the final score was "Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48 - Oakland Raiders 21".

I think that counts as a win. See you tomorrow!
Well, we can make that score 34-3. Nice interception, by the way... LOL

I guess I was being conservative. WAAAAaaaaaaaaayy too conservative.
Sorry, I missed the half-time posts, because I was watching Shania Twain lip-synch to her songs, and jamming to Sting. He has made a point of making it known that he will never lip synch in a concert.

I support him in this (not like I have a lot of choice in it, but still...) It shows class, and that he wants his fans to know that he's still out there because he can, not because he needs the money.

Oh, and did I mention that Tampa Bay is leading 20-3? Heh.

Remember, you read it here first... :-)
4 minutes to go in the first half, and Tampa Bay is ahead 13-3. They were talking about there being only one time in Super Bowl history where a team has managed to come from behind and overcome a 10-point lead...

I wonder where that serving of crow went?...
Well, Tampa Bay has won their challenge, so they get to keep the ball on their own 29.

This isn't going to be a play-by-play, but I'll check back in at half time...
There was this big black bird that just landed on my plate, but I think I'm gonna wait until the fat lady sings before I start eating any crow...

Yeah, I know that Oakland is up 3-0 within the first few minutes, but LO and BEHOLD Tampa Bay fumbles the return!

We shall see! Nope, they're challenging...

Stand by for developments.
We've got just under two hours before Game Time, so it's time to start dissecting the Tenth Amendment, right? I knew you guys were with me... LOL

The Tenth Amendment is what made us a Federal Republic of United States, not a nation called "The United States". I know that doesn't make any sense, but work with me, and try to follow along. It says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Let's step back to the document mentioned in this Amendment, the Constitution. It first sets up the form of the Government (the three branches and the relationship between them), and then gives certain power to that Government (Congress has its powers spelled out in Article I, Section 8; the President's in Art. II, Sect. 2; and the Supreme Court's in Art. III, Sect. 2).

It further explains how each of the three branches can be limited in its power (Impeachment for the judges and Justices, and for the President, but Congress gets to set its own rules concerning how to punish misbehaving Members (Art. I, Sect. 5, Clause 2)), and how to amend the Constitution as a whole (a fairly long procedure - long enough to prevent shifting public opinion from overwhelming the basic document), and how to add more states. The States are also prohibited from committing certain acts (they cannot declare war on other nations, nor mint their own money, etc. - see Art. I, Sect. 10).

But the people are not limited in anything they may do, and that is where the wisdom of this Amendment comes into sharp focus. It says that if the States have not been prohibited from doing something, they have the right to do it. They can pass laws that directly contradict laws that are in effect just a few feet away, over an invisible line. A good example of this can be found just a few hours north of my home, at the point where Interstate 15 crosses into Nevada. It's in the middle of the desert, and you wouldn't even be able to tell you were in Nevada, if it were not for the THREE hotel/casinos, plus a shopping mall that are all right there, at Exit 1, literally within feet of the state line. They can do this, and make millions, because it is the closest place to Los Angeles that allows real casinos (not the Indian casinos).

If you think about it, you can come up with several other examples: between cities, counties, and states. All of those laws are supposed to be measured against the Constitution, and if the Constitution says differently (suppose that Massachusetts votes to raise the voting age to 38 1/2), the law will be struck down as "Unconstitutional" (the 26th Amendment, in this case, which says that people can vote at 18).

But where the Constitution is silent, the various States, counties, and cities get to decide by either putting it to a vote of the people, or by the elected representatives passing a law.

That is why the U.S. Supreme Court screwed up Roe v. Wade - now wait a minute, put down the protest signs, call off the marches, and listen to me for a moment. The Supreme Court should have been interpreting the laws already written, not creating new law. The act of abortion should be protected as firmly (and directly tied to) as her right to privacy (implied in the Fourth Amendment - "... secure in their persons..."). But the laws of that State should have controlled whether or not her actions in getting the abortion was legal. The various issues should be put to the people, either as a patchwork of city, county, and state laws (which is how you will find laws regarding marriage requirements, the requirements for getting a business license, or the selling of various alcoholic beverages - I remember a wedding several years ago, where everyone but me, my family and friends was fully aware of the fact that we had to exit the county to buy beer, wine, or champagne, but no one bothered to tell us. The rest of the guests brought their own ice coolers. My family and friends were pointed towards either the punch bowl (ONE bowl of punch for 300+ guests) or the only soda machine at the church. (Felicia, if you come across this post, be warned that Satan has added a few hundred years of torture onto your sentence for that little omission!)

Regardless, if there is a right that was not expressly given to the Nation or a State, then the people could exercise that right without fear or punishment, or reprisal. An example is (say) fixing a public road... Since the Constitution says that Congress is responsible for establishing "post Roads" (technically for the delivery of mail), the Federal Government must contribute at least a percentage of the costs of repairing that pothole on the corner... and that's exactly why I would get arrested if I went out there with a bucket of gravel and some asphalt. No matter what my good intentions, nor my capabilities of doing a good job, I would be arrested for usurping a power of Congress. You see? But since there's nothing in the Constitution about what color shirt I must wear, nor what color my house is (although my neighborhood Homeowner's Committee - if one existed - could have a say if I had been made aware of the rules before I painted) I get to decide that and the cops can't do anything but point and laugh.

But the Constitution is designed to paint with a very broad brush, and there are lots of cracks to give people room to move and grow, and ... well, just to be creative. I mentioned a few posts back that there are people out here in California who build spaceships in their garages, just to see what will happen... The government demands that we respect the requirements regarding the safety of our neighbors and their property, but if you're out in the middle of the desert, you're pretty much on your own.

This kind of sweeping grant of authority to the People means that we can disagree, and decide to let our neighbors settle it. (The fact that laws may have already covered our particular disagreement simply means that our neighbors - or their representatives - decided to write it down so they would remember how it was decided the last time it came up. That's called precedent.)

Incredible, isn't it?

Well, we are now down to less than an hour before game time, so remember, I'm picking Tampa Bay.

By at least a touchdown. :-)
According to my computer clock (which is automatically updated to the Atomic Clock in Colorado Springs 3 minutes after I turn the computer on), it is now 10:06 a.m., which means that there is about 54 minutes before the 4-hour-long Super Bowl Pre-Game Show begins, which means there are still about 4 3/4 hours before the game starts, and I am still sticking with my prediction that Tampa Bay is gonna win by at least a touchdown.

You heard it here first...

Of course, I'm gonna look pretty foolish if Oakland wins, huh? I don't care. I could be sitting next to you at the local sports bar, and unless I told you who I was, you wouldn't know me from Andrew Card. (No, I'm not gonna tell you who he is. Go do a search for him...)

I'll be the first to admit I was wrong, if (and only if) I turn out to be wrong.

We shall see. :-)