Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iran Winning Political War

A story in this morning’s newspaper explained that Iran lied to a United Nations’ agency about its nuclear program because it feared attack from the U.S. and Israel. Uh huh. And it no doubt kidnapped those 15 British sailors and marines because it was afraid that if it didn’t do something to turn attention away from its activities in Iraq and its nuclear program that the U.S. and Israel and the world already knew about, then everyone would be talking about its nuclear program and its activities in Iraq, which of course is bad for Iran. All of which begs the question, “How stupid to these bozos think the rest of the world is?”

On the other hand, there is ample evidence that a significant portion of the nations of the world either are stupid about Iran, or at least are too afraid of the regime to admit they know what the ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad are up to.

Iran has everyone hoodwinked, which isn’t all that difficult these days, given the sissified leadership of much of Europe. It doesn’t help that Russia, while not a sissified nation, is in bed with Iran on selling nuclear technology and other economic entanglements. But how much longer is the world going to sit on their hands while Iran defies the UN and develops nuclear technology that everyone knows will eventually lead to a nuclear-armed unstable regime? And how much longer is Tony Blair going to keep making excuses for not going after his sailors and marines?

Oh how I long for the days of Margaret Thatcher.

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‘Twas Guy’s Fault

I feel better now. Through a great deal of thought about my water pipe tragedy last Wednesday I have come to realize that it really wasn’t my fault at all, it was my friend Guy’s. You see, normally on Wednesday he and I have lunch and discuss issues with an organization we are both involved in, but this particular Wednesday he had a conflict.

Now, if I had been going to lunch, I would have showered and dressed for activities other than yard work, especially since I had a formal meeting at 5:30 p.m. What sense would it have made, after all, to get all cleaned up for lunch, come back home at 1:30 and get all dirty working outside, then have to get cleaned up again in only three hours? Not much, unless the yard work was really pressing, and it wasn’t that pressing.

So, thanks to Guy, my nasty water event happened on Wednesday.

No, I haven’t forgotten that it was my negligence that led to the pipe bursting in the first place, but it was only happenstance that caused that rupture to be recognized Wednesday, and there was always the chance that I might have realized (when I saw the hose still connected) that there was a good chance the pipe had burst over the winter, and I might have checked it out before needing to use the hose to control a fire. That’s my story and I’m … well, you know the rest.

Rationalization is a wonderful thing. I feel so Liberal!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Iraq Story

A U.S. Marine squad was patrolling north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road. I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein is a miserable lowlife, and he yelled back that Ted Kennedy is a good-for-nothing, fat, left wing liberal drunk."

"So I said that Osama Bin Laden dresses and acts like a frigid, ugly, mean-spirited lesbian! He retaliated by yelling, ‘Oh yeah? Well, so does Hillary Clinton!’ And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us!!!"

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Iran Pushing Its Luck

It’s been a week since 15 British military personnel were seized in waters near Iraq and Iran. The Iranians claim the British boat was in its waters; the Brits claim their people were in Iraqi waters.

It has been pretty much a diplomatic standoff so far, but Iran is threatening to put the Brits on trial. There is also some possibility that the one woman among the British sailors and marines will be released. The Iranians originally said they would release the woman, but have more recently reneged. The Iranians have released one statement by the woman in which she admits the British boat was indeed in Iranian waters, and another statement is forthcoming, according to news sources. News sources also say that satellite imagery clearly shows the British boat outside the limits of Iranian waters.

A few questions naturally arise: Were the Brits in Iranian waters? If so, was it on purpose or by accident? It has been reported that the boundaries are tricky to navigate, due to the coastline near the boundaries. Another questions is: How much intimidation was used on the British woman to get her to admit the Brits were wrong?

But really, none of that matters, as the Iranians have tipped their hand and exposed their real reason for creating this hoopla: They have demanded the Brits pull out of Iraq. So the next and final question is, is this an international sovereignty issue, or a naked political maneuver?

One wonders just how long Tony Blair will wait to take decisive action to get his people back? As pointless as it is to work through diplomatic channels with Iran, I concede that some diplomatic efforts must be given a chance. But the Iranians have a reputation for doing as they please, pretty much with impunity, as most nations are afraid to get tough with the Iran. My solution? Give Iran one very stern warning with a definite and short timetable for a response, demanding the immediate release of the captured military personnel and their equipment and belongings, and when the deadline expires the British military will take out a small Iranian military installation, or take out a small portion of a bigger one, and let Iran know that if those sailors and marines aren’t released immediately, another attack will quickly follow.

Someone needs to confront Iran and let the Ayatollahs and the Ahmadinejad regime know that they aren’t nearly as tough and fearsome as they have come to believe they are, and there is no better time than the present, when Iran has provoked Great Britain.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not a Great Day

I had some tutoring this morning and a couple of phone calls to make, then I planned to get outside and start reclaiming the yard from the natural havoc that occurred over the winter. You may remember my saga of the leaves? Well, there are still plenty of leaves left, even after the dozens of cubic yards of them that I removed in the multiple battles last fall. I had already had a short bout with some stuff along our walkway on Sunday, and I was ready to dive in for as much time as I could squeeze in before the predicted rain began. It started out as a very nice day, rising into the 70s (fourth straight day of that) and sunny.

So, out I went, first to clear the driveway of the gravel from the town’s snow treatment and some other stuff that had gathered there. I broke for lunch and finished the driveway right after. I then headed for the area behind the back deck, which is a series of tiered planting areas with a bunch of azaleas and some other shrubs, part of the Grand Design of the Master Leaf Catcher from whom we bought the house. I didn’t get all the leaves picked up, but I did get them cleared from the plants so they could begin their spring development. We have a few plants around that are some kind of ornamental grass. It grows tall and then turns almost white when the season is over, almost like straw. One of those, the biggest one, is out front near the street, and it was six to seven feet high. One night last week before my son Ryan headed back to college, we lit that sucker and watched it burn. It is quite spectacular (which is why we did it, and why we did it at night). There is also a good-sized one of those in the planted area out back.

Because of the torture that is the leaf removal process I have toyed with the idea of burning the area clear. That thought crossed my mind today. The grass in question is at one end of the planters, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Now, I knew that this would be quite the conflagration, and I knew that the flames would singe the timbers that the planters are built from, but they need to be painted/stained anyway, so I was willing to let them get scorched in order to see how effective/destructive the burning method would be.

So, with a garden hose connected close by, I lit the grass. It went fast. I knew it would. It caught the leaves nearby on fire. I knew it would. Pretty soon, the fire had spread to an area I thought was plenty big, so I fetched the hose to keep the fire from going beyond those boundaries. I turned on the faucet and climbed up near the burning area and began to water the perimeter to keep the fire within it. A really pitifully weak stream dribbled out of the nozzle. “That’s weird,” I thought, and headed down to the faucet. As I climbed down, I noticed that the fire, as fires are wont to do, was spreading. Quickly. I got to the faucet and realized I hadn’t opened it all the way. “That’s the problem,” I thought, and headed back to where I had laid the nozzle down, picked it up and began to spray the perimeter again, which was now larger than intended, but not (yet) out of control; the woods were not far away. The stream was only a little better, but enough to take care of the immediate problem, so I continued watering the perimeter. When that was accomplished, I went back down to the faucet; some burning continued. I tried the faucet and found it was wide open. Then I saw it: water dripping from beneath the sideboards on both sides of the faucet. “This isn’t good,” I said. I had to take care of the other burning areas, which took a few minutes, and then headed for the basement where the pipes came through the wall.

I opened the door to the back part of the basement where we have a lot of stuff stored and looked straight across to the wall where the pipe is. I saw a little trickle of water rolling down the wall. Then I turned on the light. It didn’t take long to realize that there was about a half-inch of water covering the floor. The entire floor. I ran to the main cutoff valve and shut off the water supply. Damn! I was angry. What a mess. Now, instead of making progress outside, I had to shift my focus to cleaning up water inside the house.

I won’t bore you with the gritty details of the clean-up, except to say it was, and is, a giant pain, but I will tell you one thing more: It was all my fault. I had neglected to take the hose off the faucet before winter weather set in. I know better; I just didn’t do it. I’m really peed off!!!

Lesson learned.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Family Planning

On a radio talk show the other day the subject was the presidential campaign, specifically whether or not it would hurt Rudy Guliani that he is now on wife number three, and whether or not that should make any difference. During the ensuing conversation a legislative initiative in Tennessee came up, and that topic garnered a good bit of comment. The proposed law would make it more difficult to get a divorce, and the host wanted to know what everyone thought about that law.

A particular case was discussed in which the couple wanting the divorce had been married for 18 years, and the law, if enacted, would cause the partners in troubled marriages to go to counseling and such and delay a divorce about a year. The wife had commented that they had been married for 18 years, and the idea of divorce was something that hadn’t just come up the week before at breakfast. They had been having trouble for a while and had finally realized that for the good of all concerned, kids and adults, they should split up.

Broken homes are indeed a big problem in our society, and if we have fewer of them that would be a good thing. Forcing people who hate each other to live together, however, isn’t a good way to prevent broken homes, and if we are concerned about “the children,” having parents at each other’s throats isn’t going to help them develop normally. Of course, having parents split up while they are still young isn’t good for their development, either, as study after study has shown. Children from broken homes, particularly single-parent homes, are at great risk for a host of serious problems.

The best thing for a stable society—our society—is to have it filled with good, solid families: one man, one woman, in a loving, committed, long-term relationship, with one or more children that they love and that love them.

The way to cultivate stable families, it seems to me, is to do a little work on the front end. After all, we have to go to school 12 years to get a high school diploma. We have to study a little and take a test to get a drivers license. If you just think about it a minute, there are all kinds of things that have requirements that must be met before you can do something. Yet, in most states once we are 18 years old all we need to get married is a blood test and a willing accomplice. Producing a child requires even less of the parents. What kind of sense does that make?

Back in the old days, things were very different. I am talking about the really old days when a date consisted of the boy and girl sitting in the parlor so the girl’s parents could get to know him, and then the two spending several more nights in the parlor getting to know each other before actually going out on a date. Dates were things like picnics and movies and such. The result of this process of courting was that people got to know each other more deeply early on. I wonder if young people, or even older ones, who are entering into a dating relationship understand that just because you like each other, you both like the outdoors, and hamburgers and adventure films, and the sex is good, that doesn’t mean that they know enough about each to know they can endure the pressures of marriage and parenting that inevitably arise in a relationship, and it doesn’t reflect the couple’s ability to form a substantive relationship that will last for decades.

Marriages evolving from that “old fashioned” dating lasted a long time and produced stable families. It didn’t hurt that society frowned on divorce.

These days it is too easy to get married, and it is too easy to get divorced. If there were some way to “train” prospective mates, perhaps by covering the subject of developing a meaningful and long-lasting relationship as a school subject that focused on the good and bad of interpersonal relationships, and stressing the long-term ideal for marriage, people might not make hasty judgments based on superficial criteria, but learn that what makes marriage work is far more complicated than they think it is.

As for divorce, it doesn’t make any sense to perpetuate a poisoned relationship, and forcing people to remain in them likely does more harm than good. But it shouldn’t be so easy to get a divorce that people rush out to the lawyer’s office at the first argument or on a whim.

Finding a way to build secure marriages ought to be a national priority, because as we have seen since the 60s and 70s, families have weakened, and weak families put a society at risk of collapse.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nuri's Site

My friend Nuri, from Spain, has changed the name of her blog, and that has caused her to be moved down the link list at the right of this page.

Personally, I liked the old name, "Criaturades" (I think I spelled it correctly), although I neither knew how to pronounce it nor what it meant.

I asked Nuri at least two times to help me with the pronunciation and tell me its meaning, but she has so far neglected to do so.

She now calls the blog "My B side," so instead of being in the Cs, it's in the Ms.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different!

That line from Monty Python accurately describes what follows. It's been one of those days when things pile up and make you crazy. In an effort to avoid going crazy, I started reading emails, and came across this one, most of the parts of which I had seen before. It is a series of faux pax from church bulletins.

Some of them are so absurd, when you think about them a minute, it gave me just the chuckle I needed:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community.

Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "Hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again", giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: "Break Forth Into Joy."

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days!

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind.They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mr. Gore Goes to Washington

Former Vice President, unsuccessful Democrat candidate for President, moviemaker, Academy Award winner, Nobel Prize nominee, and global warming “obsessionite” Al Gore is testifying in Congress today about his passion: Manmade global warming. Before Mr. Gore had uttered even the first of his many predictable words, this episode was already collecting irregularities.

Witnesses are expected to submit their remarks at least 48 hours prior to their time before a committee to allow committee members adequate time to review the testimony and prepare meaningful and well thought out questions for the witness. Mr. Gore missed the deadline; his testimony reportedly arrived at 1 a.m.—yes, that is a.m.—the day of his appearance. Obviously, this leaves little time for supporters and opponents of Mr. Gore’s theory to do their jobs properly.


Mr. Gore was scheduled to appear at 8:30, but reportedly did not arrive until approximately 9:30.


Further, Mr. Gore refused to listen Republican members’ opening statements, which perhaps explains his AWOL status for an hour.


My opinion is that it is reasonable to ask witnesses to meet the 48-hour rule for submitting testimony, that it is reasonable to expect witnesses to arrive on time, and it is reasonable to expect witnesses to listen to all opening statements. Anyone disagree with that?

I didn’t think so.

So why is Al Gore allowed to set his own rules? Is it possible that Mr. Gore is getting favored treatment by his Democrat buddies?

And one more question: When his testimony is concluded and members begin asking questions, will all members be treated fairly and equally in time allotments for their questions?

Given the highly irregular nature of the early parts of this episode, I won’t be surprised if the irregularities continue.

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On Being a Greedy Business Owner

I know at least one of my regular visitors has owned his own business, as I did. There is the perception that people who own businesses are rich and greedy folks who take advantage of their employees so they can grow rich. It is an interesting perception, and certainly provides a wonderful platform for critics of capitalism to rant and whine.

Here is a story about a guy who ran a small ranch in Kansas:

It seems the Kansas Wage & Hour Dept. believed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an field agent out to interview him.

"I want to know who your employees are and how much you pay them," the agent demanded.

"Well," replied the rancher, "There's my ranch hand, Albert, who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board.

The cook, Josephine, has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 per week plus free room and board.

Then there's the half-wit who works about 18 hours every day of the week and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night."

"That's the guy I want to talk to, the half-wit," said the and hostile state agent.

"That would be me," replied the rancher.

Life is always sweet when you own your own business, eh, Buff?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Muslims Often Create Their Own Problems

Item I - Muslim cashiers at some Minneapolis Target stores who object to ringing up products that contain pork are being shifted to other positions. Some Muslim cashiers had declined to scan products such as bacon because doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. They would ask other cashiers to ring up such purchases, or some customers scanned the items themselves.

Item II - Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia have refused to transport customers in Minneapolis carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has grown to about three a day, a spokesman said. "Travelers often feel surprised and insulted," he says. "Sometimes, several drivers in a row refuse carriage."

Item III - Six Muslim imams who were forcibly removed from a US Airways flight last year and are now suing the airline for discrimination may also be suing some passengers who were aboard the flight. In the lawsuit filed last week, the imams say that unnamed "John Doe" passengers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported that they engaged in "suspicious" behavior — praying in the terminal — before they boarded the plane on Nov. 20.

One might be tempted to ask, “What is going on in Minneapolis?” But that is the wrong question; these problems are not of Minneapolis’ making.

One of the many great things about the United States is our recognition and protection of personal freedoms, and those include the freedom to worship as one chooses, or to not worship at all. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Muslims, theists and atheists alike have the same rights in this regard; they are free to follow their beliefs, so long as they don’t break laws. So, what’s the problem?

Muslims don’t have to give a ride to someone carrying items that are prohibited by their religion, or to sell such items to someone. Muslims have the right to pray whenever and wherever they please (except, one would guess, in public schools). This is not about what rights Muslims have in the United States. To paraphrase the Captain (Strother Martin) in “Cool Hand Luke,” “What we have here is … failure to integrate.” What Muslims must do is to determine how our society functions, and then figure out how to fit into it. If Muslims don’t want to take all customers that want a cab ride, don’t be a taxi driver. If Muslims don’t want ring up all the products their employer’s customers want to purchase, don’t be a checkout clerk. If Muslims don’t want to be singled out and embarrassed or inconvenienced, then don’t do things that in the United States are considered unusual and suspicious in airports and on airplanes.

Attention Muslims in the United States: This is not rocket science, folks. It is your obligation to adapt to our culture, not our obligation to adapt our culture to suit you.

You have two choices: Learn to fit in, or go somewhere else.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blogger's Surprise

I had an interesting thing happen yesterday. At least it was interesting to me. I was surfing some new blogs and came across one--don't remember which one--that was expressing a measure of surprise and pride at its jump in the Technorati blog ratings level. The blog author was very pleased that her or his blog had made it into the top 100,000 blogs that Technorati rates. The piece pointed out that given the millions of blogs in existence that being in the top 100,000 is pretty noteworthy.

That reminded me that a blog I regularly visit, that of Kashmiri Nomad, had also referenced the Technorati rating. I have used Technorati tags off and on during my blogging "career," and I have seen the rating when I visit the Technorati site to ascertain whether it has responed to my update ping, but I hadn't ever given it much thought because my rating wasn't what I thought of as especially good. And since I lack the talent and am unable to devote the kind of time to Observations that is required to make it one of the widest read blogs, I really didn't pay much attention.

Researching the Technorati site revealed the fact that the service tracks more that 71 million blogs!!! Wow! I figured it only tracked a few million, those that were registered or that used the tag system. So, purely out of curiosity I took a look at my Technorati rating. Yesterday, it was 17,134! What a surprise!

Now, don't get me wrong: I realize that having the 17,134th highest rated blog isn't at all special, but I certainly was amazed that my humble and relatively sparsely read effort was even that high. I don't know how often Technorati re-rates blogs, but I have noticed that the rating fluctuates during the day. At one point, Observations was at 17,092, and today it's at 17,139.

So, check out Technorati to see where you are. You might be surprised, too.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Republican's Behavior Embarrassing

I am quick to tell people who assume that because I am conservative that I am a Republican. Not so. I claim allegiance to no political party; none of them make the grade in my book. I will qualify the foregoing by saying that I am strongly, undeniably, definitely, adamantly and uncompromisingly not a Democrat.

I do, however, align myself with Republicans when they are right, or when they are more right than the Democrats, which is nearly all the time. To do otherwise would be stupid.

But today is not one of those times. The Republicans—the GOP, the party that took control of Congress back from the Democrats after 40 years of exile in the wilderness of minority status, the party of Ronald Reagan, the party that held both the White House and the Congress during George Bush’s first six years—have evolved into Wusses of the first order (Yes, that’s a capital “W”). And the Wus in Chief is none other than George Bush.

Mr. Bush, imperfect as he (and the rest of us) is, gained my admiration for his ability to not be swayed from what he thought was the right course. GW doesn’t put his finger in the wind to figure which way to go. He sticks to his belief that the war against terror is important, despite the liberals and Democrats apparent failure to notice that terrorism is our greatest threat. He sticks to his belief that Iraq is the primary battlefield in that war, despite tremendous public opinion to the contrary, and a gaggle of Democrats in Congress determined to undermine the administration's policy, notwithstanding the horrible negative consequences of doing so. And while I dramatically disagree with his position, he has stuck to his guns on the border issue. But more recent developments show Mr. Bush to be weak-kneed and cowering against the Democrat’s political assaults.

He allowed the Democrats to carry the day in their manic drive to drive out Donald Rumsfeld, barely putting up any resistance after the election. That was bad for two reasons. If he was going to shove Mr. Rumsfeld overboard, why didn’t he do it before the election when it might have made a difference? And second, now that the Democrats have smelled blood in the water, they are after another scalp.

And now, he’s allowing the Democrats to create a tempest in a teapot over the firing of eight federal prosecutors, something he is constitutionally authorized to do at any time for any reason. He doesn’t need to explain anything to anyone. He doesn’t need to send his aides to testify before Congressional committees. He doesn’t need to scapegoat Alberto Gonzales. He needs to quit waving the white flag, stand up and behave like the President of the United States, and tell Congress to quit wasting everyone’s time on this non-issue and get back to work on important things.

The Republicans in Congress are little better. Where’s the support for their president? Some of them have even gone over to the other side on this issue, either not realizing that there is no “there” there, or being more concerned for their own sorry hide than for what’s right.

The Republicans are often their own worst enemy, losing battles not because they are wrong, but because they are afraid to be right.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More “Much Ado About Nothing”

From Congressional Democrats

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is under fire for the way the Justice Department handled the firing of eight federal prosecutors. From all the whining, stamping of feet and gnashing of teeth from Democrats, you might think it is a big deal. It's not.

Here’s the way it is, folks: U.S. Attorneys serve at the will and pleasure of the President of the United States; he can dismiss them for any—ANY—reason, or for no reason at all. ANY reason or NO reason.


End of story.

So, it doesn’t matter if the prosecutors were fired because the White House didn’t like who they were or were not prosecuting. It doesn’t matter if the firings were discussed for two or three years prior to their dismissal. It doesn’t matter if Harry Reid, or Charles Schumer or anyone else doesn’t approve of what was done or how it was done. Desperate for material, the Democrats charge that the dismissals were politically motivated. Well, duh! That demonstrates only that Democrats have a grasp of the obvious: Being a U.S. Attorney is a political job. And if you have any doubt of any of the preceding, review the firing of all 93 federal prosecutors by the Clinton administration

Janet Reno, Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, simultaneously fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in March 1993. Ms. Reno gave them 10 days to move out of their offices. All at once. Not eight. Ninety-three. Did I mention that Ms. Reno fired them all at the same time?

The glib Mr. Clinton, who was always believed by the media and his base, presented the move as something perfectly ordinary: "All those people are routinely replaced," he told reporters, "and I have not done anything differently." No one questioned that.

In fact, the dismissals were unprecedented: Previous Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, had both retained holdovers from the previous Administration and only replaced them gradually as their tenures expired. This allowed continuity of leadership within the U.S. Attorney offices during the transition, as the action of Mr. Bush’s administration has done. Wonder why no one is talking about that?

Because that is a losing argument, that’s why. And the Democrats can’t afford to let that happen, and the media isn’t going to let that happen, either, so they try to shift the focus to silly details that really don’t matter, and try to blow them all out of proportion to distract our attention from truly important matters, such as the Islamic terrorism threat.

And if it’s the politics that bothers you, consider this: At the time Janet Reno cleaned house, Jay Stephens, then U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, was investigating then Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, and was about to make a decision on an indictment. Mr. Rostenkowski, who was pushing the Clinton's economic program through Congress, eventually went to jail on mail fraud charges and was later pardoned by Mr. Clinton. Hmmm.

Mr. Gonzales biggest sin, if there is one, is that he told Congress that he would do things one way, and then did things another way. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Naughty boy, Alberto. But the administration is the administration and the Congress is the Congress, and they are co-equal. The administration does not have to get approval from the Congress to run the country; that’s its job.

Summed up, this hasn’t been a pretty thing, but “ugly” isn’t criminal, and politics is politics, and this episode doesn’t warrant the Attorney General’s hide. What is warranted is a little guts from the administration to stand up and tell people to sit down and shut up!

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A Graphic Perspective on Illegal Immigration

The level of absurdity on the pro-illegal-alien side of the argument is clearly baffling. Common sense has taken a holiday, as Americans who ought to know better defend people who enter our country illegally—another word for people who break laws is “criminal”—and avail themselves of all manner of benefits and services that are, or should be, limited only to citizens.

Below is a perspective on illegal immigration that might help folks see the issue clearly. Or maybe not.

It is not original with me, and in fact I have no idea who wrote it. But it’s pretty effective.

Let's Say I Break Into Your House

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests. Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hardworking and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters, you are required to let me stay in your house You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan You are required to educate my kids You are required to provide other benefits to me & to my family (my husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in thingy).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there. It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm a hardworking and honest, person, except for …well, you know, the crime I committed when I broke into your house. And oh yeah, I get a free education, where you have to pay your own way through college. (Such a deal!)

And what a deal it is for me!!! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior. (Is this a great country, or what?)

Oh yeah, I DEMAND that YOU LEARN MY language so you can communicate with me. And don't forget to make sure your forms are in MY language, too; I need to be able to understand them.

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A Little Housekeeping

Sharp-eyed readers will notice a change in the blog list titled "Sites I Visit" under the link to Lord Nazh's site. It is Brad's
new site, following his decision to stop publishing "What Middle America Thinks."

Stop by and leave a comment.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Democrats Before It Became
Convenient to Deny Iraqi WMDs

Thanks to #1 Son, Ryan.
Seeing Clearly from Across the Pond

If any of you still feel that this war on terror is a mistake, here is an opinion from an unexpected source. It's fascinating that this should come out of Europe. Mathias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German publisher Axel Springer AG, wrote a blistering attack on November 20, 2004 in Die Welt, Germany's largest daily paper, against the timid reaction of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat. History may well certify its correctness.

Europe: Thy Name is Cowardice
Commentary by Mathias Dapfner CEO, Axel Springer, AG

A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives, as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.

Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe, where for decades, inhuman suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European Appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.

Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic Fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany?

I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists. One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolph Hitler and declaring European "Peace in our time."

What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.

It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation," but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness. Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for Anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against Democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.

On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans," as the World Champions of "tolerance," which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.

While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation... Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive."

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.


Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Thanks to The Windjammer for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Home Again!

Well, it was a good trip, all in all. Not without its difficulties and irritations, but good.

Now it's over, and that's good, too. As Buffalo says, "It's all good."

New Blog For You To Visit

I'd like to call attention to Winfred Mann's new blog, "A Comment or Two," and encourage you to visit. He has been posting thoughtful comments on Observations for a while now, and I'm glad to see he has decided to join us bloggers.

I have a helluva week ahead, but I hope to be visiting your sites and return to commenting any way.

Thanks for your continued support.


Friday, March 09, 2007

It's Been a Good Week ...

but it's nearly over. I'll be glad to get back to abnormal, when I can visit my friend's sites and comment freely and send emails without concern for how much it's costing.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ron Artest Should Go to Jail

Ron Artest, who plays for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and using force or violence to prevent his victim from reporting a crime, sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin said. Deputies responded to Artest's five-acre estate in the Sacramento suburb of Loomis about 9:30 a.m., where they found a woman who had suffered injuries, officials said. She declined medical attention. Artest was released later on $50,000 bail.

Dogs owned by Mr. Artest have spent a total of 77 nights at the pound since July because of poor care by their owner, costing the NBA star $1,942 in boarding and impound fees, county records show. Placer County animal control officers have gone to Artest's five-acre estate seven times in that period in response to callers' complaints about dogs being loose or not being fed.

And if all that isn’t enough, Mr. Artest was just released from a year’s probation for the brawl he participated in when several NBA players went into the stands after fans.

Artest is one of a legion of “professional” athletes who can play a sport, but are socially dysfunctional. They think they have a different set of rules than everyone else; that they can do pretty much what they please, because of who they are. We blame society for all sorts of ills for which society is not to blame, but this is one phenomenon that is clearly and totally the fault of society. We have screwed up priorities that make gods out of one-trick ponies like Ron Artest, and teach them that they can do what they want with impunity.

Ron Artest needs a slap in the face to get his attention; he needs to go to jail this time. His team needs to be deprived of his talents so that the management starts to get the message that paying thugs and hoodlums millions of dollars a year because they look good in shorts and can jump is stupid when those over-paid degenerates slap people around and behave like spoiled children. The team needs to tell Mr. Artest, “Okay, bub, you screwed up, and you are suspended without pay until you straighten out.”

But more importantly, some judge needs to tell him, “Mr. Artest, you aren’t special. You just play a game well. Life is about more than just games, despite what you have learned from our society’s twisted priorities. You will learn how to live peacefully with other people, you will learn that you are just one person among the 6 billion that inhabit this planet, and you don’t have any more rights than any other individual in this country. And if you keep living the way you’ve been going, breaking laws with abandon and acting like you’re something special, you’ll go back to jail until you figure out this simple lesson.”

These same messages should be delivered to every professional athlete and entertainer and Hollywood idol that hasn’t quite grasped the simple message that they really aren’t as special as they think they are. And the sooner the better!

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Friday, March 02, 2007

It’s Only Words

Well, it’s happening. Right here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, a land in which we don’t burn books and don’t ban vulgar lyrics in music or movies, we don’t ban pornographic material, we don’t ban intemperate or inflammatory speech, or depictions of graphic violence. We don’t ban things that may disgust a majority of Americans because freedom of expression is one of the hallmarks of our republic. But right here in America we are today talking about banning select words.

Even those of us who subscribe to the tenets of political correctness probably would oppose such actions on a free speech basis, but if we did somehow come to the decision to ban some words, you might think the words that would be banned would be the “f” word, or the “s” word, or certain words relating to sexual organs. But if you think that, you would be wrong.

We’ve had a sort of de facto ban on one word, the “n” word, for a long time. It isn’t a crime to say the “n” word, but people who say it often are punished for their indiscretion. Remember Michael Richards?

The “n” word is a bad word. No, let’s back up. It isn’t a bad word, not if you look at its origins. But it has a bad connotation, and it has been used for bad purposes. My opinion: I don’t use it; I don’t like it; and I don’t think other people, white or black, should use it, either.

As bad a principle as it is to punish people for some types of speech that is no worse than other types of speech, it is a far worse thing to outlaw certain words that are no worse than other words, but that is what has been proposed in Florida. There, a state senator has introduced a measure to prohibit calling people who enter the United States illegally “illegal aliens.”

"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Democrat. "An alien to me is someone from out of space." Fine. But Sen. Wilson, you do realize, don’t you, that the term “alien” has been used for decades to denote someone who is not a citizen of this country? And you should also know that that term is used in the language of legislation of the United States and in many states.

This is political correctness run amok, carried to the extreme. It is simply not acceptable to allow this measure to see the light of day, let alone allow it to become law. Someone needs to tell Ms. Wilson to remember that there is no right for anyone, citizens or aliens, to not be offended. Get used to it.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Really Busy Time

What a week! Lots of duties, deadlines and things to do to get ready for the trip. We head out tomorrow, and hopefully by Saturday night I can return to some normal level of interaction with everyone.

Until then ...