Please note: This is an archive page from the old Blogger version of Considerettes. Please click here to go to the new WordPress version. All old posts were imported into the new site. Thanks.

Conservative commentary served up in bite-sized bits.

" Considerettes"?

"Warning: first examination of Considerettes suggests an excess of rational thought goes into that blog."
- Clayton Cramer

Comments, questions, cookie recipes? E-mail me! (frodo at thepaytons dot org)

Considerettes in the news:
Hugh Hewitt

<< Return to
"Consider This!"

Did Bush lie? Google it!
Georgia Marriage Amendment Rally
Considerettes Radio:
2 /16/04
2 /23/04
3/ 5/04
3 /9/04
3 /10/04
3 /16/04
4 /1/04
4 /7/04
4 /21/04
5 /4/04
5 /6/04
6/ 1/04
6 /9/04
6 /16/04
7 /6/04 (1)
7 /6/04 (2)
7 /29/04
7 /30/04
8 /16/04
9 /1/04
9 /8/04
9 /13/04
9 /16/04
9 /24/04
1 0/6/04
1 1/9/04
1 2/9/04
1 /11/05
1 /31/05
2 /28/05
3 /14/05
3 /21/05
5 /16/05
5 /23/05
8 /1/05
8 /10/05
9 /6/05

Homespun Bloggers Radio 

Considerettes for your PDA


Web Rings
p ? Atlanta Blogs # n
< GAwebloggers ? >

My other blog
Considerable Quotes
Contributor to
Stones Cry Out

My diaries at

(Commenting available)

I'm a reporter for BNN:
The Bloggers News Network

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Listed on Blogwise
Search For Blogs, Submit 

Blogs, The Ultimate Blog Directory
Subscribe with Bloglines

Ye Olde Blogroll

Homespun Blogger

Join Fair Tax Fans

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Physician, heal thyself."

Blogging will be light today. In fact, this post may constitute the sum total of my contribution today. The reason is one I'm slightly embarassed to relate.

My laptop died.

Now, there's nothing particularly embarassing about that in and of itself. However, in dying it showed my woeful lack of preparedness for this circumstance. A good backup of one's data, I have told family & friends time and time again, is the best, and often cheapest, insurance you can have. A promise of replacement hardware is good as far as it goes, but it's the data that you really use the computer for. And I...

Well, first of all, in my defense, all the desktop machines in my house do a nightly backup across our home network to another machine. And I was doing semi-regular backups on my old laptop because, frankly, it was old. This machine I've been using was less that 4 months old and yesterday the hard drive just decided to retire. (Nice work if you can get it.)

So I'll admit it: The most recent backup of this machine is from soon after I got it, so I'm going to lose about 3 months worth of E-mail, which is the life blood of most folks these days, especially in business. Most of the actualy software development I do is on other machines, and my laptop is mostly used for connecting to those machines or keeping documents related to said software.

Anyway, I'm really bummed today, and it's mostly my fault. But, the lesson has been learned (again) and I'll assume nothing about how good a hard drive is based solely on its age.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The stereotype is that Republicans allowed "Jim Crow" laws while Democrats were against them. Perhaps not. The Buzz Blog notes this:
Republican Mike Coan co-sponosored legislation repealing Georgia's Jim Crow laws - something Georgia's Democrats never quite got around to (the 2005 session of the Georgia Legislature is the first time since Reconstruction that the GOP has had a majority in both Houses). Today, Governor Sonny Perdue (R) will sign the bill and Jim Crow will officially be dead.

That's a long time to let those things languish on the law books, and Buzz also mentions that these law in Georgia were enacted and enforced by Democrats. Thanks to Republicans, they're gone.

Could "Ahnold" be in as much trouble as Gray Davis was when the latter was thrown out of office?
What once seemed unthinkable has now become a reality: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval ratings have plummeted to Gray Davis levels, and the cornerstone of his ''Year For Reform'' agenda is on shaky ground.

In 90 days, Schwarzenegger's popularity has tumbled by 20 points and potential voters are now voicing doubt about the state spending restrictions the Republican governor wants them to approve in a special election this fall.

Just 40 percent of Californians think Schwarzenegger is doing a good job and half say he's faring poorly, according to the non-partisan survey by the Public Policy Institute of California released today.

That's a big tumble in a short amount of time, and it suggests either a PR situation (not enough for him or too much against him) or the advancement of a very unpopular policy. The administration seems to think it's a combination of the two.
The numbers suggest that the governor's attempt to get back on offense by jettisoning his contentious pension overhaul plan so he could focus on other proposals has so far failed. Now some Republican strategists are suggesting that Schwarzenegger consider abandoning the special election.

But there are few indications that the governor plans to back down. On Wednesday, Schwarzenegger's political advisers met with top Republican lawmakers to discuss campaign strategy.

Margita Thompson, the governor's press secretary, said the governor's approval ratings and support will rise once they begin a more aggressive campaign.

''The governor still believes that we need change and we need it as soon as we can,'' she said.

Part of the question has to be how badly do Californians want to have their government operating with fiscal responsibility. Democrats, fond of giving away more and more of your money, have been able to count on the votes of those who get the money. Asking people to do with less from the government is always a hard sell, but Democrats have been especially protective of their own special interest groups rather than the state as a whole.
Heading into his second year as governor, Schwarzenegger had enviable support from two-thirds of Californians, including a majority of independent voters and more than 40 percent of Democrats.

But his support among Democrats and independents began to erode in January when he unveiled his 2005 agenda that took aim at Democrats and their union allies. Rather than accede to his demands, the governor's opponents quickly organized to challenge Schwarzenegger and his proposals.

"We like our bankruptcy just fine, thank you." How thoughtful. And here's the PR campaign that could be a big part of the cause of the drop.
The aggressive campaign, complete with millions of dollars in TV commercials attacking Schwarzenegger, has taken its toll. The governor's 20-point slide is more precipitous than Davis' tumble in 2001 when the Democratic governor stumbled through the state energy crisis. At that time, the governor's approval ratings fell from 62 percent to 46 percent over four months.

In a bid to get back on track, Schwarzenegger earlier this month abruptly pulled one of the four main pillars of his ''Year for Reform'' package that would have revamped state retirement plans. Support for the proposal dwindled as a parade of police and fire widows went public with concerns that the changes would deny them benefits.

Bringing in people with "concerns" needs to be backed up with actual proof that these concerns about a bill are founded, or at least with ideas on how to temper it. Instead Democrats use concerned widows for political advantage; to torpedo the whole thing. Why not just argue the merits in the legislature?
At the time, Schwarzenegger aides trumpeted the move as a strategic retreat that would deprive Democratic opponents of their main bludgeon. Instead, it has allowed Schwarzenegger critics to turn their sights on the new centerpiece of his special election package: an initiative that could contain excessive state spending and revamp the formula for funding schools.

The poll found just 44 percent of likely voters favor the idea while 37 percent said they are opposed.

If the governor can't rally support for that proposal, which Thompson called ''the most important leg of the stool,'' it could further undermine prospects for a special election this fall.

And the question returns: How badly do Californians want a fiscally responsible government? When a reform is taken off the table, they're against the next one in line. Part of this could be the battle of the PR campaigns, but people (everywhere, not just in California) need to decide realistically what they want from government and work toward that. Instead, they're saying essentially that they want the budget fixed without raising taxes or cutting spending.

Make your choice and stick with it.

Erick Erickson over at notes that Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is going to play the segment he had with Zell Miller at the Republican convention, including the part where Zell challenged him to a duel. He's doing this in response to Zell's new book release, "A Deficit of Decency". Since he's bringing this up again, the publisher's thought that Chris should tell the rest of the story.
The only question is, in Senator Miller's absence tonight will you tell the whole story as to why he was angry with your comments? In chapter 6 (Hardball Huff) of A Deficit of Decency, Zell explains that the reason he challenged you is that before he came on the set you claimed he was an "old time seggy."

Will you renounce your baseless claim that Senator Miller is a segregationist?

Hold not thy breath, but it would be interesting to see.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Why it takes a federal law to allow people to skip scenes in movies is something I just don't understand.
President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping parents keep their children from seeing sex scenes, violence and foul language in movie DVDs.

The bill gives legal protections to the fledgling filtering technology that helps parents automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movie DVDs. Bush signed it privately and without comment, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

The legislation came about because Hollywood studios and directors had sued to stop the manufacture and distribution of such electronic devices for DVD players. The movies' creators had argued that changing the content - even when it is considered offensive - would violate their copyrights.

The legislation, called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, creates an exemption in copyright laws to make sure companies selling filtering technology won't get sued out of existence.

Critics of the bill have argued it was aimed at helping one company, Utah-based ClearPlay Inc., whose technology is used in some DVD players. ClearPlay sells filters for hundreds of movies that can be added to such DVD players for $4.95 each month. Hollywood executives maintain that ClearPlay should pay them licensing fees for altering their creative efforts.

I've talked about ClearPlay here and here. To me, it's just a complete misapplication of copyright to insist that fast-forwarding past objectionable stuff is somehow illegal. I'm glad this legislation passed, although I wish it wasn't necessary.

Restating the obvious:
The CIA's chief weapons inspector said he cannot rule out the possibility that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were secretly shipped to Syria before the March 2003 invasion, citing "sufficiently credible" evidence that WMDs may have been moved there.

Inspector Charles Duelfer, who heads the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), made the findings in an addendum to his final report filed last year. He said the search for WMD in Iraq -- the main reason President Bush went to war to oust Saddam Hussein -- has been exhausted without finding such weapons. Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the early 1990s.

Again, Saddam had WMDs. The only question right now is where they are. If they're in Syria, proving that will be difficult.
But on the question of Syria, Mr. Duelfer did not close the books. "ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war," Mr. Duelfer said in a report posted on the CIA's Web site Monday night.

He cited some evidence of a transfer. "Whether Syria received military items from Iraq for safekeeping or other reasons has yet to be determined," he said. "There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation."

But Mr. Duelfer said he was unable to complete that aspect of the probe because "the declining security situation limited and finally halted this investigation. The results remain inconclusive, but further investigation may be undertaken when circumstances on the ground improve."

Ending the investigation with a "we don't know, and right now we can't know" shouldn't give Democrats anything to get smug over. Regardless of where they are, stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons simply disappeared. If that's good enough for Democrats, I'd submit that's exactly the reason they can't be trusted with national security.

Air America, probably noting the latest ratings problems, decided to get some free publicity. (Link is on Drudge's site, where nothing is truly a permalink.)


The red-hot rhetoric over Social Security on liberal talkradio network AIR AMERICA has caught the attention of the Secret Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.

"Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... we are taking this very seriously," a government source explained.

Bet Rhodes is a hoot at airports when she jokes she has a bomb in her carry-on bag.

The target audience is, of course, the short-attention-span liberal who doesn't remember when Clinton and other Democrats said that Social Security needed saving. But now that it's a Republican doing it, it's a Bad Thing(tm). Welcome to partisanship at its ugliest.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the same story on WorldNetDaily. Just quotes Drudge, but the link will probably hang around a lot longer. Also, Byron York has further information on the decline of Air America's ratings, including putting the lie to the claim by Al Franken that he was beating Rush Limbaugh for a time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Good news from Lebanon:
MASNAA, Lebanon (AP) - Syria ended its 29-year military domination of Lebanon on Tuesday as soldiers flashing victory signs completed a withdrawal spurred by intense international pressure and massive Lebanese street protests against a force that once reached 40,000.

Without the ousting of dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq, this wouldn't have happened. Instead of inflaming the "Arab street", as most liberals predicted, our actions have furthered democracy and freedom among nations in the Middle East. In some cases, as in this one, no troops were required.

Those on the left will try to plead "historic inevitability" as they did with the fall of the Soviet Union, but that's really dishonest. If we'd followed their policies of appeasement, nothing would have changed. Thanks, Dubya.

Looks like no one in Iraq knew anything about moving WMDs to Syria.
The U.S.-led group that scoured Iraq for weapons of mass destruction has found no evidence Iraq hid such weapons in Syria before the U.S. invasion in March 2003, according to a final report on the investigation.

The 1,700-member Iraq Survey Team, responsible for the weapons hunt, also said in a report released late on Monday it found no Iraqi officials with direct knowledge of a transfer of weapons of mass destruction developed by former President Saddam Hussein.

The new report posted on the CIA Web site said: "Based on evidence available … it is unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."

It said investigators "found no senior policy, program or intelligence officials who admitted any direct knowledge of such movement of WMD."

"Indeed, they uniformly denied any knowledge of residual WMD that have been secreted to Syria," the report said.

The big question has been, since the UN and all these other countries knew they did exist (at least for the reason that Iraq had used them before), where did they go? Hope all these Democrats who've put down the whole WMD issue feel safe with this uncertainty.

While the spotlight is on Tom DeLay, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are scurrying around trying to clean up their own messes.
Members of Congress are rushing to amend their travel and campaign records, fearing that the controversy over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will trigger an ethics war that will bring greater scrutiny to their own travel and official activities.

Lawmakers are paying old restaurant bills, filing missing forms and correcting erroneous ones as journalists and political opponents comb through records and DeLay (R-Tex.) attempts to answer questions about travel financing and his past relationships with lobbyists.

It cites examples from Republicans and Democrats (including Pelosi herself) that have had to revisit past trips and how they were paid for to cover their tracks, just in case the DeLay stuff spills over. Ain't this just like Washington?

The solution, of course, is smaller government. If there weren't as much central decision making in this country, lobbyists would have to sway 50 states instead of a handful of Senators. The money wouldn't go as far and we'd have a check on its power.

Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - fresh power chewing gum made in germany for animals [#1 on Yahoo! Search]

Monday, April 25, 2005

Byran Preston at Junkyard Blog note a difference in the reaction to two movies:
A year ago Easter, a film debuted that depicted a single killing. It was a violent film to be sure--the individual was tortured and mocked before his execution--but it wasn't the most violent film ever made, or even the most violent film I'd ever seen. It was, in fact, a very moving film that told a true story that should be heard by all.

But long before that film opened, protestors were already out in force. Movie reviewers smeared it with every vile insult in the book--it was too violent, it was too bloody, excitable Andrew Sullivan called it "pornography," and lots and lots of professional spinmeisters called it anti-Semitic. Yet it depicted the torture and killing of only one man.

That describes the first movie. Now the second.
A bazillion people die in this film, most of them after enduring some manner of inhuman treatment. Cops are almost all depicted as evil, hookers are noble (or hot gun-toting samurai, take your pick) and the biggest villians are connected directly to the Catholic church. In fact, the two worst villians are the only people in the entire film that seem to have any sort of belief system at all, and their belief seems to consist of pretending to believe in God while **SPOILER ALERT** eating His children. Yes, you read that right. Not only is Sin City violent beyond words and without a shred of decency, it comes with a side dish of Cardinal cannibalism. Lovely film. Make sure to bring the kids.

The first movie was "The Passion of the Christ". The second one is "Sin City". Now, Bryan points out something missing from the second movie.
But unless I missed something, no one's out there protesting Sin City. It has gotten positive reviews and negative reviews, and has otherwise generated little reaction. No protestors line any street near any theater showing Sin City.

They protested that other film, which one guy essentially bankrolled by himself and which had few stars, though it was far, far less violent than Sin City, and unlike Sin City, it actually had a point.

What's the difference?
Why did that film generate so much passion, when a far more pointlessly violent generates none? What was it about The Passion of the Christ that had excitable Andrew comparing it to the worst that the world of hard core can dream up, and had protestor shock troops out to denounce it as evil and racist? And why aren't those allegedly anti-violence protestors out there now to battle Sin City?

I think we all know the answer. The passion about The Passion was not about the violence. It was about the Passion.

This has been another Liberal Double-Standard Alert. We now resume our regularly schedule blog.

I really don't want to hear Democrats talk about "mean-spirited Republicans" ever again, or at least until they get rid of this guy.
Howard Dean may not be running for anything, but his elbows appear to be as sharp as ever.

Since taking over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, the former presidential candidate has been quoted in newspapers making unusually caustic remarks about Republicans.

Dean has suggested that they are "evil." That they are "corrupt." He called them "brain-dead" during a stop in Toronto -- and while the Terri Schiavo case was still in the news. He has tagged Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) as a "liar." Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that he mimicked a "drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh" at an event there.

To borrow a phrase from James Taranto, if he were a Republican, this would be "hate speech".

I tried calling in to "Bill Bennett's Morning in America" radio show this morning, with information about HR 501 aka the "Fairness Doctrine", but was politely rebuffed. When I explained why I was calling, the call screener (Jeff, I think) said that they didn't think it'd get majority support at all. So they didn't take my call (which was understandable; the judicial and Bolton nominations are the big news today).

Anyway, hope they're right. I'll keep an eye on this, in any event.

Friday, April 22, 2005

"Fairness Doctrine" news & views update:
  • Kaye Grogan:
    The reason why I find the proposed law extremely funny? ... because a liberal Democrat wouldn't recognize "fairness" if it knocked them upside the head. Where were people like Ms. Slaughter when the one-sided liberal views dominated every news organization in the country?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Looks like the Democrats' bluff has been called.
Democrats yesterday rejected an offer by House Republicans to begin an investigation into ethics accusations against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The offer was made by Republicans on the House ethics committee who wanted, in exchange, an agreement from Democrats to convene the ethics panel today and accept at least a revised version of the new rules for the committee.

"We do not initiate investigative committees in press conferences," said Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, of West Virginia. The ranking Democrat on the ethics panel, Mr. Mollohan opposes the changes to committee rules that Republicans forced through earlier this year on a party-line vote.

Mr. Mollohan's dismissal came less than an hour after the Republican offer was made public in a press conference by Rep. Doc Hastings, the chairman of the ethics committee who said he already had made the offer privately in conversations with Mr. Mollohan.

Doesn't look like they're serious. Here's why.
For weeks, Mr. DeLay has openly invited an investigation by the ethics committee, accusing Democrats of stalling to prevent him from clearing his name.

"The only way I can be cleared is through the ethics committee, so they don't want one," Mr. DeLay told The Washington Times last week.

Mr. DeLay also accused Democrats of protecting Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, who awaits an investigation by the House ethics panel after losing a federal lawsuit that accused him of passing along an illegally taped 1997 telephone conversation. In an October ruling on that suit, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan declared that Mr. McDermott's "willful and knowing misconduct rises to the level of malice in this case."

"One of [Democrats'] best friends, Jim McDermott, is being investigated, and they don't want him to be kicked out of Congress," Mr. DeLay said last week. "I mean, this guy has been found guilty -- guilty by a court of law -- and they don't want an ethics committee."

Democrats getting convicted don't lose any stature among Democrats. Republicans merely getting accused (by Democrats), on the other hand, is the worst thing of all in their eyes (and, they hope, the eyes of their short-attention-span constituents). The PR is more important that the ethics.

In an apparently good-mannered debate on Tuesday, Roger Ailes, Al Gore, Jeff Greenfield and Mort Zuckerman talked about the role of the media in a democracy. In light of the revival of the Fairness Doctrine, Ailes had something telling to say.
But as Ailes began saying that Fox News reported not just the Bush administration's claims but also what the United Nations, the Clinton administration and the CIA had been saying, a heckler shouted, "Bulls++t!"

"If you want to come up here, we'll get another chair. If not, you can have another drink," Ailes responded as the crowd of more than 2,000 roared.

"If all the media agrees with the same point of view, that's not good for Americans," Ailes said, noting that but for the efforts of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, no other news outlet would have reported the United Nations' oil-for-food scandal.

The "Fairness Doctrine" folks are trying to get equal time on radio enforced by law, but are more than willing to keep their majority situation in other media. And thus, with regards to television (and as Limbaugh is wont to say about himself), Fox is equal time. You think Fox has a conservative slant? Fine, if that means that's the only way you'll get this important information.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A meeting of the vast left-wing conspiracy took place recently, led by (of course) George Soros.
George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., meeting, called to start the process of building an ideas production line for liberal politicians, began what organizers hope will be a long dialogue with the “partners,” many from the high-tech industry. Participants have begun to refer to themselves as the Phoenix Group.

Well, at least we know it is an organization (that has been around a while), not just some idea thrown out by Hillary Clinton when the chips were down. Y'know, aren't these the kinds of people liberals are always railing against? The "evil rich"?
Participants were tight-lipped, saying they wanted to keep media expectations low, even suggesting that the Scottsdale gathering was too insignificant to report. Other participants included former White House press secretary Mike McCurry and New Democrat Network president Simon Rosenberg.

Let the coverup begin, in spite of cheap shots to the contrary.
[Sarah] Ingersoll [spokeswoman for Stein’s Democracy Alliance] said funding transparency is a priority, which she said would contrast with some right-wing groups.

But transparency was not on display among the Scottsdale participants contacted by The Hill. Details of the meeting remained sparse.

Oh, and this is rich.
Ingersoll denied that progressives are merely trying to replicate [the] Heritage [Foundation] and Fox News.

C'mon, can't we be honest here? "Air America" is simply an attempt to replicate Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Unless by "merely" Ingersoll means "not just replicating, but also doing other things", but the context doesn't allow for that. In the rest of the article, it's all about think tanks and such, which Heritage is. To wit:
One source at the DNC with direct knowledge of the agenda said that the Phoenix Group had three specific goals at the outset. It wants to create liberal think tanks, training camps for young progressives and media centers.

Heritage is a conservative think tank, so they do want to replicate it, or at least bolster those that already exist. And what exactly would a "media center" be a foundation for?
But the Phoenix Group is not beholden to the political calendar, and several sources insisted that four-year electoral exigencies were not motivating the project. Indeed, part of the reasoning in keeping D.C. consultants away from Scottsdale was to shield the high-tech donor base from political operatives, who are always eager for quick dollars to buy media points and fund direct mail.

“This is bigger than that,” the DNC source said

Ominous, no?

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer has further thoughts. "You would think that the Brookings Institution, the Joyce Foundation, and America's universities weren't already fully funded." The latter would count towards "training camps for young progressives".

Science keeps changing our view of the human body. Think being even a little overweight takes years off your life? Not necessarily so.
Packing on the pounds is not nearly as deadly as the government thought, according to a new calculation from the CDC that found people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that obesity accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the United States. As recently as January, the CDC came up with an estimate 14 times higher: 365,000 deaths.

According to the new calculation, obesity ranks No. 7 instead of No. 2 among the nation's leading preventable causes of death.

The new analysis found that obesity - being extremely overweight - is indisputably lethal. But like several recent smaller studies, it found that people who are modestly overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

Biostatistician Mary Grace Kovar, a consultant for the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center in Washington, said "normal" may be set too low for today's population. Also, Americans classified as overweight are eating better, exercising more and managing their blood pressure better than they used to, she said.

Granted, part of this is a change in behavior of overweight people. Still, why would someone managing their blood pressure be better off than someone who didn't need to manage it? Aren't folks who are not overweight eating better; is it just overweight people doing that? Behavioral changes don't fully account for this, and that's causing some controversy.
Last year, a CDC study listed the leading causes of preventable death in order as tobacco; poor diet and inactivity, leading to excess weight; alcohol; germs; toxins and pollutants; car crashes; guns; risky sexual behavior; and illicit drugs.

Using the new estimate, excess weight would drop behind car crashes and guns to seventh place - a ranking the CDC is unwilling to make official, underscoring the controversy inside the agency over how to calculate the health effects of obesity.

It goes against the grain of current ideas on health, not to mention what we're being told by the government.
In recent years, the government has spent millions of dollars fighting obesity and publicizing the message that two out of three American adults are overweight or obese, and at higher risk for heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.

Time to rethink (and rewrite the commercials).

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The "Fairness Doctrine" is rearing its ugly head again, this time as House Bill HR501, submitted on February 1st of this year and sponsored by (Democrat) Louise Slaughter and co-sponsored by 12 others (all Democrats). A web site has been put up promoting this as well.

As is typical, these folks decry any medium where they detect a conservative slant, but are utterly tone-deaf to all the liberal onesidedness out there. The petition they're trying to get folks to sign contains this paragraph.
News consumers, particularly those of talk radio, are overwhelmingly exposed to a single point of view. A survey conducted by Democracy Radio this year revealed that 90% of all broadcast hours on talk radio are fairly characterized as conservative. This imbalance results in issues of public importance receiving little or no attention, while others are presented in a manner not conducive to the listeners' receiving the facts and range of opinions necessary to make informed decisions.

I'll grant that talk radio is more conservative than it is liberal, but there's a reason for that. It's not because of some corporate neocons, it's because of demand. I've always thought that, overall, the American public leans somewhat right-of-center, and the popularity of conservative radio programming bears this out. For example, "Air America", a liberal talk-radio network, and "Bill Bennett's Morning in America", one show on the conservative Salem Radio Network, both started at same time, and both recently just turned one year old. While the Air America network has expanded to a bit over 50 markets, Bennett's program is in 124 markets. Further, Air America's ratings have been tanking, unable to, for example, beat the ratings WLIB in New York had when it was a Caribbean music station before it switched to Air America. Comparing "broadcast hours" is misleading because it's a simple matter of responding to the ratings. If fewer people listen to a particular format, there will probably be fewer stations with that format (ignoring the Soros factor for the moment).

So the foundation upon which this idea is built is made of sand right from the start. But beyond that is the audacity these folks have to bring up only talk radio when the mainstream news media has been utterly rife with liberal bias for decades. But when liberals talk about media bias, suddenly the entire media world consists of Fox News Channel, the Washington Times, and Rush Limbaugh. You will not find anything about the "myopic zeal" at CBS News from the Fairness Doctrine folks; they don't mind that kind of nearsightedness at all.

What we have then, in effect, is a backdoor attempt to get more of a market for Air America by forcing stations to maintain some sort of balance in "broadcast hours". Stations will be forced to run Al Franken or someone like him to offset any conservatives on the air. While the introduction of HR501 and the 1st anniversary of Air America and the report of its lousy ratings are probably not connected, it does sound like an interesting time for this doctrine to be rehashed. Perhaps since Soros has a horse in the talk radio race now, some folks in Washington may be hoping to be the recipients of some cash to really push this hard. And Bush's veto record is, well, non-existent. For politicos viewing the media landscape with liberal-blocking polarized lenses, this may be the perfect time for a move like this.

If liberals can't compete in the arena of ideas, they pass laws against the competition. This is desperation.

(Cross-posted at and the Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

Wonder if/how this will affect bloggers.
The Associated Press will begin charging newspapers and broadcasters to post its stories, photos and other content online, a pricing shift that reflects the growing power of the Internet to lure audiences and advertisers from more established media.

Tom Curley, AP president and CEO, announced the change Monday at the annual meeting of the 156-year-old news cooperative.

Most of the 15,000 news outlets that buy AP's news, sports, business and entertainment coverage have been allowed to ``re-purpose'' the same material online at no extra cost since 1995. At that time, graphical Web browsers were just beginning to transform the Internet from an esoteric computer network to a mass medium.

The new pricing policy, effective Jan. 1, begins to shift some of the funding of AP to the growing online market, as technological advances and digital devices are making it ever easier for people to get their news whenever and however they want it.

``The need for online licensing is clear,'' Curley said during a speech at the meeting in the Masonic Auditorium, attended by member publishers, editors and broadcasters. ``For The Associated Press to endure during this digital transition, we must be able to preserve the value and enforce the rights of our intellectual property across the media spectrum.''

This was an AP story I found on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel web site. Question now is, will I have to pay to quote a portion of the article at some point in the future? If this ultimately requires bloggers to avoid AP stories, I don't see this as a positive thing for either the Sun-Sentinel or the AP.

Wow, the day went by, and I just about missed it. Well, OK, I completely missed it. I speak, of course, of my 3rd blogging anniversary, which was yesterday. (Guess I was too busy working on the co-fisking, and getting all the colors right.) Since last year I've gone from a "Crawly Amphibian" to a "Large Mammal" in the TTLB Ecosystem, I've started the Homespun Bloggers Radio show, and got another Instalanche. Life is good. >grin<

Sorry I didn't have a chance to do as much for the party this year as I did last (it just snuck up on me), but I do want to thank y'all for stopping by and checking the place out.

Monday, April 18, 2005

My blogger-in-law, Jim Jewell (who blogs at Rooftop Blog and Stones Cry Out), brought to my attention a NY Times editorial over the weekend about Bill Frist speaking to religious folks about the judicial nomination issue. He couldn't believe the amateurish writing from a supposedly tier A media organization, so I read it myself. As we talked about it, it seemed like we had a rebuttal for just about every line in it. I suggested to him we do a co-fisking of the article, and that's what you see below. (Jim posted his at Rooftop Blog and Stones Cry Out.) We wrote our rebuttals separately without seeing the other's first, so what we're writing is only in response to the Times article, not each other's words. Also, you may see some ideas presented by the both of us.

The editorial's words are indented, my words are in red, Jim's are in green.

Bill Frist's Religious War

Right off the bat, the Times frames this as a war of Bill Frist's making. No mention of the way the Democrats are rewriting the Constitution to say that the Senate Judiciary Committee is now the "advice and consent" body rather than the Senate itself. And a "religious war"? We'll see how the Times has redefined that term in a bit.
Right-wing Christian groups and the Republican politicians they bankroll...

Loaded language right from the start, which also gives the false impression that conservative Christians supply the vast majority of the money in Republican coffers. Sorry, don't think so.
...have done much since the last election to impose their particular religious views on all Americans.

Not political views, mind you, but religious views. Yes, according to the NY Times, conservative Christians have imposed their belief in Jesus as the Son of God on the nation, enshrining it in legislation via our bankrolled politicians. No? Oh, then how about other religious views, like legislating the belief that the only God is the one described in the Christian Bible? No? Perhaps they've passed a law that we should only worship that particular God? Nope, not that either. In fact there is no Christian religious view that is in our laws at all, and no one is pushing for it to happen. The Times and the liberals that think like them may like to raise the spectre of a supposed push for a Christian theocracy, but there's no politician in Washington doing anything close to that. It's outright fear-mongering that one would have thought the Grey Lady to be above. Apparently not.

What conservative Christians have tried to do is get legislation passed on social or political or criminal issues that are consistent with their own values. And this just in; everybody does that. That's what government and self-rule is for. But when conservative Christians try to do it, it's somehow an "imposition" of their "religious views". I'm sure there's a number of KKK members who aren't all that thrilled with civil rights legislation, yet technically we've imposed those views on them, and for very good reasons. So the whole idea of decrying the imposing of views is really intellectual dishonesty. The Times, anytime they advocate for any law, does the same thing.

What right-wing Christian group bankroll politicians? Most I know are asking for money from the same funding sources as the Republican politicians. The organization at issue here, Family Research Council, doesn't fund politicians. It's engaged in battle with words, not dollars. Christian groups haven't "imposed" anything on "all Americans." I hope they've made their views known in the public square. The Republican politicians haven't done much of anything since November.

But nothing comes close to the shameful declaration of religious war by Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, over the selection of judges for federal courts.

Appearing on a telecast sponsored by a 501 C 3 organization with religious and political purposes to lobby for his position on the judicial appointment is a declaration of religious war? Oh please. It's Frist playing to his base, not exactly new in Washington. It is legitimate to ask whether the appointment of conservative judges is clearly important to Christian duty and concerns. Have the actions of liberal judges been un-Christian? Most evangelical Christians believe they have been. I think Frist does, too.
Senator Frist is to appear on a telecast sponsored by the Family Research Council, which styles itself a religious organization but is really just another Washington lobbying concern.

FRC is a lobbying concern run by Christians on behalf of Christian causes. There's no hidden agenda here.
The message is that the Democrats who oppose a tiny handful of President Bush's judicial nominations are conducting an assault "against people of faith."

Tiny? I think its 10 so far. And there will be more if something isn't done. Yes, unfortunately, there is no love lost between the Democrats and many people of faith. I think there is plenty of assaulting on both sides. The art of subtlety and common civility is lost on the ash heap of the last generation.
By that, Senator Frist and his allies do not mean people of all faiths, only those of their faith.

The same faith, by the way, that the Times won't be intellectually honest about. Frist ought to be given some slack, as this kind of double-standard is used against conservative Christians in a lot of areas, and this Times editorial is just the latest example. I'll agree that the term "people of faith" may be an overgeneralization, but there's nothing wrong with trying to point out when people who believe the same things you do are getting a raw deal. The fact that they're being held up because of concern that their religious views might show through is a de facto unconstitutional religious test, and worth bringing up. And even outside any views on any subject, since when do we have ideological litmus tests before confirming judges? (Answer: Since Democrats decided to do it.)

Where in the teachings of any major faith group do you find commendation of abortion on demand and same-sex marriage? Not Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. Maybe in the common faith groups-faith in faith, faith in self, faith in destiny, faith in money, faith in power. Yes, I think liberal judges have sullied people of faith.

It is one thing when private groups foment this kind of intolerance.

Huh? Arguing for conservative judges is fomenting intolerance?

The Times just had to find a way to use the word "intolerance" in a sentence here. And what's odd is that they're accusing Republicans of this, while the Democrats seem pretty intolerant of views they don't agree with, so much so that they're not giving these nominees the chance for an up-or-down vote. Who's intolerant?

It is another thing entirely when it's done by the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate, who swore on the Bible...

Heh heh...the irony is just dripping here. Why exactly did he swear on a Bible? Because our founding fathers were such "intolerant" guys? uphold a Constitution that forbids the imposition of religious views on Americans.

...that, again, no one is trying to do. And remember, the Constitution says that our federal government may not have an established religion and thus not require a religious test for office-holders. Republicans are not trying to do anything like that. (Did anyone at the Times actually read the Constitution before writing that? Editors!) What Democrats are doing is trying to keep out those who hold religious views too seriously for their comfort. Again, that is the imposition.

I love this. The Times is citing the need for constitutional fidelity because of the Bible's use in an oath. How ironic. Of course this constitutional prohibition on imposition of religious views is creative but inaccurate. Pretty wild interpretation of the establishment clause.

Unfortunately, Senator Frist and his allies are willing to break down the rules to push through their agenda - in this case, by creating what the senator knows is a false connection between religion and the debate about judges.

Christians who have many judicial rulings contrary their beliefs see a very real connection.

Whether or not you believe that religion has anything to do with this issue, there are no rules being broken, and the <redundant>Democrats and the Times</redundant> both know that the filibuster rule is in fine health. Apparently, the difference between changing the rules and breaking the rules needs to be understood better by some folks.

Senator Frist and his backers want to take away the sole tool Democrats have for resisting the appointment of unqualified judges: the filibuster.

False, there is another tool: Elections. But, in order for that to work, you have to, you know, win them. Democrats have lost them recently, and this is the spoils of winning; choosing your judges.

And all these judges are "unqualified"? Without qualification, that term is also certainly false, unless the Times is again redefining words. In this case, "unqualified" means "don't agree with us".

Everyone knows this isn't about qualifications; it's about ideology. Nice try. (Another tool is to get a majority in the Senate).

This is not about a majority or even a significant number of Bush nominees; it's about a handful with fringe views or shaky qualifications.

10 nominees who were qualified by too conservative for the Democrats. I love when the liberals talk about the fringe. I guess when Democrats lose the White House, both Houses of Congress, and the majority of state houses, the fringe is really on the left, isn't it?
But Senator Frist is determined to get judges on the federal bench who are loyal to the Republican fringe and, he hopes, would accept a theocratic test on decisions.

The search for strict constructionists has become a theocratic test. Such wild rhetoric.

False. The only folks looking for a theocratic test are Democrats opposing these judges. If they really did expect these guys to give all their decisions a "theocratic test", then they really fouled this up. For example, William Pryor, who was being filibustered prior to his recess appointment, said he agreed that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was in the right with the 10 Commandments display in the Alabama Supreme Court building. Nevertheless, he followed the law as written and did his constitutional duty by having it removed. Does the Times think Pryor will employ a theocratic test? He's proven quite plainly that he won't. The Times is using an extremely broad brush on these folks, and if they're wrong about Pryor (and they are), chances are they're wrong about the others.

Senator Frist has an even bigger game in mind than the current nominees: the next appointments to the Supreme Court, which the Republican conservatives view as their best chance to outlaw abortion and impose their moral code on the country.

I think Frist is, indeed, thinking about the Supreme Court. Whose moral code is the court imposing on America now? The law is a moral teacher and, if you will, an imposer. It isn't as though only one ideology seeks to transmit its views.

Links? Sources? And what of moral code double-standards? If outlawing abortion would be the imposition of a moral code, then the legalization of abortion was the imposition of another moral code, or at the very least a values-free look at the death of children, which at the very least is an imposition on those children. Once again the Times is basically saying, "I just change the law, you impose your moral code".

We fully understand that a powerful branch of the Republican Party believes that the last election was won on "moral values."

We didn't say that first. The major networks, the pundits, and the polling experts did. They said moral values were a major factor in the election. Yes, we believed it.
Even if that were true, that's a far cry from voting for one religion to dominate the entire country. President Bush owes it to Americans to stand up and say so.

I haven't seen that particular piece of legislation. The Christian Domination of America bill.

Again I say, "Who's voting for a religion?" President Bush isn't asking for that, only for an up-or-down vote on judges. Bill Frist is complaining that the opposition to these nominees is primarily religious and he can actually point to this very editorial and prove his point in spades. This last line comes right out and says so; the Times believes that Democrats should be allowed to use a religious test on judicial nominees. That's unconstitutional, pure and simple, but the Times is all for it. And that's their definition of a "religious war" that they accuse Frist of starting. In reality it was the filibusters of these folks that called them on the carpet because of their religion. If there's a religious war going on here, it's one that the Democrats chose to invent and fight because, as the Times clearly says, they believe that a vote for these nominees is a vote to have one religion "dominate the entire country". This is a pathetic scare tactic.

Ultimately, this editorial really has the whole situation upside down and backwards, which is apparently how the Times views the world.

Bob Hayes over at the Blogger News Network (where I do some occasional reporting) is fact-checking the NY Times. Actually, it's not so much fact-checking as it is telling the whole story. Don't those guys have editors?

Lance over at Red State Rant liked what he saw over here and blogrolled me. Well back atcha.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The UN is trying to get some PR via a video game.
The UN food relief agency on Thursday launched its first 'humanitarian' videogame, offering different multimedia mission-games designed to attract children though full-screen video and 3D imagery. 'Food Force's graphics bear a striking resemblance to those of the blockbuster 'Tomb Raider' videogame's - but can be downloaded for free from the Internet, adding to its appeal for parents.

'Food Force' - the first humanitarian videogame about global hunger, aimed at children aged 8 to 13 - was unveiled by the World Food Programme (WFP) at the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. It opens with a full-screen video sequence in which the player is briefed on a hunger crisis on the fictitious island country of 'Sheylan'. A plane circles over a crisis zone. There is war and drought below, and people are hungry. The aircraft goes into a steep climb, before launching its first airdrop of food aid. A truck struggles up a muddy, treacherous road, and rebels loom up ahead. People are anxious, waiting, and food is scarce.

This is the virtual world of 'Food Force', where children can take part in six different WFP missions, alongside Food Force's crack team of frontline emergency aid workers. These appear as a set of animated characters who help guide the player through a number of realistic challenges in each mission: piloting a helicopter to count hungry people against the clock; creating a balanced diet with limited funds; how to supply food when and where it is needed; dropping food into a crisis zone from a cargo plane.

No word about how far the realism goes. For example, do you get the opportunity to cook the books and make off with billions of aid dollars? Does it require you to engage in clandestine & illegal deals with the Ba'ath party in "Sheylan"? I mean, if we're going to simulate UN food programs, we ought to be as complete as possible, shouldn't we?

Maybe in version 2.0

What do you call people who help illegal aliens get into this country? Criminals? Well yeah, but what else?
American Civil Liberties Union activists shadowing the Minuteman Project at the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona are actively aiding and abetting aliens attempting to enter the country illegally, said a spokesman for the volunteer civilian force.

Grey Deacon told Joseph Farah's nationally syndicated "WorldNetDaily RadioActive" audience yesterday that ACLU monitors sent to the border to watch Minuteman activity and report civil-liberties abuses to authorities have begun flashing lights, sounding horns and warning off illegals and their "coyote" human smugglers from entering territory patrolled by the volunteers.

"They are actively engaging in criminal activity," said Deacon.

Deacon said the ACLU activists are resorting to new tactics because of the success the Minuteman Project is having in assisting the Border Patrol in spotting illegal aliens and in generating publicity about the insecure U.S.-Mexico border.

The ACLU dispatched its representatives to the 23-mile section of the Arizona border patrolled by the Minutemen after predicting the group would abuse the rights of illegal aliens. No such abuses have materialized to date.

You call them "radical civil liberties activists", of course! Hey, I'm all for protecting civil liberties, but I think the ACLU expanded way out of that domain long ago.

I've got an article up at Blogger News Network summarizing the DeLay/Sanders issue. Comments are welcome.

Let it never be said that die-hard Republicans can't be critical of their own party. Captain Ed is extremely peeved at the Republicans in the Senate, who aren't doing much of anything with regards to one of the big issues they ran on; judicial nominees. Ed in short:
What has this bunch of Republican milquetoasts done? Nothing.

Why? Apparently, they've changed their priorities since the election. No longer are judicial nominations the leading priority. In fact, they've done everything they can to backpedal from the frightening spectre of Harry Reid, for Pete's sake. Now they claim that they want to pass as much legislation as they can before the vote on nominations comes up ... meaning that the judges are actually the lowest priority for Frist and his band of merry cowards.

News flash: if we can't reverse the generations-long trend of increasing judicial activism, the act of passing legislation will eventually be rendered meaningless. The judges, as we have seen, will simply continue to legislate from the bench, ignoring Congress and the Executive and transforming us from a representative democracy to a secular mullahcracy, where lifetime appointments in black robes make all the decisions for us.

That's what the Republicans warned about when they campaigned in 2002 and 2004. Now it's time to step up and do something about it -- but despite their greater numbers and a clear signal from the electorate that rejects obstructionists (see Tom Daschle's enforced retirement), the GOP suddenly quails at the thought of taking action.

I have been a loyal member of the GOP since I cast my first vote. I have worked campaigns and championed candidates well before I ever posted anything on my blog at CQ. However, with the defection of John McCain and the lack of any real response from party leadership on the issue, I have to take a stand and demand either action or accountability -- and this is the time to do it.

His action? Withholding funds. No lock-step marching here.

Boy, Democrats really hate it when, while holding the spotlight on someone else, they notice some spotlight on them as well. On Wednesday I noted that a Vermont newspaper covered one of their own paying family members; a Democrat doing what they're castigating Tom DeLay for. Well, looks like Rep. Sanders, in response, would rather take his ball and go home instead of face it. Here's the Bennington Banner's editorial in full.
The congressman doth protest too much

In Wednesday's Banner, we ran a story that detailed payments Rep. Bernard Sanders has made to his wife and stepdaughter since 2000.

According to records filed with the Federal Election Commission, his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders received $91,020 from his campaign for consultation and negotiating the purchase of advertising time, from 2002 to 2004. About two-thirds of that money was used to pay media outlets, O'Meara Sanders said. Her daughter, Carina Driscoll, was paid $65,002 in wages over the same time period. She served as her stepfather's campaign manager in 2000, fund-raiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager last year.

None of this is illegal. The story did not state, or imply, that Rep. Sanders broke the law by hiring family members. An Associated Press story in Thursday's paper points out that employing relatives is common practice among the nation's lawmakers. It says about four dozen senators and representatives have hired family members for their campaign and political groups.

Of course, just because something is common practice and doesn't break the law, doesn't mean it's totally kosher. Watchdog groups are rightly concerned. Even if family members earn their pay, there still remains the appearance of impropriety. Given the power that elected officials wield and the fact that they serve at the pleasure of their taxpaying constituents, there's nothing wrong with holding them to higher standards. We're not talking about a small contractor who hires his son over summer vacation and doesn't mind paying him a little extra.

The way Rep. Sanders has reacted to the revelatons [sic], we think, indicates that he realizes how the situation looks. He claims the story was a lie, although the information came from public government records and was confirmed by his own staff, and he does not refute any of the facts in our report.

If Rep. Sanders believes the payments are on the up and up, a completely acceptable practice, he should come out and say so, instead of threatening not to speak with the media.

That's another issue that concerns us. In Maryland, the governor banned the Baltimore Sun from attending press conferences because he didn't like how he was being covered.

We at the Banner don't pretend to have any more rights than the average citizen. But the average citizen does have the right to hold his or her elected officials accountable for their actions.

Not everyone has the time or resources to follow the government's doings, but newspapers and other media do, and that's the next best thing.

Hope to find the national MSM picking this up, rather than just relying on Drudge for links to something like this. Yet hold not thy breath.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

There's a new group blog of Ph. D.s who will be discussing Intelligent Design. "Intelligent Design the Future" has been added to the blogroll.

A story about how the state of Oregon has reacted to unilateral action on gay marriage further proves the reasoning behind those against it upping the ante to state constitutions and not leaving it with statutes.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday nullified nearly 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by Multnomah County a year ago, saying a single county couldn't take such action on its own.

The court said while the county can question the constitutionality of laws governing marriage, they are a matter of statewide concern so the county had no authority to issue licenses to gay couples.

The court noted that last November, Oregonians approved a constitutional amendment that limits marriages to a man and a woman. The court also said that long before that vote, state law had set the same limitations on marriages since Oregon became a state.

"Today, marriage in Oregon - an institution once limited to opposite-sex couples only by statute - now is so limited by the state Constitution as well," the court ruling said.

Despite a law against it, the county appealed to the state constitution for their actions. This is why the stakes got higher and it fully legitimizes the push for constitutional amendments. In Georgia, homosexual activists have argued that since we already have a law against it, we didn't need a constitutional amendment. This puts the lie to that line of reasoning.

(Cross-posted at and the Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

For perspective, the AP has compiled a list (likely not exhaustive) of lawmakers who have relatives on their payroll. If DeLay is such a pariah in this matter, I would imagine the Democrats would go after everyone on this list of 7 Republicans and 6 Democrats.

Actually the safer bet would be that this is just a partisan witch hunt. Right, Newt?

Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - free step by step on how to draw silly cartoon horses [#9 on Yahoo! Search]

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I wondered if anyone else noticed, and "hubs & spokes" has. Namely that the nifty little Blogging Ecosystem run by N.Z. Bear has been flaky over the past few months. I'd reliably been a "Marauding Marsupial" for quite some time, but at one point I think he made some changes--most notably the addition of graphs of your blog's position--and things started going haywire. (My ecosystem status is here.) What's worse, the graphs themselves pointed this out. Well, the graphs stopped happening. Then I got an Instalanche recently and got promoted to a "Large Mammal" for a little while there (partially for the traffic, partially for folks who'd linked to the Instalanched post). Since then, however, I've been on a de-evolutionary spiral down to "Flappy Bird" as of yesterday. Today, all of a sudden, I went on a meteoric rise back up to "Large Mammal". While I'm pleased, it's wild swings are making the ecosystem less of a gauge worth looking at.

Yeah, it's just an ego booster, and my sister (who gets a kick out of asking me if I'm still a "marauding marsupial") finds it rather silly. She's right, but it's nifty. Hope it gets to feeling better soon.

(Note: The Bear notes some recent issues & their resolution here and here.)

Ah yes, the left is searing with hate these days. On Monday, I mentioned T-shirts suggesting Tom DeLay kill himself. Today, it's shirts suggesting that someone kill the President.
An online store today removed from its site a T-shirt with the words "Kill Bush" and a phony bloodstain.

Until earlier today, had the product among its offerings. The site boasts of giving online selling opportunities to "individuals, organizations and businesses to create, buy and sell customized merchandise online."

The shirt's black and red lettering on yellow says:

For Gods Sake ...
Save the United States
and the Rest of the World

Remember, according to liberals, it's only conservatives who are capable of mean-spirited hate.

Hmm, ethics problem here?
Rep. Bernard Sanders used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000 for campaign-related work since 2000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Sound vaguely familiar?
The ethics of lawmakers paying their families jumped into the spotlight on Capitol Hill last week, following reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas had paid his wife and daughter more than $500,000 for campaign-related work.

Jim Barrett, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, used Sanders' family payments to highlight what he said is Democratic "hypocrisy" for fiercely attacking DeLay. "It's the standard hypocrisy from the left," Barrett said. "When a Republican does it, it's inappropriate and front page news. But now it turns out, our own Bernie Sanders has been doing it for a long time."

He added: "If it's corruption when Tom DeLay does it, then it's corruption when Bernie Sanders does it."

Double-standards have a rich history in the Democratic Party.

Now, the question is, is this practice legal? The article covers this topic.
No laws prohibit candidates from paying family members for campaign work. But the appearance that lawmakers use their position to benefit people close to them concerns watchdog groups.

"Anytime you pay a family member there's going to be questions raised," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group in Washington.

The real question, he says, is whether family members conducted work commesurate to their pay. If they did, "then it's more difficult to say (lawmakers) are funneling money back to the family."

Mary Bloyer, a spokeswoman for Common Cause, a nonprofit advocacy group, said: "The danger here is that you want members of Congress who are in Washington to serve their constituents and not enrich their families. Something like this makes people look twice and makes them wonder what's going on here."

It's something worth keeping tabs on, that's for sure. But unless there's some evidence that DeLay or Sanders were just funnelling money to family members who weren't earning their wages, then, apart from looking into that aspect this shouldn't be nearly the issue the Democrats have made it.

As I said, it's a simple matter of throwing everything they can at someone until something sticks. Right, Newt?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The solution to global warming? Stop brushing your hair!
Millions of tons of dandruff are circling the Earth, blocking out sunlight, causing rain and spreading disease, startling new research shows.

Flaky as it may seem, the research - partly funded by the German government - may provide the solution to one of the world's most enduring pollution mysteries: the origin of much of the vast clouds of fine dust in the atmosphere. It suggests that more than half of the dust is a rich soup of organic detritus, including particles of decaying leaves, animal hair, dead skin and dandruff.

The research is published in the April issue of Science magazine by Dr Ruprecht Jaenicke of Mainz University - who has been leading the study for the past 15 years - and says "it has got to be taken very seriously".

Sorry, but I can't read that without a very serious chuckle. Thing is, the article also mentions the contribution of birds and trees to this cruft floating around in the air, and you have to ask, "If it's a natural process, what can we really do about it?"

Consider these events:
  • The appointment of a bipartisan commission to fix Social Security. One of their 3 potential plans was to allow people to divert 5% of their payroll taxes to personal accounts.
  • The President who appointed this commission advocated doing something now to save Social Security. He travelled the country giving speeches, saying, "it would be unconscionable if we failed to act." He warned that it is better to "fix the roof when the sun is shining," and ran through the familiar arithmetic of the declining number of workers supporting every retiree. He urged finding ways to allow poorer workers to build wealth so they could "own a share of our nation's prosperity."
  • The President was also quoted as saying, "nearly everybody knows that something substantial, really substantial, has to be done to reform the Social Security system to accommodate the Baby Boom generation."

Name that President.


If you said "George W. Bush", you could be forgiven, since Democrats and the media have made the who Social Security issue sound like Dubya's been the first guy to try to suggest doing personal accounts, in addition to denying that there's even a problem. But the correct answer is Bill Clinton.

There's more.
But as budget surplus projections grew on the back of a stock market bubble, Republican leaders wanted the money for across-the-board cuts in income taxes. Clinton promised a veto.

Instead, he proposed tax cuts of a different sort -- in the form of mandatory savings, returned to workers for their own individual accounts.

Clinton called these universal savings accounts, USA for short. He proposed them as an addition to Social Security. In today's debate they are known as "add-on" accounts, favored by Democrats and a number of Republicans, including [Rep. Clay Shaw], and viewed as a potential compromise.

Unfortunately, the Lewinsky matter torpedoed anything else going on at the time, and the proposals died. But just remember this when bloggers and pundits continue to act as though the current proposals are unprecedented and unnecessary.

Looks like some judged in Massachusetts might have their feet held to the constitutional fire.
A measure to oust the four justices who voted for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts will be considered today by the state legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the Massachusetts-based group Article 8 Alliance is promoting a "bill of address," a Massachusetts provision allowing lawmakers to remove judges who fail to fulfill their duties.

The measure, filed by Democratic state Rep. Emile Goguen filed in April 2004, contends the justices violated multiple articles in the state constitution prohibiting courts from nullifying existing laws and requiring that laws remain in effect until the legislature repeals them, regardless of the actions and opinions of the judiciary branch

The bill names Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and justices John M. Greaney, Roderick L. Ireland and Judith A. Cowin.

It looks as though judicial activism and media pressure are keeping the legislature in line on this.
The last time Massachusetts lawmakers removed a Supreme Judicial Court justice was 1803. A failed attempt was made in 1922. But Article 8 director Brian Camenker, who launched the campaign in January 2004, has said lawmakers privately say "this was a completely illegal ruling, it has no basis in law at all, and that this is really what needs to happen."

The legislators, Camenker believes, are afraid of the Boston Globe and other mainstream media, and homosexual activists and their lawyers, and they don't want to be seen as trying to oust a judge.

In addition, Gouguen has accused Chief Justice Marshall of conspiring with homosexual activists before her 2003 ruling, citing alleged violations of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

Pointing to Marshall's speech to the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in 1999, when she was an associate justice, Gouguen contends she aided and abetted Mary L. Bonauto, the attorney who argued the same-sex marriage case for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

In the speech, Marshall, praised the "growing body of gay-friendly international jurisprudence," including that of her native South Africa.

Gouguen argues Marshall's appearance before the homosexual group should have disqualified her from the same-sex marriage case. He notes the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct stated at the time, "A judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." The code's language was strengthened last year, changing "should" to "shall."

But what's a little ethical law when there are axes to grind?

Monday, April 11, 2005

I've read some of this on other web sites, and here's the latest update on it.
A century after Albert Einstein published his most famous ideas, physicists will today commemorate the occasion by trying to demolish one of them.

Astronomers will tell experts gathering at Warwick University to celebrate the anniversary of the great man's "miracle year" that the speed of light - Einstein's unchanging yardstick that underpins his special theory of relativity - might be slowing down.

Michael Murphy, of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University, said: "We are claiming something extraordinary here. The findings suggest there is a more fundamental theory of the way that light and matter interact; and that special relativity, at its foundation, is actually wrong."

Einstein's insistence that the speed of light was always the same set up many of his big ideas and established the bedrock of modern physics.

Dr Murphy said: "It could turn out that special relativity is a very good approximation but it's missing a little bit. That little bit may be the doorknob to a whole new universe and a whole new set of fundamental laws." His team did not measure a change in the speed of light directly. Instead, they analysed flickering light from the far-distant celestial objects called quasars.

Their light takes billions of years to travel to Earth, letting astronomers see the fundamental laws of the universe at work during its earliest days. The observations, from the massive Keck telescope in Hawaii, suggest the way certain wavelengths of light are absorbed has changed.

If true, it means that something called the fine structure constant - a measure of the strength of electromagnetic force that holds atoms together - has changed by about 0.001% since the big bang. The speed of light depends on the fine structure constant. If one varies with time then the other probably does too, meaning Einstein got it wrong.

If light moved faster in the early universe than now, physicists would have to rethink many fundamental theories. His conclusions are based on work carried out in 2001 with John Webb at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Other astronomers disputed the findings, and a smaller study using a different telescope last year suggested no change.

Click here and you'll find a host of web pages discussing both sides of this issue. If light is indeed slowing down, this would impact the creation / evolution debate. In that case, light from distant stars would not have been travelling for as long a time, and radioactive decay itself would have been faster in the past (since electrons travel at the speed of light). This would require the estimated age of the universe to be adjusted downward. How much it would change is based on the measurements. However, for "young earth" creationists, it would be some vindication and would keep the door open that further scientific evidence that we may uncover in the future would continue to bolster their position.

An interesting situation.

I'm with Sen. Rick Santorum:
"I think he has to come forward and lay out what he did and why he did it and let the people then judge for themselves," said Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

He's talking about Tom DeLay, who's had some ethics charges and suspicions against him recently. He needs to come out with it and either take his lumps or prove them wrong. Either way, silence isn't golden.

"But from everything I've heard, again, from the comments and responding to those, is everything he's done was according to the law," Santorum told ABC's "This Week."

"Now you may not like some of the things he's done," Santorum said. "That's for the people of his district to decide, whether they want to approve that kind of behavior or not."

DeLay was admonished three times last year by the House ethics committee. He has blamed his woes on Democrats, liberal interest groups and the media.

Yes, it's easy to just point the finger elsewhere. But leveling bogus charges, aided and abetted by the media, is nothing new for Democrats (just ask Newt Gingrich).

However, asking him to commit suicide is going a bit too far.

Go away for a week and what happens? The Pope dies and Charles & Camilla get married. One Spring Break I was on vacation when Baghdad fell. During another vacation Princess Diana died.

Sometimes I feel like an international jinx.

In any event, I'm back and blogging will resume. For those of you who have had trouble listening to Homespun Bloggers Radio, I must blame my home network hardware that somehow knew I'd just left. I host the audio stream from a Linux machine at home, and sometimes the network hardware gets itself tied up in a knot. It require a power cycle, but when I'm not there, it just has to wait until I return. It can go for months without doing this, yet within a couple of days of my departure, sure enough it wedged up. It's back now, so you can listen in again. (We didn't get a new show out before I left, but we're working on one.)

On with the pontificating!

Friday, April 01, 2005

A year or so ago, in surfing around the web, I bumped into information about a prophecy made during the 1100s about the popes from that point until the last one. (How I got there, I'll never remembe.) A St. Malachy supposedly had a vision giving him information about all these popes and, according to it, the next pope will be pope as the Tribulation mentioned in the book of Revelation begins, and the pope after that would be extremely evil, fitting in to the end times prophesies as potentially the anti-Christ. Now, there's plenty of questions as to whether these are forgeries or not, and I'm not one to put too much stock in this (and I'm not Catholic), but it is at least interesting, especially given the health of the current pope.

The interpretation of the prophesy about the next pope are, of course open to interpretation. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, if, in fact, it does.