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Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Federalist Patriot is a wonderful E-mail newsletter that I get 3 times a week. (There are actually 4 separate E-mails sent out weekly, and I get three of them.) According to their website, the newsletter is, "a highly acclaimed publication of anecdotal rebuttal to contemporary political, social and mainstream media Leftists". Today's E-mail noted, as Independence Day is just around the corner, that many of the Founding Fathers' list of grievances against King George, itemized in the Declaration of Independence that were the basis of their desire to become independent, could be charges levelled at the Supreme Court of today. They accused the King of faithlessness to British law, and they let him know the particulars. Mark Alexander gives examples of 7 of the 27 indictments and how they'd apply to today's justices. It's a very telling look at how far we've returned back to the very government abuses we fought a war to be free from.

I highly recommend signing up for one or more of their E-mails.

Via Matt at Stones Cry Out comes a pointer to this interview of Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. The interview is a Q&A on stem cell research, and Matt properly identifies the money quote:
We cannot say with certainty that embryonic cells will never prove therapeutically useful in treating other diseases, but as a matter of sheer fact not a single embryonic-stem-cell therapy is even in clinical trials. No one knows how to prevent tumor formation and other problems arising from the use of embryonic stem cells. No one knows whether these problems will be solved or solved before other research strategies render embryonic research obsolete. Like John Kerry, John Edwards, and Ron Reagan, Cuomo is elevating the hopes of suffering people and their families who are desperate for cures and eager to believe that if only embryonic-stem-cell research were federally funded they or their loved ones would be restored to health.

Prof. George also discusses alternate ways to create new cells from that that have already differentiated themselves. He also answers the charge of being anti-science just because he isn't gung-ho over embryonic stem cell research.

Looks like sex didn't sell as well as they thought it would.
The hot controversy over Paris Hilton's sexy burger ads for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's has not translated into a surge of sales at the fast-food outlets.

CKE Restaurants, parent company of both chains, says Carl's Jr. posted a 1.7 percent rise in same-store sales for the four weeks ending June 20, while Hardee's notched an increase of 0.7 percent.

Yes, Andrew Puzder (president & CEO of CKE) is putting a positive spin on it, suggesting that people who came in asking for "the Paris Hilton burger" would not have otherwise purchased anything at all. That's a bit of a stretch. Looks like, at most, this may have increased the demand for Paris Hilton video on the 'net, but it did virtually nothing for sales.

Meanwhile, Boddie-Noel Enterprises, which owns around 330 Hardee's franchises, says they're not going to run the ad in their area (four southeastern states). This is the first time they've done that, and it may not be the last.

The conventional wisdom is that all publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right. It's possible that it's time to unlearn that.

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)

A couple of good posts from Bryan Preston on JunkYardBlog today. One notes proof that some of the guys we've been releasing from Gitmo (because of Democrat uproar) are immediately returning to the jihad. Another post point out that the mad mullahs in Tehran love the new President because he's essentially one of them. He was one of the radicals who took over the US embassy in 1979 and held Americans hostage.

"America Held Hostage: Day 2,190".

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

You can write about religion, but don't dare mention..well, you know, the "G" word.
For using the "G" word 41 times in a term paper, Bethany Hauf was given an "F" by her Victor Valley Community College instructor.

Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic - Religion and its Place within the Government - on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust."

"He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo."

Hope the potential offendees never look too close at the money in their wallets. The idea that a report on religion should avoid the word God is akin to writing about the role of government in general without using the words "law" and "order".

I suppose that the teacher can place whatever restrictions he wanted to on classroom assignments. Still, this particular restriction seems one that was designed to ensure failure or at least discourage the topic. The American Center for Law and Justice is representing Hauf, asking for an apology and a re-grading of the paper. Oh, and one other nice bit of irony.
In addition to an apology and a re-grading of Hauf's paper, the ACLJ demands Shefchik "receive some kind of training to sensitize him to the constitutional dimensions of his employment in a public educational institution, including his duty to respect constitutional freedoms of expression."

Sensitivity ought to work both ways.

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Well this is discouraging.
Ethanol, touted as an alternative fuel of the future, may eat up far more energy during its creation than it winds up giving back, according to research by a UC Berkeley scientist that raises questions about the nation's move toward its widespread use.

A clean-burning fuel produced from renewable crops like corn and sugarcane, ethanol has long been a cornerstone of some national lawmakers' efforts to clear the air and curb dependence on foreign oil. California residents use close to a billion gallons of the alcohol-based fuel per year.

But in a recent issue of the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, UC Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad Patzek argued that up to six times more energy is used to make ethanol than the finished fuel actually contains.

The fossil energy expended during production alone, he concluded, easily outweighs the consumable energy in the end product. As a result, Patzek believes that those who think using the "green" fuel will reduce fossil fuel consumption are deluding themselves -- and the federal government's practice of subsidizing ethanol by offering tax exemptions to oil refiners who buy it is a waste of money.

What started out as puzzling results from a school assignment turned into a full research project with these surprising results. If you read the full article, there are those who have legitimate disputes with his numbers and his data. And it may simply be an issue of this being a relatively new technology, with efficiencies to come. Still, a bit discouraging.

Sen. Barak Obama is getting a lot of press for a line he wrote about Abe Lincoln.
"I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator," Obama said. "As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African-American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice."

America in the late 19th century was a country where race was a factor. Whether or not you think Lincoln was himself racist, he certainly must have understood the views of the country he was leading. You don't right some entrenched wrongs too quickly, or you efforts get rejected. As it was, the Emancipation Proclamation was a radical change. It may have not been that "clarion call for justice" that Obama would like it to have been, but it laid the foundation for the call when it did come. I believe it would not have come at all without it.

Senators and Representatives shouldn't pass judgement on Gitmo until they go there. And when they do, they'll likely change their tune.
Two Democratic senators just back from reviewing U.S. detention facilities and interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said they saw no signs of abuse and said it would actually be worse to close the facility and transfer the detainees elsewhere.

"I strongly prefer the improved practices and conditions at Camp Delta to the outsourcing of interrogation to countries with a far less significant commitment to human rights," said Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, who toured the U.S. facility along with Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat.

The two Democrats were joined on the trip by two Republicans, Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Sen. Michael D. Crapo of Idaho.

Their characterization contrasts with critics, including Democratic Party leaders, who have called for the camp to be closed as a bruise on America's human rights record.
"Everything we heard about operations there in the past, we'd have to say, was negative. What we saw firsthand was something different," Mr. Nelson said.

If the Democrat critics won't go, at least they should listen to those who have.


Oscar-winning director STEVEN SPIELBERG is baffled that fewer UFO sightings are made now than were made twenty years ago - because the technology to record would-be aliens is so commonplace today.

Yeah, well, perhaps that's why.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Don Sensing explains how different Christianity and Islam are by considering what each believes will happen at Judgement Day for each believer. If you're one of those who thinks that Christians and Muslims really just believe in the same deity, you have a big chasm to cross.
Marwan's god wants to know whether he committed mayhem and murder. Christ wants to know whether we fed the hungry and thirsty, welcomed strangers, clothed the naked, nursed the sick and visited the imprisoned.

The contrast could not be clearer.

Suggesting that one god could require such diametrically opposed standards is to make Him just a generalized, all-inclusive guy with no real standards to speak of. That doesn't describe a good God, and it frankly makes it impossible for both religions to be talking about the same one.

Why you shouldn't believe polls, or how they're covered, reason #2,451: Little Green Footballs has the story:
First, at Yahoo News we find a story with the headline: Growing Numbers Question Media's Fairness, which seems a fairly accurate way to describe the findings of the poll:
But the Dallas Morning News decided to spin their headline on the same story in the opposite direction: Poll: Most Americans back media.

Same story, two diametrically opposite headlines. A perfect example of why mainstream media is losing the trust of the public; they claim to be seekers of the truth, while relentlessly spinning facts to promote left-wing ideologies and cover their own butts.

On Friday I noted a news report about a guy who was fired from Allstate for personal views he held. Today comes word that a religious group is no longer welcome at a bank in the UK for their views.
The Co-operative Bank has asked an evangelical Christian group to close its account because of its anti-homosexual views.

The bank said the opinions of Christian Voice were incompatible with its support for diversity.

Christian Voice said the bank, based in Manchester, was discriminating against it on religious grounds.

It is now waiting for other religious groups with similar opinions to be asked to close accounts, it added.

Christian Voice has held an account with the Co-operative Bank for about three years.

But now the bank has decided the group's stance on homosexuality is so extreme, it has asked members to look for a new bank.

"It has come to the bank's attention that Christian Voice is engaged in discriminatory pronouncements based on the grounds of sexual orientation," a spokesman for the bank said.

"This public stance is incompatible with the position of the Co-operative Bank, which publicly supports diversity and dignity in all its forms for our staff, customers and other stakeholders."

Isn't the removal of someone because they don't think the way you do the exact opposite of "diversity"?

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out and Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

The much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the display of the 10 Commandments on government property will, I think, reign in the extremists, but still leaves room for local courts to determine how much religion is too much. I've been really waiting for this ruling in light of the fact that the 10 Commandments, or at least references to them, appear in the Supreme Court itself.
Sending dual signals in ruling on this issue for the first time in a quarter-century, the high court said that displays of the Ten Commandments _ like their own courtroom frieze _ are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promotion of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.

In effect, the court said it was taking the position that issues of Ten Commandments displays in courthouses should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

I haven't read the whole ruling (and probably wouldn't understand a lot of it if I did), but I do appreciate the clarification that the court gave to the Establishment Clause.
"Of course, the Ten Commandments are religious _ they were so viewed at their inception and so remain. The monument therefore has religious significance," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority in the case involving the display outside the state capitol of Texas.

"Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment clause," he said.

It has been this misapplication of the Establishment Clause that has given the ACLU their teeth in taking down anything remotely religious from he public square. Just because a text or an idea lines up with someone's religious belief, it doesn't automatically make it an establishment of religion by the government. Take these displays, for example. All the religious displays on that page (and don't forget to click on "Part II") are from Washington, DC, and if the ACLU had been around then, they'd have never been made. Go there now, and be astonished at what used to be considered acceptable religion in the marketplace until people started misreading the Establishment Clause.

I agree with Justice Thomas that "a more fundamental rethinking of our Establishment Clause jurisprudence remains in order." While I was hoping that this would be case in which to do it, it is a step in the right direction.

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out and Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

One less benefit of embryonic stem cells over adults ones:
Hailed as a ground-breaking study, scientists in Pittsburgh say they've discovered that adult stem cells have the same ability as embryonic stem cells to multiply.

The previously unknown characteristic indicates post-natal stem cells may play an important therapeutic role, according to the researchers at the city's Children's Hospital.

In the heated national debate, embryonic stem cells -- regarded as destruction of human life by opponents -- have been touted as having a greater capacity than adult cells to multiply, making them more desirable to research as a potential treatment, noted Johnny Huard, director of the hospital's Growth and Development Laboratory.

"Scientists have typically believed that adult or post-natal stem cells grow old and die much sooner than embryonic stem cells, but this study demonstrates that is not the case," said Huard, the senior author of the study.

I have to wonder why we'd bother with all the ethical issues regarding embryonic stem cells when, the more we learn, the more we're seeing that adult stem cells are almost as good. In addition to multiplying as well, they can differentiate just about as well. Not to mention their proven track record in actual use.

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)

Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - bird chirps cell phones europe "bird calls" [#1 on Google]

Could the next casualties of this new "tolerance" be Mother's Day and Father's Day? Silly, you say? It's already happening. Just ask David Becker of Kensington, MD who, as a parent of a child at Kensington Forest Glen Children's Center, was helping the school out by typing up their newsletter.
The trouble began when Becker, while typing the newsletter, changed a hand-written greeting from "Happy Parent's Day!" to "Happy Mother's Day!" After submitting the final draft, a teacher contacted Becker and said the greeting would have to be changed back to "Happy Parent's Day!"

Becker says originally it was one of the teachers who talked to him about the issue. When he asked why, he says he was referred to an administrator.

Becker said he was told: "We cannot say 'Mother's Day' because we might exclude someone."

"I was confused," Becker told WorldNetDaily. "Everybody has a mother. Not everyone has a mother who is alive, but everyone has a mother."

Becker then asked the administrator: "Who would we be offending on Mother's Day?"

The response: "What about families with two fathers?"

Becker then asked about Father's Day. He says he was told: "You can't say 'Father's Day' either."

Retorted Becker: "You are insulting all the parents – the mothers, the fathers, the two-mother families, the two-father families – you're insulting all of them."

The administrator responded, according to Becker: "That's our policy."

That's the new policy of "tolerance" and "inoffensiveness". It turns everything into a bland mush of meaninglessness.

Looks like the states will have to take this eminent domain issue up. That is, if the legislature get pressured enough by the voters to give up this power. You know the legislature won't do it on their own. Here in Georgia, looks like we're already safe.
Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker said Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on private property rights will not affect state homeowners because of protections in the state constitution.

Baker, in a statement released to media, said the Georgia Constitution and more than 100 years of state court precedent prevent condemnation for private purposes.

"Fortunately for Georgians, our state constitution and state judiciary have consistently held that condemnation for private purposes is not acceptable under state law, a position that will be unaffected by today’s federal court ruling," Baker wrote.

“Georgia will remain one of the few states in the nation where a homeowner will not lose the family home or farm to make way for a private development boondoggle," the statement read.

If you write an essay on your own time with your own equipment and of your own thoughts, should your company be allowed to fire you if the essays conflicts with the company's values, even if you don't specify your connection to your company? The Allstate insurance company thinks so. J. Matt Barber, a former manager for Allstate, is suing the company after they fired him for writing an article against homosexuality from his Christian viewpoint that was posted on several websites. A month after it was posted, he was suspended with pay and escorted off the premises because, as the Human Resources assistant VP told him, the column didn't reflect Allstate's views. Three days later, he was phoned to tell him he was fired "for writing the article". Allstate even lobbied to keep him from getting unemployment benefits, but after bringing his case to the Illinois' Dept. of Employment Security, the agency sided with Barber and said he was entitled to the money. In their report, the agency said Barber's action was not misconduct, which is deliberate and willful, and his actions were neither.

The firing by Allstate was not specifically due to the Christian viewpoint, but the anti-homosexual ones that came from it. This is the latest symptom of a society that is becoming so "tolerant" of homosexuality that you don't deserve a job if you disagree. Back in October, 2004, the Royal Bank of Canada started handing out special "Safe Space" stickers that workers could place in their cubicles to show they wouldn't tolerate "homophobia". If you didn't agree with the company's position on homosexuality, you weren't "safe"; you were "homophobic". We've now moved to the point that Christians now may have to fear for their jobs if they speak out on their own time. "Sure, we're tolerant of your views, as long as you don't express them" is the motto of this new "tolerance".

Some who agree with Allstate's position on homosexuality may also agree that they shouldn't have fired Mr. Barber. That's all well and good, but it should be clear that we crossed a line quite some time ago where this sort of reaction is not just possible but actually occurring. Unless we reign in this sort of behavior, and I don't see the willingness to do that from "tolerance" advocates, it'll be a brand of intolerance that we'll be seeing more of.

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out, Blogger News Network, and Comments welcome.)

It's official. I was asked a couple weeks ago if I would join the Christian group blog "Stones Cry Out". After some software reconfiguration on their part, and a pic and bio on my part, I'm now one of the SCO bloggers. It's nice to be invited to join a high-profile blog, and I appreciate it very much. (And to avoid any charges of nepotism, I understand that my blogger-in-law Jim, who is already an SCO contributor, wasn't the one who brought my name up for consideration. >grin<) Also added today is Tom Parsons, who writes DaddyPundit.

Posting here will not be affected. Cross-posting between contributors' own blogs and SCO is fine. Actually, this may increase the number of posts here, so stay tuned.

A lot of folks have been dissing this NY Times editorial by a woman who, upset with the Koran "abuse" and the Patriot Act, had her frustrations soothed because her keys were picked up by none other than Al Gore. She closes her article:
It was nothing more than a kind gesture, but at that moment Mr. Gore's act represented all that I yearned for - acceptance and acknowledgment.

There in front of me, he stood for a part of America that has not made itself well known to 10 million Arab and Muslim-Americans, many of whom are becoming increasingly withdrawn and reclusive because of the everyday hostility they feel.

It is up to us as Americans to change how the rest of the world views us by changing how we view some of our own citizens. Mr. Gore's act reminded me that rather than running away on my treadmill, I needed to keep my feet on the soil in this country. I left the gym with a renewed sense of spirit, reassured that I belong to America and that America belongs to me.

Folks who are joking about this are missing, I think, a big win we can get out of all this.

Ship Al Gore over to Afghanistan and have him pick up Osama bin Laden's keys. Or his walking stick. Or something. I betcha they'd be hugging and singing "Kum Bah Yah" in no time.

Over at, Pejman Yousefzadeh is steamed about the Kelo "Eminent Domain" decision (as are a jillion other people). It highlights a problem with the Supreme Court that Pejman serves up with a great line; "All of you out there who mocked originalists and strict constructionists? Look what your mocking hath wrought." Pejman takes on the major points of the decision, pointing out their flaws with specific facts, not just general principal disagreements.

One thing I'll note is that it was generally the liberal justices that allowed this to pass, and it was generally the conservative ones that dissented. And, if as Instapundit noted, a lot of liberals disagree with this, perhaps some soul-searching is in order for those who think judges of that stripe make better Supreme Court justices. What I find interesting is the strange bedfellows created by this. Glenn notes this post at Daily Kos which supports the decision. The strange bedfellows here are liberals and the oh-so-evil private corporations. The post's author, "hoyapaul", seems to realize this.
As first glace, you may think that giving private homeowner property to a private corporations is a bad thing. And it very well might be in many cases.

But this is another case of liberals sacrificing their principals. If they're really for the "little guy" against the big corporations and developers, why applaud this decision? The answer immediately follows:
However, if the Court had ruled differently and NOT allowed local governments to do this, it would have been a disaster for local governments to build for the community (including when the purpose is to help the environment, build affordable housing, create jobs, etc.). It would have sacrificed needed community power at the hands of the sort of property-rights extremism frequently displayed by right-wing libertarian types.

Can't let those right-wing libertarians get their way, dontcha know? And while he couches the possibilities in liberal ideals like helping the environment or building affordable housing (wonder if "public housing projects" count in this), the result is that big developers get the big benefit.

And apparently, even the usually hard-left commenters at dKos are not entirely happy. The very first comment's title is "HEIL WALMART!!", and the discussion goes from there. Hey folks, maybe those strict constitutionalists get it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Kyoto Protocol: So much promise, so little delivery.
New Zealand's government is being challenged to justify the country's continued participation in the Kyoto Protocol after it admitted that complying with the climate change treaty will cost taxpayers about one billion NZ dollars (U.S. $714 million).

The news has rattled New Zealanders, who previously were led to believe that participating in Kyoto would earn the country millions of dollars in carbon "credits."

The admission is a blow for a left-leaning, green-friendly government, which last month announced that one of the world's first carbon tax regimes -- entailing higher prices for gas, electricity and coal -- would come into effect in 2007.

The opposition center-right National Party has called for an immediate formal review of the country's participation in Kyoto, accusing the Labor government of a major policy blunder.

"They were so intent on looking good to their socialist friends in Europe that they forgot the enormous cost to New Zealand taxpayers," National leader Don Brash told lawmakers in Wellington.

A few points:
  • New Zealand--the home of "Middle Earth" in the movie "Lord of the Rings"--isn't clean enough for Kyoto, and it's going to soak them. Imagine if we were still a part of that. The claims that it would kill our economy are a lot more plausible now.
  • Once again, politicians oversold a government program (in this case, a huge multi-government program), and it cost more than anticipated. This is not surprising, and should be well understood before listening to folks sing the praises of the protocol.

Chalk up one more reason to avoid embryonic stem cells.
Researchers have isolated stem cells from human skin and coaxed them into becoming fat, muscle and bone cells.

Stem cells are able to become any type of tissue. Harvesting of stem cells from embryos has been highly controversial, so researchers have looked for alternatives that, while not as useful, might fulfill some needs.

The new study, detailed today in the journal Stem Cells and Development, is among the first to actually show the ability of a single adult stem cell to become multiple tissue types.

"These cells should provide a valuable resource for tissue repair and for organs as well," said Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and senior researcher on the project. "Because these cells are taken from a patient's own skin, there would not be problems with organ or tissue rejection."

Yet folks are falling all over themselves trying to make abortions less objectionable by suggesting that it can be used for a good cause, even though adult stem cells are already being used successfully.

Nancy Pelosi, two days ago:
On Tuesday, Mrs. Pelosi and three other top Democrats called for a commission to investigate reported abuses of detainees from the war on terror. Mrs. Pelosi said it is past time that the administration established a policy on determining the fates of the detainees at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arguing that most are from Afghanistan and that the conflict there has ended.

"I assume that the war in Afghanistan is over, or is the contention that you have that it continues?" she said to a reporter.

A few moments later, she said: "This isn't about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over."

Voice of America, today:
Afghan and U.S-led coalition forces are said to have killed up to 100 insurgents in an ongoing operation in southern Afghanistan aimed at eliminating rebel safe havens.

The fighting in a mountainous district of Kandahar province broke out earlier this week. Afghan officials say some important rebel leaders are among scores of militants killed in one of the bloodiest setbacks for the former Taleban regime since its removal from power in late 2001.

Afghan officials in Kabul say the military operation is continuing, and a number of Taleban commanders have been surrounded, while up to 15 insurgents have been detained. Several members of the Afghan security forces are also reported killed in the fighting.

U.S military officials say "Operation Catania" will continue until "enemy safe havens" are eliminated from the area. They have confirmed that at least five U.S soldiers have been wounded.

How badly out of touch do you have be for you to miss something like this? It's all a political play at the expense of our soldiers, of course, but it's amazing how low Democrats will go in trying to downplay the war on terrorism in attempts to score political points with anti-war activists or coddle terrorists at Gitmo. (Pelosi's comments were part of a press conference on detainee treatment.)

How many folks will really be fooled by her pronouncement?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My blogger-in-law Jim Jewell made some predictions about 2005 and, unlike tabloid psychics, he's giving his mid-year report card. (He's not a tabloid psychic, he just plays one on his blog. >grin<)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - Al heads to Chicago to meet a chef whos mixing science with food. [#6 on Google]

Does capital punishment deter murder? If you believed a lot of the anti-death-penalty groups, you'd think so. You'd also be wrong. James Z. Smith at Blogger News Network covers the studies.
The study, co-authored by economists Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul Rubin, and Joanna Mehlhop Shepherd at Emory University titled, "Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? New Evidence from Post-Moratorium Panel Data", studied murder rates and capital punishment between 1977 and 1996. Their conclusions are startling: The application of capital punishment deters an average of 18 murders for each convicted murderer executed.

This is no one-off or outside-the-norm study. James tics off at least 4 other studies that came to similar conclusions. He says he changed his position on the death penalty on the strength of all these studies, so they're worth investigating if you disagree.

Rick at Stones Cry Out says basically what I was planning to write on the Durbin situation. Anyone (Democrats especially) remember Trent Lott?
Number two ranking Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin apologized for his utter ignorance of history, insult to those who suffered at the hands of Pol Pot, Nazi's, and the Soviet's, and smear of the U.S. military.

While those harmed by his outrageous comments may accept his apology, as Trent Lott learned, an apology does not absolve one from responsibility. Let's see if the Democrats pressure Durbin to forfeit his leadership positions, like Republicans pressured Lott, for his reprehensible comments. I'm not holding my breath.

Bravo to Democratic Mayor of Chicago, Daley, whose son serves in the ARMY, for standing up to his Senator. Hiss to John McCain for suggesting the apology should end this issue. An apology is only the beginning of an appropriate response.

While I wouldn't call Lott's remarks "reprehensible"--they were polite words at a birthday party that, if you thought about them long enough and connected enough dots, could be considered offensive--I do agree that once those dots were connected it was difficult for Lott to keep his place in leadership, and the Republicans did the right thing.

Now we have the same behavior by Durbin; denial of any problem, followed by apologizing for being misunderstood, followed by further apologizing for the words themselves. Will we see anything at all by the party to deal with this? If not, their moral authority to call out Republicans for their comments ought to be under serious scrutiny by the American public.

Why are we trivializing Saddam Hussein? I'm watching "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN here at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (yet another client trip...wish H-J had all-over wireless access), and they're doing a story on Saddam Hussein's life in prison, especially his conversation with two guys who've been guarding him. Among the topics covered; his choice of snack foods (Cheetos and Doritos), his choice of breakfast cereals (hates Fruit Loops, likes Raisin Bran Crunch), his obsession with cleanliness, his advice to the guards about women, and other assorted bits of inane trivia.

To what end? What's the purpose of this story? I'm appreciative of anyone who has to guard this guy, but who cares what he like to crunch on between meals? This trivializes a murderous dictator. Is that the job of the news media; to turn one of the world's worst madmen into a contestant on "Average Joe" or some sort of celebrity? That's patently foolish.

Ever luvin'. Now Paula Zahn is giving this topic a whole segment on her show. She seems more concerned that the code name used for Saddam Hussein might be demeaning than anything he might have done as dictator of Iraq. (Of course, then she goes on to refer to him as "The Butcher of Baghdad". Demeaning but perfectly accurate. Anything wrong with that?) There is some interesting information about what Hussein said to these guys (he likes Clinton, and is willing to forgive the Bushes), but all of it is just trying to make this guy look like your nextdoor neighbor. A full 8-minute segment of this is truly amazing to me. Can we get as much time for all the good news coming out of Iraq, instead of this pointless trivia?

Nope, no time. In a supposedly unrelated bit of news, support for the Iraq war is down. If those folks are watching CNN trivialize Saddam Hussein, is it any wonder?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Have a good attitude, work hard, do well,'ll get kicked out.
No one misbehaved. No one broke any rules.

But after only a few games, the Columbus Stars have been kicked out of a recreational youth baseball league in Canal Winchester.

The players, ages 11 and 12, were deemed too good.

On May 9, the Stars beat the Red Sox, 18-0. Two weeks later, the Stars also beat World Harvest, 13-0. But the biggest blowout occurred on May 27, when the Stars defeated Sugar Grove II, 24-0.

Sugar Grove I lost to the Stars the next day, 10-2.

"After hearing and seeing the scores from that group, I called up the league office and said, ‘No way are we going to play them,’ " said Terry Morris, who coaches one of three teams from Bloom-Carroll schools in Fairfield County. "I wasn’t going to subject my players to that."

Other teams started complaining. And canceling. The Stars were pulled from the league schedule. The team appealed to the league’s commissioner, Joe Bernowski, to no avail.

The boys themselves have something to teach the adults.
"Our boys went into this with a good attitude," Mrs. Perry said. "It’s turned into a disaster."

Since April, the boys have been honing their skills on a field outside the Zion Lutheran Church on Obetz Road. They practice 2½ hours a day, four days a week.

Some have been playing together for four or five years, though not the entire team.

"I don’t think it’s fair," said Michael Allston, 12, a catcher and pitcher for the Stars. "We always played our best, and we were just winning games."

Teammate Matthew "Boomer" Hufferd, 12, who plays second base, said he thinks overprotective adults are to blame.

"If they learn at their age that they can forfeit on things they don’t want to do, it’s quitting," Hufferd said.

Preach it, Boomer.
"One team told us they didn’t want their boys’ self-esteem battered," said Trina Cochran, mother of Mario, a Stars player who is 11.

Is she going to keep him from ever losing at anything? Is that how you raise a child; shield him or her from all possibility of failure?

Some of the other parents just can't handle this well at all.
During the team’s brief stay in the Canal Winchester league, opponents complained that the players were too big for their ages. R.J. Perry is 155 pounds. Michael Allston is 5 feet 8. Mrs. Perry resorted to carrying copies of each boy’s birth certificate to games to avoid a disqualification.

In addition, some accused the coach of plucking talented players from across Columbus to form an all-star team. The team then supplied addresses to the league showing that all but one of the 14 players live in the 43207 ZIP code.

Kris Hutchins, coach of the Yankees in the Canal Winchester league, said the parents of his players unanimously decided not to engage such a fearsome squad. It was an issue not only of competitiveness but also of safety, Hutchins said. "We didn’t want one of our kids to get hit in the face with a ball, not being able to defend himself."

How would this be any more likely to happen against the Stars than against any other team? What a pathetic excuse to manufacture.

My son played little league baseball this spring, and their team wound up either on the bottom of the standings or very nearly so. They definitely got better as the season progressed, and one of the reasons was that they learned from their losses; something some of the quoted parents don't appear to understand. They played one of the best teams in the league twice in a row at the beginning of the season; the last game of the practice season and the first game of the regular season. Both times they got beat, but not as bad the second time because they found out what their problem areas were and worked on them at practice between the games.

They saw the consequences of their mistakes and worked not to repeat them. If the runner is nearly at second base, best to let him have the base than risk an overthrow or catching error and allowing the runner a shot at third base. (In the 9 & 10 age bracket, this kind of error was quite likely.) Now, the coaches had told them over and over about how to prevent errors like this and why, but it was watching those errors happen at their own hands that really motivated them. From their losses, they learned. We didn't blame the winning team for hurting self-esteem, we learned from them and moved on. And in getting better, the kids gained self-esteem. They got better, and that was worth something.

Self-esteem must be earned if it is to be of any worth at all. If self-esteem is free to everybody, it is worthless. Kids know this. Some adults seem to have forgotten it.

In case all those sci-fi stories about time travel make your brain hurt ("What if I killed my own grandfather?"), don't worry, be happy.
Quantum theory allows time travel because nothing prevents the waves from going back in time. When Greenberger and Svozil analysed what happens when these component waves flow into the past, they found that the paradoxes implied by Einstein's equations never arise. Waves that travel back in time interfere destructively, thus preventing anything from happening differently from that which has already taken place ( "If you travel into the past quantum mechanically, you would only see those alternatives consistent with the world you left behind you," says Greenberger.

I know I'll sleep better at night now. :)

More encouraging news from Lebanon:
The anti-Syrian opposition secured a majority in the Lebanese parliament Monday, breaking Damascus' long political hold on its tiny neighbor after opposition candidates swept all seats in the last round of elections, according to unofficial results.

A campaign official for anti-Syrian opposition leader Saad Hariri said the slate had won all seats in the north, guaranteeing the parliamentary majority. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Hariri was expected to announce the victory himself later Monday at a news conference.

As news of the win spread, women and children waved flags and danced on the streets of the northern port city of Tripoli. Motorcades of cheering, honking supporters drove through Beirut, the capital, in celebration.

The opposition party had to take 21 of 28 seats in this area of Lebanon. They took all 28. The Syrian army may have been occupying Lebanon all this time at the invitation of the Lebanese government, but certainly not the Lebanese people. The Syrians overplayed their hand with the assassination of PM Hariri, and the people have finally spoken.

It might be a stretch to connect this with the democratization of Iraq, but not too much of one. Until only recently, Israel was the only real democracy in the Middle East, and now the voice of the people is being heard in country after country in that region. It's a domino effect that came because someone had the guts to knock down the first domino.

UPDATE: Many thanks to David Wallace-Wells for quoting me in Slate today.

Friday, June 17, 2005

"What did we do before the Internet?" That was the question of the day at the house. Our cable was out for over 8 hours today, taking the TV and broadband Internet connection with it. I found it interesting how many times we did something expecting them to work. My wife turned on the TV a couple of times and sat down to read E-mail once, and then realized that things weren't happening. I was trying to work from home, but that didn't work out too well with no connection to the outside world. (Dial-up would've tied up my home phone all day. Not a good idea.)

The question "What did we do before X?" is always an interesting question, and interesting to see how it morphs from one generation to the next. "Cell phones" is something I ponder when I hear someone talking to himself in the elevator or the bathroom. "Laptops" is another, when I'm on-site at a client and I have everything I need right with me. "E-mail" is one of those I think about when I write to someone in Indonesia, and they get it in minutes rather than a letter that would take weeks.

And when some of these things are taken away temporarily, we, for a few brief moments, remember. >grin<

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Eyes wide shut.
Actor Sean Penn, reporting from Iran this week for the San Francisco Chronicle, snared a scoop worthy of a Broder or Brownstein, interviewing Muslim cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who leads the opinion polls in the coming electons [sic].

This isn't scoop-worthy any more than interviewing Saddam Hussein, the front-runner in the last Ba'athist elections in Iraq. Interviewing him lends him some sort of legitimacy, even though the President of Iran has virtually no power. Here's an example of how Rafsanjani used the propaganda opportunity.
Rafsanjani replied that Iran is allowing eight candidates for president - certainly a greater number than American voters faced last November. "If the number of candidates is a proof of democracy, we are ... better than the Americans in this regard," newspapers quoted Rafsanjani as telling Penn.

Except that the number of candidates is no proof of democracy. Here's proof:
Last Sunday, security men briefly confiscated Penn's video camera as he observed a protest rally by about 300 women in Tehran.

There's democracy, Iranian style, for ya'

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Requisite "Michael Jackson" case blog post
  • You don't determine someone's credibility by whether or not they snap their fingers at you. One juror seemed fixated on that.
  • You don't determine someone's credibility by the fact that they look at you, the jury, while they're testifying. Another juror seemed fixated on that. Police are often taught to do just that to enhance their credibility to the jury.
  • One juror said that while he believes that Michael Jackson is a child molester, the evidence in this case wasn't enough to convict. I respect that, and if that's what he believes then he made the right decision. That would have to be a very tough call to make.
  • I think Michael Jackson, at this stage of his life, is in full "Howard Hughes" mode. All the yes-men and yes-women around him will continue to ignore his eccentricities and destructive behavior as long as the paychecks keep coming. Anyone brave enough to confront him will be discounted out of hand since all these other people don't complain.

Monday, June 13, 2005

When you can't answer the question, bloviate.
Cheney, in an interview to be broadcast today on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes,'' said Dean "was not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party.''

On a roll, Cheney said, "I've never been able to understand his appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does.''

Dean was asked to react to the punch from the vice president.

"My view is that Fox News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don't comment on Fox News.''

The thing is, Cheney's view is being echoed by Democrats like Barack Obama, so this isn't some Republican spin Cheney is spouting, and it Fox isn't a propaganda machine. It's reporting the news; news that Dean can't handle. So instead of responding, he cops-out with a talking-point quip and ignores the substance.

That's not someone you want representing your political party.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Nuts. Out at a client site and forgot my laptop's power supply. Won't have the luxury of surfing the net at night and commenting on the news of the day in the evenings. Barring a Fedex delivery :) blogging will be light.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Heh heh...
During an earlier event yesterday, Mehlman poked fun at Dean's comment. At a reception for him by the Republican Jewish Coalition, held at the Duquesne Club, Mehlman quipped: "Good afternoon, my fellow white Christians."

There's a lot of good reaction by RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, but I just had to point this line out. However, he's keenly aware of party shortcomings.
In the speech last night, Mehlman acknowledged the party needs to work harder to attract more blacks and Hispanic Americans into its rank-and-file membership.

But I did love the greeting. >grin<

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Senator Barack Obama is coming out against Howard Dean's latest case of foot-in-mouth.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) criticized Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean Wednesday night for using "religion to divide."

Obama told reporters gathered at the Rock the Vote awards dinner at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., that Dean needs to tone down his rhetoric. Dean said on Monday that the Republican Party was "pretty much a white, Christian party."

"As somebody who is a Christian myself, I don't like it when people use religion to divide, whether that is Republican or Democrat," Obama said. "I think in terms of his role as party spokesman, [Dean] probably needs to be a little more careful and I suspect that is a message he is going to be getting from a number of us," Obama explained.

Other Democrats have criticized it as well, but Obama is seen by many to be part of the future of the Democratic Party, and his words would, I think, carry more weight. If the future of the party doesn't like where the party's going, it's really time to reconsider who's driving.

Terry McAuliffe was there, too, and he's his usual blindly partisan self, who has trouble seeing reality.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, also attending the Rock the Vote event, empathized with Dean.

"I was [DNC] chairman for four years -- it's a tough job -- he's doing a great job," McAuliffe told Cybercast News Service.

"I gave one piece of advice [to Dean]. I said 'Howard, you are about to become a human fire hydrant,'" McAuliffe said, referring to a conversation he had with Dean before he became DNC chairman.

Sorry, but I think Dean's on the other end of that metaphor.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Bryan Preston further examines the Howard Dean "white Christians" remark. He gives us a history lesson regarding the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party, as well as a list of failed outcomes in Europe of leftist policies that Democrats still want to implement here.

(The fact that he linked to my post below has nothing to do with my recommendation. Much.)

If you noted that a drop in homicides last year (the first such drop since 1999) coincided with the "assault weapons" ban expiration, you'd probably be labeled a gun nut and right-wing wacko by Democrats.

You'd also be right.

Great quote:
"Where is the news media on this?" [SAF President Joe] Tartaro wondered. He said if the number of homicides had gone up, reporters would be writing front-page stories linking the rise to the end of the semi-auto ban.

"But that's not the case, and the mainstream press, with the exception of an April 28 New York Times article, has been pretty quiet about it," Tartaro said.

A new direction for the Cable News Network; reporting news!
CNN announced a slate of programming and anchor changes Monday intended to refocus the No. 2 cable news network on hard news and analysis, and away from opinion and talk.

CNN chief Jon Klein, who took over in November, says the changes are not meant to directly counter Fox News Channel, which continues to trounce onetime ratings leader CNN, now marking its 25th year.

"There are many tactical things we could do to try to beat Fox, but we're trying to be ourselves: Roll up our sleeves and report the news, don't talk about it," Klein says.

Hey, it's worth a shot. They're getting trounced at this point.

Headline: Coast Guard intercepts Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang
MIAMI - A vintage blue taxicab converted into a seagoing vessel and carrying several Cuban immigrants was intercepted Tuesday off Key West by the Coast Guard, a television station reported.

Footage from NBC-6 in Miami showed Coast Guard officers boarding the blue vehicle, which had been modified with a boat prow in front and appeared to have at least four immigrants aboard.

Headline of the future: "Air Force shoots down flying car (license plate GEN11) over Florida Keys - Dick Van Dyke in stable condition"

Howard Dean has put his foot, nay leg, in his mouth again, this time calling the Republicans "pretty much a white Christian party". Where to begin?

One caller to Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" talk show this morning (a black Republican) put it this way, "Black people live much more conservative than they vote." He noted that the term "conservative" still has racist connotations in the black community in general, which is why many still vote Democrat. Years ago, my sister and one of her black co-workers were discussing an upcoming presidential election. My sister suggested that the co-worker, who was planning to vote for the Democrat, go to one of those web sites that asks you questions about your positions and tells you what candidate is the closest to your point of view. The co-worker took her up on that, and it turned out that she was quite solidly in the Republican camp. Despite this, however, she couldn't bring herself to vote that way. To be sure, the Republican party needs to do more in reaching out to black voters and work with the concerns they have, but at the same time it needs to rehabilitate the term "conservative" in those circles and let people know what it really means. (Some of what that term means has been lost during the George W. Bush administration, I'll admit; smaller government, less spending, more personal responsibility. While Dubya has put forth good conservative ideas in some areas--personal accounts for Social Security, tough on terrorism, tax cuts--he does need to do more.)

By the way, I wonder if the 44% of Hispanics and 44% of Asians who voted for Bush in the last election consider themselves "white". I'm guessing not.

As to the Republican party being the one with more church-goers, guilty as charged. But then, religious people are more likely to donate and volunteer their time in the community, which is something the Democrats are always saying they do more. Is it so bad to have a party that has people in it who care more about their neighbors? That Dean would disparage the Republican party that way ought to speak volumes about his values and priorities. I do understand that his remarks were an attempt to persuade folks that the Republican party is mostly monolithic, but #1 he's wrong, and #2 this ought to make Democrats wonder why they can't attract the most caring people in society.

By the way, I wonder if the 25% of of Jews who voted for Bush in the last election consider themselves "Christian". I'm guessing not.

Yes, the white evangelical Christians are solidly in the Republican camp (78% at the last election), but of those that don't fit that demographic (3/4ths of the country), Bush still got 43% of their votes. That's not monolithic by any stretch of the imagination. Howard, and anyone else inclined to believe his pronouncements: it's time to put aside your stereotypes and move on.

Cross-posted at Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Heh heh.
Dieters looking for another edge might want to consider exercising their sense of humor -- scientists have found that a good laugh is a calorie burner not to be ignored.

Ha ha!
It may not be as good for reducing the waistline as going to the gym or resisting that ice-cream sundae, but American researchers have found that 10-15 minutes of genuine giggling can burn off the number of calories found in a medium square of chocolate.

Ho ho ho!
That means that if you laugh for 10-15 minutes a day, you'd burn enough calories to lose two kilograms (4.4 pounds) in a year, Buchowski said.

Physiology experts say it's not exactly an effective way to shed extra weight -- but the idea is worth a laugh or two.

Hee hee heee.

(Where's that Snickers bar?)

This shouldn't be news, but it is.
A new study set to be released Tuesday shows that family-friendly movies are more profitable than R-rated films, throwing more fuel onto the fire of the long-running debate over sex and violence in entertainment -- and whether it sells.

The survey was commissioned by the Dove Foundation, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based group that advocates wholesome family entertainment. According to its Web site, its advisory board includes radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger and "Touched By an Angel" executive producer Martha Williamson.

In a follow-up to a 10-year study commissioned by the foundation in 1999 -- which found that between 1988-97 the average G-rated film made eight times the profit of an R-rated picture -- an extension of that study found that trend continuing and expanding.

The new, expanded study examines the revenue and production costs for 3,000 Motion Picture Assn. of America-rated theatrical films released between Jan. 1, 1989, and Dec. 31, 2003, using the 200 most widely distributed films each year based on the number of theaters.

"While the movie industry produced nearly 12 times more R-rated films than G-rated films from 1989-2003, the average G-rated film produced 11 times greater profit than its R-rated counterpart," said Dick Rolfe, the group's founder and chairman.

I noted this in 2003, and it's been a continuing trend for a long time. If Hollywood was really interested in giving the people what they want, we'd have a lot more G-rated films. But as much as they say they're following public trends, they're in fact trying to set them.

Just a question about the Supreme Court ruling against medical marijuana: Some folks, notably libertarians like Glenn Reynolds, don't agree with the ruling and consider it a "states' rights" issue, and thus conservatives should not agree with this ruling. (In fact, the 3 justices that dissented were right-of-center.) However, my question is this: Since when do we allow the determination of what is and what isn't a safe and effective medicine to be determined by public referendum or initiative? Has that ever happened before, and if not, why are the rules different for marijuana?

Is the FDA a constitutional role for the federal government? That's a potential topic for debate. But if you haven't been against the FDA in the past, now's not the time to beat the "states' rights" drum. Sounds a little too issue-specific if you do.

If you tried to pop by here yesterday, you most likely got nothing. A friendly E-mail from my hosting service let me know that the machine my site was on had data corruption problems and they had to take ti down for much of the day.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't have much time or urge to write about anything yesterday, so the net effect on the blog content was minimal. But I've got some thoughts now that will show up later today. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Well, what did you expect the government would do?
MADRID (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of protestors including conservative opposition lawmakers marched in Madrid to protest any talks between the Socialist government and the armed Basque separatist group ETA.

The demonstration, called by the Association of Victims of Terrorism, drew about 850,000 people, according to the Madrid municipal police, while organizers said the participation topped a million.

The peaceful march on a hot, sunny evening in the Spanish capital began around 6 pm local time (1600 GMT) at the Lopez de Hoyos intersection, where in 1993 an ETA attack killed seven people. The marchers headed for the Republica Dominicana plaza, the site of another ETA attack in 1986 that killed 12 civil guard police officers.

Some of the demonstrators carried photographs of the more than 800 people killed in ETA's four-decade campaign to win an independent Basque homeland straddling the Pyrenes in northern Spain and southwestern France. Chanting "Spain!" the marchers carried Spanish and Basque flags and signs reading "Not in my name."

I find it interesting that people who want to say "No" to terrorists, and are thus choosing confrontation, are carrying signs that say, "Not in my name", while in America those signs are generally held by those who don't want to confront terrorists carry the same signs. I think some folks here could learn from folks there on how to deal with terrorists.

I also find it interesting that Spain's current government was voted in after fear from the Madrid bombings. I can understand the fear, but appeasing terrorists does nothing to stop them. It seems the people of Spain may have learned this (or perhaps these folks didn't vote Socialist), but the government hasn't learned it yet.
The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants to foster a dialogue if ETA disarms and renounces violence, a policy which parliament backed in a May 17 vote.

Zapatero has repeatedly told the group it must disband.

Telling them to disband while negotiating with them gets you nowhere.
Members of Spain's opposition Popular Party took part in the protest, including the conservatives' current leader Mariano Rajoy and former chief and prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.

In an opinion piece Saturday in the newspaper La Razon, Aznar said he would attend the march because he himself was "a victim of terrorism." In 1995, Aznar escaped unharmed from an ETA assassination attempt.

"The immense majority does not want anyone to give away our liberty," Aznar said.

Could this be a case of "Appeaser's Remorse" on the part of the Spanish voters? I truly hope so, for their sake.

It's time for Grill Blogging again. This time, the fare is pretty standard; hamburgers. Nothing fancy, but good summer food. It's been hot and muggy today (it rained here pretty much the whole time I was on the road at a client's location). The grass has grown a lot this week, so I'll have to mow tomorrow (a weekly ritual during summer; can't let it go too much longer at a stretch).

I'm hearing more nature sounds than man-made ones this time, although even some of the natural ones are typical for suburbia; the barking dog as the prime example. But I'm hearing a lot more birds this time, but, to be honest, I haven't the foggiest idea what they are by their calls. We have a clock in the kitchen that makes bird sounds at the different hours; owl, Canadian goose, robin and a number (well, exactly 9) others. Even after hearing these chirps ever day for years, other than the owl and the goose, I still don't know which is which just by the sound. I did find out this week, however, that the co-worker I went on-site with can tell a few more call just by the sound. The way I found out was that the woman in the cubicle next to ours at the client site had the exact same bird clock. Now, I may not know my bird calls, but if I hear the exact same one over and over for years, and then hear the precise call again somewhere else, I know it. When we first heard the Tufted Tit Mouse, my co-worker thought perhaps someone left a window open. At the next call, my suspicion was confirmed and we went over to see that, in fact, the same Audibon Society clock was hanging off the fabric wall of her cubicle and we let her know we appreciated it. When the owl hooted, it was lunch time. At robin o'clock, it was time to head out to the hotel.

The sizzle of the hamburgers is telling me they're just about done. The call on my cell phone says my wife is almost home from taking my daughter and her best friend to "Star Wars III". Ah, the sounds of suburbia. >grin<

Thursday, June 02, 2005

  • Amnesty International described the prison at Guantanamo as a "gulag". The Bush administration called that "absurd". Here's AI's response:
    "The administration's response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Zubaida Khan told a news conference.

    "Transparency is the best antidote to misinformation and incorrect facts," said Khan, who is here to meet with Japanese officials.

    This is a tacit admission that more openness at Gitmo would clear up AI's misinformation and incorrect facts. It's therefore an admission that their description of "gulag" is nothing more than a baseless allegation with the hopes of getting more access. If that's their track record on this issue, it's pretty clear what their agenda is. Why should we trust them with more access, exactly?
  • Drudge has this on his front page (no permalink):

    CNN's big 25th Anniversary week started with bad news: May numbers released yesterday showed CNN down 17% in total day and 16% in primetime vs. May 2004 . . .

    6-1-05 8PM RATINGS

    FOXNEWS O'Reilly Factor - 2,268,000 viewers

    CNN 25th anniversary special -- 345,000

    MSNBC/Countdown with Keith Olbermann - 213,000

    If CNN can barely beat MSNBC with a 25th anniversary special that's been advertised for months, while FNC has 6.5 times as many viewers, you gotta know something's wrong. The Left will call it "packaging", of course, but that's a cop-out.
  • Howard Dean isn't bringing in the big bucks.
    One hundred days into his tenure as the high-energy, higher-decibel chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean is in trouble with party moneybags. The former Vermont governor seems to be doing a better job flaying the Republicans than bridging the cash chasm between the parties.

    That last line should be a big clue. As is the rest of his party, the Democrats are sticking with Republican-bashing while failing to present any ideas worth voting for or giving towards. Dean's troubles are a microcosm of the whole party's problem.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Since I'll only have a chance to write in the evening at the hotel, I'll mainly just post quick thoughts on the news of the day.
  • The "Deep Throat" postmortem has begun in earnest. I wonder how many folks will be coming out and saying, "Oh, I knew it was Felt all along." A buddy of mine (who is also at our client site this week) told me on the drive up that, just two days before the revelation, he was saying to his wife that Deep Throat had to come forward (or perhaps die) pretty soon. (But alas, he notes that he has no proof that he said that so soon before it came out. >grin< I told him to get a blog.)
  • The Dutch have shot down the EU constitution by an even bigger margin than the French did on Sunday. Marc at hubs & spokes (via Powerblog) pointed out an article noting how Statism is being shot down by the voters who (by the way) have been treated more like sheep than people by European politicians. The EU has been growing by leaps and bounds, with little to no notice of the common man/woman. Instapundit notes that the Dutch blog "Zacht Ei" makes a very good point:
    EC President Barroso made his familiar point again, about how nine countries have ratified the constitution already.

    André Rouvoet of the ChristenUnie just pointed out the fallacy in this argument: only three of those countries have put the constitution to a vote. And two of them rejected it.

    Two countries that are, by the way, founding members of the EU.

    So the EU constitution has only been voted in by the people in 1 of 9 cases before the votes in France and the Netherlands, and apparently in 2 of those No votes, the politicians overrode the popular vote. European politicians seem to have the idea that the commoners shouldn't bother their pretty little heads over this; just give up your liberty for a little security. Ben Franklin would have something to say about that: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Sounds like most European voters are taking that to heart.