Thursday, September 29, 2005

Less Scientific Than An Online Quiz

The Politics quiz that I just took may have been somewhat skewed and unscientific, but it is a lot more accurate than the means by which Ruth Ann Dailey discovered her leanings in a column entitled "She went to bed one night and woke up a liberal". Instead of taking a test on some web site, RAD relied on an overweight joketeller's "mental flatulence" to find out that she's not the conservative she had long believed herself to be.

Thus my epiphany: Liberal = wanting to help people, conservative = wanting people to suffer. Not to boast, but judging from my checkbook, I'm a liberal, too!
From that sarcastic start, RAD goes on to make some very serious and very accurate observations about the nature of giving in today's social and political climate. Be sure to check out the whole thing. RAD is one of the few things that makes the Moist-Towelette worth reading these days.

Where Do I Stand Politically?

It's not Friday yet, but Bogus Gold Doug has linked to yet another quiz, this one about Politics. Here's how I scored:


You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(61% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Centrist










Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Interesting. My bubble seems to want to float up to Libertarianism. I might have been even closer to there if the quiz hadn't been so skewed leftward. Every time I take one of these quizzes, half the questions are based on the conventional wisdom of the Left. There is no way for me to answer accurately and honestly based on the way the question is phrased.

Also, note the first diagram, the one in shades of gray. The designer places "fascist" just beyond "Republican". Fascist should be right next to Socialist, and only a lefty trying to distance himself from his brethren would place it anywhere else.

Anyone else want to take a stab?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Just Park It Already

The Port Authority of Allegheny County, a.k.a. the "Pork Authority", is at it again. During a time of labor unrest, questionable means of obtaining funds, and service cuts, the Pork Authority has found time to construct a parking garage at the end of the Light Rail Transit line behind the South Hills Village shopping mall. This might have been a nice idea in theory, but in practice it has turned out to be yet another white elephant in the grand local tradition of stupid use of taxpayer money. As the Trib reports, almost no one is using it.

Pull into the pay parking garage at Port Authority of Allegheny County's South Hills Village T station in Bethel Park and you can almost take your pick of the 2,200 spots.

Roughly four of the garage's seven floors are vacant most days, a stark contrast to the free, 600-space park-and-ride lot next door, which is often jam-packed.

Hmmm...park in the garage that I have to pay for, or in the big free parking lot. Gee, that's a tough choice. What in hell was the Pork Authority thinking when they cooked up this garage scheme? Yes, parking was tight, but how much sense does it make to put something you have to pay for right next to something that serves the same purpose for free? What is the reasoning?

Port Authority projected about 1,100 people would park in the garage within a year, which will come in May 2006. The parking fee is $2 a day, or $22 a month. A monthly parking and transit pass is offered for $97.

Use of the garage might seem low to some, but the Port Authority is satisfied, so far, and says four months might not be enough time to judge.

"It's much too early for us to be worried about any numbers," said agency spokesman Bob Grove.

Here we have evidence that bureaucrats belong to a difference species than the rest of us. What are you satisfied with? When something like this opens, people should flock to try it out and then use will even out after a couple of weeks. Poor planning and terrible location has eliminated any semblance of grand opening fervor.

Then there's the problem of the cost. Sure, the Pork Authority should seek alternative means of making money that don't require picking the pockets of taxpayers from all over the country. What better way to cover the cost of the parking garage than to let it pay for itself? But there's a problem with that. People have been complaining about fare increases for several years now. Fare increases have led to a steady decrease in ridership. The people who catch the trolley at South Hills Village are paying about $2 for the morning commute, and $2 for the afternoon ride home. By charging garage users $2, the Pork Authority is effectively increasing LRT fares by 33%. Does that make people want to use the garage instead of the -- let me remind you -- FREE parking lot? That garage will never pay for itself at this rate.

Read the whole article to see how people really feel about the garage. Then ask yourself why an authority that is so hungry for money operates more like a charity than like a business. If the Pork Authority can't run itself like a business, it may be time to go ahead and park all of the buses and trolleys for good.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

If Purple Horses Could Fly

This weekend at my house, I was treated to a couple of new entertainments that both involved, quite by coincidence, the name PEGASUS. And what a coincidence. They couldn't have been more different from one another. The differences, in fact, were quite shocking.

Friday night saw the season finale of Battlestar Galactica with an episode called Pegasus, loosely based on a two-part episode of the original series, in which another Battlestar long though destroyed suddenly returns from out of nowhere and has a happy reunion with the Galactica. This episode, more than any other before it, shows just how hardcore and nasty the new show can be compared to the old one.

To put it bluntly, there is a rape scene. It doesn't go too far; a vicious officer from the Pegasus who specialized in the rape and torture of female Cylon prisoners is killed in a scuffle with a pair of heroes from the Galactica before he can perform the act. Nonetheless, it is without question the most disturbing sequence thus far seen on BSG. And it wasn't gratuitous, either. The scene, with all it implies and foreshadows, is as inimical to the storyline and the equally disturbing opening scenes on the various Law & Order programs.

Aside from that, the episode was tense and thrilling, leaving us a lot to look forward to when the show returns from mid-season hiatus in a few months. Not that I am unaware of what to expect; I am a spoiler enthusiast. I keep no secrets from myself, and I like to have some idea of what to expect before I watch something. Besides, I like knowing stuff that others are oblivious to. It's a kind of mini-power trip.

Now then -- the other Pegasus-related entertainment for the weekend was a birthday present for my baby's third birthday. As most parents of little girls are probably aware, Mattel has been releasing a series of straight to video CGI movies starring Barbie dolls for about five years now. Most of these are based -- some more loosely than others -- on familiar fairy tales and stories that haven't been done by Disney. Each film follows the same formula -- a lead character, played by Barbie, falls into peril, meets up with a Ken doll character, and ends up hooking up with him, usually after she saves his sorry hide. The newest one, Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus (henceforth known as BATMOP) takes place in what appears to be a Scandinavian setting where the townsfolk ice skate every evening and everyone is dressed in sweaters of the sort that most Americans only ever see in a ski lodge. They also battle magically powered villains to a soundtrack by Grieg. I was not familiar with the story, but I can assume that it may have been based on a northern folktale. Ridiculous. Who ever heard of Pegasus in a Scandinavian folktale?

Ah, but this is not about Pegasus. BATMOP is about the "Magic of Pegasus". It just happens to have flying horses who are based on a familiar mythical figure from Ancient Greece. My girls enjoyed the movie for what it was: a charming and colorful spectacle with fluffy pink clouds where demonically grinning Kelly dolls ride Pegasus Ponies and manipulate the day and the night. They were not expecting to see Pegasus springing forth from blood dripping down from Medusa's severed head. My kids saw a show with Medusa a couple of weeks ago. She absolutely terrified them -- just as she did me when I was little. (I look forward to the day when Mattel releases Barbie and the Terror of the Medusa, in which brave Barbie as Andromeda helps wimpy Ken doll Perseus defeat the Gorgon and recover his self-esteem.) But no -- there was nothing as scary as Medusa in this movie.

The closest thing to scary in BATMOP was more of a Daddy character than a little girl character. He's Ollie, a green-skinned giant whom I have come to think of as The Ollie Green Giant. This character, who adds little to the plot other than to show how brave and resourceful Barbie is, seems to have been included as nothing less than a tribute to everyone's favorite big green ogre, Shrek! Ollie sticks Barbie -- who really is the size of a doll next to him -- in a big old pot with the intention of making Barbie stew, complete with yummy carrots and turnips. He takes a break from stew prep to eat a sizeable chunk out of a huge onion, and immediately proceeds to let fly with a BIG STINKING ONION FLAVORED BELCH RIGHT IN BARBIE'S FACE. You can't get much more Shreky than that.

As a Daddy, I found it quite inspiring. I know what I'm going to be doing next time my girls are playing with their Barbie dolls. After a visit to the produce aisle.

Blogger Is a Harsh Mistress

Extreme difficulty posting yesterday. Testing Blogger's capabilities. Will delete this if planned post is successful.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Nihilists In Church Pants

Yesterday morning I drop by the Kindergarten Sunday School class to pick up my younger son, and was greeted by a mildly shocking and somewhat disturbing image. Upon the blackboard were three large capital letters:

G - O- D

And right next to those three letters was a rendering of a stick figure hanging from a noose. Whoa. I've heard a few negative things about the kind of stuff being taught in Sunday School nowadays, but I didn't realize that our kids were cleverly being handed a picture book version of Nietzsche.

It will be interesting to see where this kind of teaching leads. In a couple of generations, we will all be nihilists, no matter what kind of pants we wear...or don't wear.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Ground Is Rising! The Ground Is Rising!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am a student of history. I love reading history books. (Someone once called me a snob because of my disdain for fiction, but that's simply a matter of personal taste.) My current read is an oldie -- The Rise of the Roman Empire by Polybius. The book is primarily concerned with the Roman conquest of Greece as well as the Punic Wars that pitted Rome against Carthage in the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C.

Polybius was an opinionated rascal. Throughout the book, he digresses from his narrative in order to castigate rival historians who, in his mind, misrepresented the facts, whether deliberately or through ignorance. He'd fit right in with the academics of today. At times, it's hard to determine his focus. He spends a lengthy passage detailing Hannibal's campaign that took him from Spain, across what is now southern France, over the Alps, and into Italy, where he recruited or devastated everyone in his way. Polybius began the passage by stating that Hannibal was not the brilliant strategical tactician that the other historians claimed he was. Then he goes on and on for some sixty pages describing how Hannibal's march was an unqualified success. Finally, just as Hannibal is bearing down on the Eternal City and the citizens are terrified that Roman civilization is about to come to an end, Polybius suddenly switches gears and suggests that it's time to talk about...Spain. And Greece. I'm sure that there are missing fragments that complete the Hannibal passage, but he sure seems to wrap it up deliberately and in a hurry. He'd better come back to this later or I'm going to be upset with him.

In addition to being a critic and getting easily off track, he has something else in common with today's academics -- blind devotion to idiotic theories about the environment. The ancients would not have used that word, but that's pretty much what it amounts to. Whereas our contemporaries have the global warming theory, Polybius preaches about a different sort of ecological shift. He was convinced that the Black Sea (then called the Pontus), due to the flow of silt, was well on its way to being filled up. And soon, too:

But when, as in this case, the influx is by no means infinitesimal, but in fact large quantities of soil are being washed down, it becomes clear that the transformation I have forecast will come to pass not at some remote date, but in the near future. And in fact it is even now visibly taking place.
Yes, we all know how the Black Sea filled up with dirt, dried out, and had cities built on it back in 100 B.C. This is same kind of wrong-headed arrogance displayed by today's environmental cases. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I may have more to post on this later. Right now, I have to get back to the part where some Greek king says that he'd rather have male prostitutes and singing girls than horses.

Familiarity

In recent weeks, Lileks has been posting photographs of sights taken around the Twin Cities, taken from his personal collection if I am not mistaken. I usually just look at the picture and think, "Hmmm, that's interesting" and continue reading.

This morning, he posted a photo of something that looked very familiar. Sure enough, it's a building along Snelling Avenue that I passed a few times each day when I lived in the neighborhood for a week last month. Right around the corner and across the street is Rainbow Foods. I stopped at Rainbow on the way home from Keegan's that Thursday night for some munchies. Most of the cars in the parking lot were police cruisers. Nothing was going on...yet. But if it did, man, the cops would be right on top of it. Nice neighborhood.

Anyway, since I am a snoop, I decided to investigate the liquor store in the Lileks photo. The only thing that I could find was this court case from 1988. I can't remember if that building is still a liquor store, but I do wonder if they're still in business.

Not that it matters to me. My host was kind enough to stock his refrigerator with Summit Grand, which kept me quite content on those hot summer evenings. My interest in the liquor store is purely academic. I was a history major, you know.

Ted Kennedy Works In Mysterious Ways

The Blogger spell checker wanted me to change the word "womanizer" to "homemaker".

Good! That's just where Teddy belongs.

The Asses Are Sticking Out

Senate Donkeycrats are coming forward to announce whether they will vote for or against John Roberts for Chief Justice of These United States. The names are all too familiar. So are the opinions expressed. How do these clowns keep getting reelected?

Not all of them are against us. And the ones who are with us aren't your typical "maverick" types, anyway:

John Roberts moved closer to confirmation as chief justice of the United States yesterday as the Senate Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, announced Roberts will get his vote.
But why?

In announcing his support for Roberts, Leahy said that after listening to the nominee testify before the committee he was left "with the understanding that he would not seek to overrule or undercut the right of a right of a woman to choose [on the issue of abortion], and I trust that he's a person of honor and integrity and he'll act accordingly."
Predictable. Demoncrats have judged every single Supreme Court nominee over the last thirty years on the basis of one of the most disgusting "medical procedures" imaginable. Leahy's support isn't based on his respect for Roberts's adherence to constitutional principles -- it's based on Leahy's own adherence to evil.

But Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who is also on the committee, did not reach the same conclusion and said he will oppose Roberts. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said that Roberts' writings as a young lawyer working in the Reagan White House showed that he was "an aggressive activist" who showed himself ready to "limit the basic values that we have achieved" in civil rights, women's rights and disability rights.
Oh look, it's the Kennedy brother who is eventually going to die of natural causes. Alcohol does wonders when it comes to preserving biological specimens. Or does it? Everything that Kennedy has said in the past twenty years could easily be a tape recorder. How do we know that he hasn't already died and been replaced with a recording of Teddy's Greatest Hits? His last "live" speech must have been the one in 1996 where he called Bill Clinton the "re-elect-a-rubber of the nation".

I laugh whenever someone describes him/her/itself as a "Kennedy Democrat". What does that mean? A fat drunk? An abortionist Catholic? A moralizing womanizer? A lakeside murderer? Maybe Teddy can help explain.

Kennedy added, "Nominees must earn their confirmation by providing us with full knowledge of the values and convictions they will bring to decisions that may profoundly affect our progress as a nation. Judge Roberts has not done so. His repeated allegiance to the rule of law reveals little about the values he would bring to the job of chief justice of the United States."

Now you do know what Teddy means by "rule of law", right? He means the Constitution. But he doesn't know that. He's too busy wiping his ass with it. Teddy is interested in "progress" because he's a Socialist. "Repeated allegiance to the rule of law reveals little about the values" of John Roberts, in Teddy's view, because the Constitution isn't anywhere on Kennedy's radar.

Teddy's young apprentice is on board as well:

Kennedy's colleague, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, last year's Democratic presidential nominee, also said he will not support Roberts. He mocked the confirmation process as "little more than an empty shell" because, he said, "there is no real exchange of information between senators and the nominee."

It sounds like he's talking about the 2004 Kerry/Edwards campaign. And here's another confused soul:

On Monday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will vote against Roberts but also made clear that he was not making the vote a test of party loyalty and said Democrats should "vote their conscience."
Yeah, right. Suddenly I have a mental image of a dog chasing its own tail. Or an ass trying to pin a tail on its own ass.

I'm looking forward to the next nomination. Bring it on, Mr. President. I want to see the Dems continue to make asses of themselves.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blameless Buffoonery

Have you ever gotten your car stuck in a patch of mud? You know, the sort of situation where you hit the gas as hard as you can, but the wheels just spin and spin, leaving you sitting behind the wheel feeling frustrated? You wonder what you have done to deserve getting stuck in such a predicament.

I felt that way when I read yesterday's column by the Moist-Towelette's Reg Henry, with my brain in place of the car.

I seriously wanted to fisk this column. I really did. But I couldn't. I could not make out where Reg was coming from. Who the hell was he talking about? What Bush supporters treat the President as if he were their god? The harpies at Free Republic? And why does he play his own version of the "blame game" that he ostensibly condemns by absolving the Governor of Louisiana and Mayor of New Orleans of their responsibilities in the crisis? It's a bad case of "equal and opposite reaction". And then he comes up with one of the most obnoxious paragraphs that I have ever read in a newspaper column:

They said that all the criticism was the predictable work of Bush-haters. That's odd. I, for one, don't hate Bush. Why would I? He gives me such great material. Why, I am looking forward to his third term after martial law is imposed.
It's also one of the most out-of-left field cracks that I have ever encountered. Where did anyone say anything about martial law and -- as Reg implies -- either abolition of Presidential term limits or suspension of the 2008 election. The man is a loony.

Worst of all, Reg ends his column by trying to say something nice about the President. It's a backhanded compliment, to be sure, and it's as much of a non-sequitur as anything else he had to say in the column. He supposedly tries to be funny. He's not. There's too much bitterness in his prose. If a conservative columnist wrote with the same style, the Left would call him "mean-spirited". Reg sounds like an angry man who tries to use humor to relieve his stress and fails.

Yes More Nukes

There's an interesting opinion piece in this morning's P-G by energy expert Edgar Berkey on the future of energy in America. Anything is better than sitting around waiting for gas to get cheap again, and Berkey does a fine job of making the case for hydrogen as a good clean source of energy that can be produced cleanly and domestically.

The best part is that the hydrogen can be produced using water, which is found in much more abundant supply than fossil fuels.

The worst part is that, in order to meet the nation's energy demands, we would need to construct more advanced nuclear power plants. Now, I am not against nuclear power plants. They do a fine job of providing electrical power to my home. What I am against is the mass of smelly hippie types who will undoubtedly congregate to voice their unified opposition to construction of these more advanced nuclear power plants.

If you want to fuel your love child van and heat your home with vegetable oil, go ahead. I'd rather go with hydrogen to end our dependence on foreign oil.

Gas, Captain.

Last night I went out to buy presents for my little baby's third birthday. My wife had done me the kind favor of leaving the van in the driveway with an almost empty tank of gas. As much as I hated the thought, I knew I had to get gas. Price per gallon was at its lowest since the so-called "price gouge" of hurricane Katrina. But wait! The radio news reader foretold of rising gas prices when hurricane Rita knocks out refineries in Texas! So I stopped at the nearest Sunoco station and pumped the tank full. Gotta get it while it's cheap at $2.69 per gallon.

Whoa.

Someone whack me with a two-by-four. Did I just say that $2.69 gas is cheap? That's it. I think I need to be institutionalized. Or maybe just medicated.

Little baby better really enjoy the Barbie DVDs and cookie cake I bought her.

Early Morning Bus Stop Observation

If you get up first thing in the morning, before the sun comes out, to go jogging with your wife/girlfriend, and you let her jog about four feet in front of you, it makes you look like the world's most dedicated pervert.

(On the other hand, it's never too early to go out and start chasing girls around the neighborhood.)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sneering At Sensibility

Sometimes you just can't win, no matter what. The PG's Ruth Ann Dailey tried to approach an emotional situation with both reason and understanding, and this is what happened:

That passion and bitterness came in my e-mail last week -- along with thoughtfulness, respectful disagreement and heartfelt gratitude. To oversimplify and separate the responses to my last column into "pro" and "con," your reactions (more than 150 letters) were pretty evenly divided, despite the column's circulation among anti-Bush bloggers and the attendant outpouring of bile.

I argued last week that we should strive for a sober assessment of responsibility post-Katrina; I did not say none should be laid at Bush's feet. I said our society is increasingly polarized between two opposing world views; I did not say that everyone subscribes to one of them.

I distinguished between reasoned criticism and vitriol. Judging from my mail -- "Goebbels," "you are evil," etc. -- some people can't, or don't want to. I proposed the kindest explanation I could think of -- unresolved grief -- for the excessive rage all around us; I didn't say it was the only explanation.

Every time a conservative comments on what Lileks calls "Sudden Bush Hatred Fatigue Syndrome", Bush haters crawl out of the woodwork and prove the commentator's point. To see what all of the fuss was about, look at Dailey's original column here. Is there anything wrong with what she said in that column? Only someone completely submissive to the Moonbat mindset would think so.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

How To Have A Roast Without Dean Martin

Last night I took the family to a "Corn Roast" held by the local Republican committee. I first went to a corn roast about ten years ago, and it baffles me now as it did then, why only one course of the meal gets all of the attention. The servers (who, as it turns out, were all candidates for Mayor and Borough Council -- talk about public servants!) dished out hot dogs, corn, baked beans, pierogies, brownies, and assorted beverages, including -- yes! -- beer. I suppose Corn Roast sounds better than Bean Bake, or Beer Bong. I'd come out for either of those. Anyway! All of the local candidates, plus a few candidates for judge, had a chance to speak, as well as a couple of honored guests. Overall, it was an interesting and informative evening.

A few observations:

  • A balloon man accosted my children the moment they stepped through the door. If I may paraphrase Darth Sidious, "The Republican Party should never have brought him into this. Kill him immediately." Balloon Man made balloon hats for all four of my kids. He took over fifteen minutes to do so because he is a skilled artist who can construct elaborate headgear with sheer lung power. As we were getting in line for the food, he had to follow along with us so he could get all of his balloon hats made. Those hats were plenty fun until one of them broke. Naturally it belonged to the most sensitive child who cried his little heart out. I get the feeling that if I were to die, he wouldn't be as torn up with grief as he was over that danged balloon hat.
  • As long as I am making Phantom Menace references, I ought to mention that the Chick Who Thinks She's Qui-Gon Jinn was in attendance. She was pointed out to the crowd, but did not speak. She's young, and kind of cute, but did not carry a light saber, from what I could see.
  • If you are attending a function like this with a family of six, it is unwise to take the seats closest to the speakers' podium, even if that is the only place in the room with six empty seats together. In other words, screw chivalry. Jump in line ahead of your wife, and force her and the little monsters to follow you to the most remote corner of the room even if you can't hear the speakers, and even if you can't all sit together. You should do this especially if you know that the little darlings are going to turn into jumping bean noise machines (at a Republican Party function, I guess they could be considered right-wing noise machines) as soon as they are finished eating and distract the speakers and anyone else in attendance.
  • Our local Congressman spoke. Did you know that he is a professional Child Psychologist? I did, and if no one else in the room knew that beforehand, they did after he got up to spoke, because my kids gave him the opportunity to mention that he is a professional Child Psychologist. At least one of my children may be in need of a professional Child Psychologist. Or maybe just a cage in the basement. Sometimes the simplest methods work like a charm.
  • Local beers are special. There is an honesty about them that you don't get with mass produced national brands. When I visited Minnesota, my cousin told me that the contents of his refrigerator were mine to do with as he pleased since he and his wife were going on a long trip to Montana and the food might not be worth eating by the time he got back. Well, what I found in his refrigerator were several bottles of Summit Grand. I did him the favor of leaving one bottle to greet him upon his return. It was that good. Last night's beer was Penn Pilsner, the German-style brew from Pittsburgh's North Side. I had two, and would have had more if the family were not in tow for the event. I know I certainly needed more by the time it was done. The politician serving the beer thanked me for taking some since few people seemed interested in drinking beer last night. I was happy to do him the favor. Oh yeah, the cost of admission included all beverages, including beer, so it was basically open bar. You can't beat that.
  • We actually won a couple of door prizes, but I suppose with six tickets you stand a better chance than most. My daughter won a gift certificate to the local used book shop, and I won a blue golf cap. If I start a collection of them and wear them all the time, I could be the Nihilist In Golf Caps, yes!
  • The first speaker was the local party chairman. He provided the strongest message, mostly about staying the course in the War On Terror, and let the candidates do most of the talking about local issues. He struck me as being the most passionate speaker of the night.
  • Someone from Rick Santorum's office was there but I completely missed what he said thanks to my out-of-control Kindergartener. I think it had to do with winning every time even though he is always behind in the polls. Well, we shall see next year, won't we?
On the way out to the car, Mr. Uncontrollable told me that he "hated that party!" because it was too long. Anything longer than five minutes is too long for him. Maybe I should have hit up the Congressman for a free consultation. At next year's corn roast, I might just sneak out of the house and not tell anyone where I am going.

Friday, September 16, 2005

How NOT To Manage A Budget

From the Moist-Towelette, more evidence that the city of Pittsburgh needs to pack up and call it a day:

Mayor Tom Murphy says the city's 2006 budget could include significant job cuts if the state doesn't replace the revenue the city was supposed to get from slot casinos.
The city has been planning to pay people with money that it does not have and that it might never get. How stupid is that? I work for a non-profit institution, and we always make sure that the money exists, and is in our possession, before we spend it. If the city government (and a lot of other governments, city state and otherwise) were run as efficiently as my employer, there would be no budget crisis.

It's called "reality", Mayor Murphy. Perhaps you and your associates could try living with it sometime.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Dew That Drips Downhill

A few minutes ago, I commence my lunch break by visiting the 7-11 across the street for a nice extra-large Slurpee. Hey! The frozen Mountain Dew has a stronger, livelier flavor! It even looks greener. So I fill up, check out, go back to my computer, and read this article.

Uhh...a Slurpee machine would be even easier to "spike" than a bottle. You could affect more people that way.

My Slurpee tastes okay. Very Mountain Dewy. I won't get sick from it. I'll be okay. It won't make me
.........

As Pure As the Driven Snow

The Buckeye Blonde in the Sunshine State has been "outed" on national radio. Or has she?

If your Significant Other calls a talk show, and tells the host and his listening audience something very personal and private about your relationship, but never mentions anything beyond your ages and his first name, has he truly "outed" you? Even if you make a follow up call to confirm everything that he said about the two of you? Even if you don't give additional identification beyond your own first name?

Even, dare I add, if you are a writing professor who can't spell "superb" properly?

Or does the actual outing occur a little while later when you post the whole story on your blog, where your name and profession(s) are well know to your adoring public? We would have been none the wiser, had The BB in the SS not mentioned it on her blog.

Virgins are such exhibitionists. Go figure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bogus Gold Can Teach Us A Lot About Being An International Aggressor

Lately I haven't felt particularly productive when it comes to blogging. Perhaps I ought to consider attacking a smaller, weaker sovereign nation. It could be just the thing to draw an excess of attention to my presence on the internet and thereby motivate me to post more often.

Or I could just sit back and leave that sort of thing to the experts.

The Jackass Party At Work

I haven't bothered to watch any coverage of the John Roberts hearings, mainly because between work and family I don't have much chance to watch television, but also because the direction in which the Democratic Senators steer the conversation is predictable. Kennedy and Biden are still a pair of major-league jagoffs. Arlen Specter, RINO from my home state, still deserves to burn in whatever pit of hell is reserved for Democrats.

As the Pittsburgh Moist-Towelette reports, the primary focus of the discussion was not focused on Judge Roberts's legal philosophy in the context of the US Constitution, but on the big A-word: ABORTION.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter led the discussion on abortion rights -- from nearly the moment the hearing began -- and sustained that line of questioning during the 30 minutes he was permitted to question the nominee. The committee's only female member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also focused on abortion issues.
Every time Specter speaks, he grows donkey's ears. This is all he could come up with for thirty minutes? Here's what Specter did:

He held up a towering blue and yellow chart showing 38 cases -- in which he said the court had a chance to overrule Roe v. Wade -- and asked Roberts whether he believed that made it a "super-duper precedent." (Roberts did not answer directly.)
A precedent is a precedent, and in the right circumstances can be overturned. Other than that, the question does not deserve a direct answer. Since Arlen uses the term "super-duper", would I be going too far in suggesting that Specter and his Democrat pals regard the Constitution as a "super-duper pooper scooper"?

Specter asked the nominee whether he agreed that women had been able to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation because of their ability to control their reproductive rights. (Roberts said he did as a "general proposition.")

Roberts is getting wobbly here. Does he really agree, in general or otherwise, that the ability of women "to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation" has anything to do with abortion? If I were to go around killing innocent helpless people I might be able to participate equally with others in the economic and social life of the prison. Abortion is a vile double-standard. The only reason that Roberts might have answered this way would be to avoid getting bogged down in an irrelevant line of questioning.

He asked whether a woman's right to an abortion was "so embedded" that it had become part of "our national culture." (Roberts declined to answer).
Good for the judge. Specter is a jerk, and didn't deserve and answer for any of these questions.

Up next was a Democrat who (unlike Specter) is honest enough to run as a Democrat -- Senator Joe Biden!

Yesterday, he sparred vigorously with Roberts about how much the nominee should reveal. The Delaware senator, who is exploring a 2008 run for president,lost his patience with Roberts' answers about the memos the nominee wrote as a young lawyer in the Reagan administration on a variety of issues.

After Roberts said repeatedly the memos had not expressed his opinion, but the opinion of the administration, Biden described Roberts' answers as "misleading" and at one point, when pressed by Specter to let Roberts finish his answer, Biden said:

"Go ahead and continue not to answer."

Biden was a jerk at the Souter hearings, at the Thomas hearings, and he's a jerk at the Roberts hearings. He got his answer! Roberts was not self-employed. He had to support his employer's policies. Has Biden ever worked for anyone? Does he know what it is like to be an employee, especially a young one who is looking for possible career advancement? Jackass.

Then Orrin Hatch came along and said some very sensible things. Sanity is a rare things in Democrat-driven hearings like this. Thank you, Senator Hatch.

Ted Kennedy is still Ted Kennedy. All you have to do is look at two words that he spoke:

mean-spirited
to know that he's reading off of ten year-old talking points. I first heard the words "mean spirited" when the Republican Congress was elected in 1994 and man, did it become tiresome after a while. No left-wing drone has ever elaborated on what is so mean about conservative constitutional government. They don't have to. It's all about the nanny state. They don't want anyone to muzzle the public teat.

Roberts went to-to-toe with sweaty Teddy, who picked up where Biden left off:

Roberts stressed that as a young lawyer he was not formulating policy, he was "articulating and defending the administration's position." And at the end of one spirited exchange, he charged that Kennedy had not "accurately represented" his positions.
In other words, Kennedy is a fat old drunken womanizing liar. Got it. Afterwards, in response to questioning from South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, Roberts spoke out against the concept of cloning justices:

When Graham asked him whether he would be a justice in the mold of Rehnquist, however, Roberts said while he admired the chief justice, "I will have to insist that I will be my own man and I hesitate to be put in anybody's mold," he said.

More details of the hearings, including more left looniness, can be found here.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Oh, brother! Not HAMSTERS Again!

I didn't even know there was a St. Ratfood. Well, there isn't, but there is this.

The text after the last photo says "Gotta va?" Yes, after looking at those pictures of *ahem* regrettable food, I think I do. Gotta bucket?

Day of Remembrance

Yesterday morning at church, the pastor recalled that many people's response to the September 11, 2001 hijacking massacre was "Nuke the (expletives)!". I felt that way myself. Still do, in fact. But I know now as I did then that nuking was not a viable option because the (expletives) were hard to find. It's part of what makes the war so difficult.

I always leave church with the feeling that I've been handed a self-righteous slap in the face, but at least I understand that a good preacher slaps himself in the process. It's nice to belong to a church that is ministered to by someone who knows that he is a human being. We all leave church and go back to our personal lives. Some of us are more spiritual than others; a lot of us just wanted to run home right away so as not to miss a minute of the Steelers game. I had my football fix the day before, so Sunday was a day to do...whatever.

I was ordered to get out of the house and take children with me. After a nice lunch at a nearly empty Taco Bell, we went for a walk on the Panhandle Trail just west of Pittsburgh. Watching three jumping beans is not an easy task, but it is my responsibility and I have to do my best to keep them from getting hurt or from causing trouble for others. The trail is a pleasant, quiet place where people go to exercise or to relax away from the noise of the city, so of course I spent a considerable amount of time yelling and screaming at the kids. They taxed my patience to the point that, when I was putting them to bed last night, I told them a cautionary tale about three disobedient children who, one by one, get poison ivy, fall off a bridge into a creek and break legs, and get run over by a bicycle. Somehow I work in the poisonous toad that we saw. I had a lot of material to work with here. The kids understood the point that I was trying to make. They were in tears before I could finish, and protested that it wasn't a good story. I intended the story to teach them a lesson, and pointed out that any of those things could have happened that afternoon. But, just to be nice, I went back and gave the story a happy ending.

In the revised version, the child who was going to get run over by a bicycle is instead rescued by a strolling Captain Fishsticks, while the boy who would have broken his legs by falling on some rocks in the creek is saved when he lands on (and thus renders unconscious) Nick the Pirate, who was attempting to plant some explosives underneath the bridge in expectation of the good Captain's arrival. Captain Fishsticks not only goes down and rescues the stunned but otherwise safe child, but (being a good guy) he also applies a splint to Nick's arm. And he leaves him there, since someone who claims to "know stuff" ought to be able to get himself out of there.

Thus, in the revised version of the story, the good guys win and the lives of the innocent are preserved. Sadly, it is only a fiction, devised on the spur of the moment, intended to bring good feeling to people in sorrow. In real life, on the same date four years earlier, the bad guys won and the innocents suffered and died. No revision is possible. Thousands of people really did die, and nothing can bring them back. Tightened airport security is a constant reminder of how the world changed on that day.

Yet, we still fly. I kept thinking about it while holding my baby's hand yesterday. The trail is not far from Pittsburgh International Airport, and everytime a plane approached, it was loud and flying almost directly overhead. Four years ago, I would have felt frightened, more for my children than for myself. Yesterday, I saw the airplane through my child's eyes. "My grammy's on that airplane", she told me. It has been almost two months since she last saw her widowed grandmother, who packed up and moved to the Pacific coast in order to start a new job and a new life. Every airplane reminds her of her grandmother. She has no conception of what happened one year before she was born. Airplanes are for her grammy, and they always land safely. The world is a fun and happy place.

That is the kind of world I want to live in. Not a world where we need to "Nuke the (expletives)!", but a world where we can look up at an airplane and know that everything is right without thinking about what has happened, and could happen again. I thank God for my baby girl everyday, and I sincerely wish that I could re-create the world in her image.

The United States of America is still the last best hope for that kind of world.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lawless-ness On the Galactica

About an hour ago I finished watching the new episode of Battlestar Galactica -- or, as I call it, XENA: MICHAEL MOORE-IOR PRINCESS. Seriously. Lucy Lawless played a blond documentary film maker whose sole purpose seemed to be nothing less than to make the officers and crew of Galactica look bad. She shoved cameras in everyone's face at the worst possible times. She butted in where she wasn't wanted. And she tried to uncover certain bits of information that would have discredited the military and brought everything that was left of human civilization to an end.

I knew there was a catch, though. I say that not because I am some kind of psychic; I say that because I'm not shy about trolling for spoiler information. This pretty, well-built, blond-haired Michael Moore type woman turned out to be an agent of the forces that are trying to destroy civilization.

BSG's re-imaginator, Ronald Moore (hmmm, that name again), has demonstrated in interviews that he has a decidedly left-wing, California, Hollywood view of the world. Very surprising that he would make the Michael Moore character turn out to be a bad guy. Is that just a swerve to trick the audience? Or is he recognizing that people of all stripes watch the show? Either way, BSG is still one of the best shows on television right now, and the only one that I view on a regular basis.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Challenges Abound

Local GOP Representatives who voted in favor of last month's quick and dirty legislative pay raise (well-covered by Grassroots PA) will face challenges in next year's primary election.

Rep. Tom Stevenson, R-Mt. Lebanon, will be opposed in the GOP primary by Mark Harris of Mt. Lebanon, who will graduate soon from George Washington University with a political science degree.

"We need a representative in Harrisburg who will stand for the hard-working citizens of Pennsylvania and not fatten his own pocketbook at the expense of ours," Harris said in a statement.

Harris is a member of Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania, a group that is airing radio ads and erecting billboards criticizing legislators who voted for the raise.

In case you were wondering just how sinister the pay raise truly is:

Stevenson voted for the legislative pay raise on July 7, which would have increased his salary from $69,647 to $81,050.

The raise doesn't actually kick in until after the November 2006 elections, but some legislators have opted to get the higher pay immediately through a technique called unvouchered expenses.

Stevenson initially was going to take the higher expenses, but changed his mind in August, and won't get the new, higher salary unless he is re-elected in November 2006.

The likelihood of that is diminishing with the entry of Mr. Harris into the race. Here's an interesting fact about this twenty-first century candidate: Not only is Mark Harris a fresh young face in the political arena, but he is also a blogger.

How To Make a One-Party Town

The Republican Party in the city of Pittsburgh hasn't won jack in dozens of years, and they likely never will if the Allegheny County Republican Committee has anything to say about it.

Allegheny County Republican Chairman Bob Glancy has given the boot to Pittsburgh GOP Chairman Bob Hillen.

Glancy removed Hillen as a member of the 1,400-member county Republican Committee because Hillen violated party bylaws by endorsing Democrats for judicial posts in the May primary and refused to accept remedial action, Glancy said Thursday. The action inherently revokes Hillen's position as city chairman, he said.

They can't do that, can they?

Glancy doesn't have the authority to strip him of his chairmanship, he contends. Hillen maintains he can be removed only by vote of the 125-member Pittsburgh Republican Committee, which elected him chairman.
He must have forgotten the "Court of Star Chamber" rule. But here's what really stinks:

One provision of the remedial action Hillen was asked to accept was that he have "no direct contact with the media" for a year without written permission from the county party.
Muzzling your most loyal, most effective Republican in the entire city is always a good strategy. This division within the GOP is better news for the Democrats than Hillen's endorsement of four Dem judicial candidates.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bruce Dickinson, Radio Nerd

I'm surprised that Learned Foot hasn't mentioned this one yet. I'll be shocked if he's unaware of it.

Right now, I'm listening to an internet replay of last week's BBC Radio 2 "Masters of Rock" show hosted by Bruce Dickinson. Yes, that Bruce Dickinson, the one from Iron Maiden, who, out of respect for the fans who paid to hear him sing, refrained from storming out early or starting a fight with Sharon Osbourne following the events of the Ozzfest show in California a couple of weeks ago. Now, while I think it's cool that he has his own radio show where he can play some really great rock music, he sounds very much like...well, like a radio announcer. He's very low key. Almost too low key, in fact. It's not Bruce. I don't want to scream for him, I want to sit politely and be quite. Very out of character for him. So is the photo on the show's web site:

Now, the short hair I can live with. He's been getting haircuts for the last six years or so. But the clothes...the way he's sitting with one knee up and his arms wrapped around it, with one wrist clasped in the opposite hand...this isn't Bruce the METAL GOD. This is Bruce, the college kid from down the street who might be a suitable boyfriend for your daughter, if only he learned how to use a comb. In other words, DOES NOT COMPUTE. He looks and sounds like a nerd.

Bruce has another radio show called "Bruce Dickinson Rock Show" on BBC 6 Music. Busy guy. Even managed to find the time to pose for a different photo.

He doesn't look like a heavy metal maniac or a nice kid college student -- more like the guy who sneers when he walks past you in the aisle at Wal-Mart. At least he shows some attitude in this pic. Both shows are worth a listen if you like decent hard rock but can't get it because you live in, say, America, instead of the UK.

Why the Twin Cities Are Better Than Pittsburgh

If I had taken up residence in Saint Paul instead of visiting there last month, I would be paying thirty cents less for gasoline than I am paying here right now. Cos dash it!

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Moist-Towelette thinks that George Bush and Dick Cheney are personally in charge of the oil industry. Some things are barely any different there than they are here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Lipstick Traces On a Google Search

It truly is frightening how easily one can manipulate Google into returning a completely idiotic #1 search result.

Bizarroline

Riding the bus home from work, I take a painful peek at my neighborhood gas station and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that unleaded regular was down to $2.99 per gallon.

Again:

I was happy that gas in my neighborhood was down to $2.99 for each gallon.

We really am happy to live on Bizarro World!

Pittsburgh's Moonbat Media, Take Two

More "descent into insanity" journalist from the Moist-Towelette, this time from columnist Sally Kalson:

If ever there were a critical moment where government, politics and the well-being of citizens intersect, it's here and now.
This is about Katrina again, isn't it?

Conservatives who view the federal government as the enemy are thrilled by the prospect of President Bush making two Supreme Court appointments in short order. With five justices firmly in their pockets, there would be no limit to the protections they could curtail.
Oh, so it's not about the hurricane. It's about how those of us on the Right want to curtail protections by --

Whaaat?? Surely you will explain what you mean by that remark.

At the same time, the Bush administration's tragic bungling of hurricane relief efforts shows in stark relief the inevitable outcome when those in charge of the federal government profess a profound distrust of its role, when people such as Bush ally Grover Norquist campaign "to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."
Aha! So there is a connection between the hurricane and the President's Supreme Court nominations. Well, you got us there. That's what happens when anti-Big Government types like us are put in charge of Big Government. Now tell us how you can manipulate that "bathtub" metaphor to your advantage.

Well, we've just gotten a good look at government drowning in the giant bathtub of New Orleans, along with countless citizens. When the reckoning is over, state and local agencies no doubt will be found wanting, but the feds will have to take the biggest share of the blame.
If a conservative had referred to the disaster area as a "giant bathtub", left-wing hatemongers would be crying for his/her blood for making such an insensitive remark. But since Sally is a liberal, she gets a free pass. I'm willing to give her a limited pass for her grudging acknowledgement that "state and local agencies no doubt will be found wanting". It's more than most of her fellow travelers will concede.

Far be it from her to give ground on the matter of federal responsibility, though. She tells us that all of the money to fortify the coast and the troops to support the rescue and recovery all went to Iraq:

War is one job conservatives can get behind, but Katrina shows what happens when other responsibilities are ignored.
And reluctance to deal with terrorists is one responsibility that members of the party of Carter and Clinton can shirk. So is the responsibility to govern constitutionally, which Sally Kalson obviously hates:

Imagine two more justices dedicated to drowning government in the bathtub, two more who want local officials to set their own laws largely unhindered and bear their own burdens largely unassisted.
The woman either has no concept of Federalism, or she staunchly opposes the US Constitution. Is she unfamiliar with the 10th amendment? Local governments are supposed to "set their laws largely unhindered". As long as the federal constitution does not hinder them, or the state government, local officials can pass whatever laws they please.

Sally also supports quotas for federal hiring at the highest levels:

If Bush wants Roberts as the next chief justice, Dems should insist that he also announce a more moderate candidate to replace Sandra Day O'Connor before Roberts' confirmation vote. Then they should seal a deal with the Republican leadership, each side of the aisle agreeing to support the other's nominee. The GOP would get another chief justice in the mold of Rehnquist, the Democrats would get another moderate (or semi-moderate) in the mold of O'Connor, and government would at least stay strong enough for a fair fight in the bathtub. Failing that, Democrats should unite and head back to the mattresses for a filibuster.
I would ask her "What part of 'majority party' do you not understand?", but first I should like to ask several Republican Senators the same question. Replacing a Supreme Court justice is not about finding an intellectual clone of the one who died or is leaving. It's about finding a qualified candidate who shows the highest regard for the Constitution. But that would leave the Left completely out in the cold.

Sally digresses a bit here:

If you think this impossible, consider this statement by Sen. Rick Santorum, aired Sunday on WTAE-TV. In criticizing the government's response to Katrina, he couldn't resist piling on the conservative mantra of personal responsibility.

"I mean," he said, "you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties, candidly, on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."

I agree that this was a questionable suggestion by Rick. On the bright side, it demonstrates why Big Government is BAD. On the other hand, it gives lefty columnists ammunition to fire back at us:

Punish the victims, that's the ticket. Never mind that it is, candidly, hard to imagine any penalties tougher than the complete destruction of your home, the loss of your city, the deaths of neighbors and family. Go ahead and arrest all those irresponsible laggards who didn't own cars to take them out of harm's way, or American Express gold cards for charging a room at the Holiday Inn. Levy fines on all the old, sick or disabled folks who didn't yank out their IVs and flee their nursing homes or hospitals.
Good points, really, if laden with stereotypes. But what does it have to do with appointing new SCOTUS justices?

Either way, Senate Democrats need to ask themselves if this is the judicial philosophy we need from the highest court in the land. And if not, they'd better do the extraordinary and hang together, or the rest of us might drown separately.
So Rick Santorum controls the judicial thought process of Republican-appointed justices? How does his silly suggestion equate to Bush's court appointments? This is insane. Go back and read the whole column. Where is the connection?

If you'll please excuse me, I have to go wash the blood from my ears.


Pittsburgh's Moonbat Media, Take One

It's always dangerous territory, but sometimes I just can't help peeking at the editorial section of the Pittsburgh Moist-Towelette...Post-Gazette...whatever. This morning's editorial by Dan Simpson, former US Ambassador to several foreign countries and current Post-Gazette associate editor, manages to tie together all of the major moonbat talking points into one neat package. Apparently John Bolton's presence at the United Nations is connected to the flood relief efforts in New Orleans. And those are both bad things, in Mr. Simpson's world. His very first sentence:

President Bush's grotesque ambassador to the United Nations, the recess appointee John Bolton, is busily trying to demolish the program designed by its member countries over a period of years to try to meet the problem of world poverty.
"Grotesque"?? Is there any reason to believe that this opening statement has to do with anything other than John Bolton's mustache? That mustache bothers the left even more than Marilyn Quayle's hair or Robert Bork's beard. (In case you don't remember, both of those physical features greatly disturbed the Left. They can and will criticize anything about a political opponent.)

As to the "anti-poverty" program itself:

It is supported fully by all of America's allies, including the long-suffering British, led personally by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Aha! America always lets down it allies, right? That seems to be Mr. Simpson's tone here.

The main message follows:

It is horrible to say, but the Bush administration's slow, inadequate, insensitive response to the tragedy in New Orleans makes what Bolton is doing in New York very clear: These people don't care about poor, non-white, sick, helpless people anywhere, not even in the United States.
I told you he could tie them together. Or, as some would say, "connect the dots, people, connect the dots". More talking points: the Bush administration is classist, racist, healthist, and abilitist. (I don't care if some of those aren't even real words; they will be someday, just watch.) Simpson then goes on to name names, including a particularly ripe target:
And then there is Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael D. Brown -- "Brownie" to the president -- whose previous most responsible position before being named to FEMA by Bush had been as a commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, where he was in charge of enforcing the rules at the horse shows where the expensive animals are exhibited.
He's a trivial man in a serious position of great responsibility. Or is he? You wouldn't know it from reading this editorial, but "Brownie" has done a whole lot more than just run horse shows. But that wouldn't help make Mr. Simpson's case, now, would it? Besides, those were Arabian horses, implying a sinister connection to Our Friends the Saudis (tm), who undoubtedly gifted the expensive animals to influential oil barons in order to influence US oil policy. Or not.

What of those who lack the means to acquire and show such magnificent beasts?

These people don't understand and don't care a hill of beans about poor people. And in New Orleans the 2000 census showed 27.4 percent of the people as poor; of those poor, an estimated 84 percent were black.
I would say that none of them could afford to own an Arabian horse, either. I would also say that Mr. Simpson still has not shown us any evidence that the inadequate federal response is in any way connection to the ethnicity or economic conditions of the city's populace. Aren't there others besides the President who should shoulder some responsibility? What about the Mayor of New Orleans?
The mayor of New Orleans thinks it might be 10,000, three times the toll of 9/11. The demographics of that tally are likely to be even more painful and revealing, which is to say the number and percentage of African Americans among the dead.
So the mayor's job is to privide statistics. And here I thought that he was a person in a position of great responsibility who could have done something to get people out of the city in the days leading up to the hurricane. If he is, you won't hear about it from Mr. Simpson. Nor will you hear a single word about Governor Blanco. The mayor and the governor are Democrats, and therefore blameless in all things.

A couple of paragraphs later, Mr. Simpson opens his Pandora's box of talking points:

Until Katrina there might have been some reason for them to believe that America's lack of care about world poverty, which puts it 12th among the world's 21 richest nations in aid, had a basis in xenophobia. There is a clear streak of that trait in some Americans' smugness, belief in our superiority, in Bush administration senior officials' sounding off about how we are spreading democracy and our system of government around the world, and the attempted export of other Bush administration dogma -- abstinence and other anti-choice policies, as opposed to an HIV/AIDS policy, as one example.
That's a lot of material to spring on us in just one paragraph. We find selfishness, xenophobia, smugness, superiority, imperialism, and somehow he manages to toss in abortion and AIDS. In my mind's eye I can picture the bat wings flapping out the sides of Mr. Simpson's head.

The majority of the victims of the New Orleans tragedy and the majority of the world's poor resemble each other. The persons displaced by the flooding are predominantly black and poor. The whites of New Orleans had largely fled the vulnerable, low-lying parts of the city that were wiped out.
The former Ambassador is really stretching to make his point here. So now the United States is waging a war on poor blacks worldwide? Refusal to surrender our sovereignty to the United Nations is tantamount to a natural disaster? Was the storm manufactured by the Bush administration as a racist weapon of mass slaughter? I have three things to say about that: Moonbat, moonbat, and of course moonbat.

Wait. Something else is missing. Doesn't Mr. Simpson have something else to add?

The spectacle of President Bush, smirking as he reminisced about the fun he used to have visiting New Orleans as a young man from Houston, perhaps while he was shirking active Vietnam combat duty as a Texas and Alabama National Guardsman, only pointed up the absence of Louisiana and other Gulf Coast Guardsmen fighting his war in Iraq while the worlds of their states floated face-down, literally dead in the water, at home.
Oh yes, how could he leave this out? George Bush is a party animal who dodged the draft by getting into the National Guard during Vietnam! Worst of all -- HE SMIRKS! Just like Mr. Simpson complains. And complains. Doesn't he have any suggestions on how to make things better?

In New York, prior to the U.N. General Assembly, which starts next week, Bush can tell Bolton, another well-to-do white male, to get the United States out of the way and to put it on the side of the program to tackle world poverty, just as his government must now tackle of the problem of New Orleans, late, but never too late.

Yes, Mr. President, please abandon your government's policies and do the bidding of a raving monster loony editorial writer for a leftist newspaper. That's more important than living in a free country.

Reading this piece of art makes me feel like I've just slogged my way through quicksand. But there's one more thing that I should point out; a punch line, if you will. Besides Dan Simpson's extensive experience as a diplomat, what do you think his political background might be?

Mr. Simpson is a lifelong Republican.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Day of Rejoicing

Apparently I share a birthday with the Nihilist In Golf Pants. The blog, not the man.

Happy Birthday, Nihilist, Sisyphus et. al.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I Am Outraged By The Outrage Over This Outrage

Well, it's no wonder New Orleans turned into a swamp of looting, rape, and primal behavior. The lawlessness reflects the attitude expressed by Louisiana's cutiepie Senator Mary Landrieu in remarks made yesterday:

"If one person criticizes them or says one more thing - including the president of the United States - he will hear from me," she said on the ABC program. "One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely have to punch him. Literally."

Time to break out the butterfly nets for this one. Instead of "fixing the problem, not the blame", everyone is going around pointing fingers. (All levels should be held accountable anyway.) But this is the first that I have heard of a public servant threatening violence against another. But going all the way to the top? I know emotions are running high, especially for someone from the New Orleans area, but people need calm and stability from a leader in the face of crisis.

You won't find a Republican whining like this Democrat is doing.

That Dirty Job That Someone Has To Do

In honor of the Labor Day holiday, this morning's Post-Gazette looks at the jobs performed by some hard-working locals. The most interesting one, hands down, has got to be the lady who cleans portable toilets owned by a company called Mr. John.

She removes the foul-smelling material from the toilet, cleans the whole thing with a solution, replaces the toilet paper, and puts up her initials, a signature of sorts where others before her have left their mark. All of this in under three minutes flat.

This explains a lot. I don't frequent places that have outdoor facilities, but I am amazed at how clean some of them are. Now I know who to shake hands with...NO. Yuck. A simple "thank you" should suffice. Consider the sort of things that she sometimes comes in contact with, including the unexpected:

There was the time that she found a dead possum in the toilet, and had to pull it out by hand and throw it over a hill.
And the things that she sees, presumably without touching:

Sometimes, she opens the door to clean the toilet only to find a man going about his business, and has to wait for him to finish before she can do her job.

Doesn't she knock first? And don't these men know how to use the little latch that locks the door? This lady ought to write a book someday. They stories she could tell would be worth a good read.

Goofball

I never heard of Kanye West before this weekend, but he just made the list of certifiable grade-F jackasses.

How To Find This Blog On the Internet

During the course of the night, someone visited my site by searching the following terms on Google:
belly obi-wan kenobi pain stomach nausea

Hmmm. Either Obi-Wan is suffering from some kind of stomach ailment, or someone who didn't like the last Star Wars movie came out of the theater feeling like they wanted to throw up. (Kind of like how I felt after Padme told Vader that Anakin was breaking her heart.) Which is it? You decide.

Denominational Miseries

People all over the place are doing their best to help the victims of hurricane Katrina in whatever way possible. My church is no exception. One expects churches to donate money and goods to relief efforts wherever the need arises. One also expects churches to do so without bringing a hint of politics into the drive. My Pastor, in yesterday's sermon, delivered a message in which he denounced politicizing, as well as finger pointing in general, by those who wish to blame President Bush, FEMA, or whoever else, for either causing the storm, failing to prevent the damage, or supposed slow response to the crisis. Right now the important thing to do is to help.

The denomination with which my church is affiliated is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA for short. I sometimes wonder whether the EL in ELCA doesn't stand for "Execrable Leftist". Printed inside of the church bulletin was a sermonette from a few years ago. The title was "Guidelines for Giving from the New Testament". "Sounds inspiring," I thought, before reading it. The very first line:

You really couldn't blame them. It was the 1980s after all. Excess was in.

No need to read any further (although I did). I get the message loud and clear. This was a thinly-veiled attack on Ronald Reagan. Leftist rhetoric about the so-called "decade of greed" became tiresome years ago, and I was very disappointed to see it pop up in my church bulletin. The rest of the message was just fine -- a family with more money than they could manage found themselves in financial dire straits and turned to the church for guidance. It could happen to anybody at any time, but the preacher who wrote this lesson chose to start it off with an unmistakable political barb.

It's enough to make me stop giving directly to the denomination (my membership "dues", if you will) and saving my offering money for charities and special ministries. But not just yet.

Friday, September 02, 2005

How True That Is

After my visit to Minnesota last month, Andy at Residual Forces posted about something I had said during our conversation at Keegan's:

Ohligarchy, a Pennsylvania blogger was in town for a vacation, and swung on through. He was not actually seeking membership, but he was basking in the freedom to rant on Politics with like minds. That’s what I love about Keegan’s too.
Too bad I had to drive hundreds of miles across the midwest to do it. The reason that I was basking in said freedom with the bloggers is that between home and work...there are no "like minds" for me to converse with. An academic library, such as the one where I work, is not exactly a hotbed of conservative thought and free-market philosophy. I avoid all political conversation in order to keep things pleasant.

So...today I had lunch with a former co-worker who has been away for a few months. I mentioned that I was not doing any unnecessary driving while gas prices are as high as they are now. He immediately declared that George Bush was profiting, since he is an oil baron. Then he told me that Bush started the war in Iraq by himself. I was worried about where this was going when my friend said "...and he's responsible for the hurricane, too. That's what it said in the blogs, anyway..." Right about there I decided not to comment on anything that he had just said. Was he serious? About any of it? Or just the part about the storm and the blogs?

In the interest of preserving harmony, I changed the subject. Is this what my future professional life holds for me? Avoiding serious conversation with otherwise decent, intelligent people because I am afraid of being on the receiving end of a barking moonbat attack?

I need to get to Minnesota more often.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

KAR's Iron Maiden Research Guy Speaks Out

I've been drafted.

Yep, Learned Foot has drafted me into the war between Bruce Dickinson and Sharon Osbourne. Footsie, of course, serves under Bruce in the Minnesota Theater of Operations. His opposite number on Sharon's side is the reclusive JB Doubtless, reportedly hiding out in a Gopher Hole somewhere in the vicinity of Rochester. My mission is to provide Learned Foot with informational support in favor of Iron Maiden that will allow him to eventually expose and publicly humiliate the youngest Frater Libertas.

JB, you see, has written a scathing piece attacking Bruce Dickinson for being a meathead and defending Sharon Osbourne...because Bruce is against her. Basically, JB says that Bruce is a lefty (therefore not one of us!) and Foot says that Bruce is a righty (which would put him on our side, yay!).

I am going to be fair to both sides, since both JB and LF made a few good points. First, let me say that in the current entertainment industry climate, I generally assume that an entertainer is a leftist until proven otherwise. The proof needs to be more than one sentence long. Neil Young once said that Ronald Reagan had some good ideas and was castigated as a Republican -- even though he was a Canadian citizen. It took years for him change this perception, and he did so by writing "Keep On Rocking In the Free World", a killer song with crappy political lyrics mocking Bush 41. A lot of people make the same mistake with other performers. So let me go on record here stating that I do not believe that either Ozzy Osbourne or Bruce Dickinson can accurately be called "conservative" or "right of center". They just happen to say a lot of things that make sense, as well as a lot of things that don't.

Look at their views on war in general, and the Iraq wars in particular. "War Pigs" is Black Sabbath's very old and very familiar take on warfare. Strip away the invocations of apocalyptic imagery, and you have a "ordinary people have to fight the wars that the powerful people start" message. It's anti-war, but not anti-soldier. By 2002, Ozzy had come to feel differently about war. He was photographed wearing a helmet while sitting in a tank (looked better than Dukakis, actually) and quoted in one interview as saying that we needed to go in and get rid of Saddam Hussein militarily. That Ozzy is a regular Pat Robertson, isn't he? Meanwhile, Sabbath drummer Bill Ward recorded a anti-war single that he distributed for free to influential people, including George Bush and Tony Blair, to make known his opposition to the Iraq war. In a message on his web site, he made his feelings known while respectfully referring to GWB as "our President" and not acting like a Moonbat. And, as Learned Foot pointed out, Ward led the effort to remove the inflammatory "Bush=Hitler" message from the Sabbath stage set at last year's Ozzfest. He may not be on "our side", but he is a gentleman who appreciates the right to express his opinion. A lot of people could take a lesson from him.

Maiden (or at least principal lyricist Steve Harris) understands that, although war is a bad thing, sometimes it is necessary, hence a song like "Aces High" saluting the RAF's airborne defenders of the Battle of Britain. For every anti-war song in the Maiden repertoire, you can find at least one song endorsing the need for military action in a just cause. Learned Foot referred to my landmark KAR comment about Bruce Dickinson's take on Saddam and the Gulf War back in 1991. Yes, Bruce went on stage and made comments supporting the troops and condemning Saddam. But did he actually say anything that was "pro-war"? The next Iron Maiden album in 1992 had a Steve Harris song that managed to straddle the line between pro-war and anti-war. Yes, war is wrong and killing is bad, but you can't leave a Saddam in power. Another good lesson.

As for political identity, I'm not sure where Ozzy comes down. I have heard that Sharon gave money to Hillary Clinton but could not confirm that at Open Secrets. Sharon is all about celebrity, which means that she probably leans left but kisses up to everyone equally. Learned Foot found a reference to Bruce's Conservative Party involvement as a college student, but keep in mind that people change. The Bruce of over 25 years ago is very likely not the Bruce of today. For one thing, he did his own Bush 41 mocking song called "1,000 Points of Light" a couple of years after the Gulf War. His behavior and comments on the current tour indicate that he hasn't changed since 1992.

I have one other comment, in defense of JB Doubtless (sorry, Foot!). Zakk Wylde did not suddenly speak out in support of the troops at Sharon's behest. He showed his support last year while the Bushitler image appeared during "War Pigs". (Go here and look at item #4.) Don't drag him down with the Osbournes. Zakk is the only one who has had his head on straight about this all along.

TO SUM UP:

Sharon: Bitchy
Bruce: Jerky
Ozzy: Clueless
Rod Smallwood (Maiden manager): He's a Yorkshireman, he can take it
Nicko: Clever and witty
Bill Ward: A classy gentleman
All the guitarists and bass players: Apparently know how to shut up and play

Learned Foot: Too enthusiastic
JB Doubtless: Too cynical
Me: Outta here

Moonbats Want President To Die

In an attempt to present himself as a more serious commentator, Bogus Doug has sworn off using the term "Moonbat". (Less serious commentators have taken issue with Doug's decision.) I have used the expression sparingly on this blog, using it only in extreme circumstances.

This is one of those times.

Last night I heard a talk show host criticizing President Bush's speech from yesterday. I had not heard the speech, so I read the transcript at the first opportunity. It looked good enough to me. The President basically gave details of post-Katrina rescue and reparation efforts and saved some brief rhetoric for the end. This morning I did a Technorati search for BUSH SPEECH and was greeted with some lovely anti-Bush feedback, most of it critical of the plane ride over the devastated areas across the South. "He should be down there, on the ground!" cried the loony left chorus. "Any other President would be there meeting with the survivors!" And what good would that do?

Very little; in fact, it might hinder relief efforts. During the Bush 41 administration, there was (if I remember correctly) a devastating earthquake somewhere in southeast Asia. Marilyn Quayle, wife of the then-Vice-President, visited the affected area. Her trip was well-publicized. She was seen all around the world as a concerned authority figure of sorts. Those on the ground handling the relief effort took a dim view of her presence. The media entourage, security, and those attendant on Mrs. Quayle hindered the work of those who were trying to provide aid to the survivors. One of the people in charge, I recall, was disgusted that a politician's wife would cause more harm than good by using the tragedy as a big photo op.

That, of course, is what the barking moonbats want Bush 43 to do in New Orleans. He does a lot more good by surveying the damage from above than by dropping down and getting in everyone's way. And supposing he did? They would condemn his presence as an insidious photo op.

Not to mention the fact that it is still a very dangerous place to be. The people working at the scene are better-equipped for handling this kind of emergency than some politician with little or no hands-on experience in this kind of operation. There is only one thing that I can conclude from the Moonbat rantings about Bush over New Orleans: They want him to die there.



HILLARY SAYS: Curses! You've figured out our plan! We were hoping to convince him that it would be a good idea to go down to the flood waters so that he would fall into the Gulf of Mexico and drown in the oil. "No Bush for Oil", get it? Now you've ruined it and we'll have to think of some other way to get rid of him.








There is only one word for these critters: MOONBATS. Eat 'em all, Dementee. Eat 'em all.