Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cartoon Interview...

A Finnish student emailed and asked me to answer a few questions for a paper she is doing about the Muslim cartoon "scandal"... I thought I'd share the Q&A:


1. What do you think of the pictures that Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published about Prophet Muhammed?

I think that they are satirical cartoons...and only cartoons. Most of them were quite innocuous compared to some I've seen depicting Jesus, the Pope, etc.

2. Do you think it was OK to publish those pictures?

Yes, I believe 100% in freedom of the Press and freedom of expression and opinion. As I understand the law of Islam no MUSLIM can draw a representation of Muhammad...but no religion requires non-believers to adhere to their tenants.

3. Were the Islamic people too sensitive because they attacked against western countries because of those pictures?

Yes, It's a cartoon -get over it. The illustrators were not Muslim and are not bound by the Qu'ran and Islamic law.

4. What is this case telling us about the world we are living?

That moderate Muslims must stand up before their religion is completely hijacked and they lose the sympathy of those that are still claiming the radical are in the minority.

After I sent the email I was thinking that I should have taken more time and tried to be much more profound... I'm glad I didn't think about being the "American opinion" a head of time --that's way too much pressure...

In Islam-related news: Al-Jazerra had an OpEd urging American Muslims to start actively campaigning to have Muslim holidays included on all calendars.

Also, a LONG read, but learn of how the peaceful Muhammad murdered an entire tribe of people in 627 AD.

Questions About Operation Iraqi Freedom:

D-NC brought an article to my attention...yes, it is from Daily Kos but I do think it's worth the read. Personally, I would really like to know if it's true or not...

The Post was submitted by someone who claims to have been corresponding with a soldier who is currently deployed in Iraq. Here is the letter in question:

"My life here is very different than I ever expected to be living that is for sure. I don’t even know where to start. I also don’t want you to feel bad for me when I tell you some of this stuff. First of all we hardly ever have hot water. That is when we still have water because they have to truck all of our water in from the local villages. Next the septic system here is set up for about half of the people that use it. That leads to the weak link which happens to be in the bathroom that is in my section of the berthing. You know what that means. That means that when she is full the overflow comes up our sinks and spreads poo all over the floor. Also with the water they test it and every time it comes up with ecoli. They had three kinds of bottled water here for us and two of the three kinds have bacteria in them. The last thing that bugs me about this place is there are all kinds of mold on the walls where we sleep. There is mold right next to my head through the whole night.

The whole civil war thing is not affecting us yet except for the mail. We cannot go and get the mail because of that crap.

I am sorry that I am rambling but I have to cut myself off right now I could go on all night long!!!! Given the circumstances I think that we have pretty high spirits!!!

I will write later
Your Friend in Iraq"

Is it true that we are not providing our troops with clean drinking water? Is plumbing a major problem that could affect the health of the troops --or is this one instance on a base that will be taken care of quickly?

In other OIF news:
Toyota is actively employing veterans and
Sears is still closing the pay gap for its active duty employees --which has prompted me to shop there when I never used to...
Last, but not least: IMAO has a new t-shirt with the top 10 Military slogans --it's pretty cool (and make sure to read the comments under the post that somehow went from t-shirt talk to rape wishes for Frank J.'s new bride. Classy...

Hillary Watch...

All of the "real life" Democrats I know say Hillary will never get the DNC nomination and they don't want her to, BUT all the professionals (the pundits, spokespeople and talking heads) seem to think Hillary is a shoo-in. That it will be (in Sean Hannity's words) a "coronation instead of a nomination".

This article seems to marry the two opinions. It seems to say that no one wants her to run and even her supporters think she may hurt the cause, but that she will indeed run and have a good shot at the nomination because of her huge financial advantage...

"Party insiders think she will enter the race shortly after her expected re-election as a New York senator later this year -- with a $50 million head start on fund raising toward 2008.

But ominous signs abound, and combined, they suggest her campaign would conjure a clash between the lure of Clinton nostalgia and the fear of Clinton fatigue.

One new poll shows that a majority of registered voters never would vote for her. Another shows that a majority do not want her to run, including a majority of independent voters.

One veteran South Carolina Democratic strategist says she is so well-known -- and polarizing -- that it is hard to see how she could change any minds.

"We all believe she's wonderful," said Dick Harpootlian, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. "But we also believe that if she's the nominee, it sets up perfectly for the Republicans to win the White House for another four years."

Clinton has not committed to running. Aides say she is focused on winning her second Senate term next November, and they declined to comment on what they insist is a hypothetical 2008 presidential campaign.

Still, party activists expect her to run, and to start with a decided edge over such potential rivals as former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Biden of Delaware, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

One reason for her presumptive lead, of course, is the affection in the party for her husband and hope that she could replicate his victories.

Another is her financial clout. She started this year with $17 million in the bank for a re-election that is assumed to be a breeze. Yet she is raising money at a fever pitch....

...A poll last week by Marist College underscored those fears. The WNBC/Marist Poll showed that 51 percent of registered voters do not want her to run, including 25 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents.

Also, 51 percent of registered voters in a recent Gallup poll said they definitely would not vote for Clinton. (Read the rest of the article)

I don't know about all of you, but I find all this absolutely fascinating...

Caption It...

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Words "World Court" Make Me Really Nervous...

The Powers that Be are gathering in the Hague to decide whether a country can be found guilty of genocide. The current debate is over Serbia... but it has to make you wonder if the U.S. is next...

"It is one of the most complex and far-reaching rulings ever sought from the tribunal, also known as the world court. Arguments are scheduled to take six weeks, and it likely will be a year before the 16 judges deliver their verdict.

The case hinges on whether the court is persuaded that the Serbian state, and not just a group of individuals, had the specific intent to wipe out the Muslims of eastern Bosnia as a distinct community.

If the judges rule in Bosnia's favour, they would decide later whether to award financial reparations, which could total billions of dollars. The court's rulings are binding, and a refusal to abide by them could be referred to the UN Security Council for action.

Croatia, another republic that splintered from the crumbling Yugoslav federation, has a similar genocide case against Serbia pending at the world court.

The Bosnia case is the first to be heard under the world court's new president, British Justice Rosalyn Higgins, 68, who also is the only woman among the UN-elected judges." (source)

As much as I believe governments in countries like Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Iraq and Afghanistan should be somehow held accountable for atrocities they have committed...I shiver at the thought of a "world organization". The reason countries are sovereign is to make their own laws and to live by their own standards. I know that I believe in many moral absolutes and so maybe this is a contradiction... (Moral absolutes like -you don't leave female babies to die on a beach, but if you want to eat dogs that's on you.)
This is precisely why ALL countries should be Democracies. If the people voted for all that happened in their sovereign state...there would be no need for a "world court".

As for Serbia, I really need the "Dummies Guide to the Bosnia/Serbian /Croatian War". I have read so much about it and have written to a Bosnian woman for almost four years and I am still at a loss.

The Far Looney Left...

...is planning to "storm the White House" in a "peaceful protest" that's encouraging Civil Disobedience. The US Group, Political Cooperation.org, is calling on the UN for "immediate help" in stopping the US.

"We are calling on all Member Nations of the U.N., All Representatives and Justices in the World Court and International Criminal Courts, all soldiers and CIA agents and government officials who have been blackmailed by the dictators to go with us and remove Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their friends from our House. The people of the Political Cooperative will put a new government in place that is truly representative of the people and comprised of the people through social justice organizations that have been fighting for our rights all along. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and national organizations have finally enabled us to know the truth of the savage practices and illegal policies of our government in assassinating our own officials as well as people throughout the world who oppose their criminal activity. George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have all admitted to violating international and national crimes, so why have they not been taken to Court? Because their lawyers are now our judges, that's why."

You really have to READ THIS FOR YOURSELF to fully appreciate the lunacy...

Some Election Tid-Bits...

Most people want all the information they can get during the run up to an election. --Not to advocate anyone be a "one-issue voter", but HERE is a list of Pro-life candidates by state. I guess the Pro-choice advocates will find it helpful also...you can see who to vote against.

Speaking of pro-life candidates... DO you think it's wrong to make "voting deals"? I know it's illegal to buy votes, but how about trading them? The Democrat running against Rick Santorum here in PA is Pro-life, so I told both of my liberal-Democrat brothers that if they would vote against our current Governor Ed Rendell and vote for Lynn Swann --then I would vote against Santorum for Casey.

Their response? That they don't trust me to really do it! Some brotherly love huh....

In the Sandbox...

Veterans on Military Missions

"I just read “Vietnam vets in Iraq for a second chance” (Washington Post article, Feb. 20, Stripes Mideast print edition). To the reporter: Great story, however, you forgot a few of us.

The story addressed veterans performing nonmilitary jobs. Is that because Vietnam vets may be too old for active duty? Well, you’d be wrong if that was your idea. Don’t you think that maybe there are a few Vietnam veterans still in the military and performing missions in Iraq?

I’m a Vietnam veteran. I was drafted on Sept. 5, 1968. I went through Special Forces training and worked in the Command and Control North section in Danang, assigned to an exploitation company.

I rotated home in 1971. I spent another 11 years on active duty, leaving to attend law school in June 1982. I entered the Army Reserve and spent 12 years with Company A, 1st Battalion, 11th Special Forces Group. Then I switched to the National Guard when the two Army Reserve Special Forces Groups were disbanded.

I spent nine years with the National Guard Special Forces. I left the Guard in June 2003.

At that time I had 35 years in uniform. I was sent to the Individual Ready Reserve. On Feb. 7, 2005, I received orders. I was assigned to a civil affairs unit and arrived in Iraq in June 2005, first in Kirkuk, then to Baqouba.

I’m 56 and I can still perform the mission. I wear a combat patch that’s older than most of the troops I support. Maybe you should send out a feeler to determine where the rest of us “vets” are serving and do a story on the Vietnam veterans who are still performing a military mission in Iraq.

You better hurry with me though, I’m due to rotate in May."

-Master Sgt. Charles F. Eddings, Forward Operating Base War Horse, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...the girls of OEF & the Navy...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Profiling for Peace: The Campaign Manifest

Can BOTH sides of the aisle agree on these 26 things as a stepping stone to further dialogue? Personally, I don't think so...

This was taken straight from Michael Smerconish's website. For those of you who are unaware who he is... He is a former lawyer with a morning talk radio show in Philadelphia. I have no idea why he hasn't been syndicated yet. He is the author of Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11 and Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism-True Stories.

...Maybe before you read it, you should read this letter from an "Ex-Muslim". The link was sent to me via email and I can in no way vouch for its authenticity, but it was a chilling read.

Profiling for Peace: The Campaign Manifest
by Michael A. Smerconish, Esq.

THINGS are ugly in America. The partisanship and bickering is unlike anything I can remember.

It's gotten so bad you have to choose your storm coverage by whether you're from a red or blue state. CNN concentrates on the blame game. Fox is effusive in its coverage of the relief. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

When I practiced law, I used something called a "request for admissions." It's intended to eliminate from factual dispute that which the parties can agree on. When I would issue a request pre-trial, it would usually consist of about two dozen simple statements that I would ask my adversary to "admit." ("It was sunny in New York City at 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.") The agreed-on statements would be accepted as fact at a trial.

Well, with the clarity that comes from a two-week vacation, here's my request for admissions, submitted to the American people, concerning the war and the storm, as the fourth anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

Admit or deny:

1. 9/11 was the work of radical Islam.

2. Post-9/11, there was a consensus to be "forward-leaning" with regard to radical Islam, meaning to be pre-emptive if needed to protect against further attack.

3. Iraq played no role in the events of 9/11.

4. Iraq was nevertheless perceived by American and foreign military and intelligence operations to pose a threat based principally upon the belief that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs.

5. Saddam's perceived possession of WMDs was the primary reason advanced by the Bush administration in support of the invasion of Iraq.

6. It is now apparent that Saddam had no WMDs, meaning, the administration's predicate for going to war was faulty.

7. Hussein was still an evil SOB.

8. The fact that the administration was wrong does not mean the president lied on WMDs.

9. The war in Iraq is going poorly.

10. It is entirely possible that when all is said and done, we will have facilitated the replacement of Saddam with a leadership regime that is beholden to Iran and unfriendly to the U.S., albeit one that does not equal the evil of Saddam nor the type of threat that he could have become.

11. Leaving Iraq now would embolden insurgents and terrorists.

12. Our presence in Iraq provides a rallying point for the insurgency and the radical Islamists.

13. Leaving Iraq as soon as possible must be our goal.

14. It's time for the administration to set a timetable to leave Iraq.

15. It's reasonable to assume that many National Guardsmen who would otherwise have been in America, and in a position to respond to Hurricane Katrina, are instead in Iraq.

16. The president did not cause Hurricane Katrina.

17. The immediate federal response to the hurricane was poor.

18. The first response of the city of New Orleans was inadequate.

19. Among the victims in New Orleans, the worst hit were the poor, most of who are black.

20. The city has a black mayor.

21. Those who accuse the federal government of "racism" in its response have been silent with regard to the city's black mayor.

22. Blacks were the worst hit because, as a group, they were the least economically able to cope with the emergency and were least likely to have access to transportation or alternative accommodations. Many simply refused to leave.

23. A person who steals food during Hurricane Katrina in the absence of relief from local, state or federal governments is doing what is necessary for survival.

24. A person who steals a flat screen during it is a looter.

25. Four years after 9/11, we don't appear prepared to cope with the aftermath of a large-scale attack.

26. Four years after 9/11, we remain vulnerable to attack by radical Islam because political correctness blinds us to the commonalities of those who seek to kill us.

---I realize that Michael is trying to form a starting point to begin a dialogue --a consensus in the middle where we can all begin. The problem is that I HIGHLY doubt that everyone can even agree on these 26 things... But maybe I'm wrong (there are a few I'm not even sure I agree with...)

I Have a Sex/Guilt Complex?

Your World View

You are a moralist with conventional ideas, which some people would call old-fashioned.
You probably think that most of the world falls badly below your standards.
Your inhibitions and sense of guilt are in the way of your happiness.

You think that people tend to use sex for evil, as a weapon.
Your parents probably played a big part in the formation of such a guilt complex as yours.
Your mind is in chains, and it's time you did something to free it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Of Immediate Interest...

  • "A former general and friend of Saddam Hussein who defected but maintains close contact with Iraq claims the regime supported al-Qaida with intelligence, finances and munitions and believes weapons of mass destruction are hidden in Syria." (Read the story here)

  • More on the Ports: First, even those that claim to hate Ann Coulter should read her latest column. It pretty much sums up how I feel about this. The deal makes me very uncomfortable, but the fact that the Dems (who would release actual terrorists from GITMO in a heartbeat) are upset makes me wary.... Read Ann's Column.

    Another piece of the information we need is the excerpts from the 9/11 Commission Report concerning the United Arab Emirates. You can find that HERE thanks to Michael Smerconish.

    Thankfully, The deal has been put on hold because of the huge outcry.

  • The Guardian (UK publication) is actually making a serious argument for George Clooney in '08 --of course they don't waste the opportunity to get in a bit of borderline-libel Bush bashing.

    "Politically, a Clooney presidency would probably strive to return sanity to the national debate. The American right has long smeared Clooney as just another loopy Hollywood liberal, but there's no evidence that he's anything but an old-fashioned American centrist." (source)

    Even with George and his Hollywood buddies help, his dad still lost his political bid. Maybe they should run him...according to a new Zogby poll Democratic voters lack enthusiasm.

  • Dilemma for the left: A black woman is saying that the Danish Cartoons should be published everywhere and that Mohammad is a "tyrant and a pervert". What are liberals to do when two minorities are warring --which side to take?
    Read this great interview of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician forced to go into hiding after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. She fears that the "culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades in Holland will spread in Europe", and I think it already has.

    THIS is also a great read that begins with the claim that:
    "The through-the-looking glass controversy over Danish editorial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad is, of course, about much more than cartoons or Muhammad: It's a cultural Sept. 11-style strike against the values and institutions of the West."

    Where is the outrage over the 130 Christians that have been killed over CARTOONS in Nigeria?!
  • We're Adopting a Baby...

    Actually, I guess it's called a hatchling.

    We have finally decided what the next addition to the House of Sage will be: a baby Red Foot Tortoise.

    We thought about a Guinea pig, a ferret, a chinchilla, frogs and slider turtles, but the tortoise won. I didn't want anything that I had to feed crickets or pinkies (been there, done that and no thanks) and the littlest guy "doesn't like anything fuzzy".

    The Man will build a killer enclosure (indoor for now, but he can be outdoors from May -September) and I will have one more thing to worry about and clean up after --but the little one will have his dream pet. The older one has the French Bulldog, so the tortoise is quite the bargain... Though, The Man didn't seem to think that when I told him the price... ;)

    The South American Red Foot can live for 50 years and can get to be 30 or 40lbs....so this is quite the commitment.

    We're looking for cool name suggestions. I am partial to Drama or Darwin and the little guy wants Michelangelo...

    Purely for Your Viewing Pleasure...

    ALa's Aussie crush...

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    Odds and Ends...

  • Can someone please put a muzzle on Pat Buchanan? I mean, I guess since the few sane FDR Dems out there have to deal with Dean, Rangel, Biden and Gore it's only fair that we have a few embarrassments too, but this man really needs to exercise his right to stay silent... His latest OpEd is slamming the "War Party" (Isn't that the same party he ran for President under the banner of...twice...?) for talk about the various possible threats Iran now poses.

    "Newt and the War Party appear to be pushing against an open door. A Fox News poll finds Iran has replaced North Korea as the nation Americans believe is our greatest immediate danger.

    Instead of whining about how they were misled into Iraq, why don't Democrats try to stop this new war before it starts? They can begin by introducing a resolution in Congress denying Bush authority to launch any preventive war on Iran unless Congress first declares war on Iran." (source)

    Sorry Pat, but most conservatives I know love Newt --and if he hadn't cheated on his wife while she had cancer, he would probably be or have been president by now (IMO).

  • The Christian, the Jew and the Muslim. No, this isn't a joke; it's actually a pretty amazing WWII story. Courtesy of Free Republic.

  • Even with all the talk of borders lately I was completely unaware of the fact that it currently isn't illegal to TUNNEL into the United States...

    "There are other crimes associated with border tunnels. It's illegal to enter the country someplace other than an official border crossing, for instance. Or to import drugs. And it's illegal to help others do these things. But the tunneling itself? That's not against the law.
    For now.
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she plans to introduce legislation to change that when Congress reconvenes next week.
    The California Democrat says she has Republican support for the bill, which would set a maximum 20-year sentence for building or financing a tunnel into the U.S.
    Landowners who let others build or use such a tunnel would face up to 10 years in prison. And smugglers using a tunnel to move aliens, terrorists, weapons, drugs or other contraband would see their sentences doubled." (Read the rest of the article)

  • John Gizzi, veteran political editor of the conservative weekly Human Events, thinks that Democrats just might win enough swing seats in the 2006 elections to take back control of Congress (for the first time since 1994). Read the Article. It made me a bit nauseous.
  • Really, Really Frustrated...

    OK, in light of THIS SHIT I am reposting this. Our soldiers SHOULD NOT be dying because Muslims want to kill other Muslims!!!

    Originally posted on Saturday, 11 February 2006

    Peace in the Middle East...I Think Not.
    "I have been thinking a lot about how easily I got caught up in the fervor of the Iraqi and Afghani elections and all the purple fingers. It was a nice idea and heartwarming to see people that had been held down for so long rising up. Unfortunately, a "nice idea" is probably all it will ever be...

    When I read about the Egyptian ferry that went down in the Red Sea (1400 dead) and the Egyptian government refusing the rescue power of the Israeli Navy because of the "shame" of being rescued by Jews...

    And then read that last week in Iraq Sunnis were killing Shi‘ites (or the other way around, who can keep track) because they're not "Muslim" enough (or maybe too Muslim)...

    ...If you would let your citizens drown rather than allow Jews to save them...

    ...If you can't even co-exist with your own religion...

    How can we EVER expect peace?

    I also started thinking back to Biblical prophecy (much of which includes the Middle East). I found this site last night --I have no idea who this group is or what they believe/advocate, but I found the pamphlet to be a really interesting read...

    I think the fantasy has ended for me... I think I want our boys home... I am pretty damn sure I don't want another American death for people that are ungrateful and unwilling to emerge from the 13th century. If it gets out of hand there --and another pre-9/11 Afghanistan emerges...let's just bomb the shit out of it and call it a day."

    Well...at least some people are able to extract something amusing out of all this...

    Caption it...

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    Scotus, The U.N., South Dakota and Abortion

    The Supreme Court has agreed to re-assess the law banning "Partial Birth Abortion" -- it should be very interesting to hear the decisions on this one with Alito and Roberts on the court.

    "The Supreme Court set the stage Tuesday for a major ruling on abortion by agreeing to decide whether Congress can outlaw what opponents call "partial birth" abortions during the midterm of a pregnancy.

    The fate of the federal law, the first nationwide ban on an abortion procedure, probably depends on President Bush's two new appointees: Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito.

    The court has been closely split on how strictly the government may regulate abortion, with former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor usually casting a deciding vote." (source)

    Since, as far as I know, Planned Parenthood and NARAL are still refusing to present one case that would demonstrate MEDICAL NECESSITY for partial Birth late-term abortion, the SCOTUS may want to substitute that absent information with a 2005 report released by the United Nations (of all organizations).

    A new study and subsequent report from the U.N. shows that countries which have no legal abortion access actually have LOWER mother mortality rates than countries with virtually no restriction on abortion.

    "The comparison of four countries in the developed world published by the United Nations Populations Division, shows that Russia, with one of the highest rates of abortion in the world, has a maternal mortality rate of 67 deaths for every 100,000 births. The United States, with almost no legal restrictions on abortion but better health care, has a rate of 17 deaths for every 100,000 births.

    Ireland, however, where abortion is illegal and with health care comparable to the US, has the lowest rate of the four countries with only 5 deaths for every 100,000 births. In Poland, long under communist rule, the rate is 13 deaths for every 100,000 births.

    The study is timely for pro-life countries like Poland and Ireland, as well as those in Latin America struggling under heavy pressure from the UN and European Union to legalize abortion. "The World Mortality Report: 2005" lists infant and maternal mortality rates around the world and “is the first report of its kind” from the UN Population Division." (source)

    How can that information be reconciled with the argument that abortion must be kept legal to protect women's lives?

    Well, they need to decide quickly and if I were a she-male member of NARAL I'd start forging digging for those "medical necessity" documents --yesterday South Dakota's Senate PASSED A BILL (23-12) OUTLAWING ABORTION. This will, no doubt, end up going to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe (without Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent)...

    THIS is a pretty good pro-choice argument though...

    Another View on the Ports and the UAE ...

    It's a long read, I admit, but I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks about numerous points that Rush brings up about the ports being sold to Dubai Ports World and our reaction to it...


    ...and then weigh in with your thoughts.

    The teaser is *he thinks we (conservatives) are being hornswoggled by the left and the MSM*...

    ...I have to re-read it and think about this more.

    This article claims that blocking the deal will hurt the long term economic interests of the US.

    Also, More in defense of the deal from the White House.

    Sheehan's NY Anti-War Concert

    I'm tempted to get tickets for this --for the posts, the pictures and boundless adrenaline... Can we get a bunch of able-bodied veterans assembled --change the Milblogging Conference from DC to the Hammerstein ballroom in New York? Wouldn't it be fun!?

    Cindy Sheehan is putting together an anti-war concert dubbed "Bring 'Em Home Now!". Co-organizer is Moby's twin, Michael Stipe of REM. Performers will include: Rufus Wainwright and Bright Eyes, Chuck D, Fischerspooner, Peaches, Steve Earle and Devendra Banhart. Not a very impressive list...

    "Organizers said the concert will be followed by a national "Bring 'Em Home Now!" speaking tour that will feature Sheehan and various authors traveling to 15 U.S. cities in April. More concert performers were expected to be added later." (source)

    Who's in? ;)

    In the Sandbox...

    Bikers Roll to Military Funerals to Oppose Anti-Gay Protests

    "FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky (AP) -- Wearing vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls around the country from one soldier's funeral to another, cheering respectfully to overshadow jeers from church protesters.

    They call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, and they are more than 5,000 strong, forming to counter anti-gay protests held by the Rev. Fred Phelps at military funerals.

    Phelps believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. His protesters carry signs thanking God for so-called IEDs -- explosives that are a major killer of soldiers in Iraq.

    The bikers shield the families of dead soldiers from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.

    "The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."

    At least 14 states are considering laws aimed at the funeral protesters, who at a recent memorial service at Fort Campbell wrapped themselves in upside-down American flags. They danced and sang impromptu songs peppered with vulgarities that condemned homosexuals and soldiers.

    The Patriot Guard was also there, waving up a ruckus of support for the families across the street. Community members came in the freezing rain to chant "U-S-A, U-S-A" alongside them.

    "This is just the right thing to do. This is something America didn't do in the '70s," said Kurt Mayer, the group's national spokesman. "Whether we agree with why we're over there, these soldiers are dying to protect our freedoms."

    Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of Fred Phelps and an attorney for the Topeka, Kansas-based church, said neither state laws nor the Patriot Guard can silence their message that God killed the soldiers because they fought for a country that embraces homosexuals.

    "The scriptures are crystal clear that when God sets out to punish a nation, it is with the sword. An IED is just a broken-up sword," Phelps-Roper said. "Since that is his weapon of choice, our forum of choice has got to be a dead soldier's funeral."

    The church, Westboro Baptist Church, is not affiliated with a larger denomination and is made up mostly of Fred Phelps' extended family members"... (Read the rest of the story)

    You Harley boys rule!

    Calling all Bikers (Harley or otherwise): You can SIGN UP HERE to BECOME A PATRIOT GUARD RIDER and block the hatred while supporting the troops!!! (Thanks to The Oracle (who has joined!) for the link)

    girls of the Navy...
    One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    My Joy...

    Most of the time when I post, I feel like the emotion behind the story is virtually impossible to convey in mere words...and this will hardly be the exception.

    Many of you know a bit about the trials and tribulations we have been through with Mason (our youngest). If you would have met him a year ago you would have been lucky to understand 10% of what he said to you. He has been in speech therapy since he was 2 years old and was tentatively diagnosed with apraxia --a "severe (articulation) disability".

    I realize that parents out there dealing with larger things...like CP, autism and leukemia, must think our speech disability seems fairly innocuous. I know that it was nothing life-threatening, but I can't tell you how many nights I stayed awake thinking of horrible things other kids had said to him. "You sound weird." Go away, you talk funny." Oh, you must not speak my language."

    The home-schooling option was always on the table as a year ago a SLP (Speech & Language Pathologist) told us that a school environment and fear of exclusion may cause him to stop speaking all together. Mason consistently scores at a third grade comprehension level --making him fully aware of his limitations and acutely sensitive to the ridicule that seems to go hand in hand. But also made him work his ass off to overcome it.

    Today we went to the head of the Speech & Language department for a comprehensive test to determine the course of action for next year (when he starts Kindergarten). At the end of the meeting she looked at me and said...

    "Mrs. ______, I don't think he is going to qualify for speech therapy in the fall."


    Officially Pissed at Bush

    Before those on the left get a warm, tingly feeling...let me just say that normally when conservatives are mad at President Bush it's because he isn't being CONSEVATIVE ENOUGH. There have been many things that have bothered me: the never-ending spending, the McCain "torture" bill, the blind eye to the borders, Harriet Miers and the PC handling of the "GWOT" (which I believe endangers our troops)...

    ...but at the end of the day I believe that Bush goes to sleep at night honestly worried about how to keep Americans safe...

    Which is why I am shocked and awed that he has said that he will VETO any legislation drafted to block the sale of American ports to United Arab Emirates' Dubai Ports World. What is he thinking --even the majority house leader and the Speaker of the House are against him on this.

    " Lawmakers from both parties have expressed security concerns about the deal, with some noting that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers had links to the United Arab Emirates.

    The Bush administration views that as an unfair attack on the UAE, which it defends as a strong ally in the war on terrorism. More broadly, criticism of the deal threatens the White House's efforts to build better relations in the Arab world.

    Frist said he would pursue legislation, if necessary, to delay the transfer of the ports' management.

    Within hours, as Bush was returning from a speech in Colorado, he took the rare step of inviting traveling reporters to the front cabin of Air Force One before issuing his veto threat. He accused critics of attempting to deny a Middle Eastern company the same opportunity as provided to a British firm.

    "I'm trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly,"' Bush said.

    Speaking a short while later upon his return to the White House, Bush sought to underscore that the Coast Guard and the Customs Service--not a foreign company--would be responsible for port security.

    "If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward," he said.

    The clash could produce the first veto of Bush's administration." (source)

    If I'm not mistaken, I think Howard Kurtz (of the Washington Post) is implying the UAE story was hyped to take the heat off of Cheney. I can't even begin to comment on the absurdity of a "reporter" claiming a serious issue like port control is just a smoke screen to take attention from an accident...

    Needless to say, they're pretty angry over at The Rotti too...

    Ugly AND Bad...

    Wow, forget about racial and religious prejudice... apparently the worst thing you can be in this United States of America is UGLY. Past studies have shown that unattractive people are less likely to be hired, and more likely to earn less money than their more attractive counterparts....and now, a new study shows a definitive correlation between ugly people and crime.

    "We find that unattractive individuals commit more crime in comparison to average-looking ones, and very attractive individuals commit less crime in comparison to those who are average-looking," claim Naci Mocan of the University of Colorado and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University.

    Mocan and Tekin analyzed data from a federally sponsored survey of 15,000 high-schoolers who were interviewed in 1994 and again in 1996 and 2002.

    These economists found that the long-term consequences of being young and ugly were small but consistent. Cute guys were uniformly less likely than averages would indicate to have committed seven crimes including burglary and selling drugs, while the unhandsome were consistently more likely to have broken the law.

    Very attractive high school girls were less likely to commit six of the seven crimes, while those rated unattractive were more likely to have done six of seven, controlling for personal and family characteristics known to be associated with criminal behavior." (source)

    What is the moral of this story? The purpose of the study in the first place? I have no idea... the only thing I can think of is ugly people shouldn't procreate?

    If you could care less about the link between inherent ugliness and crime commission, feel free to play "Name The Celebrity Mug Shot"...

    Hopefully the Last Post Prompted by Hunting Accidents...

    So, Hollywood has now weighed in on Cheney's misfortune...

    On the "Huffington Post" (which shouldn't have annoying pop-ups considering Arianna is richer than God...can she use that money to tone down the REALLY annoying accent -and that coming from a Philly girl!) Alec Baldwin has offered his take on Cheney's accidental shooting of a friend:
    "Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately. Who ever thought Harry Whittington would be the answer to America's prayers. Finally, someone who might get that lying, thieving Cheney into a courtroom to answer some direct questions." (source)

    And Richard Dreyfuss last week:
    "There are causes worth fighting for even if you know that you will lose," Dreyfuss said during a speech at the National Press Club. "Unless you are willing to accept torture as part of a normal American political lexicon, unless you are willing to accept that leaving the Geneva Convention is fine and dandy, if you accept the expansion of wiretapping as business as usual, the only way to express this now is to embrace the difficult and perhaps embarrassing process of impeachment.
    "If we refuse to debate the appropriateness of the process of impeachment, we endorse that behavior, and we approve the enlargement of executive power," regardless of whoever may occupy the White House in the future, he said.
    "And don't kid yourselves: No one ever gives up power, ever," Dreyfuss added.
    "Now, it is not your job as the press to impeach George Bush," the actor stated. However, people in the media should "maintain the integrity of that debate" by not dismissing the topic out of hand as partisan or unpatriotic." (source)

    The Oscars should be a fun "bash-Bush" party this year... If you want a fun read, look up the highest level of education for all these "activist" actors...

    Arianna Huffington and Ann Coulter battled all this out on Hannity & Colmes the other night. (Of course Arianna was bitter after the fact)

    Speaking of celebrities...Beautiful Atrocities is a great satire site and THIS Oprah post was one of the funniest things I have read in a while...

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    By Popular Request: America's Ports

    Everyone I have talked to lately is incensed. Ghost, Liz, CJM (for starters) are all raging over the Treasury Department's approval of a decision to SELL six AMERICAN ports (including New York and one right here in Philly) to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates (Dubai Port World).

    Why should we be concerned? "U.S. seaports handle 2 billion tons of freight each year but only about 5 percent of containers entering the United States are examined on arrival."

    Even soon-to-be-ousted Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is questioning this decision:
    "PA Governor Ed Rendell says he has nothing against the Arabs but he’s not alone in questioning the approval in Washington of any foreign power moving into security sensitive areas like American ports." (source)

    Local politicians on both sides of the aisle are complaining about this --I think they realize their constituency will be aghast when they get wind of this...
    "The United Arab Emirates does not have a good track record in America’s war on terror according to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Dubai, they say, has been a transport point for nuclear components that have been shipped to Iran, North Korea and Libya and they charge the country has not been cooperative in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden,” said NJ Congressman Rob Andrews." (source)

    "Outsourcing the operations of our largest ports to a country with a dubious record on terrorism is a homeland security and commerce accident waiting to happen," said Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.

    U.S. officials have said money for the September 11 attacks was wired through the United Arab Emirates' banking system. Two of the September 11 hijackers were UAE citizens.

    "Six of our largest commercial ports are being handed over to a country that is seeking to be Iran's free-trade partner and has been linked to the funding and planning of 9/11," said Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican.(source)

    I must be numb because I can't even get worked up over it --and have tried for five days so I could write this post. I guess it's because I'm not shocked or surprised. This country is in denial and I have hardened to the decisions being made that put us at further risk.

    Some people say we "deserved" 9/11 because of our foreign policy -- I say we will "deserve" the next horror because we some turned a blind eye to 9/11 and let "progressive" thinking block any possibility of safety...

    UPDATE: Jeb Bush blows his (very, very tiny) shot at taking over for his brother in the Oval Office today by saying that he "he has faith in his brother's administration over its decision to allow an Arab-owned company to operate major U.S. ports, including in Miami." (source)

    San Francisco: Can They Succeed...Please!?

    The USS Iowa is looking for a home and San Fran was one of the options. That was until SF Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval was interviewed on Hannity & Colmes. It all started with a simple explanation why San Franciscans were trying to block this battleship --

    "We just don't want to put a 10-story gun on the waterfront where everybody is going to be looking at it every single day."

    Then the conversation got a lot more interesting as the real motivating factor for blocking the ship was revealed (much to Sandoval's chagrin) --Even liberal sidekick Alan Colmes seemed shocked:

    "What good has [the military] done for us in the last five years?" Sandoval asked.

    "Are you kidding me?'' Alan Colmes -- a Democrat -- asked a moment later.

    "The United States should not have a military,'' Sandoval repeated. "All in all, we would be in much, much, much better shape."

    "What do you want to defend ourselves -- what do you want to defend ourselves with?" Colmes asked later.

    Sandoval: "Well, you got cops. It's called the Coast Guard. There's lots of things different."

    Colmes: "You want to send cops to defend our shores if we're attacked? Cops?"

    To which Sandoval replied: "You want to send people abroad to start these wars?" (source)

    Sandoval is sticking to his guns and claiming the city is behind him in this sentiment. He claims that "90%" of the critical/disapproving emails and calls his office has received have been from outside San Francisco.

    Are there people that actually believe the United States could exist without a military --or it is pacifist shock talk?

    The East Coast may look pretty blue on a map...but, thank God, it's all still pretty pro-military. Wasn't there supposed to be some earthquake that will split California off into the Pacific...?

    Where's the Consistency?

    I am quite sure this question has been asked on hundreds of conservative blogs over the past few years, but...

    If we have declared war on terrorism -- If we have stated that you are our enemy if you harbor/facilitate terrorists -- If we have implicitly stated a "no tolerance" international policy --If we are indeed engaged in the "Global War on Terror"...

    Then why are we dealing with the Palestinians at all?!

    I know people may ask the same of Pakistan, but I don't think it's the same. President Musharraf has risked a lot politically being helpful to the U.S.

    Muslims claim the US has a "controlling element" that shifts foreign policy in favor of Israel. Our blind eye toward the Palestinians ongoing terrorism is evidence that isn't true.

    If there were a group in the US that was consistently bombing innocent civilians in coffee shops, malls and pizza parlors --do you think there would still be a one breathing? What's up with that? I used to empathize with both sides. I am pretty sure that sentiment has been exhausted.

    The Palestinians' (and Muslim for that matter) hatred of the Jews precedes the struggle for the West bank and Gaza and that nullifies all their current justifications...

    Caption It...

    (H/T: Kalipornia Sux!)

    Monday, February 20, 2006

    President's Day Quiz

    "If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War." -George Washington

    "The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party - and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose." -Abraham Lincoln


    Sad... I only got a 14/20.

    Worth the Read:

  • Be Afraid, be very afraid... France has confirmed its first case of bird flu. Am I the only one (besides Justrose) who is really starting to freak out about this... we are so LONG overdue for a huge population controlling epidemic...
    "Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, was calm about the infected duck in France. “Crucially, it is not in poultry and has not reached any domestic birds in Europe. Biosecurity is the key and all farms are operating at a very high standard. If there is an infected wild bird found in Britain then the exclusion zone will be brought in and that will give us even extra safeguards.”
    All poultry movements would be halted inside an exclusion zone and all birds tested. A single infected bird would prompt the slaughter of the entire flock." (source)
    Well, if nothing else it should give PETA something else to protest about...

  • Coming in a close second as most disturbing story (after the fetus-eating doctor) is the Zimbabwe sewers being clogged weekly with excesses of newborns and fetuses.
    "The corpses of at least 20 newborn babies and fetuses are found each week in the sewers of Zimbabwe's capital, some having been flushed down toilets, Harare city authorities said, according to state media Friday." (source)

  • Cheney's unlucky hunting party spoke to the media. His full statement. "My family and I are deeply sorry for all Vice President Cheney and his family had to deal with this week. ...We hope he will continue to come to Texas and seek the relaxation he deserves." Reaction from the left'osphere...that he must be covering for Cheney because he has stake in Halliburton --what else?
  • Capitalist Che

    I have long said (along with many others I am sure) that I love the whole Che Guevara t-shirt craze. I love it because he would hate it. I love it because it goes against everything that he believed. And I really love it because all the dolts that take part in the craze are clueless of the oxymoron the merchandise represents...

    In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Alvaro Vargas Llosa marvels over the same thing. he recounts Che's history and offers a comparison to Argentina’s Juan Bautista Alberdi.

    "...This windfall is owed substantially to last year's Oscar-winning film "The Motorcycle Diaries," which showed the young Che on a voyage of self-discovery as he encounters social and economic exploitation: laying the groundwork for a New Wave reinvention of the man whom Sartre once called the most complete human being of our era.

    It is customary for followers of a cult not to know the real-life story of their hero, the historical truth. It is not surprising that Guevara's contemporary followers, his new post-communist admirers, also delude themselves by clinging to a myth -- a myth firing up people whose causes for the most part represent the exact opposite of what Guevara was..." (Read the rest of the article)

    I have read quite a lot about Che Guevara --it's sad that you can't say the same about thousands that choose to adorn his likeness. I asked a girl in a mall once (who was purchasing a "Viva La Revolucion!" shirt) if she knew who it was on the shirt. She blushed a bit and said "No" but her friends "all had it" and "he was pretty hot".

    May I suggest an alternative...

    In the Sandbox...

    Memorial Protesters Ignorant

    I just finished reading “Kansas church protests at troop memorial” and was more than just a little angry.

    At first, I couldn’t believe that anyone, let alone parents with their small children, would actually protest a memorial for soldiers with picket signs that read “Thank God for IEDs” (improvised explosive devices) and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

    I did some research and found that the Westboro Baptist Church has used every horrible tragedy from Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami of December 2004 and even the space shuttle Columbia disaster, to push an agenda of intolerance, discrimination and hatred against Catholics, Muslims, Jews, nonwhites and homosexuals. Their protests are calculated to gain the attention of the media and spread their message to as many people as possible.

    I personally applaud every counterprotester who let them know that America is standing firmly behind their soldiers and will not let the deaths of soldiers be used as a political vehicle to pursue a twisted agenda.

    My condolences also go to every widow or widower of a fallen soldier living in the Fort Campbell, Ky., area who had to witness such ignorance.

    -Staff Sgt. Christopher Cronen, Al Qayarrah, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

    (It seems that Kentucky lawmakers are drafting Senate Bill 93 which would outlaw protests at funerals/memorials --will the ACLU take the case for "Pastor" Fred Phelps?...if they do, it may even turn many progressives against them…)

    ...the girl of the Coast Guard...
    One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    Untagged, Unsolicited MeMe...

    ...and I am doing it of my own free will because it was written by the one and only Pax Ramano...

    1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?

    Not very "artisitic" I know, but I have to say color. I guess I am a film troglodyte...

    2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?

    Any math that doesn't involve money.

    3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?

    I don't have an MP3 player (as I much prefer talk radio), tapes wore out and records scratched and melted if you left them in your car when you were down the shore at Senior Week...so I'm gonna go with CDs.

    4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going ... ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?

    Damn, I couldn't do it --what would ten million be without The Man and my evil Spawn to share it with?

    5: Seriously, what do you consider the world's most pressing issue now?


    6: How would you rectify the world's most pressing issue?

    Sterilize liberals... LOL

    7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?

    I wouldn't change anything --without my past I wouldn't be right where I am now.

    8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?

    Clinton would have accepted the offer to take Osama Bin Laden -- no 9/11.

    9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole' Opry --Which do you choose?

    Can I just have the cash?

    10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you'd like to solve?

    I would love a confession from Scott Peterson and would love to know the real "Vince Foster Story".

    11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?

    Jane Austen and I would take her to Jones --she had enough home baked meals when she was alive...but I bet she's never had Twisted key Lime Pie.

    12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky -- what's the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?

    Succumb to Philly road rage!

    Tagging: Beth -SWWBO, Basil, Courtney, AFSis, and ArmyWifeToddlerMom

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    No Translation Needed...

    This video really says it all:

    In other developments:

    * Denmark temporarily closes its embassy in Pakistan because of the security situation. Copenhagen also advises against all travel to Pakistan and urges Danes there to leave as soon as possible.

    * Pakistan recalls its ambassador in Denmark for consultations.

    * A minister in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Haji Yaqub, announces a $11m reward for anyone who beheads the cartoonist who drew the images of Muhammad.

    * Peshawar cleric Maulana Yousaf Qureshi offers 7.5m rupees ($125,000) and a car to anyone who kills the cartoonist. The reward is later reportedly raised to $1m.

    * Former US President Bill Clinton calls the publication of the cartoons "a mistake".

    * In Hong Kong, more than 2,000 Muslims stage a peaceful anti-cartoon march. (source)

    --The students at the University of California at Berkeley definitely are trendsetters...they were protesting their school paper for running the cartoon that is at the top of this post back in 2001. Berkeley: setting the trend of Muslim cartoon protests...

    "We understand that it's a matter of free speech, but it's hate speech," said Jaspreet K. Saini, a council member of the Sikh Student Association. "That kind of speech is not protected by anyone. It only encourages more violence and more killing." (source)

    Yet Another Reason to Tune In to Law & Order...

    Dennis Farina, former Chicago police officer and detective turned actor.

    I have no idea what Farina's politics are and I don't care...what I do know is that he has been secretly visiting the recovering troops at Walter Reed. He tries to get there once every couple of months and he doesn't want any press involved.

    That is so cool of him --and I'm sure that his visits mean a lot to the guys/gals there...especially when they realize he isn't being trailed by a gaggle of reporters.

    A little payback...

    For all the blondes (real or enhanced) that have had to listen to "Blonde Jokes" for as long as they can remember...

    Why are so many blonde jokes one-liners?
    So brunettes can remember them.

    What do you call a brunette in a room full of blondes?

    What's a brunette's mating call?
    "Has the blonde left yet?"

    What do brunettes miss most about a great party?
    The invitation.

    What do you call a good looking man with a brunette?
    A hostage.

    Why do brunettes tell blonde jokes?
    They have nothing better to do on Saturday nights.

    What do you call a brunette whose phone rings on a Saturday night?

    Why do brunettes sleep on their stomachs?
    Because they can...

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Real News the MSM Isn't Covering Because of A Hunting Accident

    You'd never know it from the 24/7 news coverage of Vice President Cheney's hunting accident (like the man doesn't feel bad enough shooting his friend), and the audacity of Hillary (Vince Foster was not available for comment) and Teddy Kennedy (Mary Jo Kopechne was not available for comment) making jokes about it (--at least let the dude get out of the hospital first...), BUT there are actually some pretty newsworthy things taking place in the world.

    I guess it's now up to the right'osphere to fill people in on what the MSM chooses to ignore.

    First and foremost, Blackfive has beaten the NYT to the punch and posted the next round of pictures from Abu Gharib. Go take a look. Do you think these will be spattered above the fold in the dead trees?

    Second, and winning for most under-reported item due to nonsense, is the article in The Washington Times yesterday about satellite photos showing that China has been building up their nukes.
    "A Pentagon official said the photograph of the tunnel entrance reveals for the first time a key element of China's hidden military buildup. Similar but more detailed intelligence photos of the entrance are highly classified within the U.S. government, the official said.
    "The Chinese have a whole network of secret facilities that the U.S. government understands but cannot make public," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "This is the first public revelation of China's secret buildup." (source)
    The U.S. has asked China to submit these sites to inspection --it hasn't been released whether the request was denied or China denied their existence.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asks Congress to give 75 million for TV and radio broadcasts and fund dissident groups in Iran.

    So we have the Iranian President making semi-veiled threats against the "Great Satan", Bin Laden and Al Zawahri calling for attacks, Kim Jong-il still breathing, and now China stockpiling...but let's keep talking about a hunting accident that was identical to 34 others that happened last year and never made their local papers!

    B.S. Law in PA: Engagement Ring a "Conditional Gift"

    In PA (and I believe NJ & NY among other states) an engagement ring is considered a "conditional gift". Now, before all the male readers puff up in approval...this is not right. If a guy breaks off an engagement a week before a wedding the girl still has the dress, flowers, etc. that she paid for --and he doesn't have reimburse her for any of that, but she has to give back the ring!?

    I know many women believe they should get to keep it regardless of who breaks the engagement (unconditional gift), but I think it should be contingent on who breaks it... (some states do it that way also).

    This issue may come before the legislature in Pennsylvania because of a case that is in the news here in Philly...The woman (Grace) sold her $35,000 ring after her fiancé broke the engagement (she gave the money to charity) and he was suing her (he seems to have now dropped the suit out of publicity shame).

    "When engagements shatter, who gets to keep the ring depends on where you live.

    Pennsylvania is one of several states, including New Jersey and New York, that side with the man. California, too, backs the guy, unless he breaks it off. But courts in Montana have held that the ring is an unconditional gift that need not be returned.

    Wedding experts are likewise divided.

    Mark Kingsdorf, the owner of the Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants in Philadelphia, believes that from an etiquette standpoint, the ring is merely a gift.

    "It's not a binding contract," said Kingsdorf. "My concern now is whether we are going to do prenuptial agreements upon engagement: I give you this ring and ask you to marry me, but please sign this and state that it's not a gift.

    "Is that the next step?"

    Grace's story has caught the attention of State Sen. Joe Conti (R., Bucks), whose office is drafting legislation that could be introduced in Harrisburg as early as mid-March. The bill is in the preliminary stages, and it is unclear what final form it would take.

    Vicki Wilken, Conti's legislative counsel, said the senator is considering a range of options, from requiring Pennsylvania jewelers to post notices about the state law to publishing the information in state-issued consumer-protection pamphlets.

    Conti is in discussions with the Attorney General's Office to determine the best approach.

    "We are looking at all this stuff," said Wilken, who acknowledged that even as a lawyer, she was shocked to learn of the law. "It's not widely known. I didn't know it, and we want to educate people so they don't end up in the same situation as Janet."

    Engagement Ring Debate
    Who Gets Custody of the Ring?
    The Man -He bought it!
    The Woman -It was a gift!
    Whoever didn't break the engagement.
    They should sell it to pay for anything purchased.

    Finally! Some Hate Mail!

    Well, it's not even really hate mail, but it's been almost FOUR months since I've gotten anything subversive. I was beginning to think I'd gone soft...that I was sliding down the slippery slope to Centrist..

    It's not much, but alas...it's something:

    "How very odd to find a clenched fist like yourself defending freedom from religious thuggery on the same page with a "stop ACLU" button. That organization's steadfast defense of personal freedoms is the reason I have been, and will continue to be, a card-carrying, dues-paying member of ACLU all my adult life.
    You may fancy yourself a defender of freedom, but are you sure your latest righteous tune isn't being played in the keys of X (xenophobia) and R (racism)?
    Look in the mirror . . .
    Best regards,

    In the Sandbox...

    ‘Sleep Safe, America’

    I am a soldier and have been this my entire adult life.

    It is a very selective brotherhood, the military service. It is hard to talk to someone about deployments, sergeants time training, field exercises, gunnery and the things these young men and women do everyday to train, to hone the edge of freedom so that the U.S. remains a safe place to live and raise our children.

    Every once in awhile our vigilance slips and terror does strike our country but the spirit of freedom lives strong in every American. Every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine is here because they want to be here and they are all carrying the spirit of America in their hearts.

    There are some families that have protested the war and have pointed fingers at our leaders because their loved one has given the ultimate price for freedom. My thoughts are to those families that chase the news, wanting to place the blame on our leaders: Where were you when your loved one joined the military? Everyone knows that those in the military might pay with his life; it is not something that is new. To protest and accuse others because their loved one has died is a dishonor to the memory of that individual. I ask you to stop dishonoring your loved one, and instead praise him for his devotion because in the place where fallen warriors go, he will be honored for his selfless sacrifice.

    God bless you, and remember when you do something without fear, this freedom was given to you by those who have fallen.

    Sleep safe, America. We are here and we will stand fast and watch over you.

    -Staff Sgt. Robert Fries, Camp Taji, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

    ...more girls of the Reserves...
    one, two, three, four, five, six

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Ted Rall VS. Ann Coulter

    "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and the NY Times have made submissions." -Anne Coulter, 2/2006

    Okay, brace yourselves... Ted Rall, you remember him right? The idiot "cartoonist" that came into the public eye over his horrid cartoon of Pat Tillman, is soliciting money to sue Ann Coulter for slander over the above remark. A man that has said " "We Do Not Owe Our Liberties To The Military" and "US Military No Different Than Terrorists" and said vile things about both Pat Tillman and Ronald Reagan all under the blanket of free speech --but still finds time to complain about others' cartoons:

    He had this to say about "The Incredibles":
    “It’s kind of ironic that superheroes now have these fascist, right-wing connotations. The right has stolen our flag and our superheroes, too.”
    He added: “I would be in favour of Empathy Man. The man who plants the seeds of empathy into the cold, stony heart of the average red-state American.”(source)

    And, so much for free speech, now he wants to sue Ann Coulter over a joke. Now, I realize that the reason the joke was FUNNY was because it could be true. No one would be surprised to hear that Rall sent cartoons belittling the Holocaust...

    If you can stomach it --you have to read Rall's little tirade about Ann. It's most likely the funniest thing he's done...

    The end is the best...he begs his readers for money to sue Ann:

    "So that's where things stand. Whether or not this proxy battle for the soul of America takes place depends on the generosity of the American people and the depth of their contempt for neo-McCarthyite smear tactics against progressives. Please pledge today at [blahblahblah.com]."

    Liberals elsewhere are also attacking Coulter-- as with Cheney, they got a scent of blood in the water. Apparently she voted 4 miles too far from her palm Beach house in a little local election and they are going wild!

    Just a small sampling of the left'osphere headlines cropping up already:
    PAPER: Ann Coulter Commits Vote Fraud Felony!
    Ann Coulter Guilty of a Felony??? Hammer of Truth
    Ann Coulter Commits Election Felony

    RedState.org is all over it.

    Black on White Hate Crime in the Philly Fire Department

    Ok, before I even start here: In the interest of full disclosure, I am closely tied to the Philadelphia Fire Department through various family members and friends (as most of you already know).

    That being said, I have blogged numerous times on the fairly new anti-hiring quota organization CAFFA --and my unabashed, full support for what they are doing.


    *Fair Hiring and Promotional Practices for ALL Firefighters & Paramedics
    *The Elimination of Race Based Quotas in the Fire Service.
    *Rank Order Hiring and Promoting.
    *Reduce the Weight or Eliminate Oral Examinations Altogether.

    Lt. Joseph Montague, a Lieutenant in the PFD and the Vice President of CAFFA-Philadelphia (and incidentally a Caucasian man), was recently transferred to a station in a mostly (all)-black neighborhood (a random assignment?). When he got into work on Friday he was greeted with a white hood hanging on his locker that read "KKKaffa".

    "I was scared," Montague said. "I was very scared. I kind of took it as a threat and a warning. The threat being we know who you are, where you work and we're watching you. Unfortunately, some people perceive that as a race issue," Montague said. "Anytime race is involved and you're a white person, I guess you're automatically included in the Ku Klux Klan." (source)

    To the credit of the Philadelphia Police Department, this is being investigated by the hate crimes unit and I have it on good authority that the pillow case hood has been sent to a lab for DNA testing...

    Being anti-quota does not mean anti-EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. CAFFA is currently holding the city to the (unconstitutional) 12% percent of each class at the Fire Academy for African-American applicants. (For years and years it has well exceeded this percentage). CAFFA is not opposed to affirmative-action hiring, but wants neutral testing so that department applicants can compete for positions, regardless of their race. (source)

    Though my brother recently scored an excellent 99% on the exam, I don't believe he would have made it into this next class without the "watchdog" CAFFA...

    What's Worse Than An Abortion Doctor that Loves His Job?

    ...one that is accused of microwaving and EATING the fetuses. Unfortunately this isn't a punch line to a tasteless joke.

    Krishna Rajanna, proprietor of the (former) Affordable Medical and Surgical Services in Kansas City, Kansas, has his clinic raided and his license revoked "after former employees made allegations of coffee cups full of syringes, medical tools stored near toilets and fetuses stored in refrigerators used by employees for lunches. At least one employee claimed to have witnessed Rajanna microwaving a fetus and mixing it into his own lunch. Though Rajanna vehemently denied the charge, saying he was a vegetarian, his clinic was closed and his medical license revoked."
    No charges were brought against Rajanna for the alleged fetus consumption, but not because law enforcement authorities disbelieved the accusation. The problem for the district attorney was that there were no laws against eating fetuses.(source)

    "Julia Walton Garcia made the fetus-eating charge to Detective William Howard of the Kansas City Police Department and to District Attorney Nick Tomasic. 'Julia went on to describe how she and the other girls actually witnessed Rajanna microwave one of the aborted fetuses and stir it into his lunch,'' explained Howard, the investigating officer in the case. ''Julia claimed that she shared this (information) with some of the other employees, who confirmed that they had seen him do the very same thing.''
    Howard was so disturbed by the charge that he took Garcia to see Tomasic. Though Howard warned Garcia that lying to a district attorney would be a serious offense, she reportedly told the same story to Tomasic.
    But Tomasic's hands were tied. There were no laws on the books to prohibit an abortionist – or anyone else – from eating a human unborn baby." (source)

    The pictures of Rajanna's clinic are being used to bolster support for new bills calling for regulations and inspections. There were fetus parts in the refrigerator that employees used for their lunches (PICTURE -not graphic*). ("While Rajanna denied the accusation about eating fetuses, he did admit keeping fetuses in Styrofoam cups in the refrigerator along with food and drink.") His sterilization room and staff/patient bathroom was one in the same (PICTURE). The Associated Press mellowed down the story quite a bit:
    "The Board of Healing Arts found that [Rajanna's] clinic appeared cluttered. It said some items were improperly kept in a utility room and in the freezer of a refrigerator that also contained food." (Aborted babies are "items"?)

    "Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has twice vetoed bills to regulate abortion clinics, saying she could only support legislation that applied new regulations "across the board" – to all clinics that perform outpatient surgery.

    That's exactly what House Bill 2829 would do – require all 2,300 offices that perform outpatient surgery to undergo unannounced inspections.

    Not surprisingly, the legislation is being opposed by abortion proponents as prejudicial."

    I Want To Name Drop...

    ...The Man is working for someone pretty damn famous this week. It's killing me not to tell. This is one of those times that it's terrible to have a blog.


    I know this post is cruel since I really can't tell, but I had to say SOMETHING...

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Able-Danger: What's the Controversy?

    I understand that laws forbid the military from doing police/investigative work on American soil and that's why we have the FBI... I also understand it's a check and balance installed to prevent a military coup (at least I think this is the case, but please correct me if I'm wrong...). I guess that's what the "discontent" over Able Danger is about, but why were they able to accomplish what no other agency could? Then again, some are still denying their existence... Why? Are there legal fallouts?

    What would be the harm in assembling a group of ex-(or active) military minds to foresee impending catastrophe? Able Danger seems to be the proof that it works. Of course I'm sure that even though the system they used worked --it will be deemed as profiling...

    Pennsylvania's Republican Rep. Curt Weldon (who was the driving force in bringing this story to public light) told press yesterday that Mohammad Atta was identified THIRTEEN times prior to 9/11...

    "During a Capitol Hill news conference, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said the unit - code-named "Able Danger" - also identified "a problem" in Yemen two weeks before the attack on the USS Cole. It knew the problem was tied into the port of Aden and involved a U.S. platform, but the ship commander was not made aware of it, Weldon said.

    The suicide bombing of the Cole killed 17 sailors on Oct. 12, 2000.

    If anyone had told the Cole's commander that there was any indication of a problem in Aden, "he would not have gone there," Weldon told reporters. "He had no clue."

    Weldon would not say who provided evidence of such intelligence to him.

    Since August, Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has pushed Congress and the Pentagon to investigate the workings of Able Danger, which used data mining to identify links that might indicate the workings of terrorists. If he is correct, it would change the timeline for when government officials first became aware of Atta's links to al-Qaida.

    Former members of the Sept. 11 commission have dismissed Weldon's findings.

    Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a Pentagon spokesman, released a statement saying that Pentagon officials welcome the opportunity to address these issues during a hearing scheduled Wednesday before a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee." (source)

    Someone explain to me the down side of this program ...and why profiling is wrong if it works and innocent lives are saved? If short blonde's were blowing up bridges in the US, I would be pissed if I wasn't pulled over and searched when I go over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge...

    Troops Can Now Get Reimbursed...

    Finally! A new memo from the DOD details the equipment that deploying troops have been paying out of pocket for...and will now be reimbursed (if it was purchased between 9/2001 - 4/2006 for OIF, OEF and ONE)

    The List:
    # Complete ballistic vests;
    # Most component parts of ballistic vests, including side-plate body armor;
    # Helmets;
    # Ballistic eye protection;
    # Hydration systems;
    # Gloves;
    # Knee pads;
    # Elbow pads;
    # Bed insect netting;
    # Insect repellant; and
    # Reflective vests
    (Full List)

    "To be reimbursed for equipment, service members must complete DD Form 2902, "Claim for Reimbursement for Privately Purchased Protective, Safety or Health Equipment used in Combat." This form must be submitted to the service member’s chain of command or, for former members, to an authorizing official designated by their former service at an address on the form. All claims must be submitted by Oct. 3, 2006.

    The original memo states that the military will reimburse service members for the cost, including shipping, of any protective, safety or health equipment that was purchased by the member or by another person on behalf of the member for the member's personal use during deployment.

    To be eligible for reimbursement, the equipment must be on the approved list of shortage equipment, and the member must not have been issued equivalent government-provided equipment before they engaged in imminent danger or hostile fire operations, the original memo states." (source)

    Get those forms in!