Saturday, December 31, 2005

My wish for 2006

Let's finish our business in Iraq and Afghanistan,
give the Iranians a good whack,
and then get our people home.
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Viceless in Massachusetts

Professor Bainbridge has some doubts about Mitt Romney's "no drinking, no smoking, no coffee" philosophy. Here was Professor James Dickey's (America's Poet Laureate, wrote and acted in Deliverance) opinion:
The thing about drinking is; when I'm feeling bad it makes me feel good and when I'm feeling good it makes me feel better.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Comment from Lulu, the unknown blogger

This is the comment of the week and Lulu is in the running for commenter of the year. It's short but sweet.
u seem like an interesting person. ur blog is interesting. mine sux. don't look at it.
Lulu | 12.29.05 - 3:16 pm | #
Lulu thoughtfully does not provide a link to her blog (which apparently sux) thereby saving Mark in Mexico the agony of a visit there. C'mon, now, Lulu, it can't be that bad. Send me a link! If it really, truly sux, which I doubt, I'll be happy to offer some advice to help you spiff it up a bit. Like, liberalism sux, the DNC sux, Howard Dean sux, Kos sux, all lefties suk (with the exception of this one), Congressmen who accept thinly veiled bribes and call them legal because "that's the way business gets done in Washington" suk, the Taleban sux, al Qaeda sux, France sux, Robert Mugabe sux, al Jazeera sux, Putin sux, China sux, North Korea sux, the dear leader of North Korea really sux and the mullahs in Iran really, really suk.

Now, if the common thread of negativity running through the aforementioned is a bit of a turnoff in this otherwise bright and rosy Christmas season, there are some things that rock. Bush rocks, the military forces of the United States really rock (and rock really hard, I might add), Republicans rock (for the most part, the aforementioned Congressmen excepted) conservatism rocks, Israel rocks, Jooz rock (except those who cast their knee-jerk Democratic Party line vote year after year - they are stupid - and that sux), tax cuts rock, the Kurds rock, Tony Dungy, his family and the Indianapolis Colts rock, the Mark in Mexico blogroll rocks and, finally, all of Mark in Mexico's readers and commenters rock, especially Lulu.

There now, Lulu, you can attack or defend, praise or castigate, baste or boost, celebrate or chastise, dignify or drub, extol or excoriate, penalize or prize, push or pummel, plug or punish, scathe or stroke, scourge or salute, tongue-lash or tout, all to your heart's content - while linking me incessantly.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

A hermit's lot is not a happy one

This is a sad and somewhat disturbing story. A guy lives alone in a secluded trailer. No telephone and no neighbores within miles. The wind blows a tree down which falls across the trailer, pinning the fellow's legs under it. He apparently thinks that no one will ever come to rescue him and he is within reach of a pistol. So, he shoots himself.

A neighbor stopped by to check on him on Christmas day and found his body. Had he hung on a little while longer he would, in fact, have been rescued.



Oopsie Daisy.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

On James Dungy

Quite a nice piece, straight from the heart, on the suicide of Tony Dungy's son, James, by Dennis Prager.
Given the widespread admiration for Tony Dungy as a man, not just as a coach — he is reported to be a kind, socially active churchgoer who apparently devoted many hours to being with his son — there is an important lesson to be learned from this tragedy.

That lesson is this: There are children upon whom parents have had little influence. This is true for some wonderful children, and it is true of some troubled children and even of some who turn out to be evil adults.

And that is why the only reaction any of us should have to the suicide of 18-year-old James Dungy is profound sorrow — for him, his parents and all those who loved him.

From every account of that family, if it happened to them, it could happen to anyone.
James Dungy's funeral is being held today in Tampa.

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Mark in Mexico responds to Kathleen Parker

Ms. Parker has written a scathing attack on the Blogosphere and bloggers such as, ahem, yours truly. Mark in Mexico takes this opportunity to retort. Ms. Parker charges that blogs are:
. . . less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility - the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification.
Not guilty. Mark in Mexico remains a very visible and risible insidious enemy of decency, humanity and civility. And I am not angry, goddammit!.
There's something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang "electroniverse" where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day.
I think there's something slightly creepy about any big-time journalist who is so frightened by widdle ol' me, frankly.
I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability.
Guilty. That's me; A sense of power emanating from deep inside my precious bodily fluids, totally unrestrained and accountable to no one except God and Instapundit.
Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow.
Hell, I'd do what I was doing before. Go fishin'. It's all the same to me.
Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.
Guilty as to the first count. Not guilty as to the second, third and fourth counts. You can always rely on Mark in Mexico for superlative commentary, or whatever. And certainly no obsessive-compulsive behavior, except for the occasional overuse, of, commas,.
Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi.
What's WiFi?
They play tag team with hyperlinks ("I'll say you're important if you'll say I'm important) and shriek "Gotcha!" when they catch some weary wage earner in a mistake or oversight.
Gotcha! I don't ever do that. And Mark in Mexico shows no mercy to weary wage earners who call terrorists, "insurgents" or attempt to pawn off easily identified forgeries as the real thing to support their political bent. What's the frequncy, Kenneth?
Without adult supervision, they organize themselves into rival tribes, learn to hunt and kill, and eventually become murderous barbarians in the absence of a civilizing structure.
Not guilty! I was a Boy Scout, Order of the Arrow and everything. It's where I smoked my first cigarette, heard my first dirty joke and learned to masturbate. How's that for a civilizing structure? And, sheesh! Murderous barbarians? She must be talking about Steven "Bad Boy" Bainbridge, Eugene "The Vicious" Volokh, Daniel "The Deadly" Drezner and their ilk, certainly not about Mark "The Meek" in Mexico.
Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement.
Wrong, again. I seek the destruction of others in order to scatter my enemy and drive him before me. To see his cities reduced to ashes. To see those who love him shrouded and in tears. And to gather to my bosom his wives and daughters.
When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.
I've never contemplated hoisting the fly-covered head of a butchered sow on a bloody stick. Dan Rather's head, however, would do quite nicely.
Incivility is their weapon and humanity their victim.
Not guilty! I remain ever civil and humane. Wow, this Kathleen Parker is a real Mongoloid Neanderthal post-menopausal bitch, isn't she?
I mean no disrespect to the many brilliant people out there - professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists and other journalists who also happen to blog. Again, they know who they are. But we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.
Well, she may have me there. I am neither a professor, lawyer, doctor, philosopher, scientist or other journalist. So, in Kathleen Parker's mind, such as it functions, if a blogger is not one of the aforementioned "professionals", one should not be granted a voice. And, if one insists on that right of free speech which Ms. Parker so cavalierly tosses into the trash heap here, one is rabble and should be resisted. Hey, Kathy, resist this!

Some other angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification add their babble, buzz and blurts.
Middle Earth Journal
Daily Pundit
Paul Mitchell over at Thoughts of a Regular Guy has espablished a discourse with Ms. Parker. I don't think you'll like her answers.
Mr. Minority calls this one of the Opinions of the Day
La Shawn Barber says she's sure that she has written a really good post, now and then.
The Captain says, on a related subject, "When they're good, they're very, very good ... but when they're bad, they're horrid."
Irish Wake says, "And if the media's job is to objectively report the news, while keeping an eye on both government and businesses, who's job is it to keep an eye on the mainstream media? It's the bloggers."

Orthodixie has a photo of Ms. Parker

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Chicago Tribune gets serious

Well, I don't know what to think of this. In Judging The Case For War, the Chicago Tribune lays out what it calls the 9 arguments that the Bush administration made for the war in Iraq. The Tribune examines "What the White House said", "What we know today" and "The Verdict". "The Verdict" being the Tribune's conclusion of whether the reason(s) given for war are supported by what we know now, or not.

The conclusion of the Chicago Tribune:
Seventeen days before the war, this page reluctantly urged the president to launch it. We said that every earnest tool of diplomacy with Iraq had failed to improve the world's security, stop the butchery--or rationalize years of UN inaction. We contended that Saddam Hussein, not George W. Bush, had demanded this conflict.

Many people of patriotism and integrity disagreed with us and still do. But the totality of what we know now--what this matrix chronicles-- affirms for us our verdict of March 2, 2003. We hope these editorials help Tribune readers assess theirs.
A very interesting read subject to nitpicking-to-death, which it probably will be.


A matter of dollars and sense

Matthew Yglesias writes a mostly well thought-out piece on the No Child Left Behind article in WaPo that I mentioned here. The WaPo OP/Ed complained that the worst-performing students are getting all of the attention (read: money) while the so-called gifted students are getting short changed. Yglesias says that the "false choice" mentioned here is not a false choice at all. He's right. Then he says,
The former (investing in the "hard cases") strikes me as more desirable than the latter (investing in the "easy cases"), especially for people who want to think of themselves as being on the left.
My question to Matthew is, "What does 'being on the left', or not, have to do with it?" I don't think that those in the middle or on the right would hesitate for even a nano-second to agree that educating the difficult-to-reach would have far greater long-term effects on the health of our nation than failing to adequately advance those gifted students. And I don't think anyone on any side of the political spectrum would disagree that it is important that we give the proper attention, money and effort to educate all children as well as we possibly can regardless of the degree of difficulty encountered.

I really hate it when someone "on the left" drags that political crap out and smears it all over the table. Very presumptuous and, I might add, very divisive. I defy anyone anywhere to identify and document to my satisfaction a school district anywhere in the land, Massachusetts or California or New York (leftie hotbeds) or wherever, that has done all possible to educate the children in its charge. It ain't there. We don't do do it, anywhere, anytime. If we did, the No Child Left Behind Act would cause no grief whatsoever to those wonderful school districts. But where is it they are screaming the loudest? And who were the lefties who wrote the Act? Who were the lefties that promoted the Act? Who was the leftie presidential candidate who made the Act one of the centerpieces of his campaign? Which were the rightie labor unions who so virulently opposed the Act?


Anyone with mental capacities and thought processes above the absolute moron level must realize that our prisons, our welfare rolls, our soup kitchens and our unemployment lines are filled with formerly difficult-to-educate children. And it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathmatics from MIT to at least guess at that annual cost. It's gotta be in the billions and billions per year, every year. Knowing these two things, it then doesn't require a Harvard PhD to deduce that more investment in those difficult-to-reach children would pay off, in the long run, many times over.

As a person "on the right", my complaint about No Child Left Behind and all of the other myriad programs which preceeded it and are no doubt bound to follow it leave out the key element in the education of a child. Parental responsibility. No act or program exists, to my knowledge, that adequately addresses this key component. When will governments, local, state or federal, get serious about holding parents responsible for their lack of interest and discipline regarding the education of their children? Probably never. Parents can vote, after all.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What's happening here?

What it is ain't exactly clear. I light up Memeorandum this morning and the conservative and center and center-right bloggers are missing in action. Memeorandum, I think, shows the news items and commentary most linked-to and most mentioned in the blogs. It's almost all anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-administration today. What gives?

New York Times:
No Sunnis in the Iraqi military - Bad war! Bush failure!
Bi-partisan director of the Congessional Budget Office is only quoted by NYT when he is anti-administration - Bad economics! Bad tax reductions! Dumb Bush!
Schwarzenegger snubbed by hometown - Bad death penalty! Good Tookie! Bad actor!
Ghanans (the people of Ghana, where "millions of Africans passed on their way to plantations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean"),call visiting African-Americans searching for their slave-roots "white foreigners". 15th paragraph finally mentions that only 4.5% of Africans became slaves in Bush's America - Bad Bush! Bad America! Racist Republicans! (Lincoln, the gay, racist president, was a Republican) - Racist administration!

The Washington Post:
Bush administration favorite Chalabi rejected by his own people - Bad Bush! Bad Rumsfeld! Bad war!
The whole story on military recruiting - Bad American military! Bad war! Bad Bush! Whoops. Er, maybe not.
South Dakota doesn't provide abortions on every street corner. Bad red-state! Bad hillbilly farmers! Bad Alito.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Viet Nam sinking budget - Bad Nixon (he started that war, remember?)! Bad Bush! Bad war! Bad Republicans!
Bush tortures the Constitution and hoodwinks the nation into ill-advised wars - Bad Bush! Bad neo-cons! Bad Republicans!
US has spent $1 billion on Darfur and US military has engaged in rescue and food drops. Situation continues to deteriorate. Bad Bush! Racist administration! Uncaring rich Republicans! (Darfur is in Africa, last time I checked.)
White House press room dirty and decaying, Helen Thomas not comfy - Bad Bush! Bad administration! Bad McClellan!
Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, personally appointed by George and Laura Bush, to step down due to Bush approved torture of prisoners - Bad Bush! Bad neo-cons! Bad war!
Gifted children left behind - Bad Bush! Bad rich Republicans with gifted children in private schools! Bad No Child Left Behind Act!
Maryland Governor Ehrlich first Republican elected in 30 years, pledging to clean up corrupt state government, can't find any Republicans in corrupt state government, fires only Democrats - Bad Republican governor! Bad Republicans!
White House prevarications, now they're lying about greenhouse gas emissions - Bad Bush! Bad administration! Bad Republicans! Bad air day!
Special interest pork invented by Republican Congress - Bad Republicans! Bad industry! Bad business!
Cajuns may be forced to move away from Cat V hurricanes; want red-staters to pay to rebuild everything where is and pay again when it all gets knocked down the next time - Bad Bush! Bad administration! Bad rich Republicans who live in Tennessee and Indiana (higher ground)!
US forces take draconian action at Samarrah (Cambridge - draconian; adjective, FORMAL, describes laws, government actions, etc. which are unreasonably severe; going beyond what is right or necessary) - Soldiers build 8 foot high dirt wall so they don't get their asses shot off - Bad war! Bad US military! Bad American soldiers! Bad Bush! (Written by same reporter who wrote now-disavowed inaccurate recruiting report mentioned above.)

Sheesh! Where is everybody?

Please do not click on any of the links provided. It will only encourage Memeorandum to continue to provide links to these anti-Bush, anti-administration, anti-Republican and anti-American sites. To stem this almost overwhelming tide today, please visit only those news sources which are not avowedly lefty socialist in nature. That means, uh, er, FOXNews and, uh, well, just keep looking. I'm sure you'll find something else out there. Let me know when you do.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Robert Mugabe's goat gotten

If this report is to be believed, the Zimbabwean strong-man president just got his. A goat got his goat, so to speak. According to the report, Mugabe's motorcade stopped to refuel on its way to a resort area in Zimbabwe. I'll bet that's really a plush locale. Anyway, Mugabe got out of the car to stretch his legs when a billy goat wandered by. It decided that it wanted the water bottle that the dear president was holding. The president objected. He got his ox gored by said goat. More accurately, Mugabe got his scrotum and lower bowel punctured by the thirsty goat. Man, I'll bet that hurt.

At last report Mugabe is in the hospital from which he will hopefully emerge in a feet first position. We all, or more specifically, the Zimbabwean people should be so lucky.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

The Guardian worse than NYT/LAT/WaPo/CBS

Actually, I'm being unkind to the four left-wing news media representatives cited above. I would put The Guardian on a par with Mother Jones and The Village Voice. They've written an article ripped from a USA Today interview with Wayne Newton. Newton complains about how difficult it is to get top ranked movie stars to Iraq on USO tours. The Guardian supports this story with a list of the movie stars and personalities who have visited Iraq as part of a USO tour. They list: Robin Williams, 50 Cent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Wayne Newton, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, Robin Williams, Al Franken, Ted Nugent.

They neglected to list these entertainers who have visited Iraq (there is a much longer list of those who have visited the troops in Afghanistan and many other locations around the world) as part of an official USO tour:
Colin Quinn
Warrick Dunn of the Atlanta Falcons
Lawrence Izzo of the New England Patriots
Toby Keith (a country singer you have probably never heard of, according to The Guardian)
Rascal Flatts
Colin Quinn (again)
Jeff Ross
Gale Sayers
Leeann Tweeden
Vince Vaughn
Dave Letterman
Darryl Worley
Mark Wills
Karri Turner
James Gandolfini
Tony Sirico
Second City Comedy
Neal McCoy
Rob Schneider
The McFadden Brothers
Jenevi Bakch
Tom Green
Glenn Humplik

And this list does not include other entertainers who have gone to Iraq who were not part of a USO tour, like, uh, Bruce Willis, Charlie Daniels, Drew Carey, Bo Jackson, George Bush, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, et al.

Visiting Iraq to entertain the troops is not without its risks, even after the entertainers return. The punk-rock group, The Vandals, was scheduled for a series of performances in Austria after returning from Iraq but the concerts were canceled. Band member Joe Escalante wrote this in his diary:
Now they have decided to cancel our show here because we played for the troops in Iraq and they have put up some really sad stuff on their web site that says we played for "murderers and idiots."
The Vandals official response to the Austrians canceling their scheduled performances was:
As a band with zero political songs, yet 10 about diarrhea, we were pretty amused that the Arena Club in Vienna, Austria found something to rally against in our visit to Iraq to entertain soldiers.

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Greenpeace is right on this one

I don't usually have much good to say about Greenpeace these days, but about this one I think they are in the right. And you have to give those on the scene a lot of credit. They are motoring around in small boats in front of frighteningly powerful harpoon guns in one of the most inhospitable bodies of water on earth.

The Japanese say they are conducting a "research program", a statement that drips with hypocrisy. Probably a research program much like the ear, eyes, nose and throat research they were going to perform on this guy.

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James Dungy: suicide confirmed

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's office released a short statement after performing an autopsy on the body of Tony Dungy's son. Dr. Jaqueline Lee reported that his suicide had been confirmed but that toxicology reports would not be available for 4-6 weeks.

Not a very merry Christmas at Tony Dungy's home this year and probably not for several years to come. I suspect that all of his family and many friends in and out of professional football as well as all the players, staff and fans of the Indianapolis Colts will have a subdued Christmas as well. I'll be thinking about him. I hope you will, too.

More here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Radiation detectors monitoring likely terrorist sites

Well, another "TOP SECRET" program designed to help keep us all alive has been exposed. I wonder how long this will continue before someone goes to prison for life-with-no-parole in order to put a stop to it. In this case, the FBI has been secretly monitoring various sites in Washington, DC, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle. FBI agents working with NEST (Nuclear Emergency Support Team) personnel from the Department of Energy have been monitoring "over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses."

What has everyone from the left in a snit is the fact that all this took place clandestinely. That is, the FBI and NEST teams didn't walk into a grocery store in Dearborn and announce, "We're here to check radiation levels in yer air to see if y'all'a a-plannin' a terrorist bommin' er a nukyular AY-tack." And, of course, the "Muslim sites" bit has everybody hopping and foaming at the mouth over the usual racial profiling jazz. As if the Shinto-ists, Hindus, Buddhists and Hebrews had been rattling their nukyular sabers at us of late.

What everyone seems to have missed in this is that, according to this article, NEST has been conducting clandestine surveillance like this for thirty (30) years. That's three (3) decades, one and one-half (1 1/2) generations, "using high-tech detection gear fitted onto various aircraft, vehicles, and even backpacks and attaché cases." Only when the FBI gets involved and Muslims become the surveilled do the knee-jerk lefties get their panties knotted. And, Oh my!, are they ever knotted. Let's take a look at some of the usual suspects:

Shakespeare's Sister seems not to be able to differentiate between C-4 plastique and plutonium.
Meanwhile, monitoring radiation levels does absolutely nothing to protect against the use of, say, C-4.
Perhaps I can help here, Shakespeare (her maiden name, I would presume). C-4 has the TNT equivalence of 118%. Therefore, the volume of C-4 required to produce a 5 megaton nukyular explosion during the height of visiting hours at the Henry Ford Dearborn Museum would be 84,764,000 lbs of C-4. At the normal 50,000 lb weight limit of cargo delivery trucks in Dearborn, the terrorists would need to deliver, simultaneously, 1,695 fully loaded 48 ft tractor-trailers to the museum and then detonate all of them, simultaneously. I think the FBI would tend to rely on Dearborn traffic cops and the museums parking lot attendants to nip this threat in the bud. Shakespeare also seems not to have read up on the fact that Timmy McVeigh is pretty dead.

Think Progress seems not to realize that stopping a nukyular blast in, say, Washington, DC would save the lives of ". . . those who stood with him in the Islamic Center . . . ," as well as about 100,000 other Muslims who were too busy to attend that soiree Or does he expect all 100,000 of them to get phone calls instructing them to flee the area. You know, like all the Jooz got out of the twin towers before Mossad flew those planes into them.

Georgia 10 at Daily Kos seems not to be able to differentiate between a search for marijuana plants and a search for a 5 megaton plutonium explosive device.
Does monitoring radiation levels constitute a "search" that requires a warrant? From Justice Scalia in Kyllo (police used a heat detection device from the sidewalk in front of a house to detect the heat given off by heat lamps inside the house):

Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a "search" and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.
Mathew "'T' Challenged" Gross says
Let's just throw out that stupid Constitution.
Mathew, if you think civil liberties are being stepped on now, just wait until the government is being run out of a NORAD bunker in Utah after Washington gets reduced to a wasteland. And you want to see civil rights violations, you ain't seen nothing yet.

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Prof. Cass Sunstein on executive privilege

University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein is generally agreed upon as an expert in constitutional law. In a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, Sunstein says;
It's a little technical, but I think pretty important, which is that since the president has a plausible claim that he has inherent authority to do this, that is to monitor communications from threats outside our borders, we should be pretty willing to interpret a Congressional authorization to use force in a way that conforms to the president's possible Constitutional authority. So that is if you put the Constitutional authority together with the statutory authorization, the president's on pretty good ground.
Sunstein is referring to the granting of authority to the president by the Congress to take all measures necessary to make war on Al Qaeda. Sunstein's overall point is that surveillance is a necessary part of making war and would have to be seen as being approved by the Congress. Relative to whether or not the president should have used the FISA act to approve his surveillance, Sunstein says;
I think there are a couple of things going on there. It's not the most cumbersome thing in the world, but it is something that the president, when national security is on the line, isn't excited about having to go through a procedure where it's conceivable he's going to lose...unlikely, but conceivable. There's another point in the background, really, which if you were there, you know, which is that the president believes here that these are very sensitive Constitutional prerogatives. And this isn't a Republican or Democratic thing. This is something that cuts across political affiliations of the president. And so the notion that in a case as sensitive as this one, he is under a legal responsibility to go through something that may be more time consuming than appears, may be more leaky than appears. Even if he doesn't think it's likely to be leaky, that's something that a president is not likely to think is necessary.
Now, Sunstein says something that I've not heard before. And that is, if the FISA act is construed to prohibit the president from surveillance in time of war, the president would have the duty to challenge FISA's constitutionality. He says;
Yeah. I guess I'd say there are a couple of possibilities. One is that we should interpret FISA conformably with the president's Constitutional authority. So if FISA is ambiguous, or its applicability is in question, the prudent thing to do, as the first President Bush liked to say, is to interpret it so that FISA doesn't compromise the president's Constitutional power. And that's very reasonable, given the fact that there's an authorization to wage war, and you cannot wage war without engaging in surveillance.
But, and it's a big one;
If FISA is interpreted as preventing the president from doing what he did here, then the president does have an argument that the FISA so interpreted is unconstitutional. So I don't think any president would relinquish the argument that the Congress lacks the authority to prevent him from acting in a way that protects national security, by engaging in foreign surveillance under the specific circumstances of post-9/11.
Now, Hewitt asks Sunstein about interviews in the MSM and the professor says that he has granted a lot of them. He won't name any particular reporters or their media bosses because of promises of confidentiality. But he says that his opinions have yet to be quoted by anyone. I don't understand that. If Professor Sunstein is widely recognized as a constitutional law expert and he has been widely interviewed, why aren't we hearing and reading about those interviews? This exchange is telling;
HH: Let me ask. Have you been quoted in any papers that you've seen?

CS: I don't think so.

HH: Do you consider the quality of the media coverage here to be good, bad, or in between?

CS: Pretty bad, and I think the reason is we're seeing a kind of libertarian panic a little bit, where what seems at first glance...this might be proved wrong...but where what seems at first glance a pretty modest program is being described as a kind of universal wiretapping, and also being described as depending on a wild claim of presidential authority, which the president, to his credit, has not made any such wild claim. The claims are actually fairly modest, and not unconventional. So the problem with what we've seen from the media is treating this as much more peculiar, and much larger than it actually is. As I recall, by the way, I was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, and they did say that in at least one person's view, the authorization to use military force probably was adequate here.

HH: Do you think the media simply does not understand? Or are they being purposefully ill-informed in your view?

CS: You know what I think it is? It's kind of an echo of Watergate. So when the word wiretapping comes out, a lot of people get really nervous and think this is a rerun of Watergate. I also think there are two different ideas going on here. One is skepticism on the part of many members of the media about judgments by President Bush that threaten, in their view, civil liberties. So it's like they see President Bush and civil liberties, and they get a little more reflexively skeptical than maybe the individual issue warrants. So there's that. Plus, there's, I think, a kind of the American culture, including the media, streak that is very nervous about intruding on telephone calls and e-mails. And that, in many ways, is healthy. But it can create a misunderstanding of a particular situation.

HH: The libertarian panic that you referred to, I actually believe that that probably did prompt a lot of the original egregiously wrong analysis. But now I'm beginning to be concerned that the media is intentionally ignoring the very strong arguments defending what the president did. Do you believe that's taking place?

CS: I don't like accusing anyone of intentionally ignoring anything. So I believe with respect to people, whatever their political views, you should have charity, and assume until it's proved wrong that they're acting in good faith. It's still early in this, by the way. And I think the tide is turning a little bit in terms of the legal analysis. If it turns out that this goes on for months, and facts don't come out that are worse than the facts we now have, then it looks...then it will look like a continuing panic, which would be worse than what we've seen just in a couple of days.
I think that he is being overly generous. What we have are a group of influential MSM outlets and reporters who are well financed who have a knee-jerk reaction against anything that George Bush says or does. And if they have a chance to start bandying around the "I" word, they'll do so with reckless abandon, regardless of how many American citizens, in uniform or not, may die as a result of their shrillness.

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Penn State coach discriminatory?

An ex women's basketball player at Penn State has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against coach Rene Portland and Pennsylvania State University. The former player, Jennifer Harris, has claimed discrimination by the coach based on race, gender and sexual orientation. Harris, who has left the Lady Lions basketball team and the university, claims that the coach's long time policy of "drinking, no drugs, no lesbians" targets African Americans. Hmmmm.

Harris claims that the Penn State coach ordered her to "look more 'feminine'". Harris' attorneys say that she is not gay but that her coach believed that she was gay.

The coach says that Harris was kicked off the team because she "was disrespectful toward coaches and teammates and alleged that her work ethic was 'unsatisfactory and detrimental to the success of the team.'"

I don't think this lawsuit has legs. Firstly, if Harris is not, in fact, gay, she would have no standing to sue for discrimination against lesbians. There has been no damage done to her. Secondly, claiming that "no drinking, no drugs, no lesbians" is discriminatory against African Americans would be viewed by a federal judge with some dubiety. Thirdly, take a look at the photo below. It is the Lady Lion team receiving their Final Four trophy in 2005. On the left is coach Rene Portland. Moving to your right, we see 3 youngsters, presumably hers. Holding the trophy are two African American players. Standing behind the trophy are two players, one of whom is African American. Further to the right are 6 players, 1 of whom is African American. That's 10 players pictured, four of whom are African American (a nice round 40%).

Like I say, I don't think this lawsuit has legs.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strike two for the ACLU

This was strike one. Now comes another high hard one for the ACLU. What's with these judges all of a sudden? Getting some backbone?

Via Nice Doggy


Spreading the Christmas cheer to the heathens

An Interfaith Christmas Song

From Zoe Brain
CONTENT WARNING: Strong Language

Monday Night Football: RIP

Turn out the la-ahts, the parties overrrr.
Allll good things, must end some taaahmm.

"Dandy" Don Merideth, MNF, the 70's
I guess I hadn't thought too much about this, but Tony Moss, NFL Editor for The Sports Channel, is right. After this coming Monday's meaningless game the show moves to ESPN. It's over.

I've been watching MNF since its inception in 1970 and, I have to admit, it is a shell of its former self. Jump the Shark did a survey some time ago, I can't tell for sure when. It appears to be from 2001, sometime. In any case, the object was to vote on the time or incident which caused MNF to "jump the shark", or, in more common terms, self immolate. Some of the comments are hilarious. I'll rip a few of them here.
When they changed the theme music from da-da-da-da to that supid Hank whats-his-name country shit.

Years ago, one of the Dallas Cowboys was on the sidelines and proceeded to shoot pea soup vomit a foot from his body before he could get his helmet off. Priceless.

Who could ever forget. Giants vs. Redskins. Lawrence Taylor snaps Joe Theismann's leg like a chicken bone. It jumped further and further down that sharks throat with every replay (somewhere around two hundred.)

I think a great moment occured on MNF when some team (I think it was the Houston Oilers) was getting the hell kicked out of them like 40 to nothing and near the end of the game the camera focused on some fan sitting by himself with like nobody else in his section. The camera sat on him for a couple of seconds and the announcers were full of their witty banter and the guy looked straight at the camera and without changing his expression or saying anything, gave the camera the finger.

I think Leslie Vissar (sp?) ruined the show, not because she's a woman, but because she has the worst hair on television. I believe if you're going to be on the television machine, you should try to look as smart as possible. Her shamelessly negligent attitude towards her appearance reflects, I believe, her flippant attitude towards the program itself, and in turn the whole sports world. And the fact that this hairy (get it?) problem has gone undetected by the stuffed shirts at ABC only substantiates my belief that all eyes of that network are closely monitoring the subtle, yet still baffling, flirtations between Al Michaels and the Boomer.

When the brought in No Talent Boomer Esiason as a color commentator..that guy is dumber than a stump and full of himself.

I agree Dierdorf did suck, but he was ten times better than that robot Gifford. One of my favorite Dierdorf one-liners was from a game in San-Diego. They just came back from a commercial, and the camera was focused on a large full moon. Al Michaels says, "There's a full moon over San-Diego tonight." And then Dierdorf says, "Full moon pretty much everywhere, Al." Classic. F the Giff and that b!tch Kathy Lee.

The show is having enough problems trying to recover from the poor dynamic that the broadcast booth has had over the last few years. Now they are considering adding that fat bastard, Rush Limbaugh?!?!? Correct me if I am wrong, but don't you have to have some kind of knowledge of the game to be able to intelligently talk about it. That is all we need is to be in the fourth quarter of yet another stinker game from ABC and have this pumpkin-headed S.O.B. start spouting some political garbage. If I wanted to engage in a political discussion, I'd keep my eye on CNN. I want to watch football. Unless they plan on having him get kicked through the uprights during field goals and extra points, I don't see how this no-talent piece of crap can bring anything even remotely entertaining to the broadcast booth.

The day they canned Frank Gifford was the day I knew there was a TV God. The guy played back when they were using leather helmets for christsakes !! his only line was "great play" and "great player(insert name)"and the classic "great coach(insert name)" remember after they canned him he did the pre game show ? I got about as much information from him as you would on the back of a McDonalds burger bag. Just put him in a chair and stick it in front of a TV and let him watch the rest of those nuts he calls a family (remember Kathie Lee Christmas Special and he sang !!) and for another person on Monday Night Football I vote for Chris Rock. It would be great to see him rip on everybody.

Dennis Miller? Here's a preview...Al: "Eddie George breaks a tackle for a gain of six." Dennis: "What's with this country's obsession on losing and gaining...(6 minute pause)...and go to hell in your laundry basket, Dan." Dan: "Uh..." Al: "And that's the end of the third quarter..." Get used to it.

I was watching the night Cosell referred to a black running back as 'that little monkey.' (Only the classic Dick Vermeil "John Elway on the sidelines getting blown by a fan" was better!) There was around 10 seconds of silence after the remark as Dandy Don, Giff, myself, and around 5000 others thought, "Oh God, it's on the fan now." I think that was Cosell's last year and when Psycho OJ came on after that, the show never recovered.

I remember a classic line that Meredith once used. There was a receiver for the old Cleveland Browns named Fair Hooker (This is true, I am not making the name up). Well Don says, "Fair Hooker" and then after a short pause adds "Never met one".

I'll never forget the night when Simpson made this astute comment about the Jets-Dolphins game: "The only way the Jets are going to beat the Dolphins is if they outscore them!" DUH!!

Eric Dickerson: Can anyone decipher his mumblings? Thankfully someone is working with him because for a time I thought it was some sort of joke. I can understand every word coming across the lovely Melissa Stark's kissable lips ...sooooo cute....but E.D. "?????" Am I wrong people? listen to this guy. "What the %#&* is he saying?"

Dennis Miller is the worst addition to a show in the entire history of television. My favorite Dennis Miller reference was when he mentioned Sylvia Plath. Unless you are a professor of English at Vassar, you have no idea who Sylvia Plath is. (I think she's a poet who killed herself--I looked it up) But, what's worse is he doesn't talk to the guys in the booth or the audience, he makes instead these obscure, unfunny pronouncements. I also didn't like the way they replaced the older woman with the younger one. What kind of anti-woman Taliban-like behavior is that? Granted the younger one is prettier but still.

There are a lot of comments here about Cosell's "Little Monkey" quote, but does anyone remember the following week? Howie deadpanned his "apology" to the camera about how some things are said that are misconstrued blah blah blah (never actually mentioning the incident specifically). Well after he was done, Dandy Don turned to him and said "Well, that's OK you big baboon!"

MNF flinched when Cosell left, but it JUMPED when they hired that dumbass eye candy Melissa Stark. I don't care, call me sexist, but NO WOMAN should be involved in a MAN'S sport. Too bad we can't see the college intern working minimum wage holding the cue cards she's reading every time they go down to those sideline reports. And I don't give a flying f*ck about this player's mom or that player's previous armed forces service or some other bullsh*t feel-good story that she reports on every freaking game. I just watched last night (11-26-01) and she's talking about how Tampa Bay's John Lynch's wife puts a f*cking inspirational note in his bag before he leaves the house on game days for him to read later after he gets to the stadium. Most guys think she's hot and I don't disagree but for criminey's sake, cut the bullsh*t!! It's so bad!! Tell me about the whores John Lynch has on road trips that his inspirational f*cking wife doesn't know about. Now THAT would be a great sideline report.

To be honest I haven't watched in a few years...but someone help refresh my memory.....wasn't it Howard Cosell who once told O.J., after one of O.J.'s insipid remarks, that he had "a firm grasp of the obvious".

Coincidentally this was the same night that Redskins safety Tony Peters was injured and Cosell said "The Redskins will have to play with Peters out".

John Madden is equally as tiresome and retarded as Dennis Miller; the difference is John Madden actually understands the game. But it doesn't mean he'll talk about it. He is just as likely as Dennis Miller or anybody else to go off on a tangent about the amount of steam that pours off a bald man's head in the winter or how a jock will ride up your ass in the 4th quarter.

Is it just me, or has Al Michaels' toupee started growing like a giant spider crawling down his forehead? Every year he gets more and more hair. Scary!

Michelle Tafoya. Gawd is she annoying. She adds absolutely nothing to the sideline reports. She makes John Madden look like some sort of prophet, with her useless commentary.

Napoleon McCallum of the Raiders was injured in anextremely grotesqe fashion(painful looking leg thing)and the DIDN'T SHOW THE REPLAY! SI actually gave the thumbs up to these jokers for not showing the replay because it may have been to sensitve for some viewers. I don't watch football because it is some sensitve crap, I watch it because it is violent, dangerous sport and I want to see the injuries. Pansies

As someone once pointed out in the years following his departure in 1984, "without Howard Cosell, it's not Monday Night Football, it's football on Monday night."

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A swath of Hell

You can imagine if you are 60,000 feet doing mach 1.9 (about 1,400 mph) and these bombs are flying out of your airplane, the swath of hell you can produce going through a country saying "I'll take that target, and that target".
Lt. Col. David Krumm, F-22A instructor pilot

He's talking about the F-22A, America's newest fighter jet. And it's a beast, no doubt about it. In training the F-22A takes on and defeats 6 F-15's flown by our most experienced pilots.
Despite the favorable odds, the F-15s, still one of the world's most capable fighters, are no contest for the fastest radar-evading stealth jet ever built.

"The F-15 pilots, they are the world's best pilots," said Lt. Col. David Krumm, an F-22A instructor pilot. "When you take them flying against anyone else in the world, they are going to wipe the floor with them. It's a startling moment for them to come down here and get waylaid."
In spite of its air-to-air superiority, the F-22A is designed to be "especially" efficient in taking out ground-to-air anti-aircraft missiles.
"In any air-to-air fight out there, it is a hopeless mismatch," Krumm said. "What we are more concerned with are countries that want to deny us air space by purchasing surface-to-air missiles and that kind of stuff. Those are very lethal to the way the U.S. deploys."

The Raptor is designed to be especially proficient at taking out such ground-launched missiles because of its speed and stealth. That's something military leaders say could be needed in a fight against potential enemies including Iran or North Korea.

"We want to kick the door down so the air space is clear for any (aircraft) you want to go in," Krumm said. "Someone could come in flying a Cessna 172 with a pistol if you wanted after we're done."

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Howard Fineman and MSNBC - what a joke!

Quick, click on this link and you, too, can participate in one of the saddest excuses for an on-line poll I have ever seen. It's being run by a liberal hack on a liberal hack website owned by a liberal hack media company. Hurry on over and cast your meaningless vote.

I did.

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AP praises economy - sort of

The AP, never one to give up its Bush-bashing easily, does its best to downplay the country's sizzling economy.
President Bush, working to retool the Republican message for 2006, is trying to shift public attention to something in short supply during his almost five years in office: a run of good economic figures.

Hoping to keep a spotlight trained on the economy while Bush mounted a concentrated defense of his Iraq policies . . .

On Monday, it was Snow's turn to Christmas-shop for the cameras.

Suddenly, the president's economic team is getting a measure of respect - something it didn't get much of in his first term.

. . . exuding an optimism not shared by many Democrats.

. . . help shift public attention away from casualties in Iraq.

"But the president has very few things that he can brag about right now."

"Many families are spending the holidays still in tent cities."

Some potential problems that economists see lurking:
Followed by a list of the usual suspects: gasoline prices, extra cold winter (what about global warming - how could we possibly have an extra cold winter?), inflation too high, interest rate hikes to halt too high inflation too high - will stall economy, dollar value too high against other currencies, yada, yada, yada.

Americans living in tent cities? Where is that?

I cannot determine from the tone of this "news report" whether it is dripping with sarcasm or dripping with envy.

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Son of Tony Dungy: suicide

According to this report, it has been confirmed by Tampa Bay police that 18 year-old James Dungy, son of Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, has been confirmed as dead, probably from suicide. A few more details here.

What an incredibly sad thing to happen to a young man and his father, one of the most decent people on the planet.
Quite simply, Coach Dungy loves being a dad, and says a good friend gave him some very important advice years ago, that he still tries to live by. The advice is this: fathers need to cherish whatever stage their children are in, instead of wishing for the next one to hurry up and get here… because before you know it, that stage will be over, never to return again.
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Nightmares of the Hildabeast

A Visit From Old St. Hillary
By Lisa Fabrizio

'Twas the night before Christmas, as in days of yore;
Not a liberal was stirring, not even Al Gore;
Our prospects were sinking, we pined in despair,
And prayed that St. Hillary soon would appear.
We Democrats waited, while snug in our beds,
Impeachable articles danced in our heads!
But with Bush in the White House and Cheney as veep,
I'd just settled down to a paranoid sleep.

When out on the Beltway arose such a clatter,
I headed for Hardball to check out the chatter.
I reached for my clicker with partisan glee,
But only to gape at a blacked-out TV.
The moon through the window cast light all about
And showed me quite clearly the plug had come out.
When what did I see on the former dark screen
But the visage of DNC chair Howard Dean!

He introduced someone, with looks that could kill;
I cheered when I realized it must be St. Hill!
More rapid than eagles her myrmidons came,
When she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Daschle! Now, Durbin! Now, Eliot Spitzer!
On, Matthews! On, Russert! On, Woodruff and Blitzer!
To the Sunday news shows! To the National Mall!
Now bash away! Bash away! Bash away all!"

As big bucks before dirty congressmen fly,
When they meet with flush lobbyists, eager to buy;
So out to the hustings the Democrats flew,
With a slate full of programs for states colored blue.
And then in a twinkling, I saw on TV,
As stunning a change as you're likely to see;
As I grabbed for my clicker to turn up the sound,
Through my Sony, St. Hillary came with a bound!

She was dressed all in white from her head to her toe,
All except for a pink blouse that set her aglow;
An American flag pin she wore with great pride,
And she looked to my eyes like a blushing new bride.
Her eyes -- how they sparkled! Her cheeks were so rosy!
Her little pug nose just like Nancy Pelosi!
Her sweet smiling lips bore no hint of complaint
And her overall bearing was that of a saint.

A worn-out old bible she clutched in her hand
And declared that upon it our nation should stand:
"The war in Iraq is just part of God's willing,
Like permanent tax-cuts and ANWR oil drilling."
She was clearly possessed by some right-wingish soul,
And she spoke with the drawl of Elizabeth Dole!
A shy sheepish grin and a toss of her hair,
Soon gave me a feeling of awful despair.

She spoke of the heartland with tears in her eyes;
And grand fruited plains and of God's spacious skies.
When praising Rush Limbaugh and Tammy Wynette,
She caused me to wake from my sleep in a sweat!
My screen was now dark but I wasn't alone;
St. Hill had a message that chilled to the bone;
With a voice that resembled sharp nails on a slate,
She exclaimed, "HAPPY CHRISTMAS! At least till '08!"

ACLU takes a high hard one.

The ACLU makes repeated reference to the 'separation of church and state.' This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation's history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some cases, accommodation of religion.
Judge Richard Suhrheinrich, 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, writing the unanimous decision which allows a Kentucky county to continue to display the Ten Commandments.

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Holiday Card from Barbara Boxer!!

----- Original Message ----- From: Barbara Boxer To: Mark in Mexico
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 4:15 PM
Subject: Stop Bush's illegal wiretaps -- act now!

Dear Mark in Mexico,

It's now been 5 days since President Bush admitted to authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without court order -- a system he reauthorized as many as 3 dozen times since 2001. Yet despite the outcry from millions of Americans -- both Democrats and Republicans alike -- President Bush has stubbornly promised to continue this illegal and unconstitutional activity.

How can the President of the United States -- the highest elected official in our land, a leader who swore an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" -- so egregiously and repeatedly violate our most basic civil liberties?

It's time for Congress to act -- to thoroughly investigate the President's actions now.

Urge Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter to hold hearings into the President's conduct, before beginning Supreme Court nomination hearings for Judge Alito -- sign my petition today!

Clearly, protecting Americans from terrorism here at home must be the top priority of any Administration. But we certainly can do that without trampling on the Constitution in the process. Defending America means protecting our homeland as well as preserving our rights and freedoms as citizens.

Through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), enacted by Congress in 1978, the Bush Administration already has the tools it needs to obtain court orders for domestic wiretaps within minutes -- even retroactively, in urgent circumstances.

Why did President Bush consciously choose to violate federal law, and disregard a system that is already in place to deal with the very national security threats that the President is talking about, even though the Act clearly states that FISA "shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance...and the interception of domestic wire and oral communications may be conducted"?

This is just one of the many questions we need answered. That's why Congress must act now. We can't afford to wait when such critical civil liberties hang in the balance.

Urge Senator Arlen Specter to hold hearings now, before dealing with the Alito nomination -- sign my petition today!

This egregious and repeated violation of American civil liberties by President Bush and his Administration requires a thorough investigation.

That's why I urge Chairman Specter to hold hearings before the Senate takes up Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. Sandra Day O'Connor has agreed to stay on the bench as long as necessary, so there's no urgency on that front.

So again, join me in calling on Chairman Specter to schedule thorough public hearings into President Bush's actions as a first order of business for the Senate Judiciary Committee in the New Year -- sign my petition today!

Thank you so much for your support on this critical issue.

In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer

P.S. I'll be presenting our petition demanding thorough hearings to Senator Specter, so please add your name today! And then invite everyone you know to join us.

Sign the Petition Today!

Paid for by PAC for a Change,, Treasurer Sim Farar, FEC#C00342048. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee
Dear Barbara and Sim,

PAC this.


Mark in Mexico


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Now here's an idea.

Residents of the indian village of Apantlazul, part of the municipality (county) of Tlanchinol in central Hidalgo state in Mexico, got pissed at a lack of promised electricity and potable water. So they marched on the municipal headquarters where they found the chief of police, the mayor's secretary, an accountant, a registrar and an unfortunate traffic cop who found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time, and beat the hell out of them. They then marched the unhappy group, barefoot, for 7 miles and tied them up in the village square overnight with no food or water - or shoes. They were rescued the following day by Mexican police.

Imagine that! Now, try to imagine a group of us here in the USA taking such a step against, say, the federal government. We are angered by a lack of meaningful Social Security reform, made-on-the-cheap levees in New Orleans, out-of-control borders, bribe-taking Congressmen and Senators, incompetent and leak-prone intelligence services, inability to take on and defeat the teacher's unions to improve education, Christmas cards that say, "Happy Holidays", on and on, yada, yada, yada. The parade of the beaten and shoeless would stretch for miles.

Hell, Bush would jog the seven miles and never break a sweat. Senator Byrd, however, would probably not survive.


Kofi gets Boned: Annan annoyed

UPDATED: See below.

Kofi Annan to reporters at his end-of-year news conference, speaking about the character traits his successor will need:
They need a thick skin. They need a sense of humor, and they should laugh a lot inside and outside and at themselves ... and be able to reach out and work effectively with leaders across the world.
Then, British journalist James Bone, reporter for the London Times, asked him about his son's involvement in the illegal importation of a Mercedes Benz into Ghana. Annan, displaying the aforementioned sense of humor, thick skin and laughing a lot on the inside, said,
I think you're being very cheeky. Listen James Bone, you've been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years.

You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving and please let's move on to a serious subject.
Well, Kofi, we're all laughing on the outside. What Annan really meant to say about character was:
They need a sense of humor, except for me, and they should laugh a lot inside and outside and at themselves but NEVER at me ... and be able to reach out and work effectively with leaders across the world, with the exception, of course, for the recalcitrant and bellicose leaders of the world's richest, most powerful and most generous nation, as well as those of the Jooz.
UPDATE: Reuters tries to whitewash Annan's statements, but fails. Reuters leaves out the tirade Annan directed at James Bone. Reuters quotes Annan as saying:
I hope you ladies and gentlemen of the press will also do some reflection of your own as to how you covered that event, how you allowed deliberate leaks and others to lead you in one direction," he said, after refusing to answer a question from a British reporter.

"But I leave you to reflect on that. It is not up to me to tell you how to do your job," Annan said. "But we all have to be careful, whatever responsibilities we have, not to be fed by people with agendas."
UPDATE II: Much more from Claudia Rosett

I just now corrected the missing link to Claudia Rosett. Sorry, Claudia.

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Santa Fe District Judge Daniel Sanchez is a moron

I can't believe I just read this. I can't believe this has happened. I can't believe a judge in Santa Fe, New Mexico or anywhere else in these United States would do such a thing. Read this and see what you think.

A woman named Colleen Nestler wrote a 6 page application for a restraining order against David Letterman. She claimed that Letterman has for 10 years been sending her code words, gestures and "eye expressions" to convey his desire to marry her and train her as his co-host. She claimed that Letterman forced her to go bankrupt and caused her “mental cruelty” and "sleep deprivation." And Judge Sanchez signed it.

She claimed that Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelsey Grammer either supported or attempted to thwart her "relationship" with Letterman. And Judge Sanchez signed it.

She claimed that, three days before Thanksgiving in 1993, Letterman asked Nestler to be his wife during a televised "teaser" for his show when he said, "Marry me Oprah."
"Oprah had become my first of many code names," she wrote. . . . "(A)s time passed, the code-vocabulary increased & changed, but in the beginning things like 'C' on baseball caps referred to me, and specific messages through songs sung by his guests, were the beginnings of what became an elaborate means of communication between he and myself."
And Judge Sanchez signed it.

The restraining order signed by this incompetent judge orders Letterman to stay at least 3 yards (that would be 9 feet - that would also be 108 inches) away from this poor deluded soul and that he not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering."

Now, Judge Sanchez, when questioned about this ridiculous restraining order he authorized, says he did, in fact, read the application. Ask yourselves this; You are a judge in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a woman comes to you with a story of Oprah, Regis, Cathy Lee, Kelsey, Dave and songs by Bette Midler; "eye expressions", "jestures" (surely you gest), and Reds and Cubs baseball hats, would you take such a thing seriously? Would you sign such a restraining order before interviewing this poor soul first? Judge Sanchez apparently believed her.

I guess Judge Sanchez was too rushed the day he signed the order. He had to hurry home to pack for his trip to Holland to collect his international lottery winnings. After all, he had already paid all the "taxes". Then he was off to Nigeria to oversee the wire transfer of $50 million to his bank account there in Santa Fe. That money he was sharing with a former Nigerian oil company official and Judge Sanchez had already paid the "taxes" and "transfer fees" for this money also. Good luck to Judge Sanchez, the laughingstock of Santa Fe.

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The domestic surveillance kerfluffle

I haven't posted too frequently for a couple of days because I have been really disheartened by this burgeoning domestic intelligence gathering storm. The initial reports all came from the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. These reports, most of which have been opinion pieces by the usual liberal suspects, have been unanimous in their condemnation of the program and of the president.

About the only bright light during the past few days was President Bush's spirited defense of his authorization for what I am beginning to believe was an "Able Danger" type of data mining operation using heretofore unknown technology. Technology that the government doesn't want anyone to know about. I haven't paid too much attention to the blogs and the opinions expressed therein. I already know what they are going to say. I have been waiting for the more level-headed experts on law and intelligence to weigh in.

In that vein, however, I've not been offered much hope. The fellows at The Volokh Conspiracy, specifically, Orin Kerr, while urging caution due to lack of specifics about the program, wrote that he felt that the program, based upon what little he knew, seemed illegal. Additionally, there is now available a radio discussion between Orin Kerr and Erwin Chemerinsky. Kerr, professor of law at George Washington University, again says that he simply doesn't know enough details to definitively declare the practice legal or illegal. Chemerinsky, professor of law at Duke University, labors under no such hesitations. He declares, with no doubt whatsoever, that the president has violated the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. The basis of his argument is that the procedure for getting a warrant from FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) to conduct surveillance is very efficient and, in fact, 99.5% of wiretap warrant requests have been granted to the government. There is a dispute as to how long this procedure takes. Kerr, who worked in the justice department and had to request wiretap authorization upon occasion, says it take 1-2 weeks. Chemerinsky says 24-48 hours, based upon what he has heard.

Professor Chemerinsky also said that, if the president wanted broader domestic surveillence powers, he should have gone to Congress to get them. This, in my opinion, is fatuous. Going to Congress would have meant that the administration would have had to have written some kind of procedure or act or law and then gone to Congress for its approval. How long would that take? 2-4 months, 2-4 years? That's a little silly, in my opinion.

My problem with Prof. Chemerinsky's argument is that, and I am guessing here, conventional wiretap technology is not what we are talking about here. We aren't talking about an agent sitting in a dingy basement room somewhere listening in on telephone conversations and recording them while he takes notes. That kind of stuff went out a long time ago. I think what we are talking about is data mining. The machine surveillence of telephone conversations and electronic communications where high speed super computers scan for key words and phrases. If any of those key words and phrases appear, something like, "Osama says blow up the Oak Street Dairy Queen and kill all the infidels and apostates along with their murderous progeny, God willing," the machines would kick this out for human review.

If the machines do not hear or read such key words or phrases, humans would never know the communications even took place. So the question, at least in Prof. Chemerinsky's mind, is why the government cannot get warrants, even after the fact. The reason is simple. Probable cause. The government would have had to have shown probable cause to have conducted the original data mining operation which found the key words and phrases. The government cannot do that. There was no probable cause to conduct the mining in the first place. Therefore, using Prof. Chemerinsky's own argument, a FISA judge would not grant the wiretap authorization.

Both professors agree that this is probably just a partisan political fight with no long term effects like censure or impeachment.

Now comes Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and a senior lecturer in law at the University of Chicago, writing in The Washington Post, who seems to support my position. He says,
The collection, mainly through electronic means, of vast amounts of personal data is said to invade privacy. But machine collection and processing of data cannot, as such, invade privacy. Because of their volume, the data are first sifted by computers, which search for names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., that may have intelligence value. This initial sifting, far from invading privacy (a computer is not a sentient being), keeps most private data from being read by any intelligence officer.
Judge Posner's view is unique. I haven't seen it before. Machine surveillance is not a 4th amendment violation because no human is involved. Hmmmm, veddy interrresting.

So we are back to the after-the-fact warrant request. And, again, intelligence officers cannot request warrants based on data mining technology because they lacked probable cause in the first place. Therefore, the president must authorize the continued surveillance.

And Judge Posner takes this a step further. He says we need a domestic intelligence branch in the government, like the British, French and Germans all have. In The United States there is no domestic intelligence gathering organization. Judge Posner's view is that this fault renders us vulnerable and also necessitates some action on the part of a responsible government to fill in this dangerous gap. The president did this.

There now, everybody convinced? I certainly feel better, how about you?

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tastes grrrrrrrrreat!

I'm not talking about Tony the Tiger and his Frosted Flakes. I'm talking about real tigers, those of claw and fang. A very stupid mugger held up a couple at knifepoint and then, pursued by security guards, fled. He hid out in what he thought was an empty cave. He had, unfortunately, climbed into an enclosure at the local zoo in Bloemfontein, about 400km south west of Johannesburg.

Said enclosure was the home of the zoo's tiger family which objected to the intrusion. The tigers manifested their displeasure by chewing the guy to death.

This is not completely unheard of in South Africa. Some time ago, a thief running from police climbed over a fence which protected Max, a 400lb gorilla. The horrified bandit shot Max who, Kong-like, shrugged off the wound and pinned the guy against a wall, holding him there until police arrived to rescue and jail the perp. Max recovered and is still revered as a hero in SA.

The moral of this story is: When you find yourself holding a tiger by the tail, it's probably too late.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Morgan Freeman has Mike Wallace for lunch

UPDATED! At the end.

A follow up to posts on Morgan Freeman here and here. I did not have the opportunity to watch 60 Minutes last night (CBS is not offered here by cable or satellite - and that's usually OK by me) but CBS offers a short clip from the show here.

I'm not sure why CBS has done this because Mike Wallace comes across as the archetypical liberal-who-knows-best-what's-good-for-the-black-folk. Freeman sets about to put him in his place. When Wallace asks what Freeman thinks about Black History Month - a BIG mistake - Freeman answers, "Ridiculous." Wallace's part in this conversation consisted of, "Oh, c'mon. Heh. Well. Ubd-ubd. (inhale), (exhale - perhaps a sigh) as well as these exchanges:

Freeman asks him if there is a white history month. Wallace says, "No." Freeman asks, "Why not." Then comes the bonehead answer of the year. I haven't heard an answer this dumb since last October and November from John Kerry whenever anyone had the temerity to insist on an answer to a question. Wallace says, "I'm Jewish". Apparently Jews are not white people in the mind of Mike Wallace. Har, har, har. He had this wide-eyed look on his face like, "Aha! I've got you now." No he didn't.

Freeman rolls his eyes and asks, "OK, when is Jewish history month?" Wallace says, "There isn't one." Freeman says, "Oh. Oh. Well, do you want one?" Wallace says, "No, no." Freeman says, "Well, I don't either." Wallace asks with the narrowed eyes, pinched nose and pursed lips of a disapproving parent trying to make a point to his recalcitrant child - another BIG mistake, "How are we going to get rid of racism if we . . ." - interrupted immediately by Freeman, "Stop talking about it." At the end of this massacre, Freeman asks Wallace, "You know what I'm saying?" Wallace mumbles, "Um-hmm," and looks off to his left for help from a producer, cameraman, water carrier, ANYBODY.

Watch the clip several times and study Wallace's facial expressions and his gestures. Classic. Priceless. He runs out of chair to sink back into. Then study Freeman's. Exasperated, irritated and Out. Of. Patience. With. This. Guy.

One of the complaints leveled many times against 60 Minutes, and, indeed, many other television newscasts is that they will film an interview and then edit it so that the final product shown to viewers does not reflect what really went down. If 60 Minutes producers edited this to take out all of the bad parts, it must have really been a disaster. I would love to see all of the film that was shot. What 60 Minutes has made available does Mike Wallace, CBS and liberals in general no favors whatsoever. Wallace was condescending, asked stupid questions, gave an even more stupid answer, and limped away from this bad day at Black Rock with his head tucked under his arm.

UPDATE: This is even better, or worse, depending on whether you're an optimist or a pessimist. Watch the CBS interview with Mike Wallace about his interview with Morgan Freeman. It's a hoot. Wallace has been watching too many Edward R. Murrow reruns. Loooong pauses before answers. The pursed lips of the thoughtful and ever so patient college professor. He says that Freeman had to wait too long to get his Oscar (hinting that racism played a part) and says, disapprovingly, "He deserved it long before he got it." Note to Mike Wallace: A. You're talking about Hollywood where deservin's got nuthin' to do with it, and, B. John Wayne waited a whole lot longer for his Oscar than did Morgan Freeman and made a hell of a lot more than 40 movies before receiving his Academy Award. So what?

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Now Colin Powell comes out swinging

In a stunning statement during an interview on the BBC, Colin Powell says that the White House was never told of doubts about WMD intelligence by the CIA.
Mr Powell, who argued the case for military action against Saddam Hussein in the UN in 2003, told BBC News 24 television he was "deeply disappointed in what the intelligence community had presented to me and to the rest of us."

"What really upset me more than anything else was that there were people in the intelligence community that had doubts about some of this sourcing, but those doubts never surfaced to us," he said.
While admitting that he had been bypassed on occasion by some of the White House hawks and that some discussions with Donald Rumsfeld "were not pleasant", Powell came nowhere close to the position taken by his former chief-of-staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. Wilkerson essentially accused the White House hawks, Cheney and Rumsfeld of running a "cabal" to wrest control of foreign policy away from the State Department.

Powell's position seems to be that everybody, from Bush and himself on down, got bad information from the CIA and then acted upon it. As far as our continued presence in Iraq, Powell was 100% supportive of the Bush administration:
But he told the BBC that "essentially just to walk away, to say that we're taking all of our troops out as fast as we can, would be a tragic mistake". A US presence would be required in Iraq for "years", he added.

"We've invested a great deal in this country, and the Iraqi people deserve democracy and the freedom that they were promised when we got rid of Saddam Hussein and we have to stay with them... until they decide that they can get it now on their own, they don't need us any longer," he added.
This must be causing heartburn amongst the leftie administraters of the BBC who were no doubt hoping for a tell-all fingerpointing tattle tale from Powell. Sorry, mateys.

This comes on the heels of his derisive dismissal of the furor in Europe over "illegal" CIA flights across Erope to move terror suspects from point A to point Ouch.
"There's a little bit of the movie Casablanca in this, where, you know, the inspector says 'I'm shocked, shocked that this kind of thing takes place'.

"Well, most of our European friends cannot be shocked that this kind of thing takes place... The fact that we have, over the years, had procedures in place that would deal with people who are responsible for terrorist activities, or suspected of terrorist activities, and so the thing that is called rendition is not something that is new or unknown to my European friends."
The BBC must be shocked, shocked, that David Frost couldn't get Powell to once mention President Chimplerburton Gitmostein in a bad light.
"The United States is going through a period right now where public opinion world-wide is against us.

"I think that's a function of some of the policies we have followed in recent years with respect to Iraq and in not solving the Middle East's problem and perhaps the way in which we have communicated our views to the rest of the world, we have created an impression that we are unilateralist, we don't care what the rest of the world thinks.

"I don't think it's a fair impression"
Powell's disputes with Cheney and Rumsfeld are well known so there's no there, there. The best that the BBC can do is, and you'll see this if you follow the link above, show a photo of 5 US troops on patrol somewhere in Iraq with this caption:
The state department's plans for post-war Iraq were discarded
I cannot find a transcript of the interview which was shown tonight on BBC World TV and later on BBC News24. In fact, I followed both links and there was no mention whatsoever of the interview on either website. Try your luck.

UPDATE: I spelled Colin Powell's first name "Colon", in the post title, no less. Aaaargh! That's embarrassing.

Not too much comment out there about this, but there is more from:
OpusComm: Thank you Colin Powell

seedyrum musings: I'm sure that a third grader would find this post well thought out and very well written
Susie Madrak calls Powell a "waterboy" and a "lying toady" - no racism out there in leftie land, is there?
The Democratic Undergound says "what a bunch of crap" and their commenters crawl out from underground:
Liar Liar - orwell
Yes - The Convenient Lie Absolves All Sins - mhr
Pleeese, why does he keep on lying?! - goclark
Suck Up Colin.....Suck it up! And, who are YOU working for these days? - KoKo01
Wonder how he gets the taste of shit out of his mouth? - Solly Mack
Oh, Colin! Still carrying water for the boss? - HereSince1628
Go fuck yourself, Colon. - speedoo
yea -- what speedoo said! - DELUSIONAL
I think this is sad, to pimp for ** - realpolitik
I'm convinced someone's got photos of Powell fiddling with kids. n/t - rooboy
Powell is a world-class liar and suckup - daleo
when will this PoS just fade away???? - hadrons
What crap - JoFerret
Colin knew going in, that he was selling a bullshit war. - 0007
lies are SOP for this administration and its toadies.... - mike_c
Ah! Ah! BULLSHIT! Choo!! - VegasWolf
Pathetic - alarcojon
"BEEP-BEEP-BEEP"!!! said the bull**it detector!! "BEEP-BEEP-BEEP"!!! - Media_Lies_Daily
How come we all knew there were no WMD...but they had no clue? - Auntie Bush
Gotta keep the testimony straight in case of war trial - first year law - BR_Parkway
What a pathetic, lying sack of shit! - irkthesmirk
LIAR! I READ about it at the time in USAToday and Knight Ridder - greenman3610
Same here; what a load of shit by CP - madmark
What a load of shit; I read about the CIA reservations on the Iraq - madmark
Rumsfeld must have broken out the blackmail pics... - Hyernel
Bullshit - madmark

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