A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, April 28, 2006

Islamic Humor

I was mulling on this a bit yesterday. Would the joke I posted yesterday, which pokes fun at Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and Jews, being funny if it included an Imam? Or would it suddenly become offensive and anti-thetical to a culture of diversity and inclusion?

What if, instead of Billy Bob, we had Ahkmed, and instead of this:
Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, " WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said Father, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus."
We had this:
Imam Ahkmed spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, "Well, you know that Mohammed has no use for sprinkling! I went out and I found me a bear and I began to read to him from the sacred words of the prophet. But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took hold of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to an open area in the woods. So I quickly laid out my prayer mat and began to chant the Ezan. And just like you said Father, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day kneeling to Mecca and praising Allah."
I could be wrong--it would be nice if I was wrong-- but somehow I think that there would be at least some hue and cry of harassment and discrimination and the like if this joke started circulating about on the internet.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

I Am Funny

Or at least I know funny. And I'm not afraid to shameless borrow it from someone else! Here then an email joke I received yesterday (I have no idea who originated it):

A priest, a Pentecostal preacher and a Rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.

One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people wasn't really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

Seven days later, they came together to discuss the experience. Father Flannery, who had his arm in a sling, was on crutches, and had various bandages, went first. "Well," he said in his Irish brogue, "I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed me holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation."

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, " WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said Father, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus."

They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him. He was in really bad shape.

The rabbi looked up and said, "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start."

Alternative Fuels

Great article at Popular Mechanics this week. Good summary, interesting facts, well-researched, well-written. Very interesting to read that E85 is a good alternative, since a lot of folks on the right (yes, including the right-wing "squawkers" on radio, tc) don't believe that to be the case. There are a few things that go unmentioned in the article (most likely because the focus is cars and trucks) which are worth bearing in mind, however.

The main thing is that ethanol and methanol blends (E/M10 all the way through E/M85) are very hard on small engines like those found in weed whackers, lawn mowers, and boat engines. Why? Because those engines are not made of stainless steel or plastic and are therefore highly susceptible to the corrosive aspects of the alcohol. Switching to stainless steel or plastic is feasible in cars and trucks-- the added cost can be absorbed in the overall large cost of a new vehicle. Not so with small engines-- adding the cost of producing small engines with stainless steel or plastic fuel tanks would cause a marked rise in cost for these types of engines.

But using even E10 (90% gas and 10% ethanol) in these engines can be quite detrimental to both the engines and the fuel lines. Beyond just the physical make-up of the engines, there is the fact that most such engines see only seasonal use (since we don't use lawnmowers in the winter or snowmobiles in the summer, and even during the seasons of use, most engines go days and often weeks without use). Thus the gas often just sits there, allowing the alcohol to corrode-- and evaporate. Said evaporation leaving behind gummy stuff to muck up your fuel lines.

All of that said, I am all in favor of increasing ethanol and hydrogen/hybrid cars and trucks and biodiesel semis. Just don't try to force us to have to use ethanol or other alterntive fuels in engines that can't handle them (like they tried to do in Wisconsin recently). Oh, and lets get rid of the dozens of different formulas of ethanol/gas blends currently being mandated for differing areas of the country-- all that does is increase cost, decrease supply, and drive up prices.

Hard to picture that as a good thing.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I Despair...

for the future of this country when I receive emails that start as follows:
Today we are looking for teens who are between the ages of 7 and 12 years old to participate in a survey regarding video games. Parents, you are welcome to supervise your child as they go through the survey.
Teens between the ages of 7 and 12.

Good grief.

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On Humor and Blogging

TC makes a case for the prevalent belief that conservatives are less funny than liberals. I say prevalent, because I think it is-- certainly tc's post wasn't the first time I've heard of the stereotype, and in general there is a sort of "societal consciousness" that most comedians, actors, and non-country singers are liberal. And while stereotypes are over-stated generalizations, there is almost always at least some truth to them-- sometimes quite a lot of truth. A similar point is made by another liberal blogger, here, though his claims that people like Alicublog and James Wolcott are funny and witty (I find them to be neither most of the time) rather feeds into the point I make three paragraphs down.

But before we proceed, please go here and check out the top 10 US and UK comedians and tell me if anything jumps out at you. Roseanne Barr. The only woman on either list. Does that mean that women are far less funny than men? Seems pretty unlikely to me.

So. I grant you the t-shirt in the link from tc is rather unfunny, and it does indeed seem to equate violence with humor. But that t-shirt is only one of many shirts available from that source. Several of the others I found quite humorous and clever-- particularly the "Communism killed 100 million people and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" one. Still others I thought were really stupid, like the Ann Coulter one. Which leads me to the fairly self-evident conclusion that just because one thing an individual with a conservative philosophy produces is unfunny does not mean that all conservatives are incapable of being funny.

And, of course, there is the fact that people tend to find humor in different measures depending on what is being laughed at-- a comedian that ridicules conservative principles and people (say, Margaret Cho) is more likely to be found funny by liberals than by conservatives. Contrariwise, tc no longer finds Dennis Miller funny, but I still do (though I will admit he isn't as funny when he tries to be political as when he just goes with the absurdity of people, regardless of political beliefs.). The point is made rather...er... pointedly, here (by the gentleman who hosts the site where the t-shirts that started the kerfuffle can be purchased).

Just for kicks then, are there (or were there) any funny conservatives out there?

Well, Kelsey Grammar is one. Granted he's not a stand-up comic, but he is most definitely a very funny guy. In the blogging world, I would submit that Iowahawk is nearly always witty, and quite often very funny. IMAO (referenced above) has his moments, as well. Dennis the Peasant most definitely has moments of sheer ironic and sarcastic brilliance.

So, the perception that conservative/liberal bloggers aren't funny is in large measure a simple result of two things: 1) People don't like having their beliefs mocked and 2) People tend to read blogs that agree with those beliefs more so than those that are at odds with their beliefs.

As to comedians in general, I find that the best and funniest of them are apolitical. At least in their shows. George Carlin isn't as funny now that he tends to go off on "societal" rants for extended periods of time. Miller isn't as funny when he makes a point of lampooning liberals rather than just lampooning the absurdity of politics and government in general.

Richard Pryor was always funny because, well, he was just f*in brilliant, but also because even when he was ripping on societal ills and injustices, he did so in a way that didn't make those who were benefiting from, or even perpetrating, those ills and injustices get their hackles up. White, black, male, female, liberal or conservative-- Prior made everybody laugh. At ourselves, at each other, at him, at the absurdity of life.

Take a look at these lists (no particular order):

Old School
Jack Benny
Bob Hope (British by birth! Who knew?)
Groucho Marx
George Burns
Johnny Carson
Peter Sellers
Lucille Ball
Charlie Chaplin
Jerry Lewis
Bob Newhart

Newer School
Richard Pryor
Steve Martin
Jerry Seinfeld
Frank Caliendo
George Carlin
Bill Cosby
Woody Allen
Lenny Bruce
Robin Williams
Rodney Dangerfield
Eddie Murphy
Drew Carey
Jim Carrey
John Cleese
Bill Murray

Any idea of the political leanings of most (any?) of these folks? Yeah, me neither, with the exceptions of Carlin, Caliendo and Chaplin. I have my suspicions about several others, but really, what does it matter?

Here's another observation on humor and interpretation: There are far more comics critical of conservative principles and politicians than there are comics favorable to those principles. One way of looking at that data is to conclude that conservatives are less funny than liberals. A different way of looking at it is to conclude that art and journalism schools indoctrinate their students with a liberal world view.

Which of those viewpoints you find more compelling is likely a result of your own world viewpoint. The truth, as it so often is, is likely somewhere in-between.

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Slant(ed) Indeed

The Slant Magazine website bills itself as follows:
Slant Magazine is a non-commercial entertainment website featuring reviews, editorials, and critiques of a wide array of new and classic music and film. We are dedicated to offering a slightly different perspective on the state of entertainment with an intelligent and open-minded slant. For questions regarding content submissions, please contact us. For advertising inquiries, check out our media kit.
A slightly different perspective, you say? Well, hard to argue with that. Here's a snip from a review of United 93 appearing in said Slant Magazine:
Would that the film's sins were purely stylistic, it would be so much easier to dismiss. Yet while the stench of death and dread permeates every frame of United 93, it is nowhere near as strong as the stink of synergy. Certainly this isn't the first Hollywood production done in by the competing corporate and personal interests that funded it (consider the unspoken implications—both commercial and propagandistic—of the film's last-minute title change from Flight 93 to United 93), but it is the only one I've come across where the families of those onboard gave it their full-on approval. Not all the families, of course. All evidence suggests that the terrorists' relatives were left entirely out of the creative process, an action which goes a way toward revealing the film's hagiographic bias (how easy it then becomes to turn victims into heroes and adversaries into monsters) and points up the general ridiculousness of involving the families in the first place (too many cooks spoiling an already rancid broth).
I will grant you that anybody that thinks we should have consulted the families of terrorists who attempted to attack our capitol has a "slightly different perspective" than most of us. Well, actually, maybe not. Slightly doesn't really begin to capture the difference in the perspective, does it? More like a "perspective from way over on that grassy gnoll to the far left" I would say.

Following this line of thought, if anybody makes a movie about war in Afghanistan and receives input from the families of soldiers or the families of regular Afghanis, they must also receive input from the families of the Taliban regime. Otherwise the filmmaker would reveal his or her "hagiographic bias." If you make a film about the incredible abuses (rape rooms, death sqauds, etc.) under Saddam's Baathist rule in Iraq and receive input from the families of those persecuted by Saddam, his sons, or any of the various thugs in that regime, you must also receive input from the families of those thugs.

What a twit.

Oh, and a pretentious twit-- as they so often are. Here's the biographical bit that the reviewer wanted posted on the Slant Magazine website:

Keith Uhlich
Keith's writing has appeared in CultureDose and Senses of Cinema, in addition to the print publication Show Business Weekly. Currently working in several capacities at Oxford University Press, Keith’s raison d’être is no less than the search for cinematic sublimity in a world where chaos runs bare-ass naked through the landscape of human cognition. An NYU grad, he is also the unacknowledged cause of the 1977 New York City blackout.

Bugrit, but pretentious twits bother me.

Oh, and if Slant Magazine actually wanted to present a different perspective with an open-minded slant, wouldn't it make sense to get a few contributors that aren't NYU grads with open and unabashed liberal biases? I guess they are just presenting a different perspective from all those conservative, Oklahoma-based critics we all get our reviews from.

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#4 Returns

Three months ago, I would have been quite happy to hear that. Two months ago, I would have been fairly happy to hear that. One month ago, I would have been somewhat happy to hear that.

Now? Eh.

Having taken this long, I would've preferred that Favre had told the team, but withheld public statements until after the draft-- gives the Pack some leverage with teams that want Leinart/Young/Cutler and were worried that GB might take a QB.

But, okay. Good, I guess, though I'd like to see what Aaron Rogers can do, and if this season is a complete waste in the mold of '05, I would hope that Mike What'shisname would bench Favre and give Rogers a chance to learn when it doesn't cost the team anything.

Yet somehow I don't see that happening. A rookie coach benching a first ballot hall-of-fame quarterback? Seems unlikely.

'Tis a pity. It's been awesome having #4 around for the past decade plus, but this may well be a very ignominious endings to a fabulous career. Not as bad as Emmitt Smith finishing his career in Arizona, but pretty bad nonetheless.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

OTIT: Penn State Censorship

I have always believed that discussion is better than silence, even in matters that are volatile and polarizing. If you can't talk about something-- religion, abortion, sexuality, politics, etc., etc.-- what are the odds that any kind of common ground can be discovered? A lot closer to none than to slim, I would say. And if you can't talk about it, the divisions tend to deepen and widen and harden, generating anger, frustration and, eventually, violence.

I have also always believed, until quite recently, that our nation's universities and colleges were bastions of free thought and free expression. Which is why stories like those of Josh Stulman, a Jewish art student at Penn State, drive me nuts.

Stulman's exhibit consisted of ten pieces about terrorism and the Palestine-Israel conflict. Given that subject matter, it is undoubtedly provocative. Given the one example of the art included in the article, the art is more than likely sharply biased against the Palestinian point of view.

But does that justify cancelling the exhibit because it does not "promote cultural diversity"? I mean, come on, is our society so fragile that if something doesn't actually promote cultural diversity it is to be disallowed? That's pathetic. And the university's other justification, that the exhibit does not provide "opportunities for democratic dialogue" is just plain crap.

What better way to generate dialogue than to have something that people can actually talk about? Pretty much the definition of dialogue, no? If Palestinian groups on campus take exception to the exhibit, organize discussion groups or create your own exhibit to present the other side of the issue. Or the campus could sponsor a forum for campus discussion following the opening of the exhibition.

I have always been puzzled when a university prohibits something on the basis of nondiscrimination-- because by the very nature of the action, they have discriminated against the group they prohibited. Ward Churchill's appearances at various campuses were healthy in the sense that those who believed his views were completely wrong-headed (me included) had the opportunity to express that viewpoint, just as Churchill had the opportunity to express his. Much as I was chagrined that UW-Whitewater actually wanted to hear Churchill's twisted rhetoric, I was also happy they did not back down to the nay-sayers. Freedom of speech was served.

Not so much for Josh Stulman.

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Bad Weekend for Wisconsin Sports Teams

A weekend to forget. The Bucks dropped the opener of their playoff series to Detroit, 6,324,433 to 7 (okay, that's a slight exaggeration), the Brewers issued 43 walks to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday before narrowly falling 112 to 0, and the Milwaukee Wave won at home against the Baltimore Blast, but lost the series tie-breaker and failed to make the finals for the first time in seven years (that last bit is actually factual).

On the plus side, the Packers are gearing up for the #5 pick overall in next weekend's draft. Sadly, Ted Thompson and Mike Whats-his-name are still holding the reins up in Green Bay.

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I Knew It!

Bring in a guest blogger and either he outshines you, or he is so god awful everybody leaves. I suppose the former is better than the latter, but damn you John, readership was WAY up while I was away.

Sniff.

Okay, I'm over it. Fortunately, I am not a tremendously insecure person, and since I have the power to make John's existence on this blog disappear on a whim, I'll be okay (got that, dude?!).

All right, all right. Seriously. Thanks John-- your posts were timely, well-written and intriguing (geez I hate you). I'm not sure what you were thinking admitting that tc might be right, but hey, a rookie mistake (I kid-- I find myself pretty much in the middle of you two. I do think the DA is grandstanding and it does seem the evidence to indict is thin, but we don't have access to everything. For now, I reserve judgement.).

Now-- I think I will attempt to focus a bit more on my creative writing in the next month or so. Consequently, I am leaving John's posting privileges as they are-- and if anyone else wants in, let me know (except Mojo-- he'd definitely make me look bad), and I'll think about it.

Oh-- and a big shout out to tc and John for having a rational, well-thought out discussion without resorting to petty snarking and pointless rationalizations. Now that's what I'm talking about!

I'm so proud. Sniff.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Live Another Life

-- By Special Libertarian Librarian Correspondent John Heeder

All right, enough about rape and genocide and what not. Let’s talk escapism for awhile. Let’s talk MMORPGs, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games. MMORPGs are catching on. They’re huge, they’re profitable. And they’re not just for sweaty-palmed nerds.

A MMORPG is basically a computer game played online with thousands of other people. The role playing bit comes in as you create a character in a virtual world, and then take that character through adventures and challenges of various types, with the goal of becoming ever more powerful and skilled.

The single greatest thing the MMORPG has over more traditional single player or multiplayer games is human interaction. Real people are your allies, and your opponents. No computer characters can possibly match the reactions and interactions you experience with other people in this environment.

In the MMORPG I play, World of Warcraft, I have experienced moments that I’ll never have (at least I hope I never have!) in real life. For example; a few days ago I was the sole member of my faction visiting a merchant in an outlying town. Suddenly and without any warning, the town was swarmed with members of the enemy faction. I could only cower in the upstairs of a building as the raiders wiped everyone out and then went on their way. I found myself wondering if this was what it felt like to be on the wrong side as Genghis Khan’s Mongols swept over everyone in their path, or perhaps watching as Vikings sacked a coastal town.

Then there’s the cavalry charge. Being on a mount of some sort (fiery horses, tigers, raptors, and so on) with fifteen of your brothers in arms and charging some enemy. You just can’t get that cool feeling in real life.

There’s also the massive carnage of huge battles. You’ve seen it in movies like Lord of the Rings; huge armies clashing. In World of Warcraft, you’re there, in the thick of it. It gets so thick and so hairy that you can hardly tell what’s going on, death and destruction flashes all around, enemies and allies falling. Slowly, the enemy is pushed back. Then the elation of victory as you overrun their last position and claim it for your own.

Old, young, pre-teens and grandpas, you’ll find them all online in a MMORPG. Moms and dads, students, professionals who sneak in some time at work, shut ins and handicapped who otherwise would have little human interaction.

If you need a break from real life, check it out. I’ll be on the Terenas server of World of Warcraft. Just type Clementure in your ‘who’ box and you can send me a message.

Of course, if you’re Horde, I’ll have to kill you.

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A Tale of Two Campuses

--By Special Libertarian Librarian Correspondent John Heeder

How much is the Duke stripper rape case about class and race? It probably didn’t start that way, but it’s heading there. TC might be right, this once. Today the whole situation seems to be deteriorating into Duke students versus the mostly black students of North Carolina Central University.

The Duke students are supporting their own, wearing shirts that say “innocent until proven guilty.” At NCCU, anger is rising at the arrested white students accused of rape. There are significant race and class differences between the accuser and the accused, differences apparently mirrored between Duke and NCCU.

The suspects are white, and the stripper is black, the whites from privileged backgrounds and the stripper a single mom supporting herself while attending college. But, TC, and the rest of you, these differences don’t matter when determining the truth of the situation. Indeed, any focus on race and class differences can only detract from justice being served. Nobody should be accused or convicted just because they are privileged.

Further supporting claims that this case could be a political ploy by District Attorney Mike Nifong, today reports say that a teen accused of murder in Durham walked on a $40,000 bail, while the white students accused of rape had to pay $400,000 for their bail. I don’t know how judges decide bail amounts, but how in the world does a lesser crime merit a 90% greater bail? I do know that the DA’s office has input on setting bail amounts on cases before the court.

Also today a black cab driver supported Reade Seligmann’s Alibi. He was driving Reade around during the time of the alleged rape. Yesterday a timeline was published of the timestamped photos of the stripper. The timeline supports the defense of the two suspects.

Yet Mr. Nifong persists. He’s still out there looking for the third rapist. Perhaps he can join OJ Simpson in his mansion to mansion and golf course to golf course search for the real killers.

Say what you want about Race and Class. It appears that bad decisions by District Attorney Mike Nifong are the root cause of all this uproar.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Armenian Genocide

--By Special Libertarian Librarian Correspondent John Heeder

I watched an engrossing documentary on PBS last night titled “Armenian Genocide”. It was on during the late night schedule, and rightly so. The images presented during this show were horrific; they easily rivaled any concentration camp or Nazi atrocity image.

Let’s take a step back. In 1915, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire had grand designs on much of Eastern Europe and slices of Russia. Their inept military leaders led the Muslim army right into a disastrous defeat. Armenian turncoats (Armenian Christians were a part of the Ottoman Empire) among the invading Russians infuriated the Ottoman version of the ruling Triumvirate.

A state-sponsored plot was implemented to, quite simply, commit a genocide upon the Armenians. And thus began a year-long killing spree of Armenian Christians by the Muslims who had been their neighbors and fellow countrymen.

With direction, funding, and manpower from the government, and approval from the Mullahs, the most horrific tortures and deaths were inflicted upon the Armenians. I’m not going to describe them here, but for bloodcurdling cruelty and pure evil this reign of terror rivaled anything the Nazis would do twenty-five years later.

International intervention (primarily by those war-mongering Americans) and the natural course of the war finally led to the genocide winding down. Not one Armenian family was untouched when it was over. To this day, Turkey, the modern version of the Ottoman Empire, denies there was ever a genocide effort. The Turk-on-the-street denies it as well. But scholars and historians the world over say there is no doubt that there was a genocide.

Check your local listings. "Armenian Genocide" is well worth watching, just don't let the kids be in the room.

So let’s talk about takeaways.

1. Get a gun. If those Armenians had been armed, it would at the very least have slowed down the genocide, if not stopped it altogether. One of the reasons we don’t have more Ruby Ridge or Waco incidents in this country is that our government knows we’re armed.

2. Remember. Every nation has blood on its hand, its simply how the modern world was formed. But if you are a minority living in a Muslim controlled land; remember. Not even in Nazi Germany did the man in the street turn against the state-selected scapegoat like they did in the Ottoman Empire.

3. Cherish your freedoms. For most of world history, people were split into two camps, the oppressed, and the oppressors. Be glad the lines are a lot more blurry in these modern times.

All right, I must apologize for all the doom and gloom posts while Nick is away. Tomorrow we’ll move onto a lighter subject: how to slaughter your enemies and emerge triumphant in the World of Warcraft!

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What Does Nifong Have?

--Special Libertarian Librarian Correspondent John Heeder

Video of the indicted lacrosse athletes and their names were released today. Reade Seligmann, a sophomore from Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty, a sophomore from Garden City, N.Y. are now at the mercy of the North Carolina justice system. Both athletes made $400,000 bail.

NBC’s Today Show showed three of the time-stamped photos that defense attorneys claim clear their clients of any wrongdoing in this rape case. The one photo of the stripper was pixilated so that her face was not discernable. Presumably this is to protect her identity. The NBC reporter claimed the stripper in the picture is smiling as she left the ‘scene of the crime’. He also claimed she had left once that night, and then returned to the house to retrieve a shoe she dropped.

What does Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong have? The stripper claims that she left the house after exchanging harsh words with some of the athletes, she was then lured back into the house, then taken to a bathroom and subjected to a brutal thirty minute rape by three of the athletes.

Which brings up the question: what physical evidence would such a thirty-minute ordeal leave on the woman’s body? Semen, obviously, but what about scratches, bruises, vaginal bruising and/or contusions?

No information of the stripper’s physical condition has been released. Could the young woman’s condition back up her claims? Is Nifong proceeding on physical evidence in his vigorous prosecution of this case?

And really, what sort of woman would suffer a rape attack, and then return later to retrieve a lost shoe?

Correction:

The above makes it sound like the woman in question, the stripper, paid two visits to the scene of the alleged rape, a second visit to retrieve a show. Reports say that she crossed the lawn, then turned around and returned to the house to retrieve the shoe she dropped.


Stay tuned.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

When you elect a terrorist organization to run your "country" you get terror and death:

TEL AVIV, Israel - A Palestinian suicide bomber struck a packed fast-food restaurant during Passover on Monday, killing nine other people and wounding dozens in the deadliest attack in more than a year.

In a sharp departure from the previous Palestinian government's condemnations of bombings, the Hamas-led administration said the attack resulted from Israel's "brutal aggression." The bloodshed and the hard-line stance could set the stage for harsh Israeli reprisals and endanger Palestinian efforts to secure desperately needed international aid.

Endanger? How about "Eliminate any remote possibility of international aid?" Any other response to a government that sanctions this:
The bomb, laced with nails and other projectiles, shattered car windshields, smashed windows of nearby buildings and blew away the restaurant's sign. Glass shards and blood splattered the ground. Police said the guard was torn in half by the blast.

The explosion killed a woman standing near her husband and children, who were slightly wounded, said Israel Yaakov, another witness.

"The father was traumatized. He went into shock. He ran to the children to gather them up, and the children were screaming, 'Mom! Mom!' and she wasn't answering, she was dead already," he said.
is unacceptable. Unconscionable.

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Tawana Brawley Redux

Tawana Brawley Redux
-- Special Libertarian Librarian Correspondent John Heeder

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong could learn a thing or two from the Reverend Al Sharpton. For the memory impaired among you; back in 1987 Tawana Brawley went missing. The a 15-year-old black girl was found four days later covered in dog feces and with racial slurs written on her body.

Now a crime like that is heinous enough to outrage anyone. Tawana claimed that up to six white men, one of them possibly a cop, had repeatedly raped her in the woods in upstate New York. Sharpton took up Brawley's cause. You can’t blame him too much, the possibility for headlines and publicity would be too much for any slick operator to pass over. But, as everyone in the whole mess would find out, you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

The Reverend Al and company immediately selected local prosecutor Steve Pagones as the guilty party. They made up to 33 separate assertions that Pagones had kidnapped, abused, and raped Brawley. These accusations were made over national media, back in the day when there weren’t blogs and more than one cable news networks and the internet to fact check the “all-to-eager to slander the police” national press.

The case fizzled when investigators discovered that Brawley was lying, and that Sharpton and company knew she was lying. The whole thing was a hoax. Eleven years later (note that: 11 years) Pagones won a defamation lawsuit against Sharpton and Brawley and Brawley’s lawyers. The payout was pathetic: Pagones won a $65,000 payday from Sharpton. Johnnie Cochran paid the award, and Johnnie Cochran could dig $65,000 out of his couch cushions.

Pagones was harassed, slandered, and victimized by the national media, and he ran up huge legal bills to defend himself, all because the Rev Al saw a chance to eclipse Jesse Jackson.

Fast forward to April, 2006. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is up for re-election in a racially mixed town. 46 college athletes (members of the Duke University Lacrosse team) are getting together to party. The athletes hired a stripper. The stripper later claims that three of the athletes raped her.

There is no physical evidence she was raped. The stripper claimed she scratched the attackers, but no DNA was found anywhere on her, including under her fingernails. A second stripper at the party has, according to defense attorneys, stated point blank that she does not believe the allegation. The defense claims they have time stamped photos showing typical proceedings of such an event, which shows a stripper doing her job, not being victimized. The police, later the same night, found the stripper passed out from being drunk, but in no immediate need of medical attention.

Mike Nifong is pressing ahead with his rape case against these athletes. Does he have information not made public? Perhaps one of the athletes is ratting his pals out? Or, is Mike Nifong thinking of his career and his re-election? Is he really going to destroy the reputations and the bank accounts of these young men and their families on a “he said – she said” case?

Mike Nifong had better win this walking away. If he doesn’t, he’ll be this generation’s version of that beloved democratic icon, Al Sharpton.

Someone get Mr. Nifong a flea collar, on standby.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

For my Christian readers, may this most holy of seasons bring you peace and new hopes and dreams. If I have any non-Christian readers, may this season bring you joy and happiness as you devour animal shaped confectionry and hunt down poor defenseless eggs.

Peace and happiness to you all, my virtual friends.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Batten Down the Hatches!

I don't know exactly why, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea to let someone guest blog for me while I'm gone. Why that would be good now escapes me-- the guest blogger might wind up being better than me, thus making me look bad, or he/she might be so dreadful/insulting/radical that the four people I have actually gotten to read here on a regular basis will run screaming for the hills, never to return.

It's a lose/lose proposition!

I kid, I kid. Perhaps because he is the only individual silly enough to still read my blather, John H. has volunteered to sub while I'm on vacation. Big round of applause!

Anyone?

Beuller?

Well, he's all set up-- though I have received no formal acknowledgement from him, so somewhere along the line you will be treated to the blogging stylings of former Texan and current resident of the Beehive State, John H.

Enjoy! And please don't burn the place down while I'm gone.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Another Bucks' Meltdown?

On March 6, 2003, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the L.A. Clippers 92-86 to move ten games above .500 at 35-25. After that game, the Bucks won only 6 more games all season, while losing 16, to finish at 41-41 and complete the worst late-season collapse of any NBA team ever.

Well, the Bucks won't be able to match that incredible choke job down the stretch run of the '05-'06 NBA season, but they are doing a fine job of playing themselves clean out of the playoffs. Again. Back on April Fool's day, they defeated Indiana to move to 37-36 and within a half game of the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Since that time, they have dropped four games in a row to fall to the #7 seed and they have only a 1 game edge over Chicago and Philadelphia, who are currently tied for the 8th and final spot.

Over that four-game losing streak, the Bucks have appeared uncertain of what the definition of defense is, much less how to actually play any on the court.

Ugh.

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Saddam: 90lb Weakling?

That is the impression I took from a recent post over at tc's blog. The post is interesting and well-written, but the analogy is... bizarre.

Here's the gist (and yes, thoughts of the War in Iraq are what brought this story to tc's mind): Loner kid with harelip is being picked on by jocks (tc joining in to try and be popular). Loner kid finally fights back, whacks tc in the nose. tc freaks and starts strangling the kid. tc feels bad for the rest of his life for picking on this poor kid, and then makes a comparison of our attack on Iraq. Concluding with this: "I don't think that beating up on somebody who didn't deserve it is something that we will be able to proud of."

Now, more than likely tc didn't mean the whole thing as a direct analogy, but nonetheless it leaves the impression that Saddam (or perhaps al-Qaeda. Maybe both-- doesn't really matter) was that harelipped kid-- a poor, sad soul who had been picked on and terrorized by America and the West for a long time and finally just lashed out in fear and pain. He didn't deserve the retribution the US brought down on his head.

It's Ward Churchill repackaged-- we had it coming for how we treated Muslim countries in the past. And our reaction to 9/11, the terrorist sects of Islam, and the absolute intransigence of Saddam was "beating up someone who didn't deserve it." Saddam has somehow become the victim, we the bad guys.

I generally disagree with tc's views, but I usually give him credit for having a credible reason for believing as he does-- but this I just can't wrap my head around. Argue that Iraq was the wrong target, argue that the WMD threat was exaggerated, argue that nation building is an inherently impossible task, argue that the post-invasion planning was woefully inadequate-- but don't try to convince me that Saddam was just a poor old soul trying to run his country who was ruthlessly and unprovokedly attacked by the imperialist warmongers of the Bush Administration.

The man was a ruthless dictator who murdered hundres of thousands of his fellow countrymen. He regularly and consistently had his armed forces take pot shots at US and British fighter planes enforcing the UN "no fly" zones. He regularly and consistently misdirected and lied to the UN weapons inspectors. He stole BILLIONS of dollars meant to help the Iraqi men, women and children.

There have been worse monster than Saddam Hussein in history, but not all that many.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Death, Taxes, and an RUSD Referendum

In only one of the five years I have lived in Racine have we not had a referendum to see if the tax payers of the County are willing to cough up some extra dough for the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). The one year we didn't was because the year before a two-year tax increase to benefit RUSD had been passed.

Regular as clockwork.

So, though I am quite annoyed and disgusted, I am unsurprised by this news:
$6.45 million or $6.9 million: Unified to decide on referendum
amount
Facing a $10.9 million budget deficit, Unified will still have to make deep cuts even if referendum passes
Sigh.

I want good schools for my kids and for all the other kids in Racine-- and I don't mind kicking in a little extra every now and then to make that happen. But every flippin' year is not every now and then-- it's a bloody charity case that we have no choice but to continue to support.

Well, we do have a choice. Just like last year and the year before there will be a referendum. In June. When nothing else is on the ballot. At an extra $30K or so to the tax payers. And even if the referendum comes back NO!, they'll probably just run a new one in August. Much like they did last year.

Sigh.

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Thanks John, Thanks Russ

McCain and Feingold, that is. Thanks to their wonderful campaign finance reform bill, a 527 corporation sent out "informational" fliers about Racine's recent school board election. The fliers only mentioned three of the six candidates (all of whom were elected, oddly enough), but they weren't endorsing those three candidates. Nope, not at all. Purely informational. Yup, yup, yup.

I'm not sure there has ever been a worse piece of legislation than the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act. It made it ever so much easier for special interests to funnel money into elections while making it ever so much harder for the average person to have his voice heard.

Bugrit.

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Heavy Tuesday Irony

How oblivious is the Federal Government when they spend $500,000 to teach college students how hard it is to balance the Federal budget?

Actually, I'm not sure I really want to know the answer to that question.

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Congrats Badgers!

Whether or not hockey is a sport, the UW Men's and Women's hockey teams are NCAA champions! Well done ladies and gentlemen. Personally, I vote hockey is a sport-- that whole ball thing is a bit overrated, and really isn't a puck just a ball with it's top and bottom cut off? There are large sticks, dangerous foot gear, high-speed collisions-- what more could you want?

Well, scoring actually. John H. was DOBA about that-- it's the major issue I have with soccer, too. Not that I can't enjoy a low scoring, defensive struggle now and then-- a pitchers' duel that winds up 1-0 can be riveting, as can tough, grind it out football games (though the Chicago Bears/Washington Redskins 9-7 slugfest last year was brutal. But those types of games only happen now and again-- interspersed with 11-8 run fests and 35-31 aerial shows.

Which is why I only watch soccer and hockey when the games are really important-- World Cup games, NCAA tournament games and the like. I remember one World Cup Final (1994) when Italy and Brazil ended regulation in a 0-0 tie. Part of me was thinking, "Wow, how lame-- the championship of the entire world on the line and nobody scored in the entire game." But another part of me was riveted as I watched the shootout, trying to imagine the pressure that had to be on the goalies and the guys trying to get the ball past them. It was, after all, for the World Championship. But it was only because it was the biggest game of them all-- one that only comes around every fourth year-- that a 0-0 tie was exciting. Normally, I probably would've fallen asleep after the first half hour or so.

But I digress. For 2006, there is no doubt that UW is the number one hockey school in America. An honor they can rank right up there with being the number one party school in the country!

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Good News!

You guys are stuck with me for another 50 years:



87 isn't too bad. The pity of the thing is that I will apparently die just ten days shy of my 60th wedding anniversary. On the plus side, I apparently survive Apophis. So, I've got that going for me-- which is nice.

Should you wish to calculate your own Day of Reckoning, you can do so here. Or, if you would like a second opinion, try here. Personally, I like the first source better-- it gave me 13 more years.

And if you'd like to take a really macabre trip through the internet, then this is the place for you.

An Invitation

Anyone want to guest blog for me? I'm heading out on vacation on Friday, and even when I return next Tuesday, I won't have much, if any, time to blog until the 24th. We can do this one of two ways: you folks can email me your posts and I'll publish them (which takes very little time), or I can actually allow one or more of you to have access to my Blogger account. Actually, I suppose both options can work in tandem with each other.

So, anyone interested in a part-time blogging gig?

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God: The Prankster

One of Albert Einstein's most famous quotes is, "God does not play dice with the universe." Which is to say, He has a plan-- there's an underlying logic to it all. And I think Einstein is right-- there is an underlying logic to it all. But that doesn't mean that some of the things right here on the surface don't make you scratch your head and think, "Why in the world did God do that?"

A few examples:


This guy has two major titles. That's the same number as Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman, Andy North and Fuzzy Zoeller, and one more than Ken Venturi, Tommy Aaron, Tom Kite, Craig Stadler and Hal Sutton. Why God put that much golfing talent into a NASCAR fan's body is quite the mystery.

Or how about these maroons?



God giving Hall of Fame talent to two jags like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens will always be one of God's great pranks on football fans.

From the animal kingdom we have the duck-billed platypus:



And from the "That just ain't fair" files:


This no talent hack inherits millions and receives fame and adulation, while millions of far more talented and deserving people labor in obscurity to merely feed, clothe and house themselves and their families.

Which is a little depressing. But don't let it get you down folks. Don't live a life of cynical pessimism. Here's another, less well-known, quote from Einstein:
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a
miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Monday, April 10, 2006

161-1!

Well, it may not stay this way, but as of today, Monday, April 10, 2006 this is the case:

The 162-0 dream may be gone, but a 5-1 start to the season is pretty darn nice. Of course, sweeping the Pirates and winning a home series against the Diamondbacks isn't that big of an accomplishment.

But if the Brew crew can win the series at St. Louis, then I am seriously getting on the Brewers' bandwagon.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Food for Thought

Orson Scott Card has a thoughtful and pretty much Dead On Balls Accurate (it's an industry term) analysis of the problem with Islam. I never really thought about it in these particular terms, but Card is right-- freedom to convert to another religion is at the very heart of freedom of religion.

And don't you all recall hearing how the pilgrims came to America for precisely that reason-- they wanted freedom of religion? Hasn't that always been one of the core tenets of our country?

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Go Bucky!

The UW men's hockey team is one victory away from being National Champions. Last night the Badgers thrashed the Maine Black Bears-- which just goes to show how tough Badgers actually are-- 5-2 and now will face Boston College tomorrow night.

If the Badgers do manage to knock off the Eagles tomorrow night, Wisconsin will have completed a twofer in college hockey. Two weeks ago the UW women's hockey team beat Minnesota 3-0 to claim the school's first ever women's championship.

I've never gotten into professional hockey-- but high-level college hockey is fun to watch. Especially when you have a vested interest in one of the teams playing.

Go Big Red!

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thursday's Babelfish Poem

You can thus listen
With much less color and cry
The scream of sexism
In the existence, in our future, in our children

The step is extended and the season is a lot
Have we all the responsible sensation
At the time of the race superiority complex?
Still struck I deeply
Deeply insincere schmuck

Forwards I worked there briefly
Who wrote a charming small poem
As for me, everything is not read
The past night has begun

The citizens, they are in the advanced part of before
And in them, to make responsible all for sins
As for that, it is everything which I really can conceive

Remembers her, respects her,
But the God,
Lets it go.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Oh That Ivory Tower: UW-Whitewater

UW-Whitewater is a nice school. I worked there, briefly, about seven years ago, and I enjoyed the campus and the community. It is best-known for it MBA program, and its DIII football team, which lost in the national championship game this year.

They received national publicity last year, when they invited Ward Churchill to speak on campus. A year and two weeks later (March 14, 2006), and with much less hue and cry, they invited Olin Tezcatlipoca to speak on campus.

Who, you ask? Olin Tezcatlipoca, who is a member of the Mexica Movement nutjobs I sited in my previous post. Who wrote a lovely little poem, wherein he calls any white folk who don't know the Mexica Movement "truth" racists, and blames us all for the sins of Columbus, Cortes and other Spanish Conquistadors. I mean, shouldn't we all feel responsible for what happened 500 years ago?

You can listen to the first 12 minutes or so of his lecture here-- and the rest is supposedly forthcoming. It makes for... interesting listening.

Now, please understand, I am not implying that European conquerors did not commit atrocities against the native populations back in the 15th and 16th centuries. Even a European Racist White Supremist like me has read about the vicious cruelty of Cortes, and the zeal of many Catholics in converting the "heathens." I am familiar with the fact that disease was the largest single killer of those indigenuous cultures.

I'm just not quite certain why those blots of European Imperialism-- and certainly there are plenty more to be found in many other parts of the world-- are my fault, or why they make current national borders and laws completely irrelevant. If I'm understanding the Mexica Movement correctly, they want their continent back-- because we Europeans stole it from them 500 years ago.

Except, except. Well, down that path is only madness. Why stop with the Mexica Empire of ~1300-1500 AD? What about the Olmecs (BC) and the Zapotecs (~100 AD)? What of the Mayans and Toltecs (~1000-1300)? Why not go back to them?

Well, it seems the Mexica Empire (sometimes equated with the Aztecs) conquered the Mayans and Toltecs. Indeed, the History World web site notes that Mexica Empire spread and thrived precisely because "It is based on the Aztecs' ferocious cult of war."

Cortes and the other European "terrorists" were just better at killing people than the Mexica Empire was-- small pox being their best "weapon". Oddly (okay, not really), the Mexica Movement site doesn't mention that previous civilizations were destroyed to make way for the Mexica Empire. Instead, these other cultures "gave birth" to the Mexica Empire, which "blossomed" from their roots.

But I digress.

Based on their "extensive" Liberation Through Anahauc Education web page, this "education" has made it outside of the confines of the greater Los Angeles area in only three places. Michigan State and Arizona State University.

And at UW-Whitewater.

Such an honor.

There was a time when UW-Madison was the focal point and keystone of left-wing movements in Wisconsin. I think Whitewater just stole their crown.

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You Keep On Saying That Word

I do not think it means what you think it means.

It is absolutely spectacular, in a redundant and perposterous kind of way, how often the Mexica Movement people use the words racist(s) and racism on their web site. 23 times on this page alone. Which does not include the number of times those who oppose their view are called vendidos (sell-outs, betrayers), stupid, pathetic, gusano (worm), and hypocritical.

Honestly, even if I agreed with these guys in principle, I would be appalled by them for their utter disregard for any viewpoint but their own. They protested against Edward Olmos (whom they derisively refer to as Eddie-- very classy), for goodness sake. It is hard to imagine anyone less deserving of their derision than Mr. Olmos.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How To Marginalize Your Movement

A LOT of discussion lately over immigration policy, illegal alien amnesty programs, and relations between the U.S., Mexico and, to a lesser degree, Canada. It is not an easy question-- current U.S. immigration policies make it far easier to emigrate here illegally than to do so via the convoluted and needlessly bureaucratic legal channels. With somewhere in the the neighborhood of 12 million illegal immigrants here, doing work and raising families, deportation is impractical and probably inhumane in many cases.

So, what to do?

Well, if you are a supporter of immigration reform favoring the current illegal aliens, then these guys are not your friends. My goodness what a bunch of dolts-- it's hard to imagine any approach more likely to polarize public opinion against you than to call everyone else racists, nazis, terrorists and thieves.

I mean, I favor fixing our existing immigration laws to encourage legal immigration and to discourage illegal immigration combined with a general amnesty for existing illegal immigrants. And my basic response to these twits is:
Bite me and get the hell out of my country. You and yours we will gladly deport. You have no claim in fact, and you have no clue in reality. Feel free to bugger off.
Those advocating for sensible immigration reform do themselves no favors allowing these nutbags to participate in their efforts at reform.

UPDATE: The link above has been fixed. Just keep scrolling. There's tons of things to get annoyed at, dislike in the extreme and even laugh out loud at because of the complete absurdity of the claims. For these people there are two choices-- agree with everything they say or you are a Racist White Supremacist. That's it.

You either support them or you're a Racist White Supremacist:
Like we said, there are a lot of good white people out there, but there are also the loud, violent, and low I.Q. Racist White Supremacists who would easily put us in concentration camps and ovens if they felt they could get away with it. Some have already written to us to tell us that they have concentration camps and hot ovens waiting for us.
While their rhetoric is bombastic, their math skills are severely wanting. First they claim the European Racist White Supremacists killed 95% of the indigenuous population (70 to 100 million), and then three paragraphs later claim that 45 million people in the U.S. are full-blooded Nican Tlaca (Indigenuous). So, 45 million is 5% of 70-100 million?

But those who disagree with them are "moron Racist White Supremacists."

Not to mention that most people spell the word Supremist. Oops, too late, I did.

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Fatwas For All My Friends!

You can never really issue too many.

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?

Probably not-- but this guy, I could vote for with a clear conscience and actually be pleased if he won-- not simply hopefully that the schmuck who won was better than the schmuck who lost. I don't agree with all of Michael Smith's positions-- but I agree with most of them, and I find the concept of a "zealous moderate" to be very pleasing to consider indeed.

The big issues as I see them:
So, y'all willing to work to send Mr. Smith to Washington?

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Set Your Alarm Clocks!

The Big Event is mere hours away!

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'Tis A Pity

That George's overall incompetence may mean that younger brother Jeb never gets a shot at the White House. Actually, it's a shame George ever got in--it really should've been Jeb. He's better spoken, more empathetic, less cronyistic, and more centrist on social issues. And more conservative on fiscal issues.

But with the elder Bush and W having held the reins for 12 of the last 20 years, I just don't see Jeb getting his shot-- especially with W's approval ratings way down. Actually, I'm pretty sure I don't want another Bush in the White House-- which is why I wish George were Jeb.

C'est la vie.

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But Are They High-Def?

Never under estimate either the ingenuity or the deviousness (or both) of the human mind. Comes word that certain creative individuals are selling oven doors as flat-screen TVs.

So, can I bake a pizza while I watch Boston Legal?

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120-0

That's how I figure the Brewers to finish the season. Yes, I know that the baseball season is 162 games, but it shouldn't be. 120 would be more than enough. Start at the end of April or first week of May and be done with the regular season by mid-August. Toss in a few more off days for the teams.

Perfect.

And the Brewers go undefeated.

Marvelous.

Okay, the Brewers won't go undefeated despite a nice 5-2 opening day win yesterday, but MLB really should shorten their season. So should the NBA and the NHL. Of course, they won't because that's X number of fewer games to squeeze a few more $ out of the fans. But they should-- each game would mean more, the teams wouldn't get so beat up over the course of a ridiculously long season, and attendance at each individual game would likely go up since there would be less to choose from.

The Brewers looked good yesterday. They turned four double plays, and their young infield of Hall, Hardy, Weeks and Fielder played very good defense. Doug Davis didn't have his best stuff, but he scrapped his way to only 2 earned runs through six innings, and the relief was lights out. If the starting rotation pitches at, or above, the level they achieved last year, the Brewers have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

And even if they don't make it, there's always tailgating. Milwaukeeans have been known to drink a few beers while doing that.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Environmentalist Mood Swings

I think that must be what Laurie David-- Larry David's wife-- must be suffering from. Over the weekend I caught part of an interview with her on one of the network "news" shows. 48 Hours or the like. Anyway, she struck me as a complete lunatic. Just a raving eco-nut with very little tangible connection to reality.

Poked around on google a little and came across this interview from 2004.

She comes across as pretty normal and thoughtful. I mean, this statement makes a lot of sense: Everybody has to strike their own balance between how they want to live and how they can reduce their impact. If the environmental movement wants to be mainstream, it has to lose its purer-than-thou, all-or-nothing attitude. It has to be pragmatic enough to bring everyone onboard. If perfection is the measure, we will fail to appeal to anyone but the fringe.

Sure, I have a big house, but I use it to gather hundreds of people for eco-salons. That's not to justify the size of it, but it does create opportunities to spread knowledge and raise money for the greater environmental good. Sure, I could
always cut down on clothes and dry-cleaning, but the point is not necessarily what more you could do -- we could all do more -- the point is that we do our part. And even with the house and clothes, I think I can do, and am doing, my part.

I mean, that's a reasonable position. So, I started to rethink my first impression. Maybe she isn't a lunatic. But then I read the rest of the article, and got to this gem:
It's [The movie The Day After Tomorrow] fantastic. I think it's going to be a tipping point. I think people are going to look back [and point to it as] when the national discussion got serious on this issue. They're going to point to this movie the way they pointed to The Day After for the nuclear-freeze movement and Silkwood and Erin Brockovich and all these other movies that have come out of Hollywood and had a major impact on the national discourse.
Are you kidding me? That movie was dreadful. Nobody liked it. Well, not many people liked, and most that did liked it for its campiness-- not a strong recommendation for it being a cultural tipping point. And it was so perposterously over-the-top that it may have actually set the environmental movement back because it was just so silly.

I dunno, could being married to Larry David have caused her to have multiple personalities?

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Heavy Monday Irony

Noted by Tim Blair.

As I've mentioned before-- it is much harder to actually govern than it is to carp about how the other guys don't know how to govern. Hamas is learning that first hand.

And I have to admit there is a certain macabre fascination to watching the Palestinians blow themselves up rather than blowing up Israelis. I'd like to think that some sort of centrist/realist group of Palestinians will arise from the chaos and death and say "Enough! Enough death! Let us for once focus on living, on our future, on our children!" But I am cynically inclined to think that such will not be the case.

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Play Ball!

Technically speaking, Major League Baseball started last night-- but it was the White Sox and Indians, so nobody really cared. Well, nobody important. Today, the rest of the league plays-- opening day of the 2006 season! Indeed, as I write this, the Nationals and the Mets are in the top of the first.

As I've mentioned before, I came to my appreciation of the nation's pasttime somewhat late in my life (relatively speaking-- I am only 36 after all). But while it will never come close to suplanting football as the premier sport, it has its own certain something. The pace is more relaxed, and the season is much, much longer (too much longer, really. The regular season should be around 120 games-- let's start in early May and end it by mid-August), but there is a grace and feel to it that not even football can match. A thinking, chess-like aspect, I suppose, because it is not so fast-paced and there is far more time for analysis, strategy and momentum changes.

I suppose it pretty much comes down to this:
And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
Spoken in the resonant tones of James Earl Jones, of course.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Huh

That's all I can really come up with for this story. It's just so ridiculous on so many levels, that the mind kinda boggles. I mean, cries of racism when there's no racism, cries of sexism when there's no sexism, and unrepentant anger from a member of Congress who flaunted the very security rules that exist to prevent her from getting blown up.

If you really want a bit more head-shaking, "Huh?" moments, read some of the comments to the above linked post, and feel your headspin as many of the folks try to justify McKinney's actions. My favorite (I by no means read all of them) is from George:

Yep, we should just kill her. Doesn't matter what she has done during her career- nope - we got to react in O'Reilly style.

What I HATE about our culture is that we have our knees cocked ready to jerk if someone screws up. This happens on the right and the left. If this member of congress screws up 10% of the time, and assuming that these screw-ups are not grave, and the rest of the time they have been great, then their final score is 90% - or an 'A' grade.

Back off - take a pill if necessary. Bush is fleecing the country, destroying our rights
and turning the entire world against us. Some sense of priority is in order.

You sound just like a Republican complaining about a presidential blow job. Bad form
on the part of the president? YES. Important in the sceme of things? NO!

Yikes. The important point-- this would all be a non-issue if McKinney wasn't going ballistic about it. I don't mind that McKinney reacted to being grabbed as she did-- I'm sure she didn't realize that she hadn't been recognized and didn't have on her pin. Fine. Everyone says they're sorry, won't happen again, and life goes on.

But to hold a press conference and claim that the incident was racism, sexism, or politics is just ludicrous and pretty well defines Not Being Able to Let Things Go.

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Another Scientologist Under Death Sentence

Controversial Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, who is not related to Arnorld Horshack, today issued a fatwah calling for the death of John Travolta. Somewhat surprisingly, the fatwah calling for the killing of Travolta was not related to Travolta's conversion to scientology. Instead, Ahmadinejad decried Travolta's "unnatural livestyle and infatuation with rodents" as the reason for the issuance of the fatwah.

Ahbadinejad then referenced this photo as proof of Travolta's "flaunting of Allah's will." Though the koala bear is technically a marsupial, rather than a rodent, no one at the press conference brought this point to president's attention.

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