Tuesday, June 29, 2004

And then there was three...

Genesis fans will recognize the reference, but in fact I have three days of employment left.

Went to a job fair at a major Medical/Tech outfit today. Felt like I was choosing classes for college all over again. This table for LOGISTICS jobs; that table for PROJECT MANAGEMENT; SALES was over here, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT there, SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT was in one corner. IT had a line that snaked around the room, out the door and down the hall.

The Fair ran from 3-8 PM. I got there at 2:45; I estimated I was # 150 in line.

I had three 'mini-interviews'. At one I could tell I was blown off immediately. The other two lasted 10 and 15 minutes each; here's hoping they click, at least enough to get me a face-to-face interview with a hiring manager.

All I ask for is a shot... a decent shot at that.

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Remember the famous Apple 1984 commercial? The long lines of people walking?

That's what this job fair at a major medical/IT office seems like.

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Florida Cracker has this to say about this now famous note:

"The pic of this note from Condi to President Bush made me hoot and holler. I understand that John Kerry received a note from Terry McAuliffe at the very same time."

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Monday, June 28, 2004

Who wants to a GMAIL account?

Way back on June 9th and again on June 23 I offered G-Mail accounts for the asking. Today I offered them to Michele in exchange for contributions for a good cause.

So connect with Michele for the pledge, and an invite is yours. Limit to the first 3 donations.

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Stepping stones to prosperity

Saw this piece on Outside the Beltway, who saw it at Max Jacobs, etc.

James Lileks engages a doorbell pusher for Kerry in dialogue. Confusion ensues.

The other day a young girl came to the door to solicit my support for her presidential candidate. I asked her why I should vote for this man. She was very nice and earnest, but if you got her off the talking points she was utterly unprepared to argue anything, because she didn’t know what she was talking about. She had bullet points, and she believed that any reasonable person would see the importance of these issues and naturally fall in line. But she could not support any of her assertions. Her final selling point: Kerry would roll back the tax cuts.

Then came the Parable of the Stairs, of course. My tiresome, shopworn, oft-told tale, a piece of unsupportable meaningless anecdotal drivel about how I turned my tax cut into a nice staircase that replaced a crumbling eyesore, hired a few people and injected money far and wide - from the guys who demolished the old stairs, the guys who built the new one, the family firm that sold the stone, the other firm that rented the Bobcats, the entrepreneur who fabricated the railings in his garage, and the guy who did the landscaping. Also the company that sold him the plants. And the light fixtures. It’s called economic activity. What’s more, home improvements added to the value of this pile, which mean that my assessment would increase, bumping up my property taxes. To say nothing of the general beautification of the neighborhood. Next year, if my taxes didn’t shoot up, I had another project planned. Raise my taxes, and it won’t happen – I won’t hire anyone, and they won’t hire anyone, rent anything, buy anything. You see?

“Well, it’s a philosophical difference,” she sniffed. She had pegged me as a form of life last seen clilcking the leash off a dog at Abu Ghraib. “I think the money should have gone straight to those people instead of trickling down.” Those last two words were said with an edge.

“But then I wouldn’t have hired them,” I said. “I wouldn’t have new steps. And they wouldn’t have done anything to get the money.”

“Well, what did you do?” she snapped.

“What do you mean?”

“Why should the government have given you the money in the first place?”

“They didn’t give it to me. They just took less of my money.”

That was the last straw. Now she was angry. And the truth came out:

“Well, why is it your money? I think it should be their money.”

Then she left.

And walked down the stairs. I let her go without charging a toll. It’s the philanthropist in me.

But why should they be his stairs?

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Insane reasoning

From an article on Christian Science Monitor titled
Hiring up, but many jobless not looking come these words of wisdom:

" 'I don't want to come off as a slacker, but there aren't even any decent prospects,' she says."

Say again? I won't take a lesser of a job than I think I am worth, because I don't want people to think I am slacker?? Is this what the person is saying? The entire article speaks of those who have 'stopped' looking for work. How is that possible? If they are financially independent (either via spouse, inheritance, LOTTO, whatever), then to count them as among those looking for a job is ridiculous. If they are not 'looking' for work (and are otherwise fit and able to work), then they are lazy; there are no other choices.

The countdown is now 4 days until I am unemployed. I still haven't gotten a good offer, but I don't intend on sitting on my duff saying 'poor me' and whining I can't find a job that suits me. I am fairly well paid Systems Engineer, but I'll do the worst of the worst jobs before I go on welfare. I won't become a victim of society simply because I am too proud to wash a toilet, or flip a burger, or any other job some others would consider is beneath them.

To me, being that I am fit and able to work, sitting home whining about not finding a 'decent prospect' is beneath me.

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Emily Littella, brownshirt

Mary at exit zero has this to say about our former Vice President:

"Al Gore believes that people who send disapproving letters (letters that Al Gore doesn't agree with) to editors are part of a secret cabal of 'digital brownshirts!!!'

People who send letters to the editor are accustomed to being called 'cranks', but Nazis is just a little extreme.

According to Al Gore, these brownshirts are part of an 'underground network!!!' of hacks trained by the 'Bush administration!!!' for 'rapid response!!!'

What kind of letter does Al Gore disagree with? Letters that ask for support of our troops.

If he keeps giving more speeches, his party will be another endangered feces. "

I say, Mr. Gore and his recent rants should be considered the same way 'Sax and Violins' are on TV...

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More on sovereignty

For months, as the violence increased, the critics questioned whether the hand-over could happen on schedule. I always said believed it would be better to happen an hour earlier than a minute later.

Guess the terrorists were caught napping.

To those same critics who will howl the next time a car bomb goes off or another hostage is beheaded, please do be careful you don't sound as if you're gloating. The fact that people who don't want this sovereign government would stoop to such measures is evidence enough of why those thugs must be crushed.

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A big welcome to the sovereign Iraq

As I toweled dry my hair at 3.30 AM ET I was pleased to see the hand off happened ahead off schedule.

All parties involved should be congratulated.

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Friday, June 25, 2004

T - 7 days, and counting ... again

(Holy Deja Vu Batman!)

If the title of the post is familiar, its because I used it already back here, back before they asked me to stay on an additional two weeks. I later learned the real reason why they needed me: it turns out, despite my calls to the Prime Contractor's management (we'll call them Company 'C'), my company (Company 'N') was never told formally of my loss of funding. According to the terms of the contract, Company C either provides two weeks of written notification, or Company N can demand the balance of the contract, which in this case is 31-Dec.

2 weeks extra, or 6 months... which do you think they chose?

I have had a few offers that pay ridiculously too low to be considered ($20K less!). I am choosy, and with good cause, so I am still holding out for now. With health bene's paid through 31-Jul, I am hopeful the gamble will be worth it.

So now I slowly restart the packing process interrupted 2 weeks ago. Next week will be spent mostly idle... which gives me NO excuse not to update this blogs template (yes, those who e-mailed me, I am listening). We'll see what develops.

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Is Zarqawi getting desperate?

Citizen Smash on the upsurge in violence in Bahgdad: Come out an fight! We've been told for many weeks the violence would increase before the hand-over, and it's clear it has begun. Despite three soldiers being killed, most of the targets were the Iraqi security forces; they know where the softer targets are.

Smash's summary:

"{A} week before the official turnover of sovereignty, a group of mostly foreign insurgents, led by a Jordanian terrorist, launched open attacks against Iraqi police stations and security checkpoints in five Iraqi towns. Their objective appears to have been to seize weapons and ammunition, and to deter the local population from supporting the new government. By noon, fighters in four of the five towns had been defeated or repelled.

Is Zarqawi getting desperate?"

Read the rest of his piece here: Citizen Smash - The Indepundit

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Never mind the media spin: Clinton linked al Qaeda and Iraq

"Democrats have cited the staff report to accuse Mr. Bush of making inaccurate statements about a linkage. Commission members, including a Democrat and two Republicans, quickly came to the administration's defense by saying there had been such contacts.

In fact, during President Clinton's eight years in office, there were at least two official pronouncements of an alarming alliance between Baghdad and al Qaeda. One came from William S. Cohen, Mr. Clinton's defense secretary. He cited an al Qaeda-Baghdad link to justify the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.


Shortly after the embassy bombings, Mr. Clinton ordered air strikes on al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and on the Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.

To justify the Sudanese plant as a target, Clinton aides said it was involved in the production of deadly VX nerve gas. Officials further determined that bin Laden owned a stake in the operation and that its manager had traveled to Baghdad to learn bomb-making techniques from Saddam's weapons scientists.

Mr. Cohen elaborated in March in testimony before the September 11 commission.

He testified that "bin Laden had been living [at the plant], that he had, in fact, money that he had put into this military industrial corporation, that the owner of the plant had traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX program."

Now then, will the childish assertions that President Bush lied about an Iraq-al Qaeda link cease? Probably not. Full story at The Washington Times: Nation/Politics .

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Possibly a first in politics

Cam Edwards poses the following question:

"Has this ever happened before?

From USA Today/AP: Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, the highest profile Democrat to endorse President Bush for re-election, will speak at the Republican National Convention later this summer, a congressional aide said Friday.

According to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Miller will
give his address on Wednesday night of the convention in New York. The Bush-Cheney campaign was expected to make an official announcement later in the day. The convention will be held Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

The speech by Miller, a former two-term governor, comes 12 years after he delivered the keynote address for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, also held in New York. "

As Cam said: We live in interesting times.

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Michelle Malkin echoes my sentiments regarding Vice President Cheney's unfortunate outburst. Not that Sen. Leahy didn't disserve it, but one must be fair and put Mr. Cheney's comment in the same light as Sen. John 'F' Kerry's outburst in a Decemeber, 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine.

"I'm not going to bother linking to the story. It annoys me. I am still have nightmares about the dangling heads of Nick Berg and Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-Il, and all the mainstream media will be prattling on about today is Dick Cheney's use of the F word. He shouldn't have said it. He had a bad day. He lost his cool. Many conservatives are cheering about it--Patrick Leahy deserved it, blah x 3. But I personally don't like when public figures curse in public, whether it's Cheney or Bono or John F'n Kerry. It's fine for blogging (though the strongest you'll get from me is a damned or a hell). It's fine when you've stubbed your toe or dented the car or missed winning Powerball by 2 (or 3 or 4) numbers. Yes, it's cathartic (who wouldn't want to tell off a whiny Democrat), but I just don't like it when conservative public figures use the worst profanity. "

Read the rest of Michelle's piece, including the responses to her request for Churchillian put downs.

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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Proof we're right

Gilly provides historical evidence that we're doing the right thing:

See, it came to me one day that for the last 100 years or so, France has been on the wrong side of history for just about every major event. Dead on wrong. So for me, my litmus test for just about any American endeavors should be measured in how strongly the French protest against it. If the protest is large, then we are doing the right thing. Think I am wrong?

WWI- French get whooped for the first time. America bails them out.

Treaty of Versailles- They try to be a tough guy...and of course they are wrong and it leads to....

WWII- The French end up letting Hitler vacation in the Rhineland ...

Read the rest at Gilly's World

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Hiring Process

Obviously, this title strikes a chord with me. But this piece by Deborah is a well written description of things going on right now...

"Hiring Process

When a company has a job opening, they advertise the position and hire someone they feel is the best person to fill the position. When the open position is, say, Chairman of the Board, the shareholders of the company cast their votes. Sometimes the sitting chairman is re-elected, sometimes he (or she) steps aside and someone else gets the position. The shareholders look for the person who they feel is best qualified to lead the corporation for the next few years. This is the person who will guide the company in their growth potential, creating more productivity, more jobs, and, hopefully, higher profits. If the company grows, all is well with the company. The shareholders are happy and will re-elect the chairman. If the company is losing money, the chairman may be replaced. You can bet that someone is sure they can do the job better and wants a chance to do the job.

Politics are alot like a corporation. Think of America as the corporation. The president is the Chairman of the Board. The shareholders are the voters."

Read the rest at My Little Corner of the World

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

It's not fair!

Today was another in a series of farewell lunches on my behalf. And this one was going to be a tad tougher than the others. I enjoyed the company of my co-workers for the others, but today's lunch was with JAG, a friend of mine for over 5 of the 7-1/2 years I've worked here.

In fact, next to my much-better-half, JAG has become one of the best friends I've had. She knows all the gritty details of my life these last 5 years, and she was there for me when I needed a place to crash when my wife was at the hospital. She is a top-shelf friend, no doubt.

JAG and I shared many a laugh, either at other people's expense or my own (but usually others). She watched my back and I hers; when she was going on vacation and her flight left at an absurdly early time of 5:00 AM, I was there at 3:30 to drive her to the airport.

So it's no surprise we would go to lunch in these waning days of my employ. And where to? Why, WHITE CASTLE of course!

Now I realize that most of you folk are living in areas of the country underserved by White Castle (also known as Murder Burgers, White Caskets, Belly Bombers, and Sliders), but they are a treat to be eaten. 2" square beef patties, with 5 holes (to allow the buns to toast) sauteed in onions, a pickle and swirl of ketchup later and they're slid into cardboard boxes. I remember they use to sell them for a $.25 a piece!

JAG and I haven't shared a desk phone for some time, but we stay in touch with IMs and e-mail. As such, we haven't dined at the WC for some time either. Today was the day!!

But lo! Where is it? Where is the box, white brick building?? GOOD HEAVENS!! There's nothing but the bare foundation left!

I can actually taste them right now (my fav: double cheese). Dejected and feeling cheated, we retreated to Chick-fil-A for lunch; albeit tasty, hardly a substitute.

Man, I thought getting laid off was bad... this ruined my day and week.

The high point? JAG and I had some good laughs, so it wasn't a complete loss. When my employ comes to an end, I know we'll stay in touch. But unless I can find work reasonably close to this office, it's likely we'll not see each other much down the road. It sucks when you live 2 hours away from your friends.

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Toon Day

Remember: get your GMail invite!

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Check Mate


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Well, I still do!

I'm the IT manager. Do you fancy me?
Which Office Moron Are You?
Rum and Monkey: jamming your photocopier one tray at a time.

I still have my IT job, and I am going to get another one...

As seen at Duckwater's Pond

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Howard's Quandary (and mine, too)

Howard Stern recently endorsed Sen. John Kerry for President, which he’s more than entitled to do.

Sen. Kerry participated in a near-unanimous vote yesterday to increase the penalties for violations by television and radio broadcasters of the prohibitions against transmission of obscene, indecent and profane language. Which he is entitled to do (even if he has been absent from the Senate much of this year).

I am of two-minds on this issue. Back in my campus DJ days (or more often than not, daze), we had to apply for an official FCC license (even though we were legally allowed to broadcast no further than the campus fence-line). We took that license in all seriousness, and while we were reasonably certain there were people listening to our music, we had little optimism that many people actually *heard* what we were saying when we took mic. Anyone who ‘crossed the line’ was chastised by station management; we ran the place as if it was a 50,000 watt station when it was actually 1/1000 as powerful.

So I am well aware of how much a privilege it is to use the airways. But I am also aware that words are an expression of ideas, and that there is an ever-present danger of ideas being stifled (or censored). I have no problem with the airing of certain words/ideas at age-appropriate times, but I do have a problem with television re-runs of programs that were once aired at 8:00pm or later being shown at 5:30 or earlier (see FRIENDS, NYPD Blue). Lionel often spoke of his aversion to having his viewing habits curbed by a mythological 12 year old being possibly exposed to something untoward, and while I respect him and his view, I have two children whom I believe get exposed to too much stuff even as I monitor their viewing habits (see commercials for CELALIS, HERPES medication, etc.).

Howard Stern, in my humble opinion was far funnier in his younger days than he is now (then again, I was far younger back then, too). He’s entitled to have his show as far-out as he chooses, but I believe there ought to be certain boundaries; on the free airways, I believe it would be hard to find many who wouldn’t agree.

Are fines the answer? Perhaps. One day when satellite radio is as common as CD players in cars, this argument will become moot, as the for-fee service is free of the FCC restrictions on obscenities. Howard may well blaze a trail to the satellite market, but I doubt it can fund his lucrative contract, at least not yet. So for now, he’ll have to curb his tongue just a bit.

But keep on being outrageous; for first thing that is in danger is anything in the broad range of comedy. After that is political speech, and we’ve already lost a lot in that arena already.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Helping out Ms. Dowd

I read Maureen Dowd's column routinely, but this edit of her latest was a useful exercise, worthy of reprinting.


Because They Could
By Maureen Dowd

In his "60 Minutes" interview, Bill Clinton calls his intern idyll "a terrible moral error," illuminating "the darkest part of his inner life." Not to mention the hardest part on his back since, astonishingly, he says he spent months sleeping on the couch. (Was the Lincoln bedroom always occupied by donors?)

"I did something for the worst possible reason," he told Dan Rather about his march of folly with Monica. "Just because I could. I think that's just about the most morally indefensible reason anybody could have for doing anything."

Just because he could. What a world of meaning is packed into that simple phrase. His "could" reflects a selfish "Who's gonna stop me?" power move, stemming from a droit du seigneur attitude, as opposed to "should," signifying obligation, or "must," indicating compulsion.

The former president engaged in a relationship of choice, not necessity.

As a friend of mine explains: "It's a guy thing. We're not likely to get up off the couch if we don't have to. We might cheat with a chick who just happens to be there if we feel we could get away with it."

In his memoirs, Mr. Clinton complains about Republican droit du seigneur, writing that impeachment was driven neither by "morality" nor "the rule of law" but, as Newt Gingrich said: "Because we can."

The Clinton alpha instinct on Monica, fueled by a heady cocktail of testosterone and opportunism, was the same one that led W. into his march of folly with Iraq. After 9/11, the president, vice president and secretary of defense wanted to go to the Middle East and knock the stuffing out of somebody bad - because it would feel good, because it would put our enemies on notice, and because it would make the president look strong.

The folks at 1600 Pennsylvania didn't have Osama's address. They couldn't go after Iran or North Korea because those countries could defend themselves and retaliate, maybe with nukes. They couldn't invade Pakistan or Saudi Arabia because they're our "allies." But the Bush team knew that it wouldn't be hard to get rid of the second-rate dictator and romance novelist who posed no real threat.

They went after Saddam just because they could. Last week, the 9/11 commission debunked the White House attempt to suggest an axis of evil between Saddam and Osama.

Like Mr. Clinton, the president engaged in an enterprise of choice, not necessity. John Kerry's biggest applause line now is: "The United States should never go to war because we want to. We should only go to war because we have to."

Huffing and puffing Dick Cheney comes across as barking mad when he keeps lassoing Saddam and Al Qaeda. Tricky Dick may actually believe in his concocted connection, but he must also realize that the administration can't lose the terrorist-linkage argument for war, having already lost the W.M.D. argument .

If our leaders didn't lead us there, why did 69 percent of Americans, in a Washington Post poll last September, believe that Saddam was involved in the attacks? And a University of Maryland study last October showed that 80 percent of those who mostly watched Fox believed at least one of three misconceptions: that W.M.D. had been found; that Al Qaeda and Iraq were tied; or that the world had approved of U.S. intervention in Iraq.

Osama, suffering from what one C.I.A. shrink termed "a narcissistic explosion," also struck America because he could. It was a jihad of choice, not necessity.

Thursday's 9/11 commission report cited the dissent among Al Qaeda leaders who were worried about Pakistan's reaction or U.S. retaliation. Osama overruled the doubters, arguing that it would reap a bonanza in Al Qaeda fund-raising and recruiting.

So far, partly because of the Bush crowd's solipsistic fixation on Saddam, Osama has gotten away with his heinous power play - and reaped a bonanza in recruiting.

Mr. Clinton, though he was vilified by the right, tittered at by the world and dolled up in pink-and-black suede shoes as a toddler by his mom, is selling a zillion books.

As Republicans keep saying, with fingers crossed, W. has stayed even with John Kerry despite the litany on Iraq, terrorism and domestic affairs that has turned out quite differently than promised.

But one thing you can say for Bill Clinton: His "Who's gonna stop me?" Oval Office power surge produced a much lower body count.

Tip of hat to Blogs for Bush

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So we’re approaching the one year mark of my adventurers in Tae Kwon Do. My 8 year old son and I take the classes (which I refer to as ‘Stretch, Sweat & Ache’), and so far I’ve kept up with him (but just barely). We’re presently ranked as ‘Yellow belt with green stripe’, which I am told in some Karate schools is called an Orange belt. He takes the first class, which is almost exclusively the 10 and under set. Officially, any child who attains a red belt is invited to participate in the later class, but most of the high-belt kids stay in the junior class, and that makes sense. My class is a mixture of 12 year old black belts down to 30 year old white belt (a newbie).

Rarely a week goes by that I am not, in some way, placed into a position I would otherwise never imagine being. Case in point: last night.

We had a small group, 8 students. After the routine 30 minutes of calisthenics, we stepped to the outside of the ring. The high-belt in our class, a 13 year old, 2nd degree black belt, was alone in the ring. The next-highest belt steps into the ring with her. At the command of Sa Ba Nim (the Master Instructor), the sparring begins. The next ranking student also enters the ring, but stays to the side of the action. After 15 seconds, the command is given and the first fighter falls away from the high-belt, the second fighter immediately begins sparring the 13 year old.

This is repeated for each of the remaining 5 students. After which time, the 13 year old goes to the end of the line, and the process is repeated again. This is some of the most intense sparring I’ve experienced in the one year I have been involved in TKD, obviously for the person consistently in the ring. The purpose of any classroom sparring event is to allow lower belts to spar with higher belts. I hold a ‘yellow belt with green stripe’, as does my son (in some schools, this is an orange belt).

During my turn as the lone person, I fared pretty well until the 4th or 5th contestant entered the ring. By that time, I am winded, and even if the person I am sparring is of a lower belt, I have trouble putting up a credible defense.

10 minutes earlier, however, I was sparring against another female, this time about 16 years old. In these matches the sparring is quick and frantic, in that we have such a concise time limit before the next contestant. And for the person in the center of the ring, things get chaotic. We have certain rules that must be followed in sparring, not the least of which is equipment. Helmet, mouth guard, shin protectors, and chest protector are bare minimum. Many opt for hand and foot pads as well, and for all males an athletic supporter and sport cup. Being the cheap person I am, I naturally get by on the minimum.

During the match I am holding my own fairly well with the green belt (higher-belt) until I pivoted to throw a round-house kick while she was pivoting to throw an angle kick. Hers was delivered straight on the mark, directly in the athletic supporter.

Friends, it is amazing this Blog did not collapse altogether. For the next 5 or 6 seconds (it may have been an hour for all I knew) I continued to deliver kicks and punches and defend myself from same until the call to the next competitor was made.

I then peeled off to outside of the ring. It was then that I collapsed. In my life I have taken shots below the belt a dozen or so times, but never had I experienced a shot to a sport cup, and let me just say: I am hard-pressed to say it helped much at all!

Today I am still a little bruised in the region, but none the worse for wear. And to think: I pay for this fun!

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UCLA/Standford: Drudge isn't as right-wing as critics say



That's going to leave a mark!

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Hitchens on Moore

Gilly's World pointed out how, shall I say, underwhelmed Christopher Hitchens was after viewing Michael Moore's movie (the name of which I shall not state here, out of respect for Mr. Ray Bradbury). Gilly pointed to one particular passage whereing Mr. Hitchens opined:

"'However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that 'fact-checking' is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.'"

Ouch! Almost as painful as reading a recent NYT Book Review....

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Can the Sound of Silence be far away?

The LeatherPenguin (can there be a better name for a blog?) links to story detailing the demise of Air America.

As I've said before (most recently here), it takes more than a few celebrities to run a radio station. You have to compete in a highly competive world for those precious advertising dollars; and if your talent demands a lot of money, it will be hard for you to earn those dollars if the ratings aren't there.

And despite what others claim, I do not subscribe to the belief that people who are politically Center or Left do not listen to talk radio because 'they are stupid' or any other insult. Talk radio appealed to the Right because of the huge bias shown in other media outlets. Quite simply, the Left have no need for Air America, as they can get their fill from NPR, the major networks, CNN, MSNBC, and nearly every major newspaper in the country.

Can't say that for the Right.

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Monday, June 21, 2004

Monday Meme the Second

I wasn't going to link again to Pisces Peach, not that I ahve anything against her, but because I like to show some variety. This is another meme of hers that I also saw on Michele's Small Victory...

1. Where were you when you heard that Ronald Reagan died?
Driving home from a two-year old's birthday party. The l'il girl is the daughter of my much-better-half's niece, and while I was relieved his suffering was over, it did depress me greatly.

2. Where were you on September 11, 2001?
I was sitting in my cubicle at work. A manager walked by saying a plane hit the WTC. I remember wondering 'What the hell? Why didn't the pilot ditch in the river instead of hitting the building?' When the second plane hit I knew it wasn't an accident.

3. Where were you when you heard that Princess Diana died?
Home, I think. Other than being a notable on the glamour pages, and a reportedly nice person, I have/had no interest in the Royals.

4. Do you remember where you were when you heard Kurt Cobain had died?
Nope. I lived through the John Lennon asasination, some idiot killing himself doesn't resonate the same way.

5. Take one for The Gipper: What's your favorite flavor of jelly bean?

6. Where were you when Magic Johnson announced he was retiring from the NBA due to AIDS?
Some guy who infected because he (literally) screwed around? Sorry, that didn't stick with me.

7. Where were you when Reagan was shot?
College... campus radio station in fact. Very sad day (at the beginning).

8. Where were you when the Challenger exploded?
Vacationing in Florida. One of those trips I normally don't like to mention; my folks went to visit friends, I tagged along at age 22 (I know what you're thinking, and I agree how sad that was for me). The highlight of the trip was to watch the shuttle launch from friends' backyard. "About a minute into the launch you'll see it clearly," he said. Rainy, cold morning. After the second or third delay, we went for a drive. We heard about the explosion on the radio. Had we waited in his yard for the delay, we would have seen it first hand; to this day I don't know if I regret missing it or not.

BONUS:Where were you when the Columbia burnt up? Driving home from the hospital.

9. Where were you when the 0J verdict was announced?
In my office in Manhattan. I am still shocked at the verdict 10 years later. On a business trip many months earlier to Bermuda was the famed low-speed chase. The people in Bermuda knew he was guilty, too (Why would he take money, a disguise and a gun to the border?).

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Monday Meme

As seen on Pisces Peach (I know, I owe those unfinisished posts... I'll combine and edit this morning)

Do you prefer....

1. Long hair or Short hair
I prefer long hair, both on myself and the opposite sex. Age and employment have meant the days of long hair are far behind me (not to mention that annoying, ever growing horseshoe on my forehead).

2. Contacts or Glasses
I don't need glasses, and I can't wear contacts, but I prefer contacts. On the otherhand, the auto-darkening kind of prescription lenses makes the most sense to me (I forget the brand name)

3. Spring or Autumn
The beauty of northeast Pennsylvania is that there are distinct seasons. I prefer Autumn after a long, hot Summer. I prefer Spring after a cold Winter. I would not like to live (long-term) where the seasons weren't so pronounced.

4. Mittens or Gloves
What's the point of mittens, really? My much-better-half got me the kind of mittens that allow the tops to be pulled off to reveal half-gloved fingers, which is the only reason I'd ever wear mittens in the first place. I can barely use the snow blower with mittens, can't change the volume on the car radio with them, etc. What's the point, really?

5. Car or Truck/SUV
I own a few of each. Depends on need. In general? There was 1969 Chevy my folks had that my brother owned for several years... you could fit a family of four in the backseat.

6. Mac or Windows
Back in the day, Mac was the way to go for all things artistic, desktop-publishing, etc. Having cut my teeth on CP/M (long before the DOS prompt), and then DOS, UNIX, and on up, I can't help but be partial to Windows. I think had MAC not kept it's hardware so proprietary, it would have grown faster, sooner. Look at the IBM PS/2 line in the early '90s. Microchannel archetiture was a dream to those of us installing networks (true plug-n-play years ahead of Microsofts version), but because IBM didn't open source it, no one else could make it, thus the price stayed out of reach.

7. Cats or Dogs
I've never met a cat that would give me the time of day, unless I was opening a can of food. Dogs are so much better companions.

8. Rock or Jazz
Give rock any day, but I am very selective and narrow to what I call rock (Counting Crows, DMB: yes. Half of what else is played on rock stations these days is either heavy metal-wannabees or crap in general).

9. Pen or Pencil
Mechanical pencils and fountain pens are my favorites in these categories; pen overall.

10. DVD's or VHS's
VHS was king, but then again, so was 8-Track at one time. DVD has long since eclipsed it.

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Friday, June 18, 2004

Lots of news to catch up on

What a difference a day makes! I wrote Thursday I had started writing four different posts:

  • How it feels to suddenly go from T-4 days of my job to the present, T-14. And how I am supposed to suddenly regain my old spark for the same job, while the calls to/from headhunters continue.

  • Dissecting the Philadelphia Daily News' endorsement of Sen. Kerry

  • The miserable reporting on the 9/11 commissions report, which is now probably already exposed on the web, but certainly can't be understated

  • the 9/11 report itself

  • I took a day off from work (what are they going to do, fire me?) so I could spend an extra day with the fam. I know, if I don't find a new job soon, I'll have TOO much time on my hands with the fam, but these things can't be ignored either. Tomorrow morning my oldest son and I are attending K-Mart's special opinion of the latest, greatest Hot Wheels (oh, to be 8 again!). After that I have more job leads to track down, so I imagine I'll update those unfinished posts.

    Also worthy of mention, Jessica's Well updated the piece on the recently reported shipment of WMD components outside of Iraq in the days leading up to the US invasion. That report, from the UN, is probably one of the biggest underreported stories of the war ... unless you want to count Vladamir Putin's comments that he warned the US of the Iraq intentions to strike us with terrorism domestically and other places, or perhaps the resounding endorsement of President Bush by Sen. McCain... so much to catch up on!!

    For now, click over to the Spectator story for details on the Iraqui export of WMDs (credit again to Jessica's Well and then tell me there were never any WMDs in Iraq.

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    Thursday, June 17, 2004

    Never one to shirk a meme

    I've started 4 different posts today and have yet to complete a single one.

    So I decided to copy a meme that's all the rage today, first seen at Kathleen .

    This is close enough to me, except in real life I am not at all that good looking.

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    9-11 Commission, their report, and the media slant

    That's right, I said slant. This entry is a draft I started last week but never got back to finish. By now you've read all about the 9-11 Commission's report (which went a bit beyond their charter), the media reaction (pinpointing on bullet point in the report, and completely misrepresenting it).

    Did al Quaida have any relationship with Iraq? Of course they did; don't believe the AP or any of the major media outlets who cried 'Iraq had no connection with al Quaida'. I read the Commission's actual report: there was not any such statement made.

    Did Iraq have any direct relationship with al Quaida regarding 9-11? None has been shown, so the short answer is no. This would be a key point of contention had any one in the Bush Administration said 'let's get Iraq; they helped plan 9-11.' If you have any such quote, I am happy to be enlightened.

    This Blog has discussed and documented the evidence of WMDs already; with the advanced warning given to Iraq in the months leading up to the regime change, did you think they'd leave them out in the open?

    Now then, can we agree that the majority of the print and TV media outlets are biased?

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    Wednesday, June 16, 2004


    Michelle Malkin: JOEL STEINBERG, FREE: "A 6-year-old girl, killed by blows delivered by the man who raised her. The man's girlfriend, herself a victim of his abuse, testifying that the couple smoked cocaine while the child lay unconscious on a bathroom floor. It has been nearly 17 years since young Lisa Steinberg, illegally adopted by Joel Steinberg and his live-in girlfriend, Hedda Nussbaum, died of brain injuries from the beating. Now, Steinberg is about to be released from prison, even though he was denied parole five times - most recently in January. And he has a job lined up on a local cable TV show called New York Confidential. "

    to further quote Michelle Malkin: Sick.

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    This Just In

    Cost of Laughing Index:

    "2004 Cost of Laughing Index Overall Index Up 2.7%

    RubberChicken______Wholesale price of rubber chickens: up from $48 last year to $51 (dozen)

    Groucho____Wholesale price of Groucho glasses: same as last year $15 (dozen)

    Whoopee!____Wholesale price of whoopee cushions: same as last year $5.40 (dozen)

    Rubber chicken prices up 6%. It's an outrage!

    Other indicators include the price of dancing chicken and pink gorilla telegrams, the fee for writing a TV sit-com,
    and Saturday night admission to 10 U.S. comedy clubs.

    Need more details?
    Contact Malcolm Kushner at mk@kushnergroup.com"

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    Union acting like terrorists

    Kevin at Wizbang points out how the terrorists are using the same tactics a French Labour Union uses:

    "Why are terrorists attacking the oil pipelines in Iraq?
    They're just following the lead of their friends in France: French power workers cut electricity to prime minister's house

    This reminds me of an experience of my own. It's more than a dozen years ago now... 15 in fact. I had somehow managed to con my much-better-half into marrying me, and as the days counted down, I was looking for a way to build up on my cash (our cash) by picking up a second job. Local 1199, a Hospital Workers Union in NYC had staged a strike. Being industrious (and not wanting a long term commitment), I thought about the applying to be one of the replacement workers the hospitals were hiring.

    A friend of mine, Nancy, worked in the business office of one of the affected hospitals (she had worked for me a few years earlier when I was a head teller in a bank). I called her to ask what kind of help they needed at her hospital. She told me to drive by the South enterance of the hospital before she would answer me. I did, and there it was: suspended from two utility poles: a huge banner listing the names, addresses, and phone numbers of over a dozen people.

    Two words were scrawled in big letters:

    So much for picket lines; here was outright threats to people, and the means (contact info) to do it. Oh but the Unions don't condone violence!! I always wondered what the legality of such blatant threats is...

    Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was start a new life with my much-better-half while looking over my shoulder, so I found decidedly safer work to do (newspaper delivery).

    On a bright side, I applaud the French PM's efforts to privatize the electrical company; I can't think of anything positive I've had to say about the PM in quite some time.

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    Tuesday, June 15, 2004

    Rumor of the draft? Just a political move

    A few weeks ago there were a few posts warning of the renewed draft , and a lot of people understandably got their dander up.

    Found this link which clears the matter up:

    SUMMARY Several FactCheck subscribers have asked about an e-mailed rumor that is causing a lot of anxiety. It claims that steps are being taken to resume military conscription next year. But the message abounds with misinformation and half-truths. And some experts say conscription is the last thing the military wants or needs, despite being stretched thin in Iraq.


    --The bills are not being pushed. It's quite true that the two bills mentioned would require both men and women aged 18 through 25 to perform a two-year period of "national service," which incidentally could be either military or non-military service. But the bills are sponsored only by Democrats, and there's not the slightest evidence that the Bush administration is pushing for them, quietly or otherwise.

    The whole article describes and effectively debunks all of the other fears put out by the e-mail rumor. I said it was a 'political move' because knowing how Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) deals with issues tells me he offered the bill more to make a point than to actually expect its passage.

    Read the whole FactCheck.

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    What WMDs? Why, just ask the UN

    Jessica's Well reports what well may be one of the most under-reported stories of the war:

    The United Nations has determined that Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction components as well as medium-range ballistic missiles before, during and after the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003.


    The briefing contained satellite photographs that demonstrated the speed with which Saddam dismantled his missile and WMD sites before and during the war.

    Where have these guys and their photos been for the last year? Is the UN still trying to cover up their ties to Saddam and the Oil for Food (, Palaces and Missles) program? Where did the missing BILLIONS of dollars go? When are we going to crack down on these corrupt, lying, thieving bastards?"

    Good question, Jessica. Are you listening, Sen. Kerry??

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    More misrepresentation

    I've been working on this one for a few days. Mr. Mike reiterated a number of those old chestnuts about the Bush Administration and it's war on terror:

    "There are weapons of mass destruction."

    "Iraq is connected to Al Qaeda."

    "The promise for democracy in Iraq."

    Full Soverignty on June 30th.
    Will probably be a lie.

    So lets take these 'lies' in order:

    There are weapons of mass destruction:

    If you read my speech, I was very clear. Saddam Hussein could not be left to his own devices based on everything we learned about him for seven and a half years while we were inspecting in Iraq. People have forgotten that for seven and a half years, we found weapons of mass destruction. We were destroying weapons of mass destruction. We were, the United States of America, together with Ambassador Butler, and the United Nations.” Sen. John F. Kerry (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 9/14/03) Courtesy of GOP.com

    Iraq is connected to Al Qaeda:
    "Certainly there's a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda," said retired Gen. Wesley Clark in 2002. "It doesn't surprise me at all that they would be talking to Al Qaeda, that there would be some Al Qaeda there or that Saddam Hussein might even be, you know, discussing gee, I wonder since I don't have any scuds and since the Americans are coming at me, I wonder if I could take advantage of Al Qaeda? How would I do it? Is it worth the risk? What could they do for me?" Courtesy of eTalkinghead

    The promise for democracy in Iraq.
    Because Mr. Mike says it's a lie, it means the process that is undergoing isn't actually happening? The seeds are sown; it won't happen overnight (remember Germany after WW-II).

    Full Soverignty on June 30th.
    To be fair, Mr. Mike said 'probably a lie'... seems as if he's hoping it to be so. The hand-off will happen as planned... the seeds of democracy will take hold.

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    NOW what Mr. Gore has been doing makes sense

    Recently, former VP Al Gore has been making a lot of speeches wherein he screams and yells to make his points.   What did he once say?


    When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, holler.


    Suddenly, it all makes sense to me!!

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    What the delay means

    What this delay in termination means is that the prime contractor – the one that hired my company – is still wholly unprepared to have their own people do the work I do.  I was given notice on 27-May that 18-Jun would be my last day.  I’ve prepared documentation of all my tasks, and only this week did someone from the company decided to sit with me and find out what’s involved.


    Of course, if one of the possibilities I’ve worked on turns into an offer next week, the prime loses, and I’m done.




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    Slow death, or salvation?

    From: Colleen
    Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 8:50 PM
    Cc: Brendan
    Subject: RE: Termination

    Hi Charlie,
    Skip wants to extend your time here until July 2nd, if that is OK with you. I still want to get everything transitioned this week if possible, but if you can double check JT/Ted/NOC Night shifts work over the next couple weeks and help us iron out any issues, it would be greatly appreciated.


    So my count-down has been delayed, it now seems. This means I need not leap at any offer I am not wholly comfortable with, thankfully.

    More importantly, my company must pay my health insurance through the end of the month I work. Having me work on 2-Jul ensures full coverage through 31-Jul. That is a cause to celebrate indeed!

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    Monday, June 14, 2004

    Kerry on Halliburton. Again.

    The Kerry Campaign is banging the drum on Halliburton again on those no-bid contracts. But did anyone ever wonder when those no-bid deals began? Why during the previous Administration. Could it be Dick Cheney's reach made it to the Oval Office even before he and George W. Bush were elected?

    Or could it be the Kerry team is hoping no one is up on history?

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    Ted Rall: a pretty reasonable guy?

    Someone did say something nice about Ted Rall; as amazing as it sounds, I strive to present both sides of important issues. Julie Ann Fidler had this to say about the infamous Mr. Rall:

    On a semi-unrelated note, I've been bickering back and forth with none other than Ted Rall this week. You will recall that the majority of search strings leading to FOTR this week have included most if not all of the following words: Ted Rall, crispy brown, hell, Ronald Reagan.
    I did not refer to Mr. Rall in a positive light previously in this blog. I called him "Creepy Crawly Rall" and a few other selected puns. I shouldn't have done that, because even though I think he's a total "wackadoo" politically, calling him names puts me on the same level as one who would suggest that Reagan was as evil as a terrorist. (Insert "turning a crispy brown" comment here.) And, as it turns out, Rall is a pretty nice, reasonable guy to chat with.
    Does that mean I agree with him? No. I still think he's as far left as the Left can get, and I think his views are irrational, unfair, and bigoted. But as a person...I could probably get a cup of coffee with him and not dump it on his lap. (Just as long as we don't bring George W. Bush into the equation.)

    UPDATE: Turns out Mr. Rall isn't as reasonable as previously reported. Seems his true self just needed a day or so to be revealed.

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    More on President Reagan

    Already people are complaining over the idea of renaming things in honor of President Reagan. While I do not think things of this nature ought to be rushed or done without proper thought, the automatic nay saying is disclosing a person’s dislike – rational or otherwise – for President Reagan.

    Schools, boulevards, parks, are all named for presidents, statesmen, and political/religious notables… people don’t mind it, really. In other parts of the country, people are fighting to preserve the names of schools named after presidents, because some people think the times have changed, and a new name ought to appear. Again, things of this nature ought not to be rushed!

    President Reagan, despite the liberal spin, was a champion of causes, big and small. First woman on the Supreme Court (whose record of decisions stands quite a contrast to Mr. Reagan’s own Conservative values!), first highest-ranking black in his Administration, that of Colin Powell, provided for over $5 billion in funds for AIDS research, doubled treasury revenue, cut taxes on all tax payers, instead of appeasing the Soviet Union, he took decisive steps that lead to its collapse. Facts can’t be ignored.

    People criticize Mr. Reagan as someone who only knew how to read a Teleprompter. A pity those people never read Reagan, in His Own Hand, a collection of hundreds of radio addresses he gave in the years before running for president. All of them written out in long hand by Mr. Reagan himself, all conveying the Conservative principles he held closely through his adult life. Teleprompter, indeed.

    To this day, Mr. Reagan gets mixed press coverage, at best. Even the likes of Peter Jennings and Dan Rather were critical of the people who lined up to pay tribute to the man last week, so in his death Mr. Reagan could do nothing right by them. One has to consider how often Mr. Reagan spoke directly to the people – in order to get his message out unfiltered – to appreciate how much the slanted media twisted his words.

    True, Mr. Reagan and his Administration were not without his faults, and no one who is open minded could argue. At least he held the office of President in the utmost highest regard, which is not something that could be said for all Presidents, before and after his term.

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    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    'No' means 'No'

    Sean over at Everything I know is Wrong talks about the biggest non-story of the weekend:
    OK this is just too weird to pass by without mentioning it. I'm not exactly sure what it means but...
    Republican Sen. John McCain has personally rejected John Kerry's overtures to join the Democratic presidential ticket and forge a bipartisan alliance against President Bush, The Associated Press has learned.
    Kerry has asked McCain as recently as late last month to consider becoming his running mate, but the Arizona senator said he's not interested, said a Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry has insisted that his deliberations be kept private. A second official familiar with the conversations confirmed the account, and said the Arizona senator made it clear he won't change his mind.
    Both officials said Kerry stopped short of offering McCain the job, sparing himself an outright rejection that would make his eventual running mate look like a second choice.

    "Senator McCain categorically states that he has not been offered the vice presidency by any one," said McCain's chief of staff, Mark Salter, who would not confirm the officials' account. 
    Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter declined to comment.
    This just won't die will it?
    No it won't Sean, and therein lies the point!   Sen. Kerry needed a reason to get into the headlines this weekend, so he publicly called on Sen. McCain, who has long been known to reject the idea of VP (think back to 2000) and has reiterated his disinterest on a recent Meet The Press.  But because Kerry called McCain, the media is all abuzz.   MSNBC this morning teased 'will he or won't he? Sen. Kerry calls on his friend Sen. McCain to be VP.'   This was a blatantly false tease, since the matter of whether Sen. McCain would accept the offer was already known. 
    Ah... but the news media could inject Sen. Kerry's name into the broadcast and print, couldn't they?
    142 days to go... when will Sen. Kerry tell us what he would do for the country if he were elected??

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    Friday, June 11, 2004

    T - 7 days, and counting!

    My employment ends in just 7 days... can you feel it?

    I have a few leads… no offers, but you have to have leads before offers. Some of these leads were from networking my Contact list, and a few were hits on résumé. I am right now being a little selective in my criteria, to meet the needs of my family. Can I do with less? Well sure (to a point)… I can always work weekends again, too!

    With unused accrued vacation, I am good until 30-June. I am working on turning those leads into interviews next week, and to generate more leads.

    I have a lot to write, but the ride is 2 hours and I need to leave. My Reagan rebuttal took most of the day to write, and there was so much more I could have said. And I have a lot to read on my Bloglines list.

    Good thing I sleep very little!!

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    Ronald W. Reagan, 1911-2004

    I can remember my senior year in Holy Cross High School, 1982. After-school curriculum had included classes on becoming a Conscientious Objector, or CO, so I could avoid the Draft.

    Mind you, in 1982 there wasn’t any draft, but there was the Draft Registration that remains today. The teachers, mostly the Theology teachers, made these presentations. That always struck me as odd, these were the lay teachers, not the Brothers, conducting the classes on C.O., or as frequently stated, ‘beating the draft.’ It’s not that being a C.O. isn’t a Christian supported position. I found it odd that a Catholic High School would espouse ‘beating the draft’ at any time. But some of these men may well have served in Viet Nam, or at least were closer to that time than was a 17 year old.

    See, I lived in those years before Ronald Reagan won election in the first of two landslides. The days of double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, and double-digit unemployment. Today the media bristles if the unemployment rate rises 5.601%. Where was that bristling when it was 10%?

    People today complain their savings accounts pay a paltry 1.5%, or credit cards charging 19%. I was a bank teller in 1983; CD’s were paying 21%; people were cashing out there old, 5 year CDs that were paying half the rate, taking the ‘penalty for early withdrawal’ and the reopening the account at the higher rate – who wouldn’t?? Yet I speak to people under 30 and they either act as if they’ve never heard of such a thing or they dismiss it as if it’s fantasy. I lived it, let me tell you, and it was real.

    I think that was when I first started to look at my peers and question their positions on a number of issues, social and political. It was when I started paying attention to the issues of the day and reevaluating what my positions was, and realized what I considered ‘correct’ thinking was often what my peers thought. I didn’t want to stand on this position or that merely because my buddies said so. I wanted to think for myself.

    Drawing upon the values I was raised with, and my own reasoning, I came to the conclusion that a lot of what I believed in was embodied by President Reagan. This, naturally, didn’t play well with my peers.

    Looking back, there are a number of criticism people who simply cannot say anything good about President Reagan always bring up. Here then are facts to refute them.

    He’s going to start WW-III. This was a common refrain, and obviously history proved it wrong. But back then, it was very prevalent. In fact, one of my favorite bands, Pink Floyd, memorialized that theme in Two Suns in the Sunset from The Final Cut

    The rusty wire that holds the cork
    That keeps the anger in
    Gives way
    And suddenly it's day again.
    The sun is in the east
    Even though the day is done.
    Two suns in the sunset
    Could be the human race is run.

    That summed it up; Reagan was pushing the USSR and ultimately, someone was going to push the button. Mind you, Roger Waters and Pink Floyd remain on my playlists, but they were as wrong as critics who claim Reagan was about to push button are today. It was OK if the Soviets kept expanding their reach, regardless of where it was. “Who cares what happens in So. America? And Afghanistan? You must be joking.” It wasn’t the Soviet Union that was the concern, it was those dang Japanese!

    But of course, after decades of trying to make nice with the USSR, they continued to grow and place their missiles all over (remember Grenada?). We were trying to talk our way into disarmament, assuming our enemies would do likewise; a foolish thought no doubt.

    It’s funny when you think of the Pershing missiles we installed in Western Europe to calm our allies; think of that expense and outlay of resources just 20 years ago, and think of who is harming relations today (hint: for a people who owe us, the US is certainly being treated roughly by our ‘allies’.)

    Reagan infected millions of gays with AIDS: Using such inflamed rhetoric, you’d think he personally had relations with each and every one of them. The facts are clear: The Reagan Administration spent more than $5 billion on AIDS, and years later the research born from that research paid off. Clearly, could the Administration have moved faster? Certainly. But to accuse the man of actively taking part in the spread of the disease is looney. Don’t rely on my opinion, rely on that of Andrew Sullivan, who takes Reagan to task for delaying the effort, but gives credit where it’s due.

    But the sad truth is also that there was never going to be an easy answer to HIV in the Reagan years. Throwing even more money at research in those days would not have helped much. Anthony Fauci's NIH, goaded by heroes like Larry Kramer, was already pushing for focus and resources; FDA red tape was loosened considerably; and the painfully slow scientific process continued. The fact that we got revolutionary drugs in trials by the early 1990s was itself an heroic scientific achievement - arguably the most miraculous progress in a medical emergency since the polio vaccine. Should Reagan have done more? Yes. Were people like Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer responsible for delaying a real prevention response because only gays were dying? You bet. But was Reagan ultimately responsible for so many tragic, early deaths? No. HIV was. Viruses happen. It's a blemish on his record, but not as profound as some, with understandable grief, want to make it out to be.

    I would like to see what evidence Mr. Sullivan has in implicating the likes of Mssrs. Bennett and Bauer with the charge of bigotry, but the larger point remains.

    Tax Cuts for the Rich: Why, oh why do people point to Reagan’s and Bush’s tax cuts as being only for the rich, when they were no more ‘for the rich only’ than was President Kennedy’s?? They were across the board and fair. End of story.

    Supported Salvadorian troops despite rapes of nuns: Another of the twisted stories that have evolved over time. No doubt this atrocity happened, but it happened on Decemeber 3, 1980. It was committed not under Reagan’s watch but under President Carter’s. And in fact, the support was reestablished before Reagan took office. Arguably, a proper reaction could have done by Reagan in the early days, no doubt. But to heap the entire blame on him is completely wrong. I imagine the State Department, staffed with career positions, probably had a lot of sway over the Carter Administration, and too the early days of the Reagan Administration.

    Arms for hostages: He took credit for the actions of those in his Administration. Those responsible faced punishment. Next?

    Supported the likes of Saddam and Central American Death Squads: Backing Saddam in those days was the strategic thing to do (oh should Iran have run roughshod over the region, after the hostage fiasco?). Central America? We defended the rebels who were putting down the Soviet invasion; which side should we have supported?

    Unsupportive of workers rights: Who? Which workers? PATCO workers? They were in violation of the law. They were warned. Not once. Not twice. Three times. Game over. Incidentally, my brother is a postal worker. He and his union were preparing for a strike while the PATCO was on the picket lines. That idea vanished after President Reagan fired PATCO. You think that was a coincidence??

    Strategic Defense Initiative: a good idea then, and still today. We’re still getting positive test results, and that will help prevent any rouge nation from launching an attack. Why people can look at that the benefit of such and see say ‘its a bad idea’ and offer nothing better makes me question their motives; are they really thinking, or are they simply being dismissive?

    Budget Deficits: Remember this quote? “Any budget submitted is considered dead on arrival”? That was the mantra of the Democratic controlled Congress. Reagan vetoed a number of budget bills, but in the end, in the spirit of compromise, he signed them in order to get his plans through. Sure, the President signs the Bills, but the Bills are passed in Congress (House in particular). Next thing you know, critics will say that President Clinton balanced the budget in his term; sure he signed the bills, but they were passed by a Republican House.

    In the end, the budget soared in deficits. But we had a strong military (not so under Carter). We had the USSR on the ropes, and the Evil Empire later crumbled: instant end to the Cold War without a single shot being fired. Later on, the economy grew because of the Reagan tax cuts (see also: Pres. Kennedy’s tax cuts, also President Bush’s cuts).

    Naysayers can always argue on Reagan’s policy. In fact, I welcome such a discussion. But this week has been more arguments that border less on facts on more on hate than anything else, and it’s pathetic people can’t see passed it. We as a nation are better off today thanks to President Ronald Reagan. He was a more popular president than the media want to admit. Consider his winning of 33 states in 1980. Consider, better still, his winning of 49 states in 1984 (and Mr. Mondale just narrowly won his home state). People think this week was undeserved, in varying degrees, for President Reagan. Some give token acceptance that he was President, therefore some accommodations were necessary. Some, like Ted Rall, think Mr. Reagan burns in hell as we speak.

    Once again I ask: can anyone point the Conservatives -- Mr. Reagan specifically, the Conservatve movement in general -- and still call it mean-spirited and hateful?

    God Bless President Ronald Reagan, who will be laid to rest shortly. May his vision and optimism be a shining model for others to follow. And while there may well be people who can carry his banner, the world may never see such a great man ever again.

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    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    What is a GMail account worth to you?

    Following Kevin's lead at Wizbang, I've decided that I will offer a GMail account to a select individual who requests one.

    You must either leave a comment, trackback or send an e-mail (not surprisingly, to MY Gmail account: check the sidebar or fottoer of this message for the link; I use javascript to cheat address scanners). So tell me why I should click 'Invite a friend to join Gmail' and then enter your name. It's up to you.

    The final decision is mine; use whatever influence you think might persuade me (a job offer is very persuasive!). I'll decide the winner on Monday.

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    Quick questions

    Now that the UN Security Council has unanimously endorsed the US-led Coalition’s plan for a sovereign Iraq:


    • Will John Kerry stop telling us he’d go to the UN?  I mean, can he possibly get even MORE than unanimous votes?
    • When can we expect Spain’s return to Iraq?  They wanted a greater role for the UN, so is this it?




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    Countdown continues, as well as the search!

    It's been two weeks since word came I need to find a new place to call 'work', and the 18th is drawing steadily closer.

    I have a few leads, and as of yet none have produced any offers, but they haven't turned me down flat yet.

    In the meantime... reheasrals continue:

    Perhaps I may tempt your pallet with something in a fried potato?

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    Inspired by Gina, you're encouraged to answer the following questions:

    Please answer the following questions in the comments.

    1. Who are you?
    2. We never met (in person), but would you like to?
    3. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
    4. Describe me in one word.
    5. What reminds you of me?
    6. If you could give me anything, what would it be?
    7. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?
    8. Are you going to put this on your weblog and see what I say about you?
    9. What do you love like a fat kid loves cake?
    10. What makes you come back here?

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    Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    Rush Limbaugh on the passing of President Ronald Reagan

    The following is a transcript of the 7-Jun-2004 Rush Limbaugh Radio show, taken from RushLimbaugh.com.

    You know, they say, ladies and gentlemen, that when someone who has lived just a wonderful life, a full life in every way, that sadness upon that person's death is inappropriate, that it's not necessary. Yet, I have to tell you, I'm sad today. Some of you have written over the weekend and speculated as to what was -- not "wrong" with me -- but why I was sort of subdued on Friday. I had received information on Friday that this was coming, and this has affected me in ways that I did not expect. President Reagan has basically been out of the public eye for at least ten years, and everyone knew this day was coming, Saturday's day was coming, but nevertheless, since Saturday afternoon at four o'clock Eastern time, I have felt like a part of me died as well. But I know that Ronald Reagan lives on in my heart, as he will live on in all of your hearts as well.

    I never met Reagan, but it wasn't necessary to have met him in order to love him, which I do, and that's as great a measure of greatness as I know. People say -- I've said it, I reminded you of it many times here -- it's said that greatness doesn't need to be explained, and that's true for those people who are paying attention at the time. But sadly, most people's historical perspective traces back only to the day they were born. If you couple that fact with the realization that history education in this country, in the public school system, is woefully inept, and by that I mean that I have heard from people over the weekend whose 17- and 18-year-old kids have no idea who Ronald Reagan is. They know all about the Vietnam War and they know all about some of the horrible history involving America since, but they don't know anything about Reagan. They've not been taught much about Reagan at all.

    This is a huge eye opener for them. They are asking their parents, "Why is everybody going nuts over this guy?" Millions of Americans also under the age of 30 have no concrete memory of Ronald Reagan's presidency, and yet we are all, including them, touched by his greatness. I'd like to take a moment here to explain to those of you who have no direct relationship with Ronald Reagan, you weren't old enough or even born during his presidency to have understood it or to have known how you have been affected by it, because the simple fact is that now in death, Ronald Reagan once again defines the utter beauty and blessing that is America and reminds us all of our destiny. You know, Reagan's greatness is not all about a single speech or a single phrase in a speech or a single memory. Ronald Reagan was great because he was a man. He was a great man, and he knew who he was. He was comfortable in his skin.

    He was optimistic and happy. He was infectious. He dared to embrace big ideas. He dared to do big things to overcome huge obstacles in the midst of all kinds of experts telling him it couldn't be done, in the midst of all kinds of criticism, in the midst of all kinds of personal insults. I must tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I have been in awe this weekend watching some of the coverage, listening to some of the people who I remember explicitly insulting this man every bit as much as they insult George W. Bush today, now singing his praises, and I look interestingly and curiously at the TV set when I see this, and I said, "Well, which is it, then? Was he great? If he was great, he was great then." I've seen some of the most incredible testaments to his policies, and I've seen the usual digs. I mean, it's all out there, but you expect the digs in this current climate, and they're there.

    But the idea that people who routinely did everything they could to diminish Ronald Reagan in the eyes of a nation who loved him, now the fact that they do not dare come forth and be honest at this point in time about their true beliefs and feelings of Ronald Reagan, is another testament to his greatness. They don't dare, because they know the love this country has for Ronald Reagan. They know it would be suicide to practice their politics as usual during this period. Ronald Reagan was great because he never gave up on his country, and the reason he never gave up on his country, ladies and gentlemen, is because he never doubted for a moment any of us. Never doubted our wisdom. He never doubted our judgment. He never doubted our ability to do the right thing. He never doubted our ability to rise to necessary challenges. Ronald Reagan never doubted the people of this country at all. That made him a huge threat, because Reagan's enemies had no threat, no confidence and no faith in the American people. They still don't. Their view of the American people is one of incompetence, lack of judgment, inability, basic averageness -- and, of course, they must think that, for if they don't, there's no reason for them.

    You know, some people forget that in the late 70s and the early 80s, the Washington establishment, which is what Reagan would later call, "The iron triangle of the liberal media, liberal special interest groups and the massive bureaucracy." Some forget that in the late seventies and early eighties the Washington establish want was talking about of America's inevitable decline. Jimmy Carter's presidency was looked at by the American left, "Well, gee, if our best and brightest can't make anything out of this, maybe there's something wrong with this." Never thought there was anything wrong with them, never thought there was anything wrong with their ideas, never thought there was anything wrong with their president, and so rather than question their own role in bringing the nation to the point it was in in 1979 and '80 -- the worst economy since the Great Depression, Soviet Union on the march throughout the world -- the elites of liberalism questioned the fortitude of the American people.

    Yes, my friends. It was, after all, the establishment's failed policies and worldview that had led the nation into economic and international decline. It wasn't the people, and Reagan knew it. Jimmy Carter. After Jimmy Carter, the establishment, the elites, were questioning whether the presidency itself -- I wonder how many people remember this. The late 70s, early 80s, the Washington and New York elites were themselves questioning whether the presidency itself could survive as then structured, whether it was "a job too big for any one man." Do you remember this? Some people wondered whether the Constitution should be changed to provide for a single six-year term, rather than requiring a president to run for reelection. Along came Ronald Reagan, and there's no doom and gloom in Ronald Reagan. He's the optimist, eternally so, shining city on a hill. He would have none of this doom and gloom. He rejected Washington elitism, and he had since 1964 and before. Talk about core values, talk about sticking to them.

    He rejected Washington elitism and connected directly with the American people who adored him. He didn't need the press. He didn't need the press to spin what he was or what he said. He had the ability to connect individually with each American who saw him. That is an incredible -- I don't even want to say "talent." It's a characteristic that so few Americans have, so few people have, but he was able to do it. He brought confidence; he brought vigor, and he brought humility to the presidency, which had been missing for years, and this profoundly upset his political and media adversaries to no end, and Reagan enjoyed that. Ronald Reagan rejected socialism; he rejected big government. He insisted on returning as much government back to the people as was possible. He cut taxes so deeply that even some on his own staff became disbelievers and wrote books about it. They were wrong. He was right. Our lives today are a testament to how right Ronald Reagan was.

    Reagan created the greatest economic expansion in American history, and certainly since World War II. He wasn't always successful in cutting government programs, but he tried. He slowed the growth of domestic spending by vetoing spending bills and by shutting down the federal bureaucracy. But in the end, you know, in our constitutional system, it's Congress that controls the purse strings and they made deals with him they didn't keep, but he tried. In fact, Ronald Reagan proved something that to this day economists, elite economists do not believe. Ronald Reagan lowered inflation during the midst of one of the most unbridled economies and its growth period in history. No economist thought that possible, but he did. He brought inflation down to 4.8% from its double-digit figure when he took office, and significantly, unlike Franklin Roosevelt, Roosevelt -- this is key -- Roosevelt turned to government in a failed effort to revive the American economy.

    The New Deal did not revive the American economy; World War II did. The New Deal just revived government. Ronald Reagan, instead of turning to government to revive a failed American economy turned to us, the American people. He worked to unleash our ingenuity, our entrepreneurism, our enterprise and productivity. You've heard it said all weekend that Reagan "made people feel good about themselves." That's true. He made people feel good about the military. That's true he made people feel good about their country. Yeah, did all of that, no mean feat, and for those of you who weren't around or paying attention in 1979 and 1980 throughout -- actually 1984 -- huge recession in '81 and '82. For those of you who weren't around, you have no idea. Nothing since has happened quite like it. Those of you who came of age during the campaign of 1992, when you listen to Bill and Hillary Clinton talk about the 80s as "the worst economy in the last 50 years," it was a lie. The American people were sympathetic to it because there was a small little recession occurring in 1990 and '91, into the '92 campaign, but it was nothing compared to what Ronald Reagan inherited and how Ronald Reagan fixed it.

    This has been a staple of this program since its inception in 1988, actually, '84 in Sacramento, my adopted hometown, and that is that you are the ones who make this country great. You are the ones who make this country happen. You are the ones who create this economy. You are the people who determine the destiny of this country, not our leaders. Our leaders, if they're good, get us to do things that may be tough, maybe things we don't want to do at the time, maybe endure things we would rather not, but leaders get obstacles out of our way, leaders do show us the way, and I'm not trying to diminish Reagan with this. I'm trying to celebrate Reagan. Reagan knew because of his unbridled love for the American people, coupled with our God-given freedom, our natural yearning to be free. Reagan knew that all he had to do was unleash that, and it was "Katie, bar the doors," and he was right. He was right then; he is right today. He will be right for as long as there is America. Those who choose to follow his footsteps will also be right. Those who choose to follow in his footsteps will experience the optimism and the good cheer and the love of country that he always had. There are many who will carry on in his tradition. I'm honored to be one of them. I wouldn't be sitting here were it not for Ronald Reagan, and I never met him.

    You know, Ronald not only rejected socialism and big government, but he also rejected communism. He defeated it ultimately, and well, I'm getting to that point. So many elites, so many on the left in Reagan's era, said then what's being said today about militant Islam, and what Chamberlain said about Nazism. "Well, it's there. We can't do anything about it. We've just got to try to manage it, have to try to get along with it. We have to try to make sure that we don't destroy each other," and Reagan figuratively scratched his head and said, 'What's that? Get along with this? Look at what they're doing to people. Look at what they're doing to their people. Get along with this? They're on the march. Their stated objectives were as plain as day." Those of you who weren't around during all of this, the era of the Cold War and Soviet expansionism, it is imperative you find out. It is imperative you understand what this man did. It is imperative you understand how he did it.

    It's not just that he did it without firing a shot. He did it because he refused to accept it, all alone amongst those at his leadership level. So he set us out on a course to win, not "manage," the Cold War, and I consider that to be the final battle of the Second World War. He freed tens of millions of people who had been imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain for nearly five decades. Those people survive Ronald Reagan today. In his obituary they should be mentioned as "survivors," and I noticed some liberal commentators now contend that the fall of the Soviet Union was "inevitable" just as they once considered the decline of American greatness inevitable. They still don't get it and they never will. Mid-90s I attended a lecture given by Lady Margaret Thatcher at the Waldorf in New York. She made a point of saying it was Reagan, not Gorbachev, who brought down the Soviet Union primarily by proposing SDI. It was at that moment that Gorbachev knew it was over because he knew we Americans could do SDI and his country couldn't.

    Later, I had the good fortune to become close friends with Lady Thatcher, and I often reminded her of that lecture and her point, and she "commanded me," which is how she speaks. She commanded me to never allow people to think otherwise, never allow people to think that it was anyone other than Ronald Reagan and the spirit of America and its goodness and its faith in God that defeated the Soviet Union. I remember I went to a dinner at a private home in Manhattan, I was asked to give the toast. It was a dinner in honor of Lady Thatcher. The guests were the usual Manhattan elites, many media people network presidents. After Lady Thatcher's remarks when the hostess asked for questions, there were none. So I rose. I asked her, "Who won the Cold War?" She gave the same answer in her lecture to the dinner guests at this dinner. They sat in stone silence. They knew it. They didn't want to hear it. I wish I had had a camera so you would know who. I'm not going to say who was at this dinner, but I wish you could have seen their faces when she said it.

    Let me set the stage for you at this Manhattan dinner party. It doesn't matter who it is, because you don't need to know the names to know the type of people. Network presidents, programmers, media elites. It was a media elite dinner and I was there, and the reason I was there because of all the people invited I was the one qualified to offer the official toast to Lady Margaret Thatcher, and so I did. And Lady Thatcher, this was a dinner in her honor at this private home in Manhattan. After dinner the hostess asked her for some remarks. She made some brief remarks -- for her, brief, ten, 20 minutes. After they were over, the hostess opened it up for questions and there wasn't a person -- must have been about 25 or 30, not one person stood; not one person raised their hand, not one person had a question, and during her remarks, Lady Thatcher had not touched on the Cold War, but I had remembered being profoundly affected by her admission at this lecture that I attended with Justice Kennedy.

    In fact, I was his guest at the Waldorf, and so I rose, and I said, "Lady Thatcher, could you explain? There's a lot of controversy being waged in the country right now about what brought about the end of the Soviet Union. Many people think that it would not have happened were it not for Gorbachev, that Gorbachev was a new leader, Perestroika, Glasnost. You were there. You were part of it. What's your view?" She got stern as she could be at the notion that Gorbachev had anything substantively to do with it. She stood up and she just went down the list of what it was and why it happened, and again she focused on the fact that because Reagan had the audacity, Reagan had the fortitude to proposed SDI. At the time, again -- and a lot of what I'm saying today, most of you in this audience have heard it -- but I'm hoping to reach people who have no concrete, direct memory or relationship with President Reagan because of your age or because you weren't paying attention.

    But back then, SDI was regarded much as the whole war in Iraq is today. SDI was treated was treated as a joke; SDI was dangerous; SDI was going to blow up the world; SDI was impossible. It was typical liberalism: greatness couldn't be done. Greatness can't happen. "This is only going to kill us all! This is just the meanderings of a B-actor." I mean, you people have forgotten how absolutely mean-spirited the critics of Reagan were about him and to him personally. He never flinched, never cared. He smiled at it. But when she stood up and went through this list of things and made the point that it was at that moment Mikhail Gorbachev realized it was over because he couldn't keep up. His country couldn't do it and he knew Americans could create SDI. In fact, I've got a story, there's an AP story somewhere in the stack quoting Gennady Gerasimov who was one of the spokesmen back then saying this very thing, if you don't believe me and you don't believe Lady Thatcher, and when she stood up and gave this answer, there was no applause. There was no reaction.

    The guests at this dinner sat stone faced because they knew it, but they didn't want to hear it. You know, Reagan did not "hasten the Soviet collapse." He was responsible for it, and he was practically alone in his confidence that Soviet communism would fail, and his reason for believing it would fail was simple, folks, and it's a reason that is eternal. He knew the Soviet Union would eventually collapse of its own immorality if pushed in the right places, so he pushed. Reagan was also concerned about an all-powerful judiciary undermining the will of the people and attempted to do something about that. He spent eight years appointing people to the federal bench who were committed to interpreting the Constitution, not rewriting it. One of the most brilliant minds on the court today, Antonin Scalia, is a Reagan appointee. Reagan is the one who elevated Rehnquist to chief justice. The liberals are still trying to reverse this impact of Reagan. They're still trying to reverse everything he did.

    That's what the Clinton presidency was about. It's what the Clinton campaign of '92 was about, was reversing the eighties. The whole reason for existence of liberalism, folks, in recent years has been to wipe out the memory of the 80s and rewrite it as something it wasn't: "Decade of greed, decade of selfishness." You know, lest we forget, Reagan was called many things by those who resented him. He was called a cowboy. Does that sound familiar? He was called a dunce. Does that sound familiar? What have I always told you by liberal playbook never changes? There are no new pages in it. He was called a danger. That sound familiar? He was going to blow up the world. Washington elites described his 49-state landslide in 1984 as "a triumph of greed and selfishness." I had to laugh over the weekend. Forty-nine-state landslide. Ronald Reagan received more popular votes than any president in history in 1984, and still there are pieces in the media this weekend, "Could Reagan beat Clinton?" Clinton never got 50% of the vote. It happen wouldn't be a contest.

    You know, there was one debate in the 1980 presidential campaign, one debate, very near the election, and the Carter people thought that they were going to clean the clock of Ronald Reagan. They thought Reagan was a dunce and an idiot, and we all know what happened. You talk about deer-in-the-headlight eyes, that was Jimmy Carter in that whole debate. Ronald Reagan debated Bobby Kennedy in the 1960's. You will not believe the story of this. I forget what the subject matter was, but the Kennedy people couldn't wait for this. You know, Reagan was ascending after his Goldwater speech in '64, and the Kennedy crowd thought, "We're going to wipe the stage with this guy. This guy is nothing," the typical way that liberals look at conservatives, and particularly conservative leaders. When it was over, Bobby Kennedy called Pierre Salinger in Paris and said, "Don't you ever put me with this guy again. It's impossible." Reagan was real. He just connected one on one with everybody. He had no ego. None. He was totally comfortable with who he was. He liked who he was, and he liked everybody else.

    As I said, Reagan's entire presidency became known as the "decade of greed" by Democrats who today claim to praise and venerate him. In fact, I will never forget after the election of 1984, I was in California. The Democrats, (Former California Democrat Senator) Alan Cranston was running around all over the state trying to tell old people that Reagan's reelection would cause them to lose their homes and their health care. Ever heard of that? Does that sound familiar? Twenty years ago. David Broder, I'm pretty sure, his first column in the Washington Post after Reagan's reelection called it :a triumph of greed and selfishness over citizenship,: meaning the 49-state landslide was from people who wanted theirs, who wanted their tax cut and to hell with the poor and disadvantaged and what have you. I think Broder also wrote -- Reagan was 69 when he was first took office -- Broder wrote, "He's too old to be in touch with anything." I haven't seen what Broder has said this weekend, but he was just an example.

    They were all saying things like this because they hated Ronald Reagan, and don't let anybody tell you differently. They feared him, which was the reason for their hate. They could not outflank him. They couldn't relate to people as he could -- and they were the people who "had the common touch," they told us. They were the people who had the ability to understand what life was like for the average guy, and here's Ronald Reagan running circles around them. Of course they didn't like him. He posed a great threat. Reagan was accused of sexism; he was accused of racism; he was accused of heartlessness. They said he was responsible for homelessness and AIDS. They said he was going to start World War III and destroy the social safety net, including Social Security, the school lunch program. Sound familiar? See how left never changes? But Reagan was none of those things and did none of those things. He was wiser, he was smarter, and bigger than his detractors.

    Thankfully, he outwitted them all and for one primary reason. He had the truth on his side. He knew that it was us that would make all this happen, the American people, and he told us that repeatedly. Everybody loves hearing what's expected of them. Everybody loves -- well, everybody reacts. Most people react to great expectations laid before them, and that's what Reagan did. Reagan elevated our own expectations of ourselves and of our country and we rose to the challenge. He knew America and the American people better than anyone, especially those who sought to govern from inside the Beltway. I'll never forget, it was I think 1990, and I was at the 21 Club in New York for dinner with some friends. I had been doing this show for two years. I don't want to over-personalize this, but Ronald Reagan believed things happened for a reason, so he wasn't worried about little details and the ups and downs of things, because he looked the long view, saw the far-off distance and just had faith that it was going to be okay -- as long as America remained America.

    Now two years into this program, and I'm being criticized, having things said about me that have never been said about me before, and I don't know how to deal with it. I'm getting advice from people. Should I respond to this stuff or should I ignore it? People said, "Well, if you respond to it you're sort of validating it. You're letting them know it bothers you. Just blow it off. Don't react to it." I said, "Yeah, but then people are going to think it's true if I don't respond to it." This was one of the early frustrations that I experienced during this program. People saying things about you that aren't true. The instinct is to fix it and change the record. But I never knew what. I mean, for those two years there was nobody who could tell me what to do. I was with no one who had been through it, and I really had no instinct myself what to do.

    One night I'm at dinner, 21, and I had to go to the bathroom so I walked into the restroom. The restroom attendant in there recognized me and came up, shook my hand. He was just ebullient. He started taking. He knew who I was. He started talking about to me about the one time he met President Reagan, and he just was as effusive, full of love and excitement, exuberance as anybody I can recall, just happy to be telling me this. And after he went through describing what his meeting with Reagan was like, and it had been fairly recently, he looked at me, he cocked his head, his eyes got wide, and he said, "You know, Mr. Limbaugh, he never got mad at 'em. He never got mad at 'em once. He just laughed at 'em." I said, "Bingo. There's my answer." In the restroom at the 21 Club, from an attendant whose biggest thrill in life was having met Ronald Reagan. That man is a preacher today, that attendant.

    America's Truth Detector and Doctor of Democracy, Rush Limbaugh, continuing now with a tribute to Ronald Reagan. Ladies and gentlemen, another thing that's important to remember. It wasn't just Democrats and liberals who criticized Ronald Reagan after he left office. Republicans in Washington (I will never forget this), Republicans in Washington also were weak in defending Reagan's policies after he left office. They were afraid to defend the tax cuts of the 1980's. They were afraid to defend the charge that the 80s was a decade of greed and selfishness. They were afraid to tell the truth of why deficits grew. The Clintons called the 80s "the worst economy in the last 50 years" in 1992, and many Republicans in Washington wouldn't stop and step up to remind people of the truth. Well, I did. I remember sitting here in the early years of this program aghast that members of Ronald Reagan's own party in Washington didn't have -- it wasn't all -- but didn't have the guts and the courage to stand up and defend him, particularly when it came to tax cuts and foreign policy: the two things that he was most profound on.

    Throughout the early years of this program it was an objective of mine to keep the Reagan legacy alive. I was a product of it. It's not even enough to say I believed it. I felt like I was part of it, that I would not have had the life I have were it not for Reagan. I understood it, and I believed in it, and I thought all Republicans did, too. What I learned later was that there were factions in the Republican Party. The old country club blue-blood set, they never liked Reagan because he displaced them, too. So when he was gone it was their turn to try to reassert themselves in control of the party. Well, that's what happened in the party, but this program is not the Republican Party. This program is conservatism and the Reagan legacy. You know, I wonder what Reagan would say to us about this new war, this war on terrorism, liberation of Iraq. So I went to his Pointe-Du-Hoc speech back in 1984, D-Day.

    He said it was "the deep knowledge -- and pray God we've not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest." He said to the surviving Rangers who scaled the cliffs at Pointe-Du-Hoc on D-Day, "You were here to liberate, not to conquer and so you and those others did not doubt your cause and you were right not to doubt. We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars. It is better to be here ready to protect the peace than to take blind shelter across the sea rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was, never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent but we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms, and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation." Reagan was right just as George W. Bush is today, and I really believe that if Reagan had been able he would have put his hand on Bush's shoulder and say to him, "Stay the course, George." I really believe that.

    As I said at the beginning of this hour, and I've been fighting it because this is not what Reagan was about, but since Saturday afternoon at four o'clock Eastern time, I haven honestly felt like a part of me died as well. Even though I knew it was coming, we all knew it was coming. I was surprised at how deeply the act of his passing had on me, despite knowing it was coming, and I was comforted all the remainder of the weekend by the reality and the realization that I know that Ronald Reagan lives on in my heart, always will, and in all of yours. I never met him. Wasn't necessary. It was not necessary to have met Ronald Reagan in order to love him as I do, and that is as good a measure of greatness which does not need to be explained as I know. So God bless Ronald Reagan, and as he never failed to say, God bless America.

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