Monday, January 31, 2005

President Bush

Every once in awhile I pick a post on another blog and address it directly. Once again I have chosen Lefty, as there are more than a few items that need addressing in this post.

I've answered the bullet points to his reasons as why President Bush is the worst president ever. I invite everyone to read his reasons and then my reasons why his points are invalid. As always, the readers will decide for themselves.




  • The greatest deficit in the history of the United States.

While I would argue the percentage of the deficit vs the GDP remains comparatively minimal, I would be the first to say the President’s domestic agenda has spent far too much money on unnecessary items. But to argue that a nation can tax itself into prosperity it idiocy! Continuing the tax cuts puts money into consumers hands, which will feed the treasury. Its been proven by Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and already by Bush, it will continue to be demonstrated going forward.

But domestic spending must be reigned in!!

  • Turning a $5.6 trillion projected surplus into a $5.6 trillion projected deficit
There’s the magic word! ‘Projected’; since the government revises and revises the budget every year, who is to say which ‘projected’ figure will stand the test of a year, let alone longer? Both sides of the aisle abuse this word projected, and none are exempt from spinning it. It doesn’t make it right, but don’t paint it as a right-wing issue.

Remember, the death-knell in President Bush (41) re-election was his reneging on the ‘no new taxes’ pledge. As myopic as he was, he stated he had done so because Congress agreed to cut spending for every dollar he raised in taxes. Congress didn’t hold up their end of the deal.

OMB stats prove the revenue to the Treasury increased under the Reagan tax-cuts. Lets not forget the President can’t spend a dime without the consent of the House. When President Clinton was in office, under a Democratic House, the deficit was ‘as far as the eye could see’ and might take ‘5, 7, 9, 12 years’ to beat. Once the Republicans rode into the House, the deficit began to minimize almost overnight.

Again, domestic spending was reigned in under the Newt Gingrich lead. As I said above, that’s the kind of budgeting President Bush should revisit.

  • Raiding the entire social security fund.
Since Lefty can point to the President having said he’d not touch this ‘lock box’ (which all agree is vapor), perhaps he can point to where the President actually spent it.
  • Three million more people without health care. Forty million Americans total
    Three million jobs lost. The most jobs lost since the great depression
I suppose having a former trial lawyer – who made his bones suing health insurance companies – would be your solution to the heath insurance situation in this country. FACT: no one in America is denied health coverage. Plain and simple. Walk into any ER anywhere, say ‘treat me’ and you’re treated. Hell, we have illegal aliens doing it all the time. Is this a perfect system? Of course not! However, where was it ever written that health care was a given?

In 1989 I began working for a reseller (a VAR) in NYC. Had a swanky, Madison Avenue address; I worked for some important, well-known clients (think AIG, Bloomberg Radio, Save The Children). Health insurance? Paid for it myself. For over 5 years. Nowhere in my education was I ever told employment was a guarantee to benefits (or what used to be called ‘fringe benefits’). In fact, health insurance and other benefits were called ‘fringe’ because it was a way for an employer to PAY you more without subjecting you to higher taxes (funny how that comes around again!).

Of those ‘three million’ jobs lost, tell me how many were regained since your count began? Sure, we’re not at the level of employment we were at during the booming dot.com era, but show me one economist who called that period of time normal!

  • Tax cuts for the rich:
Lefty, surely you don’t need me to produce the stats that prove that statement incorrect! Since the top 50% of wage earners pay over 90% of the tax burden, why shouldn’t they get a tax cut! The bottom 50% pay only 5% of the tax burden; they, too got a tax cut, and it was proportionate to what they paid.

  • 30 years of environmental policies destroyed
That would be the ‘arsenic in the water’ ballyhoo, I suppose? Here’s a hint: arsenic occurs naturally in water, and the plan spiked was only written by President Clinton in his waining days, so its not like a huge, demonstrable problem was identified.

  • Allowing corporations (like Enron) to exploit American people.
Ken Lay was wrong, no question about it. Too bad he built his empire of greed during the 1990’s, before the President took office.
  • The approval and use of offshore tax shelters robbing the united states of 70 billion dollars a year.
I can speak to this point directly. While working for that VAR, I had over a dozen clients in Bermuda. Re-insurance companies. This sheltering of funds has gone on for decades. Is it morally wrong? Certainly sounds it! Is it President Bush’s fault? Hardly!

  • Education initiatives under funded by $9 billion
I suppose the President’s No Child Left Behind bill insisting students be able to read is the real cause for this under funding you cite. Go figure. Billion spent on education over the last 30 years, and kids still can’t read. Oh, but it is President Bush’s fault, according to you. Since Sen. Kennedy wrote the Education Bill, he bears at least as much blame as the President.

  • A right wing Christian agenda affecting women's rights, gay rights, freedom of speech, stem cell research and privacy
That’s a big bucket. OK: women’s rights. I suppose you can point to where the President has called for ban on abortions. Or for a ban on Gay Rights (Marriage, as has been defined throughout the ages, is not something that any President or legislature can change with a stroke of a pen. Now if the President came out against civil unions between gays, or he spoke out against guaranteeing gays having the same legal rights in matters of property and the like, then you’d have a point we would agree upon).

Freedom of Speech? Seems to me there were more protests against the RNC convention than the DNC convention. On that microscopic example alone, whose speech was being shouted down?

Stem Cells: hmmm, tough one here. You can, I presume, point to where the President has outlawed stem cell research. I mean, we all know he has placed limits on federally funding it, but I don’t recall a ban on it.


  • A war started over weapons of mass destruction, which were never found because they never existed.
Oh, come on now. You have to do better than that. For starters, we have found tons of banned weapons, including chemical weapons. And since our intel matched the intel from Western Europe, China, Russia, and the UN ("Intelligence gathered by this and other governments”) I’d be careful about throwing around the liar tag, you might alienate some people.
  • Lack of Planning:
That MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner has long since been for the benefits of the crew of the carrier. Yes, the Administration paid for it, but the extended mission deserved the credit. And unless you can point to where our Coalition (strange you mentioned it here) were responsible for recklessly killing the innocents when we could have easily carpet bombed the entire nation and be done with it, I’d say you owe the troops an apology.

  • The complete alienation of the international community.
Whoa! We’re alienated? Then who is in the coalition? Hmmm

Seems to me, France, Germany, and Russia are the ones now alienated from a free Iraq.


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Great Morning

Well, the world has seen democracy in action once again! Another step towards stability in Iraq and the region, courtesy of the USA.

Loads to opine about, including the offensive comments of Massachusetts own Senators, newspaper editors more concerned with the Super Bowl than the election paid for in blood, and the general left-wing spin. Let me get my morning started and post later.

UPDATE:

What a week! In just a few days, critics of the Bush Administration have been made to look foolish, and by nothing more than their own words!

We start with the esteemed senior Senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy (who apparently thinks the junior Senator from Illinois name is
Osama bin Osama Obama") who called for the immediate withdrawal of some 12,000 troops from Iraq, in part because they?ve become part of the problem. That's an interesting number, since, as Col. Oliver North pointed out, that's the same number of troops that were placed on extended tour pending the elections. So if those troops returned home in the next few weeks, is it because that was the plan, or because of Sen. Kennedy's speech? Only the MSM will say for sure.

Then we have the historic elections! Although judging by a major newspaper in the Lehigh Valley, PA the only news is that the Philadelphia Eagles traveled to Florida? oh yeah, and the US embassy was attacked, but little info was given about the election on the front page. Not that the embassy attack isn't newsworthy, but considering the lives of local residents were at risk to ensure this election went forward, you'd think that would rate over a football game a week away (and besides, everyone knows the Eagles are toast already).

Then came
NBC NEWS' Meet The Press, with the other Senator from Massachusetts, and would be president, John Kerry.



Sen. Kerry: I mean, it's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote.
I see, senator. Then you would be willing to suggest that the re-election of President Lincoln was illegitimate, since several states did not participate?



You may recall that back in Fulton, Missouri, during the campaign, I laid out four steps, and I said at the time, "This may be the president's last chance to get it right."

The four steps were, number one, massive rapid training. Number two, you've got to do reconstruction, and you've got to get the services to the Iraqis. Number three, you've got to bring the international community in the effort. Number four, you've got to have the elections. Well, today we did number four, we had the elections. But the other three are almost--I mean, they're lagging so significantly that the task has been made that much harder. And I will say unequivocally today that what the administration does in these next few days will decide the outcome of Iraq, and this is--not maybe--this is the last chance for the president to get it right.


Very well Senator. Let's look at the scorecard. Rapid training has gone on, despite the fact the insurgents and terrorists were targeting the civilian population who were signing up for training. Despite those losses, the training has gone on; a tribute indeed to the Iraqi people.

Reconstruction, sadly, has lagged, but in no small part due to the insurgents.

International Community? HELLO! Can't the Senator yet see the Coalition is the international community?? Why, the only major players who aren't involved are France, Germany, and Russia -- all of whom have had ties to the Oil for Food scandal. Seems to me, those three nations need to decided when they will join the international community.

Elections: well, yesterday speaks for itself. Jim Treacher, in fact, captures the election succinctly. In every way, this
pic speaks thousands of words.

Yes, our nation should feel pride again: for having led the way to democracy in Iraq after dismantling their terrorist support and banned weapons.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Lite blogging this weekend. Too much to do at and around home.

Three cheers for democracy in Iraq: today is but another step towards stability in the region.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Soc Security Choice

I could go on and on about the reasons Social Security needs to permit partial privatization, but no matter what I write it wouldn't be better than what this artist has presented:



(click for full-view)


Social Security Choice

UPDATE: Found these calculations of Soc.Security returns at My Little Corner of the World.

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Where were you?

Michele once again gets a pointer to a remarkable post, this time on a moment in history.

I was roughly half my present age when I was on a vacation with my parents (yes, that's right: how pathetic!). We were visiting their friends who lived outside of Orlando. Rudy said 'a minute or so after the shuttle lifts off, you can see it from my backyard.' So we waited for the Challenger to launch.

And waited.

Delayed.

Delayed again. One after another.

It was a comparatively bitter day for the region (compared to a NY'er like me, it was mild). After a time it was decided we were to forgo the lift-off and head off somewhere (a restaurant, perhaps?). Disappointed (in more ways than one) we left Rudy's backyard.

In the car we heard the news bulletin about the disaster. 73 seconds after liftoff. We would have had a perfect view of the explosion.

19 years ago today. Its one of those moments I am both glad I didn't see, but still wish I had.


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Keeps me on my toes

So I generally check my e-mail nightly, and that includes my Blog e-mail account, my personal e-mail account (hint: not the same!) and my office e-mail.

On Wednesday night I missed the work account. Usually its no big deal.

Of course, this time it was.

The boss sent me a note telling of the planned client meeting on Thursday (since I work for a defense contractor, the 'client' is government employees). The e-mail describes that this senior managers meeting will not take place at the main office, but in fact will take place at our office.

OK, no biggie.

Oh, and Charlie: they want to see that presentation we talked about. Make it about 90 minutes or so. They'll be here between 11-12.

Thx

And to think I had actually thought about calling out yesterday! What made this even more of a surprise was that I was told I wouldn't be involved in this particular meeting at all, let alone giving a presenation. That he and I "spoke of the presentation" involved a still-unscheduled trip off-site and what would be presented there; meaning, as of Wednesday there wasn't even an outline sketched of what would be discussed. And this is what he wants me to do Thursday? I sometimes get cell phone calls from the boss on comparitively trivial items, but this he opted for e-mail .

In the end, the presentation went off without a hitch; my boss' boss marveled that I held my own without notes (remember, this is the job for which I had worked on for +6 years at a previous defense contractor, so while the boss' have had +/- 6 mths experience, I'm the only one with true, hands-on experience). But giving presentations like that one - LCD projector displaying the software which I am driving while also describing, and taking questions - is one of those things I thrive on. Sort of an outlet for the frustrated stand-up comic in me.

Moral of the story? check your e-mail nightly.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Blog template issue

OK, I seek knowledge from others more skilled than I.

What is it about my template that cuts off long posts? Scroll down to
the bottom of this page, and odds are you'll see the last post
partially displayed.

This occurs on the home page, and on archive pages, and the cut-off
seems to coincide with the right-hand frame.

Unless its an IE-only issue...

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What's the point?

OK, I admit I am likely to get flamed, but be that as it may, I will ask the question anyway.

This is being brought on by a number of different posts I've read this week surrounding alleged 'prom' dresses and how revealing they've become (see Jen and Michele - Jen offers a link to a site which features a number of different dresses, while Michele has a pic that is both scarily racy altho apparently discredited).

Nearly universally, the only people who have spoken in favor of these 'prom' dresses are men who admittedly are having sexist, chauvinistic thoughts (that they may directing said thoughts to girls their daughters ages is a different thread altogether!).

So it makes me wonder: What is it that makes proms so 'special' in the first place?

Now let the record be clear: I never attended a prom. I could easily state I didn't see the point in them when I was in high school (and I didn't), but that would be easily trumped by the fact that I couldn't get a date in high school if my life depended on it. So the idea of getting a date to the prom was never in question, since I couldn't get a date on any given Friday night to start with. That much being said...

Why a prom? What is it that makes a night at the end of senior year (and each year before that, going back to primary school, but in descending importance) such a hallmark event? The same question can be applied to Collegiate Formals, as well. Why? It can't be simply
to prepare the youths for social gatherings of this kind when they are out in the real-world. As near as I can tell there are few parties that adults I know go to that start at a ballroom and end at a beach (with huge amounts of drinking in between).

And limos.

Now there are weddings, which can offer a lot of the same features of a prom, but I've been going to weddings since I was a child, long before I knew the word 'prom', and somehow I've been able to carry myself at formal and business events without having been to a prom. And from my youth I learned what behavior is appropirate at such events and what behavior is not, which is funny, since from what I've read, a considerable amount of behavior at proms would most certainly fall into the latter category.

I don't have any daughters, so in a way, I won't need to worry much about skanky dresses and their ludicrous costs. Sooner or later my oldest boy will ask about a prom (and I'll assume his younger brother will likely ask him the same question 7 years later) so I am taking this opportunity to ask what is it that makes a prom such a seemingly life and death issue for girls, in general. I could easily wave my hand, dismiss it as unimportant, and add 'but if you want to go, have fun and be careful', but I am interested in what others state is the real reason its important. Or if it is important at all!

Your thoughts are welcome....

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What needs to be said

Although few, it would seem will say it, I will make it clear:

This nation is a better place having had John Ashcroft in the President's cabinet. Attorney General Ashcroft could have been a bitter loser. In an election that should have been rightfully his, his opponents widow stepped in -- long after the proper time permitted by law -- and assumed the candidacy of her deceased husband. When Mr. Ashcroft lost to the descendent, he didn't call fro a new election, nor challenge the absurdity of an unqualified widow stepping into her husbands shoes. He moved on.

When members of Congress slayed his reputation in his confirmation hearings, he stood tall. He took an ordinarily difficult job of US Attorney General, he was suddenly thrust into the blinding spotlight in the aftermath of September 11th. And he did not blink, he did not waver. He took decisive steps, he made important decisions, he help craft the Patriot Act, which has done more to protect this nation and its citizens. People who claim our civil rights are trampled can't point to any area of the Act that is not protected by the Courts; such 'sky is falling' attitudes lose ground when judicial oversight is plainly evident.

True, some points have been overturned by the Courts, but considering the scope and breath of the Act, and its immediate need, those few can be expected.

John Ashcroft became the target of ridicule merely because photographers repositioned themselves for his press conferences. Despite the hundreds of photos Mr. Ashcroft with the statue "Spirit of Justice" behind him, I can't seem to find any photos of his predecessors in a similar pose. If they exist, please enlighten me; for otherwise it can't be any other conclusion than the media setting this minister up for a fall.

The nation will not fall without John Ashcroft, but the nation owes him untold thanks for the job he performed in its toughest time since its inception. What the media won't say, I will: thank you for your service to the country; we owe you our deepest thanks.

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Monday, January 24, 2005

Lazy, sons of ....

I am angry at those people who can't be bothered to clean their own cars of snow. You know the kind: the ones who leave the 12-14" of snow on their roofs, the entire rear-windsheid covered, tail-lights obliterated.

In extreme cases, I've seen little holes cleared on their front windshield and THAT'S IT. In my younger days, I used to get out of my car at stop-lights and clean the tail-lights of such idiots. (These days, if they are that lazy, you cannot discount them being violent).

If I had my camera with me, I'd take shots of several cars right now. The fact they belong to co-workers, of course, makes it all the more annoying...

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Another in a series of Quick Hits:

  • 14” of snow. Thankfully, the consistency was fine, granular, so the snow blowing went easy yesterday. Unlike many neighbors, I waited until 3:00 PM (ET) to begin my clearing. The neighbors were glued to their sets watching the Falcons losing to the Eagles; the upside? The snow stopped around 2:30 or so, and the wind had died down, making my plowing worth-while.

    I’ve lost so much respect for the fans of Philadelphia teams that I couldn’t care less if they were in the Super Bowl or not. Baseball has always been my favorite sport, but I generally despise the Phillies fans as well.


  • Worthy of a repost:


    Day by Day (click for full size)

  • A bow of the head on the passing Johnny Carson. Volumes will be written about him. My fondest memory was when the Mighty Carson Art Players performed with guest Richard Dawson.

    In a send-up of Family Feud, Queen Elizabeth was pitted against President Reagan (played by, of course, Johnny himself). The question, posted posed by Dawson: “Name something you find on a farm.”

    Reagan chimed in first.

    Dawson deliberately repeated the question: “Name something you find on a farm.”

    Reagan began: “Well…”

    Dawson: “Show me WELL.” It was the number one answer, of course.

    Pure genius.
    Dave Barry reflects on his appearance on the Tonight Show.
  • Have you noticed?

  • Ever since Yassar Arafat began his final spiral before his death, there haven’t been any homicidal bombers in Israel? Either there’s a connection, or the Security Wall Israel is building works.

    Either way: good news, indeed.

  • With the election in Iraq just days away, the terrorists are focusing more on blowing up the civilians than are they focused on blowing up our troops.

    Gee, will the critics still insist the citizens don’t want us there?
    • I’ve been reminded the title ‘Quick Hits’ is the same as one of Shepard Smith’s segment on Fox News Live. Since the purpose of my ‘QH’ is a quick look at things that interest me, I thought the title was adequate. Not looking to appear as if I am copying from Shep, I’ll solicit suggestions for a new title.
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      Friday, January 21, 2005

      Stuff overlooked by the media

      I'm not sure which I like reading more. Either this from Farrah at camedwards.com:

      That was Mary Cheney holding the Bible for her father as he was sworn in as Vice President this morning.

      Lynne Cheney is beaming with pride, no doubt in her husband and her daughter. Doesn't look like Lynne is really ashamed of Mary, does it?


      Or this, from Kevin02, posted as a comment to the above:

      Why, it seems like it was just yesterday when the liberals were telling us that Bill and Monica having sex in the Oral Orifice of the White House was nobody's business, that what Bill did on his on time was his own business, and how Evil Conservative Republicans needed to move on, that Clinton needed to get back to doing the work the country elected him to do.

      Then the liberals want us to believe that since the daughter of an American Vice President is reportedly gay, that's reason enough we should vote him out.

      Maybe that's why they keep losing elections and giving Michael Moore Oscars.

      Tough call! Both make their points so well!


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      Thursday, January 20, 2005

      More on Dr. Rice

      Those who know me professionally know the odd relationship I've had with the senior senator from West Virginia. That much said, I can't help but remind folks of his unrepented past, and what's he's up to these days, courtesty of Michelle Malkin...

      Democratic Sen. Robert "Sheets" Byrd, past recruitment officer for the KKK and former advocate of racial segregation, has announced that he will obstruct the confirmation of the first African-American woman to be nominated to be Secretary of State.

      And if you don't think that's exactly how CBS and the rest of the MSM would have played the story if Byrd were a Republican and Rice a Democratic nominee, I have some genuine Bush National Guard documents to sell you.

      Column flashback: Sen. Robert Byrd, ex-Klansman

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      Wednesday, January 19, 2005

      So much to say, so little time

      Quick hits:

      • Dr. Condolezza Rice should be confirmed before the inauguration. Anything later than that perpetuates the impression the Democrats in the Senate are being petty.

      • If you aren't happy President Bush was re-elected, you're entitled to be. If you are happy he's re-elected, you're entitled to be. Both sides must remember: if the election turned the other direction, would we be surprised at the other sides view? I know I wouldn't.

      • Rolling Stone had every right to deny the ad for the bible in their magazine. The fact that they waited 9 months after being approached by the publisher taints their statement that they had an 'unwritten policy', and instead sounds like they are caving to those who would put-down all religion in general, and Christianity specifically.

      • We got about 4" of snow today. My neighbors are two of the nicest people I know. Yet while I was supposed to be shoveling, they stopped over for a chat. It's now 10:45.... more than 30 minutes was spent 'chatting'. What's wrong with this scene? They do know how much I had to do, why were they taking up my time? Talking about NOTHING? TONIGHT??

      • This morning was cold. How cold? At 5:00 AM, when I started my car, it was two below.






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      Tuesday, January 18, 2005

      Interesting View of the President

      Jon Meacham, the Managing Editor of Newsweek magazine, who was on Imus in the Morning today, suggested that many of the Americans who voted for President Bush's re-election did so because they felt he was the best man needed to do the despicable job of fighting terrorism by keeping the fight abroad.

      Mr. Meacham went on to suggest President Bush embodied the spirit quoted by the character Col. Nathan Jessep in the movie "A Few Good Men":

      And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives--You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.


      Of the many people I've spoken to who have served in the Iraq theater, who continue to serve (and the parents of those who serve), this particular quote captures the spirit of why we're fighting that war.


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      Using Foreign Courts to Influence SCOTUS

      Jonathan Rothenberg does well in presenting the debate over whether the US Supreme Court should give weight to decisions made in foreign courts.

      In a telling debate that illustrates the difference between strict constructionism and judicial activism, Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer debated the validity of invoking foreign laws in United States Supreme Court decisions. Based on no empirical data but just on intuition, it would seem reasonable to assume that most Americans would find the notion absurd. However, serious legal minds, apparently some already with life tenure on the High Court, think otherwise. And the rationales sound preposterous.
      "If here I have a human being called a judge in another country dealing with a similar situation," Breyer said, "why don't I read what he says if it's similar enough? Maybe I'll learn something." Breyer offered two real-world reasons for his court to pay attention to decisions of foreign tribunals: American lawyers cite them in their briefs, and an occasional citation of a foreign decision by the U.S. Supreme Court might help shore up independent courts in former dictatorships.

      I find it sad that we need even have this debate. Certainly, a well-read jurist would want to be aware of major rulings elsewhere, but to consider those rulings above and beyond the wisdom of our own Constitution seems fly in the face of their Oaths of Office. We cannot and should not be bound by the legal arguments made overseas unless the Constitutional framework underwhich those decisions were made are equal to our own. To do do so belittles our own Constitution.

      But then, for many people, that isn't a bad idea at all.

      Read the rest of the piece at Blogs for Bush.


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      Monday, January 17, 2005

      Why sleep?

      Some time ago, I pondered why sleep was needed in anyone's life. Sure, we're tired, we lay down, etc. But why? Why can't simple rest be enough? If the body (muslces, etc.) are worn, sit down and rest. If the mind is tired, why does the need for unconsciousness exist, if we're only going to dream anyway?

      This quandry reserfaced after reading The
      Occupational Adventurer extolling the virtues of day dreaming.

      Seems to me, he is helping to prove my point!



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      If you're experiencing a real emergency...

      Since I went to work today, I forgot it was a national holiday. I had a question concerning my carbon monoxide detector, so I called FirstAlert's Consumer Affairs line.

      After going through their chain of voice mail prompts, I am told the office is closed.

      If you're experiencing a real emergency, please hang up now and call your local emergency service number. Thank you!

      I am sure this is for insurance purposes, but can you imagine someone calling a Consumer Affairs number because they believe they are being poisoned by C0??

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      Sunday, January 16, 2005

      This Blog


      Well then! This blog has turned 3 years old today. Amazing? You have no idea! Not even I thought I'd last this long.

      I took the time this week to examine the referrer log. There are three most-popular referrals to this site. The first most popular target of search referrals is
      my post from September 11, 2003 wherein the names of the fallen are listed. There are over 150 hits in the last 5 days alone, and my casual attention paid to my logs tells me those number are fairly consistent. I never imagined that simple act -- which I can take little credit for, since I merely copied the list from another site -- would generate so much traffic; I hope it brings comfort to their families.


      The other two referrers deal with a topic that strikes me as odd today as it did when I first saw it:
      Facial Toning. Simply following the Google referral links (here and here), I can't find my site near the top, so I can't imagine why so many people (12 in the last 5 days) have clicked-through. There must be some need for this product I don't or can't comprehend.

      The other high-traffic referrer to this site is one I am loathe to mention. Apparently, through some chaotic serious of events, a certain search using terms that involve the most despicable forms of prøn1 lead people to this site. I do not wish to post the link, because I don't want to generate any more traffic here on those terms, and because the results are decidedly NOT work friendly. Suffice it to say the key component involves members of the fairer gender who have not yet reached their thirteenth birthday (that should be a safe enough explanation). How that translates to traffic here is beyond me.

      Regardless, Thank You for reading. Do come again!



      1Yes, yes. I realize that is an incorrect spelling. But please use your imagination and figure out what it is supposed to spell! Sheesh.

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      Thursday, January 13, 2005

      Uncleanliness is next to disgusting

      Kathleen reports on a germ-spreading fool who works, in of all places, a pharmacy. That reminded me of the still all-too-common fool that finds the concept of hand-washing after using a restroom unnecessary.

      We're all adults (well, most of us are no, damn it; we all are, like it or not). We all have achieved the basic skills to understand the science behind it, and instinctually we know not to crap where we eat. So why is it that one of the basic acts of civility - washing your hands in the john - is still so foreign to some?

      I mean, ok there are exceptions. Construction sites have their port-o-johns, and rarely do they have any where to wash up. Fine. But in office buildings, restaurants, homes: you pee, you wash. Is that so hard to understand? Health departments insist any place that sells food have a sign in the can that reminds 'employees must wash hands before returning to work'. If I ran the place, I'd append 'and we'd appreciate if the customers did the same!' Why should any interaction with customers cause the employees to be potentially infected with e coli? Jack In the Box was practically crushed over one of their burgers being tainted; yet hardly is there a huge outcry at the despicable behavior of people who are, in fact, as bad.

      Even those people who presume 'a pass under the faucet and I'm out the door' is enough are far better than those who bypass the sink altogether.

      Another gripe I have is about those hand-dryers. These are fine at airports and stadiums (stadia?) where there aren't any real doors to the restroom, but any facility that requires you pull open a door handle ought to have paper, to permit those of us who DO wash our hands to grip the handle without concern for the fool who didn't wash his hands and has just touched the same knob.

      Boy, I haven't gone on about restrooms like this since October. At least I can relate to how Donald Trump thinks.


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      Wednesday, January 12, 2005

      Local shout-out to Wegmans

      For some time, I've mentioned how fond I am of a certain supermarket (if such an emotion can be used to describe a store).

      Now comes word they are
      the #1 company to work for!

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      Beating Cancer In Our Lifetime


      Day by Day

      Click image to see a larger view.




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      How many euphemisms can you count

      In today's NY Post there's an article that had to be written tongue-in-cheek (if not some other appendage).

      Makers of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs saw sales gains soften last year as more and more American men discovered they can solve their problem by using the free samples handed out by their doctors.

      ...

      It is the first time annual sales gains in the erectile dysfunction, or ED, category have petered out in the seven years since Viagra burst upon the market.


      Not wanting to run afoul of the NY Posts reprint rule, I'll leave the rest of the article (written by Richard Wilner) to your own reading here.

      Hat tip: Imus in the Morning



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      Tuesday, January 11, 2005

      Abesent-minded Boycott (Are there any other?)


      Ipse Dixit provides a link to a news story that tells of a planned boycott on January 20th, in protest to the inauguration.


      Livingstone, a 41-year-old writer, hopes to be in Washington for the Jan. 20 festivities, which for him means protests, black armbands and backs turned to the parade route.

      And he's vowing not to buy gas, food or use his credit card that day: He wants the GOP, big oil, big banking, big box stores and any other "bigs" to know they can't push him around or ignore him — at least not on Jan. 20.

      Once again, we're told the boycott will be a method to 'send a message'. Reminds of those stupid gas-out e-mails we all get from time to time.

      Let's make sure we understand the situation: this man from Detroit is going to Washington, D.C. and pledges to boycott all spending on Jan. 20th. I suppose he'll brown-bag his food (or fast), so that's doable. I suppose he won't be staying at the hotel between January 19th and
      the 21st, so will he be sleeping in the park, to make his point? Or perhaps in his car, if he decides to drive to D.C. (I hope street parking in D.C. is free!)

      What does all this prove? Nothing. If people were going to make purchases on the 20th but decide to wait until the 21st, do you really think anyone's bottom line will be affected? Like the foolish gas-outs, those same purchases will happen that week, so what's the message being sent? For some, making those purchases will have to be done on credit cards! That means one day less interest goes to the credit card companies... I doubt they're shaking in their boots.

      Interesting note: this site is run by OrwellMedia.com, who proclaim themselves to be the
      'Thought Control People'. I knew the name David Livingston was familiar...


      Heh... I checked out the central link to this stupidity, black-thursday.com. On it there's a link to Gasoline Boycott Day; guess the nuts don't fall far from the tree...



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      Sunday, January 09, 2005

      Back in the 21st Century




      Power finally came back after 5pm today (Sunday).

      The freezer needed to be defrosted, but.....




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      Saturday, January 08, 2005

      It could be worse, but...

      Lost power. Again. This time the util hopes for tomorrow morning. Can't blame them: still have freezing pain falling. At least I was able to heat the house for 10 hours.

      It could be worse, but it still sucks...


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      Overture, curtain, LIGHTS!

      Lights are back on. Can't say with certainty how long the power was down.It went out at about 1:15 pm Thursday. Friday morning my much-better-half and the kids went on their way for their day. After cleaning out the fridge later that day, they retreated to her sisters house.

      I left there a short while ago and the lights were on. I called the power company at about 6 and they were still showing us in the dark. So at least 29 hours in the dark. I'm still fearful of openigng the fridge, but I am betting the freezer in the garage held solid.

      Gonna take a shower and turn in... this week has lasted long enuff..




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      Friday, January 07, 2005

      Repeat after me: It's not a draft

      Since many pundits and the main-stream media seem intent on redefining the word, I point you in the direction of Outside The Beltway for the reasons why the possiblity of Reservists having their tour of duty extended is not a draft. It may not be what they want, but it is not a draft

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      Do opposite attract? At least on TV they seem to do so.


      James Joyner at Outside the Beltway picked up an article in SLATE that discusses a topic I've long been brewing about (no, its not about Comfort Food again).


      Slate's Matt Feeney attempts to answer the vexing question, "Why are fat sitcom husbands paired with great-looking wives?"

      In two decades of TV acting, Courtney Thorne-Smith has never stopped looking like a cheerleader. She has the kind of large, startled eyes that suggest school spirit (this look of bug-eyed alacrity grew to almost supernatural intensity during her starvation years on Ally McBeal) and a sturdy jaw that appears custom-tooled for the cheerleader's main task of spelling out inspirational words very, very loudly. But for Cheryl, Smith's character in the ABC series According to Jim (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET),
      it's as if her cheerleaderly aspirations have suffered a perverse cosmic scramble and she ended up married not to the equally simple and beautiful quarterback everyone expected her to marry, but to the boorish, buffalo-faced center who puts his hands between his expansive ass cheeks on every play. Cheryl is married to Jim, and Jim is played
      by Jim Belushi.

      ==snip==

      If family sitcoms really are a Rorschach blot for their male and female viewers, then we're either in really bad shape or coping surprisingly well—in the same scenarios in which women perhaps identify their own desperation and martyrdom, men seem to find sweet, elemental fulfillment.

      Or, it may just be that the male leads in these shows are chosen primarily for their ability to be funny while the women are chosen for their wholesome appeal. The increasing trend is for the stars of these shows to rise from the ranks of stand-up comics, which does not tend to prize physical attractiveness in the same way as acting.

      James makes a valid point regarding stand-ups becomming sit-com stars. And the comments on his blog raise other seemingly mis-matched couples, including 'King of Queens', 'Welcome Back Kotter' (if you're old enough to remember Mr. Kotttttttterrrrrr and his endless supply of Uncle jokes), Bob Newhart, and even Ray & Deborah Barrone (while Ray isn't like Jim Belushi, he certainly married up!).

      But why stop there? Consider Rachel & Ross, Monica & Chandler, that new sitcom with John Goodman, that other tripe with the overweight dad and good looking brunette (with the two kids, can you tell I don't watch these shows regularly?). Alice & Ralph Kramden, Wilma & Fred Flintsone. And not only sitcoms: look at NYPD Blue: Dennis Franz and Charlotte Ross? Come on!

      About the only real-life couples I can compare these couplets with is... why, my much-better-half and me! (lest there be any doubt: I'm the beast in this example). Everyone else I know are equally matched, and yet none fall into the extreme categories of a Beli


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      Lights out (uh-huh)

      I mentioned a 2 hour black-out yesterday. What I didn't know was the power went out again around 1pm and hasn't been back since. I left home about an hour ago and the surrounding 2-3 miles are dark. The freezing rain yesterday is the blame, and more is coming tonight.

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      Thursday, January 06, 2005

      Electoral Delays

      Sean at EIKIW writes

      In a move that is transparently designed to rally the MoveOn-types for the next fund-raising cycle, a very small group of far-left Democrats are challenging the certification of Ohio's electoral college votes. According to ABC News, there is very little hope that this could affect the outcome of the election because "both Republican-controlled chambers would have to uphold the objection for Ohio's votes to be invalidated."


      Right before this Blog came to life (nearly 2 3 years ago) I took the position that the most important lesson to be learnt from the 2000 election was that our patchwork of elections laws needed serious review. I am all for ‘states rights’ and the 10th Amendment, but when matters deal with national elections, I tend to lean towards federal standards.

      I even advocated a debate that might create a program funded by Congress, giving the states 8, 10 years (whatever) to develop a standard voting mechanism (preferably, designed with the 21st Century in mind). At some point before the deadline (say in the 7th/9th year), the new polls were to be used in the states’ own dog-catcher election or other such minor vote, in order for the kinks to be worked out. Congress, often gutless wonders (in both parties), took an easy way out in 2001 and hoped for the best down the line.

      Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the Ohio elections are being called questionable, and thus the issue is on the front burner again. As part of the legislative process, both houses of Congress retreated for a two-hour debate today because of that challenge.

      If this delay ends with the proper certification this afternoon, and the net result is that the entire nation’s election system is publicly debated, then the challenge would not be for naught. If it turns into merely a platform for the ‘I Hate Bush’ crowd, then it will indeed be a waste of time. A Constitutionally protected waste of time, but a waste nonetheless.

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      Why stop now?

      Ipse Dixit asks the musical question:

      Remember that scene in Animal House in which the co-ed comes flying through the window of the teenage boy's room and lands on his bed, prompting him to look up and say, "Thank you, God!"...?
      Democrats Ask McAuliffe to Remain Party Chair:

      Senior Democrats are trying to persuade national Chairman Terry McAuliffe to continue his service as party chairman, especially if none of the current candidates gains momentum in the race to replace
      him.

      That would be a real shame, huh?

      After loosing seats in Congress in 2000, '02 and again in '04, after failing to deliver a victory to VP Gore (with the reported love for President Clinton, and the economic news they
      campaigned on), and again the loss of Sen. Kerry's campaign, Mr. McAuliffe's own record is beginning to rival that of
      Bob Beckel, whose losing streak started with Walter Mondale's dismal run against President Ronald Reagan.

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      Sen. Dodd on Gonzalez's nomination

      Sen. Chris Dodd (D, CT) on Imus in the Morning, said he expects Alberto Gonzalez to be confirmed, probably unanimously. He said he expects there will be reasons presented why he shouldn't, but he basically feels the president ought to have the cabinet of his choosing.

      Go figure.


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      Lovely start to the day



      At about 4:10 AM the power went out. I know this was the time, because I was toweling off after my shower. A few minutes sooner and .... !!!!

      It's back up. We got about 1.5" of snow, before the precip turned to rain. Everything looks glazed and is pretty, but the power lines must have gotten pulled down by tree limbs encased in ice.

      Oh, the power came back 15 minutes ago... albeit late, I am off to work.




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      Wednesday, January 05, 2005

      A small, but important, first step

      Foreign tourists and Thais gather at bars along Bangla Road in the entertainment district of Patong on Thailand's resort island of Phuket January 4, 2005. Tourists are resuming their vacation, sunbathing and going to restaurants and bars, nine days after a devastating tsunami slammed Patong beach, killing hundreds. (see photo: REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad)
      Tourists returning to scene of the devestation may sound cruel to some, but it is an important first step down an amazingly long road that is absolutely necessary. Whereas these shop owners didn't lose everything in the tidal wave, they could stand to lose it all if business doesn't return, albeit slowly.




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      Reign in Regulations before its too late

      From The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid:

      For all the Bush administration's victories, the sad fact is that its blindspot for regulatory burdens has caused America, for the first time, to slip out of the top ten in the annual list of the world's most economically free countries compiled by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. ...

      Read the rest of Donald L. Luskin's wake-up call here.



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      Tuesday, January 04, 2005

      What color hat do you own?

      At my Tai Kwon Do class this evening, one of the girls (a female child) came up to me to ask how I spent New Years Eve. Reaching for an ancient line I used on people in my office I said to her:

      Me: Didn't I see you on TV the other night, in the crowd in Times Sq, next to Regis? You had on one of those hats!

      She: Who? Me? What color hat?

      Me: (stunned at the question), er... it was Orange!

      She: Oh, it wasn't me. I don't own an orange hat.

      Me: Um, so you were in Times Square?

      She: Of course not! I'm only 13!







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      MoveOn.Org attacks Gonzalez

      MoveOn.org announced this week their plan to petition the Senate in the hopes of blocking the nomination of Alberto Gonzalez for US Attorney General.

      The New York Times reported in length about the ‘harsh methods used at Guantanamo,’ and this coincides with MoveOn.Org's protest Thursday (the timing of this article is a complete coincidence, no doubt). The focus of Mr. Gonzalez’s critics is that he penned a memo to President Bush in 2002 that gave specific reasons why the terrorists being fought against in the War on Terror were exempt from the Geneva Conventions coverage of Prisoners of War.

      Seems to me, Mr. Gonzalez’s point that the much of the war on terror need not adhere to the Geneva Conventions is legitimate. Considering all of the rules that must be met by the Geneva Conventions, vis a’ vie soldiers fighting under a common flag, uniform, chain of command, etc., the terrorists in question had clearly exempted themselves from the protections which MoveOn.org, et al insist they are entitled to exercise. The vast majority of the actions committed by US servicemen in Iraq hardly rose to the level of torture that Jessica Lynch faced. Indeed, compared to how horribly Sen. McCain suffered under his imprisonment in Vietnam, being paraded naked in front of women and photographed in insulting positions hardly seems cruel or inhumane.

      Lets look at the NY Times own reporting on the issue:

      The information from the various sources frequently matched, providing corroboration of the use of specific procedures, which included prolonged sleep deprivation and shackling prisoners in uncomfortable positions for many hours

      We can’t have the prisoners uncomfortable, can we?? Is sleep deprivation the worst ‘torture’ they have??

      Military officials who participated in the practices said in October that prisoners had been tormented by being chained to a low chair for hours with bright flashing lights in their eyes and audio tapes played loudly next to their ears, including songs by Lil' Kim and Rage Against the Machine and rap performances by Eminem.


      Speaking for myself, being forced to listen to Eninem would be considered torture, but I’d take that over a beheading any day. And being ‘tormented’ isn’t quite like being ‘tortured’, is it? This is war, ladies and gentlemen, not a game of darts. If you think this is tough treatment, you have no clue.

      Further, US civilians were subjected to beheadings long before the media picked up on the Abu Ghraib misconducts (but well after the military began its court martial investigations). I am not ignorant of the charges that some of the terrorists were sodimized, and that clearly exceeds the level of misconduct I described above. The military code of justice is geared to handle such abuses, and has already demonstrated to do so properly.

      MoveOn.org is just flexing its muscle into becoming the new face of the DNC; if they keep up this kind of rhetoric, the Democrats are liable to remain out of power indefinitely.



      UPDATE: An excellent piece covering this issue is found in the Dec. 31 issue of National Review

      UPDATE: Hmmm... seems discussion of this issue is stymied, or at least the cross-linking of it has been. I provided a trackback to the original piece detailing MoveOn's plan last evening. This morning the TrackBack was gone, so I thought my decidedly non-MT link got lost; I re-TrackBacked at about 7:40 this morning, and verified it was there. As of 12:26 ET, TrackBacks to the original post are no longer enabled, which tells me the prior link was intentionally deleted.

      TrackBacks are the sole discretion of the individual blog owner, and it is far be it for me to argue otherwise. Since I was responding to an opinion with an opposing view, and the links to my position were deleted, one can draw their own conclusions about the validity of the original opinion.

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      Liberal Bias again

      Media Matters for America likes to skewer Conservaites, and in particular, Fox News, for allegedly not being balanced in their reporting.

      Case in point:
      Conservatives exaggerated foreign aid to declare U.S. "most generous nation in the history of the world" takes the following points to task:

      Washington Times senior White House correspondent Bill Sammon wrongly declared on the December 28 edition of FOX News' The O'Reilly Factor that "if you look in the aggregate of what we're giving through our tax dollars and what we're giving privately, we're giving more per capita than the Norwegians."

      [T]hey include FOX News anchor David Asman's statement on the January 3 edition of FOX News Live that "Americans are by far the most generous people in the world" and syndicated columnist and FOX News contributor Charles Krauthammer's assertion on the January 2 edition of FOX Broadcasting Company's FOX News Sunday that "[w]e are the most generous nation in the history of the world."

      [C]ontrary to Sammon's specific claim, according to the 2004 study, Norway contributed more than the U.S. in both public and private giving on a per capita basis. Ranking fourth among the 21 richest nations, Norway was in fact just one of 18 nations that gave more per capita in public and private contributions combined than the U.S.

      So let's talk about Norway. For starters, how much of the Norwegian GDP is spent on on defense? 1.9% Compare that the US' 3% spent on defence. Why is this important? With such a discrepancy, Norway has less overhead than the US (USA $370.7 billion vs. Norway $4,033 million). Plus, unless I've missed it, there isn't a Norwegian carrier group off the coasts of Asia, nor are there helicopters moving supplies to inland. These little differences don't translate directly to a balance sheet, but they do add up.

      Keep this in mind when there are those who would otherwise bash the USA, perhaps only because their side lost the election.

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      Monday, January 03, 2005

      Attention shoppers

      THE SCENE: Local supermarket.

      THE CAST: I am pushing my 2 year old son, who is sitting in the shopping cart. Two women shoppers, walking seaparetely, approach us from the opposite end of the aisle. An employee makes an announcement.

      Attention shoppers. We ask that all customers please check your shopping cart right now. If you find you have someone else's shopping cart, please come to Customer Service. Again, please check to see if you have the correct shopping cart. If you do not, please bring it to Customer Service. And thank you for shopping with us.

      As the two women and I reach each other in the aisle, I can see the perplexed look on both of their faces, which probably is similar to the one on my face. Looking at me, the first gal quietly says 'why would I have the wrong cart?'

      To which I replied, looking down at my son: "GOOD HEAVENS!! I CAME IN HERE WITH A LITTLE GIRL!"

      The first gal burst out laughing. The second one gave me a dirty look. If she had phoned in a Amber Alert, I might not have thought my joke was funny...

      Which begs the question: what was so unusual about the wrong shopping cart? Perhaps a purse was left in it? Why else would the erroneous cart need be brought up right away?






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      Saturday, January 01, 2005

      New Years Day

      Good morning all. Happy 2005. May it be a damn site better than the last one.

      I raise a toast to one and all; may your health, good fortune and prosperity be abundant all year long!








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