Friday, February 24, 2006

Gone for the Weekend

Apologies for not blogging much, or visiting around the blogosphere. I will be in Phoenix this weekend, and don't get back until Monday evening. Don't see it very likely that I will be posting while on the road.

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Victor Davis Hanson today, if anyone is interested in checking that out.

Looks like my only sources for news will be MSM, while I'm away.



Thursday, February 23, 2006

"We're all port authority experts now, I see..."

So now we have to become Port authority experts...haha. Besides Curt's excellent post, I also enjoyed the following:

Hugh's interview with Admiral Craig Bone.

Ex-Donkey Blog

Midnight Blue

I haven't made my way around the blogosphere much yet, so stay-tuned for possibly more updates. If anyone has any good links to news articles and blog posts, leave 'em in the comments section for me, please.

California Conservative quotes from The Heritage Foundation.

USA Today on Port Demagoguery.

Hugh Hewitt has a great interview with author Robert Kaplan

Mike's America.

More and More from Flopping Aces.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Political Bias

Commenting in my last post, last night, I linked to Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars. It was a bit fascinating to see them quote transcript passages that I would have quoted as well. The difference being, that they came away with a complete 180 degree interpretation from it, than I did. I see much the same ideological differences in how we interpret "the facts"- from the 9/11 Commission, to the Duelfer Report, to media bias, to what the President said, to Quailgate, to the good, the bad, and the beautiful (haha..catch my "bias"?) going on over in Iraq; and on and on...

made a good find and a nice post on the following article:

Political bias affects brain activity, study finds
Democrats and Republicans both adept at ignoring facts, brain scans show

Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.

And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.

Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored while they pondered.

The results were announced today.

"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."

Bias on both sides
The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.

Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.

The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."

Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.

The tests involved pairs of statements by the candidates, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, that clearly contradicted each other. The test subjects were asked to consider and rate the discrepancy. Then they were presented with another statement that might explain away the contradiction. The scenario was repeated several times for each candidate.

A brain-scan technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, revealed a consistent pattern. Both Republicans and Democrats consistently denied obvious contradictions for their own candidate but detected contradictions in the opposing candidate.

"The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data," Westen said.

Other relatively neutral candidates were introduced into the mix, such as the actor Tom Hanks. Importantly, both the Democrats and Republicans reacted to the contradictions of these characters in the same manner.

The findings could prove useful beyond the campaign trail.

"Everyone from executives and judges to scientists and politicians may reason to emotionally biased judgments when they have a vested interest in how to interpret 'the facts,'" Westen said.

I lean center-right. I admit to my partisanship. I am well-aware of times when I have cherry-picked information to support my side of the equation. Sometimes I like to engage in juvenile ad hominems (such as making comments about Helen Thomas being a ripe old fossilized prune, which have nothing to do with her politics and journalistic integrity). It's just fun as well as petty.

But for serious political opining, I think it is important to listen to the other side, and exercise our dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; not just resort to knee-jerk "ok, how do I counter the argument put forth against my side?"-sort of reaction. To have credibility, it is vitally important to listen and concede (where necessary); reason and respect. One of the worst disservices you can do for your political side, is to be disingenous, citing facts or statistics that you know to be flawed. When both sides are well-researched on their facts, sometimes it just comes down to a difference in ideology. Then, usually it's a matter of how we interpret the raw data.

We really should exercise extreme vigilance on our own prejudices, partisanship, and bias. I don't think there is anything completely wrong in engaging in partisan politics, so long as you have the conscious wherewithal to know what it is that you are doing. At least be honest with yourself. Honesty and clarity are always more important than being right.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Helen vs. Hugh: Round One! I was laughing so much in my car yesterday. I had to go into work at 4:30 pm, but hung in the car for as long as I could, as 2nd hour, Hugh Hewitt had an interview with the venerable old fossil, Helen Thomas. You could call it the comedy hour (the first hour with Lawrence O'Donnell could be characterized as much the same, too). I wrote Generalissimo last night, begging for an audio, and *presto*: It's up at Radioblogger, along with transcript. Sometimes wishes do come true! A must listen. Go listen now, and report back here!

This interchange between Hugh and Helen is a good peek into the mind of not only an irrelevant old relic of a bygone journalistic era, but also of a moonbat journalistic elite, who fails to understand the nature of partisan journalism as it applies in the 21st century, where media bias is more clearly evident in contrast to the conservative outlets of blogs and talk radio.

More on Lawrence O'Donnell from Hugh: Here and here. Don't forget to listen to the O'Donnell interview at Radioblogger, either. It's funny when he tells Hugh "I don't know why you are so outraged..." when throughout the interview, Lawrence is seething with unhinged rancor; I could even feel his spittle flying from my car speakers. Contrast it to Hugh's tone which was very calm and collected. (Picture of Helen is just for you, Gayle!).


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Plastic Romance

Disclaimer: The following is a superficial post (so's the one before that...and before that...), not to be taken as serious political opining (obviously!).

It was the breakup that shocked legions of fans. She was the image of perfection dressed in Pepto-Bismol pink, with a dozen movie credits under her Size 2 belt, several best-selling advice books and a line of accessories that bore her name.

He was her dashing playmate in short shorts, with a washboard stomach, a killer smile and a pampered life of tennis, surfing and roller skating.

Now, after a heart-wrenching, two-year separation — for the record, it was her idea — Ken and Barbie are headed for a romantic reunion, according to their handlers. Ken's new attraction? A makeover, set to be unveiled today at a news conference in Manhattan, that finds him sporting a more rugged jaw line, wearing cargo pants and listening to Norah Jones.

Puh-lease...ok, I like Norah Jones too, but I'm not going to broadcast it to the world (except in this one post!). What a foppish dandy Ken is! What a spoiled, superficial, elitist wuss!

Mattel's fourth-quarter results January showed an 18 percent decline in Barbie's U.S. sales.

Did it ever occur to them, that maybe it's because Ken is a pansy, lightweight? Not because of their famous 2004 break-up?

"Ken has revamped his life -- mind, body and soul," Hollywood stylist and Mattel consultant Phillip Bloch said in a statement.
A facial resculpting, as Mattel calls it — Ken's first in more than a decade — will give him a more defined nose and a softer mouth.
"It's Matthew McConaughey meets Orlando Bloom," Mr. Bloch said in an interview.

In other words: he had plastic surgery! What a pampered girly-man! I bet he gets manicures, pedicures and facials on a weekly basis.

Ken, who appears to have spent time in the gym and at the stylist,

Oh, gag me with a spoon, already! Let me guess: he does Tae-bo and aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays; yoga, pilates and spinning class Mon, Wed, and Fri, right?

At a press conference unveiling Ken, Bloch said the company was going for a "worldly, European thing," and "definitely wanted to be looking hot."

Well, there's your problem, right there. A real, red-blooded American male does not go for the effeminate, demasculated, Euro-look. Of course, this Brokeback doll has always seemed light in the loafers for the past 40 years, if you ask me; Ken has always dressed and behaved like a tinkerbell:

Face it: Ken doesn't deserve Barbie. Ken deserves Blaine. I mean, just look at them:

Of the three, which two look most suitable as soul-mates, hmm? You want a real-American hero? Here he is:

Can you picture Ken enlisted in the military?
How gay is that? I'm sorry, but if Mattel wants to recover their plummeting Barbie sales, it's not going to be through the new Ken doll with his stylish, Euro-looks.

Also: Who wants to bet that Ken is a..........FLAMIN' LIBERAL?!?!

Barbie and G.I. Joe Joke

One afternoon, a woman and her little daughter went into a large toy store. The mother asked her daughter what toys she wanted.

The little girl said, "I want GI Joe and Barbie."
The mother smiled and said, "Darling, you know Barbie doesn't come with GI Joe."

The little girl looked up at her mom and replied, "Mom, Barbie ALWAYS comes with GI Joe. She just FAKES it with Ken."

Happy Valentine's Day, Barbie and G.I. Joe! And Happy Valentine's to all my blog readers! Love you all!

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Cheney's Pretzel Moment

Look at how desperately they are spinning this over at Daily Kos:

The Cheney shooting story isn't about to die down. I predict that the press is going to run with this story for days, if not weeks--and it has very little to do with the possibility of Cheney's being drunk, or with the 18 hour delay, or anything else. And this story is going to be much bigger than what we've seen so far in the White House Press Briefings.

It's because this story is a perfect metaphor for this administration's foreign and domestic policy. It says everything you need to know about Dick Cheney personally, and the way this entire administration operates.

And the press does this all the time: they run with little things that display flaws in character: Al Gore's "Internet" quote to highlight his weakness for exaggeration; Kerry's "Voted for it before I voted against it" to highlight his weakness for equivocation.

In this case, we have Cheney and the entire Bush Administration foreign and domestic policy in a nutshell. Especially in Iraq and Katrina.

In this case, Cheney and friends were killing innocent creatures who were trapped in a pen with no hope of escape.

Overeager, Cheney hunted with a shoot first, ask questions later mentality, and managed to strike his own partner, and send his friend to intensive care.

It later appears that Bush and his situation room (or so they said) had no idea what was going on on the ground there. They waited an entire day to even report the story,

What sad, sad creatures. Good luck with that, KosKiddies.

Hat tip: Chatterbox for the photo.

She, and Rebecca, Beth, and Curt at Flopping Aces focus on the lunacy of the prissy prima donna press corps.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

3-Second Highlight from today's Winter Olympics

Happy Birthday O Great Emancipator ("pater")

Many on the left-side of the aisle love teaching the Howard Zinn revisionist-type history that breeds within us feelings of shame, guilt, self-loathing and self-hate for our country. The Europeans who founded this modern nation are taught to us to be the bringers of all evil and plagues; whereas, the Native Americans are romanticized as "noble savages" who never warred with one another and were environmentalists who harmonized with nature.

In recent years, there have been a few books on Abraham Lincoln, minimizing his accomplishments and questioning his sexual orientation. Whatever.

I'd like to share with you today (now that I think about it...I'm sure I blogged this last year- ah well!), a book review by one of my favorite conservative thinkers, Thomas Sowell. I just may go out and get the book, as part of my "black history month" reading:

Trashing our history: Lincoln
August 11, 2005

Since Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, you might think that there would be no need for a new book about it today.

Unfortunately, there is very much a need for a new book on the subject, not only because of the gross neglect of history in our schools and colleges, but also because of the completely unrealistic view of the world — past and present — that prevails, not only among the ignorant but among the intelligentsia as well.

Since the 1960s, it has been fashionable in some quarters to take cheap shots at Lincoln, asking such questions as "Why didn't he free all the slaves?" "Why did he wait so long?" "How come the Emancipation Proclamation didn't just come right out and say that slavery was wrong?"

People who indulge themselves in this kind of self-righteous carping act as if Lincoln was someone who could do whatever he damn well pleased, without regard to the law, the Congress, or the Supreme Court. They might as well criticize him for not discovering a cure for cancer.

Fortunately, there is an excellent new book, titled "Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation" by Professor Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College, that sets Lincoln in the context of the world in which he lived. Once you understand the constraints of that world, and how little room for maneuver Lincoln had, you realize what courage and brilliance it took for him to free the slaves.

Just one fact should give pause to Lincoln's critics today: When Lincoln sat down to write the Emancipation Proclamation, the Supreme Court was still headed by Chief Justice Roger Taney, who had issued the infamous Dred Scott decision, saying a black man had no rights which a white man needed to respect.

This was a Supreme Court that would not have hesitated to declare the freeing of slaves unconstitutional — and Lincoln knew it. The Dred Scott decision was not yet a decade old at the time.

There would have been no point in issuing an Emancipation Proclamation that didn't actually emancipate anybody. Ringing rhetoric about the wrongness of slavery would not have gotten the Emancipation Proclamation past Taney and his Supreme Court.

Since Lincoln's purpose was to free millions of human beings, not leave some rhetoric to be preserved in the anthologies, he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation in dry legalistic terms that disappointed thoughtless critics in his time and ours, but got it past the Supreme Court.

Nothing in the Constitution gave a President the authority to free slaves. The only thing Lincoln could use to make his actions legal was his authority as commander-in-chief in wartime. But that meant that he could only free the slaves in territory controlled by enemy forces.

It took not only legal shrewdness but much courage to do what Lincoln did. There was no big political support in the North for freeing slaves. In fact there was much opposition to the idea by Northerners who feared that such an action would stiffen Southern resistance and prolong a war that cost more lives than any other war in American history. More than ten times as many American died in the Civil War as in Vietnam.

Lincoln was out on a limb, both politically and legally. He could have been impeached. At a minimum, he expected to lose the next election and was surprised when he didn't. But today we see the spectacle of pygmies sniping at this giant.

As for the other slaves not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln worked behind the scenes to try to get slave-holding border states to emancipate them by state actions that would be beyond the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Failing that, he prodded a reluctant Congress to end slavery by amending the Constitution. He did a lot of political maneuvering on a lot of fronts to accomplish his goal.

Professor Guelzo's book does more than give us some sense of realism about a major event in American history. Perhaps if we come to understand the complexities and constraints of Lincoln's turbulent times, we might not be so quick to seize opportunities to reduce other times — including our own — to cartoon-like simplicities that allow us to indulge in cheap self-righteousness when judging those who carry heavy responsibilities.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

(Click on the photo to read why)

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"Why I am a Republican...."

I originally made this post for Flopping Aces, but thought I'd reproduce it here, since I've been wanting to post this video up for a while now.

I may post another clip of the show in the future; if I do, then I'll talk more about this funny animated series and how I discovered it.

Mike's America left a comment in a previous post:

Time to start a new category guys:

The Difference between Republicans and Democrats!

How many relativists have you heard suggest there is no difference? Of course it’s a subtle way of implying that you might as well vote for their guy.

I thought I'd take the humorous approach, and share a clip from a short-lived animated series, "This Just In" (from the episode, "Labidocrites":

Here is a bit of a context for the clip:

Newport struggles to pretend to be a liberal to have sex with the hottest girl he's ever met. He is about to make a speech in front of a bunch of liberals and cracks under pressure, admitting that he's a Republican and what exactly that means to him.

Hat tip: Richwatch.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rolling Over in the Grave

I wasn't going to blog on this, since many have already weighed in, and everyone from the right-side of the spectrum pretty much are unified in waxing indignant. And if Coretta Scott King's family were fine with the lack of class on the part of speakers such as Lowery and Carter, then so be it.

But then I thought of a few things, that I haven't heard blogged about.

In afterthought, no one should have been surprised about the politicization of Coretta King's funeral. President Bush, least of all.

And of course I don't mean that it was not inappropriate to discuss her politics and ties to the civil rights movement. Mention of those things are within bounds and it would hardly be called a celebration of her life if one left out her political activism, anymore than it would make sense not to talk about Reagan's political accomplishments at his funeral. But what was tasteless, was the political pot-shots taken at President Bush. A funeral is just not the forum for political partisanship and a show of disrespect for the sitting President...especially when he's sitting right there at the funeral! It is in bad taste, and makes it about the "speakers" and the "spoken of"....and the "spoken of" being that of President Bush over Coretta King.

I said, this probably came as no surprise to President Bush, because we've seen Wellstone moments before from liberals. It happened at the funeral of another civil rights figure, one who has been called the first lady of the civil rights movement: Rosa Park. This is how one speaker, Jesse Jackson, chose to eulogize Rosa Park on November 2nd, 2005 (audio excerpt- also includes Lowery's bombastic bloviation):

Perhaps George Bush who also gave her ceremony can sign the Voting Rights Act and extend them with enforcement powers?

President Bush on yesterday gave homage to Rosa Parks and then put forth to the nation an extreme rightwing judge, antithetical to everything Rosa Parks ever stood for. He put forth an anti-Rosa Parks judge, not unlike last year he put a wreath on Dr. King's graveyard, and the next day, allowed the Supreme Court to kill affirmative action. Whenever he sticks out his hands, there's always something up his sleeves.

Perhaps a White House conference on civil rights, why not 50 years later? Watching bodies float down the rivers of New Orleans, no plan for rescue, no plan for relocation, no plan for reconstruction that's fair. 50 million Americans with no health insurance. The surplus culture for the few and a deficit culture for the masses. Just maybe we need a White House conference on civil rights. Mr. Mayor, why not right now on the river in Detroit, the Rosa Parks Park where we can entomb her body and have the generations unborn know this woman whose sacrifice made America better? Why not now some action to turn our mourning into some living memorial?

And when many Democrats (no...not all, but many) had the good taste (and sense) to lavish praise upon Ronald Reagan during the moment of his passing, when they were his harshest detractors during his Presidency.....did you hear any Republicans speaking at his funeral, taking political cheap shots at the Democrats? Remember: Ronald Reagan died on June 5th, 2004 and his private funeral service was June 11th. It was an incredibly heated election year. Both Parties were fighting tooth and nail for control of the Presidency. The only person who I recall using Reagan's funeral as an opportunity to score a political jab at the opposing side, was Ron Reagan Jr. :

Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.

This was an obvious, not-so-subtle shot at President Bush. It's as obvious as Jimmy Carter's wiretap comment at Coretta King's funeral. I've been listening to liberals try to spin it, that Carter's insertion about wiretaps had nothing to do with the situation today with the NSA wiretap hearings. Then why include it in his speech? How can anyone be so daft as to believe Carter didn't intentionally mean for parallels subtle and not so subtle to be drawn, between what happened then, and what goes on now? And what a peanut-for-a-brain, chowderhead Carter is (I rarely allow myself to speak so disrespectfully of a former President, but- my God! This man does a lot to earn disrespect), that he'd fail to see the mention of wiretapping the Kings would do more to reflect badly upon Democrats of their era, than the Republican Administration of today.

And it seems former President Peanuthead has a history of impropriety at funerals:

Mattie J.T. Stepanek, a 13-year-old Rockville, Md., boy who "wrote books of inspirational poems that climbed the bestseller charts," died last week of muscular dystrophy. Among those attending his funeral, the Washington Post reports, was Jimmy Carter:

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, spoke of . . . Mattie's devotion to peace. "He was deeply aware of global affairs," Carter said, recalling that Mattie was in Children's Hospital's intensive care unit when the war in Iraq began last year.

"Mattie burst into uncontrollable sobs and grief," Carter said, and soon after, the former president received a letter from his then-12-year-old friend: "I feel like President Bush made a decision long ago about the war," Mattie wrote. "Imagine if he had spent as much time and energy . . . planning peace."

The letter continued, "Even though I want to talk to Osama bin Laden about peace in the future, I wouldn't want to be alone with him in his cave." The congregation dissolved into laughter.

"In the same letter," Carter added, "he asked if I would join him."

There is a longstanding tradition that ex-presidents do not publicly criticize their successors, a tradition for which Carter has shown such contempt that when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize in 2002, its members made clear they meant it as a poke in the eye of President Bush and America.

But using a child's funeral as a forum for this kind of attack is a new low. Just when you thought Bill Clinton was the tackiest ex-president, along comes Jimmy Carter to outcrass even him.

With deepest respect to Mattie, his message, however pure and well-intentioned, was a naive and deadly one. Stepanek was, however, a young boy suffering under the burden of a terrible illness.

What is appeaser Jimmy Carter's excuse?
Contrast these liberal speakers with the speech President George W. Bush gave at Coretta King's funeral. Who is the unifier and who is the divider of this nation? Who carried himself with class and graciousness, making the funeral about honoring her; and which keynote speakers behaved with self-righteous political pontificating, making it all about themselves? Who, in the end, scored political points? The one who went there, devoid of political partisanship in his speech; or the ones who went there, engaged in political demagoguery?

As a footnote, I will add that former President Clinton might have given the best speech delivery. He's always been great at doing so; and thankfully, had the class not to engage in the political swiping and bullying.

Update: Mike's America mentions one I had forgotten about.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My Favorite Excerpt from the Gonzales NSA Wiretap Hearings

GONZALES: Senator, you raised a very important point. People focus on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and say, “This is what the words say and that’s the end of it; if you’re not following it in total, you’re obviously in violation of the law.”

That is only the beginning of the analysis. You have to look to see what Congress has done subsequent to that. And then, of course, you have to look at the Constitution.

There have been many statements today about “No one is above the law.” And I would simply remind — and I know this doesn’t need to be stated — but no one is above the Constitution either, not even the Congress.

Hat Tip to Flopping Aces for finding it for me. Click on the link to read more...


Why George W. Bush is the Jack Bauer of All U.S. Presidents

I would have given that honor to Theodore Roosevelt, but for this quote ascribed to President Bush:

"Who authorized putting him on pain medication?"

Here's the context, from a James Risen (you know...the journalist who helped compromise our national security with the New York Times article that began this whole "domestic" spying nonsense) piece:

Days after the arrest of Abu Zubaydah, at the time the highest-ranking al-Qaeda operative in U.S. custody, Bush summoned CIA director George Tenet to the White House to ask what intelligence Abu Zubaydah had provided his captors. According to Risen's source, Tenet told Bush that Abu Zubaydah, badly wounded during his capture, was too groggy from painkillers to talk coherently. In response, Bush asked, "Who authorized putting him on pain medication?" Risen makes the leap that the Bush episode may represent the "most direct link yet between Bush and the harsh treatment of prisoners by both the CIA and the U.S. military"

It should be noted that aides to the former CIA Director, George Tenet, claim that the story is untrue (even though some of us would think it cool if it were true).

Now, I bring this up because on last night's episode of 24, here's what Jack Bauer said to an officer in relation to Jacob Rossler, who he shot and wounded in the leg:

"I don't mind that they've dressed his wound; but don't give him anything for the pain."

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Anger Management 101's the thing: I've seen a few protest signs during these Muslim demonstrations, where the signs say something to the effect that "Muslims revere Moses and Jesus too", as great prophets.

Strange then, that they did not express all of this outrage when Andres Serrano published his photograph, Piss Christ. Where has the Muslim outrage been over the disrespect shown to these other two prophets? They've been caricaturized a gazillion times over in different mediums. Yet, passions have not been aroused over offenses to Moses and Jesus.

Remember the 1600 year old Buddhist statues that were destroyed by the Taliban? Did anyone see Buddhists take up protest signs calling for violence, and set about burning embassies? Condemning the whole of Afghanistan, and the Middle East?

People think the battle waged over Piss Christ was about freedom of speech; but it wasn't. It was about whether or not the art piece should be government funded. And no Christian issued a fatwa, calling for the assassination of Serrano.

A great question posed by Dennis Prager yesterday is this: If Muslims are banned from depicting what Mohammed looks like, for fear of idolatry, why should the rules of conduct apply to nonbelievers? Shouldn't it only matter and apply only to those who believe? If not, then every religion can impose its will on everyone outside of itself.

If you are secure in your faith, it shouldn't matter to you, what other people think. Some of the very tenets in Islam (and I know it isn't exclusive to Islam, if one really wants to find it) seem to breed intolerance. The evidence is in the violent actions of its followers.

Islam has an anger management problem. They are quick to offend and easy to inflame. Moderate Muslims who don't want me to generalize like that need to stand up, then, and take charge of their "religion of peace"...because I'm not alone in this! And, to be frank, I am one of the more moderate voices reacting to the reactionary Muslims rioting in the streets. I like Hugh Hewitt's caution, in not being coerced to engage in a clash of civilizations which some wish to bring about and others believe to be inevitable.

Some people are mad at MSM showing their PC-sensibilities...I have mixed feelings on that. And some feel let down by the Bush Administration for their sensitivity-stance, as well. I think it is diplomatically a smart move. We are making great strides in Iraq and Afghanistan; anything that sets that back, endangers our soldiers and our mission for achieving peace there. You do not want to alienate those we are still trying to win over from the insurgents, there.

Muslims need to reciprocate what they wish to have imparted onto them. It is difficult to give respect, as much as one wants to do so- to a religion that proves intolerant in its actions and destructive in how it interacts with the non-Muslims of the world. To criticize, is not to slander. And rather than being apologists for the problems within their religion, moderate Muslims need to acknowledge it, and take ownership of their faith. The cartoons haven't made Islam look bad. Their violent reaction to it makes Islam look bad.

This "faked but accurate" photo that Anna has up on her blog is funny, because it sums it all up in a bumpersticker slogan:
Islam is becoming a caricature of its own self. And it has no one to blame but its own hypersensitivity. Tolerance and respect are earned. Do they really think that setting embassies on fire and condemning an entire continent puts Islam in a good light?

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Monday, February 06, 2006

"Why Can't We All Just Be Super Best Friends?"

So what do the Muslims rioting over the Danish cartoons and the faked cartoons, have to say about South Park?

There! Do you see him? The Prophet Mohammed as part of the Super Best Friends? That's him behind Buddha, and to the right of Jesus.

Here is the video of episode 504, "Super Best Friends". If you are offended by South Park...don't watch! (And for the love of God! Don't riot in the streets!) Or, just scroll 2/3rds of the way through, to the relevant part, where we meet Mohammed. No starring role, though.

Oh, and beware of there's some crazy fruitloops! They may not riot, but they'll use their money to bury your ass. Or so the slander goes. In fact, I'm risking my life just printing that last sentence; good thing I work under a pseudonym.

Check out
Mike's America

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Her 15 Minutes of Fame... just getting started!

Because she's put out again to the media, with her latest stint in Venezuela and last week's fashion statement, I decided to inject new life into the video I made last November. She wants attention? Fine! She's got it!

I wasn't satisfied with the final edit of the previous version, but was too weary of it to polish off the rough edges, at the time.

Although I expanded the song and made the video longer to cram more in, I think it is in fact, superior to the original (I prefer brevity). I brought some of the sound up in places, and receded it in others, where news video footage was incorporated and mixed in with the song. Added a few other touches, as well.

The end song is probably unecessary, and makes it painfully long; also thematically, the photos are a bit out of place in this video. The mood sorta changes. But I love those pictures at the end, and just didn't want to scrap the music or the images. Plus, I'm now officially exhausted and don't want to do any more editing.

I did my best in crediting the resources I used. Especially for all of the photos. (I may have to re-edit, as I just realized I forgot to credit Defend America for some photos). If you have trouble viewing the size, just double click the embedded video and it will take you directly to the YouTube site. There, you can click the corner of the screen to enlarge it to full size.

If you experience stop-and-go in viewing, try coming back later to it. Sometimes they shut down for maintenance work, also. is not perfect, but beggars can't be choosers.

I'd also like to take the time to thank Bos'un and Flopping Aces for having me as a contributing guest blogger on their respective sites. I will probably cross-post this video at their blogs as well.

The next time you feel like Cindy Sheehan is crawling under your skin, just hop on over here and.....Enjoy.

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Valley of the Wolves: Iraq

Disgusting. F*** Billy Zane and Gary Busey! I think this is far more disgraceful and shameful than the Washington Post cartoon. No...I'm not going to riot Hollywood...I'm not going to call for the beheadings of all celebrity actors and burn down theaters, because that would be an over-reaction response (*hint, hint*) now wouldn't it? During wartime when anti-American and now anti-European sentiments are aflame, it just turns my stomach. It's like feeding a ravenous fire dry underbrush.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Boycotting the Boycott

There's hope, yet. Click on the photo for more. Muslims should not allow their feelings to be manipulated into a culture war with the West. The cartoons and the faked cartoons are not a bad reflection of Islam; they are what they are: tasteless jokes on the one hand, and an intentional act to incite a clash of civilizations on the other. What is a bad reflection of Islam is how easily many Muslim people can be manipulated into a desire for a war with the West. Why is the so-called "religion of peace" so ripe and rife with anger management problems?

...the leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, which recently swept
parliamentary elections there, told Italian daily Il Giornale on Saturday that
the cartoons should be punished by death.
"We should have killed all those
who offend the Prophet and instead here we are, protesting peacefully," said a
top group leader, Mahmoud Zahar.

What say you, Steven Spielberg?

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Rage against caricatures of Islam's
revered prophet poured out across the Muslim world Saturday, with aggrieved
believers calling for executions, storming European buildings and setting
European flags afire.
Hundreds of Syrian demonstrators have stormed the
Danish Embassy in Damascus, and they've set fire to the building.
building that's been set on fire in the Syrian capital also houses the embassies
of Chile and Sweden.
Protesters have been staging sit-ins outside the embassy
almost daily since the uproar over the drawings broke out last week...
"We will redeem our prophet, Muhammad, with our blood!" they chanted.

All this over cartoons? And I'll be damned if I ever give up my Legos, even if I were submissive to Islam!

I thought this was pretty good:

It's just ink.

Imagine. A man stands before you in a boardroom, holding an inkwell.

"With this little jar of black liquid, I can make images that can get me fired, write words that will get me arrested. I can incite hate, and I can make pictures that would cause me to be executed in some countries. I can create international incidents.

"I can also leave a lasting legacy. I can inspire my children and others to attempt new things and change the world. I can make testimonies and promises to the world I will no doubt leave behind one day.

"With ink like this, Bibles, Torahs, Baghavad Gitas and Korans are printed. Millions file past old parchment in the national archives just to glimpse the ink put down two centuries ago outlining our freedoms.

"Don't let it go to waste. But never let it become more important than another liquid: never let it become more important than blood."

Right now, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, and other Muslim nations are demanding that the Danish government punish a private newspaper for printing 12 drawings of Mohammed (the prophet of Islam). Furthermore they are demanding Danish laws and UN resolutions that would forbid such "offenses" from occuring again. Ambassadors have been recalled. Flags are being burned. Threats of death are being made. This is an international incident.

It's ink.

It's just ink.

Hat tip: Eye of the Storm for some quotes. (Click on some of the photos for more).

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More Stories of U.S. Troops Terrorizing Iraqi and Afghan Children

U.S. Army Spc. Sam Rogers, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 48th Brigade Combat Team, receives a hug from a young Iraqi girl who is overjoyed with her new shoes. Rogers helped deliver donated shoes to the Abu Tubar School near An Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Britt Smith

It's been a while since I posted anything military-related. Here are more positives to counterbalance the negatives coming out of Iraq :

Troops and Nike Deliver New Shoes to Children

School children cannot attend school unless they are dressed properly and that means shoes on their feet.

Shoes represent the difference between a child in a classroom, learning and a child outside watching as other children study their daily lessons. In a country where a little bit of money goes a long way, some parents simply do not have a spare dinar to put shoes on their children’s feet, opting instead to feed them. An education comes in second or third on the priority list of parents who must have their children work the fields and tend the herds of sheep that is often their sole source of income.

U.S. Troops Deliver Donated English Soccer Jerseys

(Click photos for source)
U.S. Army Col. Vic Grace, assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan's Defense Reform Directorate, hands out pens to children at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul visited the camp to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Greenwood passes out candy to children at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Greenwood, a counternarcotics future operations planner with Combined Forces Command — Afghanistan, visited the camp with other personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Greenwood takes a donkey cart ride with some children at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Greenwood, a counternarcotics future operations planner with Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, visited the camp with other personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll

Jim Norman, a Defense Department contractor, and U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jim Thomson provide first aid to an Afghan girl at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul visited the camp to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Norman serves with the Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan as the personnel program's mentor to the Afghan Ministry of Defense and General Staff. Thomson serves as Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan first sergeant. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

She's More than "Just a Woman".....To Me.

I think I probably first came across Lores Rizkalla on her old blog, by way of Mark. I'm sure that's the case, because back then, I didn't know anyone and had zero blogging buddies. Except for Mark.

I liked Lores' thoughts on life, because she posts with class. She never engages in downright mean-spiritedness. I suppose "conservatism with class" best describes her, from my perspective.

I also found out after a couple of weeks or so, that she is a regular listener and caller of the Sean Hannity Show. I've subsequently heard her call in to Hugh Hewitt.

Toward the end of last year, she abandoned us blogspotters for her own dot-org web-blog. (I hear "The Jeffersons" theme song running through my head even as I type). And now she's hitting the bigtime:

Beginning this Sunday at the stroke of 6 minutes past midnight, will be the debut of Just a Woman on my favorite talk radio station, KRLA 870. Several heavy hitters are on that station.

I've got a "It's a small world" story to tell...

Sometime toward the end of last year....might have been around November or the time of Katrina, I'm up in the Valley (Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks area in Greater Los Angeles) helping out my friend with her recreational gymnastics program, as I always do on Wednesdays. I hate it there. Prehistoric gymnastics equipment to drag out and put back away inside a senior center. I'm spoiled by my regular work at a real gymnastics facility/club, with a competitive program. Plus, it's closer to my regular romping grounds, whereas to get to the Valley through LA traffic is just plain out of my way. I hate it.

But Kerri's my friend, and so I help her out with her program. She's a hard worker, and devout Christian. She often talks of joining my Sunday morning adult gymnastics class, as she complains about how out of shape she is; but she won't sacrifice her time in church for her time in the gym.

Kerri is also a staunch conservative Republican. So occasionally, we engage in political opining, usually whining about the Democrats or laughing at their latest antics; and this in front of a liberal, government union-infested environment (I was so bent out of shape when I found out they were contributing union dues to Howard Dean's Presidential campaign).

So anyway, sometime toward the end of last year....maybe around November or the time of the Katrina (Kerri's from New Orleans, btw), I don't know what led into this, but Kerri mentioned how I need to meet her friend from church, who has her own blog. Bright and beautiful was how Kerri described her. Completely going on about this woman's intelligence and knowledge of politics. She said the two of us would totally hit it off on politics, and that I need to meet Lores. SHE SAID WHAT?!? Did I hear that right? We had been putting away equipment, and I stopped dead in my tracks. Now I don't know too many women by the name of "Lores" fact, Lores Rizkalla is my first "Lores" I know of. So I asked Kerri, "What's the name of her blog?". Kerri's memory stammered, but not for long as shortly after I asked the question, I stated it with confidence: "Just a Woman!" Kerri's eyes lit up, and she said, "Yes! That's it!". I told Kerri that I've been posting with her for a while now. Small world ain't it?

I missed my chance to see "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" with Kerri's family; and I think friends from her Church, including Lores, were seeing it. Kerri said she had a ticket for me and that Lores would be there. That was tempting, but I already had plans to see the movie( again) at another theater with some kids I was entertaining. I know Lores had already seen it as well, because I read her review on it.

I hope I do have another chance to meet her. I did get to meet her briefly end of last year, as she came by the gym to pick up one of our gymnasts (who also goes to their church). Since I was in the middle of teaching, I couldn't really break away from class; other than to say a brief hi and give her a hug like a person who I know is a friend, but whom I had never met. Weird, huh?

Good luck with your venture into radio, Lores! You are in good company with the special forces of talk radio: Ingraham, Prager, Medved, and of course the Jack Bauer of the blogosphere, Hugh Hewitt.

Work starts early in the mornings for me on Mondays, but I will tune in as often as I can because you are.....Just a Woman.

12am-2am, every Monday morning. (You can listen to it streamed from the KRLA website).

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Anyone else having problems today?

I don't know what the devil happened to blogspot today. I posted my Cindy Sheehan video early-early this morning. Then the post disappeared from my dashboard, and I could not edit although I could still see the post on the page.

Then I come home tonight, and It would appear, as far as I can tell, that I'm probably not alone.

Anyway, I hope this doesn't appear 3 times on my frontpage, because I have no way of editing out the other two "ghost" posts I made.

Well, I just realized that Youtube also seems to have problems. All of their videos are doing the stop and go viewing. So I decided to take my previous post down, and post the video later.

I'm posting in scarlet red, by the way. Can you tell?


Friday, February 03, 2006

CNN= Coward News Network

Haha....Michael Medved mentioned about this (i.e., CNN blurring the face of Mohammed in televising one of the cartoons), so I poked around for a video clip. Found this in the meantime:

"I was watching CNN tonight and they ran a story and the cartoon that the Joint Chiefs of Staff objected too because is showed a quadruple amputee and Rumsfeld stating that he was listing the man as a battle hardened case. During the same program CNN showed one of the cartoons of Muhammad (peace be upon him) BUT they blurred Muhammad’s face. After a friend sent me a link to the original cartoons in question my opinion is that CNN et al are acting like a bunch of scared B****** (and yes I understand that the B word will offend some and I yes I illustrated the B word in the politically correct method to make a not so subtle point)."

So how is it that because a Danish newspaper originally published 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, subsequently republished by Norwegians and now others, that the whole of Denmark and these European nations are now held to account? What does banning Legos (a Danish product) have anything to do with cartoon depictions of Mohammed?

I understand the desire for sensitivity and understanding; but CNN bending over backwards (actually, more like turning around and just bending over) to appease indignant Muslims where political correctness is undeserved, is just frustrating. It's letting yourself get walked all over, when the proper response should be to hold your ground and stay true to the principles of freedom by which our society lives. Why be bullied because a segment of the world population can't distinguish between slander and honest criticism, where criticism is earned?

The cartoons themselves might be in poor taste. But like the cartoon recently published in the Washington Post depicting a military quadrapalegic amputee, a reasonable negative response to it is to criticize the cartoonist first; perhaps expand the criticism to the newspaper editor; perhaps the entire newspaper itself; ; write letters expressing your displeasure; and cancelling your subscription, at the more extreme end of it. But beyond that, what is reasonable? Death threats, and expanding culpability to include condemning the entire United States for something published by the Washington Post would be going to unreasonable extremes, wouldn't it?

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Pots and Pans Protestors to engage in Noise Pollution this Saturday

Well, ain't this just peachy:

It's better than going to the zoo, I'm sure.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

What would Jesus and Mohammed think?

Flopping Aces sums it all up nicely, with all the relevant cartoons, as well.

I'm lazy, with very little to post, so I'll just reprint the comment I left there:

Notice that here in a free society, when we see something questionable in taste and which is offensive to us (*cough*WashingtonPostcartoon*cough*), what happens? We send a letter expressing our displeasure; and the source in question of the offense has the good sense to post it for all to see, and debate a response back. No threat of violence. No homicide bombers. No one kidnapped and cartoonist dismembered. No calls for Jihad.

The sooner radical Islam vacates the 12th century and joins the rest of the civilized world right here in the 21st century, the sooner there will be world peace and tolerance.
What is also disappointing, is rather than just boycotting the newspapers in question, they condemn the whole entire country (ies) for accountability.

Many of the Muslim countries have an anger management problem; and it is for this reason that nuclear weapons have to be kept out of the hands of a country like Iran.

Democrat Party Family Album

The Right Place has done a superb job compiling the best of today's best in what was once a great political party.

Hat tip: Ex-Donkey Blog.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union Address

Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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