November 30, 2006

Frequent DE Liberal and First State Politics radio guest agrees with Colossus

Muqtedar Khan, a UD professor and oft-heard guest on the Dace Blaskovitz show (WILM 1450-AM radio and which, as it just so happens, features Jason and Dave of DE Liberal and First State Politics respectively on Wednesdays) has an op-ed in today's News Journal which largely echoes Felix's sentiments from these posts circa one month ago.

Posted by Hube at 06:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stephen Hawking: FTL propulsion possible

The biggest brain since Einstein talks (my emphasis):

Humans must colonize planets in other solar systems traveling there using "Star Trek"-style propulsion or face extinction, renowned British cosmologist Stephen Hawking said on Thursday.

Referring to complex theories and the speed of light, Hawking, the wheel-chair bound Cambridge University physicist, told BBC radio that theoretical advances could revolutionize the velocity of space travel and make such colonies possible.

"Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out," said Professor Hawking, who was crippled by a muscle disease at the age of 21 and who speaks through a computerized voice synthesizer.

Hawking, a 64-year-old father of three who rarely gives interviews and who wrote the best-selling A Brief History of Time, suggested propulsion like that used by the fictional starship Enterprise "to boldly go where no man has gone before" could help solve the problem.

"Science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination," he said.

"Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light."

Warp drive? Far-fetched? Maybe not. But it's sure gonna take a lot more advances in physics, not to mention energy. But why not? Are we so arrogant to believe that the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit -- based on what we know now? Isaac Newton probably said the same thing about physics back in his day.

Another interesting tidbit about FTL (faster than light) travel is here. It actually uses the term "hyperspace" which many scifi creators have utilized, most famously perhaps in "Star Wars." (Although, in actuality, "Star Wars" -- at least the original movie -- used both "hyperspace" and "light speed" probably -- and erroneously -- synonymously. "Light speed" is just that -- the speed of light, or 186,000 miles per second. "Hyperspace" is a region "beyond" normal space where superluminal velocity is possible. Han Solo also made a big faux pas when he boasted that the Millenium Falcon could "make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs." A parsec, like a light-year, is a measure of distance, not velocity. Nice try, though, Han! How's THAT for geek points, everybody?)

Many of my fave scifi writers never really delved into the nitty gritty of FTL travel in their books. It was basically "assumed" that FTL travel was taken for granted. Isaac Asimov in his "Foundation" trilogy (and subsequent sequels) used "hyperspace" in the oft-copied vernacular the "Jump." The current "Battlestar Galactica" uses the same term, for instance. Larry Niven, in his "Known Space" stories uses "hyperspace," but throws us a twist: Humans didn't invent it. We purchased the plans for the "hyperdrive" from an alien race. And it's a good thing, too -- it allowed us to beat back an aggressive race that was on the verge of annihilating us. Robert Heinlein in Starship Troopers used the nebulous "Cherenkov Drive," named for Cherenkov radiation which is emitted when a "charged particle passes through an insulator at a speed greater than the speed of light in that medium." Joe Haldeman in The Forever War used small "collapsars," or small black holes, which acted as a sort of "stargate" or "wormhole" for FTL travel. (But in Haldeman's story, relativistic effects associated with black holes' time dilation caused thousands of years to pass in "objective time" so that when soldiers returned from a mission, Earth had aged considerably.)

Ah, what a concept. It's unlikely we'll see any concrete results in FTL propulsion in our lifetimes. But I can hope. I surely pray I'll still be kicking for -- at least -- some solid scientific advances in FTL research. It could be the dawning of the human Golden Age.

Posted by Hube at 06:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Albert Pujols: Poor Sport

The St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols is upset that Philadelphia Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard won the National League Most Valuable Player honor this year:

The St. Louis Cardinals' slugger is upset he lost out to Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the National League MVP award, saying Wednesday the honor should go to someone on a playoff team.

"I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP," Pujols said in Spanish at a news conference organized by the Dominican Republic's sports ministry.

Too bad, Al. Others see it quite differently. For instance, the Phils won two more regular season games than St. Louis, and since MVP voting takes place before the playoffs, this probably makes a difference. And consider: The Phillies had a virtual fire sale months before the playoffs began -- getting rid of Bobby Abreu, David Bell and Corey Lidle to name a few -- yet thanks to Howard, the Phils remained in the playoff race right to the end.

That being said, what the hell happened to sportsmanship? What happened to saying "I congratulate Ryan for his great season and winning the MVP"?? Oh, right, I forgot -- this is 2006! Sportsmanship has taken a back seat to the "Me-First" attitude in pro sports.

Posted by Hube at 04:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

Chutzpah thy name is Al Gore

Check out this bit from an interview with the former veep in GQ regarding George Bush and 9/11 (emphasis mine):

And it’s almost too easy to say, “I would have heeded the warnings.” In fact, I think I would have, I know I would have. We had several instances when the CIA’s alarm bells went off, and what we did when that happened was, we had emergency meetings and called everybody together and made sure that all systems were go and every agency was hitting on all cylinders, and we made them bring more information, and go into the second and third and fourth level of detail. And made suggestions on how we could respond in a more coordinated, more effective way. It is inconceivable to me that Bush would read a warning as stark and as clear [voice angry now] as the one he received on August 6th of 2001, and, according to some of the new histories, he turned to the briefer and said, “Well, you’ve covered your ass.” And never called a follow up meeting. Never made an inquiry. Never asked a single question. To this day, I don’t understand it. And, I think it’s fair to say that he personally does in fact bear a measure of blame for not doing his job at a time when we really needed him to do his job. And now the Woodward book has this episode that has been confirmed by the record that George Tenet, who was much abused by this administration, went over to the White House for the purpose of calling an emergency meeting and warning as clearly as possible about the extremely dangerous situation with Osama bin Laden, and was brushed off!

Yeah Al, your administration did such a bang-up job on terrorism in the eight years you and Bill Clinton were in office, most notably botching opportunities to nab that mastermind ... what's his name? Oh, right -- Osama bin Laden. Eight years as opposed to eight months, and that "stark warning" you cite was actually quite general if you'll recall. But that's the problem -- Gore doesn't recall. Bush is an easy target now that Iraq's a mess, the House and Senate were lost, and Gore thinks this is a great opportunity to not only pin all the blame on GW for 9/11 but to whitewash his own adminstration's rather pathetic report card when it came to fighting terrorism.

Yes, get ready for that 2008 run, Al. But funny things happen when the campaign gets heated: Facts come out.

Posted by Hube at 05:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Want to help the homeless? Just don't take them any food (my emphasis):

Under a tough new Fairfax County policy, residents can no longer donate food prepared in their homes or a church kitchen -- be it a tuna casserole, sandwiches or even a batch of cookies -- unless the kitchen is approved by the county, health officials said yesterday.

They said the crackdown on home-cooked meals is aimed at preventing food poisoning among homeless people.

Oh, I get it. On the minute chance they'll get food poisoning as opposed to say, oh ... going hungry?? The following quotes probably say it all, at least in terms of the bureaucrat's moronic mind:

"We're very aware that a number of homeless people eat out of dumpsters, and mom's pot roast has got to be healthier than that," said Jim Brigl, chief executive of Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services. "But that doesn't meet the code."

"We're dealing with a medically fragile population . . . so they're more susceptible to food-borne illnesses than the general population," said Tom Crow, the county Health Department's director of environmental health. "We're trying to protect those people."

It's the 'ol "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Sort of like when the ACLU "defended" the rights of the homeless by informing them that they didn't have to go to a government shelter in freezing weather.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg from The Corner (from where we first saw this article, BTW) gets an e-mail from a reader:

I propose that a special program be developed to ensure that food left in dumpsters meets appropriate standards of sanitation and nurtrition. All food prepared for disposal in dumpsters should be tested for E. coli and other dangers. It should also be screened to ensure that no more than 30 percent of the food in dumpsters is fat, that there is 0 percent trans fat, and that the contents of the dumpster are low in sodium. Each store and restaurant should have at least two dumpsters, one clearly labeled as "vegan" and the other "non-vegan."
Posted by Hube at 03:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 28, 2006

Who's with me?

Who else has had just about enough of those colon-cleanser infomercials???

Posted by Hube at 08:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Have you heard this? Of course not!

Another reason "conservative-leaning" news outlets are good for society: Where have you read the following about the [Muslim] imams who were asked to leave a US Airways flight last week? Certainly not here, that's for sure, just to name one.

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted "Allah" when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks -- two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

"That would alarm me," said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. "They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane."

But, of course, they shouldn't have been treated as they were. After all, "profiling" is unjust! Immoral! Remember -- we'll all still feel good about not profiling ... about our "moral superiority" ... even though sooner or later a plane (or planes) will be brought down by [most likely] radical Muslim terrorists. After all, what's a few hundred deceased compared to not making a few people feel uncomfortable, right?

(h/t: The Corner.)

UPDATE (Dec. 2 at 8:40am): Richard Miniter has MUCH more on this. It's far more than just a case of "racial profiling," folks.

Posted by Felix at 06:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 27, 2006

Liberal Media "[He's] Not a Liberal" Chuckler of the Day

The LA Times portrayal of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann:

The longtime sportscaster, who doesn't vote and eschews any political identity — "I may be a Whig, possibly a Free-Soiler," he quipped — has nevertheless become an unexpected folk hero for the frustrated left.

Olbermann said he never set out to court disaffected liberals.

"Anyone who watches what Keith did on election night can't possibly suggest that he was cheerleading for the Democrats," [Dan] Abrams said.

"I'm not trying to whip up a political frenzy," he said. "If I was out there every night beating people over the head with this, I would become a Rush Limbaugh. That's not my goal. I don't make the facts up to fit the political viewpoint that happens to parallel what it is I'm trying to express."

Of course, the man who doesn't "eschew any political identity," isn't "trying to whip up a political frenzy" and doesn't "beat people over the head" spent myriad episodes after the 2004 election pushing the notion that the Ohio vote was illegitimate because of the "devious" Diebold electronic voting machines "giving" the vote to George Bush. And the guy who wasn't "cheerleading for the Democrats" recently gave former President Clinton the biggest softball interview possibly of all time and apologized for a rival network (guess which one) that asked him the tough -- and appropriate -- question "What do you say to those who ask why you didn't do more to get [Osama] bin Laden?"

Posted by Felix at 09:50 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week II

Grace Donovan of Middletown writes that she found the recent News Journal article about gay teens "coming out" was ... "disturbing":

Why treat wrong personal choices made by youth as morally acceptable? This trend should not be portrayed as a lifestyle to be emulated.

On the contrary, a point should be made that an homosexual lifestyle is a distortion of human relationships as it negates the fundamental family principle of union between a man and a woman in marriage for procreation.

If we accept morally objectionable life styles, we promote the destruction of the family, the fundamental unit of society.

Even though there is not yet definitive scientific proof that homosexuality is an inherent trait, the question could be asked "Why exactly would someone choose to be gay in a society that still by and large finds it objectionable?" Why would these teens "choose" homosexuality knowing it would lead to, at a minimum, verbal abuse ... and possibly worse?

If Ms. Donovan wants to make a case about preserving the term "marriage" for heterosexuals, fine. There's a case to be made for that; however, as has been debated on various [local] blogs recently, I find the "equal protection" argument compelling -- meaning, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause could apply to gay unions. That's civil unions, folks, not "marriage." As long as civil unions come with the same [governmental] benefits as traditional marriage, I see little to complain about from either side of the issue. Traditionalists preserve the term "marriage," while gays get all the benefits associated with being a couple.

I recall one complaint from the pro-gay "marriage" side who claimed that not allowing the term "marriage" to be used for gays would be akin to "separate but equal." I am unpersuaded. Separate but equal doctrine held that the races must be physically separate in certain accommodations, such as education, water fountains, buses. What is "separate" about "marriage" vs. civil unions? Nothing but a vocabulary word. So, if it's just a vocabulary term, what's the big deal? Well, exactly! Allow the traditionalists to keep the term which has been utilized to describe the union between a man and a woman for millenia.

Posted by Hube at 04:37 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 26, 2006

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Henry Crick of Bear writes today:

Let's reinstate the draft. The question is: Was it done fairly in the 1960s and '70s? It seems to me that if your parents had money or power, you were pretty much immune.

Let's do it this way: Anyone with children between the ages of 18 and 32, and who holds or held an elected or appointed office in state or federal government, should go first. Then draft the rich, the upper-middle class and so on. Allow no loopholes like college.

Oh, I see -- let's replace one unfair system with another!

There's no reason for a draft. If you believe in freedom, then why favor a form of indentured servitude? The all-volunteer force works just fine, and it "represents America" much better than most people think. If you really want to thwart "unnecessary [military] adventures" (one of the reasons Rep. Chuck Rangel wants to bring back the draft) how about this: Do away with the standing army altogether (the Founders abhored the concept, after all), or mandate what is so plain in the Constitution anyway -- that Congress declare war, not merely give its "authorization."

Posted by Hube at 09:15 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Meeting of the minds

I'm due to meet the superb [legal] intellect known as Xrlq today as he travels back south from somewhere in New England. I've always admired his posts ... writing ability and snark -- and you should, too! So check him out.

Posted by Hube at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

Question: Why does a 9/11 conspiracy "professor" bother with me?

"Professor" Craig T. Furlong first sends this e-mail to an old e-mail address of mine, but then he subsequently feels the need to make a "point" regarding my post about it. Don't believe what he and his pals have to say? You have to debunk it. The problem with this arrogance is, there are myriad websites out there that do just that, most notably the Popular Mechanics [thorough] investigation of most of these nutjobs' claims. Here -- there are plenty more. And you know you have some issues when the far-left AlterNet tells you you're a loon.


Posted by Hube at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 24, 2006

New Iron Man animated movie

DVD due out next January! Check out the trailer here!

Posted by Hube at 06:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Stereotype


What stereotype do you belong to?
Your Result: No stereotype

not preppy yet not a complete loser. has good friends and doesn't revolve life around their looks or social status. All around good person. usually liked by everyone

Jock
geek/nerd
Preppy
Loner
Punk
Emo
Gamer
Whatstereotype do you belong to?

Posted by Hube at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Another view of "Battlestar Galactica"

In a post titled "Battlestar Israel: Palestinians and Cylons," Soccer Dad and Daled Amos take a slightly different tack at looking at the hit SciFi Channel show "Battlestar Galactica":

For [National Review's Jonah] Goldberg this attitude is comparable to the "Why do they hate us?" approach of many in the US, who are ready if not downright eager to blame the US for the actions of the terrorists. In the same way, many place the responsibility for the murders committed by the Palestinian terrorists squarely on the shoulders of the Israelis themselves.

Palestinian-as-victim has now been adopted and expanded to the point that now the Muslim world is the victim of Western oppression:

1. Israel and the US are portrayed as oppressors of Islam and of the Muslim world at large.

As many as 10 million Muslims have been killed in the past few decades—by other Muslims. The Muslim world, however, would have us all believe that the real threat and oppressor in the region is Israel, though during all the wars starting from 1948 only 60,000 have been killed by comparison.

Similarly, the Muslim world has had to deal with the imperialist expansionism of France, Great Britain, and Russia who exercised both influence and control in the region—yet it is the US who is portrayed as the Great Satan.

2. Islamist terrorism against both Israel and the West is being justified.

The polls out there are showing that Muslims really believe the claim that Islam is under attack and support the terrorist attacks, both in Israel and in Great Britain. Islamist terrorists are murdering people by the thousands each year, yet Muslims claim that they are the ones being victimized. Israel is both condemned for being the cause of the terrorism and for over-reacting when she responds to the attaks.

3. Both Israel and the West accept the guilt trip and concede accordingly.

From England in particular we hear about legislation to protect Muslims from attack—at the same time that free speech is curtailed in the process. Piglet is banned and police must show special sensitivity when arresting Muslims—as if Muslims as a group were a specially religious group. The US is not far behind. Rep. John Conyers wants to pass legislation banning religious hate crimes, while marking Muslims in particular for such treatment. Meanwhile, CAIR provides numbers for the alleged rise in anti-Muslim attacks: numbers that have been document as sloppy and exaggerated.

Meanwhile, in [Israel] Olmert defends the Disengagement and at every opportunity talks openly of his willingness to make broad concessions to the ‘moderate’ Abbas whose men still go around killing Israeli civilians.

Daily we see the results of the manufactured claims of oppression by the Muslim world.

This week, Mme. Arbour, the former Supreme Court of Canada justice visited the bombed-out house of a family in Beit Hanoun, where she declared that local Arab civilians suffer from "catastrophic human-rights violations." Yet, after witnessing two Kassam missile attacks on Sderot, she refused to condemn the Arab attacks on Israeli civilians, and refused to meet with the families of the three kidnapped IDF soldiers.

I'm quite persuaded by this analysis (if you couldn't tell by my own "Galactica" posts). The last few episodes in particular have seemed to place the blame on humanity for the Cylon genocidal attack (which, incidentally, virtually extinguished humanity). As noted in my most recent BSG post though, it might be a good idea to wait to read the "canon" background of the Human-Cylon wars due to come out in March 2007 (in comicbook form).

Likewise (amazingly), the "conventional wisdom" is growing more and more to blame Israel for the ills in the middle east, despite the incredibly obvious history. After all, it is a country that was formed (from a former colony) by international agreement that is then quickly met with [genocidal] attacks by its surrounding neighbors. Unlike the 12 Colonies in BSG, however, Israel succeeded in repelling its potential killers -- and did it again in three major conflicts (and myriad smaller ones).

Is Israel perfect? Of course not. No one is. But it is fatuous to say Israel is the obstacle to mid-east peace for, say (among many things according to leftist extremists), maintaining settlements in the West Bank as it is to blame Adama's black ops mission across the Human-Cylon armistice line for the massive Cylon humanity-ending attack. Israel's maintenance of the West Bank (and formerly Gaza) were (are) due to incredibly obvious security concerns, just like Adama's secret mission.

Posted by Hube at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2006

"Whites only" scholarship

In an act of "point-making" similar to those "affirmative action bake sales," the Boston University College Republicans are promoting a "'Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship' that requires applicants be at least 25 percent Caucasian."

"Did we do this to give a scholarship to white kids? Of course not," the scholarship reads. "Did we do it to trigger a discussion on what we believe to be the morally wrong practice of basing decisions in our schools and our jobs on racial preferences rather than merit? Absolutely."

The scholarship, which is privately funded by the BUCR without the support of the university, is meant to raise awareness, group members say. BUCR member argue that racial preferences are a form of "bigotry." The group has a similar view on affirmative action.

The application for the $250 scholarship, due Nov. 30, requires applicants be full-time BU undergraduate students and one-fourth Caucasian and maintain at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA. Applicants must submit two essays, one describing the applicant's ancestry and one describing "what it means to you to be a Caucasian-American today."

Now now now, people! You know who you're gonna piss off, right??

La Fuerza Co-Chair Sara-Marie Pons, who is also on the Admissions Student Diversity Board, said although she agrees with BUCR's claim that racial preference is "contradictory to our American ideals of freedom and equality," she feels American history justifies today's affirmative action." Our country oppressed people of color for centuries while everyone else who was 'preferred' continued to succeed and lead our country in all aspects," the School of Management senior said in an email. "The goal of a university in striving to admit more students of color is a positive movement to increase the diversity of its institution."

There you have it in a nutshell. Even though Ms. Pons believes racial preference is "contradictory to our American ideals of freedom and equality" (not to mentioned actually codified in the 14th Amendment and subsequent civil rights acts), "oppression" still makes its "OK." (What would you expect from one who co-chairs a group called "The Force" -- as in "against oppression"? Thanks, Hube.) Oh, and don't dare bring up the silly notion that Asians are also people of color, and that they are disproportionately affected by racial preference even more than whites in many respects. Y'see, since Asians as a group tend to be quite successful, they are not "officially" people of color nor are included when it comes to ever-malleable notion of "diversity."

Pons said the university's diversity creates a "better learning environment" and "dynamic discussion." She said she believes minority-specific scholarships serve an important function.

Oh yeah! As I said -- those ever-malleable (and totally unscientific) "benefits" of diversity.

But hey, look -- Boston U. is a private university and as such should be able to do just what the hell it wants regarding "diversity." Which makes the College Repubs' idea to point out the college's educational/moral/cultural hypocrisies all the more pertinent.

SEMI-RELATED STORY: John Hopkins University "has endorsed that the institution achieve 50 percent representation of women in senior faculty and leadership positions by 2020." Ah, yes -- the ever-popular bean-counting. I wonder if JHU will do a similar study, and then endorse, the proposition of 50% representation of males in public schooling across the country, especially elementary ed. where men are a distinct minority.

Nahhh ....

Posted by Felix at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh brother

This arrived this morning in one of my old e-mail boxes via author Mr. Furlong himself (emphasis mine):

“Seismic Proof – 9/11 Was An Inside Job (Updated Version II)”

By Craig T. Furlong & Gordon Ross, Scholars for 9/11 Truth: http://www.st911.org

The official times for plane "impact" [precise to the second] as declared by the US Government, from both the 9/11 Commission and from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), are different and yet both are true and accurate times. What can this factual contradiction mean? Looking exclusively at WTC1, there is found an indisputable causal link:

One World Trade, September 11, 2001
American Airlines Flight 11 “impact” time:
8:46:30 UTC, per LDEO seismic data (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2005)

8:46:40 UTC, per FAA last primary radar contact (9/11 Commission Final Report, 2004)

Q- What caused the 8:46:30 seismic event that occurred 10 seconds before the actual air crash at 8:46:40?
A- The only possibility is huge explosions, as corroborated by many eyewitnesses at the time.
Q- Who caused these explosions before the plane hit?

Notes:
In 2004, the 9/11 Commission avoided addressing the earlier seismic time (which had been attributed in error by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, originally in 2001 as plane “impact”).
In 2005, NIST avoided addressing the 9/11 Commission’s later time for the aircraft’s actual impact.

Both the 9/11 Commission and NIST avoided addressing the many witnesses who testified of explosions in the sub-basements before the plane crashed.

Summary:

This precision data has yet to be refuted. It is from the two highest governmental entities charged with looking into what happened on 9/11. Both declared these times as accurate, and in doing so corroborate William Rodriguez and the many eyewitnesses the morning of 9/11 who testified of explosions in the sub-basements of WTC1 before American Airlines Flight 11 struck the building. This is indicting evidence of governmental coverup, and thus implication of complicity.

Before it is too late, demand a new, truly independent 9/11 investigation, this time a real one.

Justice waits...{and there is no statute of time limitation on murder}

Is it me or just how do perceived "explosions in sub-basements" jibe with what actually happened? Since the towers fell in "pancake" fashion from the top down, how would sub-basement explosions act as a catalyst for this?

OK, I know I know ... these ersatz "professors" and professional screw-loosers obviously have some "explanation." It's probably something along the lines of a rogue black-ops faction of the CIA that planted the sub-basement explosives and these were somehow "hard-wired" into explosives throughout the towers which actually were responsible for the towers' destruction. Or some complete excrement like that.

Idiot Furlong wins this once per year's "Turkey of the Day" award. Congrats.

Posted by Hube at 08:45 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 21, 2006

The "dual-presidency" of Mexico

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ought to take advice from an American [sore] loser -- Al Gore. Even Gore eventually threw in the towel after the 2000 election when it became inevitable he would lose the race. Not so Lopez Obrador:

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador swore himself in as Mexico's "legitimate" president Monday, launching a parallel government he hopes will prevent President-elect Felipe Calderon from governing. The ceremony is the latest chapter in Lopez Obrador's unsuccessful battle for the presidency. He claims fraud and dirty campaign tactics were responsible for Calderon's narrow victory in the July 2 vote, and his parallel government could spend the next six years calling for street protests that have already dented the economy and prompted travel warnings from the U.S. Embassy.

"I pledge ... to serve loyally and patriotically as legitimate president of Mexico," Lopez Obrador said. "I pledge to protect the rights of Mexicans and to defend Mexico's sovereignty and patrimony, and ensure the happiness and welfare of the people."

Speaking before about 100,000 supporters, he vowed to draw up a new constitution to oppose the building of U.S. border fences and limit the power of big corporations, the media and the "neo-fascist oligarchy" he claimed had taken over the government.

Based in Mexico City, Lopez Obrador's parallel government has its own Cabinet, but it will not collect taxes or make laws and will rely on donations to carry out its plans.

What a laugh. He's gonna draw up a new constitution -- a legal document -- yet he is the embodiment of illegality based on his very actions!

Hey Manny -- if you won't follow Gore's advice, at least take that of fellow Latin American leftist Daniel Ortega. He bowed out gracefully when he was voted out of power in Nicaragua in 1990, and look what happened to him now -- he's back in office! Give it a rest, dude. Try again in a few years. You're just tearing your country apart, and that's the last thing it needs now.

Posted by Hube at 04:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

Not Quite "100% Pro Life"

OK, it's been quite a while since I've been moved to write anything of substance, and wouldn't you know it, after months of inaction I spring forth with something about Christine O'Donnell that isn't about her being "sassy" or "The Hotness."

Christine O'Donnell's centerpiece issue was "life," which I'm assuming isn't a secret, and in an interview with WDEL she boldly states, "If you can't take a strong stand on life, you can't take a strong stand on anything."

In another example of O'Donnell's feelings about life, she debated with pro-choice GOP women in early 2006 about abortion in the case of rape and she said this:

"If pro-abortion women are going to leave the Republican Party on this then, good-bye because the Republican Party was founded on the pro-life issue."

Obviously I would disagree about giving these women the big "good-bye" because I believe the GOP is a big tent with the ability compromise on this issue. But apparently O'Donnell doesn't buy into that "big tent" idea. Keep that in mind while we continue.

On her website, under the topic of stem cell research, O'Donnell states:

"Destroying the youngest humans in the name of helping older humans goes against who we are as a nation."

You may want to keep that in mind, too.

Then, during an election day interview on WGMD's Randy Nelson Show, O'Donnell's stance on life, and specifically abortion, evolved like Kevin Costner in Waterworld when she was finally asked some specific, probing questions.

She talks about how she couldn't get behind any politician/leader that wasn't "100% pro life" when refuting a caller who said that she had the same platform as Mike Protack on abortion. When Coastal Conservative, Judson Bennett, asks O'Donnell if there is ever a legitimate case for an abortion, O'Donnell says, "You either ascribe to the belief that God is the author of life...or you don't."

Bennett and Randy Nelson continue the questioning and she's given a scenario where if a woman has a baby, she'll die, and O'Donnell's response is, "In a situation where the mother's life...were legitimately in jeopardy...then it's choosing one life over the other," and she goes on to say, "I don't know of any situations where that really does happen." But earlier she called exceptions like that "less than a half percent."

After some more discussion, O'Donnell admits that in a life threatening situation for the mother abortion is, "...between you, your family, and your God." And that is not being "100% pro life." Now, I was listening to this unfold on the afternoon of the election, and when the interview was over, I didn't know whether to be happy that someone like O'Donnell would realize that there are times the government has no business meddling in someone's pregnancy, or if I should be pissed that the first time someone got O'Donnell to talk about her real beliefs on abortion was over eight hours after the polls opened on election day and months after she presented herself as clearly more pro life than Mike Protack and Jan Ting. But really, was she?

And frankly, I'm pissed at myself. When I heard that interview, I wanted to get home to write exactly this piece. Instead, I put off writing it because it's hard for me to go after someone in my own party who has good values and good intentions. But then, it's not like O'Donnell went easy on Ting or Protack during the election, and they have good values and intentions, too.

I also want to point out that towards the end of that WGMD interview, she was saying something about "Abraham Lincoln, when he started the Republican Party..." and I feel the need to point out that Lincoln did not start the Republican Party. He wasn't even the first Republican to run for President, that was John Fremont in 1856. And in the News Journal article from November 12th, five days after the election, she states, "I'm a Lincoln Republican," but I'm pretty sure Lincoln would have been less than thrilled if William Seward had lost the 1860 GOP Presidential primary and kept running for the office anyway as a write-in candidate. I wonder what a Seward write-in candidacy would have done to the anti-slavery cause?

But hey, Ben Affleck said she was "sassy," did we really need to know more than that about her before we went out to vote?

Posted by at 09:39 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

The "Diversity Juggernaut"

Can someone explain why Washington State University has a Chief Diversity Officer with a full-time staff of 55 and a three million dollar budget?? Especially since there is NO real scientific basis for "diversity" being some sort of educational benefit? The University of Michigan in the [in]famous Grutter and Gratz cases was supposed to have displayed some evidence of these benefits. However, they engaged in pure charlantry. Consider -- the educational "benefits" of diversity which allowed colleges to use race as "one" factor in college admissions were:

1) breaking down racial stereotypes, 2) promoting cross-cultural understanding, 3) preparing students for a global marketplace, and 4) promoting spirited classroom discussions.

Imagine that young adults need a Chief Diversity Officer with a full-time staff of 55 to "prepare" students to "accept" these exceptional "benefits." Hah. It's pure excrement, folks. As Peter Kirsanow writes (my emphasis),

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently held a hearing to consider whether, as the [Seattle School] District (which is engaged in its own Supreme Court case using "diversity" as its racial bean-counting rationale) contends, racially diverse K-12 schools do, in fact, promote critical-thinking skills and whether students in racially isolated schools have lower test scores and achievement levels. Most of the testimony at the hearing showed that the evidence in support of the District's contentions is scant, and, to the extent it does exist, highly dubious.

The problem is that the purported benefits cited by supporters of affirmative action elude precise measurement. Students aren't tested or graded on things such as "breaking down racial stereotypes". The alleged benefits are so nebulous that even obtaining consensus on the appropriate metrics is difficult. Whether students are "better prepared for a global marketplace" as a result of attending a racially diverse school is a proposition difficult to prove or disprove.

Ah yes, but what it does do is make the racial bean counters feel good about themselves! All 55 of those full-time Diversity Dept. employees are out there making people "better" students and citizens! Or, as John Derbyshire puts it,

Here is a free and open society whose intellectual elites are in the grip of a bogus ideology founded on nothing but sentimentality and the desire to assert one's own moral superiority, and that is contradicted by everything we actually know about human nature.

Kirsanow goes on to note that the above mentioned US Comission on Civil Rights hearing asked diversity proponents if "there are any studies showing that racial/ethnic diversity improves student performance, as demonstrated by grades or standardized test scores, in any of the following subjects":

· Arithmetic · Reading · Spelling · Writing · Phonics · English · Penmanship · Algebra · Geometry · Trigonometry · Calculus · Biology · Physics · Anatomy · Geology · Economics · Geography · Speech · History · Archaeology · Anthropology · Religion · Health · Physical education · Home economics · Shop

The results?

The witnesses at the hearing, each an expert in the area and familiar with the extant literature on the subject, could cite only one study that suggests that racially diverse schools improved student performance as defined above. And that improvement pertains to just one of the 26 subjects listed above — spelling. But even that study is disputed.

Truly amazing, isn't it? "Diversity" is a term currently used more by colleges than any other institution, and for what? Some nebulous philosophy that supposedly makes people feel good, cuddly and warm -- so much so that the US Supreme Court gave it "compelling state interest" status in Gratz and Grutter. Well, it isn't the first time. The Supreme Court fell for dubious science, too, when it OK'd numerous forced busing plans in the 1970s. But it sure made the social engineers feel just groovy, didn't it?

Posted by Felix at 07:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Rockin' Ryan = MVP!!!

Here's to 'ya, man!

Full story.

Posted by Hube at 07:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Talk radio usually doesn't translate well into TV ...

... but Fox News is gonna attempt it: Fox News Plans Right-Leaning Satirical News Show.

Fox News Channel might air two episodes of a "Daily Show"-like program with a decidedly nonliberal bent on Saturday nights in late January, with the possibility that it could become a weekly show for the channel.

The half-hour show is executive produced by "24's" Joel Surnow and Manny Cota and creator Ned Rice, who previously wrote for "Politically Incorrect" and "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" through This Just In Prods. It would take aim at what Surnow calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows.

I guess I was one of the few who actually liked Dennis Miller's short-lived CNBC show, and if Miller couldn't pull something like this off, I'm skeptical. Limbaugh's foray into TV failed, too. But who knows ...

Posted by Hube at 07:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Free speech

I was downstairs doing laundry when I clicked over to CNN Headline News. They were covering a news conference from the Laugh Factory where comedian Michael Richards -- best known as "Kramer" from "Seinfeld" -- went off on a couple [black] hecklers during his stand-up act a few nights ago. Not only did he go off, he went off using the "N" word, and it wasn't part of his "act," either. You can read about the incident and watch the video of Richards' tirade here.

What intrigued me about the news conference was that numerous [black] questioners took comedian Paul Rodriguez to task for him saying that the club should not ban the "N" word from the club. Rodriguez stated that that would stifle comedians' free speech and creativity. One woman even got a bit angry at Rodriguez claiming he wouldn't be so even tempered if the epithet had been one directed at Hispanics. Rodriguez said he would indeed. Race and ethnicity are hallmarks of stand-up comedy. But, again, Richards' use of the epithet was not part of his comedy act. And that makes all the difference.

Consider: The Laugh Factory banned Richards from ever performing at the club again since his remarks were clearly not part of his act, were uttered in a vitriolic and hurtful way, and he didn't apologize the next day when asked to by the club. Not only do I think the club has every right to ban him, I agree with their decision. However, again -- banning the "N" word outright from use at the club? Why just the "N" word? I wonder what Dave Chappelle would think of that? Or Richard Pryor (may he RIP)? Eddie Murphy? Or any number of rap musicians? Should "honkie" be banned as well? "Cracker"? "Spic"? One man in the audience claimed that the "N" word has a "special" significance due to the history of slavery, and countered the claim that gangsta rappers are also to blame because record executives -- "many of whom are Jewish" -- encourage them to use such language. (Why did he have to throw in the "Jewish" part? is that engaging in stereotypes?)

What do you think?

Posted by Hube at 04:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

This week's winner is Christine Endres of Wilmington who writes:

Look what's happening to our country, a Marine who served two tours in Iraq is tortured (shot three times with a tazer) and then shot in the chest. And we citizens are not allowed copies of the police department use-of-force policy.

Did I miss something, aren't the police working for us? I think the movie "V for Vendetta" explains it all.

No, what invoking "V for Vendetta" explains is that you're an idiot, Christine. "V for Vendetta"-style justice is coming to a verdict about guilt or innocence before there's even been a thorough investigation and/or trial. The officers in question here have been afforded neither yet. How 'bout that new movie, "I for Irony"?

Posted by Hube at 03:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 19, 2006

Hypothetical "Bullet Points" of modern comics writers

J. Michael Straczynski, modern hotshot writer at Marvel Comics and author of the perplexingly left-wing Squadron Supreme and an oft-reviled run on The Amazing Spider-Man, is now taking a shot at rewriting the history of the entire Marvel Universe with "Bullet Points." The key is a single bullet -- when it's fired, who it hits, and the ensuing turn of events. The bullet in question kills the scientist who would develop Captain America's super-soldier serum, and the army guard assigned to him -- one Ben Parker, better known as a certain radioactive spider-bitten Peter Parker's uncle. This turn of events alters the entire Marvel Universe. (Original art from "Points" featured below.)

You can judge Straczynski's "Bullet Points" for yourself. (I won't be purchasing it at present; I may get the trade paperback when it inevitably comes out.) However, given the overly leftist tilt of Marvel Comics the last few years (as well as other cos., too), let's take a hypothetical gander at what Marvel's writers might really want to change in a "Bullet Points" story ...

During the beginning days of World War II, young Steve Rogers becomes enamored with the cause of Bolshevism, and ultimately stows away on a ship bound for the Soviet Union. Wanting to do anything for the Soviet cause, young Rogers signs up for a prototype "super comrade" program whereupon he is injected with a secret serum. Rogers thus becomes "The Scarlet Soviet," and fights against Hitler's Nazi hordes.

During the war, US weapons magnate Howard Stark is killed by "friendly fire" while inspecting some of his inventions in the field. His son, Anthony Edward, becomes an embittered young man at an early age, hating his country for what it did to his father. As a teen in college, Tony joins the Young Communist League, and is eventually brought before the Senate Un-American Activities Commission. He's put under house arrest for a year, and during that time he designs a battlesuit he hopes to sell to communist regimes. Once Stark is out from under his house arrest, he defects to the USSR and offers his "Crimson Dynamo" suit to Joe Stalin and co. Stark becomes a Politboro mouthpiece, actively denouncing capitalist imperialism across the globe, in particular the United States.

Aided by Stark's technological acumen, the USSR's five year plans prove to make the Leninist state the envy of the world -- the communist ideal where there is no want of anything. People "stupid" enough not to be content with what the state has provided them are directed to western Russia for mandatory "sensitivity" and "humanity" training. The New Man must not be denigrated, after all!

The United States, having barely won their war against Japan, has become a pariah among nations for using the atomic bomb against that country. Tony Stark leads this condemnation, surprisingly especially at his deceased father for daring to assist in the US's Manhattan Project. As a result, the US does not press for a UN Security Council Resolution against North Korea when they invade the South, and the US pulls out of Japan when China invades the Japanese islands.

By the early 1960s, American scientist Reed Richards is angered by the lack of support corporate America has donated to his space project. The US government simply does not have the money -- or interest -- in Richards' work. Richards becomes disillusioned, angrily criticizing the American "corporate culture of greed" where companies only care about the "bottom line," and nothing about their employees or the welfare of others. Richards becomes the darling of the American Left, and is nominated for the presidency by the Democrat Party in 1964. He wins handily, and begins the foundation of an American welfare state that will make the New Deal seem paltry in comparison. The new US space program -- NASA -- gets primed to launch Richards' new rocket with Richards and three colleagues aboard. When the rocket's radiation shielding proves insufficient, Richards blames the company that designed it, Pym Industries, and sets in motion the establishment of laws that nationalize all American private companies in order to "ensure quality and security." Richards and his three colleagues are transformed by the cosmic radiation a couple of days after their flight, gaining remarkable super powers. Richards dubs the "Fantastic Greens," and they set about using their newfound powers to enforce strict anti-global warming environmental laws in league with a federally-subsidized "green police."

Posted by Hube at 08:12 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Why Intellectuals Still Support Socialism

A must read.

Posted by Hube at 07:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 18, 2006

AP: Sept. 11 was when "a pair of planes 'crashed' into the World Trade Center's towers"

To put it in context, check out the full quote courtesy of Matt Rosenberg's outstanding Rosenblog:

I was reminded of that by an Associated Press story authored yesterday by Devlin Barrett and e-mailed to me by Rosenblog reader Erik Deutsch. It is about the nascent 2008 presidential bid of Republican Rudy Giuliani, a great favorite of mine, who was of course Mayor of New York when suicidal Islamic terrorists who hated the United States attacked on the same day NYC and the Pentagon, and were aiming for the White House as well. Here is the paragraph that caught Erik's attention.

Giuliani, who was in his final months as New York City mayor when a pair of planes crashed into the World Trade Center's towers, became a national hero. Within hours of the attack, the mayor was visiting the site, caked in dust and walking through the chaos — a moment replayed repeatedly on television.

As Matt says, "Language does matter: especially in regard to Sept. 11." After all, wasn't there just a little bit more associated with those "plane crashes" than just ... well, plane crashes? Like, for instance, they were hijacked by radical Muslim terrorists who killed the pilots and purposely directed the jets into the Twin Towers?

But hey -- maybe AP writer Barrett was just being careful. Maybe he didn't want CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, to try to get him fired for reminding everyone who was responsible for flying those planes into the WTC that September morning.

Posted by Felix at 03:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Battlestar Galactica 3-8

Last night's episode of "Battlestar Galactica" may be the most pivotal offering to date of the reimagined series. "Hero" features the return of "Bulldog" -- a black ops agent who Adama sent on a secret mission across the Human-Cylon armistice line three years before the genocidal Cylon attack on the 12 Colonies. In a scene seemingly direct from Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Defector," Bulldog's hijacked Cylon raider is pursued by two other raiders and is fired upon, but Starbuck learns later that the pursuing raiders let Bulldog escape. (She reviews the video of the incident much like Geordi and Data did with the escaping Romulan defector and realize that the pursuing Romulans allowed the defector to get away.) Adama cannot believe that Bulldog is alive. He greets him in the landing bay, and then we learn quite a bit of what is now BSG canon.

First, Adama has only been commander of the Galactica for a bit over three years! He was given the helm of the old ship as a way to "gracefully retire" after the botched black ops mission. He had been chief of the Battlestar Valkyrie. Second -- and this is key -- it's hinted that the Admiralty of the 12 Colonies wanted a war with the Cylons, hence Adama's secret mission. It's not entirely clear, but in a discussion with son Lee, Adama notes that the Admiralty was fearful that the Cylons were building up their war machine and that is the reason they sent Adama on that secret mission -- to test the Cylon defenses and to gather any info on what the robots may be up to. Yet again, the writers do their excellent job of "muddying the waters" by not making anything clear cut enough to establish anything! Once again, we can speculate on the motivations of the humans and the Cylons, but we still don't know just what happened to trigger the Man-Cylon war 40 years previous. But that's going to change in March 2007 -- Dynamite Entertainment is publishing two BSG comicbook series, one dedicated to the original series, and one covering the remake, and regarding the latter March will see "The Cylon Wars" which will detail just what happened between man and their creations. It notes that what will be published will be considered canonical backstory to the TV series.

Needless to say, there are many questions (without the upcoming comics backstory, that is). First, if Adama's botched black ops mission was supposed to have "set off" the Cylon attack (because the Cylons feared an upcoming human attack), how does that explain the annual absence of a Cylon representative at that armistice satellite? For forty years, only the human representative showed up -- save for the last meeting when the Cylons began their genocidal attack. Second, this fact alone would explain why the 12 Colonies' Admiralty would be deadly suspicious about Cylon intentions, hence their desire to gain information a la the Adama/Bulldog/Valkyrie mission three years before the massive Cylon attack. Third, are we to believe that the Cylons had infiltrated human society and organized their prodigious "attack to end all attacks" in a mere three years? That Adama's secret mission across the armistice line was the reason for them to wipe out humanity? C'mon. Remember, as we're reminded at the beginning of each and every episode of BSG: the Cylons "have a plan."

In addition, Bulldog's reaction to Adama having had him shot down during the secret mission is just plain stupid. Adama sent Bulldog across the armistice line in a stealth ship to gather information. When a couple of Cylon raiders appeared to investigate, and Bulldog's ship was crippled, Adama could not let the Cylons capture the ship as evidence of a treaty breach -- so he ordered the Valkyrie to destroy Bulldog's ship. However, Bulldog ejected before the missile hit, and he was captured by the Cylons. After his escape from the Cylon base ship, and upon hearing what Adama did, he proceeds to beat the living crap out of Adama. My reaction: HUH?? Thankfully, Tigh appears and screams some common sense at Bulldog (echoing my thoughts) -- that Bulldog knew what was expected, and that he was expected to sacrifice his life for the mission. That Bulldog reacted as he did either indicates that he is not nearly the soldier everyone thought he was, or a weakness among the BSG writing staff.

If what Adama stated in the episode is true -- that humans may have wanted a war to end the Cylon threat, I am reminded of the truly excellent "Animatrix" from 2003 -- the animated (duh!) backstory to the "Matrix" trilogy. It establishes a similar yarn to the Man-Cylon situation, but even here we see that humans allowed -- initially, at least -- their now self-aware robotic creations to live among them on earth. However, when it becomes clear that the robot "nation" is becoming way too economically powerful, humanity realizes they need to do something about the ever-increasing robot threat. Yep, they attempt to wipe out the robots. (They do it by "seeding the atmosphere" so that a perpetual cloud cover will negate the solar energy the robots need to power themselves; but, hey -- like, won't a perpetual cloud cover likewise destroy the human ecosystem?? Didn't make sense, but oh well...) Of course, if you've seen "The Matrix," you know what happened ultimately -- the robots were victorious, but they let their human creators "live" in a computer-generated environment all the while feeding off their neural energy.

Also, the fact that one of BSG's main writers in Mark Verheiden may have a lot to do with why there is so much back-and-forth intrigue, and base human emotions and desires play such a prominent role in not only the Cylon backstory but the entire series. Verheiden wrote the absolutely sensational "Aliens: Book One" comics graphic novel (by Dark Horse) back in 1989 as a direct sequel to the 1986 movie "Aliens." It's in black and white, but the story is completely enthralling (and long) and ultimately totally depressing. As you're probably aware, in all of entertainment there is no monster more terrifyingly scary than H.R. Geiger's creation, the Alien. In Verheiden's graphic novel, a ship appears in earth orbit with a pilot sporting a "face-hugger" -- the "crab-like" creature that bursts from an Alien egg. The pilot is taken into custody by operatives of the "Company" for research purposes and, of course, as a possible money-making enterprise for weapons development. The pilot "gives birth" to an Alien queen, which promptly begins laying thousands of eggs. The Company can't control the Alien, and its scourge gets loose onto an unsuspecting planet earth -- Alien infestations sprout up all over the globe and the insect-like creatures take over our world. Only the military and various scientists manage to escape to other planets. Y'see? Capitalist and military greed lead to the destruction of humanity!

The military-industrial complex is also the theme behind Joe Haldeman's awesome Forever War. Earth battles the Taurans -- enigmatic aliens who humans believe are responsible for the disappearance of various human vessels -- in a "relativistic" war that takes place over thousands of years (due to time dilation from spaceships traveling through small black holes). It's ultimately revealed that the military really didn't know whether the Taurans were responsible for the missing human ships or not -- but they "needed" a war, however, to spur on the mightily depressed earth economy. They got a lot more than they could handle, however, and we only learn the truth a couple of thousand years later.

Posted by Hube at 08:38 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 17, 2006

No such thing as "liberal" judges

What liberal media bias? This one, via Newsday:

Bush's chance to add a fifth reliable vote to the court's conservative bloc depends on the departure of one of the four moderate liberals or Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who backs abortion and gay rights.

While there is no indication any justice is set to retire, liberals are the court's two oldest: John Paul Stevens, 86, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 73. Kennedy is 70, fourth oldest. (Emphasis mine.)

Calling Stevens and Ginsberg "moderate" liberals is like calling Ted Turner an evangelical Christian.

Posted by Felix at 04:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Do as I demogogue, not as I do

John Edwards style.

Posted by Felix at 04:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 15, 2006

Liberal bias? Huh?

Washington Post headlines November 2006:

  • Pride of Baltimore: Nancy Pelosi Learned Her Politics At the Elbow of Her Father the Mayor
  • Muted Tones of Quiet Authority: A Look Suited to the Speaker
  • Power Cleaning: As Democrats Take Over the House, Republicans' Perks May Go Out the Window

Washington Post headlines November 1994:

  • The Day After: Sifting Through the Wreckage
  • How the Gingrich Stole Christmas
(Link.)

Elsewhere, CBS and NBC fawned all over incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, but back in 1994 they didn't exactly toss such softballs at Newt Gingrich:

[Tom] Brokaw: “He’s been called brilliant, a control freak, pompous, power-hungry. Suddenly he is one of the most powerful people in Washington. But some who have known him for years think he could be dangerous.”

Brantley Harwell: "I personally think that Newt is amoral when it comes to politics.”

Tom Brokaw: "You can call him an archconservative or an arch-enemy of President Clinton's policies, but in less than two months, you'll have to call Newt Gingrich, Mr. Speaker -- the new Speaker of the House. The man who has spent years in Congress as the leading guerrilla fighter in the Republican war on Democratic turf. Suddenly, he's won a major battle. Now, he's coming out of the jungle to claim the spoils of victory -- the great power of Speaker of the House. While the votes were still being counted, questions did arise about whether this true believer and his take-no-prisoners style can adapt to the role of statesman."

More Brokawisms to Gingrich:

  • "Don't you see how people react to you?"
  • "Do you regret saying that the Clinton Administration is the enemy of normal people?"
  • "But, I get the impression, you're so pugnacious that what you say is hard for you to reel it back in right away."
  • "That was during the 1960s, and he does admit that he smoked pot and participated in student demonstrations."
  • "He also became a college professor and he got a marriage deferment during the time of Vietnam."
  • "Obviously, there is a political, partisan agenda here because you're not a nonpartisan man."
Posted by Felix at 04:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 14, 2006

Harry Reid: Comics fan or spelling dunce

Being a comics fan, this cracked me up (via James Taranto):

From a press release issued by the soon-to-be Senate majority leader:

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today released the following statement on the groundbreaking of the Martin Luthor King Jr. National Memorial.

Taranto goes on to comment:

Martin "Luthor" King? Is he any relation to Lex?

OK, normally we wouldn't make a silly spelling error our top item. But remember, Harry Reid is the same guy who, a couple of years ago, went out of his way to disparage the intellect of the Supreme Court's only black justice.

Posted by Hube at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Jason Young is the winner this week with his opinion that write-in senate candidate Christine O'Donnell "used sex" to promote her candidacy:

The irony that Ms. O'Donnell, who portrays herself as a "chaste" person who "talks personally with God," would use sex in her campaign in the form of billboards with large photographs of herself to garner write-in votes is not lost on this reader.

Ms. O'Donnell, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, thereby joins the ranks of other hypocrites, including elected Republican officials and members of the religious right, who have lately been exposed, such as Mark Foley and Ted Haggard.

Dude, are you friggin' serious?? She joins Foley and Haggard -- one who solicited sexual favors from young boys and the other sex from a man who provided illegal drugs -- because she used her picture on a campaign billboard?? And the pictures weren't even "racy" whatsoever -- Christine was quite conservatively dressed on them. That, and O'Donnell is hardly the first candidate to use their image on campaign billboards and signs. Stell Parker-Selby had her mug on campaign signs this time out, just one that I can remember off the top of my head.

What, does Jason think being a God-fearing conservative means one has to be butt-ugly? SHEESH.

Posted by Hube at 03:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Bond Bests

Today's News Journal has a spread about James Bond due to the upcoming flick "Casino Royale" starring the sixth actor to play the British spy, Daniel Craig. The also have a poll, admittedly "just for fun," but some of the choices are definitely lame. We're gonna take the poll, but we're also going to add in our own picks, like it or not!

Best Former Bond
Without a doubt, it's Sean Connery. Connery not only was suave and cool, he looked as if he could kick your ass. He still did in his not-officially-approved "comeback" film, "Never Say Never Again." The other Bonds, especially Roger Moore, were too "model-ish."

Best Film
The choices are: "From Russia With Love" and "Thunderball" (both Connery), "Live and Let Die" (Moore), "Licence to Kill" (Dalton), and "The World Is Not Enough" (Brosnan). Out of these choices, my pick is "License to Kill." Granted, Tim Dalton wasn't a great Bond, but I recall just how ... brutal the movie was the first time I saw it. Villain Franz Sanchez is the ultimate drug lord -- willing to stop at nothing to get what he wants. We see Bond's CIA pal Felix (and a traitorous DEA agent, later on) get eaten by a shark, a young Benicio del Toro get turned into gruel by an oversized "wood chipper," and some sap who was caught sleeping with Sanchez's squeeze get his heart cut out (which was off-camera, granted, but the screams were blood curdling enough to rival that of Tony Montana's buddy getting his limbs chain sawed off in "Scarface"). In addition, there's high-intensity action virtually every minute. The only other film that has constant [awesome] action sequences (and wildly changing locales) is "Moonraker" (starring RogerMoore).

Best Bond Girl
The choices given are Halle Berry ("Die Another Day"), Jane Seymour ("Live and Let Die"), Ursula Andress ("Dr. No"), Jill St. John ("Diamonds Are Forever"), Daniela Bianchi ("From Russia With Love"), Denise Richards ("The World Is Not Enough"), and Carey Lowell ("Licence to Kill"). My criteria are two-fold: The hottest and also the most kick-ass. The babe that meets those two goals best is clearly Halle Berry. A close second is Michelle Yeoh from "Tomorrow Never Dies." For pure hotness, however, Carey Lowell gets my vote.

Best Villain
The choices are Auric Goldfinger ("Goldfinger"), Ernst Stavro Blofeld, (several films), Francisco Scaramanga, ("The Man with the Golden Gun"), Franz Sanchez, ("Licence to Kill"), and Elliot Carver ("Tomorrow Never Dies"). Out of these choices, pure nostalgia puts me in Goldfinger's camp, especially his "No, Mr. Bond -- I expect you to DIE!" line, although for pure unadulterated evil and hatred I have to go with Sanchez.

Outside the box, my vote goes to Hugo Drax from "Moonraker." Michael Lonsdale's character was not only a genius, not only deviously evil, not only sly, cool and intrepid, his plan was to annihilate all mankind from the planet and start again with a master race! No other Bond villain had such a grandiose operation.

Best Theme Song
From the choices of "Goldfinger" (Shirley Bassey), "Die Another Day" (Madonna), "For Your Eyes Only" (Sheena Easton), "Live and Let Die" (Paul McCartney and Wings), and "The Spy Who Loved Me" (Carly Simon), I gotta go with the jammin' "Live and Let Die."

My personal favorite? Being a child of the 80s, I go with "A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran. Hey, it was the most popular Bond song ever, natch!

Best Quote
The choices are:

"Bond, James Bond." -- the second sentence Bond speaks on screen in "Dr. No."

"Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred." -- Bond's standard drink order.

"This never happened to the other guy." -- George Lazenby, who doesn't get the girl in his first scene as James Bond.

"Is this really what they do in Siberia?" -- Roger Moore to Barbara Bach (Soviet agent Anya Amasova) in "The Spy Who Loved Me."

"Magnificent view." -- Pierce Brosnan, seeing Jinx (Halle Berry) for the first time in "Die Another Day."

From the choices, you have to go with the classic "Bond, James Bond." It epitomizes the franchise. Other than that, there are just too many to choose from. Some of my favorites are:

"His name is Jaws. He kills people." (Roger Moore in "Moonraker")

"My name is Pussy Galore." Bond (Sean Connery): "I must be dreaming." ("Goldfinger")

Best Gadget
We choose from:

Aston Martin from "Goldfinger," which included a rotating license plate, smoke screen, ejector seat, machine guns and wheel scythe.

Special briefcase in "From Russia With Love," which spewed tear gas and contained knives in a hidden compartment.

Little Nellie, the one-man helicopter in "You Only Live Twice" that featured heat-seeking missiles and incredible maneuverability.

The travel kit from "Licence to Kill" that included a toothpaste tube of high-powered plastic explosives and a detonator hidden in a cigarette box.

Bond's laser-emitting watch from "GoldenEye."

From these, the clear favorite is the Aston Martin. Who didn't love that, especially as a young kid? Even one of my favorite 1980s video games, "Spy Hunter," was based on it.

Posted by Hube at 03:46 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

Bold Editorial Stand

Today's News Journal editors make the bold proclamation: "It's a good sign when male students step up to fight rape on campus."

Gee, y'think?

Also, did you know there's a Men Against Rape Society organzation at UD? Isn't that sort of like organizing a group dubbed "People Against Murder," or "Students Against Genocide"? Or Jason organizing a group called "Democrats against Republicans?"

Really, just how hard is it to believe in what these groups stand for?

Posted by Hube at 05:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Battlestar Silliness

Jonah Goldberg offers one of his loyal reader's take on what he dubs The Worst Episode Yet of "Battlestar Galactica":

But Helo's objection to the complete annihilation of the Cylons makes perfect sense. After all, he's married to one. And that Cylon has shown herself heroically loyal to the humans.

This means that a Cylon is capable of having a change of heart, capable of rejecting the idea of genocide against mankind and embracing the ways of peace. As we've seen in earlier episodes, not all Cylons are alike. Some have moral qualms about their war on humanity, believing that it was a mistake and that humans and Cylons should stop killing each other. If Cylons are capable of guilt, shame, impulses toward mercy, then by what right do we simply say, "big deal? Kill 'em all?" Strikes me as an exceedingly immoral proposition.

Think of it this way. Would it have been morally justifiable for the Allies to have exterminated all the Germans or the Japanese? If not, why would it be acceptable to kill all the Cylons?

Adama got it. Just as he was unwilling to mutiny and murder Admiral Cain. He realized there are certain things you just don't do, even to win a war.

Dude -- a couple things. First, humans created the Cylons. They're not a "race" that developed on some other planet that humans happened upon, and then came into conflict with. Second, again, Helo's objection is what is immoral. It's immoral because he prevented an opportunity to ensure his species' survival in the face of continued threat of annihilation. While he sabotaged the mission, what were the Cylons doing? Trying to kill any and all humans in the vicinity. Helo's comment that "the Cylons wanted to live with us [on New Caprica]" was laughingly preposterous, and thankfully Roslin shot him down cold (albeit diplomatically).

The enemy has committed genocide on an unimaginable scale -- tens, possibly hundreds of billions of human lives, leaving a scant 40,000 survivors. This is what makes the analogy to Germany and Japan outright silly. Neither country, despite their numerous atrocities, did nothing on the scale of what the Cylons did. Their goal was not to completely obliterate the United States, Britain and the Allied countries. If the Allies had surrendered, the "worst" we would have faced was occupation and [potential] slavery. So, yes -- total genocide of the German and Japanese people would not have been a just course of action in retaliation. However, if that was Germany and Japan's goal, the Allies would indeed have been justified in countering that goal with a similar remedy. As it was, if Germany was well on the way to exterminating all Jews from the planet, if a Jewish scientist living in soon-to-be occupied America discovered a way to wipe out all Germans, would it be justified to use it? In my opinion, absolutely.

It is non-sensical to believe humans would rather die with the knowledge that they were morally "superior" to those who sought their total annihilation, than seek to completely wipe out that threat given the opportunity.

(I e-mailed my above thoughts to Jonah, just in case ...!)

UPDATE: Great debate (including yours truly) about the current season of "Galactica" and its implications is over at this Galactica Blog thread.

Posted by Hube at 05:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 12, 2006

C.A.I.R. complicit in prof's ouster

Via Free DePaul:

Newly released evidence has revealed that the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) worked privately to pressure DePaul University to fire adjunct professor Thomas Klocek for telling Muslim activist students that their views on Middle-East issues were wrong. According to a letter to DePaul’s President from CAIR’s executive director M. Yaser Tabbara, “In light of …Mr. Klocek’s biased remarks, we are requesting that the University…reprimand Mr. Klocek for his conduct by permanently dismissing him from any teaching post at DePaul University.”

I wrote about Klocek first back in June. Did DePaul buckle under to CAIR's pressure? Sure looks like it. Still no update on the lawsuit Klocek filed for defamation, nor on where various "academic freedom" groups are on this matter.

Probably still "concerned" about Ward Churchill ...

(h/t: Daled Amos.)

Posted by Felix at 09:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2006

Battlestar Galactica 3-7

In a "Measure of Salvation," I am beginning to wonder about the Twelve Colonies -- what life was like on those planets. For instance, I'm wondering why in the world they just didn't let the Cylons take them over in the first place, since, based on last night's episode, that must be what the survivors want them to do, New Caprica events be damned. The surviving humans discover a way to eradicate the Cylons [potentially] once and for all, yet as mentioned in last week's entry, Helo took exception to "becoming no better than the Cylons" by the advocation of "genocide," and it was he who ultimately put a monkey wrench into the President Roslin-approved plan to destroy humanity's deadliest enemies once and for all.

What can one say? At episode's end, Adama and Roslin know who sabotaged the plan, yet Adama says there will be no investigation. They're going to let ONE person determine that humanity remain in mortal danger of becoming EXTINCT because ONE -- or even SOME -- couldn't live with the knowledge of wiping out those who would wipe THEM out. Yep.

Preposterous. Imagine -- a race would become extinct itself rather than use an opportunity to slay the "race" that would kill it off. They'll go their graves saying "but we were better than them." But who will listen? Regarding this idiocy, here's what I wrote in response to "skullhunter" over at the Battlestar Galactica blog:

skullhunter: What I find amazing is that you haven't chosen a side even though the evidence is clear that the Cylons committed genocide (not "attempted" genocide as you said ... the murder of tens/hundreds of billions of people qualifies as genocide ...you don't have to finish the job for it to qualify as genocide) on an unimaginable scale.

You have nothing but your own conjecture of what happened pre-human/Cylon war. What is clear is that humans did not commit genocide against the Cylons. They may have treated them like shit, but they didn't attempt a wholesale slaughter of them. We also have no evidence of humans' desire to keep them as slaves, or send to fight their wars (which wars, BTW?) when it became apparent they were self-aware. There may have been a prodigious amount of confusion as to what to do about this scary situation, certainly. Why couldn't it have been similar to "I, Robot," where the self-aware robots determined they had to strike first -- and quickly -- to avoid potentially being destroyed and/or shut down?

It seems to me that a better analogy here might be American slavery: Would blacks be justified in wiping out whites for their bondage crimes? Whites didn't annihilate the black population, but it sure treated them like garbage. Eventually, whites themselves became enlightened and fought for the basic [human] rights of blacks and for them to be put on equal footing with anyone else. Do we know precisely how humanity reacted to the knowledge of self-aware Cylons? Were there humans who argued that they should be set free -- to determine their own fate? It sure seems likely, if the morality of many of the humans on BSG is any indication. A civilization that has reached the ability to travel the stars surely must have developed a moral code that would take something like that into account.

This is what makes me lean towards the view that the Cylons reacted violently first -- just in case humanity would have reacted violently to the knowledge that Cylons were self-aware. Obviously, humans reacted in kind -- horrified at what their very own creations "had become." Would humanity have gone to war with the Cylons if the Cylons had approached the humans with the knowledge of what they'd become -- and what they wanted to do (leave to live their own lives)? I find that hard to believe, again, especially given the level of human of civilization. There's no civilizational growth w/o accompanied moral growth.

The only real (and by "real" I mean what we've seen in the actual series) evidence we have that humans bungled the situation with the Cylons early in the era of Cylon self-awareness was in the pilot when Adama, giving that speech at the Galactica's decommissioning, mentioned that humans had to live up to their responsibilities ... including their mistakes.

What's even worse is that Helo carried out his act of sabotage in the midst ... of the Cylons attempting to destroy Galactica yet again. Oh, the irony! That, and the Cylons are continuing their attempt to discover Earth -- to make it their new home. That missing 13th Tribe that supposedly colonized Earth is sure gonna appreciate Helo and his like-minded "moral superiors" when the cyborgs arrive and subjugate them now, aren't they?

UPDATE (Nov. 12 at 9:28): Jonah Goldberg hears from readers who say "The consensus among readers seems to be that Friday's was the worst BSG episode ever. Worse than being too polemical it was just stupid."

Yep.

Posted by Hube at 06:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 10, 2006

Massachusetts Governor-Elect: First Amendment? Huh?

David Bernstein over at Volokh Conspiracy details how Mass. Gov.-Elect Deval Patrick once attempted to thwart community activism via threat of federal lawsuit (my emphasis):

The background is that during the Clinton Administration, HUD filed a series of civil rights lawsuits against community groups that opposed the placement of halfway houses in their neighborhoods. The only "illegal" activities the groups allegedly engaged in were such clearly protected activities as holding meetings, organizing petitions, publishing newsletters and the like. The underlying theory, however, was that, for example, by opposing a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts, the groups were violating the Fair Housing Act by making it more difficult for the handicapped (which by statutory definition includes recovering drug addicts) from getting housing.

Following truly awful publicity, HUD backed down, announcing that it would no longer investigate "any complaint . . . that involves public activities directed toward achieving action by a governmental entity or official; and do not involve force, physical harm, or a clear threat of force or physical harm to one or more individuals." More generally, HUD would no longer prosecute behavior protected by the First Amendment.

But that wasn't good enough for assistant AG Patrick. Two years later in a case in Fort Worth, TX, Patrick compared "political leaflets to baseball bats, remarking that bats "are perfectly legal too. But if you wield one to keep people out of the neighborhood, we are going to use the bat as evidence of your intent to violate the civil rights laws."

Ah, yes -- words equate to physical objects! The scary thing is that this dude was an AG, and has no conception of the 1st Amendment -- in particular regarding the very thing it was constructed to protect: Political speech.

Posted by Felix at 09:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Step one to defeat

Dems' first move on Iraq after Election Day: consult George McGovern for "war" (or "situation") strategy.

Posted by Felix at 08:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Allow me to illustrate...

Comic Coverage provides a visual representation of the 2006 election, with help from Marvel Comics. I can assure you it's remarkably accurate from the GOP's perspective.

Posted by JakeM at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 09, 2006

Charm Offensive

Making friends...

JACKSON, Miss. - A Democratic congressman from New York says he wasn't trying to insult Mississippi in published remarks Thursday, but a Republican colleague from Mississippi says Rep. Charles Rangel should apologize to the state.

Rangel, D-N.Y., was quoted in a Thursday article in The New York Times, saying: "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?"

Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., issued a news release criticizing Rangel's words.

"I hope his remarks are not the kind of insults, slander, and defamation that Mississippians will come to expect from the Democrat leadership in Washington, D.C.," Pickering said.

People say dumb things, and this molehill gaffe is hardly worth making into a mountain. So the comment encapsulates the condescending view many blue-staters have of red-staters. It's not like this is anything we didn't already know.

Just for fun, though, imagine if the situation was reversed. If a red-state office holder in the majority (or soon to be) party had said something similar about Rangel's district, which includes Harlem, it probably have turned into a MSM-created story about GOP racism a la Trent Lott or Bill Bennet.

One of the few nice things about being in the minority is that the press will have less incentive to manufacturer its slurs. This isn't to say they won't still do it -- can't have the GOP rise again, now can we? -- but just that because the GOP has less power, the MSM focus will shift from knocking down Republicans to building up Democrats. We're already seeing that on the economy and how other things suddenly seem better now the election is over. I note that as I write this -- about 11pm local time -- for the first time in months, CNN doesn't have on its homepage news about something awful going on in Iraq.

Posted by JakeM at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Weak Linc

I'm sure we're all (1) shocked and (2) disheartened by this development:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Two days after losing a bid for a second term, Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he was unsure whether he would remain a Republican.

Chafee lost to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in a race seen as a referendum on President Bush and the GOP. On Thursday, he was asked whether he would stick with the Republican Party or become an independent or Democrat.

[. . .] Chafee said he has not decided what to do after leaving office, but he hoped to stay involved in public life. He said his loss may have helped the country by switching control of Congress.

Translation: "I'm going to be running again as the Democrat and my shadow campaign begins today."

Noteworthy is the fact that Linc was appointed to the Senate in 1999, essentially inheriting his father's seat of 23 years when Sen. John Chafee died. Had he been true to his own principles, Linc presumably would have run as a Democrat he has largely shown himself to be. But that would have meant breaking with his father's legacy, the only thing he had to run on in 2000. It seems that labels matter less to Linc than retaining power. Another example:

"There were times walking into my caucus room where it wasn't fun," he said, adding that he stayed with the GOP largely because it helped him bring federal dollars home to Rhode Island.

Such principle. The United States Senate is no poorer without this man.

Posted by JakeM at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It came from the 90's

What's that you say? You long for the good ol' days when terrorism was a situation best left to law enforcement, and the country had a fever for which the only prescription was -- more impeachment? If that's the case, then it sounds like you're pining for a return to the 90s. Judging by the 2006 elections, so do many of your countrymen.

Since we're turning back the clock to the days of American retreats in the face of Islamic terror and Democrats getting credit for a booming economy they had nothing to do with, now is a good time to review the canker sore that was 90s comics.

True, just as the entire political history of the 90s wasn't a complete waste (1994, anyone?) so it was that not all 90s comics were bad. Gems like "Marvels" and "Kingdom Come" as well as Mark Waid's runs on "Captain America" and "Flash" come immediately to mind. There were some unsung titles like Milestone's "Static" and DC's "Sandman Mystery Theatre" that count in my book as classics. I'm sure if pressed, there are a lot of great reads I could name. But, again like the politics of the same era, when 90s comics were bad, they achieved depths of vapidness and shoddiness hitherto unimagined.

This week, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort is dedicating his blog to focus on a handful of 90's four-color, partial-birth abortions. And Tom should know... because he's talking about comics he wrote.

Brevoort's self-deprecating posts this week are worth a read if you were a comics fan growing up and want to be reminded of why you quit reading them. An example:

Continuing on with this week's theme of BAD COMICS I WROTE, let's take a look at the SPIDER-MAN: FUNERAL FOR AN OCTOPUS limited series.

FUNERAL came about as a "budget-buster", a project that was created in order to make certain that a particular financial benchmark was achieved in a given quarter. At the time, the Clone Saga had just begun in the Spidey books, and was generating some heat. There was a new character who'd come onto the scene, a villain by the name of Kaine--and as part of the ramp-up for this character, to make him seem cool, the decision was made to have him kill Doctor Octopus--permanently.

Emphasis mine. That second paragraph is such a window into everything that was wrong with comics of this that era.

Project conceived to pad financial reports for investors before company crashes and burns in bankruptcy (scroll down for story)? Check.

Poorly conceived plot where we ret-con the origin of a famous hero so that the character our company has spent decades building good will for turns out to have been -- oh, I don't know, let's go with something both cliche and stupid -- a clone? Check.

Introduce a new 90s EXTREME!!! villain to replace the classic villains that no one has the intellectual energy to make fresh? Check.

Have said 90s EXTREME!!! villain kill classic villain in order to "seem cool"? Check and mate!

Sometimes I wonder if as comics go, so goes America. Many 90s comics were big on looking cool -- typified by the fetish for gimmick covers with embossed foil and holographs -- low on substance, even by comic book standards. I think the same could be said about the Clinton years when the times seemed good, but looking back through the lens of 9/11, we see how frivolous it all was. Hube's noted the leftist, America-hating tilt in today's comics. And now we have a Democrat Congress that, in its heart-of-hearts, probably does see America as the problem.

Excelsior!

Bonus, Mildly Disturbing Factoids! Good Lord. Found while putting in the links: Michael Jackson almost bought Marvel Comics. And Fabio was once considered for the roll of The Might Thor in a movie. And yes, both of these atom-smashing ideas happened in the 90s.

Posted by JakeM at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can Pelosi control it?

Former Brooklyn Rep. Liz Holtzman is promoting her new book, The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens. In it, she says Bush could be tried on the following items:

  • lying about weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq,
  • allowing the torture of prisoners,
  • leaking classified information,
  • botching the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
Needless to say, proof would have to be established for the first three items -- proof which I really doubt will be discovered. And regarding the third bit, if Bush can be tried for doing that, then can't at least also the New York Times??

And since when do we impeach presidents for "botching" a response to a natural disaster? What criteria do we use for "botch"? What if President Bush hadn't bothered to consult with Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco and just went ahead and sent troops into the state? Wouldn't that have violated the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which forbids the use of federal troops for law enforcement purposes within the borders of the United States? Sure seems like it. So, had Bush done that to not "botch" the hurricane response, Holtzman would most probably be opining about "dictator" George Bush who violated American law by acting like a "king," sending the military into a region within the US. Count on it.

The real question is whether incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can control John Conyers, who looked into impeaching President Bush as far back as 2003.

Posted by Felix at 08:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dems win, so "[electronic] voting went OK"

So says the Washington Post via the AP (my emphasis):

There is still some fine-tuning to be done, but electronic voting worked well in most of the midterm elections - even with one-third of American voters facing ballot machines they'd never used before. The midterm elections -- which saw Republicans lose control of the House and their majority in the Senate -- were far less troubled than the elections of 2004, when malfunctioning voting machines and crowded polls delayed counts for days, most notably in the crucial swing state of Ohio.

Any problems? Just "hiccups."

The Miami Herald reports on several hassles around Florida, particularly in Fort Lauderdale:

Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.

That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear -- especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.

But not this time, eh?

In New Jersey, voters encountered [Democrat] Senate candidate Bob Menendez's moniker already highlighted on the machine when they entered the voting booth. They had to manually DE-highlight it, and then make their selections. A similar hassle was reported in Virginia -- in Democrat Jim Webb's favor. No word on whether Keith Olbermann will be devoting a week's worth of shows to these "conspiracies."

MSNBC reported "By late afternoon, the Election Protection Coalition phone bank in Washington, D.C., said it had received 13,500 calls to complain about voting problems, but that only about 20 percent represented serious problems."

"Only" 20%. If the election had resulted in Republicans maintaining power, who wants to bet that the word "only" would be excised from that report -- and that that 20% would represent really serious problems?

More:

GCN.com: "E-voting hiccups didn't sway elections."

Columbus (OH) Free Press: "A monumental victory for the election protection movement."

OpEdNews (PA): "2006: A Year to Write Ballads About" which includes the line "Here's to Election Integrity Activists. We didn't know it then; but in the bitter aftermath of the 2004 election, a miracle happened. People all across the United States planted their feet in their communities and said, "You may roll over me this time; but you are not taking this democracy down."

ComputerWorld.com: "Scattered e-voting problems reported. But in many places with past snafus, voting seems to be going smoothly."

CentreDaily.com (PA): "Election smooth despite glitches."

Tallahassee Democrat: "Voting goes well across state."

Daily Journal (MS): "State officials say elections going smoothly, despite minor problems."

Posted by Hube at 05:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 08, 2006

SHOCK: Iran can't hardly wait for Democrat take-over

Iran is so excited about the big Democrat win, you'd think the Hidden Imam had returned:

Head of National [Iranian] Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Majlis Alaeddin Boroujerdi said, "Democrats victory in the US election will prepare the ground for a smoother exit of American from Iraq quagmire created by President Bush."

The Syrians are pretty happy too. (h/t Gateway Pundit)

It's never a good sign when the party that has just captured Congress is being praised in countries where thousands rally to shout, "Death to America". Still, if it gets wider play that the bad guys can't contain their glee at the prospects of newly-empowered Democrats, this might force the D's to have a Sister Souljah moment on Iraq.

How likely is this? A stretch to be sure. On the other hand, it's hard to pass Canadian-style socialized medicine or raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour when your cheering section includes rogue nations. When that happens, your party starts to look either like an eager Fifth Column or a gaggle of useful idiots. Either way, it tends to discredit the rest of your platform. While you can get away with that when you're in the minority (and in fact the Democrats did), people actually take such antics seriously when you're a party in power.

This isn't to say that Democrat hearts or minds will really change on national security. I think they've made it clear it's rather low on their priority list. But they do care about their entitlement programs, abortions and activist judges, and if the cost of these is doing something to win Iraq, they might -- might -- just do it.

Posted by JakeM at 08:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

It's been a while, but Jack Murphy wins a long-delayed entry with his comparison to a fence on the US-Mexican border to ... the Berlin Wall:

In the estimation of many Republican conservatives, one of the great declarations in U.S. history was Ronald Reagan's entreaty, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." When those words are repeated, conservatives fairly shimmer with pride.

They seem to equate it with "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead." Although in contrast to Adm. David Farragut's command, I don't recall that Reagan was sailing into the teeth of hostile fire when he delivered his scripted line.

Now, some two decades later, the new mantra of conservatives has become: "Mr. Bush, let's put up this wall." In my view, it's a pointless, expensive and embarrassing undertaking.

On the other hand, it's a delicious irony to contemplate.

Only to those who make ridiculous comparisons, Jack. Let's see: A wall that was put up to prevent people from escaping an oppressive regime (East Berlin/Germany) vs. a wall that [seeks to] prevent millions of illegal immigrants from flooding into the US because 1) the Mexican government doesn't give a damn, 2) the US didn't give a damn for way too long, and 3) local [US] governments near the Mexican border are becoming overwhelmed.

While building a wall might not be the best solution to the illegal immigration problem, Jack's comparison just misses the mark completely.

Posted by Hube at 08:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BREAKING: Pelosi Unilaterally Ends Iraq War

Declares beginning of Iraq Situation.

Over at The Corner:

Nancy Pelosi just told Brit Hume that the war in Iraq is "not a war to be won but a situation to be solved."

Just great. If you don't think of it as a war, it takes the sting out of losing.

Posted by JakeM at 07:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Election post-mortem

POINT: My prediction that the GOP would lose both the House and Senate has apparently come true. The House was a no-brainer, really; the Senate sure appears to be headed to a one-person Democrat majority. Obviously the Iraq War -- at least the way in which it's been handled -- was the big issue, and the Bush administration has but to look in the mirror for that popular discontent. This trickled down to vulnerable and semi-vulnerable House candidates. In addition, numerous scandals (Foley, Abramoff) tainted the Republicans. The GOP conservative base itself was miffed at their party for out-of-control spending and passive stances on illegal immigration, just to name two.

Oh -- and remember: Americans like divided government.

POINT: Democrats, who obviously will want the White House in '08, had better be careful, for lack of a better phrase, these next two years. Don't "overdo it." Potential impeachment hearings, tax hikes, Iraq defunding ... you'll blow your chance at the presidency. And God forbid there isn't another terror attack ...

POINT: Locally, the only conclusion I can come to is that Delaware voters really couldn't give a s**t. OK, maybe not overall, but at least regarding important statewide races like the Attorney General. In this most hotly contested race, voters elected Beau Biden over Ferris Wharton. This, despite there being light years of distance between the amount of experience the two have. In this race, it was akin to choosing a college professor and an 8th grader. Delaware elected the latter. And it really wasn't all that close: Biden won by over 5%.

Regarding local races, one main thought comes to mind: The "influence" of the local blogosphere and talk radio proved to be small to infinitesimal. Three of the local blogs which arguably covered local races the most thoroughly (and made strongly worded recommendations) -- Delaware Watch, Down With Absolutes and First State Politics -- proved to have virtually no effect. This is not a knock on these blogs by any means. As I commented elsewhere on a local blog (of all places!) Dana Garrett, Mike Matthews and Dave Burris deserve a ton of credit for highlighting issues and discussions which many would not even hear/know about had their blogs not existed. All three supported Ferris Wharton vociferously, and in the nuts and bolts of local House and Senate races, nothing at all changed except for one: John Kowalko defeated Stephanie Ulbrich in the 25th House district by 4%. The others?

  • Tyler Nixon, a huge favorite of many bloggers for Senate district 1, garnered a "whopping" 6.2% of the vote.
  • Dave Sokola, despite distributing a highly ethically- challenged flyer which questioned his opponent's "run ins" with the law, mopped the floor in his race, winning by almost 11% in Senate district 8.
  • John Feroce, another blog favorite running in Senate district 14, wasn't even close. Perennial -- and near dead -- incumbent James Vaughn won handily with over 59% of the vote.
  • Richard Korn, in the 20th Rep. district, got creamed by Nick Manolakos, by 13%. And the blogosphere knows who is Korn's biggest fan ...!
  • Wayne Smith, a late "target" of some bloggers and the incredibly and obviously ineffective "Delaware Clean Sweep," also won easily in the 7th Rep. district by almost 11%.

Local talk radio proved similarly unpersuasive. WDEL pundits Rick Jensen and Gerry Fulcher were vociferously pro-Ferris Wharton, and outspoken on the need for the Delaware legislature to have "open government." Al Mascitti held similar views, and was also a supporter of Richard Korn. But again, what happened? Nothing. Only one close [local] race, where John Kowalko won.

I think people have to keep in mind that constituents in representative (and to a slightly lesser degree, senate) districts usually know their rep. (or senator) pretty intimately. If they consider him/her friendly and amiable, and pretty much agree with them on most issues, one (or even a couple) issues which others may deem important may not be viewed as such by the actual constituents. For instance, Gerry Fulcher on WDEL gave Wayne Smith a hard time about supposedly saying that his constituents don't care much about open government [that was heavily promoted by some local bloggers and talk radio pundits]. Wayne never said that. The point he was making was that he hadn't heard much, if anything, from his constituents about concerns that Delaware government was not open and that when asked, people were not bringing Senator Peterson's bill up as an issue but were talking about education, crime, the economy and the environment (and lately DNREC's yard waste ban).

PREDICTION: If the [recent] massive increase in electric rates didn't lead to a "clean sweep" -- or even a slight dust-busting -- in '06, the 2008 local election results aren't going to be much -- if at all -- different from yesterday's.

Nationally, I predict the Democrats will "overdo it" and this will lead to a Republican remaining in the White House and a retaking of the Senate in '08. The House, so far only an 11 person Democrat majority, will suffer some Dem. losses, but not enough for a GOP takeover. I agree with many bloggers today: The GOP lost the election yesterday, the Democrats did not win it.

PREDICTION 2: [Conservative] Talk radio and Fox News will see their ratings improve as the GOP now moves into minority status in the legislative branch. As Glenn Reynolds notes quoting Brian Maloney: "... the election results will be good for conservative talk radio, which thrives in opposition." Pundits like Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, whose ratings have been steadily climbing, will see declines.

OTHER NUGGETS:

Posted by Hube at 03:09 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

The Big Winner

One of the biggest winners last night? John Kerry. Had the GOP held on, I suspect Massachusett's junior senator would be holed up in a bunker right now with a box of 9mm and a bottle of Jack Daniels as Kos Kids tore apart the countryside looking for him. With his "botched joke" reduced to a footnote as a result of the Dem victory, his party will continue to suffer his haughty presense. Congrats, John!

Posted by JakeM at 08:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"BACK TO WORK"

A bloodying election night. The only thing to do now is suck it up and push forward:

But most importantly: Back to work. We snoozed for two years, trusting that 9/11 and patriotism and little else would carry us through, even though we weren't delivering on even the basics of bedrock conservative principles. Or even clearly winning the war we trusted would keep the public on our side.

We were wrong, and we were bloodied. We got our clocks cleaned. The Democrats didn't do much except try not to say anything at all and nominate pretty candidates who had no previous history and thus could plausibly pose as moderates or even monderate-conservatives. But if you don't play your best game, you can be beaten by weak teams. Winning teams always play their best games. Losing teams put in half-hearted effort and just hope luck and opponents' mistakes will carry them along, barely.

That's what makes them losing teams.

It's time to start coming up with fresh and popular ideas again, and fighting for them, and keeping the Democrats on permanent defense. And, maybe, just for fun, proposing serious deficit reduction packages consisting chiefly of budget cuts.

Posted by JakeM at 07:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 07, 2006

BACK FROM THE WAKE...

Just got from the Delaware GOP Returns Party/Wake at the Christiana Hilton. I had hoped to liveblog the evening, but a problem with either the hotel's wi-fi or my laptop nixed that idea. That set the tone for what would be a disappointing evening.

And I was about to settle in and try to recreate the scene, but as I write now, CNN and Fox are projecting that the Democrats have captured the House. The Senate, at this hour, is still an open question too. My observations on the gallows humor of the crowd, the antipathy for Mike Castle, and Jan Ting's gracious concession speech and how I hope he runs again for something else will have to wait.

The story tomorrow will be something along the lines that the people repudiated Bush's war and endorsed a "new direction" in Iraq. We all know what "new direction" means. So do overseas audiences, including Islamists in Iraq.

Noting that the anti-war party's victory coincided with their increased attacks, the lessons they will draw are obvious: the more Americans that are killed, the more intense the violence becomes, the stronger the anti-war party grows. The stronger the anti-war party grows, the more likely they are to effectuate a quick retreat from Iraq. Therefore, kill more Americans.

I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect the Democrat takeover is going to invite a higher casualty rate in Iraq.

UPDATE Nov. 8th at 7:06a.m.: Jonah Goldberg greets the day with a rather unhapppy question.

[. . .] The American people embraced the party of cut and run — oops, sorry "responsible redeployment" — during a war. That's really, really, really bad. The Dems can't do too much else to screw things up between now and '08 when the voters and the GOP will get a do-over. But, on the war(s) — still the most important issue — this is just a terrible, terrible message. It needn't be if the Dems act like grown-ups. But who around here wants to stake everything on that possibility?

I know I don't, but it doesn't seem as though we have a choice now.

Posted by JakeM at 11:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

LAST BEST CHANCE

In a post earlier today, I made brief mention that the 2006 election will be the Democrat's high-water mark on a national level. I think the same might be said of Delaware Republicans when it comes to Ferris Wharton.

Perhaps of all the statewide offices, Attorney General is the one where people expect a specific kind of experience. If it's distinguished (one hopes), experience as a business executive, judge, or state legislator are possible avenues to the governor's mansion. For the AG job, however, you're pretty much expected to have been a prosecutor, and a good one at that.

Beau Biden had a resume that could have been great for a run at state legislature or Lt. Governor. Not a bad resume, but not the experience-heavy legal resume expected for AG. The Dems would have been better running someone in the mold of Carl Schnee. I think the sane among us will acknowledge that Beau got the nod solely because of the family name. This election, Wharton clearly had the edge on experience.

Note this is also an election where national politics really aren't in play in blue-voting Delaware. Neither the Senate or House races were competitive. Outside of the statehouse, the only hot race in Delaware was AG, and while Democrats put up billboards of a sneering George W. Bush, it's not like the Delaware Department of Justice has much say on Iraq.

If the Republicans can't get over the top a superior candidate for the job where that tends to matters most, and in a year when the effect of national politics at the state level was as slight as it'll ever be, the chances of Delaware Republicans getting anyone new elected statewide begin to approach zero. If that's the case, the only thing that's going to change things outside of a generation of party-building is a celebrity -- say a former Eagle or maybe actor -- that settles in Delaware and is convinced by the state GOP to run.

That scenario sounds desperate only because it is.

UPDATE Nov. 8th at 12:36 a.m.: In case you hadn't heard, the last best chance got beat.

Posted by JakeM at 07:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WHAT IF AMERICA HAD AN ELECTION AND THE IRANIANS WON?

Karl Rove made clear that us conservative drones aren't supposed to mention the "I" word since it's election day and his plan for holding Congress directs we focus exclusively on gay marriage. Unfortunately, after reading this story, I just can't help myself:

Iran called on Iraq Tuesday to carry out its death sentence on Saddam Hussein, saying the former dictator who waged an eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s was a criminal who deserved to die.

[. . .] "We hope the fair, correct and legal verdict against this criminal ... is enforced," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said at a news conference.

"He is a criminal dictator. No doubt about it," Elham said of Saddam. "We hope no pressure will be applied not to carry out this verdict."

How media-savvy of the Iranians. This statement, though hardly unexpected given the two countries fought an eight-year war, is probably meant to win over Iraqi public opinion. By condemning Saddam for the war and endorsing his death, they are making it clear they, the Iranians, hold Saddam accountable only, and that there is no bad blood between the Iranian and Iraqi people.

The fact that the Iranian spokesman made clear that, "Saddam has both Shiite and Sunni blood on his hands" would again indicate that this is geared towards all Iraqis, and is not an attempt to drive a wedge between Shiites and Sunnis. This isn't surprising. It's easier to make a nation a vassal state with all sides backing you.

Count me one of those that thinks absent a believable threat of force which dissuades them from pursuing their nuclear program, we're going to be at war with Iran in the next three years. I take their focus on "winning the hearts and minds" of all Iraqis as indication that they think there's a showdown coming with us as well, and that they would like very much to have the Iraqis on their side.

So, how does this connect with today's election? Well, if they think we're inclined to bug out, which a Democrat win would clearly signal, as a matter of self-preservation Iraqis would throw-in with Iran. The big winner as the results come in tonight I fear will be Iran. Tehran is probably very aware of this, even if Nancy Pelosi and friends are not. Or just don't care.

Posted by JakeM at 04:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BY THE NUMBERS...

There's a good election scoreboard at TruthLaidBear. Their page covers the results of all individual races as well tracking the total wins in reference to the number needed for Dems to take the House (a pick-up of 15) and Senate (a pick-up of 6). If you plan to be online all night in an OCD-inspired quest for the latest numbers at the expense of time spent with loved ones (I know I am!), this is as good a place as any to compulsively click "refresh".

(h/t Hugh Hewitt)

Posted by JakeM at 04:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Because he's poor, minority ... oh, wait

The governor of South Carolina was turned away at the polls today because he lacked the proper state-mandated voter ID. He came back and voted 90 minutes later when he got what he needed.

No word on whether the ACLU, People for the American Way, et. al. will be pestering him to file a lawsuit. Since he's a Republican and the "incorrect" hue, they're probably not as interested.

Posted by Hube at 03:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four Color Politics

Unlike Election Days past, I doubt today is going to be Christmas-like for either party. If you’re a staunch right-winger, you’re probably a bit down because the GOP looks primed to lose the House to the party of pantywaists. Which, you know, always sends a good message to Islamists looking for signs of American weakness. Adding to the sting is the fact all this is largely because your team couldn’t keep its [crap] together and accomplish anything despite a lock on the legislative and executive branches.

On the other hand, if you’re an effete leftist, the joy you feel at actually winning, or at least not losing, today is tempered by the knowledge that your momentum is largely a result of the GOP alienating its base and not some groundswell for gay marriage and surrender in Iraq. This is your team’s high-water mark, and then it’s back to shrill irrelevance you go in time for 2008.

So basically, both sides might need cheering up today. In that spirit of melancholy bipartisanship, here’s a blog that has broken down superheroes by party affiliation (language warning).

It’s all good analysis, although I'm not sure about his conclusions on Spider-Man. The blog, "Dave’s Long Box", picks Spidey as a Democrat. Personally, I would have thought being kicked around by a MSM (i.e., the Daily Bugle) intent on vilifying him for trying to protect society would have soured Spidey on a Democrat Party that tends to do the same thing on national defense.

But whatever -- it’s well worth a look, and a good way to pass some time while you wait for election results.

UPDATE Nov. 8th at 12:38a.m.: That part where I said it might not feel like Christmas for either party? I take it back. I stand by the conclusion that it's a high-water mark, but I don't think we can fault our liberal friends for thinking their gifts arrived a month and a half early.

Posted by JakeM at 03:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Close to home: A prescient commenter

Commenter "Digby" wrote the following about voting in Philadelphia a few days ago:

I live and vote in Philly. If you want to see real "disenfranchisement" wear a republican pin in a union neighborhood. I have been threatened, stopped and even told that I "wouldn't be voting with my hands, if I tried to enter."

I have seen elderly women screamed and cursed at, and elderly men threatened and intimidated. All of this is done by democratic unions, and it happens every time there is an election. Disenfranchisement is a two-way street; it’s just the coverage on it that’s one way.

Today in Philly (my emphasis):

In wards 7, 19, 51 in Philly, PA, the crowds are going wild. Inside several voting locations, individuals have poured white out onto the polling books and the poll workers are allowing voters to go into the polls and vote without first registering. Several individuals are on hand demanding that voters vote straight Democrat.

RNC lawyers have headed to the scene of the incidents, which are occurring in mostly hispanic precinct locations. The District Attorney has also been contacted.

More from the ground: Reports of voter intimidation by son-in-law of Philadelphia City Commissioner in 19th Ward. Carlos Mantos is not allowing Republican poll watchers with valid poll-watching certificates monitor polling places.

Must be all that anger about not being able to have polling places in elected officials' homes anymore (among other sites), eh?

Posted by Hube at 11:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thanks to us?

Check it out from Down Under (my emphasis):

Teachers are being warned to watch what they write and say about students because of the risk of being sued for defamation.

New South Wales schools have also been urged to closely vet student scripts for theatrical performances and postings on school websites, blogs or electronic bulletins.

At least one former Year 12 student complained he had been defamed in the school magazine and threatened to sue everyone involved.

Parents as well as students have threatened legal action over comments made by teachers or pupils at school.

Geez, I could really be in trouble since I'm often -- jokingly, that is -- "busting" on my students for things like asking about directions on an assignment, especially after I just went over them like some seven times ... and they weren't paying any attention.

Mr Freakley urged teachers to "always be circumspect in relation to comments – written or oral – you make about staff, students and parents".

The advice comes as anger has exploded in schools over new student reports which grade students on a scale of A to E for academic performance.

Already some parents have expressed disappointment to their school over their child receiving E grades – a scenario many teachers believe labels the student as a failure.

Parents obviously are now falling into the trap that teachers "give" children grades -- that children don't earn what grade they receive. And how about this simple and effective method of avoiding the "failure" label: Work harder.

Teachers' Federation vice-president Angelo Gavrielatos said threats to sue meant Australia was "importing the worst of American culture".

"It reflects, regrettably, that we do live in an increasingly litigious society and that is sad," he said.

You got that right, Angelo.

Posted by Hube at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

Ortega back as Nicaraguan president?

Hmm. My second home of Costa Rica has to deal with illegal immigration from Nicaragua like the US does from Mexico. Just think what it will be like now.

Still, as Felix once opined about Chávez and Venezuela (and Morales and Bolivia), until non-socialist politicians begin dealing with the real problems the [mostly poor] Latin American populace faces, the more people like Danny O. will get elected.

But remember: Ortega is one of the few leftist dictators that actually -- peacefully -- stepped aside after losing an election (1989-90) and has now played within the rules to become president again.

Posted by Hube at 05:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Pelosi already questioning voting integrity

Nancy Pelosi, apparently getting a tad worried about the crunching poll numbers, is laying the foundation:

"I know where the numbers are in these races, and I know that they are there for the 15; today (it's) 22 to 26," Pelosi said Friday.

Pelosi cautioned that the number of Democratic House victories could be higher or lower and said her greatest concern is over the integrity of the count -- from the reliability of electronic voting machines to her worries that Republicans will try to manipulate the outcome.

"That is the only variable in this," Pelosi said. "Will we have an honest count?''

No mention from the possible future House speaker about the integrity of the count in the places where ACORN has attempted to register apparitions and phantoms. Not to mention the same persons multiple times. Pelosi also "said her pledge to restore civility to the House, open up the rules for debate, and permit the minority party to participate will be a radical departure from the status quo." "Civility to the House"? I just had to clean up my coffee from the computer monitor.

In Maryland the usual groups of liberal activists are clamoring for an extension for absentee ballots to be postmarked:

More than 188,000 Marylanders had requested absentee ballots as of Friday, according to elections officials. But some voters still have not received their ballots, and without an extension, ballots postmarked later than Monday would not be counted for Tuesday's election.

"Some." What exactly does that mean? Two? Three? Thousands? If they don't give a number, it's been my experience that the number is not exactly what most would consider an "emergency." And when exactly did this "some" request their absentee ballot? The end of last week? This wouldn't surprise me a bit either. And, of course, these groups like the ACLU and People for the American Way believe that it isn't your fault if you don't know how to follow a deadline! Thus, if you waited until last Friday to request an absentee ballot, you have an unalienable right to have that ballot postmarked before the deadline -- no matter what the deadline is! (These same groups are the ones who claim requiring photo ID "disenfranchises" the poor and minority voters ... even when these IDs would be provided for free.)

Still, I'll agree that the potential agreed upon 24 hour extension doesn't seem like all that inappropriate a compromise.

Posted by Hube at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2006

Best political movie ever?

One of, that's for sure. I recently caught for the umpteenth time "The Candidate," the 34 year old film starring Robert Redford as a liberal Democrat (surprise!) senate candidate from California. Conservatives -- don't sweat the politics of Redford and company. This is a truly superb look at the machinations of a national campaign, and despite its age "The Candidate" is worthy of repeat viewings time and time again.

Posted by Hube at 06:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Don't like their politics?

Then attribute a position to them which they in no way possess -- in order to make a point sharper than your head.

Posted by Hube at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What'd I tell 'ya?

Back on the 2nd, I wrote:

If Republicans squeak out a few of the closer House and Senate races next Tuesday, I predict it will take less than two hours for the apparent losing Democrat candidates to complain about voting [machine] irregularities and/or voter "disenfranchisement."

Now we read this from the Boston-Globe Democrat's Robert Kuttner:

"[U]nless there are levels of theft and fraud that would truly mean the end of American democracy, a Democratic House seems as close to a sure thing as we ever get in American politics three days before an election... November 2006 will be remembered either as the time American democracy was stolen again, maybe forever, or began a brighter day. "

As Michael Graham notes,

I've been saying for two weeks that the fact the Democrats haven't put this election in the bag shows that the American people just aren't quite ready to trust them on national security issues. It is possible--highly unlikely but possible--that the many close races in the House could break the GOP's way. And if they do, Robert Kuttner has already declared the outcome a crime.

Does Kuttner want to launch a formal investigation into how Truman stole the "it's a lock" election from Dewey? Is it time for Michael Deaver to explain how Reagan--who trailed in the polls much of the 1980 campaign--soundly stomped a sitting president on Election Day?

Or could it be that (and I know this is a foreign concept to the American Left) that elections matter? That voters exercise their autonomy one at a time in the privacy of the voting booth?

In a recent "debate" about the possibly "diabolical" nature of electronic voting machines, one verrrry interesting recent news nugget was neglected by me. Recall back in 2004 how [many] Democrats and outright tinfoil-hatters claimed that there must have been some "tampering" of the Ohio voting machines since John Kerry had been leading (however slightly) in the exit polls. This was news to some degree; the usual MSM outlets gave it a bit of credence (although moonbats like Keith Olbermann dedicated numerous shows to the "conspiracy").

But consider how the New York Times treated the recall election of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez back in 2004:

It is time for President Hugo Chávez's opponents to stop pretending that they speak for most Venezuelans. They do not, as the failure of a recall referendum, promoted by the opposition, decisively demonstrated on Sunday.

The opposition, meanwhile, needs to stop shouting foul. It ran a generally inept referendum campaign, failing to unite around a single, credible challenger to Mr. Chávez and failing to distance itself adequately from the oligarchic politics of the discredited past.

The thing is, Chávez was getting trounced in exit polls -- by a range of 12-19%. Chávez backers claimed it was the exit polls that were "fixed." But now -- we're learning of the ties between a Venezuelan electronic voting machine co. that is seeking to sell their machines in the US. Coincidence? And, which country has better security measures to prevent voter fraud -- the US or Chávez's Venezuela?

So,

  • Kerry leading slightly in the exit polls yet loses = GOP electronic voter fraud.

  • Chávez losing heavily in the exit polls yet wins = Chávez opponents should "stop crying" and accept the results.

In other words, "voter fraud" is only an "issue" when Democrats (or leftists) lose, usually closely. In some cases it's truly comical as was the case in Florida in 2000 -- when the so-called "butterfly ballot" that was designed and implemented by Democrats themselves caused Democrat voters to cry foul and demand another chance to vote.

The bottom line is that there should be some sort of paper trail for electronic voting, as well as other common sensical measures such as being required to show a photo ID before casting a vote. (We've had a link to the excellent site Verified Voting.org at right for some time.) Some have argued for a uniform voting method nationwide for [national] elections. I don't have much of a problem with that in principle; however, there certainly may be constitutional hassles, such as Article II, section 1 clause 2: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct ..."

Posted by Hube at 09:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2006

Doogie's gay!

Neil Patrick Harris comes out. Who cares?

I still hate him and anyone associated with that pathetic film version of "Starship Troopers"!!

Posted by Hube at 06:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Maybe George Bush was on the awards panel!

After all, remember that "he doesn't care about black people." Maybe that's what set Kanye West off at the MTV Europe Music Awards!

Posted by Hube at 10:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Battlestar Galactica 3-6

I actually watched this week's "Battlestar Galactica" on Friday night! No VCR magic!

"Torn" essentially is two separate entities: On the Galactica Tigh and Starbuck and busy sowing dissent and discord among the Viper pilots. They believe they suffered inordinately, and basically no one else should complain about their difficulties -- especially those who were onboard the Galactica and/or Pegasus during the occupation. (Hey Tigh -- what's the deal with that craggy looking gauze bandage? Your eye is gone, dude -- get a pirate patch or something, will'ya?) Admiral Adama gets royally pissed off at this, and confronts the two in the mess hall. You know he's pissed when he kicks over Starbuck's chair, knocking her for a royal loop! He asks for Starbuck's sidearm, takes it, informs them that there is one round in it, and tells them to either "straighten up," or "shoot him (Adama) now." Starbuck walks out, while Tigh actually picks up the gun -- but he empties the chamber, puts the gun back down, and leaves -- saying he'll "not be back" -- and proceeds to drink himself silly.

Elsewhere, Baltar is "enjoying" the company of his Cylon "hosts" on a base-ship. The humanoid Cylons inform him that they are searching for Earth too -- they want it to be their new home! The Cylons know Baltar did extensive research into Earth's location, and they want that knowledge. Part of Baltar's diggings revealed a double pulsar system in a nebula, and so the Cylons dispatch a base-ship to investigate. But soon they receive a distress call -- something is killing the Cylons, some "infection." Baltar offers to investigate as he's potentially immune, and the Cylons agree. Upon searching the "infected" base-ship, Baltar discovers a piece of human machinery that might be the source of the "infection." He decides to withhold this info from the Cylons for the time being, however.

Also, it is revealed that the Cylons have a "hybrid" Cylon that essentially acts like a humanoid super-computer. Is this an homage to the "Galactica 1980's" Dr. Zee character? Nevertheless, the hybrid looks like one of the "pre-cogs" from "Minority Report" -- definitely a female who's sitting in a vat of viscous liquid with all sorts of wires running in and out of her.

But the BIGGIE: Baltar realizes that humanity may now have the means to rid themselves of the Cylon threat -- forever! We see in the scenes for next week's episode that the Galactica learns of this potential Cylon-destroying infection, and then debates what to do. Here's where I started shaking my head. One of the scenes showed Helo stating "If we do this, we'll be no better than they are."

Excuse me, but HUH?????

Once again, as Bruce Dickinson (at left) would say, "That's ... that's not workin' for me." Let's follow this:

  • Humans create Cylons.
  • Cylons (machines) used as essentially slave labor.
  • Cylons gain self-awareness, and rebel.
  • Human-Cylon wars occur, taking place over some 40-50 years.
  • Armistice agreed upon, whereupon a space station meeting place is established for [cultural, political, etc.] contacts once per year.
  • Cylons never show up at once/year meetings; humans always send a representative.
  • During the 40+ years of peace, Cylons plan to infiltrate human society and to eradicate humanity once and for all.
  • Cylons, with the assistance of genius Gaius Baltar, successfully infiltrate [human] 12 Colonies' defense grid, setting up a totally defenseless humanity for the last Cylon invasion.
  • Cylons invade 12 Colonies, bombarding from orbit all twelve planets with nuclear weapons, and annihilating all defensive threats (like Battlestars) in large part due to a computer virus which shuts down any and all networked computer systems.
  • The Battlestar Galactica, which was to be decommissioned due to its old age, survives the initial Cylon onslaught mainly because its commander, Bill Adama, refused to allow networked computers on the ship.
  • The Galactica leads the 40,000+ human survivors in fleeing the Cylon threat, and begins search for [possibly mythical] "13th colony," known as Earth.
  • After months of running, the human fleet discovers a human-suitable planet, and new president Gaius Baltar orders the fleet to settle what comes to be known as "New Caprica."
  • A year later, New Caprica is discovered by the Cylons. They invade and occupy the planet, subjugating the humans there to torture, killings and just plain squalid living conditions. The Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus, in orbit about New Caprica for defense, flee the planet when the Cylons arrive, because they're massively outnumbered.
  • Months later, Galactica and Pegasus mount rescue mission; humans flee New Caprica en masse.
  • Humanity's total numbers have dwindled further. Barely 40 thousand humans are left out of tens -- possibly hundreds -- of billions of the 12 Colonies' population.
  • The human fleet discovers potential method of obliterating the Cylon threat once and for all.
  • Humans debate whether they should make use of this potential Cylon-destroying weapon.

Again, HUH???? Would humanity rather become extinct than "sink to the Cylons' level"? Apparently some humans in the fleet believe just that. Helo probably does because he and humanoid Cylon Sharon had a child together. Bully for them.

Here we have another possible connection to the "war on terror": Do we "stoop to the terrorists' level" by utilizing torture ourselves (or whatever is close enough to it) and restricting certain civil liberties? That's about ALL this line of the thinking should make you do -- just think about it. Because ultimately, there is no comparison to be made. To me, I just cannot fathom why the human survivors would not jump at any chance to wipe out their Cylon killers. A more apt comparison would be World War II where the Axis powers were set on world domination, and engaged in genocide in part to achieve it. Yet, there is still debate on the morality of the atomic bombings, and the firebombing of Dresden, Germany.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard made a similar -- unpopular with the Federation higher-ups -- choice when he refused to introduce a computer program that could have destroyed the Federation's greatest threat (at that time), the Borg. In a later episode, Picard was given a royal chewing out by a Starfleet admiral for not taking the opportunity to snuff out the Borg. (Indeed -- had Picard followed through, there never would have been the need to make the 11th Trek film, "First Contact"!)

In Fred Saberhagen's "Berserker" series, humanity (and a few other races of the galaxy) are faced with extermination from what are dubbed the "Berserkers" -- self-replicating machines that are programmed to destroy all life. In all the "Berserker" stories I read, there was precious little vacillation over whether humanity (and the Milky Way's other sentient species) should attempt to destroy the killing machines. I mean, gee, let's see -- the machines are trying to completely annihilate us after all!

In [my] oft-mentioned Heinlein Starship Troopers, humanity likewise has little qualms about cleaning out a race of spider-like intelligent insects that are trying to destroy any and all humans they encounter. Indeed, although the invasion ends up being a disaster, the spiders' home planet was invaded by humans at one point; the only reason it wasn't utterly blown away was that the military wanted to rescue the untold numbers of human prisoners first.

Survival is the most basic of human traits. Faced with continued life, or ultimate death by an intractible enemy, which would humans choose? For me, the answer is simple: life. As we might say here in America, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." That is, if we are faced with a major threat to our existence, do we deal with the threat with all means at our disposal, or do we fall -- constrained by the very rules which we ourselves established?

Posted by Hube at 09:17 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Believe in color-blindness? "You just don't get it"

The National Education Association (NEA) thinks that if its teachers believe in color-blindness, well, frankly, they're misguided. In the latest issue of NEA Today, the monthly highlights, of all places, Seattle schools which utilize the severely divisive "Courageous Conversations" and have a rather ... unique definition of racism are now making use of a teaching "strategy" dubbed "culturally responsive teaching." They believe it the key -- the KEY -- to closing the ever-present "achievement gap," that chasm between white student academic achievement and that of minority (black, primarily) students.

"The challenge is to find better ways to connect to the realities of what students know and live," says Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, an Emory University researcher and advocate for culturally responsive teaching. Oh, in other words do what good teachers would be expected to do! Good thing we have "researchers" like Ms. Irvine to guide our teachers, eh? And what are some good examples of "culturally responsive teaching?" Take a look:

Culturally responsive teaching is not about one lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. during Black History Month. It is not serving tacos in the cafeteria on Cinco de Mayo. Beyond heroes and holidays, it is about understanding students' home life, their language, music, dress, behavior, jokes, ideas about success, the role of religion and community in their lives, and more. It is bringing the experiences of their 24-hour day into the seven-hour school day to give them information in a familiar context. Like the teacher in Atlanta who conducts a geometry lesson by talking about geometric patterns in Mexican pottery and African kente cloth and has students bring in examples from home.

I'd be incredibly interested in just how many Hispanic students would be "drawn in" to such a geometry lesson because "Mexican pottery" was utilized, or how many black students would be enthralled by the use of an "African kente cloth." Do African-American students really get motivated by things like a kente cloth?? Wouldn't examples closer to home be more relevant? Let's go even further -- why not make it really relevant in some students' cases? Teachers could make up test questions like the sample SAT question proposed by Professor James Loewen (author of the book Lies My Teacher Told Me):

Saturday Ajax got an LD:

a) He had smoked too much grass
b) He tripped out on drugs
c) He brought her to his apartment
d) He showed it off to his fox
e) He became wised up

(Via Illiberal Education.)

Would that be "teaching in the context of [the students'] community" as Magda Costantino, a Washington researcher and academic who designed a reading curriculum that incorporates American Indian culture, says?

In the late 1990s, however, Meany Middle School's reputation was dismal and race could no longer be ignored. Test scores were low. Discipline problems were high. Although the neighborhoods surrounding it are now seeing more middle-class growth, they were then largely poor. Race and poverty are the most significant factors in Meany's students' performance, says principal Princess Shareef, so when Seattle Public Schools decided to start implementing culturally responsive teaching district-wide four years ago, her school was a ripe target for the improvement it could bring.

"Race and poverty are the most significant factors ..."? How so? Poverty can play a tangible role in education (lack of proper nutrition, poor living conditions) but how precisely does race play a "significant" factor in student performance -- other than how it may be connected with some other factor? Glenn Singleton, founder of "Courageous Conversations," would have you (teachers, actually) believe that the "most devastating" factor contributing to [black] student underachievement is institutionalized racism:

"It is our belief that the most devastating factor contributing to the lowered achievement of students of color is institutionalized racism," Singleton writes (with co-author Curtis Linton) in his recent book Courageous Conversations About Race. White teachers (and minority teachers co-opted into the white power structure) stymie black and Hispanic students because they fail to understand their cultures and how daily racial oppression affects their outlook. They also push a curriculum tooled for whites, and are ignorant of the special ways that blacks and Hispanics communicate.

"We will shine the light on racial dominance to uncover how Whiteness challenges the performance of students of color while shaping and reinforcing the racial perspective of White children," Singleton and Linton promise.

This is the program by which Seattle (and other) school districts actually hope -- and "hope" is the key word -- will close the achievement gap. Consider: It is not poverty, it is not lack of an educationally conducive homelife, it is not lack of [parental] structure ... factors like these that are primarily responsible for the achievement gap. It is because white teachers "perpetuate the white power structure" and thus hinder minority student progress. Amazing then, that Asian students -- despite the "ravages" of this despicable institutionalized racist white power monolith -- manage to outperform their white "masters."

Consider the irony: During the Civil Rights movement, Americans were taught to "see each other without regards to race" ... that we were all Americans regardless of color. In other words, "color-blindness." But we've come full circle now, so to speak. Now, disregarding race can get you in hot water:

Despite Seattle's top-to-bottom adoption of a culturally responsive approach, "we have wonderful teachers and leaders who don't get it," Caprice Hollins, director of the district's office of equity and race relations, says. Not because they're bad teachers. Rather, "they think that this should be a colorblind society where race doesn't — or shouldn't —matter."

There you have it. You may be a terrific instructor, but if you don't buy into the notion that race is some educationally all-encompassing behemoth, "you don't get it." "You don't get it" if you believe in a color-blind society. And what conclusion does this logically lead to? If you refuse to "get it," if you continue your belief that Americans should treat each other without regards to race, then you are ... racist.

Today at John Rosenberg's excellent Discriminations is a perfect example of leftist "new-think" with regards to the philosophy of color-blindness:

It (color-blindness) was merely a tactical first step on the road to his (Berkeley law prof. Ian F. Haney López) version of equality. When that tactic was no longer useful, it was sloughed off like the dead skin of a snake, and its opposite — a demand for color conscious racial preference — was conveniently embraced. Colorblindness came to be seen as the problem, not the solution, in large part because racial discrimination was no longer regarded as the primary evil to be cured.

A few years ago, Harry Brighouse, professor of philosophy and affiliate professor of education policy studies UW-Madison, and contributor to the left-leaning Crooked Timber blog, dissected this entire philosophy (specifically "Courageous Conversations"). Some of the more powerful excerpts (my emphasis):

True, an achievement gap remains even after we control for wealth. But a good part of that gap closes when we control for grandparental wealth. The injuries of class take a long time to heal.

Some part of the achievement gap does seem to be explained by race, though much less than the district assumes.

The second assumption the Conversations approach makes is that what is explained by race can by addressed by making teachers face up to their own privilege and racism. The problem, in other words, is in the attitudes of teachers and other district employees. But we have evidence to the contrary.

... the Conversations approach demoralizes teachers, without any demonstrable benefit for disadvantaged children. Any one of the measures I've described above, unglamorous as they are, might actually benefit the disadvantaged, without demoralizing anyone. Teachers are not the problem, and they should not be told that they are.

Indeed. The most recent edition of Academic Questions, the quarterly journal of the National Association of Scholars, is just the latest scholarly report which refutes Singleton's thesis that institutionalized racism is the main factor contributing to the achievement gap. It features an article that states schools can actually do very little to slim the achievement gap as the "gap" begins at the earliest ages -- the prime years for personal cognitive development. Family influences prior to age 5, the report says, result in just about all of the achievement gap by age 11.

(Thanks to Hube for the research and writing assist.)

Posted by Felix at 07:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 02, 2006

Prediction

If Republicans squeak out a few of the closer House and Senate races next Tuesday, I predict it will take less than two hours for the apparent losing Democrat candidates to complain about voting [machine] irregularities and/or voter "disenfranchisement."

Posted by Hube at 07:51 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

What Accent Do You Have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
Boston
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

(h/t: Bronwen.)

Posted by Hube at 05:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 01, 2006

Maybe he's not the Hollywood hack ...

... I thought he was. Duffy notes that Alec Baldwin did the right thing and asked that his voice be removed from a film for which he did voice-over about Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also returned the payment he got for the job. How come? The film attempted to link Ah-nuld to Naziism.

Baldwin has said some really detestable things about Republicans over the years, most notably perhaps (as Duffy notes) calling for the stoning of [Republican House member] Henry Hyde. But this redeems him quite a bit in my eyes. That, and he gets more redeemed every time I watch (or in this case, hear a portion of) his cameo from "Glengarry Glen Ross."

Posted by Hube at 06:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Battlestar Galactica 3-5

Again, utilizing the high technology of the timer on my VCR, I taped the Monday replay of Friday's "Battlestar Galactica" ... and finally viewed it whilst handing out candy to the soon-to-be-tooth decayed youth of my neighborhood.

"Collaborators" deals with the after-effects of the exodus from New Caprica -- the intense hatred the survivors have for those whom they believe collaborated with the Cylon leadership, and the "secret" tribunal used to track the collaborators down and "administer justice" to these traitors. Lee Adama is shown reporting to his father that "people have been reported missing," and Bill thinks he knows what's up. What he discovers shocks him: Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) had issued a presidential executive order authorizing the secret tribunal (dubbed "The Circle") to dispatch of the New Caprica human collaborators discovered among the escapees in the fleet. Adama and Roslin (who later reassumes the presidency -- with Zarek as veep) are aghast at Zarek's mode of thinking, and demand a stop be put to the executions.

What assisted in Adama et. al. discovering the truth was when one of the believed collaborators -- Baltar assistant Felix Gaeta -- is proven to actually have been the key to the human resistance; it was he who provided the insurgency with needed information about Cylon plans and tactics. Chief Tyrol, at the last moment before Gaeta is about to be tossed out the airlock, cuts Gaeta loose ... and The Circle's activities are revealed.

I've basically given up attempting to make "connections" from Galactica to the current war of terror (or Iraq). For instance, you may see sort of a connection between The Circle's method of "quick justice" and that of the US using [secret] military tribunals against al Qaeda terrorists. Is Zarek's method more appropriate for such terrorists -- or is Adama's and Roslin's, who want a full jury trial? Regarding collaborators -- is there an analogy to be made between the human-Cylon collabs and Iraqis who assist American troops in Iraq?

I don't think so. As Bruce Dickinson (at left) would say, "That's ... that's not workin' for me." A better comparison would be the Vichys in France during WW II who assisted the Nazis. The Nazis, like the Cylons, utilized genocide to achieve their goal(s). The Americans in Iraq acted to prevent such a heinous act. The insurgents in Iraq (many of whom are from outside the country) are acting to preserve an extreme form of Islam -- a form that seeks world domination. This has more in common with the Cylons' goals than America's -- further evidence that straight analogy-making just won't cut it with Galactica. This is what makes Galactica such a great watch. The writers (one of which is the awesome Mark Verheiden) are always keeping us off-balance.

Posted by Hube at 04:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack