Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Scamming for School Supplies

If you are in a hurry these days, don't visit Target, especially if you are wearing a red t-shirt. This week is "Frantic Housewives Looking for School Supplies from Pawed Over Stock Week."

I went looking for school supplies today (all right, I procrastinated). I was wearing my Wisconsin Badger t-shirt ... bright red. Five housewives stopped me and asked me questions. The first kind of baffled me. I tried to help at first, but it wasn't until she asked if I had one of those "scanner things" to check a price did I realize her error.

The next woman to ask me a question was staring blankly into an empty bin where glue stick had formerly resided. She asked if there were any. I looked inside, looked at her a bit askance, and said "No." Then she asked if any would be coming in soon. I apologized and said I didn't work for Target. She apologized also and said it was the shirt. Then I noticed that red also happened to be the color of the shirts customer service associates at Target wore. There were five within ten feet of us. Apparently I looked more helpful.

Though, I couldn't help but wonder why the big Badger on the front of my t-shirt didn't give my identity away.

Anyway, three others asked me for help. I was having fun and not being in a hurry I walked them around to different aisles, pointed out deals and made suggestions of other stores to visit.

Before leaving, I asked a real customer service person whether any glue sticks would be arriving soon. She didn't know.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fat Chance

The successor to the Hindenburg, Rush Limbaugh, thinks obesity is the fault of liberals. During a portion of his radio show, Limbaugh blamed "the left," "food stamps," and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for "the latest crisis" of "obesity among those who are impoverished." He also said:

I think you might then say that the obesity crisis could be the fault of government, liberal government. Food stamps, all those -- you know, I'm gonna tell you people a story. I -- just, well, the government, you could say, is killing these people because we know obesity kills, and the government's killing the poor. The Bush administration is killing the poor with too much food.

And so, now, we find out that there is obesity and all this amongst the poor more than amongst those who are not poor. It's sort of a textbook case of what happens when we let liberals have their way.

That's right. Food kills. Or, as one commenter at Media Matters put it:
Hell, if anything, they're the ones that promote obesity by perpetuating poverty and making healthy foods too expensive for poor folks. Wanna know why the welfare mom spends her food stamps on junk food? Because it's cheaper than fruits and veggies.
I suppose the 46.6 million Americans without health insurance should be thankful. You know ... too much health coverage kills, according to Limbaugh’s logic.

Understanding Falwell

During his August 27 televised sermon, Jerry Falwell (sorry, he does not deserve the honorific of reverend) stated the following:
I expect the Lord to return in the 21st century to Rapture at his church. Now, I can't prove that. I cannot prove that the Lord is gonna come in this century. No one knows the day or the hour, but in my heart I believe it because there are no more predicted events that need to happen before our Lord can return.

Translation: I'm getting smarter. I figure that there are 994 years left in this century. I'll be long gone before its end and if the Lord does not return, no skin off my carcass.
I expect a global economy in the 21st century, which first will manifest itself as a cashless society. I believe that plastic will take the place of cash, and that while this will only be fulfilled during the tribulation period at the Rapture, I believe that God is setting the stage for, and laying the infrastructure for, a cashless society right now. Most people, many pay their bills online already. And the day will come, I believe, when there will be no cash, and the only way you can get cash and trade and to do business is to [points to his forehead] have the mark of the beast.

Translation: So, send checks to this address as soon as possible.

Multiply and Prosper

Terry Randall, executive director of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group, today announced that doctors who cause cancerous cells to commit suicide will be targeted in the same way that doctors who perform legal abortions have been ... fatally. Randall said, “We are pro-life, and thus pro-cancer. Only g-o-d can take a life … he told me so last night.”

When asked if god speaks to him very often, Randall responded: “Only on Thursdays for some reason and only if I’ve had a bagel with cream cheese. God likes Jewish foods.”

Others speculate indigestion may be the cause of Randall’s communications, or schizophrenia.

h/t Mixter's Mix


-- Working for Change

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hey Hey ... The Kids are Okay

The little league team from Columbus, GA just finished off the Japanese club 2-1 in the finals of the Little League World Series. I watched most of the game. Damn, these kids are good.

Most impressed by the sportsmanship. The U.S. pitcher hit a Japanese batter near the end of the game. He went over to make sure he was all right. After the game, it was touching to see the shots of some of the Japanese kids in tears over their team's defeat, and to see the entire U.S. team go over to shake their rivals' hands.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Fountain of Love

This blog post comes about after reading a post by Clint at Milwaukee ID10T entitled “Self Esteem.” Surprisingly enough, I don’t agree with Clint, but this time, not in the adversarial sense … merely because I think that while his intentions are good, I think he misses a larger point.

He writes how his eight-year old daughter beat him at Connect Four. I’ve played this game and it is challenging. Clint says that she and he had played 10-15 times previously … all victories for Dad. But this time he could tell she was looking a few moves ahead and when she did defeat him, he was very proud and he could tell that her confidence had grown ... and her self esteem.

In this sense, Clint is correct. Anytime a child is victorious in game playing will a boost to self esteem occur. Playing is the way children learn and positive experiences are the desired result. But being victorious is not the only way in which improvements in self esteem occur, as Clint hints at. What about the 10-15 times that she was not victorious at Connect Four? According to Clint’s statement, her self esteem should not have improved. She did not win.

Now, in a sense, that’s not fair because I’ve no doubt that Clint loves his daughter very much. Just the fact that he is playing games with her, teaching her how to hit a baseball, how to ride a bicycle, taking the time to be with his daughter … all are signs of a deep love. I’ll bet that during those times that his daughter was unsuccessful at hitting a baseball, fell off her bike or was defeated at Connect Four, Clint was right there offering advice and encouragement.

It’s so sad that more children have not had the opportunity to experience the love that Clint’s daughter has experienced in her short life. She knows she is worthwhile and she is beginning to learn that she can accomplish anything to which she bends her mind or will. How does she know this? She know this because of love. Love is the fountain from which self esteem flows.

It’s sad that our schools have been forced to acknowledge that a lack of self esteem is so apparent in so many of its students, and it’s sad that the schools have even had to try to rectify this deficiency. Think of all the turmoil in Milwaukee’s inner city. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately, artificially encouraging self esteem in school usually does not overcome the lack of nurturing at home.

A child that is not nurtured and cared for will not have self esteem … no matter how many victories that child may achieve. I wonder if Mike Tyson, who achieved greatness for a short period of time, wouldn’t be willing to give all that up for parents who cared.

So, I am not going to get into the ulterior reasons why Clint wrote his post, even though I suspect it was not all about his daughter succeeding. Rather, thank you, Clint, for the look into your life and the lives of your family. I hope the self esteem your daughter is developing will be enough to ward off all the hate in the world and help her to find that which is good and to contribute good to the world.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Good Night

Can't take credit for this ... but I forget where I saw it.

This should come as no surpise to those who read or listen to the hapless Jessica McBride. Islamofascist, their newest fun term for terrorists (I think it's used to divert attention from some conservative's love of jack boots) is a contradiction in terms, i.e.: fascism is a corporate government state, and Islamic fundamentalism is a call for an Islamic theocracy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rush Limbaugh is at it again. Regarding the newest segment of

Wednesday Ruminations

Been busy this week preparing the house for the invasion of the general contractor. Thursday is a walk-through for the big event starting Monday ... the removal of the roof over the garage. Eventually, an entire second floor will be added ... two bedrooms (master bedroom included) with huge walk-in closet and master bathroom. Very exciting. With luck all will be finished before the turn of the new year ... then baby will arrive in January.

Consequently, not much time for blogging. A couple of notes.

Peter at Texas Hold'em Blogger and I actually had a cordial turn at commenting over at Boots and Sabers (during the McBride/Robinson spat). There may be hope for the world. Have not heard from Clint for awhile. Oh well.

Chris and I are no longer friendly. Oh stop kidding ... we never were.

I think that Mike at Pundit Nation has a great site and it's getting better as he practices more. I especially like Anne's comments and the ongoing look at Mandy (the poor suck) Jenkins blog.

James wins tongue-in-cheek award for 2006 hands down (even with four months to go).

Mixter and Billiam are becoming fast friends. Enjoy their comments.

And, free advice: Enjoy those simple moments. Gave my five-year old daughter a bath today. We both had a good laugh looking in the mirror and making horns and other shapes with her shampoo-heavy hair. The giggling of children is fine music.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Wacky Tale from Ian

It happened last Saturday. Evan and I were camping in my back yard. We were telling jokes and eating pizzas when we heard an odd, large noise coming from the television. We thought it sounded like a talking penquin.

Bravely, Evan farted to the penquin. I heard tiny music and fell to my friend. Right before my eyes I saw Evan disappear and then reappear as a peculiar, 259,000,000–foot dog. I drove! But then the dog punched and said, “I'm starving. Got any pop tarts?”

“Wa-wah-where's Evan?” I stammered.

“What's wrong with you? I am Evan!”

That's when I fainted.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Where's the Beef?

I really don’t know where to begin. I read Jessica McBride’s sophomoric take on the warrantless NSA wiretapping case in Saturday's Waukesha Freeman and came away thinking, before finishing this sentence, that I was wrong calling her take sophomoric. Juvenile is more apropos.

Her beef is with the decision by Judge Anna Diggs Taylor that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program of warrantless wiretapping was illegal. Heady stuff. Quite possibly a decision that will have far-reaching implications regarding the right to privacy, freedom of speech and how broad is a president’s power during a time of national duress.

But rather than engage in a thoughtful review of the decision, she chooses instead to begin her long rambling screed with an ad hominem attack and silly ideological rant: Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who ruled against the government, was appointed by Jimmy Carter. Therefore, her ruling is incorrect.

All right, I’m convinced. It was Jimmy Carter’s fault after all! Snicker.

Anyway, leaving aside that Judge Diggs probably has three times the intellect of pinhead McBride, the real issue in this case is what she did not address. Namely …

Warrants are required for wiretaps! It’s the law. And, these can only be issued by judges and there has to be a pretty darn good reason (otherwise known as probable cause). Are you following, Jessica? This is really not that hard.

Also, there are these pesky things called federal statutes. One of these says that the government must obtain a warrant to wiretap. Said warrant can be obtained from a federal district court. Or, the warrant can be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (or FISA court) if a foreign government is suspected to be the employer of the person to be wiretapped.

But there’s the rub. The Bushies get annoyed when little legal safeguards like judges, FISA, the Bill of Rights, get in their way. According to McBride, we Americans should not worry because if we are not breaking the law, who cares if our calls are broken into. Sounds like the argument used in Germany in the ‘30s and ‘40s … “Those Jews must have done something wrong if they’re being taken away.”

The problem with McBride’s argument and that of the government is documented well by Erwin Chemerinsky (the Alston & Bird professor of law and political science at Duke University):

The president’s claim of executive authority to ignore the Fourth Amendment and violate federal laws in the name of protecting national security has no apparent limits. Under the Bush administration’s argument, federal law enforcement could seemingly go into anyone’s home, at any time, without a warrant by claiming that it might better catch terrorists. There is simply no obvious stopping point, and that’s what makes the president’s claim of broad executive power so alarming. Nor is there any reason to believe that warrantless wiretapping is needed to protect national security. The administration could have gone to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves 99 percent of all government requests for warrants. Under the procedures of the court, it even could have gotten the warrant after the surveillance had been done.

Well, you get the idea. The Bush administration doesn’t think itself bound by law. Nor does McBride think law necessary, which is surprising. She calls herself a journalist, a member of the Fifth Estate. Her duty is to ensure that government does not overstep its authority and report when it does to the citizens of the nation. Instead she rambles on about smarminess, and dismisses the plaintiffs because they are groups or members of groups she does not agree with. For goodness sake, one she heckles is Christopher Hitchens, a conservative writer for Vanity Fair. Of course, his credentials are reduced to being called an annoying and snobby magazine scribe by the inimitable McBride. Such a legal beagle!

If McBride had dug a little deeper, she would have found that Hitchens is not the only conservative to have issues with the Bush administration. Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) praised the decision striking down the warrantless wiretap program, writing in an August 17 statement on his personal website:

"This is a win for all Americans -- Judge Taylor has upheld the Constitution in her ruling and has defended the privacy rights of all Americans against overreaching federal power." Barr added: "[W]hile we all support the Administration in its efforts to discover and thwart possible terrorist acts, including listening in on al Qaeda communications, our laws provide for a legal way for the government to proceed, and perhaps in light of this ruling the Administration will actually follow those laws."

Washington Post columnist George F. Will wrote in a December 20, 2005, column:

On the assumption that Congress or a court would have been cooperative in September 2001, and that the cooperation could have kept necessary actions clearly lawful without conferring any benefit on the nation's enemies, the president's decision to authorize the NSA's surveillance without the complicity of a court or Congress was a mistake. Perhaps one caused by this administration's almost metabolic urge to keep Congress unnecessarily distant and hence disgruntled.

She is at her worst (being sarcastic) when she wonders why Hitchens and his cohorts are even communicating with suspected terrorists, and why haven’t they informed the government of where these terrorist are. Oh, I get it. Al-Qaeda contacted the ACLU and Christopher Hitchens to disclose their plans for the big follow up to 9-11. Oh my, those darn card-carrying anti-Americans.

That she probably doesn’t believe a thing she writes is demonstrated in these two sentences:

The obvious questions are why Hitchens and his cohorts are communicating with suspected terrorists anyway and why they aren’t telling the government where they are.

And …

Which still makes one wonder why Christopher Hitchens wants to call a bunch of Islamic fascist terrorists.

Well, let’s see. We went from communicating with suspected terrorists to calling a bunch of Islamic Fascist terrorists. Suspected terrorists. Real terrorists. Which is it, Jessica?

The real problem with the decision is one that McBride lightly steps on … the appeal of the matter before the 6th Court. Here McBride displays a mighty effort of intellectual curiosity and journalistic acumen … “Many legal experts believe the 6th Circuit is going to overturn the ruling anyway.”

That’s it! Earth shattering in its simplicity. Snicker, again.

She might have looked up a fine piece by Reynolds Holding entitled, “Why the Wiretapping Ruling Is Vulnerable.” He reckons that:

…Taylor's opinion is remarkably thin on legal reasoning, leaving it vulnerable to getting reversed by the generally conservative Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Worse, the opinion's provocative, almost dismissive, language gives weight to criticism that this decision was more about politics than the law.

The article is worth reading. And, I happen to agree with his conclusion. One hopes that the 6th Circuit (conservatives outnumbering liberals 8-6) will discover some independent thinking and continue to rule against the Bush administration’s abuses to our rights.

Ah, independent thinking. Will there ever be a day when Charlie, er, McBride, exhibits any? Likely not.

Friday, August 18, 2006

More lies, another war, the death toll soars

-- by John Sugg

"Never has so much military and economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively, and if after all this time, and all of this sacrifice, and of all this support, there is no end in sight, then I say for the American people to turn to new leadership not tied to the mistakes and policies of the past."-- Richard Nixon, 1968

In August 1939, German soldiers dressed as Poles seized a German radio station and broadcast an inflammatory message. It was the justification the Nazis cited for launching what would become World War II.

Six years later, what began as a "false flag" provocation ended after the deaths of 48 million people.

In August 1964, the United States claimed North Vietnamese boats had attacked two of our destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The uncritical press -- practicing "war enabling" that would be the norm by the time George W. Bush became president -- trumpeted the administration spin. The New York Times, for example, reported: "President Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and 'certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam' after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin."

Decades later, a book by investigative author Tom Wells, The War Within: America's Battle Over Vietnam, detailed elements of Johnson's lie. Rather than a "response" to provocation, LBJ's escalation really "reflected plans the administration had already drawn up for gradually increasing" attacks on North Vietnam. We wanted all-out war and we got it, based on a lie, at the cost of 50,000 American lives and 2 million, maybe 3 million, Vietnamese.

And, so now in August 2006, we learn -- if we're diligent because newspapers such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are burying the story or not printing it at all -- that the destruction of a democracy, Lebanon, was not mere "tit for tat" by Israel.

You Say Potato, I Say Hyperbole

I think it fair to say that Dean Mundy, author of the blog Musings of a Thoughtful Conservative, and a part-time community columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is widely respected on both the left and right sides of the cheddarsphere. I know I have appreciated his approach to issues, if not agreeing with them always.

But recently, Dean decided to become involved in comments over at The Xoff Files regarding a piece titled "A tax-exempt GOP rally and hate fest." I suspect the real reason Dean became so upset was because the event targeted by Xoff was one that Dean attended. Maybe not. But the exchange occurred over this portion of an article written by an insider at the event.
Vicki McKenna, conservative radio host at WIBA-AM 1310 in Madison, urged the audience to challenge the "left-ended world view" of the mainstream media "until we kill them," she said, "until they are deader than dead."

A blogger/commenter named George Roberts responded to this.

And such a frustration with the media, Owen, that the audience was called upon to kill them? Would that include Ms. McBride, still a newspaper columnist in the MSM? Or just how many hours a week does one have to be in journalistic employment to merit murder? Do you require an 8-hour workday? Or is one a prorated target if working part-time in the MSM? That kind of talk would get Ms. McKenna hauled away at airport security, I would hope, but it was okay at your convention? So much for the kinder, gentler country brought to us by the conservative revolution.

At this point, Dean intervened.

I attended it also, saw and visited the Libertarian party booth, heard one panel led by Sheriff David Clarke, who, in spite of protestations from the Left, is still a Democrat, and listened to another one which Mikel Holt, a self-confessed independent, sat on. A conservative convention, perhaps, but certainly not a Republican one.

I'm surprised the left takes the phrases about killing so literally. Must never have played sports where killing is mentioned with no one contemplating homicide.

One of the "nuts," I guess.

Aside from the silliness regarding Sheriff Clarke, whom we all know could not win if he ran as a Republican, and Mikel Holt, who is a creation of Charlie Sykes if there ever was one, this was too much … associating threats of murder with sports. So I responded.

There's a heck of a difference between yelling as a team (for example) ... "Let's kill'em, go Tigers" ... and pointing out individuals or groups of individuals for murder.

I would have thought you knew that difference, Dean. Not very thoughtful in this case.

Dean retaliated with this.

Well, let's see, Tim, the writer described it as a "pep rally". Do you really think they were calling for murder?

I would have to question your literary skills, then.

Oh, come on, I thought. Needing to respond, I said:

No need to get snippy.It was the author's decision to use those words. I think Ms. McKenna's phrasing was a little more ominous. Big difference!

My literary skills are fine, thank you.

Dean came right back:

It was hyperbole. Good grief, in a public place, someone is going to call for someone's murder? I can't believe you guys would take that literally. I can't wait for the next time a liberal speaks in hyperbole.

At which point I decided to quit. But only briefly, so I could comment in length here. First of all, a description of the word hyperbole from the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary.

Etymology: Latin, from Greek hyperbolE excess, hyperbole, hyperbola, from hyperballein to exceed, from hyper- + ballein to throw -- more at DEVIL: extravagant exaggeration (as "mile-high ice-cream cones")

Exaggeration ... as in mile-high ice cream cones, or sleeping for a year, or a book weighing a ton … you, know, nasty stuff. Stuff that kids do all the time. I’ve even told my kids a million times not to exaggerate.

THESE are samples of hyperbole. Notice that these samples really couldn’t, wouldn’t happen. Now, check this one out.

"Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized."

Sterilized? My children like to draw. Are they bound to be sterilized for this? Well, of course not, because as Dean would say, "It’s hyperbole. "

The author of that hyperbole was Adolf Hitler. Ach, that Fuhrer, he’s such a kidder.

I do not know if the previous quote was ever said in public, which seems to define a true hyperbole for Dean. But the following were said in public by Adolf.

I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work. (speech in PUBLIC before the Reichstag in 1933)
My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognised these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognise more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice...and if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. (Speech in PUBLIC Munich (12 April 1922)

We all know what happened to the Jews in Europe. Just hyperbole, right?

I’ve only chosen to use Adolf Hitler as a source of refutation. I’m sure that the works of Josef Stalin, Mao, etc. would provide more fodder. Still not convinced that anyone in their right mind would say such “hyperbole” in public?

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?" (Glenn Beck)
In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he "did it," even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate. (Ann Coulter, regarding Bill Clinton)

If a liberal were to say something like this – and I have no doubt some fool has – the conservative media would be all over it, as would legion of liberals. However, a conservative says it and the response from their media and their partisans is, “It’s hyperbole.”

I still have much respect for Dean. But, IT IS NEVER HYPERBOLE WHEN LIVES ARE THREATENED.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See?

So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, "Whad'l'ya have, pardner?" and Osama says...

But wait a minute. I'd better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, "Security is no joking matter." But if security's no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to dump my Frappuccino and take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank the Lord the "shoe bomber" didn't carry Semtex in his underpants.

Today's a RED and ORANGE ALERT day. How odd. They just caught the British guys with the chemistry sets. But when these guys were about to blow up airliners, the USA was on YELLOW alert. That's a "lowered" threat notice.

According to the press office from the Department of Homeland Security, lowered-threat Yellow means that there were no special inspections of passengers or cargo. Isn't it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half our security forces are given the day off? Hmm. I asked an Israeli security expert why his nation doesn't use these pretty color codes.

He asked me if, when I woke up, I checked the day's terror color. "I can't say I ever have. I mean, who would?"

He smiled. "The terrorists."

America is the only nation on the planet that kindly informs bombers, hijackers and berserkers the days on which they won't be monitored. You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to get a jump on George Bush's team.

There are three possible explanations for the Administration's publishing a good-day-for-bombing color guidebook.

1. God is on Osama's side.
2. George is on Osama's side.
3. Fear sells better than sex.

A gold star if you picked #3.

I'm going to tell you something which is straight-up heresy: America is not under attack by terrorists. There is no WAR on terror because, except for one day five years ago, al Qaeda has pretty much left us alone.

That's because Osama got what he wanted. There's no mystery about what Al Qaeda was after. Like everyone from the Girl Scouts to Bono, Osama put his wish on his web site. He had a single demand: "Crusaders out of the land of the two Holy Places." To translate: get US troops out of Saudi Arabia.

And George Bush gave it to him. On April 29, 2003, two days before landing on the aircraft carrier Lincoln, our self-described "War President" quietly put out a notice that he was withdrawing our troops from Saudi soil. In other words, our cowering cowboy gave in whimpering to Osama's demand.

The press took no note. They were all wiggie over Bush's waddling around the carrier deck in a disco-aged jump suit announcing, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." But it wasn't America's mission that was accomplished, it was Osama's.

Am I saying there's no danger, no threat? Sure there is: 46 million Americans don't have health insurance. IBM is legally stealing from its employees' pension plan and United Airlines has dumped its pensions altogether. Four-million three-hundred thousand Americans were injured, made sick or killed by their jobs last year. TXU Corporation is right now building four monster-sized power plants in Texas that will burn skuzzy gunk called "lignite." The filth it will pour into the sky will snuff a heck of a lot more Americans than some goofy group of fanatics with bottles of hydrogen peroxide.

But Americans don't ask for real protection from what's killing us. The War on Terror is the Weapon of Mass Distraction. Instead of demanding health insurance, we have 59 million of our fellow citizens pooping in their pants with fear of Al Qaeda, waddling to the polls, crying, "Georgie save us!"

And what does he give us? In my own small town, the federal government has paid for loading an SUV with .50 caliber machine guns to watch for an Al Qaeda attack at the dock of the ferry that takes tourists to the Indian casino in Connecticut. The casino dock is my town's officially designated "Critical Asset and Vulnerability Infrastructure Point (CAVIP)." (To find the most vulnerable points to attack in the USA, Al Qaeda can download a list from the Department of Homeland Security -- no kidding.)

But that's not all. Bush is protecting us from English hijackers with a fearsome anti-terrorist tool: the Virginia-class submarine. The V-boat was originally meant to hunt Soviet subs. But there are no more Soviet subs. So, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin have "refitted" these Cold War dinosaurs with new torpedoes redesigned to carry counter-terror commandoes. That's right: when we find Osama's beach house, we can shoot our boys right up under his picnic table and take him out. These Marines-in-a-tube injector boats cost $2.5 billion each -- and our President's ordered half a dozen new ones.

Lynn Cheney, the Veep's wife, still takes in compensation from Lockheed as a former board member. I'm sure that has nothing to do with this multi-billion dollar "anti-terror" contract.

Fear sells better than sex. Fear is the sales pitch for many lucrative products: from billion-dollar sailor injectors to one very lucrative war in Mesopotamia (a third of a trillion dollars doled out, no audits, no questions asked).

Better than toothpaste that makes our teeth whiter than white, this stuff will make us safer than safe. It's political junk food, the cheap filling in the flashy tube. What we don't get is safety from the real dangers: a life-threatening health-care system, lung-murdering pollution production and a trade deficit with China that's reducing mid-America to coolie status. Protecting us from these true threats would take a slice of the profits of the Lockheeds, the Exxons and the rest of the owning class.

War on Terror is class war by other means -- to keep you from asking for real protection from true menace, the landlords of our nation give you fake protection from manufactured dangers. And they remind you to be afraid every time you fly to see Aunt Millie and have to give up your hemorrhoid ointment to the underpaid guy in the bell-hop suit with a security badge.

Oh, hey, you never got the punch line.So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, "Whad'l'ya have, pardner?" and Osama says, "Well, George, what are you serving today?" and Bush says, "Fear," and Osama shouts, "Fear for everybody!" and George pours it on for the crowd. Then the presidential bartender says, "Hey, who's buying?" and Osama points a thumb at the crowd sucking down their brew. "They are," he says. And the two of them share a quiet laugh.


-- Greg Palast is the author of the just-released New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War" from which this is adapted.

The Amish are Coming

I knew there was something sneaky about those Amish. Read this from Molly Ivins …

I personally have been sleeping more soundly at night knowing that Michael Chertoff is secretary of homeland security. Ever since Chertoff's agency brought us the stunning news that there are more terrorist targets in Indiana than in New York or Washington, I've realized this guy could find a terrorist plot anywhere. Watch out for the Amish -- they'll run right over you with those buggies, and they all have pitchforks, too. I hear they're connected to al-Qaida through Saddam Hussein.

Time to invade Pennsylvania. I hear there are lots of Amish there. And with their connections to al-Qaida, I just know that bunches of WMDs (wholesome maple desks) will be found.

Ivins also touches on the fall of Lieberman. Her source is none other than the ever popular veep of whom Jessica McBride says we should not complain. Last I heard, about 20% of the population still cared what he had to say (still higher than McBride’s ratings at night I’d bet).

Well, click here to read her entire column. I have to leave and duck ... I'm sure my friend Clint will have some mud to throw my way. Maybe not. I'll duck anyway.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Type of Body Armor

The number of large chested women in the Middle East may increase after they hear of or read this story.
JERUSALEM - An Israeli woman's breast implants saved her life when she was wounded in a Hezbollah rocket attack during Israel's war with the Lebanese group, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

Doctors found shrapnel embedded in the silicone implants, just inches from the 24-year-old’s heart.

Or, the combatants could just stop bombing each other. Just a thought.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Evening Good Night

Was watching some movies tonight with the beautiful Kelly. The first was the Odd Couple with Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau. I had not seen it in its entirety for quite a while. Loved the coo, coo Pigeon sisters.

After it was over, flipped over to see the end of Back to the Future. It was the clock tower scene. Marty and Doc are discussing the future. Marty has tried to give Doc a letter regarding Doc's fate ... at the bottom of the screen, there is a dialogue box and in it there is a discussion of how cold it was during filming and that the wind machine used, which was called a McBride, was so loud that some of the dialogue had to be re-recorded.

The thought crossed my mind that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sunday Ruminations

My son's birthday party was a smash hit Saturday. The now 11-year old made out like a bandit. He has enough gift cards to start his own wallet. He also has two lava lamps (Bill, do you remember lava lamps?). He got that from me. Friends, neighbors and family showed up and I didn't even have to beg them to or provide peace offerings (snicker!).

This from a friend of mine. Another of those Internet pieces, but again I'll post it because I like what it says (this is unusual, because I usually just toss these dregs).


1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.

11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lizard Logic

My mom sent this to me ... she got it off the Internet so it's probably traveled around the world 15 or 16 times already. But I thought it funny.

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room. "He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, dad, can you help?"

I put my best lizard-healer statement on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.

"Honey," I called, "come look at the lizard!"

"Oh my gosh!," my wife diagnosed after a minute. "She's having babies."

"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife.

"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired. (I actually think she said this sarcastically!)

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together).

"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me. (Again with the sarcasm, you think?)

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it. "Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience, I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."

"Oh, gross!" they shrieked.

"Well, isn't THAT just great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know. (I really do think she was being snotty here, too. Don't you?)

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later. "We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.

"It's breech,"my wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.

"Okay, okay." Squeamishly , I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

"Should I call 911," my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap. "Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

"I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God's sake.)

The Vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?" I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.

"Oh, perfectly," the Vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen ... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they Just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife. "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."

We were silent, absorbing this. "So Ernie's just...just... excited," my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my viscous, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.

Tears were now running down her face. Laughing "It's just ... that ... I'm picturing you pulling on its ... its ... teeny little ...." She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned.

We thanked the vet and hurriedly bundled the lizards and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.

"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have NO idea," I said.

Closed mouth, my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

Moral of the story - finish biology class - lizards lay eggs!

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Mindless Automaton Returns

Jessica McBride (McBucher, Bucher, McSykes ... take your pick) reprises her role of Mindless Automaton in the latest from Tom Tomorrow ... and "whallah" here it is below. Click on the picture and "whallah" it will enlarge (h/t to Xoff for inspiration).

Next week, Jessica continues her foreign language lessons for conservatives. Guess what this tranlates to from what language ... Off Weinersane.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Bob Gaastra (Lightning)

As soon as I had finished writing the previous blog post, I went to e-mail and discovered some incredibly bad news. My friend, Bob Gaastra, otherwise known as "Lightning" passed away August 7.

Bob had MS and had been confined to a wheelchair most of his adult life. He had a biting humor; a unique voice that was imitated with affection; was an avid baseball fan (we made numerous trades in our rotisserie league) and was a very good friend. There are friends of mine who were closer and had known Bob longer, and for them I feel especially saddened.

Thanks for being my friend, Bob.

It's a Girl

Ian (my soon to be 11-year old) won't be happy, but we found out today that baby Rock is a girl. It had been recommended that we go to see a specialist because, after a blood test three weeks ago, the chance of Down Syndrome was said to be slightly higher (in part due to our ages ... I am 50 and Kelly to be 39).

The specialist did an hour long exam of Kelly using ultrasound and was able to determine (not with 100 percent certainty) that the baby is healthy and progressing well.

Ultrasound photos to follow on a later blog. For now, got to get outside to weed gardens and cut lawn for the big birthday bash this weekend.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Run, Tom, Run!

An MSNBC article regarding the fight to have Tom DeLay’s name removed from the November ballot is a little confusing. The headline for the articles states “Scalia asked to block DeLay ruling.” The body of the article does not state as such, instead it states that, “Texas Republican Party chairwoman Tina Benkiser requested a delay of the appeals court ruling until Republicans can formally ask the Supreme Court to review the case.”

It’s a big difference. If the GOP has actually gone to Scalia, personally, and asked that the appeals court ruling blocked … well, so much for the Supreme Court retaining any sense of impartiality. It’s obvious the GOP knows they have a friend in Scalia.

Or not, who can really say? I do not know how requests to the Supreme Court are made. Not having the time to delve into this further, I will simply say that I hope the headline is inaccurate … but it’s probably not.

Update: Ah, the headline is somewhat misleading. Scalia presides over the 5th Circuit, so appeals go to him first. Then, for the case to proceed, four justices have to agree to accept the appeal, or, in an expedited appeal, it could be done on the authority of Chief Justice John Roberts.

This should be interesting. Obviously, the Democrats want to keep DeLay on the ballot. He is just a bit vulnerable. Read the rest here.

The Attack of the Killer McBucher

Oh no! A comment I made on Xoff's blog about the ubiquitous Jessica McBucher made its way into her blog. Of course, she cherry-picked from the comment and suggested we liberals are just a bit sexist. Coming from a racist bully, insensitive to any religion but her own, who writes like a juvenile, and whose only ambition is to accrue power regardless of the cost ... it's really very funny.

War Sucks

h/t to Bob Harris at This Modern World.

Beirut before and after the bombing. Click image to enlarge.

Oh, before anyone gets bent out of shape, if I had pictures of Israeli areas hit by rockets I would show them too. War sucks, regardless of which side you belong.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Rip It Up!

Two can play at this game, though h/t to Fraley’s Daily Takes for the idea. Got to give credit where credit is due.

No lack of conservatives in action at the State Fair this year. Here is a conservative schedule of far-right events at the Republican Party booth..

August 3
Come join the KKK and learn how to cut those eyeholes in the right place so the white hood fits perfectly.

August 4
Corporate welfare. Lend a hand and fork over a few dollars … help our multi-nationals out of some tough times.

August 5
Unsure how to write in an over-the-top fashion. Members of the Badger Blog Alliance will be on hand to help you put those words to screen. Don’t expect spelling help, though.

August 6
This should be frightening. Jessica McBride sings her favorites. Visit the WTMJ booth to hear these classics …from the Boss: ”Born to Run Like my Husband Paul,” a timeless Beatles classic: “Hey Paul, my husband,” Santana: Black Magic Woman Shot in Merton,” and, of course from Elton John: “Saturday Night’s All Right for my husband Paul.”

August 7
Join Scot Jensen and ruminate about the good old days. Tour a mock up of his jail cell to be.

August 8
Steve King autograph session. Run a gauntlet of pistol-whipping thugs to get his autograph. Some fun.

August 9
Be like George W. Lobotomies done for free at the WTMJ booth.

August 10
Watch the action as Paul Bucher tours the grounds rounding up illegal aliens while giving a bull whip demonstration.

August 11
Come see Glenn Grothman and Owen Robinson as they speak to young rape victims, telling them to endeavor to persevere and explaining how Grothman and Robinson’s decision that the young mothers’ should be forced to carry the fruit of their harrowing, painful and disgusting experience really isn’t personal.

August 12
Definition of hate mail to conservatives explained. Hint: Anything written that they disagree with.

August 13
Come watch as James Wigderson, Rick Esenberg, dad29, Clint, Paddy Mac, Charlie Sykes and Owen Robinson kick off the final day of State Fair with a reasonable rendition of the Radio City Rockettes’ kick line. They’ll be hot … and bothered.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

No Lack of Media Coverage

It continues to boggle my mind that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee keeps Jessica McBride on its payroll. One would think the university would want a professional journalist to teach its classes rather than a political hack, one who is especially adept at tooting her own horn and that of her husband, Waukesha County DA Paul Bucher. Witness her recent screed in the Waukesha Freeman. Her piece is titled “Where’s the beef?” And she begins thusly:

Quick pop quiz: What did you think about the big debate in the Waukesha County district attorney’s race the other day?

You know, over that important issue? Oh, that’s right, I forgot. There wasn’t a big debate. And no one’s writing about the issues.

Quick pop quiz: Do you even know who’s running for Waukesha County district attorney?

Answer: No, it’s not my husband.
At this point I began to chuckle, and my chuckling wasn't because the last paragraph contained at least two sentence fragments. Two short paragraphs later we are graced with this gem:
There’s a pretty crucial changing of the guard under way in law enforcement right now and not only in Waukesha County, but you wouldn’t know it from the media coverage. Between them, my husband, Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher ….

And then, in the paragraph, Jessica strikes again with another overdose of unprofessionalism:
Both will be hanging up their hats in November. My husband is running for state attorney general ….

In a piece ostensibly about the lack of media coverage for campaigns in Wisconsin, Jessica manages to wiggle herself and/or her husband's name into nearly every race. Sorry, no lack of media coverage here. McBride manages to plug herself and her hubby enough times in one column for an entire week’s worth of column inches.

From the lack of an identifiable media source, I’m assuming that she is speculating about an alleged lack of coverage from the Journal Sentinel (certainly not the Waukesha Freeman or WTMJ, the paper and radio station she shills for). I did a quick search at JS Online and found that since July 26, there have been at least ten instances where Bucher’s name (her husband, in case anyone was unclear) was mentioned. Additionally, there have been ten instances in which Peg Lautenschlager (the current attorney general) was mentioned and – how unfair is this – only six times that J.P Van Hollen (Bucher’s primary opponent and the husband of Jessica McBride) was mentioned. The dastardly media is overlooking his campaign.

Well, I have heard through the grapevine that Jessica is now going to start writing sports stories … straight reporting … because, you know, there is really not enough media coverage of herself and her husband. Here is an example:
Chris Carpenter failed again, not because of my husband, Paul Bucher who is running for attorney general for the state of Wisconsin, but because of a lack of media coverage and because he didn’t pitch very well. All this led to the St. Louis Cardinals losing to the Milwaukee Brewers, the team from the same state as my husband, 4-3, Friday night.

The 2005 NL Cy Young (who is this Cy Young and why is he getting media coverage?) winner left Friday night's game with an injury to the thumb on his pitching hand that put a scare into a team already on the skids. My husband Paul, on the other hand is healthy. Oh right, I forgot, Carpenter’s right thumb was swollen, although X-rays indicated no break.

"He took that ball right off the top of his thumb and he's got quite a bit of swelling," manager Tony La Russa said. La Russa sounds kind of, you know, Mexican, and my husband has a program for illegal aliens.

Oh, by the way, Prince Fielder, a favorite of Paul, my husband, because we like African-Americans in the Town of Merton, went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and Tony Graffanino had three hits and an RBI to help the Brewers beat Carpenter, who was on the mound the night the Cardinals stopped their earlier eight-game skid.

The Cardinals have been outscored 54-29 during the slump, and their division lead was shaved to 2½ games over Cincinnati. In the first seven losses, the Cardinals lost only one game off their lead, something Paul, my husband has no knowledge because, you know, like, he leads in the race for attorney general in Wisconsin despite the lack of media coverage.

Saturday Note

What I will not tolerate here is vile and vulgar name-calling. A fellow blogger from the right side of the cheddarsphere left a message earlier today. To his credit, he removed it at 5:53 am. What he doesn't realize is I have my site set up to read all comments as e-mails additionally.

No reason to display who this fellow was but, these types of comments will be removed and the blogger banned. You can rip into me, or my beliefs, all you want as long as you keep a civil tongue.

Last thing: From all accounts this guy is not a bad person. He took offense to a post I made earlier, it wasn't even directed at him. I tried to mollify the effect with a fun story in which he was involved, apparently he couldn't figure out the joke. Others did.

Oh well.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Slow Friday ... No Clint

Another fine day in Brookfield. Went golfing today ... the first time all summer. I have been healing ligaments in both elbows (golfer's elbow the doctor said) for 10 months now. Went out yesterday to the driving range and today for nine holes at Currie. Didn't do too poorly ... a little erratic but birdied number 9 to finish with a first time out 46.

On another note ... saw that the prices for nine and 18 haven't changed much. Mentioned that to the fellow working behind the desk. His response was something we both agreed on ... smart move by [Scott] Walker to keep prices the same. Most golfers are Republican, so it's said (watch out, I have to duck now).

The wife came home early today. She wasn't feeling well. I did the best I could and am now going to put her to bed.

Not feeling so anxious to comment about stuff these days. One gets tired of fending off the idiots.

I have new respect, however, for dad29. Nine kids! Whew. Enough to make anyone crabby and juuust a little authoritative. He wants to meet my Dad and together attempt to reprogram me, but I have to pay the bar tab, he says. I like tequila and Dad likes manhattans.

My old man and I haven't seen eye to eye for quite a few years. I see no reason to change and don't think dad29's efforts will have any effect. But he's thoughtful to try.

Just Rambling ...

A friend suggested the name, Clint, for our baby if it's a boy. No! A man's got to know his limitations. Some don't have a clue and destroy their own arguments while trying to make one. It's so easy to refute neocons. Consequently, nope to Clint.

Kids back on Sunday. Will take them to the zoo or to State Fair. Ian's birthday on the 12th. He turns eleven. He's growing up way too fast.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Just Some Wednesday Thoughts

Now that I've finished painting myself Morning Shade Blue, I'm going to continue the attempt to put some of that paint on the bathroom walls. I appreciate people who do this professionally a lot more than I did yesterday.

My 1994 Ford Tempo (I just can't give it up ... runs like a charm and is paid for) is beginning to feel its age. I was informed by the mechanic at BP on Lilly and Capital that it was likely that the shoulder seatbelt gizmo had probably slipped a gear. He said it would cost $200-300 to have it repaired.

Now, everytime I open or close the door, this awful, loud, gurgling sound crows from the side. Of course, the seat belt doesn't budge.

The sound eventually dies off so I'm not stuck driving down the road. People might think I was listening to a new form of music, or Gregorian Chants (sorry dad29 ... just a joke). Actually, I like Gregorian Chants. My father was in the seminary for five years and brought that love of his along with a severely conservative view of life to our family. He also told the best dinnertime jokes.

That causes me to recall sitting at the dinner table one evening when Dad suddenly asked everyone to be quiet, and then asked if someone could explain why there were apple peelings stuck to the wall at its juncture with the ceiling. No one had a clue.

Well ... I did. It was a result of the one and only party that I ever held when the parents were gone. My friend Craig thought it would be funny to toss the pot of cold coffee my way, so I started pelting him with apples. Soon everyone joined in.

That was 30 years ago approximately. Damn.

Baby is still cooking well in the mommy tummy. Heard some news that due to Kelly's advanced age (for having children) a recent blood test said that the chance for a Down Syndrome child was slightly higher. We had already made the decision that regardless of what genetic tests might reveal, we would continue the pregnancy ... unless, of course, harm would come to Kelly.

Still, for the child's sake, we continue to hope for the best. We will love the child regardless.

Oh, I really enjoy reading other blogs and finding new ways to say things. Rick Esenberg, at Shark and Shepherd, has come up with one ... Gumpian ... referring to someone imitating Forrest Gump's ability to be where the action is. Good one!